Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Back Issue interview worth reading; Mission Accomplished?

OK, some of the odds & ends of the week:

This just in from Al Nickerson of the Creator's Rights site and much inky infamy. This is relevent to my own career arc at DC, in a way; when Alan Moore, John Totleben & I were talking with DC about doing other projects outside of Saga of the Swamp Thing -- perhaps, if memory serves, in the window briefly opened when there was talk of dropping SOTST #29 when we lost the CCA Code Seal of Approval -- we proposed working together on a Demon mini-series. "Nope, sorry, guys," we were told, "that's already taken." It turned out it was Matt Wagner's mini-series that was in the works -- ah, well, more Moore DC might-have-been grist for the mill. We had our shot at the beloved (to us) Jack Kirby character in our historic SOTST run, so consider that a taste of what might-have-been, and savor what we were able to deliver.

Anyhoot, now that I've given you that context, here's Al's press release, posted here as received:

BACK ISSUE #15 examines "Weird Heroes" of the 1970s and 1980s. This issue of BI features Al "Ink-Boy" Nickerson’s interview with Matt Wagner where these two creators discuss Matt’s THE DEMON mini-series from 1986.

During a recent press conference, Al "Ink-Boy" Nickerson stated, "Matt Wagner’s THE DEMON was the first Demon series I’ve ever read. I loved it! And, now, twenty years later, I’ve gotten the chance to chat with the man responsible for such a wonderful comic. Who says dreams can’t happen?"

Here's the link, lancelot:

  • Read About the Demon!
  • ___

    This from the UK Guardian, compliments of HomeyM, worth a read and some thought on this grave third anniversary:

    Bush Didn't Bungle Iraq, You Fools ~ THE MISSION WAS INDEED ACCCOMPLISHED
    by Greg Palast  for The Guardian  20 March 2006

    Get off it. All the carping, belly-aching and complaining about George Bush's incompetence in Iraq, from both the Left and now the Right, is just dead wrong.

    On the third anniversary of the tanks rolling over Iraq's border, most of the 59 million Homer Simpsons who voted for Bush are beginning to doubt if his mission was accomplished.

    But don't kid yourself -- Bush and his co-conspirator, Dick Cheney, accomplished exactly what they set out to do. In case you've forgotten what their real mission was, let me remind you of White House spokesman Ari Fleisher's original announcement, three years ago, launching of what he called,


    OIL. How droll of them, how cute. Then, Karl Rove made the giggling boys in the White House change it to "OIF" -- Operation Iraqi Freedom. But the 101st Airborne wasn't sent to Basra to get its hands on Iraq's OIF.

    "It's about oil," Robert Ebel told me. Who is Ebel? Formerly the CIA's top oil analyst, he was sent by the Pentagon, about a month before the invasion, to a secret confab in London with Saddam's former oil minister to finalize the plans for "liberating" Iraq's oil industry. In London, Bush's emissary Ebel also instructed Ibrahim Bahr al-Ulum, the man the Pentagon would choose as post-OIF oil minister for Iraq, on the correct method of disposing Iraq's crude.

    And what did the USA want Iraq to do with Iraq's oil? The answer will surprise many of you: and it is uglier, more twisted, devilish and devious than anything imagined by the most conspiracy-addicted blogger. The answer can be found in a 323-page plan for Iraq's oil secretly drafted by the State Department. Our team got a hold of a copy; how, doesn't matter. The key thing is what's inside this thick Bush diktat: a directive to Iraqis to maintain a state oil company that will "enhance its relationship with OPEC."

    Enhance its relationship with OPEC??? How strange: the government of the United States ordering Iraq to support the very OPEC oil cartel which is strangling our nation with outrageously high prices for crude.

    Specifically, the system ordered up by the Bush cabal would keep a lid on Iraq's oil production -- limiting Iraq's oil pumping to the tight quota set by Saudi Arabia and the OPEC cartel.

    There you have it. Yes, Bush went in for the oil -- not to get MORE of Iraq's oil, but to prevent Iraq producing TOO MUCH of it.

    You must keep in mind who paid for George's ranch and Dick's bunker: Big Oil. And Big Oil -- and their buck-buddies, the Saudis -- don't make money from pumping more oil, but from pumping LESS of it. The lower the supply, the higher the price.

    It's Economics 101. The oil industry is run by a cartel, OPEC, and what economists call an "oligopoly" -- a tiny handful of operators who make more money when there's less oil, not more of it. So, every time the "insurgents" blow up a pipeline in Basra, every time Mad Mahmoud in Tehran threatens to cut supply, the price of oil leaps. And Dick and George just LOVE it.

    Dick and George didn't want more oil from Iraq, they wanted less. I know some of you, no matter what I write, insist that our President and his Veep are on the hunt for more crude so you can cheaply fill your family Hummer; that somehow, these two oil-patch babies are concerned that the price of gas in the USA is bumping up to $3 a gallon.

    No so, gentle souls. Three bucks a gallon in the States (and a quid a litre in Britain) means colossal profits for Big Oil, and that makes Dick's ticker go pitty-pat with joy. The top oily-gopolists, the five largest oil companies, pulled in $113 billion in profit in 2005 -- compared to a piddly $34 billion in 2002 before Operation Iraqi Liberation. In other words, it's been a good war for Big Oil.

    As per Plan Bush, Bahr Al-Ulum became Iraq's occupation oil minister; the conquered nation "enhanced its relationship with OPEC;" and the price of oil, from Clinton peace-time to Bush war-time, shot up 317%.

    In other words, on the third anniversary of invasion, we can say the attack and occupation is, indeed, a Mission Accomplished. However, it wasn't America's mission, nor the Iraqis'. It was an Mission Accomplished for OPEC and Big Oil.

    On June 6, Penguin Dutton will release GREG PALAST'S NEW BOOK, "ARMED MADHOUSE:  DISPATCHES FROM THE FRONT LINES OF THE CLASS WAR."  Order it today -- and view his investigative reports for Harper's Magazine and BBC television's Newsnight -- at www.GregPalast.com. 

    Palast returns to the pages of the Guardian today with this column. Catch his commentaries weekly.
    CineFest report, Part 1

    So, sneaky Pete I am, I was away at CineFest last week with my sweetie Marj. The annual gatherum of movie buffs, scholars, and diehard vet viewers in Syracuse, NY every March is an event my dear amigo G. Michael Dobbs introduced me to well over a decade ago, and I've been going ever since. This was Marj's tenth CineFest, so I reckon I've been going for at least thirteen years, maybe more.

    CineFest runs four days, screening silents and pre-WW2 (nothing more recent than 1945) sound films from 9 AM every morn until about 2 AM. Every years is a different lineup, and with the sole exception of commemorative selections, every film is something otherwise unavailable (never on TV, not on vhs or DVD, and often unscreened since their original release), sometimes unique one-of-a-kind prints from around the world. The eclectic mix of short films and features always provide at least a couple of highlights per festival and usually one outstanding 'discovery' -- but that's not all that draws me to CineFest.

    There's also a small but lively dealer's room, sometimes two, and year-after-year at least a handful of dependable always-show dealers (Doug Swarthout with the Berry Hill Book Shop offering an amazing selection of film-related books; Carl Hoglund with his massive inventory of lobby cards and stills -- milkcrates full of unsorted stills! -- etc.) are there, along with surprise dealers offering something fresh to CineFest. The tables of Doug and especially Carl are major destination points for me, and I can honestly say my vast stills collection wouldn't exist without Carl's annual infusion. There's always at least two or three dealers with eye-popping collectible one-sheets, and though the pricing is too dear for me (not a rip-off, mind you, just the going rate for vintage one-sheets in the 21st Century), these make for amazing galleries of one-sheets I'd otherwise never lay eyes on. So, it's all eye candy, and some of it I can sometimes afford.

    The surprise item of the year this time around was a hot-off-the-press book by Canadian Gordon Reid, which Gordon himself (a familiar face and voice from past genre cons) was selling at one of the first tables in the main dealer's room. The Horror, Fantasy & Sci-Fi Movie Paperback Guide is a tidy 185-pg. illustrated overview/bibliography/semi-price guide to all the paperback movie adaptations and film books (e.g., illustrated screenplays are included) of yore, including a great 20-pg. color insert reproducing the key covers. This is the first book of its kind, and one movie pb collectors (like yours truly; another collection that's going to the HUIE/Henderson State University Bissette collection this year) will have to have on their shelves.

    Gordon knows his stuff and offers a generous biblio for this peculiar merchandizing/promotional publishing vein, illustrated throughout with b&w repros of covers and back covers. Only the key books are 'priced' -- that is, listed with estimated current market value, invariably offered as a span (e.g., "$5-$20") -- so this isn't useful as a price guide so much as a book guide. As such, it's an incredibly invaluable tome, and for me the value was doubled thanks to Gordon's featuring among the color cover gallery previously unseen gems like the rare Dragon novelization for The Creature from the Black Lagoon. As a maiden voyage, it's pretty definitive, though some may find fault with Gordon's inclusion of the early '60s 'fumetti' zines (Warrens' The Mole People, The Horror of Party Beach, Curse of Frankenstein/Horror of Dracula photo-comics-format adaptations, Charlton's crude 'fumetti' Black Zoo) or exclusion of borderline genre pbs (Herschell Gordon Lewis's Moonshine Mountain, mondo pbs like Africa Addio, Brutes & Savages, etc.). These are things I'm sure Gordon will revisit in a future revised & expanded edition, along with the occasional gap (e.g., the FantaCo Enterprises reprints of both Blood Feast and 2000 Maniacs novelizations), but as with the earliest 'guides' to monster zines, Gordon's pioneer effort is a ground-breaker, by its very nature inviting further analysis and research in hopes of uncovering those MIA titles and curios (tough tracking the regional pb presses; note the MIAs I've listed include four published-in-Florida titles).

    All in all, a necessary addition to any genre library shelf, and a must-have book for those collecting movie tie-in paperbacks. Gordon's debut of this new book was so close to its publication that he was unsure whether it was listed at the publisher's website as yet, or available on amazon.com as yet -- but here's hoping it'll be in reach for all of you soon. Knowing it may not yet be available here, I'll still offer the publisher's website link here --
  • Monsoon Books of Milton, Ontario
  • -- and provide you with the ISBN number, for search purposes: ISBN 0-9739409-0-5.

    Congrats, Gordon -- great to see you, and best of luck with the new book. Recommended, one and all!

    (More on CineFest finds and fun later today...)
    Meeting Creepy Classics

    Some of you may recall my article in Video Watchdog and posts last year about the Edison's Frankenstein DVD; well, the dealer I first purchased it from (at CineFest) was at CineFest again this year, and I made sure to spend some time (and money) at his table this time around.

    Pennsylvania-based Ron Adams and Mike (sorry, Mike, I forget your last name just now) were the folks behind the Creepy Classics display, and momentous selection of genre DVDs it was, too. I found so many goodies that Marj was twice able to 'raid' my stash for the coming Christmas season (yep, we plan and shop well ahead) during the show -- so, I'll have to thank Ron & Mike again come the yule. Top of my selection were all the previously-unfound Mexican monster movies I could find, along with choice vintage rarities like the US That They May Live edit of Abel Gance's J'Accuse (1937) and more. It was a bountious haul, and I've days of fine viewing ahead! If I'd had the dough-ray-me to blow, I'd have purchased much more.

    Ron also edits and publishes Monster Bash magazine (four issues to date, I think) and helms the annual PA Monster Bash convention, too. You can shop Ron's Creepy Classics treasures yourself online at
  • CreepyClassics.com
  • Tell him I sent you!

    (More CineFest experiences to follow...)