Saturday, May 05, 2007

The Site is Up!
Well, upright --

Kudos to Cat! The website -- in its fetal form -- is up!
  • Well, the home page is, in any case,
  • and we'll be packing every nook and cranny with content -- memories, reveries, art, photos, diatribes, screeds, homages, eulogies, threnodies and melodies -- in the coming weeks. Thanks, Cat, and bless you!

    Cat's been raring to go all week; alas, it's been my busy schedule keeping me away from the process. CCS duties (especially in our final weeks of this crucial semester), speaking gigs (yesterday I was in Fairlee, VT, speaking at a gathering of VT librarians at the opulent Lake Morey Inn, on the shores of Lake Morey) and family obligations (Happy Birthday to Maia -- and we'll seeing Danny for breakfast in a couple of hours) have kept me away, but thankfully the Cat will play with or without me -- hence, the site home page, up and running.

    I'll be at it with Cat this week and every week hereafter, though, so keep an eye on the site daily. After CCS graduation (May 19th), we'll really be arming for bear, so look for big advances and changes later this month. Soon, this blog will be the appendage, rather than the focal point. Still, I'll keep it fresh and as daily as I can!

    A reminder, too, as we move into spring proper and early warm weather travel for some of you, that my booth is up and running at the Vermont Antique Mall in Route 4's easy-access Quechee Gorge Village. This is my retail venue, and I'm working hard to ensure it's also a venue for Center for Cartoon Studies students -- if you're curious about what the artists at CCS are up to, this booth will provide an ongoing retail space for their work.

    As of yesterday, I've placed well over 200 items in the booth, jam-packed now with CCS mini-comics (all $ go to the students who made 'em), Bissette collectibles, rare DVDs and videos, tons of comics (including 'bricks' of 1980s and '90s comics bargain priced), books, curios, doodads, movie promo rarities, and much, much more (including one of Marge's needlepoint creations).

    In fact, CCS artist (and soon to be pioneer class graduate) Colleen Frakes has already upped the ante by offering her mini-comic for sale with a panel of original art in every bagged copy!
  • (If you can't make it to the booth in person, contact Colleen directly through her site and mail-order your mini-comic-with-original-art now, while they're still available -- don't dawdle, now, as quantities are limited, and tell Colleen I sent ya, please!)

  • All these goodies are signed by their respective creators, and there's even handy, fairly-priced (a bargain for you, but still earns for the creators) pre-packs and 'bag o' comics' collecting multiple issues and collectibles together. I'm doing all I can to make this booth a one-stop-shop delight for anyone into sampling the works of CCS artists -- and my own humble efforts, of course.

  • Here's the link to the Vermont Antique Mall venue at Quechee Gorge Village, including directions, hours, and so on.
  • I'm dealer #653 -- ask at the front desk, they'll happily take you there! -- and Marge and I will be posting photos of the booth and pix of my line of painted ceramic originals, which will be available exclusively at the booth.

    More on this -- including links, pix, and more -- later this weekend.

    PS: The first Quechee Gorge Village outdoor flea market is this Sunday, starting at 7 AM -- get there early if you want to beat me to the best deals, bunky!

    Now that I'm no longer actively able to preorder my DVDs via my old video store source, I'm scrounging around for info and venues like everyone else. Among the most eagerly awaited of the upcoming summer crop of DVDs for this avid omnivore is
  • the upcoming Media Blasters "Tokyo Shock" release of Ishiro (aka 'Inoshiro') Honda's Frankenstein Conquers the World/Furankenshutain tai chitei kaijû Baragon (1965) -- here's the link to Tim Lucas's Video Watchblog post on this divine visitation (as a two-disc set, no less!).

  • All of which reminds me I've been meaning to ask the help of the gathered Myrant readership in an ongoing search of an issue of Esquire magazine from my youth.

    I'm guessing the issue I seek came out sometime between 1971 and 1973, though I could be wrong; I'm pretty sure I picked it up while still in high school (I graduated in '73). I've scoured the Esquire website -- which does not list issue contents, sadly -- and vainly searched Esquire covers in hopes of recognizing the cover for the issue I seek, but no memory bells have as yet rung, and I've peeked at every single cover from 1966 to 1976.

    The Esquire in question was an issue with an odd short, illustrated article on 'Good/Bad Monster Movies,' prominently featuring Frankenstein Conquers the World and The Beast of Hollow Mountain in that lineup, both with full-page pix. If memory serves, each film enjoyed a single-page writeup and one large black-and-white photo image, and it was a short piece -- no more than six pages, as I recall. Still, the author clearly loved the films, and it was an early landmark in the fusion of the broader pop culture with the rarified realm of the monster magazines. It was also a key work (by my reading experience, anyway) in the gradual elevation of what the mainstream had habitually dismissed as 'bad movies' into the strange, privileged status of sought-after treasure -- a tentative bridge between Susan Sontag's "Notes on Camp" and her essay on science-fiction disaster films and the Medved Brothers's books on "turkeys" (the tomes that elevated Ed Wood to posthumous star stature as the patron saint of 'bad movies').

    That the Esquire article chose Frankenstein Conquers the World was, at the time, a fascinating turn of events; after all, even Joe Dante Jr.'s review of the film in Castle of Frankenstein's "Movieguide" (a fixture of what was definitely the most intelligent and adult of all '60s newsstand monster zines) had villified the film, and even Forrest J. Ackerman had apologized in the letter pages of Famous Monsters of Filmland for running a cover photo-feature on the film (with an eye-popping beaut of a Ron Cobb cover painting!). At the time Esquire ran the piece, the only extant 'movie guides' with capsule reviews (beyond TV Guide's blurbs -- many written by Bhob Stewart, another CoF vet -- and regional TV schedule publications) were the Steven Scheuer Movies on TV paperbacks, which by and large dismissed any and all genre fare, and, for the diehards, the ongoing serialized "Frankenstein TV Movieguide" in Castle of Frankenstein. All of these reviled the 1960s Toho sf and monster films; even CoF despaired of the Toho formula after Ghidrah, The Three-Headed Monster initiated the 'monster rally' formula so beloved today.

    This Esquire article also predated Take One magazine's affectionate article on the Godzilla films, and hence stands as perhaps the first mainstream acknowledgement of the subversive charge of the Toho daikaigu-eiga. Thankfully, Greg Shoemaker of Ohio was already publishing his fanzine Japanese Fantasy Film Journal (alas, I gave my set away back in the mid-70s during a move, though I kept one fateful issue -- Greg published my first fan art in JFFJ), so we diehard Toho fans were beginning to recognize one another and our mutual love for films like Frankenstein Conquers the World, but there weren't many of us, and there were certainly no mainstream venues for such sentiments -- other than this elusive Esquire aberration, which I need to track down, and soon.

    So -- can anyone help me locate that issue of Esquire? I'd welcome guidance, suggestions, links, photocopies, or anything, really, at this stage. Thanks!

    As if you needed more proof that zombies are truly 'in' --

    As of this week, Google's 'Blogger Buzz' intro page (where we bloggers all sign in) has opened with the following:

    Old Blogger is dead! Long live Blogger!

    Today at Blogger HQ we accomplished one of our most significant milestones ever: we changed old Blogger’s monitoring from “page us when it goes down” to “page us if it comes back to life in a horrifying, zombie state.”

    Now, "a horrifying, zombie state" is a curious enough turn of phrase, but it's also an active link
  • to this Jonathan Coulton music video by Adobe Program Manager Mike Spiff Booth, which is a pretty strong push from Google for a specific vid, don't you think?

  • I'm happy for Jonathan Coulton and all the attention his song "re: Your Brains" is thus earning -- hmmm, how do the rest of us schlubs land a Google push? "Jonathan makes his songs available online
  • (
  • via the Creative Commons license, which enables projects such as this video. He has a podcast called Thing A Week where he puts out a song a week to keep his creative juices flowing. He's said he's going to keep it up until someone pays him to do it for real.
    " Alan Moore fans take note: "The song at the end of the video is "Mandelbrot Set", another great Jonathan Coulton song."

    And that's all the plugging Jonathan gets from me for now. He's got Google on his side, and needs no other.

    I'm outta here -- have a great Saturday, one and all!

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