Friday, May 22, 2020

Unfrozen Caveman or Woke Neanderthal?

Or, Sorry, You’re Already Assimilated  to Capitalist Modernity


 [Warning: This essay employs such hateful buzzwords and terms (in alphabetical order) as authenticity, call out, cultural appropriation, hating on, imposter syndrome, looks like me, stay in your lane, virtue signaling, and woke, as well as such shopworn and problematic terms from yesteryear (that will surely date the author) as a priori, always already, consciousness raising, poseur, and that schoolyard grand-daddy, sellout. Enjoy.]

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Books Without Borders: Recent Reviews

Updated May 16, 2020.

Since 2014, I have composed a number of reviews for book editor Tony Norman at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Here is a running list of the links (all have been for the P-G, unless otherwise noted):

Friday, May 22, 2020 (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Weekend Magazine):
Ben Katchor, The DairyRestaurant (Nextbook/Schocken, $29.95.


Thursday, May 14, 2020

Another Roadside Attraction and the Popular Cover-Up Genre

I am currently reading Another Roadside Attraction for a second time, more than forty years after reading as a virginal senior in high school. Recommended to me by Nikki Robertson, the quintessential daughter of fortune-telling free spirits who attended the Livonia Career Center, the book had a profound effect on me, and as I'm reading it again, I remember almost every bit of it.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Eroticism in Don Simpson’s Comics, Part I of II:

Megaton Man, Border Worlds, and The Return of Megaton Man

           Proceed to Part II: The Megaton Man One-Shots, Anton Drek Comix, and Bizarre Heroes

          Note: A gallery of 22 archival covers and comic book pages appears below, following the text.

Megaton Man #1-10 (Kitchen Sink Press, December 1984–June 1986)

Eroticism was always a prominent subtext in the Megaton Man comics from the very first Kitchen Sink Press issue in December, 1984. The cover of #1 set the tone for the series: On it, a sexy Pamela Jointly, reporter’s notepad in hand, kneels barefoot next to a spread-eagle Megaton Man, draped only in a torn, red dress that threatens to fall from her bare shoulders. Although she’s fixated on what she’s writing and not his diminutive crotch, a bulge, nearly lost in the stretchy wrinkles of his trunks, is clearly in evidence.

Eroticism in Don Simpson’s Comics, Part II of II:

The Megaton Man One-Shots, Anton Drek Comix, and Bizarre Heroes


          Go Back to Part I: Megaton Man, Border Worlds, and The Return of Megaton Man

          Note: A gallery of 42 archival covers and comic book pages appears below, following the text. 

Whereas the ten-issue Megaton Man and three-issue Return of Megaton Man series both appeared in color, the next three Megaton Man comics appeared as black-and-white one-shots. In the economic and production-cost syntax of the time, color printing tended to be reserved for a wider, younger, more mainstream audience of superhero comics readers, and therefore necessarily hewed to G-rated or PG content. If Megaton Man was allowed to push those boundaries with illegitimate pregnancy, bulging male crotches and protruding female nipples it did so in the context of a humorous parody of superhero conventions, and the fact that it’s publisher has been a pioneer of adults-only undergrounds.

Monday, August 5, 2019

King Kong Cover for Amazing Heroes!

Originally posted July 13, 2017; updated with an addendum below, August 5, 2019.

Perhaps the best piece of art I created for the entire King Kong adaptation I drew for Fantagraphics' Monster Comics imprint in the early 1990s never appeared as part of the series. Instead, it was the cover for Amazing Heroes, the little sister publication to their more upscale publication, The Comics Journal. Here is a look at the original colored blueline.


For more on the art of my Kong adaptation, visit my King Kong blog!

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Don't Look Now: Identifying with Heroes Is More than Demographic (or Skin Deep)

Don’t wait for someone who looks like you to live your dream before you do.


The whole “looks like me” movement is quite baffling to me. Who are all these people who’ve been waiting for some media figure (or some fictional character) to look like them before they could fulfill their potential? Who are these kids who need a sports or movie star, or Disney princess, to be of their complexion, nationality, or religion before they have the gumption to charge ahead? And where were all those real and ideal people who looked like something who modeled for the last two or three generations of minority achievers, who apparently didn’t have anyone who looked like them to serve as role models, but found their way to success despite this lack?

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Ms. Meg Must-Read: Critical Rave for Clarissa!

This is an unsolicited comment from my colleague who is proofing and Beta-reading my Ms. Megaton Man Maxi-Series manuscript (you can read the same chapters right now online): 
"Finished chapters 1-7 of Clarissa James' memoirs. Really enjoying it. From what I've read, I wouldn’t change a thing. There's the right balance of exposition and movement, and I find Clarissa's voice to be a perfect fit for the story. Keep it coming and I look forward to catching up on chapters 8-10!"

Monday, April 1, 2019

Comics Hate Group “Cancels” Ms. Megaton Man!

megatropolis, n.y.—Don Simpson’s controversial new Ms. MegatonMan Maxi-Series has the comic book hate group FRFB (Far-Right Fanboys) calling for a boycott, citing the work’s alleged “Social Justice Warrior agenda” that threatens their insecure, toxic-masculine “hobby.”