7/27/15

THE SUPER DICTIONARY (Part Eight)

It just won't end:  even more SUPER DICTIONARY.

During this journey, we haven't learned very much about the meaning of words, but we have learned quite a bit about the shortcomings of various heroes.  For instance, did you know that Hawkman is a misogynistic clownbag?
Wow, at least make some Ramen Noodles for Hawkgirl, or something...

Another thing we have learned is that Lex Luthor is just nasty...here he is, still trying to pour paint (?) on super-people. Why?
I would say that he's stupid for sneaking up on Supergirl that way, but as she's falling asleep, maybe he knows what he's doing? Then again, I just noticed that from Supergirl's comments, she isn't smart enough to come out of the rain.
Here we get the answer as to why the "Randoms" (I can't be bothered to remember their names) are tiny--they are trapped in a giant's house.  That sounds logical.  A giant journalist, from the looks of it.
Note how the SUPER DICTIONARY utterly fails to come close to a sensible definition of "print" here. Letters that don't run together?
We have taken another dark, dark turn in THE SUPER DICTIONARY, kids.  Batman, whose face is apparently melting, has discovered that Robin simply couldn't go on living as second fiddle to him any longer.  Or, perhaps we are back in Luthor's purple Pleasure Dungeon (see Part Seven for more than one example)?
Almost a good idea for a character, there...was Marvel reading this?
I'm going to just leave this here, and not say anything...but WOW.
Then quit talking, already!! I hate to tell Green Lantern, but if he can hear them, then they can also hear him.  Also, they are apparently demons, so you are screwed.
Catwoman is like my grandmother; she could be drowning, but still want to know how we stand in comparison to this year's Farmer's Almanac.  I always thought cats hated water...also, since when does rain look like that? That never happens!
Oh, well, there's that...
I've told you more than once how useless El Dragon is, but now you get to see it first hand.  Apparently, he's the guy the Super Friends send in first, so he can identify who the criminals are, and feel validated.  He should have considered taking the name "The Pointer," excuse me, "El Pointer."
Shock of shocks!  This debonaire charmer isn't taken? This has to be the biggest revelation in comics since Andy Panda was revealed as the original Hobgoblin!
Well, okay, there, Batman, way to set women's liberation back about 200 years.  I understand that Catwoman is a criminal, but I also know that you carry bat-cuffs in your belt...I distinctly remember that in the late 1970's, you didn't have to go dragging criminals around.  She's not Robin, you know.
I think that Robin's very existence makes the Penguin feel like he's in Street Fighter...look at how Robin has to hold onto a street sign to keep from being jerked around like a wet puppy, and all the Penguin wants is his question answered.  Honestly, SUPER DICTIONARY, you are not doing a very good job of teaching us manners!
I hate to say it, but
TO BE CONTINUED...

7/20/15

Classical Rock (Leaping Fox, 2015)

The Leaping Fox is temporarily out of hibernation.
Here is a treat:  we haven't done a compilation in a few years, and that was one of the reasons this blog was even founded.  Over the years I had toyed around with the premise of collecting works of classical music that had been re-interpreted (and/or covered) by rock bands.  As time passed, I would accidentally discover more candidates, until I suddenly had enough to make a full disc from.
The result is a very fun disc.  Another idea would be a disc's worth of rock songs inspired by/taken from classical works, which gets a bit trickier, because then you have to contend with things like "A Lover's Concerto," which is just an awful song any way you approach it.

The link is below, but hurry, because like so many Ginsu knives, this offer won't last!


7/17/15

MOTHRA Pressbook (Columbia, 1962)

We have simply got to take a break from the SUPER DICTIONARY.  I am temporarily SUPER DICTIONARYed out....and this item is just what we need to recover.
Mothra came to the US in 1962 courtesy of Columbia Pictures, and it's a wonderful film.  Can you imagine Godzilla's universe without Mothra?  I have always enjoyed the artwork for the American release, but in true Yankee fashion, it misses the point of the film completely, and leans toward the giant-bug B-movies of the 1950's.  Surely, this full-color gem of fantasy could have been marketed a little differently? Just look at the varying perceptions of the two fairies (here called Ailenas) by Japan and the US...which we will get to shortly.
The back of the pressbook contains the usual articles, which theatre owners could use for local newspapers.  Of interest is the first article, which mentions that modern film-making has become "an international undertaking," hinting that Columbia had more to do with making the film than merely licensing and dubbing it.  Also, the writers seem to understand the plot, but muse that Rolisica is "remarkably like America," thereby completely missing (or ignoring) that intended bit of satire.
The middle of the pressbook is where the good stuff is (it unfolds like a poster, with the reverse side containing all of the ad slicks).  This is the home of all the crazy ballyhoo insanity, like we have talked about before...the kind that is long gone from modern films.  Let's look at some of the highlights:
Columbia, that's just dumb.  You can do better than that.  (Nevermind that today, every store that sells toys is a display for the newest blockbuster.)
Well, Mr. 1962, I would be interested in seeing how you pulled that one off..."eyes which throw changing rays of light," etc...makes you wonder if anybody tried, and came up with anything that looked halfway decent.
And, if you look out the left side of your cabin window, you will see Crazytown, because that's where we are entering.  This boggles the mind.  I want to make a film where the local police and fire departments have loaned all their weapons for a Mothra display, and the greatest bank robbery of all time takes place during opening night.
In between the two columns of "suggestions" are opportunities to purchase TV & Radio ads, as well as posters.  There was a 9' x 12' flag for the film?! Was all of this stuff even made?  75 bucks was an awful lot for a banner in 1962, and I wonder if anybody ordered one...on the other end of the spectrum, badges (as in "we don't need no stinking...") were only 40 cents!
Now, this is an idea that isn't stupid...but I still wonder if anybody did it.  Shades of Gorgo!
Okay, now....hold it! Did I just read--?
I did, I did just read that.  Ok, slight revision to my movie idea:  after the greatest bank robbery ever committed, everyone dies of radiation poisoning.
Once again, did anybody do this? ("abbreviated space suits," snicker)

Now we get to the ad slicks, and I encourage you to read the hyperbole on each one, and think about how absolutely American they are.  I realize there was a mindset back then, when pushing and hyping a film, that accuracy went out the window...but "Continents Crushed by Monster Who Seeks Human Mates" is just going a bit too far!
Also note the prevalence of the "tiny women" and their placement.
This ad is interesting because it refers to Mothra as both a "super-god" and a Male!
In this last ad, the fairies (or just one, reversed and used a second time) are literally in the monster's eyes.

7/15/15

Tokusatsu Heroes (Zacca PAP, 2007)

This is a bit of an unusual post, because I haven't completed my own set of these amazing figures, but they are so well-made, and so darn cute, that they demand to be featured.
King Caesar, Gigan, King Ghidorah, and Hedorah.
This set of little guys (around 2" tall) combines a couple of very Japanese concepts:   Super-Deformed-ness and little boxed toys. Japan, of course, has had a long history of "candy toys," as well as elaborate vending-machine toys and prizes.  These little figures were blind-boxed (a tradition that has unfortunately caught on in the West over recent years), and there were 20 in the set, plus an additional "chase" figure, making 21 total.
Jet Jaguar, Angilas, 1964 Godzilla, and Baragon.
It's not difficult to find "SD" personifications of really any kaiju, but these sculpts have a personality that make them my favorite.  The heads are oversized, and the bodies delightfully chunky, and it doesn't hurt that all are expertly painted.
Gorosaurus, Varan, Mogera, Rodan, and the first Mechagodzilla.
And, unlike many other sets, it's pretty comprehensive; like a Showa roll call.  Really, only Ebirah and Gabara are missing, since I'm sure there are rights issues with King Kong, which is understandable.
Twin Larvae (1964!), and adult Mothra.
Varan rarely gets any love, and Titanosaurus is under-represented in toy form.  I suppose a 1968 Godzilla would have been nice, but they do include the "big three" suits of the Showa era.  I only have 15 of these, and hopefully perserverence will pay off, and I can finish my set.  Here is a chart I found somewhere, to which I have added the "chase" figure, which, by the way, was Manda wrapped around the Atragon!
And here is the little "catalog" flyer that was included with each figure, showing what was available (which I scanned at 600 dpi).  I know this company has also made series for Ultraman and Kamen Rider foes (hence the "tokusatsu" in the name, which usually refers to television), and they are just as charming.
Front
Back

7/14/15

THE SUPER DICTIONARY (Part Seven)

Look out!  Your day is about to be ruined.....from out of the sky, here comes: THE SUPER DICTIONARY.

I knew I needed this book.  Mostly because I wanted to see for myself if the high level of craptastic-ness held up throughout its entirety.  I figured there was no way possible that any book (short of cat-lady fantasy-porn) could be so backasswardsly inane, so obtusely retarded; all under the guise of elementary-school education.  I was wrong.  It IS possible.  It is SO possible.  It is completely, entirely possible.

I don't know where to begin, here...so many directions are open to me; it's like standing at a veritable crossroads of  village-idiotitude.  Let's begin slowly, by looking at the Cleverbot-with-a-brain-injury text in the yellow box.  I defy you to make some sense of that.
Assuring you that I am desperately trying to keep my comments above-board and something my own Children could read (but I am struggling mightily here, friends), let's just try to take this at face value...okay, he covered Superman in paint (starting at the, er, middle), but he wants to.....Nevermind, it can't be done! I was going to challenge the syntax of this, but I just lost the ability, because I just read the phrase "wet gold coating" again.  Lex Luthor (in protective metal gloves?) may be terrible, as we have learned earlier, but he is also a complete freak.
This is one of those panels that just speaks for itself.
The Penguin is a baaaaad man.  If he feels like it, he will steal a shovel.  A snow shovel, even.  He simply doesn't care.  Actually, I'm not condoning super-villain-shoplifting here, but I think the reason he walked out with the shovel is because THERE IS NOBODY AT THE REGISTER.  (It must be a Wal-Mart!)
Now we return to the Atom's love affair with bees, although it has taken a quirky turn.  At least we can commit this axiom of safety to memory:  if attacked by bees, they are deathly terrified of pens.  
In short, "never bring a pencil to a bee fight."
Okay, Superman is a vandalizing jerk who doesn't know what algae is, and Hawkman can be defeated with a peanut, but did you know that The Flash is a paranoid bundle of neuroses?!  Nevermind the ability to run fast, he just wants to stand there and freak out about having a path that forks.  Also, note that, once again we have frame-worthy artistic gold from THE SUPER DICTIONARY.  They are practically giving this stuff away!!!
"LOOK- - -
- -INTO THE FACE - - OF - -
- - MAAAAAADNESS !!!!"
Unfortunately, as it turns out, "Someone Has A Pipe" is the title of Robin's autobiography.
Now that I am in the P's, It strikes me that there is a lot of bondage in THE SUPER DICTIONARY.  First Luthor, and now the Joker has his own home dungeon-thing (and both done in swanky purple).  It also strikes me that Robin is suspended in a completely bizarre way.  Also, as we saw last time, if you get captured in THE SUPER DICTIONARY, it is customary to ask politely to be released.
Okay, this is getting redundant, but CONJURA, YOU ARE MAGIC.  MAGIC PEOPLE DO NOT CALL PLUMBERS.  THEY USE THEIR MAGICAL-NESS.
Wait a second...those plumbers look familiar!!
Oh! Why didn't you say so? Let them in; they're cool.

TO BE CONTINUED.....