Journalistic Correction Time: I Was Completely Wrong About Guy Gardner

Back a ways, I wrote a piece for Cracked, 9 Iconic Superheroes Based on Real People in which I said Howard Chaykin had designed the uniform of my favorite superhero, Guy Gardner. That’s the way it was always told to me, and that’s the way I even recall reading it in an article or two. Well, thereafter, a friend directed my attention to Backissue! magazine #91, in which Joe Staton talked about designing the whole affair.

I had the good fortune to meet Mr. Staton at Five Points convention last year, and he confirmed it, so consider me in the wrong, but also delighted to meet an art hero of mine, and hear that the definitive artist on the character also designed his (for me, at least) iconic costume. Staton was a delightful fellow, and I bought a beautiful sketch of Yellow Ring Guy from him to send to the aforementioned friend as a surprise gift.

What’s more, the interview revealed another real-life basis I would have included in the article, which mentioned a character actor referenced by Gil Kane. Never knew there was a different one:

“I did have somebody in mind when I drew the new Guy,” says Staton. “At the time we were creating him I was following a PBS series called The Jewel in the Crown set in Colonial India. A central character was a Major Ronald Merrick played by Tim Pigott-Smith. He was a tough officer who felt he’d been denied his entitlements. I related his resentment to Guy’s and I kept him in mind for Guy’s look. Sometime, Google ‘Major Merrick’ and you’ll find shots of him face-to-face with somebody and he’ll have this nasty sneer. That’s Guy.

Fun trivia!

Cracked: 5 Bizarre Comics Written By, And Starring, Celebrities

After a miserably unproductive 2016,* at least I kicked off this year in writing correctly by returning to Cracked with this piece on comics that celebrities wrote starring themselves…and how they got weird fast. Weird celebrity comics are nothing new. Bob Hope had a long-running series in which he sexually harassed women. Pat Boone just popped up in Superman like he wasn’t the worst. But weird celebrity comics written by the celebrities themselves…that’s your rarity.

Is Ultimate Warrior in there? Of course Ultimate Warrior is in there. But also some fun stops along the way, like the universally beloved** Michael Chiklis.

Best-case scenario this guy beat a saintly old elf into unconsciousness.

*The script for Indelible, Inc. #5 dragged my fingers across the keyboard for something like six months of revisions even though the story’s been assembled for well over a decade…and in turn retooled from the very first Indelible, Inc. story, a non-superhero team of adventurers that I wrote in college. Nothing has ever been so hard for me to create/compose/carve/compress/cut/conclude since I started writing. I’m taking some time away from it before I start lettering Rodolfo Buscaglia’s art so I can tell if it’s any good. (the writing, not the art. I know the art’s good, I paid for it.)  I went deep and couldn’t look at it clearly when it was done, but I think it pleases.

**unless you’re Bill Murray, who resents the Chik for playing Jim Belushi, but that guy touches people without their consent. And steals their fries. Like how would you feel if Bill Murray took your fry? You’d immediately stop being upset because “Oh look, it’s Bill Murray!” But it wouldn’t diminish the despair of one fewer fry on your plate. It’s a conflicting scenario. I think Shakespeare wrote about it in one of the lost plays: The Clown of the New World, one of his greatest tragedies and comedies, so it was.

Rejected Cracked Pitches: Two Donald Trump Pieces

Two rejected pitches from this year as you go out to vote, as they were submitted to my betters. Thought it might be neat to take a peak into the sausage-making process.

A Guide to Third-Party Candidates

I really wanted this one to fly, I’ve had the idea for years of nominating a dog to the presidency, and campaigning on messages we can all back, like “Dog Like you. Why Not Dog?” and arguing it couldn’t be any worse if we chased our collective tails for four years. At least we wouldn’t be continuing to screw up the world. Alas, ’twas not to be. Also, I think a Cena/Rock ticket would be a beautiful union of  the “Unexpected Cena” meme, this “Love Has No Labels” speech, and the Rock’s limitless likability.  It was pitched to Cracked like so:


Cracked: ‘Frozen’ Fan Theory: Hans Is a Pawn

I had never heard of Frozen  the night I went to see it, appropriately, in a blizzard. I just wanted to try a new ramen restaurant with my lady, and we didn’t want the evening to end. So: tip — you can give Jin Ramen in Harlem a miss; it’s pedestrian. Go to Ippudo or Totto instead. If you’re that far uptown, hit up Tampopo. But as long as you’re in the neighborhood, do visit the AMC Magic Johnson Theater, which is everything a neighborhood movie theater should be.

Anyway, I enjoyed the movie very much; it’s a funny film that overturns tropes like Prince Charming, Love at First Sight, and the Wicked Queen. It ended the only way it really ought to have.

Two things stuck weird with me, though: first, it feels way more like a Broadway musical than a Disney musical. Second, Hans’s reversal comes out of nowhere. It’s kind of a neat trick, and I don’t think it requires foreshadowing, but it’s so contrary to everything he does, that it klunked with me. It’s one thing to play wholesome while crawling towards your sinister goals. It’s another to thwart those goals throughout your journey. Hans is sending mutton stew back to the kitchen and protesting “No thank you, I don’t eat that because as you can plainly see by my clothing, I am a sheep.”

Anyway, that was about that till my buddy Steve told me he had pitched a fan theory to Cracked that Hans was never the true culprit of Frozen. It having recently been approved, he invited to write it with him. I heartily accepted, as that point had stuck out at me so sorely. Also, I don’t think we as a popular culture are talking enough about the fact that Elsa has the power to create sentient life. That’s a really disturbing power for a hero to have.

I gleefully accepted, but didn’t have much to add to his very well-structured points. I noticed a few details, added some one-liners, cut and condensed, and a few rounds of collaboration and a week later we had a complete story. This was a fun one.

This way down the rabbit hole.