freelance


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.

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’s art so I can tell if it’s any good. I went deep and couldn’t look at it clearly when it was done, but I think it pleases.

**unless you’re Bill Murray, but that guy touches people without their consent.


NATIONAL LAMPOON: An Oral History of Space Jam

It’s the 20th anniversary of cinema’s greatest work about Looney Tunes vs. space monsters starring Michael Jordan, a hot mess that should by no means work, considering it’s the same era that gave us Extreme Toonz. But did! To that end, here’s my PA’s-eye-view of how the film got made over at National Lampoon.

Also, the Merrie Melodies era was superior. You know it, I know it.


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.


New Thrillist Piece: The Best Free* Viewing on Amazon Prime

Hey, look! New article by me at Thrillist: The Best Shows & Movies to Stream on Amazon Prime, in which I run down the broadcasts most worthy of your time, both native and immigrant to the streaming service. Is Veronica Mars on there? You’d better believe Veronica Mars is on there. And also some neat stuff you’ve probably never heard of.

Moment of honesty: I don’t have Amazon Prime, so I had to go by critical reviews on a lot of their original programming. But now I really, really want to see Mad Dogs.

 

*Assuming you paid for Amazon Prime

**Why’s that article say I do? I dunno! Why does the BBQ book solicit copy say I’ve “long been a darling of the NY BBQ scene” before such a thing even existed and has ever done so without me? Life is strange.