Saturday, August 23, 2014

Fictional Girls - Integr8d Soul (with demo)


“Fictional Girls” Lyrics by Lue Lyron and the Marc Kane Music by Lyron I know a girl named Tiffany Thomas she left me a note and made me a promise to be a pen pal while she's far away Got her postcard in my mail box today She made it herself-- red shirt Star Trek dudes it's Captain Picard –is that Dr. Who? -from cardboard and thread, with googly eyes. Now how could I thank her? She loves a surprise...

I love every crazy thing that she does I'm writing this song just becuz....
Fictional girls make the very best girl
friends Marcileen, Sailor Moon, & Leia in one You don't have to own her, and you'll never know her Drawn into her pictures, we have lots of fun 2.She makes her name she makes silly faces she makes up her self and then switches places Tattoo 91, she colors her hair She cartoons a creature-is she really there? She finds her cute glasses, her hair is bright blue I'll make her a postcard when I have me some glue
I love all those crazy things that she does I'm writing this song just becuz....
Fictional girls make the very best girl friends Marcileen, Sailor Moon, & Leia in one You don't have to own her, and you'll never know her Drawn into her pictures, we have lots of fun! We have lots of fun, we have lots of fun (outro)

Friday, August 8, 2014

Water spirals: a cool video


Today we're going to go back to the function of this column as it was for a while in 2012: to show something cool from the realm of science.
Now what they're saying is that, were you present, the phenomenon wouldn't be apparent...only when you play it back. It's compared to watching wheels seem to spin backwards as you watch them rotate forward. That's because your eyes process information at about 30 frames per second, and you're watching something faster. The shadows I'm seeing suggest you'd detect it, yet the effect seems to require a camera filming at 24 frames per second, slower than the eyes process sight. If it's just a physical oscillation, a mechanical motion causing the effect, we agreed here at Integr8d Soul that it's so uniform that, from our experience, that just doesn't happen. But then, sound is a mechanical effect. We're seeing a change of amplitude rather than frequency. The debate about whether electromagneticism is responsible for the oscillation is beyond my training. Any thoughts? One commenter laughs because sound is about pressure changes...purely mechanical, and nothing to do with electomagneticism. Meanwhile, it's simple and beautiful, and it gets you to think about principles of sound, fluids, optical illusions...the kinds of simple experiments that remind you science, and home experiments, are just plain cool.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Kirby Krackle!


I just found these cats via "Ring Capacity" on another blog when you type in "Superhero-themed songs." I have a show July 25th so I checked around for some...er...nerd rock. It's Killer Comics, with an emphasis on visual artists, but we happen to be musicians, too, as Integr8d Soul. Along with some Labyrinth songs, "Ballad of Barry Allen," "Spider-Man" ala the Ramones, "Evangeline" by Matthew Sweet, some Crow soundtrack, some originals, I thought we'd play some comic book/ game-flavored tunes (like "Greatest American Hero"!). If you enjoy that sort of thing...check out Kirby Krackle! They just might be at a convention near you. The rock is occasionally so cool on its own that tunes like "Rainbow Bridge" require no knowledge of Thor to just savor the guitar solos or imagery. My friend Autumn particularly loves this Mario Bros. inspired song above, with quirky lyrics bringing a particular love-lorn attitude to the game's recurrent challenge. It's nicely sung; I rather imagine her hubbie, my pal Michael, could nail this melody :-D The ukelele in this case really preserves the light-heartedness of its source, too. If you're a really hardcore comics fan...and many who've frequented this blog over the past five years would qualify!---"Great Lakes Avengers" is one hilarious pay-off. Just check it out, and laugh! But make no mistake: they put some real feeling into these songs, too...you can fight alongside your imaginary hero, feel their sense of loss, or explore the wonder and urgency of their worlds. They have a new single out, "Yellow Kingdom." Tell'em Our Ba-Doom Guy sent ya!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Elfquest


I'm a late-comer to the Pini's fantasy party, but it's my duty as an old-school comics fan to talk to you about Elfquest. I plan to tell you in the next installment about Wendy's Red Sonja show with Frank Thorne, and the original thirty issue run produced by Wendy with her husband Richard. Their independent comic was a tabloid-size magazine in its original guise. Their success at self-distribution (through Bud Plant Comics in New Jersey) was funded by a ten thousand dollar loan from Richard's parents.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Fantastic Origin of Doom : Fantastic Four Annual #2, and comics that make you want to make comics!

There's an over-the-top quality, mixed in with relatable moments of human behavior, that makes the hey day of Jack Kirby and Stan Lee's work on Fantastic Four such a delight to read. In fact, a friend hired me to create a comic that relies on those two qualities to make it good. The "rules" of those primary-colored Marvel stories, in the early years of the company as we know it since Fantastic Four #1 and the introduction of the present universe of well-known characters, catch on to the carefree intentions that bond the craft work. Taking itself less-than-seriously while portraying straight-ahead drama, Marvel of 1964 and 1965 has character-driven stories and captivating, simple artwork, planned with an effective, tried-and-true sense of "camera angles" that not only defines much of what originally hooked comics fans (with DC, Archie, and numerous other publishers filling in other flavors of mayhem and joy).

 For my purposes, my friend Mike Parsley's generous loan of Fantastic Four Masterworks, Vol. 4, as well as Avengers Assemble by Busiek/ Perez (1999) came at a fortuitous point, the day I was hired to make my new comic. Why? Because there's so much about the art of making fun superhero genre comics to be learned by entertaining the bright young kid in each of us with work that, for such a disposable medium, stands the test of time! Funny Things About old Marvel Comics For one, it's a jovial exercise to envision finding these comic books as they came out, brand new, either introducing you to the world of comic books, or providing your highly-anticipated next fix of adolescent bliss. The way you used to just find comic books sitting out in convenient stores, drug store spinner racks, hospitals, grocery stores---every day life, then BAM! Comic Books!? That's one additional layer to the experience. Part of a flawed system that left you without issues, that brought you mangled copies? Sure! But what a massive boredom breaker to you as a kid...and when you know where to find them, this holy sense of mission sets in privately each time you begin your trip to the place with the latest comic books...

heh...not Lee's original dialogue, but... This volume includes the terrific story where the quartet visits Reed and Ben's old alma mater, the story of Sue and Johnny Storm's father (don't forget, they're siblings!), the introduction of Medusa, who we don't realize heralds an entire hidden race, and, for the action fan who craved everything: a powerless Fantastic Four, struggling to re-take their headquarters, the Baxter Building, from their murderous arch enemy...whose origin begins this book! 

I'm going to say more about pin-ups at the end. They're a tradition---a single page pose of a character, graced with either a few words describing them in relationship to the heroes (in the case of the villains) or personal autographs to the fans (the heroes and friends, of course! Though whoever did the first villain-autographed pin-up surely had a good laugh...). For logistical reasons --filling up pages in my new completed comic book, anticipating that the story was still of indeterminate length and needs to end a page count that is in interval of four-- this nostalgic touch was a great way to personalize the characters in our content. Pin-ups often filled out a format of comic books known as the king-sized or double-sized annual.

The annuals themselves also deserve mention. In the days before back issues were readily found, the reprints included in those annuals were a big help to new fans who had missed out-of-print stories, such as, in the case of FF Annual #2, the first appearance of Doctor Doom in issue five, two years before. Comics went out of print as soon as their production run for the month was complete, so finding the older stories was a chore dependent upon luck, sometimes more so if you lived in rural areas. Comic book shops were still basically a generation away when this annual hit the stands in 1964. I still find the Thing laugh-out-loud funny!  

His reactions when the Fantasticar stalls and lands in traffic crack me up. Our hero's frustrated, bewildered, embarrassed...and finally surprised by a crazy offer from a guy who turns out to be an art dealer! Who would've guessed a car personally demolished by the Thing qualified as a "Clobbering Masterpiece"? Goes to show, commercial art relies on marketing. I opened my heart to the giddy intensity of these tales, and in that spirit, experienced so much Benjamin J. Grimm hilarity that I wanted to drag in anyone nearby to appreciate the sarcasm and brilliant parody housed in the speech balloons of this sometimes tortured, self-effacing man-monster. The absurd elements that either infuse the imagination or lose the reader really work in service to the characters.

If they are not as psychologically dark as some modern creations, they nonetheless, in their best representatives, have three-dimensional qualities. The inner and outer conflicts, sometimes between friends and family, kept a balance with the occasional silliness that I believe keeps a story from being just dopey. an extra from FF Annual #1

The uncertainty and self-sacrifice of each of the heroes endears me. Johnny Storm, a.k.a. the Human Torch, sometimes has as much trouble fitting in as his counterpart Spider-Man, a.k.a. Peter Parker, or his best friend, the Thing. As the youngest, he sometimes doesn't feel taken seriously, and sometimes, he doesn't behave with wisdom beyond his years. But how perfect! Reed and Sue have their share of doubts about not only the missions, but their relationship, which we see grow over the course of the stories (#31-40) in this Masterwork. In fact, it's a crucial time for them. They could still end up in someone else's arms, a fear brought straight to the fore by Victor Von Doom's plan. In fact, why don't we discuss Doctor Doom, here, starting with the first story to portray him as the protagonist, as he had been,in days when he still could have played the hero? Ah, but dark forebodings, family secrets and anger at an world of injustices already had their say...< text-align: center>

The Gypsy Rebel In the origin of Doctor Doom, as presented in Annual #2, there's something of the traditional European folk tale. Merciless tyranny, from ill-tempered lords and barons, provides most of the true villainy of the story, with Victor Von Doom, described as the son of a "kind, gentle folk hero father and an enchanted, mysterious mother," playing the hero, which in his own mind, he remains. His view of the world---about the abuse of power against the weak, the need to be dominant or be destroyed, his own wounds from his losses, inflicted upon his family---necessitates the type of pro-active, Machiavellian means that justify his ruthlessness. He's a type of Byronic hero.
Judge for yourself; his evening begins with his one most trusted servant coming to rouse Doom from his brooding. "You are right Boris," Doom says, as the storm roils outside. "It is on such a night that SHE would want me to visit her!" This hints at the sinister nature of contacting his lost mother. The absence of her throws him into the protection of his loving father, the last person on Earth young Victor will feel he really needs. A baron summons the elder Doom to cure his wife, but there's no real \hope. The punishment, the denial, falls upon Doom's father's shoulders; knowing this, he flees into the wintery night. They lose their horse and nearly freeze to death; here Kirby's body language comes through, in these huddled peasants. Young Victor wants to fight back. The lesson impressed upon him by his father's demise? Kindness, healing, retreat---these characteristics are weakness. The baron who drove his father to his death has impressed a deadly and despairing lesson upon the young gypsy.


Credit to Stan Lee, too, is due: Doom's father begs of the gypsies to keep someone safe...Victor cries out no one will have to keep him safe, but Boris knows it's the world that must be kept safe, from the rage and genius of Victor Von Doom. It's not apparent how his discover of his mother's sorcerous materials also leads to his robotics genius, but as he grows to maturity, Victor becomes a Robin Hood-type folk hero, tricking the vain, landed gentry with items like a fiddle that plays itself (until he leaves), a golden statues that turns later into mud. He enrages and baffles the lords, while giving away his gains to the poor. He's formidable, but his foes are commanded by brutal people. You can find yourself rooting for this guy! Alas, the American who brings him a scholarship one day also opens the door to Victor's fatal flaw. Possessed of an imperious and aloof nature, the handsome young gypsy "with the features of a demi-god" spurns the friendly overtures of Reed Richards, who finds him in a laboratory and wants to share a common love of scientific experimentation, if not maybe be roommates. (I wonder how his dad ended up with a last name like "Von Doom" but...) It's a terrible mistake Doom makes that alienates him more profoundly...and motivates his hatred for Reed, setting up the main story (which follows the twelve-page Doom origin) in this annual. One thing that makes Doom stand out: he actually becomes the legitimate political power in his country, but as for what lessons he learned about power? It's a question of whether or not the people really feel he's made them prosperous, or the harrowing lengths of propaganda demanded by Doom, who considers himself protector and master. What better way to defend his Balkan nation...than to rule the world? "Final Battle" is a terrific story with loads of wacky humor, spaced with dramatic beats that dominate its quick pace. Doom's plan for turning the Four against one another will get a brilliant twist in the end by Reed. An invitation to a gala at the Latverian embassy proffers the question: just who IS the ruler of Latveria? The outrageous and melodramatic elements actually serve to give the ending resonance. Only Doom's outer space rescue by Rama-Tut at the beginning feels rushed, untapped. It's a good idea initially, tying up Doom's apparent demise in his last appearance.


At least Lee reminds us of the paradoxical mystery he raised about the existence of Rama-Tut and Doom in #19: are they related? The only thing that doesn't wash is the idea of Rama being Doom, a question Doom poses. Lee only wanted to reference the theory. He gives them an excuse not to tackle the FF together, leaving this Doom's show, as Lee/ Kirby intended.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Sheesh!

I'm on a moving/ seeing family & friends hiatus. OH, and I've been hired to start a comic book for someone! I've got to edit these contents into a GREAT Bronze Age celebration book. But when I come back: let's talk about Lee/Kirby FF, okay? Have a great summer. C Lue