Sunday, December 23, 2007

From Me to You

Good friend and hilarious curmudgeon, Tim McIntire, sent me a link to this little slice of genius.

And because I am good and just (and because 'tis the season), I now share it with you:

Merry Christmas. You are welcome.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Don't wave the flag at Ma Fury's favorite son

Nick Fury beat up Nazis in WWII. He kept America safe during the Cold War. And as the head of SHIELD*, Nick Fury ensured that the world's largest super secret spy organization maintained its conscience while saving the world from mankind's evil.

If one panel could sum up the nobility, depth, and philosophical complexity of the former Howling Commando, it would have to be the third panel below.

In one single panel, Nick Fury simultaneously reminds us that:

a) upholding the U.S. Constitution means protecting the rights of EVERY American citizen


b) he can kick your ass.

I was going to say that the Marvel Universe really needs to have the REAL Nick Fury back, but I think OUR real world could probably use him more.

Supreme Headquarters, International Espionage, Law-Enforcement Division, which later became Strategic Hazard Intervention, Espionage and Logistics Directorate.

- Biographical Benari!

Words and pictures courtesy of John Byrne, from the The Sensational She-Hulk Graphic Novel.

Hey! Stand-Up Comedy!

Hiya, faithful reader!

If you missed me a few weeks ago at the Comedy Studio (ahem), now you can see me online through the magic of the internet! It's just like being there!

Look! It's me! Performing stand-up comedy!

My thanks to Rick Jenkins and the Comedy Studio for a fun weekend!

Monday, December 17, 2007

playing catch-up

Thursday, I spent the late morning and early afternoon walking the picket lines, in solidarity with the striking WGA writers.

Sure, the big corporations broke out their weather machines to shower hail, sleet, and snow down upon us, but we persevered.

Thursday was also a special "future members" day, where students and potential professional writers were invited to join the picket lines. And as a recently graduated student and hopeful future potential professional writer...well, I couldn't let a few snowflakes and bitter winds stop me.

For the latest info on the writers' strike, check out:

Nikki Finke

WGA East


United Hollywood


In other news:

Chris Dodd shows some backbone!

You're a good man, Chris Dodd.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

"Killed him a bear..."

I honestly, truly do not know how I feel about this story:

5-year-old descendant of Davy Crockett kills bear
Tre Merrit bags 445-pound black bear while hunting with grandfather

DEWITT, Ark. — A 5-year-old Arkansas County boy killed a black bear Sunday weighing more than 400 pounds.

Tre Merritt, a descendant of Davy Crockett, was hunting with his grandfather Mike Merritt when a black bear happened upon their stand.

"His 10th great-grandfather was Davy Crockett," Mike Merritt said. "And Davy supposedly killed him a bear when he was three. And Tre is five and really killed a bear. I really doubt if Davy killed one when he was three."

Mike Merritt was in the stand at the time but said Tre did it all by himself.

"He came in about 40 to 50 yards," Mike Merritt said of the black bear, "and when he got in the open, I whistled at him and he stopped and I said, 'Shoot Tre.'"

Tre confirmed his grandfather's account.

"I was up in the stand and I seen the bear," Tre Merritt said. "It came from the thicket and it was beside the road and I shot it."

At first, Mike Merritt didn't think Tre had hit the bear with his youth rifle.

"I said, 'Tre, you missed the bear,' " Mike Merritt said. "He said, 'Paw-paw I squeezed the trigger and I didn't close my eyes. I killed him."'

The bear turned out to be 445 pounds — 12 times the weight of Tre. Mike Merritt said tears rolled down his cheeks when he found out his grandson killed the enormous bear.

Tre Merritt's father said he began teaching his son to shoot when he was just 2 ½ years old, and said Tre killed three deer last year.

The family plans to get a life-sized mount of the bear, but where they will put has yet to be determined.

I mean, good for the little tyke, right? He's five and he's already killed more bears than me. But...

Really? The kid's grandfather was crying when he found out the kid's a natural born killer? And the dad's been teaching the kid to hunt since he was 2? I...Really? It's okay to give kid's hunting rifles when they're 2?! I have a nephew who will turn 2 in January. I get nervous when he picks up a bouncy ball.

Of course, this Arkansas kid IS a descendant of Davy Crockett...
and as far as bear killin' goes, then this kid is clearly slacking. I'm sure ol' Davy's looking down, smirking:

"Killed yerself a bear when you was five? By the time I was five, I was killin' bears, fightin' Injins, and makin' babies. Sometimes all at the same time."

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Friday, December 07, 2007

Friday Night Fights - INFAMY

To honor today, Pearl Harbor Day, a day that shall live in infamy, here's Captain Marvel, Jr. smacking a Nazi.

Because sometimes, you just need to smack a Nazi.

found via

Technically, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, but the comic books of the 1940s weren't all that ... um, kind in depicting Japanese.

Case in point.

You can't sneak up on Bahlactus.

On Rudolph

I love this time of year. I love the holiday cheer, the good will towards men, peace on earth, everything.

I especially love Christmas specials. Like Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

Watching it recently, however, I noticed a disturbing fact. None of the other reindeer - you know, the ones who made fun of Rudolph, the ones who wouldn't let him play in their reindeer games - none of the other reindeer learned any lesson at all!

Rudolph learns that he's special and should be proud of his unique gift of a glowing nose. But Rudolph saves Christmas. If he hadn't saved Christmas, they'd still be making fun of him.

Santa hauls his fat sack* over to Rudolph, begging Rudolph to guide his sleigh through the treacherous snowstorm. Suddenly, everyone loves Rudolph. Now y'all need Rudolph. Now, Rudolph is great. Where was Santa when those punk reindeer were picking on poor Rudolph? Jiggling like a bowl of jelly somewhere.

Rudolph saves Christmas and then all the reindeer love him. Because he proved his worth. I call shenanigans! Why does Rudolph have to prove anything? He didn't pick on anyone, THEY did. Rudolph doesn't need their love and respect. They're still douche bags. They should have been nice to him BEFORE he saved all their hides. They'll probably just pick on some other "freaky" looking reindeer and mock him, now.

That special should end with the reindeer cheering Rudolph and Rudolph telling them to shove it.

"Too late, reindeer. Too late."

And then he flies off with his hot reindeer girlfriend and he lives happily ever after.

And when a snowstorm cancels the next Christmas, the other reindeer will realize they screwed up. Big time.

"We should have been nicer to Rudolph, man," they'll think to themselves.

And Santa will whip 'em good for making a mess of everything.

"Look what you did, you intolerant beasts! You drove away the only reindeer who could get us through the storm! YOU'VE RUINED CHRISTMAS!" WHAP!

That'll learn 'em. That'll learn 'em, good.

This is probably why I'll never write a Christmas Special.

*of toys. His sack of TOYS. Ya crazies.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Ha Ha Hannukah

On the second night of Hannukah, my true love gave to me...

The 2nd Annual Ha-Ha Hannukah Comedy Night.

Performers of all persuasions share the stage
for a trans-denominational night of comedy,
mixing religion & politics in the seasonal spirit,
to celebrate Hannukah -- and all those other holidays.

Wed, Dec 5th - 9:30pm
The Tank @ C:U - 279 Church St
Admission - $5; Tank Members - Free

Co-presented by Laughing Liberally.

Lee Camp
Costaki Economopoulos
Negin Farsad
Benari Poulten
Harry Terjanian
Elon James White
Hosted by Katie Halper

we now return...

I've been in cyber-stealth mode for the last week or so...

If you missed me at the Comedy Studio last weekend, there will be video. Very soon.

Also, snow is pretty, but it sucks when you have to shovel it.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

work in progress

As a Boston fan, I'm psyched that the Yankees have gotten rid of Joe Torre and kept A-Rod. The Yankees are a disaster right now and the Steinbrenner solution seems to be to pile ludicrous amounts of money on the problem. And then it dawned on me: The Steinbrenners are treating the Yankees the way this Administration treats Iraq.

They keep throwing money at it but it just doesn't seem to get better. I'm sure it has nothing to do with forcing a bunch of people who hate each other to try to work as a team. And every so often, they fire the one person who knows what they're doing.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Operation Final Draft: the WGA strikes back!

I'm part of a weekly comedy show called Shoot the Messenger, which is the brainchild of Lizz Winstead.

You may have heard of Lizz; she co-created The Daily Show.

Don't mean to brag (about someone else's accomplishments). Anyway.

We're all supporters of the writers in this ongoing strike and since Wake Up World, the show-within-the-show, is a fictional, insipid morning show on a fictional right-wing "news" network, we figured the network would probably cover the strike the way networks cover the war.

So, we put together this little bit of satire - WGA EAST approved! If you like it, please feel free to pass it around it to your friends. This was put together by myself, Lizz, and Lucas Held (who plays the dink embedded with the studios); you may also notice friend and hilarious comedian, Mr. Baron Vaughn, as Davis Miles.

The video was shot and edited by the very talented Jonathan Light.

I would like to add that I made the little map and graphics for the disputed territories.

To find out what you can do to support the writers, check out:

The WGA East website


United Hollywood.

And if you're in NYC on a Monday night at 8, head on down to SoHo and check out Shoot the Messenger.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Friday Night Fights - "G'night, Fabula"

Casanova Quinn is his own evil twin, dig?

Y'all ARE reading Casanova, right? RIGHT?

Of course you are.

Bahlactus feels your pain...he just doesn't care.

black friday

It distresses me a little to think that there are people out there - AMERICAN people - who have been up since 4 AM today, shopping. Shopping.


Good Lord, people. SLEEP IN!

In my humble opinion, no amount of savings on Choliday shopping is worth getting up at 4 in the morning.

In fact, unless you are forced out of your bed by hordes of Vandals, violent pogroms, or some equally horrific event*, there is no reasonable reason I can think of for someone to be up and about at four in the frakkin' morning. Especially the day after a major holiday. The Friday after Thanksgiving should be a mandatory "Sleep until Noon" day.

*Yes. Being up at 4 in the morning was/is/probably always will be a regular part of Army life. But if you find yourself in the Army, clearly things have already gone horrifically wrong in your life already.**

**I'm kidding.***

***not really.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

gobble gobble hey

Look, I know posting has been spotty. I know. I get it.

But it's the holiday season.

And by season, I mean the stretch of time between the 4th of July and New Year's Day.

So, let me just remind anyone in the NYC area that I'm hosting a fun show tonight at the Tank. It's called Instant Classic and you should go because it is funny.

It will also help you get through another awkward Turkey Day with your family.


The Tank @ C:U
279 Church St.
between Franklin & White
Tribeca, NYC


Friday, November 16, 2007

Friday Night Fights - Equal Time

What happens when Lex Luthor and Doctor Octopus team-up, dupe the Man of Steel and the Webslinger into fighting, and zap Spider-Man with a power-enhancing raygun?


Perhaps the single greatest sucka-punch in the history of comic books.

Superman, rebuttal?

Ouch. That's gonna leave a mark.

Bahlactus don't take no guff from no one.

Some comedy shows...

Tomorrow night, I'll be in Pittsfield with some other dirty liberals, making people laugh. And think. About things that make them laugh. Politically.

Next Wednesday, I'll be celebrating the Night-Before-Thanksgiving in style at the Tank at our special Turkey Day Instant Classic Extravaganza. More on that soon.

And if you're in the Boston area, I'll be doing three shows at the Comedy Studio: Nov. 30th, Dec. 1st, and Dec. 2nd! I need to tape a solid ten-minute set and the Comedy Studio is my home away from home. So, if you'd like to see me make with the funny AND you live in the Boston area (Ahem. Kevin), that's where you'll find me. Tell some friends.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Dude. Cosmic Rays.

Wait, so Cosmic Rays are real?

Black holes are the most likely source of the mysterious ultra high-energy cosmic rays that bombard the planet, scientists have discovered.

Observations at the world's largest cosmic ray detector suggest the particles are emitted by huge black holes in the middle of nearby galaxies.

The findings, unveiled in Science, may solve a long-running puzzle.

And we have a world's largest cosmic ray detector?!

Cosmic rays are fast moving subatomic particles and nuclei originating from space that crash into the atmosphere.

It reminds me of the many conversations I've had with Ross, wherein he has long maintained that explaining how the Fantastic Four got their powers is annoying:

SOME GUY: Why can that guy stretch?

FANBOY: Cosmic rays.

SOME GUY: So why is that guy on fire?

FANBOY: Cosmic rays.

SOME GUY: And the invisible chick?

FANBOY: Cosmic rays.

SOME GUY: Of course. And somehow one of them becomes a rocky monster? HOW?

FANBOY: Dude. Cosmic rays.

But now, science has vindicated geekdom once more. Turns out, Stan and Jack weren't kidding around.

The magnetic fields around the black holes may speed up the cosmic rays, which would help explain their super energies.

See? SUPER energies. SUPER heroes. It all makes perfect sense now. Thanks, Science!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Veterans' Day

To all those who have served and continue to serve:


Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Naked and the Dead

Norman Mailer. 1923-2007.

"There are two kinds of brave men: those who are
brave by the grace of nature, and those who are
brave by an act of will."

Friday, November 09, 2007

Thursday, November 08, 2007

"It's that bad out there?"

"It's worse

Yeah, I just quoted The Toy. But that's what happens when writers go on strike.

Also, this happens:

YouTube explains the WGA strike

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


If you are in or near the NYC area tonight, swing on by The Tank in Tribeca for some comedy.

That is all.

The Tank @ C:U
279 Church St.
(between Franklin & White)
New York, NY

Friday, November 02, 2007

Friday Night Fights - Spidey Strikes!

"I'll take this one to go."

Spidey sure knows how to lay the smackdown.
Courtesy if some vintage JR, Jr.

aaaaaaaand it's official.


Television and movie screen writers said Thursday they would go on strike for the first time in nearly 20 years in a dispute over royalties.

The major sticking point is DVD royalties and potential royalties for new media.

Studios, represented by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, are dead set against increasing DVD royalties.

Writers and actors have been fighting for years to reverse what they see as a huge mistake made at the dawn of home video, when no one was sure if selling movies on VHS cassettes would ever make money.

The unions agreed to ignore the first 80 percent of revenue from the tapes and later DVDs, assuming most of the money represented the cost of manufacturing and distribution.

Writers settled for just 1.2 percent of the remaining 20 percent, a figure that amounts to about 3 cents on a DVD that retails for $20.

Writers are now asking for their share to be calculated on 40 percent of revenue and argue the same formula should be used for digital distribution because studios have almost no costs associated with that technology.

Consumers are expected to spend $16.4 billion on DVDs this year, according to Adams Media Research.

By contrast, studios could generate about $158 million from selling movies online and about $194 million from selling TV shows over the Web.

I find it very difficult to see the studios' side in this thing, other than, they want to keep as much money for themselves as possible.

Four writers told The Associated Press that Writers Guild of America President Patric Verrone made the announcement in a closed-door session, drawing loud cheers from the crowd.

"There was a unified feeling in the room. I don't think anyone wants the strike, but people are behind the negotiation committee," said Dave Garrett, screen writer for the movie "Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo."

Really? Writers couldn't find a better representative to talk to the press than the guy who wrote the sequel to Deuce Bigalow?

Ah, well. Solidarity.

And unemployment...

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Heroic stance?

NBC's scheduled mini-series/spin-off, Heroes: Origins, has been shelved. For now.

Intended to fill the six weeks of Heroes' mid-season break, Heroes: Origins could easily be pushed through production immediately in order to fill that time and extend the drama's brand name during the expected writers' strike.

But it is not.

I hope it's because the creators are standing with the writers and are using this as a way to put some more pressure on network execs.

Since Heroes has become a flagship show on the peacock network, I'm encouraged that it won't be jamming a new spin-off, mini-series into the schedule just to ensure new Heroes-related programming hits the airwaves during a writers' strike. As is almost always the case, it's up to the big guns to make a difference if writers are to come out on top and get a better deal for the future.

I hope other major hit shows follow this lead.

Kudos to the creators over at Heroes for taking an early stand.


More thoughts on this later. For now, here's where things stand.

From the AP:

LOS ANGELES - Hollywood writers and producers broke off contract talks Wednesday night without a new deal, allowing the Writers Guild of America’s current pact to expire at midnight.

It wasn’t immediately known whether the writers will walk off the job. A call to a union spokesman was not immediately returned.

No new talks were scheduled for Thursday, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers said in a statement.

Both sides had resumed negotiations earlier in the day with the help of a federal mediator, and the writers submitted a revamped contract proposal with the hope of avoiding a strike.

Details of the proposal were not released, but it appears both sides couldn’t agree on whether to give writers more money from the sale of DVDs and the distribution of shows via the Internet, cell phones and other digital platforms.

Producers have said they wouldn’t agree to anything that would restrict their ability to experiment with new Internet and other digital delivery options for films and TV shows.

Calling it “the DVD issue,” AMPTP President Nick Counter said in a statement to the writers guild that it was blocking both sides from making further progress in their talks.

“We want to make a deal,” Counter said. “But, as I said, no further movement is possible to close the gap between us so long as your DVD proposal remains on the table.”

Members of the guild recently voted to authorize their first strike since 1988 if necessary. The union has set a meeting of its 12,000 members for Thursday night at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

Jonathan Handel, an entertainment lawyer at the Los Angeles law firm of TroyGould, said it was in the union’s interest to delay a walkout, perhaps by five days or more.

“The writers guild has two weapons: One is a strike, the other is the threat of a strike. It has no reason to toss that weapon away without using it for a bit,” said Handel, who served in the 1990s as an associate counsel for the guild.

Reality shows, news programs and reruns loom
A strike by writers would not immediately impact film or prime-time TV production. Most studios have stockpiled dozens of movie scripts, and TV shows have enough scripts or completed shows in hand to last until early next year.

After that, networks might turn to reality shows, news programs and reruns to fill the prime-time airwaves. Late-night shows wouldn’t fare as well, since they are more dependent on current events to fuel monologues and other entertainment.

“The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” and “The Colbert Report” will almost certainly be forced into reruns by a lack of fresh skits and monologues if writers walk off the job.

“If the strike happens, we are very likely looking at repeats for both shows,” said Tony Fox, a spokesman for Comedy Central, which airs the shows starring Stewart and Stephen Colbert that lampoon political doings of the day.

“The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” could follow.

NBC declined to comment on what would be in store for the show. But a person with the network, who was not authorized to comment and spoke on condition of anonymity, said “Tonight” and other NBC late-night shows likely would have to resort to repeats with no writing staff to generate new material.

(NBC is a joint venture between Microsoft and NBC Universal.)

CBS declined comment on the possible fate of “The Late Show with David Letterman.”

During the last strike in 1988, Letterman, then host of NBC’s “Late Night,” and longtime “Tonight Show” host Johnny Carson initially went off the air but later returned as the walkout dragged on for more than five months.

NBC also declined comment on how “Saturday Night Live” might be affected in the weeks ahead but indicated this weekend’s show would air as planned.

On the movie front, studios are said to have as many as 50 projects ready to go into production. Several major studio projects reportedly are camera-ready, with scripts that could be filmed without requiring a guild member on hand for rewrites.

Some sectors would benefit from a walkout. Network news divisions could become beehives in a protracted strike, with networks calling on news magazines such as “Dateline NBC” to fill in programming gaps.

Reality TV producers are finding an even warmer welcome at networks, while independent filmmakers foresee the possibility of new distribution doors opening.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

did anyone actually ever call them "nards?"

There are those in this world who know what I'm talking about when I say "Wolfman's got nards." And there are those who do not.

Welcome to obscurity, dear readers.

Thanks to the magic of the internet and YouTube, you can now relive the glory of the finest quote ever uttered in the unsung classic, The Monster Squad.


Happy Halloween, Pagans!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Keep playing MSTy

For anyone who loves (loved) MST3K:

The bots are back!

Sort of.

Here's the news from the Satellite of Love:

Beginning November 5th, BBI will be launching its very own website at The site will feature brand-new animated adventures of Crow, Tom Servo and Gypsy. We're told the goal is to have one new adventure each week (though "some settling may occur with shipping," they added). The Web site will also feature work from the original series (which BBI is now calling "the legacy series"), behind-the-scenes footage and other material culled from the BBI vault.


The new adventures of the 'bots are being produced by BBI President, MST3K series writer and the returning voice of Gypsy, Jim Mallon. He will be joined on this new experiment by veteran MST3K series writer and performer Paul Chaplin (who will be on the writing team and will be providing the voice of Crow) along with new writing and performing talent.

Between this, RiffTrax, Cartoon Dump, and the Film Crew stuff, it's a veritable cornucopia of campy commentary.

Monday, October 29, 2007


TWO World Series Championship Red Sox teams in four years?!

Plus the juggernaut that is the New England Patriots, with 3 Super Bowl titles and counting.

Boy, I'm really going to hate the next generation of Boston fans.

Damn, kids. *razzum frazzum* you don't know what it was like *grumble* curse *grumble* *grumble* Red Sox would NEVER win *razzum frazzum* Bears *grumble* *grumble* when I was young...

Friday, October 26, 2007

Friday Night Fights - "Don't bug the Absorbing Man!"

Funny. Hulk was just saying how Hulk just
wants to be left alone, too.

Dig that sweet Sal Buscema art. From The Incredible Hulk #261. A highlight of the Bill Mantlo/Sal Buscema run.

And dig this: Bahlactus will eat you up, son.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


The Red Sox are in the World Series! How will you be celebrating Game 1?

Well, tonight, we at Instant Classic will celebrate by putting on the shortest comedy show EVER with a spectacular line-up of comics and Red Sox related fun. While drinking heavily and watching most of Game 1 at the bar next door.

Party in style with us tonight. Especially if you like the Red Sox and great comedy.


Featuring Elon James White! Pat O'Shea! NYC's funniest reporter, Sean McCarthy! And more!

Hosted by Benari Poulten and James Patterson.

The Tank, downstairs
279 Church St.
$5 cover, lots of cheap booze.

(If you are a comic, tell 'im at the door and you can get in free)

And because we should never forget, this is the most dangerous man in baseball, Jonathan Papelbon:



Monday, October 22, 2007


So, I hear you don't have any writers for the Superman Returns sequel anymore.

And that Mark Millar has offered to write the movie for free.

Well, I'd be happy to write a kick-ass Superman movie for you. And I'll do it for free-er!

Have your people call my people.

Hm. It might be faster for you to call me directly. You know what? Just...just call me. Please.

I've got an MFA from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts in TV and Screenwriting. Will that help? Look, I can explain everything over the phone. Call me.




...and the Red Sox are going to the World Series. Again!!

Well done, boys.

Friday, October 19, 2007


Long time listener, first time caller. But I have decided to finally throw down.

Flipping through back issues, I almost almost forgot about Walt Simonson's oft-overlooked and underrated run on Marvel's Star Wars series. There are some spectacular hidden gems in this run with pretty nifty space opera storylines from David Michelinie, Louise Jones (soon to be Simonson) and Walt Simonson. None of which are cannon, of course. But considering what Lucas has done to the franchise, these classic tales are a welcome relief for fans looking for alternative Star Wars fixes.

Simonson really honed his skills on this series, imbuing the then-young and mostly unexplored Star Wars galaxy with tremendous energy, excitement, and a healthy dose of that ol' Marvel magic. Ah, yes. These were comic books with passion and style and grace and...

Oh, yeah. Uncle Walt also jammed these issues chock full of great geek moments. Like Lobot laying the smackdown on Lando...

"Whachoo talkin' 'bout, Lando?"

And that's just the cover.

Everything you need to know about the shocking showdown can be found here.

Everything you need to know about the Friday Night Fights, you can learn from Bahlactus.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

end of an era

Joey Bishop, the last survivor of the Rat Pack, has died.

The Rat Pack once was the coolest group of entertainers on the planet — Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Peter Lawford, Sammy Davis Jr. Oh, yeah, and a stone-faced comedian named Joey Bishop.

Although not as widely appreciated, it was Bishop with his deadpan delivery, dead-on timing and bottomless pit of jokes, who was "the hub of the big wheel," according to Rat Pack leader Sinatra himself.

Bishop, who also starred on two TV shows throughout most of the 1960s, died Wednesday at age 89. He turned out to be the Rat Pack's last man standing, having outlived Sinatra, Martin, Davis and Lawford.

As a comic, I always found Joey Bishop to be somewhat of an unsung hero in the group.

So long, Joey.

This is viral

I like the one that says "This is Contraaa"...

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

you say Sha-pie-ro

After Youk bobbled and dropped that foul ball last night and Wakefield spazzed and batted down an easy double play ball which led to a 7-run lead in the 5th inning last night, I don't have much to say about the Red Sox-Indians series right now.


There's been a lot of talk about the great work of the Indians General Manager, Mark Shapiro.

Yet when they talk about him, they pronounce his name Sha-PIE-ro. Apparently, his name is Sha-PIE-ro.

This is Mark Shapiro:

Um, Mark? Your name is Shapiro. SHA-PEER-O.

I know it, you know it, our Rabbi knows it.

See you in schul on Saturday.


Fanboys might be up in arms because of the over-abundance of fan-fiction going on over at Marvel, with the possibility of an all-new RED HULK debuting next year. But, eh. Why work up the energy over it?

Oooh. Wow.

I'm sure this is in no way a marketing stunt to stoke the fanboy fires, get the internet abuzz, and fuel interest in the usually jade-giant, stirring up "controversy" so they can hype a monumental return to the status quo when they bring back ol' Green Genes to great fanfare just in time for the big blockbuster movie coming out...

...just like they didn't do the same thing with Spider-Man prior to Spider-Man 3.

It's a business. Whatever. Here's where I take great issue with Marvel. Or, more specifically, whomever is writing Marvel's solicitations.

Written by JEPH LOEB
Pencils & Cover by ED MCGUINNESS
Variant Cover by OLIVIER COIPEL
Superstars JEPH LOEB and ED MCGUINNESS will change the way you see THE HULK! In this startling origin epic, the breathtaking events that ended World War Hulk rocket into this brand-new Hulk title. When one of The Hulk’s oldest cast members is murdered, everyone turns to the team of IRON MAN, SHE-HULK and LEONARD SAMSON to solve the grizzly case. All the evidence points to the Hulk as the killer—but {CLASSIFIED}! Join us for a brand–new story and a brand-new team who loves the Hulk as much as you do!

See the problem? Let me emphasize the point:

When one of The Hulk’s oldest cast members is murdered, everyone turns to the team of IRON MAN, SHE-HULK and LEONARD SAMSON to solve the grizzly case.

Grizzly? Was one of "the Hulk's oldest cast members" mauled by a bear?! Will this issue feature a long-awaited knock-down, drag-out Hulk vs. Smokey brawl?



If kids still read comic books, something like this would make them stupid. Do you use editors anymore? The word is grisly. A grisly murder.

Just another reason why Marvel should hire me.

Unless, of course, the murderer turns out to be Ursa Major. In which case, I would stand corrected.

Friday, October 12, 2007

and the award goes to...

Ladies and Gentlemen -

Oscar winner, Emmy award winner, and now the winner of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize:

Al Gore.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Cate Blanchett dishes the dirt on the new Indy movie!!

Oh, Cate Blanchett. How I do love you.


MTV: I know you're dying to tell me the entire super-secret plot of "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull."

Blanchett: Oh, I am. Stop me. Please stop me!

MTV: Go ahead. Talk it out. I'm listening.

Blanchett: It's about this transvestite who finds himself in Victorian England. And he ends up killing himself.

MTV: That's kind of a downer.

Yeah. I'd probably still see that.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Why I love 30 Rock # 2,349

"She either has to lose 30 pounds or gain 60. Anything in between has no place on television."

Thursday, October 04, 2007

iPost shuffle

Haven't done one of these in a while, but I spent the day writing and re-writing...shamefully, a task I have seldom accomplished these days...and after sitting on my arse all day, felt I needed a little exercise and went for a healthy 2-3 mile run through Astoria, down to the park. Listening to my iPod pretty much throughout the day. I usually always listen to my iPod on shuffle (less thinking, more whatever else I'm dong) and with 4,000 plus songs rattling around inside its plastic guts, it's always fun to see what it randomly spits out.

So, masquerading as actual content, here are the last 10 songs that randomly played on my iPod.

She Said - Paperboys
The Paperboys are a Canadian folk rock band, blending a bunch of styles, most notably Celtic and bluegrass. This is probably my favorite song of theirs off their first album, Late As Usual. I first saw them live when they opened up for Moxy Fruvous, another Canadian band I used to follow in college. Ah, those innocent college days when I followed bands around with my sketch comedy troupe. Yes. That happened. And songs that randomly play on my iPod will always remind me of this.

Grace - Jeff Buckley
Devastatingly good. This entire album is amazing.

Velouria - Pixies
Nice. It's one of those songs that just reminds me of how simple and elegant and awesome this band is. Love 'em.

Got To Get You Off My Mind - Solomon Burke
Even I'm impressed that a) I have Solomon Burke on my iPod and b) my iPod somehow knows how much I like this song. Sometimes, my iPod scares me.

All You Need Is Love - The Beatles
It's true. Love is all you need.

Conquest - The White Stripes
When the White Stripes abruptly canceled their tour this year, rumors flew that it was because Meg felt insecure about her mediocre drumming. Her reps said it was because she had serious "anxiety." Then a sex tape made the virtual rounds on the ol' internet claiming that it featured one Meg White. Turns out, it was just some chubby chick with dark hair and big boobs. I don't know what's worse: canceling a tour because of anxiety or having people mistake you for a dark-haired chick with a potbelly in an amateur porn video.

I'm Walking - Fats Domino
My iPod's feeling eclectic today. Cool. Oh, I'm walkin', yes indeed and I'm talkin', 'bout you an me...

Across the Universe (Anthology 2 version)- The Beatles
Okay, it's not that eclectic. But I'm guessing I have like a thousand Beatles-related songs on the thing. Okay. Maybe it's me: the new Julie Taymor movie Across the Universe looks sleek and stylish but I can't help think it's just going end up being a modern day Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band...

I Call Your Name - The Beatles
I, uh, I love the Beatles. My iPod knows this.

Hey Hey What Can I Do - Led Zeppelin
Absolutely my favorite Zepplin tune. Yeah, they have more technically brilliant songs, more epic songs, more grandiose songs...but every time I hear the simple blues-y guitar strums of this oft-overlooked gem, I feel that little twinge of awesome that only great rock n' roll can give you.

Monday, October 01, 2007

I tell jokes. Sometimes.


My name's Benari. I'm a comic.

Why haven't I posted more videos of me doing comedy? Especially in this technological age of wizardry...?

Great question.

Mainly, I'm lazy. And I'm really not good at this whole "promoting myself" thing. And I don't tape a lot of my shows. And when I do, I don't do anything with the tapes except maybe eventually misplace them.

And then sob quietly for my lost youth.

So I'm trying to change that and I hope to be posting assorted clips from various shows on a fairly regular basis. And by "fairly regular basis," I mean I will post a video now. And then, eventually, maybe I will post another video again. Some day. Maybe.

The following bit was filmed in front of a live studio audience in August at The D-Lounge in New York City on the very awesome Sweet Paprika show.

For continuity geeks out there, I first posted about this very subject waaaaay back in February. And that, folks, is how a premise becomes a joke.

"Congratulations! You made it. You're a hack!"

"Oh, yeah!"

If you're still reading this AND you're in the NYC area this Friday, you should swing by the star-studded comedy bonanza that is Sweet Paprika, where I will be telling some more jokes. See how I promoted the show there? That's called...something something. Or something. Again, I'm not very good at this. But come to the show on Friday.

That is all.

fake plastic downloads

Thanks for the head's up, Kevin!

Radiohead's new album will be available in two formats:

a no-frills download that will cost you whatever you feel like paying for it


a super awesome deluxe discbox.

What makes the discbox super awesome deluxe?





So. I can take the chance and drop a good chunk of change on the IN RAINBOWS extra special box set, which ships in December but offers me the download in October...


I can just pay a few pennies to download the songs in October, give 'em a listen, and if I really dig the album, I can go ahead and order the mega box set.

Wow. That's faith in a product. And that's why we love Radiohead.

I'll be curious to see how this experiment plays out and if it has any long-term impact on how record labels do business in the future.

For now, here's where you can pre-order the album.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

capes vs. masks

Attention Marvel Comics. You should totally hire me to be a writer for you. Or, at least an editor, and we can go from there?


Simple. I know the difference between the Marvel Universe and the DC Universe.

Oh, everyone knows that, you might say. Well, everyone except many of the writers currently working at Marvel.

As the comic book fan base continues to simultaneously age and shrink, the contents have become increasingly self-referential and meta-textual. Often at the expense of its own internal logic. Which has become blatantly obvious in the recent pages of many of Marvel's once-magnificent mags.

Here's what I'm talking about:

It has long been established that in the Marvel universe, civilians / ordinary citizens often throw around slang words to describe costumed heroes and villains, most notably with the very derogatory term "Mutie," used to describe mutants. Now, "mutie" makes perfect sense as a Marvel Universe slang word, as mutants make up a large part of the populace. But if a DC character were to throw around such a word, it wouldn't really work, now would it?

Which is why I find it odd that "Capes" has become the new default slang word for costumed super heroes in the Marvel Universe. While "capes" would certainly seem to be a fitting descriptor for costumed adventurers over at the Distinguished Competition, very few Marvel characters actually wear capes. Most Marvel denizens wear masks. So, wouldn't the more appropriate slang word for costumed super-powered beings in the Marvel Universe be "masks?"

Or, if you wanted to be even more clever and stick with a term already established years ago by Kurt Busiek, you should call them Marvels. I mean, it is the Marvel Universe and all. Marvels. Almost makes too much sense.

That one's a freebie. My rates are very reasonable. Hire me.

I anxiously await your response.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Al Division East: OWNED!

Thank you, Baltimore Orioles!

(and thank you Boston Red Sox)

So that's what a berth looks like.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


Some things that made laugh in the Family Guy Star Wars spoof:

"Now go to file menu..."

"You don't believe in the Force, do you?"
"Oh, you mean that thing you just found out about three hours ago and now you want to be all judgey...?"

"Can't we board it up or something?!"

"...I just want a railing here..."

"p-choo! p-choo!"

The Robot Chicken conversation at the end. Nice one, Seth!


Speaking of Robot Chicken, one of my favorite


If you're in the NYC area tomorrow night, come check out my show at the Tank, INSTANT CLASSIC. It's cheap, it's fun, and you never know when my friends and family will throw me a surprise roast again that somehow manages to make it into the NY Post!



The Tank @ C:U * Downstairs * 279 Church Street * NYC

$5. No drink minimum. Lots of cheap beer.

Starring: Liam McEneaney! Kyria ABrahams! Max Silvestri! And Larry Murphy!

Hosted by Benari Poulten and James Patterson.

You should go. You'll like it.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Everybody wanna talk about Star Wars like they got somethin' to say...

While everyone has some kind of opinion about last night's season premiere of Family Guy and its official and fully authorized Star Wars parody, I would like to remind everyone that Muppet Babies did this first...and more than once...over 20 years ago.

First, in 1984, on the episode entitled Gonzo's Video Show.

And this was 1984, merely one year after Return of the Jedi hit theaters, when some of us who loved Star Wars AND watched cartoons were still actually children!

You remember Muppet Babies, right?

Here's the recap of what was (obviously) my favorite episode of the series :

Nanny has rented a video camcorder so she can study her tennis swing, but she has some time left before she has to return it to the store so she lets the muppet babies play with it for a while. The muppets argue about what kind of movie to make with the camcorder and eventually decide to re-enact "Star Wars" since there are enough parts in that movie so everyone can participate: Kermit is Kermit Skyhopper, Animal is Animal Vader, Piggy is Princess Piggy, Gonzo is Gon Zolo, Fozzie is Fozzwokka, Rowlf is Obi Rowlf Kenobi, Skeeter is Skeeter3PO, and Skooter is SkooterD2. When they are done filming they invite Nanny to the nursery to see the completed film. Everyone pulls up a pretend car and pretends that the nursery is a drive-in movie theatre. The film plays and everyone loves it! The muppets decide that they are going to go to Hollywood to pursue careers in showbiz, but Nanny reminds them that they are still way too young and that there is plenty of time for all of their dreams to come true!

A few years later, they revisited Star Wars in an episode where Rowlf has to take a bath and the Muppet Babies hop through various, sci-fi related parodies, from The Jetsons to Star Trek to, naturally, Star Wars.

Here are some YouTube clips:

So there ya go, kids. Family Guy: Boldly going where the Muppet Babies have gone before!

Thursday, September 20, 2007


If you are in New York and want to see a good, free comedy show tonight, swing on by Telephone Bar. 149 Second Ave. Between 9th and 10th. Let's say around 9ish.

I will be there, making with the joke-joke-ha-ha.

The Clubhouse @ The Telephone Bar

Stand Up Comedy
Cassidy Henehan,
Jay Bois
Peter Kassnove

The people who will make you laugh:
Lumpy, Rachael Parenta, Livia Scott, Benari Poulten, Andrew Wright

The Telephone Bar
149 Second Ave. (between 9th and 10th) NYC

R / 8th St. stop
6 / Astor Pl. stop
F / 2nd Ave. stop

Now you know...and knowing is half the battle!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Blue Thunder: the TV show

What if I told that back in the halcyon days of the 1980s, there existed a show about an amazing hi-tech police helicopter that hunted down terrorists, foiled burglaries, and thwarted crime? Would you think it was the most awesome show ever?

What if I said that the futuristic chopper could eavesdrop from 2 miles up; had whisper modes which allowed it to sail silently through the skies; infrared night vision to snoop on average Americans cowardly criminals; bullet proof armor plating, thermal radar devices which could see through walls; machine guns; and heat seeking missiles...? Now what do you think? Awesome, right?

What if I said it co-starred Bubba Smith and Dick Butkus?

Oh, yeah.

It also starred Dana Carvey.

Yes. Dick Butkus, Bubba Smith, AND Dana Carvey PLUS a kick-ass, tricked out, crime fighting chopper.

How do you like it now?

Blue Thunder was based on the Roy Scheider movie of the same name and it only ran 11 episodes. Which is too bad. Because had it continued, a Knight Rider crossover was inevitable.

Ah, what could have been.


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

"Don't look, Marion! Keep your eyes shut!"

Well, at least the new movie sees the return of Karen Allen as Marion Ravenwood. So, that's a huge plus. And she still looks fantastic.

But really, the more production stills I see from the fourth Indiana Jones movie, the more I feel like it's just going to be a slap-dash passing of the torch movie, where Indiana Jones becomes wacky comic relief in his own movie.

I consider Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark to be one of the most perfect movies ever made.

Indiana Jones has become a cinema archetype and even when he was forced to suffer the indignity of eating chilled monkey brains, he never played second fiddle in his own movie.

So, the fact that this movie is supposed to kick off a revitalization of the franchise, following the son of Indiana Jones...gah!

The idea of an old, befuddled Indy clinging to his son Fonzie on the back of a motor bike, taking a back seat to the action so younger audiences can fawn over their new slicked-hair teen heartthrob...I can't look. I don't want to look. People who look should have their faces melt off.

I know I sound like a curmudgeonly old man, shaking my fist and screaming at kids to get off my lawn. But, this is Indiana Jones we're talking about here.

Does every single thing I loved as a child have to be dug up like a relic from one of Indy's archaeological digs? Does every fond memory, every scrap of nostalgia, every shred of something good have to be recycled, rehashed, and regurgitated until there's nothing left but a cracked, hollow shell of what was once a pristine and beautiful treasure?

The fools. The bureaucratic fools.


I'll still be there opening day. Spielberg and Lucas win again.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

At least it's better than the original working title:

Indiana Jones and the Rape of the Lost Childhood.

Monday, September 17, 2007

every other geek has commented on it....

The Iron Man trailer makes me want to see the movie. Which is, you know, what a good trailer is supposed to do.

So. Kudos.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

reflections on a Saturday morning

This Rosh Hashanah has found me particularly reflective and as we are now in the Days of Awe, I thought I would share one specific prayer...a prayer not exclusive to the Rosh Hashanah service, but one that I find especially appropriate this time of year.
Emphasis mine.

A Prayer for our Country

Our God and God of our fathers: We ask Your blessing for our country, for its government, for its leader and advisors, and for all who exercise just and rightful authority. Teach them insights of Your Torah, that they may administer all affairs of state fairly, that peace and security, happiness and prosperity, justice and freedom may forever abide in our midst.

Creator of all flesh, bless all the inhabitants of our country with Your spirit. Then citizens of all races and creeds will forge a common bond in true brotherhood, to banish all hatred and bigotry, and to safeguard the ideals and free institutions which are our country's pride and glory.

May this land under Your Providence be an influence for good throughout the world, uniting all men in peace and freedom, and helping them fulfill the vision of Your prophet: "Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall men learn war any more." And let us say: Amen.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

almost famous

Or, as DJ Hazard put it at my roast, "The Poulten March Is On!"

From today's New York Post:



September 12, 2007 -- HAPPY birthday, you syphilitic loser!

Next time you’re looking to honor a friend or colleague, forget boring drinks at a bar or a tedious group dinner. Karaoke? Played.

The birthday party du jour is . . . the roast.

And really, what could be more fun than getting close friends together to publicly and mercilessly tear someone limb from limb?

It’s like Alberto Gonzalez’s congressional hearing, only with an open bar.

“The roast is a time-honored tradition,” says Chris DeLuca, a writer-comic who has been organizing roasts with his friends for a few years. “People have seen those old Dean Martin roasts and think they look pretty funny. Roasts are cool. They evoke memories of people laughing, smoking cigars, being good sports. They’re a different thing to do.”

And as different as they are, they still, oddly enough, serve the same purpose as a regular party: showering a guest of honor with attention.

“Even when they’re mocking you, all the attention is on you,” says Jane Borden, a writer who recently had herself roasted upon turning 30. “It was like a wedding, except it was just about me. And filthy.”

“It’s something in our culture that it’s acceptable to see people squirm,” says Geordarna Poulten, an event planner who just threw a surprise roast for her brother, Benari. “Plus, me being the younger sister, it was a good way to pay my brother back.”

That said, there’s a fine line between cracking on someone in a good-natured way and going too far.

“Anything that violates relationships is something you shouldn’t go near,” DeLuca says. “It’s an opportunity to bust people’s chops, but you should be able to say the things in front of his girlfriend or wife and not have a fear of an impending divorce.”

Benari Poulten says he enjoyed his ribbing, no matter how malicious it got. “Comedy is the only profession where people pay respect to you by beating you up. It’s an honor,” he says. “Roasts are one of the times when you can let loose. You’re almost given permission to be as brutal as possible. It’s really about seeing how far you can go.”

And far they went. How about these jokes from Benari’s friends? Sorry, “friends” ?

“Benari is so little, his last showbiz gig was when he was hired to be the bait on ‘To Catch a Predator,’ ” cracked Dan Newbower.

“I’m not saying Benari is short, but it must feel good to know that if you’re ever in a gunfight, you never need to worry about ducking,” said Baron Vaughn.

“People don’t know this, but Benari actually has written some new jokes in the past six years. It’s just that someone put them up on the high shelf,” said Kyria Abrahams.

We’re gonna hazard a guess that Benari is not tall.

The fun was only amplified by the fact that his parents were there.

“That gave the night a surreal feel,” he says. “It was weird having people saying these graphic things and looking over and seeing my mom laughing.”

These days, though, everyone can enjoy a good roast. Comedy Central runs the occasional special, and Sarah Silverman turned her emcee gig at Sunday’s MTV Video Music Awards into an opportunity to pick apart famous people in the audience.

Of 50 Cent she said, “Can I just say I think it’s so cute that he’s still alive.”

But she saved her harshest quips for Britney Spears, who’d just finished performing. “Have you seen Britney’s kids?” Silverman asked. “They are the most adorable mistakes you’ll ever see.”

Britney was probably not laughing. Although somewhere, K-Fed was - but only because he was high.

See how easy it is to make fun of someone? Go out and try it yourself. Make sure to bring your sharpest barbs, your strongest liquor and, above all, your thickest skin.

And for added fun, I had the last line of the "Rules of the Roast" side bar piece...a rule which is quite apropos, I think.



September 12, 2007 -- SHOULD you be invited to speak at a roast - and at this point, it’s only a matter of time - here are some pointers to appropriately pay tribute to the honoree (and keep the other presenters from unleashing a malicious verbal assault upon you).

1. Keep it short, dummy

“Three minutes is a long time,” says roaster Jane Borden. “You really don’t need more than that.”

2. Write actual jokes, jackass

Try not to just tell embarrassing stories. Those tend to have a you-had-to-be-there quality. Come up with a bunch of short quips instead. “It’s a very specific art form, and if you stick to it, you’ll do well,” says Borden.

3. Know the limits, nimrod

Sure, it’s a harsh environment, but you don’t want to go too far by spilling personal secrets or insulting someone’s significant other. “Don’t say, ‘Hey, it’s great you’re marrying Karen, but did you know Bill banged her?’ ” suggests roaster Chris DeLuca. “It’s not good to have a fistfight.”

4. Crack on others in the room, dimwit

Spread the non-love around! Everyone in the room, especially the other presenters, is fair game and should be destroyed. “Everyone gets a little bit of attention,” says DeLuca. “It’s a weird ego thing. Some of my friends who are comedians, the worst thing you can do is not mention them.”

5. Spin old jokes in a new way, dufus

Yeah, your friend is fat and has warrants out for his arrest in Florida. Everyone is going to be making fun of those same attributes; your challenge is to come up with a new way to harp on tired themes. “I had a roast for a friend, and people made fun of the amount that he drinks,” says DeLuca. “So people came up and would say, ‘Frank is a drunk.’ Someone else would say, ‘He’s dying of cirrhosis.’ But by the fourth or fifth time, they had to get creative to make the same joke. I said, ‘A lot of people get up here and talk about his alcohol addiction, but if you do that, you miss out on his other life-crippling insecurities.’ ”

6. Get ready for the consequences, %รณ&@#!

“Be prepared to make apologies the next day,” says roastee Benari Poulten. “You never know.”

Thursday, September 06, 2007


Dear Apple Lemmings Lovers who bought the iPhone immediately at full price because they couldn't wait to brag about how awesome they were:


Sorry. It's not nice to laugh at others' misfortune.

Many users are fuming over Apple's substantial 33 percent price drop (of $200) on the 8GB iPhone just a little over 60 days after the product was introduced; it has left hundreds of thousands of users, enthusiasts, and other customers wondering whether Apple was just gouging its faithful customers when it priced the popular device at $599 and $499 at its launch at the end of June.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Iraq, You Report

It's almost time for General Petraeus to present his report on Iraq's progress to Congress.

And a lot of folks are giving the Administration grief over the fact that, while General Petraeus will present the report, the President will prepare the report.

The criticism is unfair, I think.

Look at it from the President's point of view. This is a situation where the President is really just helping out a friend with a tough assignment. I'm sure when the President was in school and he had to present a report, he had someone else write it up for him.

He's just paying it forward.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

So this is what 30 feels like.

Where's the ka-boom? I thought there would be an earth-shattering ka-boom?

Ah, well. Go, shorty. It's my birthday. And we gonna party like it's my birthday. 'Cuz it is.

Monday, August 27, 2007

NY Times shout out to The King

An Op-Ed on The King from the NY Times:

Editorial Observer
Jack Kirby, a Comic Book Genius, Is Finally Remembered

The fear of being forgotten after death is endemic in the creative arts. In the case of the iconic comic book artist Jack Kirby, it happened while he was still alive. By the 1960s, Mr. Kirby had already revolutionized the comic book business more than once. Working as principal artist and in-house genius for Marvel, he created a voice and an aesthetic unmatched by any other company.

Marvel took his talents for granted and denied him the credit and compensation he clearly deserved. Worse, he was overshadowed by his loquacious and photogenic collaborator, Stan Lee, who became the public face of an enterprise that depended heavily on Mr. Kirby’s skills.

Mr. Kirby eventually quit, leaving behind characters like the Hulk, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men and the Silver Surfer, and ending what was easily the most fruitful collaboration in comic book history. His long and ugly battle with Marvel over the rights to his original artwork galvanized the artistic community and raised his public profile.

Still, by the time of his death in 1994, he was clearly worried that Mr. Lee would eclipse him in public memory and that history would deny him the recognition he deserved for breathing life into a collection of universally recognized superheroes who would eventually become movie stars.

History was late to the party, but it finally arrived. Thanks to renewed interest in Mr. Kirby’s work — and shout-outs from novelists like Michael Chabon and Jonathan Lethem — he is more widely known today than he was in the 1960s. Back then, those of us who read him haunted newsstands and drugstores, ripping each new issue right out of the deliveryman’s hands. Two books, including a long-awaited biography, are in the works, and the reprint industry is threatening to resurrect everything Mr. Kirby ever produced.

He was introduced to a broader public just last month when the United States Postal Service issued 20 stamps depicting Marvel characters. The images seemed deliberately chosen to maximize Marvel’s marketing opportunities. Even so, Mr. Kirby is credited on eight of the stamps and could have been credited on several more. After all, he did at least some work on nearly every major character Marvel produced.

Mr. Kirby did a lot more than just draw. As the critic Gary Groth so ably put it in The Comics Journal Library, “He barreled like a freight train through the first 50 years of comic books like he owned the place.” He mastered and transformed all the genres, including romance, Westerns, science fiction and supernatural comics, before he landed at Marvel.

He created a new grammar of storytelling and a cinematic style of motion. Once-wooden characters cascaded from one frame to another — or even from page to page — threatening to fall right out of the book into the reader’s lap. The force of punches thrown was visibly and explosively evident. Even at rest, a Kirby character pulsed with tension and energy in a way that makes movie versions of the same characters seem static by comparison.

The frenetic action and the rooftop fighting so common on the superhero set did not just materialize out of nowhere. Mr. Kirby remembered much of it from his Depression-era youth on New York’s Lower East Side, where, he once told an interviewer, the incessant fights among rival gangs were often staged up and down fire escapes and during running battles across tenement rooftops.

In a recent interview, his friend and biographer Mark Evanier described Mr. Kirby as a man so obsessed with giving voice to the characters that he had to give up just about everything else. He put aside driving, Mr. Evanier said, because he became so distracted that he would sometimes run off the road. Once he got a book plotted in his head he’d sit at the drafting table around the clock if necessary. With a fixation like that, he easily outproduced even his most prolific contemporaries.

With interest in Mr. Kirby growing — and his characters already marching across the screen — a movie of his life is clearly in order. Properly handled, the film could give an abused and neglected genius his full due while offering a fascinating glimpse into one of the most vibrant and creative eras in pop cultural history.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Miss Teen South Carolina reading? Literacy? Education? The future?

I'm guessing she might just be one of those U.S. Americans out there in our nation that don't have maps...such as.

Friday, August 24, 2007

A Real American Hero

From Variety:

Paramount Pictures has set Stephen Sommers to direct "G.I. Joe," the live-action feature based on Hasbro's line of action figures.

The studio is hiring a writer immediately
, and has set a February production start for a summer 2009 release.

Fine. I'll write it for you.

What are my credentials?

Well, I had every single G.I. Joe action figure as a kid, watched every episode of the cartoon, and have a nearly complete run of the original Marvel comics series. I still have my G.I. Joe dog tags and the mail-order "original" action figure based on me.

I have an MFA in Dramatic Writing from the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU where I studied screenwriting under the likes of Jeremy Pikser (Bullworth) and the legendary Walter Bernstein (Fail Safe, The Front).

What else, what else.

Oh, yes.



Attention Paramount. You NEED to hire me for this project. Have your people call my, you know what? You can just call me direct. Drop me a line. Send me a text.


Yo Joe.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

High Hopes

I have actually learned something from watching the past few Democratic debates:

Dennis Kucinich has a strikingly beautiful wife.
Who's British.
And 6 feet tall.
And 29 years old.

Elizabeth and Dennis Kucinich. She doesn't care that she towers over him. And he doesn't care that the voting public mocks his candidacy. They have each other. And their vision for America. Where a little man with big dreams can find love and happiness and a chance to become President. Or at least love and happiness.

Thank God for Dennis Kucinich and his longshot ambitions for the White House and his crazy dreams of peace, prosperity, and veganism. And for having a hot wife.

You give hope to all pie-in-the-sky idealists everywhere. Who also happen to be short.

Foxy Lady