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

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


A new poll has discovered that (gasp!) WHITE PEOPLE are happier than minorities in America.

Poll: White youths happier than others

From their relationships to their jobs to their money — even from they time they first roll out of bed — young white Americans are happier with life than their minority counterparts.

According to an extensive survey of 1,280 people ages 13-24 by The Associated Press and MTV, 72 percent of whites say they are happy with life in general, compared with 51 percent of Hispanics and 56 percent of blacks.

From their higher-paying salaries, better job prospects, increased opportunities and easier access to solid health care and education - even their lack of daily persecution - young white Americans are just happier with life.

Just why that is, though, we may never know.

"Yay! White!"

Monday, August 20, 2007

When I think of Serbia, I think of Stallone

A statue of Sylvester Stallone's famous film character, boxer Rocky Balboa, has been erected in a tiny Serbian town to give a positive punch to the village's image after years of hard times.

The three-metre (10-foot) high bronze statue of Stallone as Rocky, made by a Croatian sculptor, was revealed late Saturday in the center of the Serbian village of Zitiste, some 55 kilometers (33 miles) north of the capital Belgrade, local media reported.

A village resident thought up the idea of building a statue last February as he wanted to pay tribute to his favorite movie hero after seeing the sixth and latest "Rocky" movie.

"I felt as if Rocky has come from our village, he had to fight to win his place in society," Bojan Marceta said at the time.

Of course this small town in Serbia would recognize the monumental impact Rocky Balboa has had on the world. After all, Rocky (along with the movie Red Dawn) ended the Cold War when he knocked out Drago in Rocky IV. And now, all of Eastern Europe can celebrate the triumph of the Italian Stallion over the iron fist of Communism.

The punch that brought the Wall crumbling down.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

"...or my watch has stopped."

A movie that remains near and dear to my heart.

Addendum: Noah has a bunch of clips up paying homage to the legendary Groucho Marx. Click on over there and have a few laughs. And tell 'im Groucho sent ya.


Mike Wieringo, a terrific comic book artist, died very suddenly last week. He was only 44 years old.

Here's a glimpse at a never-to-be-realized Aquaman pitch (courtesy of Mark Waid). In just a few strokes of his pencil, Ringo managed to capture the fun, the charm, and the majesty of the King of the Seven Seas.

For more on Mike and to pay respects, click over to his site:

Thursday, August 16, 2007


So. That show last night? Turns out, it was a surprise birthday roast for me.

Friends and family gathered in the intimate Tank setting to call me short and bald and make offensive comments about everyone there. It was overwhelmingly sweet and amazing and hilarious.

Big thanks to my sister, Geordarna, for putting the whole thing together. And to all the good folks who traveled near and far to join in the celebration!

sniff. I'm a lucky guy.

photo courtesy of Baratunde.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

INSTANT CLASSIC - Time Out NY Pick of the Day!

That's right. INSTANT CLASSIC is tonight's Critic's Pick in TIME OUT NEW YORK. So swing on by the Tank tonight around 9ish and see why!

The Tank @ C:U
279 Church Street * NYC

Tonight's guests:

Bryan Olsen!
Eric Andre!
Greg Walloch!
Jesse Popp!
and the wee comedy stylings of John F. O'Donnell!*

*JFO'D is the only comic in NYC I can call "wee." That's why I love 'im.

Local News

New 'CAP owners want to stay local
By Christopher Scott
Lowell Sun

LOWELL -- Local, local and local.

That was the mantra yesterday at WCAP AM 980, where the owner of the Central Street radio station for the last 56 years, Maurice Cohen, emotionally announced that he is selling his radio station to a group of local investors led by Sam Poulten of Chelmsford and Clark Smidt of Andover for $2.6 million.

"It's been like holding a tiger by the tail," Cohen said of his ownership of the station for the last few years. "I just didn't know when to let go. Of course, it's a happy day for me, but it's also a sad day. I'm just glad the new owners plan on keeping everything local."

The prospective deal -- it still needs approval by the Federal Communications Commission, which is expected within 60 days -- culminates nearly two years of negotiations.

Cohen, who started the station with his brother, Ike, had discussed a potential sale with several prominent local businessmen. He even rejected a more lucrative proposal because it didn't contain the local commitment.

"This is just an exhilarating day, a wonderful occasion," said Smidt. "Maurice put together this deal in outstanding style."

"No," Cohen interjected, "you did, Clark."

Both Smidt and Poulten applauded Cohen for keeping the station local with as much local programming as possible.

In fact, they called Cohen a "great hero of local radio."

With "The Morning Information Team" airing weekday mornings from 6 to 9, and "Afternoon Live" running weekday afternoons from 3 to 6, Poulten and Smidt said they hope to create more local programming that's more expansive.

"This radio station will truly be a voice for the entire Merrimack Valley," said Poulten, a real-estate agent who is a member of the Nashoba Valley Technical High School Committee and a former member of the Chelmsford School Committee.

Poulten and Smidt spoke of possible alliances with local schools like Nashoba Tech, as well as The Sun, UMass Lowell and local ethnic groups.

"We're going to cover everything, from the Armenian Festival to the Greek Festival and, of course, the Lowell Folk Festival," Poulten said.

For example, the station will continue its long-held, and successful, tradition of raising money for the local Salvation Army prior to Christmas.

But it won't be easy, Poulten acknowledged.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, WCAP employed nearly 30 people, including a full-time sales force.

Today, the station employs about a half-dozen, and no one is selling ads "except for Maurice," Poulten said.

Poulten said the first challenge is to "beef up" the work force, particularly on the news side, followed by the recruitment of an aggressive sales force to make coverage of the news possible.

Poulten said he and Smidt have formulated a two-year business plan to "bring the station into the 21st century."

Following yesterday's announcement just after the 8 a.m. news, Cohen held court on the air for nearly an hour.

It was a rare on-air appearance for Cohen, who seldom ventures from his business office into the studio.

Guest after guest saluted the gray-haired man in the seersucker suit, including his friend, Kendall Wallace, The Sun's chairman of the board, City Councilors Edward "Bud" Caulfield and Rita Mercier, UMass Lowell Chancellor Marty Meehan and City Manager Bernie Lynch.

Warren Shaw, host of the "Saturday Morning Live" program, said WCAP's radio personalities, including himself, are welcoming the sale.

"The sale was inevitable," said Shaw, a former Dracut selectman. "By and large, we're just happy it's staying local."

Meanwhile, an application was made to the FCC on Aug. 10 to transfer ownership of the station from Northeast Radio Inc., which is principally owned by Cohen, to Merrimack Valley Radio, LLC, which is owned by Smidt and his son, Jeffrey, and YMSK LLC. The latter is owned by Poulten; his son, Benari; Lowell real-estate agent/developer Brian McMahon; John P. Finn of Tyngsboro; and Kelly Verdolino of Medway.

The 5,300-watt station, which carves a wide radius from Lowell, is the oldest independently owned radio station in Massachusetts, and possibly in New England, said Gary Frascarelli, who serves as WCAP's news director.

Thank you for spamming

Cleaning out the spam from my Bulk Mail folder, I came across what might possibly be the greatest subject line of any spam ever.

I am certain that had I clicked open the awaiting e-mail, my laptop would have been seized by a crippling virus, forever corrupting my precious files and possibly melting my hard drive...but still, the subject line was so enticing. So curious. So...strangely literate.

It was from "Natacha Cason" (that's almost a spy name) and it boldly stated:

I knew that it was a foolish and deadly plan, but I carried out the order.

Ladies and gentlemen, the first line of my new novel.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

hello again

Yes, yes. Long time. Let's resume normal communications again, shall we?