Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #057: Nostalgia Ain’t What It Used To Be

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #057: Nostalgia Ain’t What It Used To Be

“These are the times that try men’s souls / In the course of our nation’s history the people of Boston have rallied bravely whenever the rights of men have been threatened / Today, a new crisis has arisen” – M.T.A., written by Bess Hawes and Jacqueline Steine.

Spats. Ethyl gas. Municipal steam baths. Mom’s Eats. Necco Wafers. Interurban trains. Screaming Yellow Zonkers. Montgomery Wards. Buggy whips. Magazines and newspapers. Yeah, I’m yelling at the clouds again.

Wait a minute. Magazines and newspapers? They’re still around. Sorta. Kinda. Almost. They’re coughing up blood, but they’re still around… if you know where to look. And while you’re doing that, say hello to Dr. Livingstone for me, will you? Continue reading “Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #057: Nostalgia Ain’t What It Used To Be”

Brainiac On Banjo #052: Sidekick Bastards

Brainiac On Banjo #052: Sidekick Bastards

Shortly after Hitler invaded Poland, the powers that were decided Batman needed a sidekick. Not to prop up sales – by all indications, those early issues of Detective Comics were doing fine. No, the good folks at National Comics decided the grim and gritty pointy-eared crusader with the cape needed a young sidekick, someone with whom their young readers could relate.

Maybe. Batman had been a soloist for only one year, so we really don’t know. But we do know that Batman and Robin together were exceptionally popular. Therefore, Robin begat Speedy, Bucky, Toro, Sun Girl (who clearly was a young adult), Ebony White, Captain Marvel Jr., Kid Flash, Kid Terror, Aqualad, Supergirl, Mary Marvel, Dusty, Tiger, Wing, Sandy, Speedboy … I could go on and on, but I won’t because I like you. Well, most of you. Sidekicks became a real thing, an inseparable part of the American superhero myth for at least a half-century. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #052: Sidekick Bastards”

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #056: Oh, Yeah. It’s For The Children. Sure.

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #056: Oh, Yeah. It’s For The Children. Sure.

Damn near every time the self-appointed, self-righteous so-called morality mavens are opposed to some significant change in our social structure, they proclaim they’re stopping it “for the children.” If you oppose their efforts, therefore, you must hate children and unless you’re W.C. Fields that means you are evil.

To this, I loudly and profoundly call bullshit. Little kids who can barely read have been marching around carrying placards saying, “I’m sure glad my mother didn’t abort me!” for so long they’re putting those signs in the hands of their own little kids. Continue reading “Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #056: Oh, Yeah. It’s For The Children. Sure.”

Brainiac On Banjo #051: The Challenge of Ideas

Brainiac On Banjo #051: The Challenge of Ideas

I just checked and I’ve decided I’ve got too many friends. Let’s see who I can offend today. But, first, a couple of disclaimers.

One: For decades I have been uttering I am a first amendment absolutist. There should be no roadblocks in the world of free expression. Yes, people need to stand behind what they say and I’m not at all opposed to laws that hold people responsible for malicious defamation. But there should be no roadblocks between the thought and its delivery. That’s free expression.

Two: I am a fan of Walter Mosley’s. I would have read every novel he’s ever written but for a couple decades he’s been in a Smith-Corona destruction derby with Stephen King. Had I been editing Fantastic Four, I would have found a way to get Mosley to write it. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #051: The Challenge of Ideas”

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #055: Mass Murders? It’s the Damn Monkeys!

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #055: Mass Murders? It’s the Damn Monkeys!

God, am I dumb. And when I say “god,” I mean that literally. It turns out there’s a viable, meaningful, and always successful way to end our onslaught of mass murders.

Our old pal Tony Perkins – the one who runs the ultra-right-wing Family Research Council, and possibly not the one who wore his mother’s skin in the movies – told Fox News (of course) “It’s time we talk about the result of the left’s systematic march through our institutions, driving religious expression from the public square… It’s tragic and at some point we have to realize we have a problem as a nation, and the problem is not the absence of laws, it’s an absence of morality – really, the result of a decades-long march through the institutions of America, driving religion and God from the public square.”

So, evidently Tony Perkins’ god is a mean bastard who is so pissed that society is not obsessed with his every fart that he enlightens his true believers to shoot up a bunch of heathens and those who happen to be near them. No more pillars of salt, no more floods – well, maybe floods – nope, Tony’s god has gone high-tech. How many people can you slay in 30 seconds, when god is on your side? Continue reading “Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #055: Mass Murders? It’s the Damn Monkeys!”

Brainiac On Banjo #050: Comics and the Cost of Doing Business

Brainiac On Banjo #050: Comics and the Cost of Doing Business

The price of a comic book jumped 267% during the 1970s, from 15 cents to 40. The pace slowed down by half between 2009 and 2018, from $2.99 to $3.99. It’s that last number I am going to discuss, and I’ll start with Stan Lee.

(For the record, price points differ between publishers and, sometimes, titles so the above reflects the “typical” Marvel/DC title. Your statistical analysis may vary.)

Back in the 1970s, Stan was making a signing appearance at my buddy Larry Charet’s iconic comic book store on Devon Avenue in Chicago. It was cool, as seeing Stan at a store back then was rare – so rare that it was long before people started charging for autographs and selfies. One fan asked the question “Why are comic books so expensive all of a sudden?” Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #050: Comics and the Cost of Doing Business”

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #054: Our New American Reich

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #054: Our New American Reich

But still from near and far to seek America / They came by thousands, to court the wild /But she just patiently smiled, and bore them a child / To be their spirit, and guiding light…
And though the past has its share of injustice / Kind was the spirit in many a way / But its protectors and friends have been sleeping / Now it’s a monster and will not obey
– Monster, written by Jerry Edmonton and John Kay (Steppenwolf), 1969

Alabama State Rep. Tommy Hanes (R-District 23) introduced a resolution during his state Republican summer meeting calling for his state’s representatives in Congress to introduce legislation that would expel Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) from Congress. All but one of his fellow Alabama Republicans voted with him, and that dude was concerned that such a sword could cut both ways, particularly in a Congress with a Democratic Party majority. Still, I wouldn’t be surprised if that guy gets primaried. Continue reading “Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #054: Our New American Reich”

Brainiac On Banjo #049: Pennyworth – Might See TV?

Brainiac On Banjo #049: Pennyworth – Might See TV?

Did you notice there are a lot of television shows based upon superheroes? Do you have a television set and an internet connection?

If you think it’s getting crowded, just wait. Disney announced a whole bunch of new Marvel shows, including Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, She-Hulk, Moon Knight, Ms. Marvel – and remember, Loki, WandaVision, What If…?, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier have yet to debut.

DC has Stargirl coming up soon, and they’re threatening to follow Arrow up with a new CW series – not counting Batwoman, which starts in a bit over a month. Watchmen starts soon (maybe it’s already on – I can’t tell anymore), and the Harley Quinn animated series is pretty much in the can. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #049: Pennyworth – Might See TV?”

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #053: The Orange President and his Judenrätes

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #053: The Orange President and his Judenrätes

At long last, the Orange Skull said something with which I agree. Last week he said, “It’s not the gun that pulls the trigger — it’s the person holding the gun

Damn straight, President Pond Scum! I’ve been saying this for decades: It’s not guns that kill, it’s gun owners who kill. Sometimes they kill for good reason. Sometimes they just kill themselves. Sometimes they shoot their dicks off. The Bigot-in-Chief says these people are suffering from mental health issues.

This raises a question. How many people do you have to murder for your work is regarded as that of a madman? Nine? Four? Two?? Continue reading “Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #053: The Orange President and his Judenrätes”

Brainiac On Banjo 048: Tragedy, Horror and Justice Denied

Brainiac On Banjo 048: Tragedy, Horror and Justice Denied

 

I entered the first grade in 1956 and I graduated from high school in 1968. During those dozen years, I did not hear one word from my teachers about the internment of Japanese Americans in World War II. I did not read about it in any of my schoolbooks. I didn’t hear about it from my family, or from newspapers, radio, or television.

Being something of a history freak and heavily under the influence of George Santayana, I initially stumbled across this horror in fairly superficial terms. As time went on and we moved from incarcerating Asian-Americans in America to killing the natives of southeast Asia, I had been able to gather a great quantity of information about the internment camps… but, even so, I had only scratched the surface. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo 048: Tragedy, Horror and Justice Denied”