Tag: Flash Gordon

Brainiac On Banjo: He’ll Save Every One Of Us!

Just a man with a man’s courage. You know he’s nothing but a man, and he can never fail. No one but the pure at heart may find the Golden Grail! – “Flash” written by Brian May.

He’s everywhere! He’s everywhere!!!

No, I’m not talking about the return of Chickenman, although that would be welcome. Lucky for us, Rich Koz went on to bigger things. I’m taking about the man who was not comics’ first great space hero, but he was by far the best. Certainly the best drawn, with the best villain ever, anywhere. Born 90 years ago next January 7th, he was the creation of master comics artist Alex Raymond, and for over three decades, he ruled the worlds of heroic fantasy.

Flash Gordon was created as a newspaper comic strip. I assume you’ve read about newspapers online somewhere; comic strips were a feature in most of them except for the New York Times, who were too cheap to buy color presses back in the 1890s so they got all snooty about it and made it a thing. These comics told their stories on a daily basis. We still have newspaper comic strips but only four still tell continued stories, five if you count the brilliant Prince Valiant weekly. The rest are all about the tiresome adventures of misanthropomorphized two-dimensional talking animals. All newspaper extant have pretty much the same selection of funnies, as they were once known back in the days of newspaper competition. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo: He’ll Save Every One Of Us!”

With Further Ado #205: Summertime Highlights

With Further Ado #205: Summertime Highlights

Hey, I know you’re rushing off to the beach, or trying to get out of work a little early today. So, this week is just a highlight reel of some cool things:

I also just received the 2022 Steve Rude Sketchbook. WOW!  It was part of his most recent Kickstarter. I miss the days of seeing Steve and his wife at San Diego Comic-Con and buying a sketchbook during the annual pilgrimage. But you know what, getting anything from Steve Rude in the mail is always cause for rejoicing! He’s got all sorts of things on his website and his next Kickstarter starts on July 14th .

Shelly Bond (did you know she’s a proud Ithaca College graduate?) has a fabulous new book out called Filth and Grammar: The Comic Book Editor’s Secret Handbook.

It’s kind of a how-to-edit comics, but I think it’s a “new must” for every creator looking to break in. The Kickstarter was looking to raise $20,000 and it overdelivered with over $85,000. Pretty impressive, right?  You can still purchase this one on her site here.

I rescued a few paperbacks from my friends at Wonderland Comics in Rochester. It’s a great little comic shop that always seems to have some lost treasures out for sale.  This loot was just great:

I found four Flash Gordon paperbacks. These tell the prose version from Alex Raymond’s wonderful strip. You might think that Flash Gordon without the art is kind of pointless, but ever since I read the Avon paperback version of The Lion Men of Mongo (when I was a sixth grader), I’ve been hooked. Most of the adaptations were written by Ron Goulart and with wonderful George Wilson covers. Continue reading “With Further Ado #205: Summertime Highlights”

Brainiac On Banjo: Make Room! Make Room!

There once was a science fiction writer named Harry Harrison. He is best known as the author of “Make Room, Make Room,” which was turned into the 1973 movie Soylent Green, starring Edward G. Robinson, Leigh Taylor-Young, and that guy who says we can take his gun out of his cold dead hands now.

The story was about overpopulation and how there was no space for anybody to live, eat or, ironically, procreate. It was set in 2022. That’s 22 days from now.

Harrison also was a comic book and comic strip writer, and much of his artwork – for EC Comics and others – was inked by Wally Wood. He wrote the Flash Gordon comic strip in the 1950s and his s-f novel, The Stainless Steel Rat, was adapted into a long running series in the UK weekly comics 2000 AD.

I agree with his story’s message. In fact, I do not believe we have a shortage of any natural resources per se. I believe we have a massive overabundance of human beings. This planet wasn’t built to house and feed 7.9 billion people (as of November 2021). Indeed, the number of humans who stalk the Earth octupled in the past 200 years. Make room, indeed. And never forget: soylent green is people.

Not everybody agrees with me. For example, take Elon Musk, a man who has been dramatically unable to pull his rabbit out of his hat.

Yes, he’s the guy behind the Tesla, the wonderfully named, vastly overpriced and pathetically underperforming wondercar that is supposed to eliminate the need for both gasoline and drivers. Someday it might do that, maybe, perhaps… but thus far it is one of the most recalled automobiles of this century. Thus far, his six-figure four-wheeler has killed at least 221 people (source).

His SpaceX company appears to be more successful – unless you’re paying attention to Elon Musk. A couple weeks ago, he told his SpaceX employees that his Starship engine crisis is creating a “risk of bankruptcy.” Start updating your résumés, kids!

So it is with some amusement that I find Elon’s latest pronouncement that “so many people, including smart people, think that there are too many people in the world and think that the population is growing out of control. It’s completely the opposite. Please look at the numbers – if people don’t have more children, civilization is going to crumble, mark my words.” He said this at the Wall Street Journal’s annual CEO Council while he was promoting his newest baby, the Tesla Bot, which, according to Musk, is a “generalized substitute for human labor over time.”

More people but less human employment. This is a billionaire’s stickiest wet dream.

I should note Elon has six children. Well, at least he puts his, ahhh, dick where his mouth is.

The global birthrate fell by 4% in 2020, and it’s been slowly declining for the previous 60 years. To me, this sounds like great progress. Slow progress, to be sure, but slow enough to be in Elon’s comfort zone. Except it isn’t.

Musk also notes “it is important for us to die because most of the times, people don’t change their mind, they just die… If they live forever, then we might become a very ossified society where new ideas cannot succeed.”

I’m not exactly sure how he came to this conclusion as it’s not backed by anybody’s experience, but I can make an educated guess as to which orifice had incubated his speculation.

Bottom line: P.T. Burnum put on a better show.

Brainiac On Banjo #034: Niles Caulder’s Doppelgängers

Brainiac On Banjo #034: Niles Caulder’s Doppelgängers

When it comes to the DC Universe streaming series Doom Patrol, the world can be divided up into three groups: those who have never seen it, those who have seen it and hate it, and those who have seen it and love it.

It’s exceptionally weird and based (self-referentially) more upon Grant Morrison’s work on the comics series than the original Arnold Drake / Bob Haney / Bruno Premiani creation. Why not? We’ve got plenty of straight-forward superhero dramas on television. On streaming. Whatever. It is clear to me that everybody gets paid by the number of times Brendan Fraser utters a curse word, and that might upset the uptights. After the pilot episode, there isn’t much nudity or on-screen sex. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #034: Niles Caulder’s Doppelgängers”