Magnus and the Water Robots

August 31, 11

Robot Fighter Pacifica is a steel domed city built on the Ocean.  A city run by robots with an agenda that doesn’t leave much room for humans.  Magnus usually crushes robots, but here he’s caught in the pronged clutches of a robot built with fan blade feet for propulsion.

Serpents and sharks figure here too. Danger is everywhere.  If you manage to beat the machines, can you beat the upper end of  natural predators?

Can anyone really beat the next predator?

The predator that consumes your ability to wonder.  The predator that eats away the only inner voice that will ever be gifted to you.

The painterly covers of the Gold Keys were true descendents of the best early pulp styles.

How did these covers start to change your worldview as a kid?  Maybe you started to meditate on the fantastic — but this is soon lost.

Break the grip of the robot, serpent and shark wherever you find them.

The Golden Age of the Frogmen

August 30, 11

FrogmanThe 1960’s were probably the golden age for Frogmen.  Movies, TV and comics were saturated with tales of sunken treasure, enemy submarines, and clandestine strike teams featuring at least a Frogman or two.

The Frogman was sometimes portrayed as the “cool head” on the team, capable of viewing a situation with calm intelligence and restrained warrior passion.

No one could afford to act from emotion alone in the deeps.

The Frogman as underwater punisher capable of great acts of stealth, intuitive timing, bomb wiring and underwater knife/spearfun fighting was a frequent romantic image on reruns by the 1970’s.  By the 1980’s the romance had definitely started to fade.

Growing up next to the ocean, I was always excited by the idea of undersea combat and exploration. Frogmen always seemed to have the coolest devices, and I liked the Hollywood sound of underwater radio chatter.

I’ve been going through some of my old comics lately and thinking about how some of these images were funny, dynamic, and a great and playful mix of genres that you simply don’t see much of anymore.  It wasn’t perceived as confusing or “off topic” to take real chances with stories and mix robots with aliens with intelligent fish with frogmen in  research vehicles — and put them all underwater to boil in the imagination.

The Sea Devils are Trapped

August 20, 11

Sea Devils Comics

The Sea Devils are trapped!

Bolts fly from the rooftops, fish in a barrel formation, trapped in an underwater ghost town.

Some of the most deeply satisfying moments in life are directly related to play.

They occur during play.

But who really stops to think much about play at all?

  • It’s silly
  • It’s only for kids
  • It’s a time waster
  • It’s expensive
  • It isn’t productive
  • It’s pointless
  • It can’t be done if you’re older

We have bills to pay and hungry pets.  Like millions of years of biological development and social programming should arrive at THIS as the apex of our experience. A play-less, bitter, bad dinner of collapsing economies and flagrant selfishness.

Trapped just like the Sea Devils!

We are too busy, and if we aren’t careful, we miss out on too much. Try and junk what makes you miserable one small step at a time. Slowly,  or quickly :^) ,  add in a layer of play to your life. Let it help you find a new way. It will probably involve more sacrifice than most of us have been willing to make before.

Try and have only what’s worth having, and play will help show you the difference. Leave the rest behind. If you can, try and bring some friends along with you. Play always finds power in numbers.

The junk we strive for will still remain junk.

Play like there’s no tomorrow. Help us free the Sea Devils.

The Humanoid

August 08, 11

The hipless woman in the glow of creation is offered up by metallic arms from the mechanical ovum encasement complete with a form guidance rebar system.

An outline of daggers.

Two shaded observers watch the moment of transaction with The Humanoid arching the spine in combat tested confidence.  Era required feathered hair flows forward in the celestial aura of frozen static cling.

A wrist bracelet attached to a subwoofer binds tomorrow’s Eve, while feet glow so brightly that all physiology is lost.  Guards protect piled pancake housing units.  The robo-bulldog waits.

Michigan

August 06, 11

I returned to Michigan for the first time since the 1970’s this week.  Michigan is sleeping outside on screened porches during hot summers and Vernor’s Ginger Ale from my grandparent’s basement.  I love plenty of places, but I’m sure Michigan is special.  I was wandering a rental car parking lot helplessly, and a shuttle driver stopped a gigantic bus, rolled down a window and offered to help me.  He wouldn’t rest until I found G17.

I was leaving the parking lot, and the gate guard asked if he could help give me directions to guide me on my way. Smiles were offered freely everywhere.  Unfortunately, I’m much more used to places where people wouldn’t slow down a bus to throw trash on me.

Not in Michigan.

I visited The Motown Museum and Hitsville Studio A, which was a transforming experience.  I’m not overstating the effect — to think that so much music came straight from this unassuming fortress of groove was impossible to comprehend.  It was inspiring in a way that too few things are these days. The control room is the size of a closet, yet nothing could contain it.

The Serpent’s Clutch

August 05, 11

The greed of sneaking deep into the aquamarine only to loot another’s treasure haul, is paid for with asphyxiation in the clutches of a Serpent.

Our blue diver has paid the price by questioning the morality of the infinite depths.

His mask popped off like a Pez dispenser delivering the goods.

The Serpent glares at the yellow diver, who looks on with concern at the fate of his dispatched partner in crime. A powerful speargun will not remedy the situation, and his loot will wait to ever see the surface.

Popped off masks and a full bag of loot will soon reach the sandy bottom.

Panic bubbles rise as evidence.

Brain Boy

August 01, 11

The General observes as Brain Boy swoops in carried both by air current and youthful confidence, destined for a mouth full of sand due to a poorly positioned landing ankle.

A legion of 500,000 robots comply with orders, and fire at the well dressed menace in the sky.

A lone motorcyclist observes the General at a distance, untouched by the snakeline robots.

Ordnance plumes ignite the day sky.

Play Atrophy

July 26, 11

When you have reached the last station at the end of the line, there is nothing to seek, all one does is play.
– Yamada Mumon, commentary on Ten Oxherding Pictures

It’s Summer and play isn’t front and center.

In the end there is only play. We know at our core that we are defeated by biology. This is known in our fabric. If we start to feel big for a moment, play will thankfully make us little again. A chemical curve ball might be the very end.

In the face of it, you play.

But we don’t play. We sit and worry and fret and plan and hope and wonder and stew and scheme.

Who has time to play? No one. We aren’t playful. We are serious and fast food ordered and still have Victorian flaps hanging off our duffs most of the time.

There is every obstacle to play: financial, psychological, moral. “I can’t afford to play” – “I never waste time” – “I’m not lazy” – we’ve heard them all and it’s going nowhere.

Cave in.

Play in response to the challenge at hand. Not the generic “Work hard, play harder” that every surgeon whips off in a magazine interview. No. Helicoptering to Aspen isn’t what we’re after.

Find a way to get there right now.

When you have reached the last station at the end of the line, there is nothing to seek, all one does is play. – Yamada Mumon, commentary on Ten Oxherding Pictures

It’s Summer and play isn’t front and center.

In the end there is only play. We know at our core that we are defeated by biology. This is known in our fabric. If we start to feel big for a moment, play will thankfully make us little again. A chemical curve ball might be the very end.

In the face of it, you play.

But we don’t play. We sit and worry and fret and plan and hope and wonder and stew and scheme.

Who has time to play? No one. We aren’t playful. We are serious and fast food ordered and still have Victorian flaps hanging off our duffs most of the time.

There is every obstacle to play: financial, psychological, moral. “I can’t afford to play” – “I never waste time” – “I’m not lazy” – we’ve heard them all and it’s going nowhere.

Cave in.

Play in response to the challenge at hand. Not the generic “Work hard, play harder” that every surgeon whips off in a magazine interview. No. Helicoptering to Aspen isn’t what we’re after.

Find a way to get there now.

Tred Cap Man and the Blatz Beer Man

June 23, 11

I recently added Tred Cap Man to the collection.

He’s a strange and mysterious character with dominant eyebrows and a peaceful expression, but I really can’t find any useful information about him.

Let me know if you happen to recognize him!

He originates in Japan (no year) and stands about four inches tall, but beyond that I don’t know if he sold tires, hats, hair tonic, or something else.

Maybe someone mis-spelled “trade cap” and wanted a cheerful rotund figure to spearhead an economic policy?

Doubtful.

Next, I found this absolutely fantastic Blatz beer man from 1959.  A broken flag is an easy fix. The flag reads “NOW at local prices!”

I couldn’t resist the bowtie, hairstyle wave, flush cheeks, or telegraphed wink of self assurance that it would be a great idea for us to sit down and have another frosty Blatz (long ago sold to Pabst).