I, and most other people with functioning hearts and souls, love Calvin and Hobbes. And if there's one C+H tradition reinforced above all others, it's Calvin's crazy-ass snowmen. Bill Watterson, through Calvin, created some marvels during the strip's run, many of them being considerably (and hilariously) more adult-oriented than the rest of the strip. So, here's a tribute to the man, the boy, and their mutual genius by Jim Frommeyer and Down in Front's Teague Chrystie. The fact that this was made by hand is rather impressive as well. Good job all around!
(Also: I just want to make it clear that, despite the language of the finale, Bill Watterson is alive and well. Just retired and spending his days fishing.)
Thanks to this attribution-less page, I can show you which strips the scenes in the above videos came from. Unfortunately, there's no datestamps, so I can't get you higher quality shots than the ones available on that incredibly old-school webpage (that was almost certainly Designed In Notepad! For Netscape Navigator! IE Keep Out! and so on.)
...and, finally, my personal favorite snow strip, and the source of the title of this post:
We all love dumping on Jim Davis. Garfield hasn't been funny in, well, ever, and his career is the Platonic form of selling out. Even when I was twelve years old and going through Garfield books like mad, I never remember finding it more than clever and familiar; Garfield was one of the first cartoons I remember enjoying in America. However, in 1989, Jim Davis did something really strange one October week. He had Garfield wake up in an abandoned house, alone and afraid. Reading some comments on the strips, there's a few individuals who say that he is haunting the old house. Others think it's a sad Rip Van Winkle-type situation. Either way, it's not one-liners about lasagna and Mondays. Plus, check at that eye in the first panel of the last comic and the Twilight Zone-style ending narration. I read this as nothing less than the last hurrah of Jim Davis' soul before he exchanged it for a pile of money the size of my apartment.
(Then again, he did give his personal blessing to the bleak and surreal garfield minus garfield so who knows what's going on in his head)
Someone on MetaFilter recently linked to an amazing piece of work from 1973. It turns out that as party of some crazy scheme to nail Reed Richards, Doctor Doom had hired the services of Luke Cage (Hero for Hire) and ended up stiffing him on the $200 bill:
Naturally, Luke Cage beats the crap out of Doctor Doom and then proceeds to save him -- a corpse can't pony up a pair of c-notes, after all -- when the Faceless One shows up for one reason or another. Also, may I say he idea that Doctor Doom has two hundred dollars (in small bills) hanging around his Latverian fortress is delightful.
Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen was a considerably better book that it had any right to be. From its early attempts to present Jimmy Olsen as a tough guy -- he punched out a mobster at least once an issue in the first year -- to its later use as Jack Kirby's jumping-off point for the Fourth World -- he was given any choice of book to write for by DC and picked Jimmy Olsen because it had no regular writer and, therefore, no one would lose their job -- the book was a veritable hayride of wackiness. Admittedly, my fondness for the series might be a little influenced by the fact that I read most of the Volume 1 phonebook reprint after being awake for roughly 30 hours, but it's still one of my favorite comics, and one of the most original books I've ever read.
Anyway, combining my love for this comic and for 1950's blase treatment of radioactivity is this page. Keep in mind that what you're reading is the completely innocuous framing device; in fact, I suspect the only reason they're using uranium is because it's more modern-ca.-1955 than gold. The actual story involves Jimmy and Superman tricking these kids into thinking they are wildly hallucinating because they were too cocky about trying to find all that ore. Or something. You can find the whole story in the reprint book I linked above, which I heartily recommend whether you enjoy this page or not.
So if you're wondering where I disappeared to, I've been on vacation in Minnesota, visiting the Twin Cities and my girlfriend's home town, Duluth. Now, Bob Dylan came from Duluth, but since I know jack shit about Bob Dylan, the best I can do is Lorenzo Music, who voiced Garfield in the eponymous cartoon from the 1990s. So, here are a couple of selection from Fatal Farm's series Lasagna Cat. Which, incidentally, does not feature Lorenzo Music at all.
Like many single children my age, my first exposure to the X-Men was Fox's 1990s cartoon. I was immensely proud of myself for having caught every single episode of the first season. I also loved the theme to death. No other music, save the Lambada -- a topic for another post -- had inspired such raw emotion in my eight-year-old self. If you can't recall, or have never heard it, here you go:
When the series was sent to Japan, the intro was re-done in an anime style and set to a rock soundtrack. The result is surprisingly awesome:
There was also a second, slightly more ponderous opening. There's still a bunch of action, but check out that (comparatively) long shot of Logan, Scott and Jean. Even though the triangle themes made it over into the cartoon from the comic, I don't think anything like that would've made it into the opening of a kids' TV show:
In 2011, a 12-part X-Men anime series was released as part of the Marvel Anime project. Free of the constraint of having to resemble American source material, this is one is pure Japanese:
If the movie trailer is a form of art -- or at least a genuine medium -- both the action and the indie movie trailer is genres. And, as with any genre, ripe for parody:
I've been reading IDW's Dungeons and Dragons series based entirely on the strength of Chris Sims' review and I am just absolutely delighted. John Rogers' dialogue just absolutely nails the bullshitting-through-sudden-death D&D experience. And then there's this offhand reference to Futurama...
IDW's Dungeons and Dragons #2
Co. Futurama Wiki
So one night, like many other nights, I was lollygagging at the Complete Calvin and Hobbes hardcover on Amazon. One day -- assuming they fix the numerous physical flaws -- I will own the damn thing, but for now it is a bit rich for my blood. However, I did realize that as I've had the last two books since I got them as a reward for working the junior high book fair), I only needed six books to complete my Calvin and Hobbes collection. So, thirty dollars later, I now own the entire run of the comic in eight slightly used books. This comic is, so far, one of my absolute favorites:
It really shows off everything Watterson is great at. He very rarely uses that style of art, but it appears flawless. The characters keep their trademark coloring. Susie's hair remains her double-brown shade and her clothes are purple-on-purple clothes. Calvin's remains blonde and his tie is black with red stripes, like his shirt in the "real" world. The wonderful, wonderful childlike logic of stopping by the hospital to pick up a baby is delightful, and so is the fact that Calvin sees Mr. Bun as a "real" (rather than anthropomorphic) rabbit in his imagination.
So, expect more C&H stuff in the future!