Thursday, April 26, 2018

TRULY GONE&FORGOTTEN: WHAM-O GIANT COMICS PRESENTS CLYDE / WHAM-O FUN FACTORY


Clyde
(w/a: Al Shean)

Al Shean boasts an interesting lineage, being the son of the vaudeville performer of the same name, of the comedy duo Gallagher & Shean. The elder Shean's sister was Minnie Marx, rather famously the mother of the Marx Brothers, making this Al Shean a first cousin to Groucho, Chico, Harpo and all the other Marx Brothers we like to pretend "contributed" to the comedy. They did their best, anyway. There's a reason that Gummo went into the raincoat business, you know...

Anyway, Al Shean's "Clyde" borrows no limit of material from the old vaudeville stage gags. A Tarzan of the Apes type, Clyde is the son of a vacationing opera singer (thus the famous Tarzan-like call) who becomes lost in the jungles of Africa, making a life for himself among the disinterested lions and other fauna. Joining in his adventures is Shirley, his loving wife whom he can nonetheless not distinguish from a jungle cat or a chimp. Clyde had some wild times in the jungle, it seems.

The gags are rapid-fire and cry out for rimshots. It's "setup / punchline / setup / punchline" throughout the relatively sparse content. When last seen, CLyde was off to London to acquire more bon-bons for Shirley, although how he'll recognize her when he gets back, who can say?

The Wham-O Fun Factory
(w/a: Virgil Partch)

Wham-O Giant Comics had apparently made the most of CARToons and Hot Rod artists, as well as some handy storyboard and advertising guys. VIP was a bit of a surprise. Best known for his naughty cocktail napkin gag panels, I reckon (or at least that's how I best recognize the guy's work), he turns in a plenty-enjoyable cutaway view of the Wham-O Fun Factory deeply involved in making their primary product, FUN (i.e. balls). 



Has the yen for collecting 20th century cartoonists' complete works in oversized, lovingly-restored volumes become passe? Because I'd support a Partch collection along those lines, from Big George to this and all the saltiness in-between ...


Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Thursday, April 19, 2018

TRULY GONE&FORGOTTEN: WHAM-O GIANT COMICS PRESENTS KLUNKER THE MISFIT MONSTER

It me.
Klunker the Misfit Monster
(w/a: Willie Ito)

Willie Ito -- whose career placed him at Disney, Hanna Barbera and Warner Brothers (at Termite Terrace itself, nonetheless!) -- brings to the Wham-O Giant Comics family a John Stanley-flavored feature by way of Stu Pydd and his misfit monster, Klunker.

Stu Pydd is a kid who's obsessed with monsters, to the point that he spends most of his day trying to terrify his family and friends by way of his monster mask. Before I go any further, do you mind if I vent about how much I hate the name "Stu Pydd?" I mean, I know this is one of those "It's kids' entertainment, keep your adult expectations at home," but seriously. It's hard to imagine Stu's parents running through possible names and running the "defense against getting called bad names" spell that most new parents do, and settling on Stuart. "There's no way you could make something bad out of Stuart and Pydd," says dad, as he's frog-marched into the Soylent Green vat. We gotta do something we these people.

"...and married one instead."
Rejected by his monster-ambivalent friends, Stu retreats to the forest where he meets a legit terrifying monster! It's Klunker, a giant robot who can be reduced to toy size by way of a key attached to the top of his metal skull. This is handy, as Stu is able to shrink Klunker to nothing-sized just as his inventor, Dr.Jeepers Creep, plods through the forest in search of his errant creation.

In fact, despite his name, Stu pulls an incredibly smart trick in order to hide his pal's presence. With telltale tracks leading Dr.Creep directly towards his target, Stu rides his bicycle violently and enthusiastically around the aforementioned indentations, effectively obscuring them and saving his new pal from discovery.

Stu takes Klunker home, making this the second strip in this publication which features a young boy taking home a tiny monster who grows large when fiddled with. I think this might be a metaphor for puberty.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

IF YOU SEE SWAMP THING, SAY SWAMP THING: PATIENT ZERO

With superhero television programs blowing up in the last few years, recaps of superhero television shows have become all the internet rage. Other sites, however, are hobbled by the need to cover shows which have been "recently broadcast" or which are "any good at all." But who covers the uncoverable? That's why Gone&Forgotten chooses to cover the 1991-1993 USA Network live-action Swamp Thing television series in a feature I used to like to call a dumb pun kind of title, but I've run out of those, so I just call it ...



If the Swamp Thing television show has a peak, it almost invariably comes out by way of the Graham and Arcane road show. Episodes featuring the pair of 'em are always worth watching, if only because screen-time must necessarily be granted to 2/3rds of the actors who seem to 'get' this show. In this instance, we go one step further -- it's an episode where Graham gets his lifelong dream answered. He receives validation from his boss!

Prior to that, however, Arcane and Graham are meeting an ersatz Mister Freeze inside a yacht at the Houma Marina (i.e. the far side of the Universal Studios stunt show pool). This is Dr.Richard Parnell (Alan Bergman), a man who has been secretly infected with a virus so powerful that it will destroy the world unless the host body is consistently surrounded by an environment no warmer than 40 degrees Fahrenheit. I legitimately don't think it really works this way, I don't think it matters if things are really cold outside, I think the virus takes advantage of body warmth to, um, kill you. I think he should be dead. I accept corrections on the matter, inasmuch as I am no scientist and also I left the Google way over there and I don't want to walk.

Also he was walking around like this. Seems summery.

Parnell has something to offer the immortality-obsessed Arcane: Properly done cryogenics! Pow! He proves his skills by showing off a couple of taxidermized animals under a frosted sneezeguard, but that's the same thing as suspended animation I guess. Personally, were I ever cryogenically frozen, I'd specifically ask them to not freeze me in a moment of alarm with all four of my limbs jutting outward in terrified mania.

This salad bar is weird.

In return for the tiny frozen rabbit, Parnell wants a sample of Swamp Thing's blood, which is a cure for his disease. I should mention now that I can't recall if he actually told Arcane that he has the disease at this point, and likewise why he wanted Swamp Thing's blood, or if that happened later. I know that's incredibly sloppy of me, but I guarantee you that it did not really affect the story in any capacity. There was no suspense or mystery about it, it barely even killed a little time. It was basically admitted right at the start, so there you go anyway.

That came to mind because Arcane has a hard time verifying the guy's identity and story. He goes so far as to check a wineglass for fingerprints, only to discover that Parnell had his fingerprints removed! That's pretty ... cool.

Arcane also calls in a friend from evil scientist college, and they have an evil-off in Arcane's drawing room. It sort of felt like a Fry and Laurie sketch.

He even kind of looks like Fry, don't he?

Arcane manages to snag the information he wants about Parnell by trading to his classmate a few incriminating photos of powerful Congressmen. This show really can't decide how much power Arcane is supposed to wield, precisely. Throwing away a couple of Congressmen that breezily implies that it's the smallest part of his empire of influence. Frankly, that's maybe too powerful for who he is? He's a scientist, and he uses a small amount of wealth to keep Houma under his boot -- that sounds about right. Someone get me the phone number for the writers of the 1990-1993 Swamp Thing late night television series, I got something to tell them! It'll be a landline.

Aware of his mysterious pal's true identity, Arcane tries to test the disease...on Graham! It's pretty hilarious as they Star Trek fight over the syringe. Graham runs away LIKE A BABY to the swamp, where he's challenged by Swamp Thing. In what turned out to be a pretty clever series of events, it appears that Arcane's attempt to infect Graham was merely a stunt to generate in him real fear, so as to be a more effective lure for Swamp Thing! Sucker! You thought you were gonna die!

This probably didn't help.

Graham's hysterics lead Swamp Thing to Dr.Parnell's refrigerated yacht where Arcane and a bunch of his men are waiting to capture the big bog idiot. To protect himself from Swamp Thing's excoriations -- Arcane has led Parnell to believe that Swamp Thing is a missing link type creature, "Like Bigfoot" -- Arcane shoots out the voicebox from the big pile of garden hoses. Also pretending to be an environmental activist at this point, Arcane insists that he was protecting the doctor and his men from "the monster's venom sacs." I don't know why that made me laugh.

Swamp Thing is placed in a cold chamber, helpless before Arcane's ministrations. The Doctor is excited to finally have a cure, and Graham is getting so fucking drunk it is awesome. It's his best day! His boss apologized for scaring him, he got to be helpful, he even got praised! Graham's best day!

Swamp-o uses the power of reverse film to heal his wounds, and then gets to have a nice chat with the doctor in a scene which is indistinguishable from The Shape of Water, look:



Um, so, this has gone on longer than these things usually do, and it's not like there's a lot happening in this episode, so lemme blow through the rest: Swamp Thing breaks free and goes full Dolemite, just straight knocking dudes all hell of over the place. The doctor tries to help him escape and is shot by one of Arcane's men. Arcane gets some of the doctor's blood on him, so maybe Arcane has the super virus now? It takes ten years to show up, and he didn't have any open wounds, so who cares but anyway that was played off like they were ever going to mention it ever again.

Swamp Thing guides Parnell to the swamp, where he gets an epilogue and dies, and probably bled all over everything so that's it for Universal Studios. Also, was this an HIV metaphor? Too late to ask now, I guess...

Let's go out on a shot of Drunk Graham!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

TUMBLR TUESDAY: I'M GONNA KILL YUH!


Adventure Comics vol.1 No.37 - National Periodical Publications, April 1939
Enjoy Gone&Forgotten every day on Tumblr 

Monday, April 16, 2018

MICRONAUTS MONDAY: 52 - HARM IS WHERE THE HEART IS!


Micronauts vol.1 No.52
Writer: Bill Mantlo
Artist: Butch Guice / Danny Bulandi
Letterer: Jim Novak
Colorist: Bob Sharen
Editor: Al Milgrom
EIC: Jim Shooter

I'm a fan of Jackson Guice's art, but I wouldn't call myself a FFFFFANNNNNN, as it were. He's one of those artists whose work is clear, concise, sufficiently dynamic and narrative, but it rarely blows me away -- I think it took until the Tangent Universe event that DC ran at the tail end of the Nineties before I saw him do something that really shook me up, in a good way. Other than that, I appreciate him as a solid, reliable artist whose work -- at the absolute, apocalyptic worst -- is perfectly fine.

I say all of that as prelude because that cover is a disaster area. The rendering is just kind of sloppy, and the composition is no great shakes, but it's obvious that he had to redraw Cilicia and drop her onto the sketches of Acroyear warriors in the back. The glow emerging from her abdomen just looks like her gut is throwing things at people just off-cover. Her pose is clearly hastily done and the damage to her armor is presented in a way that fails to elucidate what struggle cost her so dearly, and so on.

Also, either Butch or the production department neglected to cut out the paper between Cilicia's knees, so all those warriors simply become invisible. Perhaps they thought it was tacky to put a small army of men between the knees of a pregnant woman YEAH THAT'S RIGHT I SAID "PREGNANT" GET YOUR REGGAETON AIRHORNS READY BECAUSE IT'S



 But to that in a moment!

Karza tours the Microverse, seeking resistance which he can squelch. This brings him to Seazone, a hotbed of rebellion which, were I Baron Karza, probably wouldn't worry me because these guys can't breathe out of the water. My immortal reign of brutal cruelty is probably gonna be just fine, unless someone floods the Multiverse so that the Seazoners can get to me and --- well, I mean, if the Microverse is flooded, they're gonna have bigger fish to fry, the Seazoners...

To wit...

Speaking of frying fish, that's exactly what Karza commands be done to the Seazoners. Using a massive magnifying lens (which Mantlo neglected to call a "Sun Gun," although I assume that was nothing more than an innocent oversight), Karza and DeGrayde boil the oceans of Seazone. The entirety of the aquatic population is killed in painful moments, although it's hard not to at least chuckle at lines of dialogue like "The merhumans and their steeds are dying!"

There is one survivor -- the Lady Coral, the last airbreather on the planet and last of the royal family of Seazone. Which still sounds like a waterpark. We'll probably get back to Coral in upcoming issues, but for now it's



Cilicia and Acroyear must battle, as is the way of their people. Despite having been lovers before A'yo betrayed a whole planet so hard that it blew up, the warriors must know battle for their lives. It's a little uneven, as conflicts go -- Cilicia is allowed to keep her armor, but Acroyear himself can wear only the tribal colors of his people, painted onto his bare skin.

This, by the way ... I didn't know that the Acroyear people had tribes! Or that there were identifying colors (A'yo's are blur, white and yellow, which is, what, Norway? I dunno. I don't know why it's not his armor colors, but I can live with it)! Anyway, Mantlo's worldbuilding can be a little sloppy at times, so I'm glad when we receive a glimpse into something he, to be frank, might just have thought of and might forget by the end of the issue.


As they launch into battle, we return to Rann's quest to stir the Time Travelers into action. Instead, they remain impassive in the Time Temple, and choose to make their reasoning known to their creator by way of punishing him with a razor-sharp, acid-squirting rose. I didn't quite get the lesson, myself,  even as one of the Travelers explains it: "The flower is beautiful AND deadly ... but neither good now evil!" Well, the flower ain't able to reason morality, is my feeling on that matter, but no one's offering me immortality.

Which is how the Travelers end the meeting. They offer Rann a spot in the Temple, but he refuses until Karza is defeated. He returns to his body, still in the company of Fireflyte, deterred but not yet defeated ...

Meanwhile


The battle between Cilicia and A'yo is, naturally, not really about the fight. Acroyear has been left with more than a few dangling plot threads since the end of the series' first arc, and -- as we prepare to stage what appears to be the third and likely final confrontation between the Micronauts and Karza -- it's time to wrap those up.

The conversation which passes between the two does most of the sparring. Acroyear, having found some solace in peace and the use of war only to achieve it, speaks of love and hope. Cilicia, bearing much of the burden of Acroyear's destruction of the Worldmind of Spartak since his banishment, speaks of justice, right and custom.

Disarmed of his sword, Acroyear makes a desperate effort to speak reason into his former intended. He clutches her in a bear hug so powerful that it cracks her armor at the midsection, where it is revealed that Cilicia's womb is just straight glowing through her whole body. That's apparently what happens when an Acroyear gets pregnant, which Cilicia is, and that means ...


The customs of the Acroyear prevent a mother from ceremonially murdering the father of her child, which is a pretty good rule really. This calls a truce to the battle between Acroyear and his whole people, at least until the child is born. Hooray! Unfortunately, it puts everything on hold for the now-nomadic race, including any participation in the battle against Karza. The Acroyears, possibly the second-most powerful force in the Microverse behind the Enigma Force, will join the Time Travelers in sitting out this last confrontation, further reducing the Micronauts' chances to near-nothing.

Next issue, apparently a really controversial two-issue story arc begins. Meanwhile, here's a big poster of the Acroyears, in case you'd like to celebrate KINGBIRTH!


Thursday, April 12, 2018

TRULY GONE&FORGOTTEN: SUPER SIBLING AND HIS MAGIC CHOKES


Super Sibling and His Magic Chokes
(w/a: W.T.Vinson)

I did not get any joke in this whole biz.

Drawing in a style which I'd have to fairly -- and realistically -- describe as "Jack Davis at first glance," Vinson's drawing style isn't a disappointment. He illustrated the insanely dense wraparound cover of the book, after all, and the interior art on this baffling entry is also fun to look at. It's muddy as hell, though, which perhaps better suits the incomprehensible jokes being made every other panel. I DIDN'T GET THIS ONE! I have a hard time imagining anyone getting this, particularly in the target audience, except that I remember how ferociously some kids end up holding onto impenetrable humor. Probably there were guys who'd read this at eight and were still repeating "MAGIC CHOKES!" at fifteen. Nerds. This is how we got Ready Player One.

Yeah, this is crazy forced.

The adventure begins with the disappearance and re-emergence of Wanda Wimp, a go-go dancer who'd earlier fallen to her apparent death from the "skin diving jet" of "Carpmouth Rooney." Fucking see what I mean? At this point I'm not sure if "Carpmouth Rooney" is a specific pun of a particular personality or it's just one of those fucked-up, made-up names for a goon mentioned in passing. Likewise, I don't know if the jet skin-dives or if you skin-dive from the jet. OF COURSE YOU'LL FALL OUT OF A SKIN-DIVING JET, ISN'T THAT THE POINT? 

Oh, I don't like this ...
At some point, Wanda finds a literal iron fist with which she rules a race of giant slugs, becoming "Queen of the Slugs!" Apparently everyone in the jungle finds this fine until she steals the "Harley" of a guy who runs deliveries for a chicken joint, thereby drawing the attention of Super-Sibling!

Nope, we don 't know who the other sibling(s) is/are, but I guess that's the joke there in the implication. The hero flies around in his hot air balloon crimefighting base, blaring Guy Lombardo records and cramming his gullet with spoonfuls of his favorite cereal, Magic Chokes. This feels forced, doesn't it? This feels like this was an attempt to find the "zaniest" component to a narrative and not the most engaging or suitable.

When Super-Sibling finally meets Wanda Wimp, his solution to the problem is to cram armfuls of Magic Chokes down her throat until she loves him, then he steals the Harley AND the delivery job, the end. I feel like this ended a little ... Cosby-ish, nawmean? All of this felt wrong.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

IF YOU SEE SWAMP THING, SAY SWAMP THING: CROSS-FIRED

With superhero television programs blowing up in the last few years, recaps of superhero television shows have become all the internet rage. Other sites, however, are hobbled by the need to cover shows which have been "recently broadcast" or which are "any good at all." But who covers the uncoverable? That's why Gone&Forgotten chooses to cover the 1991-1993 USA Network live-action Swamp Thing television series in a feature I used to like to call a dumb pun kind of title, but I've run out of those, so I just call it ...


It was only this morning that I came to the realization that -- absolutely everything about it to the contrary -- I genuinely love the USA Network's 1991-1993 Swamp Thing television series. If a work of entertainment is meant to entertain, then does it really matter by what virtue it entertains? What elements of the show that aren't "so bad they're good" are unironically, if campily, done well. Like all creative works, there are moments of frustration, confusion, the dismissal of plot or character in pursuit of something higher and more important, only to fall short and want for the plot or the character again ... but then there are moments of surprise, appeal, and amusement. Characters burrow into your comfort zone, despite any plethora of annoying tics and deficiencies. You come to wonder about the world of Houma. Folks. Folks? Folks, this is my Deadwood. This is my The Wire. Depressing, but true. I love Swamp Thing. More than I love you, anyway, sorry.

Whatever the case, the universe was clearly opening my heart to Swamp Thing so that I would be better suited to appreciate this episode. For the first time in a long time, this episode involves almost exclusively the four core human characters -- even Swamp Thing is pushed to a side role!

Just a real quick reminder of Graham's genuinely disquieting face.
We open on Arcane's lab, loaded to the gill with all kinds of old-timey monster movie machines. Mark Lindsay Chapman really comes alive when he's messing with the monster movie machines, his Arcane is tremendously smug.

Arcane is unleashing a special sonic weapon upon the swamp, intended to drive the mind of Alec Holland insane. I feel like an INSANE swamp monster who hates you is probably a lot worse than a sane swamp monster who hates you but knows that killing is wrong but, hey, I'm clearly not the scientist here.

Graham has a great series of scenes with Arcane, capitalizing on a new rapport between Chapman and Quigley -- it's the product of being given more time together in a scene, I think. We learn that Graham was born in Cleveland, and I thought that was going to pay off a little better than it did but, again, I'm not the scientist here.

They kept switching to this shot and it played out like an '80s video where Swamp Thing was a stern dad who hated hair metal.
The sonic weapon does indeed drive Swamp Thing nuts, which manifests itself as Swampy rolling around on the ground against a tree holding his guts and moaning. I think it might have been the Brown Frequency. But while Holland's mind is lost, Arcane's is saved -- He's sane, and as nice as Mister Rogers now!

I will admit that I had expected a Freaky Friday thing, and I was losing my shit about it until I remembered that they already did that once and it was okay. I can accept a Guy Gardner punch-out story instead, please proceed.

I'm Anton, would you like to hear the specials? Okay, "This town, oo-oo, is lookin' like a Ghost Town," haha
A little time passes, and we're made aware of Arcane's exceptional change of heart. No longer plagued by the mood disorder which he'd previously been described to possess,  and his mind liberated by the eight thousand series' villains who'd used voodoo or hypnosis or whatever to haunt Arcane's brain, he's become super-nice! He's got a sweater around his shoulders! His hair is slicked back a little. He doesn't remember Shakespeare that much. Enh, he's okay.

Among the many townspeople who gossip about Arcane's philanthropy, there's this waitress who is just comically blunt about her role in the exposition. She tells him during his meal "When I first came here, I heard things about you. Bad things." Like. Wow lady, that is super judgmental. And you just got here! What kind of tip are you expecting ... ?

"And I heard a lot about your dick -- all small."
Tressa and Will are following Arcane around, trying to suss out his insidious plan and, thereby, find their lost swamp pal. Tressa and Will are being used here in some fashion that I do not think I understand -- like the nosy next-door neighbors in a sitcom. Or Team Rocket. Anyway, it just makes it look even more like they've started fucking.

The episode will exclusively feature Graham, Will, Tressa and Arcane interacting in different configurations, and it is actually exceptional writing as I think about it. We learn a lot about these characters based entirely on how they react towards one another. It's like a check-in point -- except for Will, all of these actors have been on the show since the beginning, and how they interact now versus the genuinely shows some character development at which I realize now the show had been hinting.

Looks like that Electric Company bit.
More on that later, as the only other character in this episode is doing most of his stuff solo. Durock seems both entertained and annoyed by his role in this one. He affects something simultaneously poised between "Why am I even here if all I'm going to do is run around like a crazy moron?" and "Well at least I get to run around like a crazy moron!" Weighed against the commute and the time in the makeup chair, you gotta wonder if he thought the screentime was worth it.

As for the four primary players, they're doing some quality interaction. Graham makes it clear to Will that Arcane's plan to reverse the sonic weapon's effect -- while keeping his newfound sanity -- is something that he plans to sabotage at any cost. Tressa finds some sort of desperate possibility in Arcane's transformation, wholly investing herself in a future with Good Arcane. Meanwhile, Will proves to have absorbed great wisdom from Swamp Thing, even though things like "Something out of balance cannot survive!" coming out of his mouth seems so weird. Oh, and Graham is so creepy and oozily protective of Bad Arcane that he repulses Tressa, becoming maybe the only male villain in the show's history who didn't at least warrant a minigolf date.

(I hate to mention this -- again -- but you know how almost every scene Will has with another male character adopts a kind of homoerotic quality? It is so much worse when it's Will and Graham in a scene together. That's sexual energy the same way that dry heaves are kinetic energy...)

I mean, come on.

It's time to save the day, and Arcane gets to leap from his chair announcing "I'm going to build an electromagnet!" as orchestral music swells, which has got to be a career highlight.

As we ramp up to the final experiment which Graham is clearly going to sabotage, we have to deal with the insane Swamp Thing, who gets to UM GUYS HE EXPLODES OUT OF THE GROUND AND THEN TEARS THE SKIN OFF OF HIS BRAIN. There, what am I going to do, build up to it? Why the fuck would you need suspense for a swamp monster ripping his own head off and blasting through three feet of soil? Sells itself.

It's lettuce! It's literally lettuce!

They capture Swampy, put him in some machines, Graham fucks with one of the machines, Swampy is no longer insane and Arcane is again a-a-a-and, scene. The bad guys screw right off and the heroes wander off defeated in this, the Empire Strikes Back of Swamp Thing episodes. Or the "Episode of Sesame Street Where They Had To Explain Mister Hooper's Death to Big Bird" of Swamp Thing episodes, because it actually ends with Swamp Thing giving Tressa one of his tired-ass homilies and she is not re-cei-ving nuthin', the end.

And I hate to say this about Carrell Meyers at the end of all of this, but I really mean this as a compliment: The one scene in which she really excelled was the one she played alone.


Good episode, really.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

TUMBLR TUESDAY: HM...


Adventure Comics vol.1 No.33 - National Periodical Publications, December 1938
Enjoy Gone&Forgotten every day on Tumblr 

Monday, April 9, 2018

MICRONAUTS MONDAY: 51 - HE WHO TURNS AND RUNS AWAY


Micronauts vol.1 No.51
Writer: Bill Mantlo
Artist: Butch Guice / Danny Bulandi
Letterer: Janice Chiang
Colorist: Bob Sharen
Editor: Al Milgrom
EIC: Jim Shooter

Although I'd never read Micronauts before I started this project, I did have one or two passing encounters with them prior to now. When I was still a kid, I stumbled across what must have been someone's complete collection of 1980s British comics weeklies at a local used bookstore. I walked out of there with a full set of Warrior, a bunch of 2000ADs and an assortment of Captain Britain comics, including the anthologies in which he starred like Marvel Super Heroes and Super Spider-Man and Captain Britain (what a title, I love it).

Bioship's mouth bugs me.
And in ONE of those issues, there was about a third of the first issue of the upcoming Micronauts and X-Men miniseries (which I'll be covering when it comes around in the chronology). And in that issue was the Micronauts I know now, and who we're getting starting with this issue.

A huge Biotron! A depressed Rann with a messiah complex. Angry Marionette! No Devil! None! Not a whit! A dream team!

After the wholesale slaughter of last issue, the Micronauts continue their retreat from Homeworld. Followed by Karza's dog soldiers, the Bioship is taking damage and the surviving 'Nauts are itching for a fight -- except for Rann. Disconnected and depressed, he chooses to continue running, even though the skeleton crew feels (correctly) that they could easily dispose of their pursuers.

Marionette's spent the last several months murdering cops and priests, while Rann's been wrestling with failure and solitude. It's made them very different people, and Mantlo does a wonderful job in finally giving their relationship something apparently insurmountable to overcome. Specifically, what they're overcoming is that everyone thinks Rann is being a coward and he just wants to hang out in his room and get high and listen to Slow Ride.

Marionette, Hunatrr, Acroyear and Bug take to the Bioship's defense while Rann meditates on the bigger picture, involving Karza's resurrection and the refusal of the Time Travelers to assist in his overthrow. He probably should have joined in the fight, because it seemed pretty easy and might have been kind of cathartic. Anyway.

These spacesuits are so ugly.

The second half of the issue involves the crew accidentally stumbling into the path of the Acroyear fleet (how do you not SEE a whole planet's worth of spaceships?). An Acroyear boarding party takes everyone except Rann and Fireflyte prisoner (they're rocking out so hard that they've become invisible!), which results in our Acroyear being required by custom to face off in deadly battle against his former lover, Cilicia, the only girlfriend in the whole show besides Marionette to survive this far! It's a hell of a cliffhanger, but man is this book ever gruesome sometimes.

Speaking of which.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

TRULY GONE&FORGOTTEN: WHAM-O GIANT COMICS PRESENTS VEHICLES TO SUIT YOUR HOBBY

Vehicles to Suit Your Hobby
(w/a: Nelson Dewey)

A nice intersection from a CARToons regular and the readers of this mag, as Dewey turns in stylized whips for hobbyists. There's nothing for comic collectors, but if you sit in your car with a mylar bag over your head, you've accomplished the same thing.


This feature shared the page with a real unfortunate subscription ad. Wow, the next six issues, delivered to my home -- and a frisbee! Well listen, surely issues 2-7 of Wham-O Giant Comics will bring me ever so much more joy than any ol' dumb frisbee ...


I hadn't realized the magazine was meant to be read by three kids at the same time. I've been doing it wrong.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

IF YOU SEE SWAMP THING, SAY SWAMP THING: THE SPECTER OF DEATH

With superhero television programs blowing up in the last few years, recaps of superhero television shows have become all the internet rage. Other sites, however, are hobbled by the need to cover shows which have been "recently broadcast" or which are "any good at all." But who covers the uncoverable? That's why Gone&Forgotten chooses to cover the 1991-1993 USA Network live-action Swamp Thing television series in a feature I used to like to call a dumb pun kind of title, but I've run out of those, so I just call it ...



Anton Arcane (Mark Lindsay Chapman) is once again set upon by the visions, wraiths, spirits and wrathful whatever-elses of those he has wronged in the past. This has been such a consistent theme in the show that it is literally the plot of the second episode I covered ("Falco," in which the sins committed against German pop star Falco by the wretched Anton Arcane come back to haunt him).

In recent episodes, it seems to have been picking up pace; LaRoche used hypno-ghost powers to harass Arcane, DuChamp's children came after him, the spirit of Linda Holland and the daughter of Sunderland -- they've all had a shot to get their own back at Arcane. So now it's time for the ghost of General Sunderland to exercise his wrath, which absolutely sounds like the opening line to a Confederate marching song.

"Hey YouTubers, what's up? Today I'm unboxing the September Lootcrate ..."
Strange lights congregate in the middle of the swamp, straight original-series-Star-Trek style. Flashlights shined into the camera lens and stuff, old school special effects. Between the dry ice and the unwisely-low-to-the-ground camera angle of the opening shot which thereby revealed all the lightning rigs, I appreciated it.

Spiritual forces emerge in the swamp, and Swamp Thing can only stand there and watch, killing time on this show which -- at 22 minutes per episode with a 90-second intro segment -- it shouldn't need to do it. BUT OH LORD DO THEY. Later on, we'll witness the entirety of Arcane calmly getting into his SUV, backing out of his parking spot, and driving away sparing not one single frame. Time is hardly of the essence.

But at least there's these guys.
Back at Arcane's lab, the insidious doctor, his assistant Graham (Kevin Quigley) and some nearly-pantsless lady lab assistants are attempting to unveil the secrets of human immortality! That is until the flashlights start dancing around, and the whole thing goes up in a blast.

Arcane blames the technicians, but Graham suspects POLTERGEISTS! Speaking of Graham, I know I've known this since the beginning, but he really leaned into it this episode -- Graham, despite sounding and looking like a 90s standup comic doing shit Jack Nicholson impressions, is actually doing the fawning, nasal intonations of an "Igor" type. I know I knew this, but I always default to referring to it as a Jack Nicholson impression. He really lays on the Igor in this one, though.

It stands for The Arcane, The

Tantalized by the idea of poltergeists -- which are specifically calling his name, and identifying himself as Sunderland -- Arcane takes to the swamp with some totally fake-looking Ghostbusters equipment. There, Swamp Thing slowly and calmly tries to talk him out of doing ... something. They have a long, half-heartedly antagonistic conversation, and then they slowly fuck off, eating up more spare film. I wonder if anything ever ended up on the cutting room floor.

Arcane faces off against the ghost of Sunderland inside the tugboat or whatever it is (I yam not a sailor man) that they blow up during the Universal Studios water stunt show, and which they've blown up on this show two or three times before. I bet I know how this ends.

DESTINY'S CHILD!
Sunderland calls some supernatural assistants to his side, all three of whom are undoubtedly dressed from the leftover Halloween wardrobe from the theme park. You know, I've never been to Universal Studios. I should go and see if I can find Jim.

Sunderland possesses some remarkable powers, shooting big bolts of fire at Swamp Thing and leaving him hollowed out and blown apart like the Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz. Once he collects himself, Swamp Thing figures out that fire is actually the poltergeists' weakness. It makes sense -- after all, I could set someone on fire, but I'd hate it if they went and did it to me. The math checks out.

He blowed the fuck apart.
Arcane sends an explosive fireball through the tugboat and we cut outside for the appropriate stock footage. Everyone's dead except Swamp Thing and, after fifteen tense seconds before his discovery, Arcane. 

All of this being said, Chapman and Durock got a couple cute lines to throw at each other at the end. I give this eight out of nothing in particular, inasmuch as I have never rated this program before and don't intend to start now...

buh-boom!



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