New York After Midnight: 99 RIVER STREET (United Artists 1953)

cracked rear viewer

The trio that brought you KANSAS CITY CONFIDENTIAL – star John Payne, director Phil Karlson, and producer Edward Small – teamed again for 99 RIVER STREET, and while it’s not quite on a par with their film noir classic, it’s crammed with enough sex’n’violence to hold your interest for an hour and a half. Karlson’s direction is solid, as is the cast (including a knockout performance by Evelyn Keyes), and the camerawork of the great Austrian cinematographer Franz Planer gives it a wonderfully brooding touch of darkness.

The story itself is highly improbable yet highly entertaining: ex-boxer Ernie Driscoll (Payne), once a heavyweight contender now reduced to driving a cab, is married to ex-showgirl Pauline (the delectable Peggie Castle), who’s two-timing him with crook Victor Rawlins (slimebag Brad Dexter ). Ernie catches them making out through the window of the flower shop Pauline works at, and his PTSD is triggered…

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Adventures In Post-Modern Lethargy : Julian Glander’s “3D Sweeties”

Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

Somewhere on a colorful and computer-generated plane of existence, a semblance of “life” trudges along, oddly familiar in both tone and content to the world we know : the denizens navigate their way through a media-saturated landscape, waste too much time on the internet, immerse themselves in various fan “communities,” celebrate the vacuous non-achievements of both themselves and complete strangers, and attempt to forge communication and connection with others — but give up when it proves to be too daunting, time-consuming, or both.

As the Dead Kennedys once said, “give me convenience or give me death”! Oh, and a little bit of attention wouldn’t hurt, either.

Welcome to Julian Glander’s 3D Sweeties, just unleashed upon the comics-reading public via Fantagraphics (in a suitably innovative three-dimensional “hard”cover package) and capitalizing on its author’s recent wave of exposure on Vice, in the pages of Now, etc. The prosaic has…

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Forever The Outsider : Casanova Frankenstein’s “In The Wilderness”

Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

It’s one thing to subsist on the societal, economic, even social margins for decades — it’s another to subsist on those margins and still not fit in.

Welcome to the life of Casanova Frankenstein, who “graduated” from being the only black nerd in his social milieu to the only black punk to the only black cartoonist. A man who’s on the outside looking in — at the other outsiders.

We all wondered what happened to the guy formerly known as Al Frank in the long interregnum between The Adventures Of Tad Martin #5 and its eventual follow-up, #sicksicksix over 20 years later, and the new Fantagraphics Underground collection of Frankenstein’s short autobio strips, In The Wilderness, fills in some of those blanks, as well as helps set the stage for what should, by all rights, be the year in which this long-neglected cartoonist finally gets something akin to his…

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Music Video of the Day: Icke’s Struggle by Blanck Mass (2015, dir by Alex Turvey)

Wow.  This video’s depressing.

Seriously, I love Blanck Mass.  Blanck Mass is responsible for some of my favorite writing music.  (And, by that, I mean that I often have Chernobyl playing in the background whenever I’m writing.)  Songs like this are all about creating and capturing a mood.  And really, I guess how you react to or interpret the song will probably depend on what’s going on in your life when you listen to it.  Right now, I’m giving a lot of thought to the circle of life so, when I hear this song, I think about the inevitably of death.

And then I watch this video, where is pretty much permeated with doom.  Everything is going to die, even the plants.  That’s just the cycle of life.  New things will ride to replace the old.  Sometimes, those new things aren’t going to be good things but, fortunately, they’ll eventually become old things and then die.  And they’ll be replaced by something else.  And I guess that’ll keep happening until the sun goes supernova or the Earth gets sucked into black hole or whatever it is that all the fatalists are predicting this week.  Myself, I think the world will end someday but it won’t be for at least a century or two so I’m not too worried about it.

(Of course, what would suck would be to discover that reincarnation is a real thing and, as a result, we’re all destined to continually be reborn until we all experience the end of the world firsthand.  That would be a really cruel joke on the part of the universe.  However, I do not believe in reincarnation.  I mean, I know at least half a dozen people who all claim that they were Cleopatra in a past life so they can’t all be right.  Can they?  If I did believe in reincarnation, I would say that I was probably once Edie Sedgwick.  Or maybe Clara Bow.)

Anyway, it’s all about cycle of life.  Don’t start singing that Lion King song at me, either.  I’m just stating a fact.

(Actually, it could just as well be taking a dig at the infamous David Icke.  At least, I hope it’s taking a dig.  If Benjamin Power is a follower of David Icke’s, I’m going to be depressed.)