The Circuitous — And Circular — Path Through The “Castle Of The Beast”

Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

Ariel Cooper’s first self-published comic, Ghost Sickness, blew me away. Her second, Castle Of The Beast (sub-titled A Theory Of Time Travel) goes even further, shattering your view of the so-called “fourth dimension” and re-assembling it into something immediately and intrinsically familiar, but nevertheless altogether different. And I say this, mind you, as somebody who’s felt that the concept of time was complete bullshit pretty much since I was a teenager.

Linear time has been assaulted from every angle in the not-too-distant “past” — scientific treatises from Stephen Hawking, anarchist broadsides from John Zerzan, and 1,300-page literary masterworks from Alan Moore have all taken a crack at the foundations of its crumbling edifice — but Cooper is taking a different tack, presenting a work of art that makes you feel your way toward a better, deeper, and yes, more accurate understanding of the ultimately undefinable force…

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What Hatches Out Of The “Space Egg”?

Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

Here’s the thing about Seattle cartoonist Kalen Knowles — yes, his stuff is frequently laugh-out-loud funny. And yes, some of it’s admirably and astonishingly weird. Anyone even mildly familiar with his work knows these things. What’s less remarked upon, though, at least as far as I can tell, is how — dare I invoke the term — heartwarming a whole lot of it is.

He’s also well-attuned to the perspective of the genuine outcast and outsider, the person (or, more often, creature) who simply doesn’t fit in, who stands apart, whose individuality can’t really be subsumed under layers of “going along to get along” deliberate obfuscation. Combine that sympathetic understanding with that penchant for the — again with the dread word — heartwarming, and the results can be pretty special, indeed. Example number one of this was Journal, the innovatively-told story of Atticus the squid boy previously reviewed…

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You’re The Top!: Eleanor Powell Was BORN TO DANCE (MGM 1936)

cracked rear viewer

Dancing masters like Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, and The Nicholas Brothers all agreed… Eleanor Powell was the tops! The 24-year-old star made a big splash in MGM’s BROADWAY MELODY OF 1936, and the studio quickly followed up with BORN TO DANCE, showcasing Eleanor’s tap-dancing prowess in a fun musical-comedy-romance featuring a cavalcade of stars, and an original score by Cole Porter. Yep, Leo the Lion was going big on this one!

The plot’s your typical Boy Meets Girl/Boy Loses Girl/Boy Wins Girl Back fluff, this time around concerning submarine sailors in port and the babes they chase after. Nora Paige (Eleanor) enters the Lonely Hearts Club (no, not Sgt. Pepper’s! ) looking for work as a hoofer (“You don’t use a fan?”, says wisecracking Jenny Saks, played by wisecracking Una Merkel ). Nora shows what she can do in the hot number “Rap, Tap On Wood”, a joyous dance number…

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