“All-Time Comics : Zerosis Deathscape” #1 : I Love It When A Plan Comes Together

Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

We’ve certainly spent a lot of time dissecting Josh and Samuel Bayer’s All-Time Comics series on this site lately, and while I’m tempted to say something along the lines of “the beatings will continue until you buy this shit,” in truth I was doing some catch-up work in order to set the stage for the second “season” of this ever-evolving concept. The “zero issue” put out last month by Floating World Comics set the table, but now that All-Time Comics : Zerosis Deathscape #1 has arrived, it’s time for the main course. So — just how tasty is it?

The first few pages — a flashback sequence illustrated by the always-sublime Gabrielle Bell that ties the events of the “prequel” comic in with the series “proper” — are one visually-delicious appetizer, that’s for sure, but for old-time readers, it’s the main 1980s-set portion of the story, drawn by trailblazing “Big…

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“Teratoid Heights” : Mat Brinkman’s Unfettered Imagination, Unfurled For All

Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

As a critic — particularly a critic of “underground” and/or “avant-garde” comics — sometimes you’re called upon to attempt to describe the utterly indescribable. This is a good thing — at the very least it expands one’s vocabulary, sometimes even one’s consciousness — but it’s by no means an easy thing. And there’s no greater challenge than attempting to convey, in terms anyone can understand, something of the unique spirit, character, and aesthetic sensibility of Mat Brinkman’s comics.

One of the co-founders of Providence’s legendary Fort Thunder cartooning collective, Brinkman himself is something of an enigma these days, having abandoned comics for music and maintaining no online presence whatsoever, but his work is just as tantalizingly mysterious, and Hollow Books’ recent re-issue — in handsome cloth-bound and foil-embossed “Museum Editons,” no less — of two of his classic comic-strip collections, Teratoid Heights and Multiforce, offers audiences new and old…

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Celebrate the 4th of July With These Vintage Firework Ads!

It’s just not the 4th of July without fireworks so, here to help you get in the mood today, are some vintage, 20th century firework advertisements!  I think most of these are from the 50s and the 60s.

Have a safe and happy 4th of July!

New York 4th of July Parade, 1911

And, for those celebrating, please remember this safety tip: lay on ground, light fuse, get away!

One Hit Wonders #27: “Wipeout” by The Surfaris (Dot Records 1963)

cracked rear viewer

Kids all across America pounded their school desk tops in the 60’s and 70’s  (and probably still do!) imitating the hard-drivin’ primal drum solo of The Surfari’s “Wipeout”, which shot to #2 in the summer of 1963:

Ron Wilson based his riff on a simple paradiddle, a practice piece most anyone could do. Hell, even I can do a paradiddle, and I have NO musical talent whatsoever (as my good-ole-southern-boy dad used to say, “Son, you couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket!”). Only Wilson sped things up a few notches, aided by the twin guitar attack of Bob Berryhill and Jim Fuller, and Pat Connolly’s bubbling-under bass line holding the whole thing down.

At age 19, Wilson was the old man of The Surfaris – everyone else was sixteen years old when the song was recorded! “Wipeout” was first released locally in sunny Southern California as the ‘B’ side…

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Happy Independence Day!

Hi, everyone!

So, usually, whenever a holiday rolls around, Doc, the ennui-afflicted TSL Cat, writes a celebratory post.  Every year, I get people asking me how Doc, with his big paws and his lack of a formal education, can handle typing out a 500-word post.  And every year, I say the same thing: “Doc can do anything he puts his mind to!”

That said, I wanted to write today’s holiday post because I do have a very important message that I want to share with anyone who might be reading this.  I share this every year but, judging by the thunderous explosions and crackling bangs that kept me away last night, it needs to be said again.

First off, it’s great that you have fireworks but you know what?  You don’t need to shoot them off in your back yard!  GET OUT OF THE SUBURBS IF YOU’RE GOING TO SHOOT THOSE THINGS OFF!  Go out to the country and drink your beer and blow your hands off out there.  A few years ago, we actually had some drunken idiots who tried to shoot off fireworks in the middle of the street and it’s the closest I’ve ever come to calling the police on anyone.

Seriously, fireworks are fun and America’s great.  But neither one of those is an excuse for being a dick.

Secondly, remember that most animals aren’t going to be aware that today is Independence Day.  What we think of as being a celebration is going to sound like the end of the world to them.  Take care of your pets and make sure they’re safely inside tonight.  Doc’s probably going to spend tonight under my bed, as he often seems to do during the noisy holidays.  Fortunately, after about an hour, he forgets why he’s hiding and instead concentrates on trying to play tag whenever he sees my ankles.

Finally, the sounds of this holiday can bring back terrible memories for some people.  Please keep our veterans in mind before you try to make your neighborhood sound like a war zone.

So, I guess my 4th of July message is this: Be kind.  Be considerate.  Let’s be the best that we can be.

Happy 4th of July, everyone!

Music Video of the Day: Kids in America by Kim Wilde (1981, directed by Brian Grant)

Happy Independence Day, America!

For today’s music video of the day, we have Kim Wilde performing Kids in America.  This was her first single and one of two of Wilde’s singles to chart in the United States, the other one being her cover of The Supremes’s You Keep Me Hangin’ On.   (Wilde found more success in her home country, with 25 singles charting on the UK charts.) The song was written by Wilde’s father and her older brother, both of whom were fascinated by American youth culture.

The video, which finds Kim Wilde literally looking out a “dirty old window,” was directed by Brian Grant, who was one of the busiest music video directors of the 1980s.  He also did videos for The Human League, Squeeze, Queen, and Tina Turner.

Myself, I will always associate this song with stealing cars in Vice City.

The only thing better than stealing a golf cart is stealing a golf cart while listening to Kim Wilde sing Kids in America!