A Couple More For The Cat Lovers Out There : “Bernadette”

Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

Do your cats hate plants? Ours certainly do, to the point that we can’t keep them any more — plants, that is. As if you were even wondering. But the feline protagonist of cartoonist Lauren Barnett’s 2019 Tinto Press-published Bernadette takes plant hatred to a whole new level.

Okay, I’ll be the first to admit that this probably sounds like a threadbare premise to carry over the course of 42 pages, but it’s not like Bernadette just sits around stewing about her owner’s new houseplant the whole way through. Like any cat, she also likes to eat, sleep, jump around a bit, and — well, that’s about it. So, is all of that, then, enough to fill out 42 pages? I guess that’s the real question.

In the hands of most artists, the answer to that would, of course, be a pretty unequivocal “no,” but Barnett is a special…

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A Couple More For The Cat Lovers Out There : “Cat Friends, Bird Acquaintances, And Their Human Furniture”

Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

I like to think that I’ve reviewed some pretty interesting and unusual things in my time, but this one may just take the cake — not because cartoonist Kriota Willberg’s latest self-published mini (it came out in late 2019), Cat Friends, Bird Acquaintances, And Their Human Furniture is necessarily challenging either conceptually or technically, but because it’s well and truly one of those things that you sort of have to see to believe that it even exists, since at first glance one could be forgiven for assuming that any sort of readership for it, well, doesn’t.

Not that “readership” is the right word here exactly, given this is a small — and silent — “suite” of thematically-linked anatomical illustrations with a twist, but honestly, that’s neither here nor there. The main point I’m at least attempting to get at here is that the existence of a publication this specialized, this…

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The Woman Hunter (1972, directed by Bernard L. Kowalksi)

Recovering from a traffic accident and having being recently acquitted on charges of vehicular manslaughter, wealthy socialite Diane Hunter (Barbara Eden) heads down to Acapulco with her businessman husband, Jerry (Robert Vaughn).  Diane wants to get away from the publicity of her case and relax but all Jerry seems to care about is business.  When she meets another American named Paul Carter (Stuart Whitman), Paul presents himself as being an artist.  But as Paul seems to be growing more and more obsessed with Diane and Jerry, Diane becomes convinced that Paul may have more sinister motives.  Is Diane right or is she having another breakdown?

The Woman Hunter is a quickly paced made-for-TV thriller that would probably have worked better if the two men in Diane’s life had been played by different actors.  Stuart Whitman and Robert Vaughn were both good actors but they were also so often cast in villainous roles that, as soon as they appear, everyone will know better than to trust either one of them.  The film’s big twist can be guessed just by the fact that Robert Vaughn is playing Diane’s husband.

Whitman seems bored with his role while Vaughn does his usual sleazy businessman routine.  He’s good at it but it’s a role that he played so often that it’s impossible to be surprised when it’s revealed that he’s less than trustworthy.  Barbara Eden gives a good performance and is really the main reason to watch this movie.  After being typecast as a genie in a bottle, Eden goes out of her way in The Woman Hunter to show that she was capable of doing so much more and, for the most part, she succeeds.  She’s sexy, sympathetic, and does just a good enough job portraying Diane’s mental instability that it does at least seem believable that she could be imagining all of the danger around her.  (Or, at least, it would be believable if the men in her life weren’t all portrayed by veteran screen villains.)

The Woman Hunter is forgettable but it was shot on location in Acapulco so at least everyone involved got a nice trip out of the deal.

The Covers of Real Detective

The origins of Real Detective are obscure, as is the case with many of the oldest pulp magazines.  It’s believed that it started in 1922 as a magazine called Detective Tales and it was an all-fiction magazine.  However, when the publisher ran into financial trouble two years later, Detective Tales was sold to a new publisher who started to mix true crime with the short fiction.  The name of the magazine was changed to Real Detective Tales and Mystery Stories, which was certainly a mouthful.

Then, 1931, the name of the magazine was changed again, this time to just Real Detective.  The magazine’s format was now exclusively true crime and salacious scandal.  The new format proved popular enough that Real Detective ran until 1985.  Below are a few covers from the early days of Real Detective.  (Around 1954, Real Detective went from hiring illustrators to draw their covers to hiring photographers to take pictures of distressed-looking models.)  Where known, the artist has been credited.

by Alex Redmond

by Alex Redmond

by Alex Redmond

by Charles Wood

by Earle Bergey

Unknown Artist

Unknown Artist

Unknown Artist

Unknown Artist

Unknown Artist

Unknown Artist

Music Video of The Day: The Power by Snap! (1990, directed by Jonathan Bates)

The Power by Snap! was the first rap-based single to hit number one in the UK, as well as being a hit in the United States.  A lot of people got screwed over on the way to it achieving that honor.

First off, despite what many people undoubtedly thought when they first saw this video, neither rapper Turbo B nor singer Penny Ford were members of Snap!  Instead, Snap! was the project of two German producers, Michael Münzing and Luca Anzilotti.  Following the lead of the KLF, Snap! created songs by sampling other dance tracks and then hiring a singer to perform.  In the case of The Power, they sampled rapper Chill Rob G’s Let The Words Flow while the famous “I’ve Got The Power” line comes from Jocelyn Brown’s Love’s Gonna Get You.

After first trying to hire Chaka Khan to perform on the track, The Snap! settled for Penny Ford, who was Chaka’s main backup singer.  Ford flew out to the Germany and spent a few weeks recording her part of the song.  She also improvised a few lyrics in order to get a songwriter credit and to ensure that she would get paid for her contribution.

Not getting paid for their contributions were both Chill Rob G and Jocelyn Brown.  Brown wasn’t paid because, even though her vocal track was a key to the song’s success, she didn’t actually write the lyrics to Love’s Gonna Get You.  Chill Rob G wasn’t paid because, unlike Snap!, he didn’t have a huge record company to back him up.

When the song became a hit in Europe, Chill Rob G recorded his own version for release in the United States.  However, Snap! also recorded a version of the States but, instead of using Chill Rob G, they recruited a rapped named Turbo B.  Turbo B performed not only Chill Rob G’s original rap but he also added “I will attack and you don’t want that.”  Again, because Chill Rob G recorded an independent label while Snap! had Artisan backing them up, Snap’s version received considerably more promotion than Chill Rob G’s.  For example, Snap! got a music video to help push their version up the charts.

Turbo B appears in the video.  Penny Ford does not.  Instead, a woman named Jackie Hayes was hired to lip-sync to Ford’s vocals.  The video went into heavy rotation on MTV and the song became a huge hit, despite the fact that most listeners had no idea who was actually responsible for what they were hearing.  Though Snap! didn’t have many hits beyond this song, The Power is still regularly heard whenever a film or a television show has to establish that it’s taking place in the 90s.