Catching Up With “Ley Lines” : Gloria Rivera’s “Island Of Elin”

Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

At first glance, issue number 20 of the Czap Books/Grindstone Comics series Ley Lines, Gloria Rivera’s Island Of Elin, is one of the most narratively straight-forward entries into this ever-developing “canon” — I mean, for the most part, it looks and reads very much like a “standard” (whatever that even means anymore) comic book. But don’t let its appearance deceive you — this is every bit as multi-faceted and interpretative a work as we’ve come to expect from these books.

Incorporating, as these things do, a variety of non-comics influences, Rivera — who is a uniquely perceptive and emotive cartoonist, using an economy of lines to communicate a wealth of visual fact and feeling — leans into the works of Jean Audubon, John Muir (especially), and the so-called “Hudson Valley painters” to tell the story of Plover the bird, his friend who’s on their last legs (err —…

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Catching Up With “Ley Lines” : Diana H. Chu’s “Trance ‘N Dance”

Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

All that glitters may not be gold — but Diana H. Chu’s Trance ‘N Dance, number 19 in the Czap Books/Grindstone Comics visual poetry series Ley Lines, is — although the riso printing doesn’t, in fact, glitter. So where does that leave us, besides with an admittedly gorgeous-looking mini?

I’m still in the process of answering that question myself, but there’s no question that Chu has created a de facto visual “museum guide” like no other here. The rub is that the exhibit that she’s offering up for display has a lot more to do with many more things than the book’s back-cover blurb would perhaps, at first glance, lead one to believe — but that may not be a bad thing. It’s up to you decide — it always is with this series, that’s one of the best things about it — so consider my role here…

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Five Guns To Tombstone (1960, directed by Edward L. Cahn)

Outlaw Matt Wade (Robert Karnes) escapes from prison and rejoins his old gang.  They ride out to Tombstone, Arizona, stopping off at the ranch of Matt’s brother, Billy Wade (James Brown).  Billy used to be an outlaw but eventually he hung up his guns, settled down, got married, and now he’s raising Matt’s teenage son, Ted (John Wilder).  Ted, who thinks that his father has just been paroled, is excited to see Matt but Billy doesn’t want Ted being led into a life of crime.  When Matt and the gang rob a bank, they frame Billy for the crime.  With the townspeople looking to lynch him and Ted drifting towards the wrong path in life, Billy has no choice but to pretend to be a part of the gang until he can dig up the evidence to clear his name.

If this sounds familiar, thank you for reading yesterday’s review of Gun Belt.  Released seven years after Gun Belt, Five Guns To Tombstone tells the exact same story as Gun Belt and, in many case, it features the exact same dialogue.  The only difference is that some of the names have been slightly changed.  The gang leader in Gun Belt was named Ike Clinton.  In this Five Guns To Tombstone, his name is Ike Garvey.  Billy Ringo becomes Billy Wade and Wyatt Earp because Marshal Sam Jennings.  Otherwise, it’s pretty much the exact same film.

Which one is the better film, Gun Belt or Five Guns To Tombstone?  Both films have plenty of two-fisted, gun-slinging action and a good cast of western character actors but I’d probably have to give the edge to Five Guns To Tombstone because John Wilder is more convincing in the role of the outlaw’s son than Tab Hunter was in Gun Belt.  Tab Hunter was young and callow and annoying but John Wilder is the type of confused kid that anyone could relate to.

Five Guns To Tombstone was one of the 9 films that Edward L. Cahn directed in 1960.  As with most of Cahn’s films, the action seems rushed but that’s appropriate for the story that Five Guns To Tombstone is telling.  (It’s also understandable.  When you’re directing 9 films a year, you don’t have the luxury of taking your time.)  Like Gun Belt, this is hardly a classic but western fans should enjoy it.

The Flirtatious Covers of Flirt

Flirt Magazine was one of the many pin-up magazines that Robert Harrison published during the 40s and the 50s.  Flirt was typical of the magazines of the era.  It would feature articles about starlets along with pictorials featuring New York models.  Basically, everything that you needed to know about the magazines, you could learn from the covers.

Below are a few of the flirtatious covers of Flirt!

by Peter Driben

by Peter Driben

by Peter Driben

by Billy DeVorss

By Winer (?)

by Peter Driben

by Peter Driben

by Peter Driben

by Peter Driben

4 Shots From 4 Films: Special Guy Hamilton Edition

4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking!

98 years ago today, the British director Guy Hamilton was born.  Though Hamilton rarely seems to get as much credit as Terence Young, he was one of the most important of the early James Bond directors.  With Goldfinger, he set the template the many subsequent Bond films would follow: an over-the-top villain, nonstop action, and one liners.  (“No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die.”  Not to mention, “I must be dreaming.”)  Hamilton went on to direct Sean Connery’s final Bond outing and he also directed the first two films to star Roger Moore as 007, all three of which are rather underrated in my opinion.  Guy Hamilton’s Bond films reminded us that James Bond’s cinematic adventures work best when they’re fun to watch, which is something that I think the modern Bond films would be well-served to consider.

In honor of Guy Hamilton’s contributions to my favorite film franchise, here are….

4 Shots From 4 Films

Goldfinger (1964, dir by Guy Hamilton)

Diamonds are Forever (1971, dir by Guy Hamilton)

Live and Let Die (1973, dir by Guy Hamilton)

The Man With The Golden Gun (1974, dir by Guy Hamilton)

Music Video of the Day: No Sleep by Jessie Frye (2020, dir by Jessie Frye)

Jessie Frye is a singer from my hometown and personally, I think she definitely deserves to be better known.  So, as a part of my humble attempt to spread the word, here is her just released video for No Sleep.  This video has a new retro feel (it’s deliberately filmed to make it look like something you might stumble across on an old VHS tape) and it has a lot of nice shots of the Dallas skyline, which is something that I really appreciated.  You can always tell that a video’s been shot in Dallas when the Bank of America Plaza appears in all of its neon green glory.

Getting no sleep in Dallas?  That’s something to which I can relate.