The world is different now than it has ever been. More of my life is in the past than will ever be in the future, so looking back is really most of what is left to me.
I have a lot of good memories. In fact, my novels are mostly about those memories. But there has to be a bit of the bad memories too. There is no story without conflict. No life is lived and learned from if there has been nothing to battle against, nothing to overcome.
I hope we have learned something from the past few months. But experience has told me that we probably haven’t. We didn’t learn hard lessons before… as a species. It is more or less up to the individual to stay away from the pit traps the herd is heading towards.
But as we swiftly approach future troubles, we need to look once or twice into the rear-view mirror.
When I was a kid old enough to begin to see and interact with the real world in the tragic and magical 1960s, the first comic books available to me, long before my parents would allow me to pick up and buy Spiderman and Batman and (shudder) comics with monsters in them, were the kid-friendly comics of the Harvey Brothers.
Now, you have to understand that Harvey Comics had been around since the 1940s and made their money on characters licensed first from the Brookwood Publications company that Alfred Harvey bought out in 1941 to provide the building, equipment, and publishing personnel to start producing comic books.
Robert B. Harvey and Leon Harvey joined the company to help produce titles they now owned the rights too like Black Cat, the Shield, Shock Gibson, and Captain Freedom.
…………………………………………Of course, most of those characters didn’t last very long. Black Cat was the only title still being published by Harvey in the 1950s.
They would go on to license characters from Famous Studios, the animated cartoon works of Max Fleischer and his brother Dave. That’s when the kid- friendly, parent-approved comic books of Fleischer creations like Casper the Friendly Ghost opened up the world of comic books to seven-year-old Mickey circa 1963.
Now, it is probably obvious that there are many ways that Harvey Comics influenced me as a storyteller later in life. It goes without saying that my dedication to childish humor in stories derives from this comic-book source. The cuteness of characters is another necessity of comic storytelling gleaned from these ripe fields of baby faces. And stories advanced by magical means and absurd sidetracks also come from here. But did you ever notice that Casper and the other ghosts all perform in the nude? Yes, I think my childhood longing to be a nudist began with Casper’s naked adventures. But unlike Casper, my urges along those lines were suppressed and repressed by parents and society as a whole. So watching Casper and Spooky and Pearl (Spooky’s goilfriend) romp naked through comic book hijinks were a sublimated substitution for that childhood desire. (Sure, none of them had genitals, but it wasn’t about that.)
…………………………………………….Of course, there were many other Harvey characters to enjoy that actually did wear clothes. I was particularly fond of Hot Stuff because he made such an art out of burning things and being a bad kid and roasting the backsides of fools and hypocrites with his trident. And he only ever wore a fireproof diaper, so he was almost a nudist too.
There were many other characters licensed by Harvey as well, including Felix the Cat, Little Audrey, Baby Huey, and the characters from Walter Lance Studios like Woody Woodpecker, Andy Panda, and Chilly Willy.
So, now you know the true story of how my innocent childhood was warped and woven and corrupted by the characters of Harvey Comics.
The internet is a golden treasure chest with an attached bag of holding for me. In other words, a lot of the writing I do depends heavily on a resource that didn’t really exist until I was almost 40 years old. I save stuff from my eclectic surfing forays in computer files that tend to become amazingly complex garbage dumps. So today, I decided to sort one of them to go through stuff I thought might make an interesting blog post.
So, let me show you some of the treasures I have found that could become upcoming blog posts. I will go through the sorted files from July of 2018.
The Dragon Prince
This is a funny, fascinating, D&D-type adventure series from Netflix and the creators of Avatar, the Last Air Bender.
I have recently watched the entire first season, and love this show enough to write a gushing love-review.
Fresh Off the Boat
This is a show on regular TV, the ABC network. It is about an immigrant family originally from China. I think I am married to the spiritual twin of the lead female character, an obsessively controlling Asian wife who has to have her fingers in every single pie in the neighborhood.
It is chocked full of little things that are both bizarre and funny about Asian cultures being assimilated in this country. And the kids are cute and extremely talented.
Gene Colan was one of my favorite comic book artists in the 70’s and 80’s. I will probably do a more in-depth biography post on him in the future because he really helped me learn to draw in pen and ink. I copied his work from Daredevil, Howard the Duck, and Tomb of Dracula. But all of the work I will show you is done not by me, but by Gene.
This is the stuff that didn’t need its own folder.
This is one I might not be able to use and still maintain a mild R-rating. But I am, in fact, a member of the online nudist community.
This one was already turned into a good blog post.
Lovely bliss quotes Theodore Roethke Quotes
The Wizard of Ozz
It goes without saying, nobody can have too many Wizard of Oz pictures.
On my computer I keep a lot of picture files for inspiration both as an artist and a writer. One of those files is labeled simply the “Wrong File”. Everything in that picture file is in there for the wrong reason. Or does a wrong file need to be filled with the wrong stuff for the right reason? I don’t know. There is a lot wrong with this world. The fact that I am going to post stuff from the “Wrong File” is merely proof of that.
Liking Grumpy Cat posts on Facebook is an oxymoron of the lowest order. It is an example of what is wrong in the “Wrong File”.
Certain puns are just so wrong in a fundamental way. That’s right. They are both fun and mental. So that’s wrong.
As an educator I am aware that this thing we thought was true is now an untrue fact. That’s wrong also. My left brain tells me so. But my right brain tells me it feels right.
Yes, these things are wrong. Just wrong.
Why did I put this in here? This is not wrong. This is right. So I must’ve put it in the wrong file. So that’s all right, then.
Putting this in a file my wife could find on my laptop… Yes, that was wrong.
Saddle shoes have been wrong for many years now. I still draw them on the feet of kids, especially girls, especially school-age girls, and that is especially especially wrong because it means I am just too old and out of fashion.’
Boy! Is that wrong!
These things are all older than me, but I remember two of them. Is that wrong?
I’m not sure I believe this is wrong. So is that wrong? To believe that it is right, I mean? I’m probably wrong.
My wife constantly tells me I am wrong… about everything. And I probably am. So that is not right. And if you think that’s my wife in the picture, you would be wrong. She’s much larger than that in real life.
And many people find surrealism is wrong. Surreal is when you put wrong things together on purpose to make something that almost seems right.
So that’s what odd about the “Wrong File”, It is so wrong that it is right.
So, now that my imminent demise by lack of affordable health care is guaranteed, I decided to celebrate by Googling the words “Doom Looms”. The following collage of doom and oddities in image form is the result.
This is Dr. Doom, not Trump. Trump would never admit a flaw.
Stephen Hawking recently declared that we will not survive as a species if we don’t move off the planet Earth within the next 100 years.
North Korea is at least keeping Trump entertained.
I love clowns. I always have. When I was five I wanted to be a clown. Red Skelton is my personal hero and role model, the reason I became a teacher, to use my clown skills for good rather than evil. But sinister folks who think they are joking are seriously jeopardizing all of that.
In 1988 I did watch and enjoy the movie Killer Klowns from Outer Space. It was funny. And I liked Stephen King’s “It” as a horror movie. It was definitely scary. But 2016 has become the year of the creepy clown. Why would any idiot want to dress up in an expensive horror-clown mask and clown suit to wave at somebody’s security camera at two in the morning? And, Mr. Idiot, did you at least try to figure out if the homeowner was a gun owner in an open carry State? One of the recent clowns to be arrested turned out to be a teenage boy… you know, the ultimate planner and thinker-ahead-er.
I would like to propose that we prosecute a case or two of creepy clowns in the woods at night with a mandatory “How to Love a Clown” class. After all, clowns are a worthy thing. How many clowns over how many years have handed out candy to kids and brought a smile to small faces during a Fourth of July parade? How many circus clowns like the Great Emmett Kelly made us laugh with a pantomime routine? How many Shrine Circus clowns helped entertain us and raise money to fight childhood disease and cancer? Bob Keeshan who was Clarabell the Clown on Howdy Doody helped raise me and make me the person I am now as Captain Kangaroo. The real creepy clown crime is that they are taking the image of a clown, which is a very good thing and turning it into something bleak and horrifying. My purpose for this post is to remind you of the good things about the people under the face paint. I want you to remember a few of these.
Today, in view of ill health and brain pain, I will share with you some of the more picture-intensive thinking going on in my sick old artsy-fartsy brain. Less words equals less headache.
The subject today is Toonerville, the little town that once existed on my HO model train layout, and now lives on my bookshelves and even more-so in my imagination. I have a file of photos I made of it intending to composite them into backgrounds and details in photo-shopped cartoons.
Notice how one building from different angles can look like many different places.
And details can be cropped out so that a building can be placed over a background in a composite image.
Thus a lighted model becomes Bill Freen’s house in Toonerville.
And I have many of these buildings to experiment with.
Sometimes this blithering nonsense can actually be quite fun and productive.
Honestly, I built these things from kits or painted and repainted them decades ago… but they are a part of a place that I still live in.