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Friday, July 12, 2019

Random Realities 2019.07.12

So, where was I...

Wait, three posts in one week? Weird...

This time around, a look at a fanzine cover leads to some memories of the Inferior Five, a podcast recommendation, a Karen Berger interview leads to thoughts of doing a Vertigo retrospective series and a quick review of a rare streaming series that was better than I expected.

I've got an absurd amount of comics related magazines in my collection. Now, I'm sure that some people would say that more than one is an absurd number, but I have considerably more than that. As in over 500. A lot of them have pretty cool rarely seen covers, so I figured I'd post them every now and write a few words about the art or the artist or the characters.

This 1983 AMAZING HEROES cover is by Kevin Nowlan, and features the 1960s DC team the Inferior Five. Nowlan had been doing great work in the fan press for a while, and I think just starting to do some professional work at the time, and would go on to do some spectacular work both as a solo artist and as an inker (and even as a letterer, like the recently discussed MOONSHADOW). He hasn't posted in a while, but his blog is a treasure trove of rare images and process art.

For those unfamiliar with the characters, this was a super-hero parody series, featuring the children of some (invented for the series) retired golden age super-heroes who are pressured to enter into the family business, despite not quite having the powers or temperaments for it. Much chaos ensues, including several issues which make fun of those new super-heroes popping up across town at Marvel.

I was briefly excited when I saw The Inferior Five on a list of upcoming DC releases, but it turns out that it's a new revival that takes the name, but so far it appears nothing else, from the original concept. I might check out this new book sometime, since both Keith Giffen and Jeff Lemire have done work I've liked in the past, but I was briefly hopeful we were finally getting a reprint of the 1966-68 comics (three issues of SHOWCASE followed by a ten issue series) by creators E.Nelson Bridwell and Joe Orlando and other artists, including Mike Sekowsky and Win Mortimer. I've read about half of those, and really enjoyed them. Hopefully with the revival of the name maybe we'll see a reprint of the original, at least digitally. And hey, DC, if you're doing a reprint, I can recommend someone to draw a new cover...


I listen to quite a few podcasts these days, so I think I'll start posting my podcast episode recommendation of the (day) (week) (month) (however often I end up posting). My choice for this time is Punch Up The Jam episode 78 with regular (for now) hosts Demi Adejuyigbe and Miel Bredouw and guest Matt Belknap discussing and the 1990 song "Poison" by Bell Biv DeVoe. This is kind of full circle since I first heard of Adejuyigbe when he appeared on the Belknap co-hosted Never Not Funny, and started listening to Punch based on a mention on NNF.

The high concept of the podcast is that the hosts (usually but not always with a guest) discuss a song in ridiculous depth, and then one or both of the hosts debuts a cover/parody of the song that usually comments on some problematic or ridiculous aspects of the song, or just goes off on some random silly tangent.

It's always an enjoyable show, but this was an especially good episode. Belknap has an interesting history with the song, and he's got a lot of experience talking at length about trivial topics into a microphone. And this particular song is much more ridiculous than I was aware, having never really listened to the lyrics, and Adejuyigbe delivers a perfect punch up.

There's some interesting stuff in this interview with Karen Berger, proprietor of the Berger Books line and founder of the soon-to-be-retired Vertigo imprint at DC. She talks about some of the reasons that she left the Vertigo back in 2013, and how those reasons probably made the closing of the line inevitable, as well as about the current books she's working on.

I've been thinking a lot about the Vertigo line lately, which is kind of odd since I was never the most vociferous reader of those books. They did publish several books that I consider favourites, but I also couldn't get through a lot of their major books. The label was never a guarantee that I would like a book, but I think in the heyday of the line it was at least a signal that a book was worth taking a second look at, or sampling. Anyway, I was finding that there's a real lack of a solid resource about the history of the line and everything they published, so I've been toying with the idea of doing a series of posts on this weblog about the line, looking at the history leading up to the founding of the line, all of the books they published, what I though of them if I read them, or whether they look interesting enough to track down and read now, if they're even available (many have found homes at other publishers). Eventually I'd like to even talk about the reasons for the end of the line, and some of the things spawned by it (several publishers/imprints in addition to Berger Books are currently run by former key Vertigo editors).

Anyway, something I've been thinking of. Not sure if I'll actually do it, and how far I'll get if I try, but we'll see.

One of the better TV shows I've watch recently was "Dead To Me", available on Netflix, which was a pleasant surprise. I didn't have high expectations based on the premise, a recent widow being befriended at a support group by a woman with a dark secret, but I heard some good things about it. And I thought I kind of guessed the secret early on, and was dreading it. Then it turned out to be something else. Then it turned out to also be what I thought in the first place. And then I thought maybe it didn't. And it turns out it did. Maybe. Anyway there are quite a few twists and turns, and I kept expecting it to veer off, but it remained interesting right up to the end (fortunately it's only 10 episodes, usually around 30 minutes, so it doesn't suffer the streaming series mid-season bloat all too common in 2019). I was glad to hear that it was renewed for a second season, which I was not expecting all through the first.

Okay, that's a wrap. I introduced a few of the recurring things I hope to do here in the future. If anyone is still reading, feel free to let me know if any of them are especially appealing to you.

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