Tagged: Bugs Bunny

Martha Thomases: So This Is Thanksgiving

Bugs Bunny“When I’m worried and I can’t sleep

I count my blessings instead of sheep

And I fall asleep counting my blessings”

“Count Your Blessings” by Irving Berlin

Next week is Thanksgiving, and so I’m trying to remind myself that I have many reasons to be thankful. First, of course, I am grateful for my family and my friends (human and otherwise) who make my life so entertaining.

But you didn’t come here to read about how fabulous my life is. You want to read about comics. And so, I present to you, Constant Reader, those things about comics for which I am most grateful.

  • Image Comics. Back in the 1990s, I agreed with the founding principles of Image (creator ownership and control) but didn’t really like what they published, which to me looked like a lot of scratchy drawings of women with gigantic tits and tiny little ankles. Now, however, I find myself buying a few Image titles every week. Was I wrong in my original impression? Maybe. Are they publishing a more diverse list now? Definitely. In any case, they provide me with more joy.
  • Boom! Studios. I confess that I originally mostly picked up the Boom! titles when Mark Waid worked there, because I strive to be loyal. He is no longer editing their books, but they publish a lot of things I like. I told you how much I like Americatown. I started Last Sons of America and that looks promising, too. They publish lots of cool stuff, including Last Sons of America, Adventure Time, Lumberjanes, and Mouse Guard. You could do worse.
  • Forbidden Planet. I am fortunate enough to live in a place where there are many different comic book stores near my home, and a high percentage of them are excellent. However, for more than three decades, Forbidden Planet has been the one I go to most often. A lot of that is location (they are near the subway station that goes where I need to go on Wednesdays), but I also like the vibe. When I go, I’m greeted by name. The folks at the check-out know I want a paper bag, not plastic. They recommend books they think I’ll like. Some people have a favorite bar where everybody knows their names. I have Forbidden Planet. I hope you have a local comic shop that makes you feel just as special.
  • Kids. Every day, there are opportunities to turn kids on to the fun of comic books. After I get my stack on Wednesdays, I go to the hospital where I volunteer on the pediatric floor. I’m there to teach knitting, but there are some kids who don’t want to knit. If I have a Simpsons comic or another age-appropriate title with single-issue story, I’ll often give it away. Every child, even those without hair or with a port in his chest, lights up in beauty with a glorious smile at the sight of a new comic.
  • The revenge of the nerds. Sometimes I wonder if comics are really mainstream now, or if I simply live a life in which that can pass for truth. But, really, there is at least one television show based on a comic book on prime time just about every day. “Superhero” is now a movie genre, one taken (mostly) seriously by respected film critics. The New York Times Book Review publishes best-seller lists for graphic novels in hardcover, paperback and manga formats. Comics are now so respectable that parents try to make their kids read them.
  • Comics! Let’s not forget how great they are. Even when I’m irked by some current controversy and what it means about our sociopolitical climate, I still love the feeling of sitting down to a fresh stack of comics, with my cat purring next to me on the armrest.

And, as always, I’m thankful for you and your indulgent attention. Happy holidays, folks.

Martha Thomases: Party Time!

I’m having a hard time focusing this week. See, Sunday is my annual Hanukkah party, and I’m in a tizzy making sure that I have enough food for my guests. My parents taught me that if I don’t have leftovers, I didn’t get enough. I don’t know how many people are coming.

Which is complicated even after the food is ordered. There’s the entertainment.

There was a time when I had a day job and most of my friends had day jobs, and we’d see each other at the various office parties we attended. In my time, I’ve attended holiday parties at DC and at Marvel. Both were fun. Maybe I wasn’t looking hard enough, but I never saw any of the shenanigans associated with office parties. No one was photocopying his naked butt. No one was having sex in a closet, or in a desk piled with coats. Nobody even vomited in a public place. Everyone was aware that while this was a party, it was a party on the job, and no one was going to be too embarrassed to come back to work in the morning. At least not that I saw.

Those days are gone. People don’t have permanent jobs so much anymore, and those that do either don’t have parties or have tougher security so I can’t get in.

Which is fine. I mean, my favorite thing about my party is the mix of people. There are my friends from high school, from the neighborhood, and from knitting. There are people I know from the peace movement and from freelance journalism and from comics. Sometimes some of my son’s friends show up, which makes me feel like the cool mom.

It is the mix that entertains me. I like to see who clicks and who doesn’t. Naturally, because I honor my inner eight-year-old, I then wonder what it would be like if superheroes had holiday parties.

When Clark and Lois (I like to think they’re still married) host a tree-decorating party, does Bruce Wayne come? Does Guy Gardner? I like to think so. If they do, how are they introduced?

For that matter, when Tony Stark has a party, does he invite Bruce Wayne? They would seem to travel in the same circles. Holiday parties are the perfect place to plan new corporate strategies. Lex Luthor would probably have to be there, and I’m sure Stark Industries does enough business with the federal government to have a relationship with various embassies. Wonder Woman would certainly have to be invited.

A lot of superheroes know intergalactic aliens. Does this make catering more difficult? I don’t think there is any reason to believe that a Kree or a Dryad or Martian can eat, much less digest food from Earth. And what does that do to the plumbing? Is that covered by home-owners insurance?

I would bet the Guardians of Oa (not the Galaxy) have an etiquette book that answers these questions.

Any party is improved with a touch of the unexpected. Certain characters, not born in comics but occasional residents, should be welcomed. Bugs Bunny, Yogi Bear, Dobie Gillis, Jerry Lewis – these are folks who add spice to the mix. And they would be someone for the Angel and the Ape to talk to.

Would any of these parties be as much fun as mine? I doubt it.

Have a wonderful Hanukkah party, folks. I wish you the most landings on gimmel.


Dennis O’Neil: Disney, Woody and Me

Dennis O’Neil: Disney, Woody and Me

A week or two back, our own media goddess, Martha Thomases, observed that in real life Walt Disney was not the debonair and avuncular presence he wanted us to think he was. I’d heard rumblings over years, now and then, that Walt was guilty of anti-Semitism and racism and maybe sexism and that he was chummy with Nazis. I noted these rumors and then, no outrage, no anger – I pretty much forgot them.

But why didn’t I get upset? It might have been because I wasn’t a Disney fan. What he was selling was not high on my shopping list. In fact, I’m only a casual consumer of animation, which may seem odd, given how I’ve earned my living for the past half-century or so: all those comic books…

But at least the cartoons in comic books have the decency to stand still.

Understand, I don’t hate animation. I remember thinking highly of Mighty Mouse when I was in elementary school, and when Bugs Bunny appeared on my neighborhood movie screen, I enjoyed a few funny minutes. And today, I consider The Simpsons and Family Guy pop culture treasures, though I probably respond more to the writing and voice acting in those shows than to the (bouncing/hopping/jiggly) images. I could even enjoy Donald Duck and his pals. But if the Disney empire had never existed, my life would not be impoverished.

So Uncle Walt was a stinker? Well, that’s regrettable, but many things are, and I have no emotional investment in Mr. D.

That’s not true of every entertainer.

When the Woody Allen’s shenanigans with his step-daughter, Soon Yi Previn, became public knowledge, I had a twitch of distaste, because, no doubt about it, I liked Woody as a comedian, a writer, an actor, and most all, as a film maker. I’ve liked him ever since I first saw his young self do standup, probably on a black-and-white television screen, and I’ve liked and admired him ever since. The Soon Yi business? Yeah, that was regrettable. But since Woody and Soon Yi did not share DNA, no real, biological, incest was involved, and Woody did do the honorable thing and marry the lady. To quote my favorite line from Shakespeare: “Use every man after his desert and who shall ‘scape whipping?”

But now, on the occasion of Woody’s receiving a lifetime achievement award, his son, Ronin, and Ronin’s mother, Mia Farrow, claim that he once molested a seven-year-old. Sexual exploitation of children is hard to forgive, especially when it’s done by someone with whom you identify – one of your heroes. The Soon Yi affair was ugly; molesting children is monstrous.

I try not to judge anyone. But don’t expect to see me at the next Woody Allen movie.




SATURDAY: Back to our normal schedule with Marc Alan Fishman


Buck Rogers Blasts Back To DVD in 2012

Buck Rogers Blasts Back To DVD in 2012

Coming to DVD 01/24/2012

According to www.tvshowsondvd.com, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century – Scaled-Back DVD Set announced with the Fan-Favorite 1st Season. The 6 single-sided disc package will be available in late January 2012.

Blast off to the 25th century with Buck Rogers, one of the most popular sci-fi heroes of all time! When 20th century astronaut William “Buck” Rogers (Gil Gerard) is awakened – 500 years after a deep space disaster! – to an Earth in recovery from nuclear war, he must join Colonel Wilma Deering (Erin Gray) against a galaxy of evil from the past, present and faraway future. Now with all 21 action-packed Season One episodes of the epic series the Associated Press called “razzle-dazzle good fun,” and featuring phenomenal guest stars including Jamie Lee Curtis and Julie Newmar, you can join these legendary intergalactic crime fighters for an adventure you won’t forget!

Season 1 cast

In 2004, Universal Studios Home Entertainment released a DVD set of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century – The Complete Epic Series, a 5-disc package (all double-sided DVDs) with the complete 2-season run of the show (32 episodes, including 5 double-length special episodes). The two seasons of the program were very different from each other, with the first 21-episode run (including 3 double-length installments) being based on Earth and having Buck, Wilma, and ambuquad robot Twiki (Felix Silla, The Addams Family‘s “Cousin Itt” and voiced by Mel Blanc, of “Bugs Bunny” fame) getting their mission directions from Dr. Elias Huer (Tim O’Connor) and the disc-like computer carried by Twiki, Dr. Theopolis (voiced by Eric Server, B.J. and the Bear). The opening credits were narrated by William Conrad (Cannon, Jake and the Fatman, and narrator on The Fugitive).

The second season (11 episodes, with the first two of them being double-length stories) had Buck, Wilma, and Twiki relocated to deep space, on board the starship Searcher, where they were led by Admiral Asimov (Jay Garner) and joined by Dr. Goodfellow (Wilfrid Hyde-White), the alien Hawk (Thom Christopher), and “superior” robot Crichton (voiced by Jeff Davis). This season was much less loved by fans, and likley has been most memorable for the (in)famous “off-think” scene (do a web search for that, if you’re not familiar with it). Since it was relatively short, however, Universal included it in their “Complete Epic Series” DVD release 7 years ago…a collection which is still officially in print as of this writing, and lists for $26.98 SRP. However, it’s become much harder to find than it used to be.

Universal has announced that on January 24, 2012 they will release Buck Rogers in the 25th Century – Season 1, a collection of JUST the original Earth-based season with Dr. Huer, Dr. Theopolis. It also includes a galaxy of guest stars that include Pamela Hensley, Henry Silva, Roddy McDowall, Buster Crabbe, Jack Palance, Tim Robbins, Cesar Romero, Frank Gorshin, Markie Post, James Sloyan, Peter Graves, Jamie Lee Curtis, Gary Coleman, Ray Walston, Michael Ansara, Dorothy Stratten, Morgan Brittany, Thomas “Hollywood” Henderson, Mary Woronov, Anne Lockhart, Dennis Haysbert, Jerry Orbach, Judy Landers, Julie Newmar, and Vera Miles. These 21 episodes running 1166 minutes come on 6 single-sided DVDs, presented in full screen video, English mono sound, and with subtitles in English, French and Spanish. The original complete series release had no bonus material, and similarly there have been no extras announced for this title, either. Before anybody asks about a Blu-ray version, we’ll just point out that nothing at all has been said by the studio about a high-def disc release of this show. Cost for the Season 1 DVDs are $24.98 SRP and you can pre-order it from Amazon currently for $20.

MIKE GOLD: These Comics Really Suck Because…

Wow. I’m sure gonna piss a lot of my friends off. Please don’t take this personally. It has nothing to do with your skill, your judgment, or your personal predilections. It’s just my opinion, one that is somewhat contradicted (only somewhat) by sales figures. Here it comes, folks.

When it comes to comics, licensed property tie-ins suck.

Okay, this isn’t an across-the-board opinion. There are exceptions. Archie Goodwin and Walter Simonson’s adaptation of Alien comes to mind. That was, let’s see, back in 1979. Remember Sturgeon’s Law? Ninety percent of everything Ted Sturgeon wrote is crap? Or something like that. My rule of thumb regarding entire genres is this: if you’re doing about five points worse than Ted Sturgeon’s Law, you suck.

There are solid reasons behind this blather. First, any group of talented creators – say, roughly, enough to fill Yankee Stadium – would not create what you see in a tie-in comic book if left on their own. Characters, concepts, designs, interrelationships, plots – they all would likely be… original.

Second, the characters, concepts, designs, interrelationships, and plots created for movies or teevee or toys were created for that particular medium. Transferring them to another medium requires sacrificing a degree of nuance that makes the source material unique. The timing of an actor’s performance that is used to establish character does not come across in comics; the artist is likely to get that bit across visually, but in the process he or she is changing the character.

Third, you can’t change the direction of anything. In a medium that for 25 years has been nothing other than constant change, the concepts of the licensed comic book are set in stone. The reader quickly realizes that any original character that might be introduced is likely to be killed off, and killed off in realistic terms – as opposed to the “death is completely meaningless” approach used in comics. Worse still, if the character works the licensor is likely to take it and use it in their own movies, shows, merchandising and whathaveyou – and the comics creators who thunk it all up ain’t gonna see a penny.

Finally, creators work with editors, some of whom are great (hiya, folks!), some less than great, and others couldn’t sort out a pack of Necco wafers if the candy was numbered. Editors work with editorial directors and editors-in-chief and publishers and if they’re any good they fight with the marketing department or at least try to wake them up. But when it comes to licensed properties, you’ve got the owners licensed products people to deal with. Not only do they not know comics, they usually do not know the properties they administrator. Case in point:

The idiot who passed judgment on DC’s Star Trek titles was so bad, if writer Peter David and editor Bob Greenberger flew out to Los Angeles and murdered the son of a bitch, I would have gone to great lengths to establish a solid alibi for them. Probably one involving a Mets game… but I digress. Here’s another.

Writer Joey Cavalieri plotted a Bugs Bunny mini-series that was, in my opinion as editor, as brilliant as it was hilarious. Stunningly brilliant. We sent it to the West Coast for the Warner Bros. studio approval. They hated it so much their Grand Imperial Klingon in charge of toothbrush licenses flew out to New York to cut me a new asshole. Unfortunately for editorial coordinator Terri Cunningham, this nuclear holocaust happened in her office.

The Mistress of All Things Looney started pointing out the good stuff we couldn’t do. Daffy Duck couldn’t issue spittle. Porky Pig couldn’t stutter. Tweety Bird couldn’t be a host on BTV, the all-bird watching network. Foghorn Leghorn couldn’t own a fast-food franchise. Bugs couldn’t be so manipulative. Hello? Anybody home? This is Looney Tunes we’re talking here!

I politely pointed out these were either long established character bits that started in the theaters in 1940 and continued on television to that very day. I said the Tweety and Foghorn bits were satire.

Looney Tunes are not about satire!,” she screamed.

I saw poor Terri Cunningham in my peripheral vision. She looked like she was desperately trying to gnaw her way out of her own office. I said “Answer me this one question. Have you ever actually seen any of the Looney Tunes cartoons? Ever?” I turned on my heel and walked back to my office.

Here’s the worst part. My story is not in the least bit atypical. Not at all. It’s not even the worst I can tell you.

So when it comes to comic books, there’s a creative challenge to doing licensed properties and I’d take on some of those challengers as long as the licensor knows the property, but personally, I’d rather read something original.

THURSDAY: Dennis O’Neil

New Looney Tunes Look for Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and the rest of the gang

New Looney Tunes Look for Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and the rest of the gang

A new Looney Tunes television series is on the horizon, and the 80-year-old cartoon characters are getting another face lift. Jessica Borutski spent nearly two years redesigning the Looney Tunes characters for Warner Bros., saying, “I gave them slightly different proportions that
emphasize things I always
liked about the characters. An example is Bugs’ feet. I streamlined
them and made them bigger.” When the studio released the news about the upcoming cartoon series, along with promo art, many fans were in an uproar.

Borutski experienced a backlash of criticism and negativity towards her work. Many fans found the redesigns “desthpicable”, or as CartoonBrew.com put it, “embarrassing.” Although some people embraced the new style as being fun and more modern, the media’s attention has focused on the negative reactions to Borutski’s art. Pete Emslie, a freelance artist like Borutski and an admirer of her work, expressed his take on the situation in his blog: “If these designs were of brand new characters with no previous history
in cartoons, I believe that these images would be embraced by the
majority of animation fans and recognized for how appealing they are in
terms of graphic design and feeling of inner life and personality. The
problem of course is that these are the Looney Tunes characters, with a
long illustrious past… Most of us would rather that they not be
messed with…”


Of course you realize this means (holy) war…

Of course you realize this means (holy) war…

Apparently, some folks in San Diego are upset:

Looney Tunes Last Supper Parody Draws Complaints | Animation Magazine

A parody of Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper that features Bugs Bunny and the Looney Tunes gang on display at the Chuck Jones Gallery in San Diego has drawn a consistent stream of complaints.

The San Diego Union Tribune reports the painting titled The Gathering, created by Dallas artists Glen Tamowski and put on display a couple weeks ago, has drawn a number of angry telephone calls and unfriendly notes demanding the painting be removed.

I should consider myself lucky. My last supper in San Diego, there were a bunch of us, and somebody took a photo of me in the center of a long table, surrounded by twelve guys, and if you’ve seen what I look like with long hair…

Anyway, have more Easter stuff. And remember… keep smiling…!

ComicMix Quick Picks – March 10, 2009

Today’s list of quick items:

  • The Future Now: Science Fiction Set in 2009. From io9. All you Freejack fans, raise your hands. Yes, you, Kathleen David.

  • If you’ve always wandered the streets of Greenwich Village trying to find Dr. Strange’s loft, wondered which subway stop to get off at to get to Yancy Street, or tried to spot the Baxter Building in the New York Skyline, check out The Marvel Comics Guide to New York City . As the cover says," Whether you’re a native New Yorker, a thrill-seeking tourist, or a curious armchair traveler, with this one-of-a-kind guide you can explore the city that never sleeps and the comics that live forever." You know you can trust it — the book’s even at the Museum of Modern Art bookstore.

  • If your taste in pop culture entertainment runs more towards Bugs Bunny, Tom and Jerry, and/or other animated furry friends, The Animated Bestiary takes a scholarly look at how  anthropomorphic animals have been used in film and cartoons to reflect human characteristics and behavior. So, the next time you’re watching Looney Tunes you can tell people you’re doing Serious Academic Ruminations on the Role of Anthropomorphism in Pop Culture. And you can feel like you’re Wile E. Coyote — super genius.

  • Genuine 19th century Vampire Killing Kits.

  • In case you’ve forgotten ‘Total Recall’, it’s getting remade. (Ye gods, it’s been almost two decades…)

  • What do the cartoon character "Pucca," the serialized drama "Princess Hours" and Stephen Colbert’s nemesis "RAIIIIN!" have in common? They’re all products of pop culture from Korea. Fans in the U.S. have known about Japanese pop culture imports for a while now, but there’s also a whole world of great comics, pop music, and other cool stuff just across the water in the Land of Morning Calm — and we’re not just talking about Margaret Cho and that hot guy from "Lost."  For more, page through the book Pop Goes Korea.  And if this book whets your appetite for Korean tchotchkes,  try some of the stuff from the Destination Seoul line of products from the Museum of Modern Art (can you guess where I spent some time this afternoon?) In particular, the Hwa-To Card Game is a fun way to pass the time, and much, much cheaper than Magic: the Gathering (though, I warn you, no less addictive!)

  • And finally, a belated 75th birthday to Del Close. It’s okay, he’s late himself.

Anything else? Consider this an open thread.

Bill Melendez: 1916-2008

Bill Melendez: 1916-2008

AP reports that Bill Melendez, the animator behind the great Peanuts cartoons and the voice of Snoopy and Woodstock, died of natural causes Tuesday in Santa Monica at the age of 91.

Besides Peanuts, Melendez also worked on Mickey Mouse cartoons and classic animated features such as Pinocchio and Fantasia for Disney, Bugs Bunny,Porky Pig and Daffy Duck shorts for Warner Bros., and "Gerald McBoing-Boing" for UPA, which won the 1951 Academy Award for best cartoon short.

Melendez was the only person Charles Schulz authorized to animate his characters.

And if you have to ask what it’s all about… well, here:

Mark Evanier, to no one’s surprise, has more about Bill Melendez.

Mark Millar, Steve McNiven and Grandpa Wolverine

Mark Millar, Steve McNiven and Grandpa Wolverine

Marvel recently announced plans to reunite Civil War writer Mark Millar and artist Steve McNiven on an upcoming arc of Wolverine that takes the "ol’ Canuknucklehead" years into the future to a post-Apocalyptic Marvel Universe.

In this interview with IGN, Millar discusses the connections between Clint Eastwood, John Constantine, Hulk and Wolverine that influence his upcoming eight-issue storyline.

According to Millar, the arc begins with a Wolverine that has sheathed his claws and sworn off violence, but quickly becomes one of the bloodiest tales he’s ever scripted – quite the claim, given the page-after-page killing spree of Millar’s last turn on Wolverine, the ultra-violent "Enemy of the State" storyline.

I do have a theory on this. It’s that the guys that tend to do the funny animal comics in real life are really, really creepy. –laughs- They’re always really creepy! You feel uneasy around them like they’re undressing you with their eyes or something, you know? Whereas the guys that do the really violent stuff are always quite normal and quite nice. So I think we get it out whereas those guys that sit around drawing Bugs Bunny all day, you just end up a pervert. –laughs-

Millar goes on to hint at some of the current and future-born characters that will be making cameos in the arc, including Hawkeye, Bruce Banner and… Spider-Bitch?

Millar explains:

You see Spider-Man’s granddaughter in it. She’s called Spider-Bitch.

Check out IGN for the rest of the interview, as well as several pages of interior art.