Cruising in Queens, Etc.
(This Stripped column originally appeared in the May 14-20, 1998 Long Island Voice. Click on the artwork for a larger image.)
by Beth Hannan Rimmels
A bunch of short notes this week, with stops at the library, your TV set, the silver screen and the comics shelves. We will return to our regularly scheduled reviews next week.
LOCAL BOY MAKES COMIC Howard Cruse, creator of the incredible Stuck Rubber Baby (Paradox Press, $14 paperback; $24.95 hardcover), will be part of a "homecoming" for neighborhood authors at 6:30 p.m. May 18 at the Jackson Heights branch of the Queens Borough Public Library, 35-51 81st St. If you haven't read Stuck Rubber Baby, you're depriving yourself of one of the most moving graphic novels ever created. Cruse's book is about Toland Polk's coming-of-age in Clayfield, Ala., during the civil-rights movement. Polk, a white boy, not only has several black friends at a time when that is considered "inappropriate," he's also in the closet. He has been trying to convince himself that he'll outgrow his homosexual urges with the help of his girlfriend, Ginger. It's a story that should be on the bookshelf of anyone who regularly argues that comics are about more than superheroes.
The authors will be reading from their works, which is tricky for graphic novels. But Cruse has done it other places with the help of a few strategic slides, so little should be lost in the process. Admission is free. Call 718-990-0706.
TOONING IN Fox is moving its comic book-related Saturday morning shows. Now, Sam & Max will air at 11 a.m. and the Silver Surfer at 11:30 a.m. If you haven't checked out the animated version of Sam & Max: Freelance Police, you should. The TV version of the Surfer is also a must-see, particularly for Jack Kirby fans. The animation style is lovingly based on his original renderings of the ultimate chrome-dome, with today's high-tech capabilities giving the spacey backgrounds some oomph.
HAMM IN According to Variety, Batman screenwriter Sam Hamm completed the script for Mad Monkey Press' Dark Town and has been approached by director Chris Columbus to try his hand at the delayed Fantastic Four movie. Hamm's a good writer, but considering his track record other writers making changes for the worse to his Batman screenplay, a never-produced Watchmen script I don't know whether that's good news.
GAL PAL Place your orders for Exhibit A Press' first original one-shot special, Wolff & Byrd's Secretary, Mavis ($2.95), which arrives in August. The title is a tribute to the old Superman spin-off titles like Superman's Pal Jimmy Olson. Mavis, as secretary to counselors of the macabre, regularly deals with ghosts, ghouls, goblins and the like. But in this special, she faces an even more terrifying prospect a marriage proposal. The issue will evoke Archie-style comics and the "gal" books of the 1940s and 1950s like Millie the Model. Besides the story, the issue will contain Mavis paperdolls by Barbie artist Barb Rausch and pinups by artists such as Terry Moore (Strangers in Paradise). "In coming up with the idea of this comic, I was definitely inspired by the great Dan DeCarlo," says Wolff & Byrd creator Batton Lash. "I've also always wanted to put Mavis in the spotlight." He's understandably reluctant to give away too many details, but former Brooklynite Batton shows Mavis' hometown of Astoria in the tale. Order before it's hot.
COMIC SHOW The Ramapo Comic Con XII will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sat., May 16, at the Ramapo High School, 400 Viola Rd., Spring Valley, NY. For a show sponsored by a high school comic book club, Ramapo consistently gets a lot of great guests. This year the list includes Barry Blair, Howard Cruse (Stuck Rubber Baby), Evan Dorkin (Milk & Cheese, Dork!), Sarah Dyer (Action Girl), Dave Cockrum (Uncanny X-Men), Joe Quesada (Ashe), Jimmy Palmiotti (Ashe), Lyman Daley (Max Repp), Fred Hembeck, Scott Roberts (Patty Cake), Amanda Conner (Vampirella) and many, many more. Walt and Louise Simonson and Ramona Fradon are tentative guests. Look, admission is only $1 and parents get in free with a paying 15 year old or younger attendee so it's worth a nice spring drive. For more information, e-mail RamapoCon@aol.com.
MEDIA CONNECTION HBO's excellent animated version of Todd McFarlane's Spawn returns with new episodes. The first one, "Home Bitter Home," airs at midnight Sat., May 16, (in other words, stay up late Friday night) with repeats 1 a.m. Mon., May 18, and 12:10 a.m. Thurs., May 21. There are more chances to catch if you get HBO2. Also of interest is an HBO special Animation, Anime and Spawn: Cartoons Just Grew Up, which looks at the Japanese animators who helped to develop Spawn airing 12:10 a.m. Tues., May 19.
On 'Nuff Said this week, hosts Ken Gale and Ed Menje talk with Paty Cockrum and Bernie Wrightson. The interview was recorded at New York City's Big Apple Convention earlier this year and was possibly the best panel they taped at the con. Paty was as outrageous, opinionated and informative as she ever is, which is saying quite a bit. Berni, one of the best and most influential artists in comics, was his usual insightful and informative self. Both told lots of stories and anecdotes about working in the industry. 'Nuff Said airs from midnight May 17 to 1 a.m. May 18 on WBAI-FM (99.5).
Column © 1998 Long Island Voice. Artwork © 1998 Exhibit A Press.