Saturday, March 27, 2021
Wednesday, March 24, 2021
Sunday, March 14, 2021
Back in the 1960s, there were quite a number of amateur comic books being published and sold through the mail. Some of them were surprisingly good and had artwork by folks who went on to be professionals. In the past decade or so, there has been a resurgence of small press comic books, but these days they are much more sophisticated and professionally done. Mimeographed covers and black and white insides have been replaced with computer-colored slick paper pages and the derivative fanboy tales have given way to some highly original premises and stories.
I’ve reviewed a number of these comics on FORCES OF GEEK and yet they remain largely under the radar.
Last time I checked, few if any of these new comic books are listed in Overstreet or online price guides and that’s a shame because they tend to be more original than anything from Marvel or DC has been in years.
Today’s case in point is Double Cross. Double Crosscomes from Warden Comics and is written by Ludie Sexton with art by Ken Krekeler. It’s the first issue of a planned alternative history epic that postulates what might have happened had aliens made first contact in Nazi Germany at the Berlin Olympics of 1936.
Krekeler’s artwork is stark and violent and reminds me at times of the best work of Frank Miller or Tim Sale. His layouts are impressive and the inspired use of abstract color in splatters and splashes here—one of my favorite talking points in many recent reviews—works to create many stylish effects including the rain in the opening scene.
Sexton’s plot has the alien Prometheus—so named by Adolf Hitler—giving powers to the winners of the various Olympic events. Thus American Jesse Owens (unnamed but clearly him) becomes a super speedster. But Hitler makes sure his athletes win overall, with the idea of making them super soldiers for his impending war.
This, we find, is actually all being relayed to a therapist in modern day by our hero, an ex-German spy who was present that day and intercepted the powers meant for the final winner, after which he could not be killed. That hasn’t prevented other super-powered characters from attempting to do so over the years, though. He takes the name of Aesir.
The dialogue in Double Crossis well-written and reasonably realistic and both the writer and artist mesh nicely to create that elusive cinematic effect that comics artists always seem to strive for. The highly visual scenes such as the alien ship’s arrival, Prometheus revealing his true self, Hitler murdering the hero’s wife, and Aesir standing proudly at the end, are all straight off a movie screen.
Like many first issues, Double Cross# 1 is all set up, but if the goal of such first issues is to make one want to come back for more, Sexton and Krekeler have succeeded admirably.
As I said, there are a LOT of these new comic books that fly under the radar. They look almost professional these days because they really ARE professional. See if you can find them. This one found me and I’m glad it did.
You can grab a copy here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/wardencomics/double-cross-1?ref=project_link
Video games I knew. I had gotten my first Atari console way back in 1981! But outside of a few illicit rounds of playing WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT on our receiving computer at Waldenbooks (which ceased when we were informed all of our game playing was also going on the daily back up tape we had to send in) and a four year old girl Rene and I were babysitting trying to teach us LEISURE SUIT LARRY (a game she knew FAR too much about!), I had never played a computer game.
1995 found us living briefly with my mother-in-law, in my wife's old room, which had her old computer--a Commodore 64! One night, when I couldn't sleep, I got up and figured out how to turn it on. There were several game boxes nearby and I opted to try the intriguingly titled: LEATHER GODDESSES OF PHOBOS.
This was, of course, a 1980s game and most games at that time were text-based, with Dungeonmaster-style "choose your own adventure" instructions. Maybe it was my lack of sleep, but I never did figure this one out or get anywhere particularly interesting. Here, though, from the Internet, I present what the game was SUPPOSEDLY about!
Sunday, March 07, 2021
Earle Doud was always a funny guy, one of those behind the hilarious FIRST FAMILY record albums of the early 1960s that starred Vaughn Meader and spoofed the quirks of JFK and his family and Administration. A side effect of the Kennedy assassination was that Meader's career was pretty much killed, too.
For his part, Doud spent years attempting to find gold again with another political humor LP. This resulted in some good and funny efforts, but none anywhere near the mega-success of the FIRST FAMILY LPs.
This one, with its lovely Hirschfeld covers, I had not heard of, though. The Internet Archive offers "excerpts" but they aren't even whole lines in many cases, let alone whole album cuts. As of this writing, though, one can hear the entire album on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watchv=lwAYE8wu8Ws
A spoof of the omnipresent Dr. Henry Kissinger, check out the names involved in this, starting with a rare lead role for the great Kenneth Mars. Mel Blanc, Joan Gerber, Leigh French, Frank Welker, Chuck McCann, Kim McGeorge, Rich Little, Jesse White, and even Peter Fonda!