Monday, December 05, 2005


Happy Birthday! (12/5/05)

There's nothing really that I can write here that no one wouldn't already know. Perhaps the most famous man involved with animation of all time. How many other people's last name's are synonymous with fun?

So here's a "Wonderful World" of Happy Birthday to...

Mickey's dad would have been 104 today.

Saturday, December 03, 2005


(speaking of red headed actresses....)

Happy Birthday! (12/3/05)

Many remember her work in The Lost World: Jurrasic Park 2 or Magnolia or The Big Lebowksi or even The Hours, but for me, I'll never forget her lengthy full-frontal nudity scene in the excellent Short Cuts.

So here's a "no, she's the OTHER red headed actress" Happy Birthday to....

Amber Waves is 45 today.

Friday, December 02, 2005

More neat Lost stuff!

Here are a couple more of those neat little Lost stuff you may have missed:

Fellow cartoonist Robert Bienvenu pointed this out on the Captain Comics message board. From this excellent Adam Hughes Catwoman cover, note her prisoner number!

And check out this still from this week's episode.

Look who's on the television set at the recruiting office of Kate's father.

Lost is one of those rare TV shows that you actually have to watch to get it.


Happy Birthday! (12/2/05)

I guess we can forgive her for appearing in those LOUSY Charlie's Angels films, since she appeared (as herself and a robot of herself) on Futurama and as Madam Wu on The Simpsons.

Here's a "Kill Bill" Happy Birthday to...

The ex-girlfriend of Jerry Maguire is 37 today.

Thursday, December 01, 2005


Happy Birthday! (12/1/05)

If you can get past all the "marrying his step daughter" stuff and just focus in on his work, like Take the Money and Run and Sleeper and Love and Death and Annie Hall and Crimes and Misdemeanors and Radio Days and.... well you're not going to see a better collection of funny movies from anyone else.

So here's a "Do the Chameleon" Happy Birthday to...

The guy who wrote and performed one of the funniest stand-up bits ("The Moose Hunt") of all time, is 70 today.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Tis the season to see baboons...

It seems that every year that I'm scrambling about, for a decent idea for my annual customized Christmas Card. I'll usually kick around concepts and drawings, not be happy with any of them and finally come up with something I like, just days before the holiday! (and there's nothing more a printer likes to hear when you drop off artwork, "Uh... can I have this tomorrow?")

Well, not this year!!!

I actually liked the idea I came up with, while attending the SPX con in September, and finished the artwork this past weekend. It felt kind of weird, dropping off the artwork at the printers before the month of December, but I guess I was due to be early with the artwork (for at least once a decade, I guess.)

Since I'll be sending more cards out this year, as part of my promo work for Action Figure my new comic series, to comic shops and reviewers, I not only had to print hundreds of more cards but decided that a custom envelope would be appropriate.

I dropped off that artwork (along with the hundreds of blank envelopes) to the printers a few weeks ago and picked them up the other day.
Here's a close up of the Baboon Books logo in the upper left.

So who knows, if you're on my Christmas list, don't be surprised if you see this envelope in your mail box in the upcoming weeks.


Hmmmm.... must be "Theme Day" today.

Happy Birthday! (11/30/05)

In the early days of the 1980's and MTV (back when MTV used to run those things called... music videos, I believe they were called) he was at the top of the heap. Well, for a little while, anyway. With massive hits like White Wedding, Dancing With Myself and Eyes Without A Face you couldn't avoid him in those days. (I did see him during his Whiplash Smile tour when The Cult opened for him, great show!)

Here's a Mony, Mony Happy Birthday to.....

The former lead singer of Generation X is 50 today.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Really Good (with no Grief!)

Over the Thanksgiving holiday I was able to get some reading in (and help clear away the pile of "books to read" on my night stand). One I was looking forward to, and really enjoyed, was Volume 4 of The Complete Peanuts, covering the strips of 1957-1958.

I've mentioned before how great this reprint series by Fantagraphics has been, from the book designs by Seth, through the clean reproduction of strips that haven't been seen in over 50 years.

By this volume, Schulz has set upon a visual look for the characters that will stand through the next 40 plus years. Gone are the large "bobble-head-like" heads for the kids, they're now more proportioned and streamlined. As for the kids ages, both Lucy and Linus were introduced as tots but have now caught up to the rest of the gang. (well except Linus though, who will always remain a year behind, retaining his little brother status to Lucy).

Through the seventh and eight years the cast has settled with four dominating, main characters. Charlie Brown, Lucy, Linus and Snoopy (who' s begun to establish the hind-leg walking, highly imaginative character taking on forms of a vulture, polar bear and a penguin, that will make him the star of the strip.)

The supporting cast consists of Schroeder (seen mainly with Lucy at the piano and as the catcher on the ball team), Pig Pen (when a "dirt" joke is needed) Violet & Patty (who are virtually interchangeable by now, used only to taunt Charlie Brown) and finally Shermy. Shermy, who in the first year was a main character, second only to Charlie Brown, is seen now only in the background and in a non speaking role.

While these are great reads and are highly recommended (and I'll definitely continue to pre-order from Fantagraphics so as to get them when they come hot off the press) I'm still a bit skeptical of whether they'll finish the job, by reprinting the entire 50 year run of the strip. Fantagraphics no doubt does quality work but they have left us hanging before, by beginning classic comic strip reprint runs (Pogo and Little Orphan Annie) only to stop without warning.

Until then though, I'm looking forward to Volume 5 (1959-1960) which includes, among other things, the first Great Pumpkin story.


Happy Birthday! (11/29/05)

When he's tried a motion picture career his choices have been less than.....stellar. (Hurlyburly and What Planet Are You From?) But television, now that's another story.
He's had two excellent shows (It's Garry Shandling's Show and The Larry Sanders Show) that have bent the rules of on air TV and were VERY funny.

So here's a (don't forget, he's done some great stand-up too) Happy Birthday to...

Warren Beatty's good friend is 56 today.

Monday, November 28, 2005

The Ice Harvest will leave you cold.

But not in a good way.
I'm a fan of dark humor or black comedy as it's often called. Especially movies like Fargo, Dr. Strangelove and Bad Santa which involve difficult to obnoxiuous/bad characters involved in situations that you laugh at and cringe at, at the same time.

This can be difficult to achieve.

When the writing and acting work, this can make a terrific black comedy. When it doesn't, you get The Ice Harvest.

Seemingly, everything was laid out for this film to work. A good cast (John Cusack, Billy Bob Thornton and Oliver Platt) who have done excellent work in the past. A favorite director in Harold Ramis, who along with his movie work did some great stuff on the original SCTV, so how could this fail?

The story, a Wichita Falls lawyer and strip club owner (Cusack and Thornton) partner up to swindle over 2 million dollars from the local mob. They collect the cash on Christmas Eve, and then.....

Well, nothing really. The characters meander around town in a (not necessary) ice storm. Along the way, Oliver Platt joins (for no story apparent reason) to meander with them. There's some violence, with characters killing, maiming and threatening other characters, but... big deal. We have no concern for any of these one dimensional protagonists, so who cares what happens to them?

The Ice Harvest is the blueprint of how NOT to make a dark comedy. They fail on all counts as every supposed funny line and bit falls flat on it's face.

I should have known though, really I should have. Despite the talent involved, the advertising should have warned me. Both the television and print ads described themselves as this years' Bad Santa or as the anti-Christmas film. Anytime films immediately begin comparing themselves to something that was much better or as "this years ____", you know that you're in trouble.

Now I'll never get that time (and $9.25) back that I wasted on Friday. The Ice Harvest gets a frozen:


Happy Birthday! (11/28/05)

Until he began scoring motion pictures like The Natural and Toy Story he was mostly known for penning and singing songs laced with sarcasm and cynicism. He actually hit the pop charts with the vertically challenged single, Short People.

Here's an I Love L.A. Happy Birthday to...

The guy who broke the all-time record for most Oscar nominations without any wins is 62 today.

Sunday, November 27, 2005


Happy Birthday! (11/27/05)

Back in 1973 (at all of the age of 12) I saw my first R rated film. To this day I have no idea why it was rated R, there may have been some partial nudity, I don't remember. Sure it had plenty of violence, but come on, it was a kung fu film and when it comes to the bevy of martial arts films of the early 70's, Enter the Dragon was the best. And though the star of that film's life ended much too early, he'll forever be remembered as the best.

Here's a "HAIYA!!!!!!!!!" Happy Birthday to ....

The Green Hornet's sidekick, Kato, would have been 65 today.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Hey, I recognize him! Isn't that.....?

No, no this isn't another one of those bizarre online conspiracies about some new hidden meaning from some obscure bit of information found on the latest episode of Lost.

No, it's just that I had one of those "hey isn't that so-and-so" from "____" moments the other night.
With my Thanksgiving meal (and dessert) put away I decided to settle down and watch one of the movies from my DVD collection. What better way to finish the holiday then to re-watch Spider-Man 2.

As I watched the scene where Dr. Octavius' fusion experiment goes bad (and his arms become fused to his body) I noticed that one of his assistants was played by Daniel Dae Kim (who's the Korean speaking castaway, Jin Kwon, on Lost).

(BTW, lists his character in Spider-Man 2 as "Raymond").

I know this isn't any big deal, but I like it when you're watching a movie or TV show and you notice an actor who at the time wasn't known. My favorite "find" like that is from Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho. At the very end of the film, a guard holds the door to Norman Bates cell open for another guard. And who's the actor with this tiny, non speaking role?

Future comic actor from The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Caddyshack.

Ted Knight


Happy Birthday! (11/26/05)

When it comes to listing the greatest comic strips and cartoonists of the 20th century, selecting #1 may vary from person to person. But few would argue if this man and his work were chosen as the best. (that's him on the right. the bald guy on the left is me.)

Here's a "Good Grief" Happy Birthday to...

The creator of Peanuts would have been 82 today.

Friday, November 25, 2005

There's no "Quit" in this book

Book store's are dangerous places for me. I like reading and collecting books so much that if I happen to walk through a Borders or Comic Shop, the temptation to buy can sometimes be too much. The other day I stopped off at Barnes & Noble, to get some Christmas shopping in, and as I scooped up several potential gifts, I couldn't help but pick up myself something as well.

Luckily it was a book I had been looking for, the latest graphic novel by Harvey Pekar, The Quitter. (I wanted to buy this at SPX in September when Harvey was a guest at the show, but the publisher hadn't sent any copies of the book)

For those of you who don't know, Harvey has been writing his auto-biographical books since the early 70's (at the urging of good friend Robert Crumb) The comics, titled American Splendor told tales from his every day life, with art supplied by various artists. American Splendor became a bit of a cult hit, leading to his appearances on the David Letterman Show and even to an award winning film (of the same name).

Much like his earlier work The Quitter is very personal. Harvey pulls no punches, describing his childhood days, as a white jew in a predominately black neighborhood of the 1940's. Whether it was dodging fights, failing in school, or his disconnection with his father, Pekar paints a dour picture of himself.

It's a very good read, easily my favorite of all his work. Throughout the book Harvey describes himself as a quitter (hence the title of the book), but I don't agree with him. Sure, he quit sports while in school, quit several jobs after high school, quit the navy and eventually even quit college, but does that make him really any different then hundreds of others at that age? Many teenagers and young adults flounder around, trying to find their way in life, and as I read The Quitter, Harvey sounded a lot like them.

In his other work, and even in the latter stages of this book, Pekar talks about his fear of the future and security. He's extremely hard on himself, so it's not surprising that he'd view his past as a series of unfulfilled potential. But,.... that's what makes Harvey, Harvey.

Since he's only a writer, and not an artist, he's usually at the mercy of the illustrator chosen to depict his words. In the past the artwork on American Splendor would vary from very good to.... mediocre, at best. Fortunately The Quitter is illustrated by Dean Haspiel, who does a great job!

Haspiel has a nice sense of panel layout and design along with a strong ink line. He uses the graphic novel format to it's full potential and the use of black & white (and grey) helps to convey events that took place over 60 years ago.

What didn't I like? Well, we're not told much more about his parents and brother after 1970 and I would have liked to know more about his early days, when he first started publishing American Splendor, but that's just nitpicking.

If you had meant to read any of Pekar's work before, this is as good a place as any to begin.
Most especially, if you enjoy reading personal work, autobiographical stories that show everything, warts and all (and aren't "afraid" to read it in comic form) then by all means, give The Quitter a try.


Happy Birthday! (11/25/05)

Some actors go through their entire career and are lucky to have one defining moment or character. This guy had three.
There was his famous car ads for the 1977 Chrysler Cordova (and it's "rich corinthian leather"). Then there was his performance as the mysterious Mr. Roarke on TV's Fantasy Island. But for my personal favorite, there's the scenery-chewing/fake chested villain from (in the best of the Star Trek films) Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan.

Here's a "KAAAAAHHNN!! Happy Birthday to....

Lt. Frank Drebbin's enemy, Vincent Ludwig, is 85 today.

Thursday, November 24, 2005


Happy Birthday! (11/24/05)

I have no idea who this woman is. I've never seen the movies (100 Girls or Romy and Michele: In the Beginning ) that she appeared in. Nor have I watched the TV shows (Roswell or Grey's Anatomy ) that she's starred in.
But she's a hot looking babe, so it works for me.

Here's a "hand over her breast" Happy Birthday to...

Jade from Bride of Chucky is 27 today.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Exclusive! Spider-Man 3 photo!!!!!!!

Looks like this film will put the first two to shame!

Disney to film live action "The Incredibles" movie!

(methinks that Mr. Incredible needs to lose a few chins....)


Happy Birthday! (11/23/05)

There aren't many actors' who's one performance became so iconic that years and years later his face is forever connected with the classic creature he portrayed. Yes, he also starred in The Mummy, The Body Snatcher and The Raven but they all pale by comparison to his role as the monster of Frankenstein!

Here's a boogie man Happy Birthday to.....

The narrator of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas would have been 118 today.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


Happy Birthday! (11/22/05)

He was one of the few comics that you start laughing before he even opened his mouth.
(And even his few movies, Easy Money, Back to School and of course the classic Caddyshack
were worthy of his humor).

So here's a "No Respect" Happy Birthday to...

Larry Burns would have been 84 today.

Monday, November 21, 2005


Happy Birthday! (11/21/05)

Television has been this woman's forte. She's starred in made for TV movies and specials like It Happened One Christmas andFree To Be...You & Me but it was as the struggling young actress Ann Marie in her long running sitcom That Girl! for what she's most remembered for.

Here's a "daughter of Danny" Happy Birthday to...

Mrs. Phil Donahue is 67 today.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Potter surpasses Star Wars?

It's been a bit of a "Potter Week" for me.
With the fourth film of the Harry Potter series premiering this week, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and since I've read each book first, before seeing the movie, I've spent my reading time this past week deep within the 700+ pages of the book.

(Yes, yes, I know, I know. The book's been out for years, what took me so long? You ought to see my "things to read" pile on my night stand. It could seriously injure someone if it were to topple over!)

The book, like the previous three, was a fun read. No let me take that back, it was a better read! Each Potter book has been better than the previous (so much so, that there were plenty of times that I didn't want to put it down), and that's where, for perhaps the first time in the entertainment world, the books share with it's filmed adaptations.

Each Potter film has been better than the one before. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire continues that tradition.

It was a daunting task, to be sure, to try and cram the 700+ page book into a film. Even though the movie clocks in under just three hours, a lot of pages and subplots were axed. (and ya know I really didn't miss the S.P.E.W. and House Elf sub plots.)

Goblet continues the Potter saga with his 14th year (and 4th year at the Hogwarts wizardry school) with all of the familiar characters back (as well as their actor counterparts) along with a few new ones too.

The story focuses on The Triwizard Tournament, a rare deadly challenge that pits school champions against each other for the winning of the Triwizard Cup (and oh yeah, along with eternal glory).

The film does a great job of taking Rowlings words and depicting them on the screen.
As for the acting, for most of cast this is their fourth go-round with their character and they wear them well. If I have any complaint with the film it's that we don't get to spend more time with them, especially Harry, Ron & Hermione, as we get to in the book. But there's so much to get through that it would have added another three hours to the film.

I headlined this review with "Potter surpasses Star Wars?" for a reason. When you think of film series, runs like Rocky, Planet of the Apes, Star Trek and Star Wars come to mind. (I omitted the Bond films since there's really no linear flow to the films, each film comes out at random and the characters really don't grow) The Potter films thus far are achieving something those and other film runs have not. They're getting better (and that's not a knock at the first film).

Think about it, how many times is a sequel as good as, or better than the first? Godfather II and Star Trek 2; The Wrath of Kahn are two that quickly come to mind but remember how bad the next film was?

Or perhaps the "granddaddy" of them all, the Star Wars trilogy. Yes, the first two films were very good, but how about the next four? Pale imitations at best, bogged down with horrible casting, insipid dialogue and over-baring special effects.

It's only natural that the subsequent film won't be as good as the first. Most really good movies seem to "catch lightning in a bottle", or their cast and director are at the top of their game and when they return for the follow up they look as if their just going through the motions. And we wonder, why did they even bother? (or more importantly, why did we bother going to the theatre.)

Maybe it's because the written work it's based on is so strong. That Rowling herself is not "going through the motions" that she has a definite goal in mind and she knows and respects these characters so well to let them down with a sub par effort.

The same can be said for the film adaptations.

Warner Brothers are filming the films in an 18 month schedule, so as not to rush them out but also not to let their cast age too far past their written counterparts. I'm already looking forward to the 5th film and with any luck I'll have read Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix long before the movie's premiere.

If I can just dig it out of this reading material pile.......

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire get's a "Expelliarmus!"


Happy Birthday! (11/20/05)

As a movie actor his parts were small, like In the films The Longest Day, King Rat and Munster Go Home. It was Television though, where he made his fame. (thanks in part to funny Nazi's and helping people win money on Game Shows).

Here's a "Feud kiss" Happy Birthday to.....

Cpl. Peter Newkirk is 73 today.