This painting I did a few years ago is currently on display at a special fundraising art show in Baltimore.

Desire

Desire
Acrylic on canvas
9 inches x 12 inches
23 cm x 30 cm

Proceeds from the sale of this painting (as well as works by other artists) will help the victims of last month’s devastating flood in Ellicott City, Maryland. The entire art show will be available for viewing from 4-7 p.m. every night between now and September 4. Here is where the art show is currently being held:

The Escape Artists
827 North Charles Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21201

For more information and directions, see the gallery’s website or Facebook page.

Benjamin Franklin

He is ill clothed that is bare of virtue.

I was looking around on the computer not too long ago when I discovered an anniversary that I had nearly overlooked. Ten years ago yesterday I uploaded my first Internet video on to YouTube shortly after I finished shooting and editing it. It’s called “Bees and Lavender” and the plot of this one is pretty self-explanatory.

I only made that video in order to teach myself how to use my then-new video camera along with how to edit that video in iMovie 3. I used to have a lavender bush in the front yard that would be literally crawling with bumblebees when it was in bloom. The bumblebees would be constantly pollinating that lavender bush from dawn until well past dusk. In a way this video is poignant because that lavender bush would die just a few months after I shot that video. (I had it for a few years so I don’t know why it died.) I know it’s not much of a video but one has to start somewhere and, for me, it was just shooting bees pollinating the flowers of a lavender bush.

If someone had told me when I was growing up that someday I would be making movies or videos of any kind, I would’ve scoffed. That’s because, as a child, watching home movies that members of my extended family shot on Super 8 film bored me to tears. I also had zero interest in making movies mainly because I had read about how hard it was to break into the film industry (especially in Hollywood) at the time. There was no YouTube or Vimeo or Daily Motion. In fact, access to the Internet was limited to higher-ups in the Department of Defense and certain contractors.

Basically I wanted a lot of people to see my movies, which was difficult without being lucky enough to get the attention of someone very important in the film industry.

But then the Internet was opened to more people, the World Wide Web came into being, along with high data speeds that made watching movies over the Internet a reality and I discovered that I can make videos and put them online.

My first video camera was a Samsung DV, which used a DV tape that was a quarter of the size of VHS tapes. My then-husband bought it for me in a rare display of generosity and indulgence (he was a bit on the tightwad side so to have him make a large purchase like that made me really savor that expensive item since I didn’t get such items on a regular basis). I had to buy a separate piece of hardware if I wanted to upload what I shot on the computer because that hardware served as an interface between the computer and video camera. (Nowadays I can just connect my Droid smartphone with my MacBook via a USB cable, which brings up the Android File Transfer software for the Mac and I can just drag and drop pictures, videos, and other files from the Droid to the Mac and vice versa.) I remember editing the above video in iMovie 3.

That camera was considered to be top-of-the-line at the time, although it’s a far cry from what I can shoot with my smartphone. I kept that Samsung for a few years until the camera started to literally chew up the DV tapes every time I tried to shoot anything with it. I attempted to get it repaired only to be turned down when I tried calling various local photo and computer repair shops on the grounds that Samsung had discontinued that video camera. I called Samsung’s customer service line only to be told that I would not only have to mail in the video camera but I would have to pay $30 just so they would look at it. This isn’t a $30 repair fee. This is a $30 “have a repair person look at it to see if it could be repaired” fee. If a repair was required then I would have to pay more.

I ended up paying $250 for an Insignia HD camera (at the time the prices of HD cameras were starting to get cheaper so I decided that, instead of paying $199 for a regular Insignia camera, I would pay an extra $50 to be at the technology curve) that was lighter and more portable than the Samsung. I had that for a few years until it broke beyond all repair. I had a Flip camera for a while, which I purchased on sale just prior to Cisco discontinuing that line. I used it until I got my first smartphone and I started using that for all my video recording needs. Last month I gave my old Flip camera to a friend who has been buying old Flips on eBay for cheap prices so he could give them to underserved youths in the Washington, DC area. He really appreciated my old Flip, which is pretty good.

Watching that “Bees and Lavender” video again really brings back memories of the various digital video cameras I’ve used over the years.🙂

Previous post in this series.

Continuing this summer’s series of Throwback Thursday posts dedicated to Howard the Duck.

htd29

Howard the Duck #29
Help Stamp Out Ducks!
January, 1979

Credits: Mark Evanier, plot; Steve Gerber, writer/editor; Will Meugniot, artist; R. Villamonte, inker; Joe Rosen, letterer; Michelle W., colorist

This is the issue that Howard the Duck co-creator Steve Gerber wrote, but not plot, as part of a contract fulfillment after he was fired from Marvel. This issue is the last of the original 1970’s comic book series that Steve Gerber actually worked on.

Synopsis: In some ways this issue is more of a continuation of the current storyline than issue 28 was. (For one thing, Beverly isn’t around like she was in issue 28.) The final frame at the end of issue 27 had Howard telling socialite Iris Raritan that he wants to remain alone in Cleveland to nurse his memories and maybe abort them. The first frame of issue 29 had Howard sarcastically complaining that he decided to stay in Cleveland to nurse those old memories only to discover that the patient had died because Cleveland is just as repulsive as he remembered it before.

While Howard walks around the streets of Cleveland complaining about the city a one-time Las Vegas comedian named Joey Goniff tells his agent that he’s tired of playing in two-bit Ohio saloons. He wants to return to the glory days he enjoyed as Mr. Las Vegas until he was dethroned by Shecky Greene. Joey decides that the way back from obscurity to stardom is to host his own telethon where he would raise money. All he needs to do is to find some disease that he can raise money for on his telethon.

Joey Goniff steps outside where he literally crosses paths with Howard. When Joey sees Howard’s duck appearance he decides that he can exploit Howard as having some newly discovered rare disease on his telethon. Joey offers Howard the chance to earn some big money if he goes along with Joey’s plans. Howard, who is broke, agrees to work for Joey.

Joey and Howard arrive at the office of the Cleveland office of Amalgamated Charities where Joey tells Dr. Knudsen that Howard has a rare disease that turns children into ducks. Dr. Knudsen is skeptical so she orders an examination of Howard. She initially looks into Howard’s beak and uses the stethoscope to listen to his heart. But when she puts the rubber gloves on to do a more intimate probe, Howard balks so much that he literally runs out of the building. This leads Dr. Knudsen to believe Joey’s claim about Howard having that rare disease so she authorizes the comedian to do the telethon.

Dr. Knudsen arranges the telethon to be held in Las Vegas, which is a problem for Joey Goniff because he has unpaid debts stemming from his addiction to gambling. Joey reluctantly agree to do the telethon in Las Vegas because he believes that it could be his path back to fame, wealth, and glory. Howard begins to have second thoughts about doing the telethon because, while he had no problems with defrauding a crooked charity organization like Amalgamated Charities, he had an issue with taking advantage of an average person’s generous donation in order to make himself richer. Joey convinces Howard to go along with the telethon. He assures Howard that both will get paid for their time and expenses with the rest of the money going to a legitimate charity.

After arriving in Las Vegas Joey Goniff gets a visit from some mobsters who are looking for the $54,000 in gambling debts that Joey owes them while Howard revels in the special attention he gets from various women after he becomes a celebrity due to being the poster child for the newly made up disease known as poultritis.

The telethon finally begins as Howard is brought on stage before the TV cameras in his role as the poultritis poster child. People start calling in their donations from all over the country. Howard begins to feel guilty over his role in exploiting the public’s generosity for a made-up disease for personal gain. At one point during the telethon Howard goes to a nearby casino where he gambles for a bit in order to forget his current troubles.

The telethon reaches its goal of raising $250,000 by the end. Howard becomes outraged when he discovers that Joey Goniff plans to use $54,000 of the money to pay the mobsters he owes money to. Howard takes the suitcase full of money and runs off with it.

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While walking the streets of Las Vegas Howard encounters people who are throwing money at him because they weren’t able to make the donation on the telethon earlier. When a little girl attempts to give Howard money that she raised going door to door, Howard gives the girl the suitcase full of money and tells her to give it to a legitimate charity.

Offers start to roll in for Joey Goniff to appear on various television shows. A mobster shows up and isn’t impressed with Joey’s claims of soon being able to pay what he owes due to his entertainment career being revived so he punches Joey in the mouth.

Howard takes a bus back to Cleveland while dealing with a little old lady who tries to befriend him even though Howard isn’t interested in being friendly with her or anyone else.

Topical 1970’s References: There’s a reference to Shecky Greene, who is a comedian whom I used to remember making the occasional guest appearance on some television show from time to time when I was growing up. (According to the Wikipedia he’s still alive at 90.) Joey Goniff mentions getting offers from Johnny Carson and Merv Griffith, both of whom were hosts of very popular talks shows back in the 1970’s.

The Bottom Line: This issue is basically a parody of both the muscular dystrophy telethons that Jerry Lewis used to headline each year starting in 1952 until 2010 and the charity industry in general. Amalgamated Charities is a parody of the United Way, that umbrella organization which raises money for a variety of smaller charities and which has also long been criticized for keeping the bulk of the money raised to pay for administrative costs while the actual charities it raises money for get just a tiny portion of the funds raised. In fact there are so many charities that are well known but have also become notorious for raising huge amounts of money only to use most of it to fund lavish offices or pay huge CEO salaries. The most recent example is the scandal surrounding the Wounded Warrior Project that broke earlier this year.

The issue had the potential to be among some of the more edgy parodies that the comic book series has done in the past (such as the ones targeting Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church and the 1976 U.S. presidential elections). While I found it funny in spots, I found that the story was relatively weak, complete with the recycled joke about Howard being offered a bird to eat for dinner (which was previously used to better effect in issue 15). I have a feeling that Steve Gerber’s heart wasn’t fully into working on this issue since he had just been fired so he probably just wanted to get the work done as soon as possible at the expense of doing a thorough quality job. While this issue is definitely an improvement over the last one, it’s a far cry from the glory days of just a year or two ago.

htd30

Howard the Duck #30
If This Be Bongsday!
March, 1979

Credits: Bill Mantlo, writer; Gene Colan, artist; Allen Milgrom, embellisher; Mark Greenwald, assistant editor; Jim Shooter, editor-in-chief; Elaine H., letterer; Michele W. colorist

This is the issue that announced Steve Gerber’s departure (with the original announcement notice of this change in personnel being reprinted in the back of Howard the Duck: The Complete Collection, Volume 2) along with the hiring of his replacement, Bill Mantlo, as the writer. The announcement also assured readers that the color comic book will continue for the foreseeable future (even though it later turned out that the next issue would be the last 1970’s color comic book issue) with the possibility of it being joined by a black and white magazine version of Howard the Duck as a supplement to the color comic book series (although, in reality, the black and white magazine ended up replacing the color comic book series).

Synopsis: Howard is back at the hospital in Skudge, Pennsylvania where he and Lee Switzler are holding vigils for their friends Paul Same, who is currently in a coma, and Winda Wester, who is just starting to emerge from her own coma. Suddenly a loud “BONG!” sound rings out and Howard’s longtime nemesis, Doctor Bong, makes his appearance at the hospital. Doctor Bong hits the side of his bell head with his bell clapper hand again and Winda slips back into her coma while Howard and Lee are literally paralyzed.

Doctor Bong announces his reason for his arrival: Despite the fact that he successfully coerced Beverly into marrying him, he senses that she still has feelings for Howard. Doctor Bong says that Beverly’s continued affection for Howard is interfering with her devotion to him so he feels that he must slay Howard once and for all. He tells Howard that he will kill the duck in front of Beverly and he will return to the hospital in 24 hours so he can pick up Howard and take him to his castle in the Himalayas. Doctor Bong also tells Howard that if he fails to show up at the hospital, Doctor Bong will use his bell head and bell clapper hand to reduce the hospital to rubble, which will kill Paul and Winda, while planting a news story in the local paper about how Howard failed to save his friends from their deaths. Doctor Bong then disappears and Howard and Lee can move once again.

As Howard and Lee leave the hospital, Howard fills Lee in on what happened to he and Beverly since they took a cruise on the S.S. Damned and were kidnapped by Doctor Bong.

Meanwhile back at Doctor Bong’s castle, Beverly has been secretly scheming against her husband while bribing his mutant minions with extra food to help her. She manages to get the key to Doctor Bong’s Evolvo-Chamber. Doctor Bong himself arrives home and tells Beverly that soon Howard the Duck will be dead.

Lee drives Howard back to Cleveland because he wants Howard to put up a fight against Doctor Bong (while rescuing Beverly, who’s also Lee’s niece, in the process). The pair arrive at Iron Man Auto Wreckers where Lee’s friend, Claude Starkowski, is the proprietor and mechanic. Claude is such a devoted fan of Tony Stark and Iron Man that he insists on people calling him Claude Stark instead of his full last name. He also loves to create Iron Man costumes. Howard is leery about letting Claude make him his own Iron Man costume because Claude isn’t fully right in the head (due to injuries he sustained during his service in the Vietnam War) but Lee convinces Howard to trust Claude.

Claude quickly makes Howard a costume so he becomes Iron Duck. Claude admits that this costume was created on a very low budget so there are some features of Howard’s Iron Duck costume that are pretty crude compared to Tony Stark’s Iron Man costume (such as using windshield wipers for Howard’s visor). But the the costume have a few offensive and defensive weapons built in (such as a flame thrower) so Howard could at least put up a fight against Doctor Bong.

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Howard and Lee drive back to Skudge, Pennsylvania with just an hour to spare before Doctor Bong is scheduled to arrive. Unfortunately neither one can rest because Doctor Bong decides to arrive early because he couldn’t wait to start the final battle against Howard.

Topical 1970’s References: Claude Starkowski (a.k.a. Claude Stark) is a Vietnam vet. The Vietnam War itself ended a few years before this issue was published but there were plenty of men like Claude who had mostly returned back to the U.S. (with the exception of those who were missing in action).

The Bottom Line: This issue is definitely an improvement over the two previous issues. I got a bit of a chuckle over the Iron Man parody with Howard, as Iron Duck, being a more low-rent version of Tony Stark’s alter-ego. Beverly is also more independent-minded than she had been in previous issues (when she acted grateful that Doctor Bong had pressured her into marrying him against her will—those scenes definitely had me feeling queasy). I was heartened to see that she was taking a stand by attempting to sabotage against her own husband in the hopes of sparing Howard’s life and ultimately free herself from Doctor Bong’s clutches. I liked how this issue seems to be pointing towards a conclusion of the long Doctor Bong storyline. This issue had some potential for the future of the comic book series, especially in the aftermath co-creator Steve Gerber’s departure from Marvel.

htd31

Howard the Duck #31
The Final Bong!
May, 1979

Credits: Bill Mantlo, writer; Gene Colan and Al Milgrom, artists; Irv W., letters; George R., colors; Jim Shooter, editor

This is the last issue of the 1970’s color comic book series. According to the notice that was originally printed in that issue (and has been reprinted in the back of Howard the Duck: The Complete Collection, Volume 2), Marvel decided to continue the series as a black and white magazine instead of a color comic book. The reason given for this drastic change was that Marvel had problems with retailers thinking that Howard the Duck was a children’s comic book because it involved a talking duck so it was lumped in with other children’s comic books. Basically they hoped that a format change would resolve this problem.

Synopsis: The story begins where the last issue leaves off with Doctor Bong arriving at Skudge Hospital for a major showdown with Howard the Duck, who’s dressed in his Iron Duck outfit. Thanks to the cotton balls that were stuffed in Howard’s ear by Claude Starkowski (a.k.a. Claude Stark), Howard can’t hear Doctor Bong’s loud bonging sounds. Doctor Bong manages to stop Howard with yet another loud “BONG!” sounds, which also puts a protective shield around the hospital so it is cut off from the outside world.

A battle begins as Howard uses the features of his Iron Duck outfit on Doctor Bong while the doctor keeps on hitting his bell head with his bell clapper hand.

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When it looks like Doctor Bong is about to defeat Howard once and for all, Howard pulls out one more feature of his Iron Duck outfit—a hammer that he uses to hit Doctor Bong’s bell head with and both of them suddenly disappear from the hospital only to reappear in Doctor Bong’s Himalayan castle.

Doctor Bong is glad to be back at his castle because he hopes to kill Howard in front of Beverly but she’s currently missing. In the meantime Doctor Bong hits his bell head with his clapper hand to strip Howard out of his Iron Duck costume until the duck is fully naked.

Meanwhile Beverly is in Doctor Bong’s private print room where she’s getting Doctor Bong’s mutant minions to help her with a special printing project, which she then delivers to a messenger who’s traveling by llama. She also gets the mutant minions to bring what she has just whipped up in the Evolvo-Chamber.

Just as Doctor Bong is ready to bring on the final “BONG!” sound that is supposed to kill Howard, Beverly and the mutant minions burst into the room. Beverly presents Doctor Bong with a creation that she whipped up in the Evolvo-Chamber using the doctor’s nail clippings: the Bong Quintuplets, who all have their father’s bell head. What’s more, Beverly said that if anything happens to her or Howard, tomorrow’s issue of The Cleveland Plain-Dealer newspaper will have the headline about how Doctor Bong has abandoned his own quintuplets.

Doctor Bong becomes so enraged at Beverly’s treachery that he hits his bell head with his clapper hand one more time and Howard and Beverly abruptly appear back at the hospital in Skudge, Pennsylvania in the same room with Beverly’s Uncle Lee, Winda, and Paul. Winda is so happy to see Howard and Beverly again that she considers herself to be fully recovered from her recent injuries. Paul is still in a coma but, otherwise, everyone is back together while Doctor Bong is in his castle in the Himalayas being a single father to his quintuplets.

Topical 1970’s References: When Doctor Bong strips Howard out of his Iron Duck outfit, Howard says that his outfit is being recalled faster than a Ford Pinto with Firestone 500’s. This in reference to two notorious recalls that happened in the 1970’s to both products due to the Ford Pinto’s tendency to explode in flames in a rear end collision and the Firestone 500’s had tread-separation problems. When Beverly mentions her Gong Show husband, she’s also referencing the popular 1970’s TV game show The Gong Show. When Doctor Bong learns of Beverly’s treachery, he initially utters the names of the famous Biblical traitors (like Judas) then starts to utter the names of two of officials in the Nixon Administration who were involved in the Watergate scandal: John Ehrlichman and H.R. Haldeman.

The Bottom Line: This issue is a hilarious parody of Iron Man and it’s a perfect coda to both the long-running Doctor Bong story arc and the original 1970’s color comic book series. The battle scenes between Howard as Iron Duck and Doctor Bong are very well done and incredibly artistic. The funniest bit during that battle came when Howard uses his Butt-Bit, a drill bit that’s located in the rear of the costume and enables Howard to escape to a lower level of the hospital while he’s sitting down.

I also liked how Beverly was redeemed from being this weak woman who was actually glad that Doctor Bong coerced her into marriage to being someone who actively resists her own imprisonment by doing a few sneaky things behind her husband’s back. She’s portrayed as this clever independent woman who basically wants out of this marriage that she had been forced to participate in.

Nearly all of the loose ends are tied up (with the exception of Paul still being in a coma) in a satisfactory manner. All in all the 1970’s comic book series ends on a high note while making way for the upcoming Howard the Duck magazine.

These issues were reprinted in Howard the Duck: The Complete Collection, Volume 2, which can be purchased onine at AbeBooks, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, BookDepository, Half.com, IndieBound, Indigo, Powell’s.

Next post in this series.

The Howard the Duck Series

Howard the Duck: The Complete Collection, Volume 1

The Early Stories
Howard the Duck #1-3
Howard the Duck #4-5
Howard the Duck #6
Howard the Duck #7 and Marvel Treasury Edition #12: Howard the Duck
Howard the Duck #8

Howard the Duck #9-11
Howard the Duck #12-14
Howard the Duck King Size Annual #1 and Howard the Duck #15
Howard the Duck #16

Howard the Duck: The Complete Collection, Volume 2

Howard the Duck #17-19
Howard the Duck #20-22
Howard the Duck #23-25
Howard the Duck #26-28
Howard the Duck #29-31

I was in College Park, Maryland when I came across this manhole cover that was literally gushing with a huge force of water. I later saw someone from WSSC (the local water and sanitation company) check this out.

Water Rushing Out of Manhole Cover

A few weeks ago I checked out this event that is being co-sponsored by ReCreative Spaces (along with other local organizations) known as Art in the Park(ing Lot). The event kicked off on August 7 with a painting party where a variety of artists spray-painted the now-boarded up Brentwood Village Shopping Center (located along Route 1 in the Northeastern section of Washington, DC). I took some photos of the party itself.

Painting Party, August 7, 2016

Painting Party, August 7, 2016

Painting Party, August 7, 2016

Painting Party, August 7, 2016

Painting Party, August 7, 2016

Painting Party, August 7, 2016

Painting Party, August 7, 2016

Painting Party, August 7, 2016

Painting Party, August 7, 2016

Painting Party, August 7, 2016

Painting Party, August 7, 2016

Painting Party, August 7, 2016

Painting Party, August 7, 2016

Painting Party, August 7, 2016

Painting Party, August 7, 2016

Painting Party, August 7, 2016

Painting Party, August 7, 2016

Painting Party, August 7, 2016

Painting Party, August 7, 2016

Painting Party, August 7, 2016

Painting Party, August 7, 2016

Painting Party, August 7, 2016

Painting Party, August 7, 2016

Painting Party, August 7, 2016

Painting Party, August 7, 2016

Painting Party, August 7, 2016

Painting Party, August 7, 2016

Painting Party, August 7, 2016

Painting Party, August 7, 2016

Painting Party, August 7, 2016

Painting Party, August 7, 2016

Painting Party, August 7, 2016

Painting Party, August 7, 2016

Painting Party, August 7, 2016

Painting Party, August 7, 2016

Painting Party, August 7, 2016

Painting Party, August 7, 2016

Painting Party, August 7, 2016

Painting Party, August 7, 2016

I returned to the site a few days later so I could photograph the completed art site.

Art in the Park(ing Lot) Murals

Art in the Park(ing Lot) Murals

Art in the Park(ing Lot) Murals

Art in the Park(ing Lot) Murals

Art in the Park(ing Lot) Murals

Art in the Park(ing Lot) Murals

Art in the Park(ing Lot) Murals

Art in the Park(ing Lot) Murals

Art in the Park(ing Lot) Murals

Art in the Park(ing Lot) Murals

Art in the Park(ing Lot) Murals

Art in the Park(ing Lot) Murals

Art in the Park(ing Lot) Murals

Art in the Park(ing Lot) Murals

Art in the Park(ing Lot) Murals

Art in the Park(ing Lot) Murals

Art in the Park(ing Lot) Murals

Art in the Park(ing Lot) Murals

Art in the Park(ing Lot) Murals

Art in the Park(ing Lot) Murals

Adventure Dental & Vision is the one business that’s still opened in that shopping center but not for much longer. One of its signs mentioned that this business will be relocating in a different shopping center by the end of this month.

Art in the Park(ing Lot) Murals

Art in the Park(ing Lot) Murals

Art in the Park(ing Lot) Murals

Art in the Park(ing Lot) Murals

Art in the Park(ing Lot) Murals

Art in the Park(ing Lot) Murals

Art in the Park(ing Lot) Murals

Art in the Park(ing Lot) Murals

Art in the Park(ing Lot) Murals

Art in the Park(ing Lot) Murals

Art in the Park(ing Lot) Murals

The art will remain up until October, when the shopping center is scheduled to be demolished. There will be a variety of events that will take place in that area between now and October. For up-to-date events schedule, check out this page on ReCreative Sites’ website.

Even though I’ve gotten back into reading comic books over the last few years, I’m still very picky as to what I’ll buy mainly because each issue costs a whopping $3.99. (I can remember when comic books used to cost 25 cents but I was a child at the time. I got into reading them for a few years as a young adult when my then-fiancee who later became my ex-husband was a big comic book fan and they cost around 75 cents per issue then prices went up to $1 per issue before going even higher to$1.25 per issue. We stopped reading them as a married couple when prices shot up to $1.50 per issue. Now they are even more expensive than ever before.)  These days it would be so easy for me to drop $100 if I were to pick up every comic book with an intriguing cover that’s currently on sale so I have to limit myself very strictly.

I learned via Facebook that Third Eye Comics in Annapolis was having a comic book signing for this new comic book that has just released its first issue of a new comic book known as Kim & Kim. Since my real first name is Kim (short for Kimberly), I was attracted to that comic book based on just the name for the same reasons why I was previously attracted to the early 1980’s arcade game Space Ace (where the hero had to rescue a kidnapped woman named Kimberly) and the Disney Channel cartoon series Kim Possible.

Here’s a photo of the all-female team who is currently working on the Kim & Kim series: Magdalene “Mags” Visaggio (writer), Katy Rex (editor), Claudia Aguirre (colors), and Eva Cabrera (pencils and inks).

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I introduced myself by my first name and they were pretty cool about it. They said that this comic book would be called Kim & Kim & Kim. Here is what my signed comic book looked like.

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I really liked it so much that I decided to I purchase another copy of Kim & Kim #1 the following day so I could have a second copy just to read while shopping for a frame for the signed copy. I found this shadowbox frame on sale at A.C. Moore last week and it looks really good.

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As for the comic book itself, the first issue seems promising. The two Kims are a team of bounty hunters in outer space and there is not only subtle lesbian hints but one of the Kims admitted that she’s transgender as well. Wow! Of course there’s plenty of action as well (meaning the kind of action one usually sees in comic books, not anything sexual). It’ll be interesting to see if it can maintain its momentum over the next several issues.

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I took a few other photos at Third Eye Comics, including these interesting looking vinyl figurines.

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Then there are these two vinyl figures based on Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

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Benjamin Franklin

A good wife lost, is God’s gift lost.

Previous post in this series.

Continuing this summer’s series of Throwback Thursday posts dedicated to Howard the Duck.

htd26

Howard the Duck #26
Repercussions…!
July, 1978

Credits: Steve Gerber, writer/editor; Gene Colan, artist; Klaus Janson, inker; Irv Watanabe, letterer; Janice Cohen, colorist; Jim Shooter, consulting editor

Synopsis: Howard has been abducted and forced into performing with the Circus of Crime, which has just arrived in the town of Skudge, Pennsylvania. Howard performs for the circus first when, billed as a freak of nature, he starts to tell jokes. Towards the end of his comedy routine Howard tries to warn the audience that they need to leave as soon as possible but the audience, thinking that Howard’s warning is part of his comedy act, laughs instead. The Ringmaster steals the microphone away from Howard and kicks him in the tail feathers. Next he hypnotizes the audience while his performers rob them of their money and valuables.

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After the show the Ringmaster informs Howard that he is such a crowd-pleaser that he will be with the circus indefinitely. Howard doesn’t take the news too well.

Among the people who were in the audience that night was an unemployed 49-year-old steelworker named Ignatz Hubley. He stops at a local bar on the way home where he tells the bartender about how the duck made him laugh so hard that he forgot his current troubles, which began when the mill he worked for closed seven months ago. He’s been searching for a new job with no luck while his kids are sick of eating Spanish rice all the time and his wife is urging her husband to move to Pittsburgh. Ignatz decides to head home and tries to pay the bartender only to find that all of the money in his wallet had been stolen. Ignatz tells the bartender to put the bill on his tab then staggers out. He begins to snap over the prospect of having to tell his wife about what little money he had left gotten stolen. He decides that he must do something drastic to raise cash quickly.

Iris Raritan drives a car into Skudge with Paul and Winda as passengers. Iris had told the other two that she’s pursuing a hunch regarding the circus and she had driven almost 400 miles from Long Island. When Paul and Winda ask about a tracking device that’s on the dashboard of her car and why Iris had declined to call the police after the circus had robbed her and her guests, Iris admits that she had placed a tracker on the Ringmaster’s truck ahead of time prior to the performance. When Paul accuses Iris of having prior knowledge of that robbery, Iris admitted that it was the truth. She did this because is a bored rich socialite who wanted to bring excitement to her life by apprehending and bringing a super villain to justice.

Paul becomes so outraged by Iris’ confession and her cavalier attitude towards her own guests that he immediately gets out of the car and storms off. When Iris turns to Winda and asks whether Winda considers her to be callous, jaded, and unfeeling, Winda says that she takes Iris less seriously than Paul ever did and she feels that Iris is foolishly immature. Iris kicks Winda out of her car then drives off, leaving Winda stranded by the roadside.

Ignatz Hubley attempts to raise the money that was stolen from him by the Circus of Crime by getting a gun and attempting an armed robbery at a gas station. Paul happens to be walking towards the gas station at the same time. The Circus of Crime packs everything, including Howard, and starts to drive away. Iris follows the truck in her car.

Winda is standing in the same spot where Iris had thrown her out of the car. A drunk shows up and starts to make a pass at her. Winda rejects the drunk’s overtures and he becomes more insistent. When Winda scratches his face, the drunk immediately grabs her and takes her into the shadows where it’s implied that he savagely attacks (and possibly rapes) Winda.

The Circus of Crime pulls up at the same gas station where Ignatz is currently robbing it while Paul is also there as well. When a gas attendant fails to show up to offer full service, the Ringmaster goes into the store to see what’s going on and ends up walking into the armed robbery while Paul is also there as well. When the Ringmaster attempts to hypnotize everyone present, Ignatz recognizes him as the one who must have stolen his money at the circus.

As Ignatz fires a shot at the Ringmaster, Howard and one of the other circus performers immediately barge into the gas station store to see what’s going on. It turns out that Ignatz shot the hat that the Ringmaster uses to hypnotize people. Ignatz begins to panic over too many people crowding that tiny store so he runs outside at the precise moment when Iris runs over Ignatz, which leads to Ignatz shooting his gun and the bullet hitting Paul.

The next scene shows Howard at the local hospital taking to Lee Switzler on the phone. It turns out that the Ringmaster managed to get away with his Circus of Crime. Ignatz has two shattered kneecaps. Paul is under heavy sedation. What’s more, Winda has been found and she’s also under heavy sedation while sharing a hospital room with Paul. Lee tells Howard that he is going to drive from Cleveland to Skudge. After Howard gets off the phone he meets up with Iris, who admits that Winda was right for calling her immature. Howard tells Iris that she should have learned a long time ago that actions has consequences.

Topical 1970’s References: Howard starts his comedy routine at the circus by providing a list of funny words, which were all catchphrases uttered by comedians of that era like Steve Martin (“Excu-u-use Me!”), Rodney Dangerfield (“No respect”), and Don Rickles (“Hockey puck”), and Red Buttons (“Never got a dinner”).

The plight of unemployed 49-year-old steelworker Ignatz Hubley reflects the real-life economic situation when the post World War II economic boom ended with the 1973-1975 recession. Since that time there has been a trend towards outsourcing high paying union jobs like steel to Third World countries with more and more people facing the prospect of falling from the middle class into poverty and this trend is still continuing with no end in sight.

The Bottom Line: This is a pretty well-done issue that includes both humor (in the form of the ludicrous way that the Ringmaster and his Circus of Crime commit their crimes) and serious social commentary (the plight of the blue collar workers in states like Pennsylvania who were starting to feel the effect of their own companies outsourcing their jobs to Third World nations).

htd27

Howard the Duck #27
Circus Maximus
September, 1978

Credits: Steve Gerber, writer/editor; Gene Colan, artist; Klaus Janson, inker; Gaspar, letterer; Phil R., colorist; Jim Shooter, editor-in-chief

This issue is notable for being the last Howard the Duck comic book that co-creator Steve Gerber would serve as writer and editor on before being fired by Marvel after getting into a dispute with the comic book publisher. Marvel contended that Steve Gerber had a problem with meeting deadlines. Gerber said that the dispute was over ownership/licensing rights for Howard where he demanded a great cut of the profits for Howard. This dispute would ultimately lead to a lawsuit between Gerber and Marvel comics.

Synopsis: This issue starts with Howard in a dark void where a bunch of accusing fingers point at him. It is soon revealed that Howard is in some kind of a courtroom with Beverly Switzler serving as a judge. Judge Beverly tells Howard that the first “Karmic Kourt” is in session and he’s being charged with terminal negatism. Howard pleads not guilty by reason of sanity. The judge calls the State of Mind, a man with a globe for a head to give testimony. Then the judge asks the jury, who consist of a bunch of Howard the Duck clones, for a verdict—which is guilty.

Howard demands the chance to defend himself. When Judge Beverly grants it, Howard says that he’s not negative, he’s angry.

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Howard wakes up and realizes that the court session was a dream. He’s in the waiting room of the hospital. Lee Swtizler is now there, having driven from Cleveland to Skudge, Pennsylvania to join Howard at the hospital where Paul and Winda are recovering from their respective injuries that they received in the last issue. Iris Raritan is also in the waiting room as well. Howard becomes agitated at this waiting game so he offers Iris the chance to redeem herself (after she admitted that she knew about the Circus of Crime but allowed them to perform at her party because she wanted the thrill of brining the villains to justice). The two of them would track down the Circus of Crime together. Iris leaps at this chance. Lee would stay behind at the hospital to look after Paul and Winda.

Iris and Howard drive off in Iris’ car. The radar tracking screen on the dashboard indicates that the tracker that Iris had planted on the Circus of Crime’s truck is heading towards Cleveland.

Meanwhile, in a castle located in the Himalayas, Beverly is busy dancing for her husband, Doctor Bong, while Doctor Bong’s mutant minions play musical instruments. Doctor Bong seems to enjoy this performance. Afterwards Beverly sits in Doctor Bong’s lap where she tells him that she’s glad he coerced her into marrying him. Doctor Bong tells Beverly that his plans for world conquest are going ahead, including eventually killing Howard the Duck.

Iris and Howard eventually makes it to Cleveland. Iris buys casual clothes while Howard buys a camera. The pair wander on to the fairgrounds where the circus is being held. They manage to sneak into the audience incognito and watch the circus. Once it gets to the scene where the Ringmaster uses his hat to hypnotize the audience, both Howard and Iris avert their eyes. When the circus performers start to loot the audience members of their money and valuables, Howard starts to take pictures of the crime in action.

After the performance ends and the audience leaves, Howard follows the circus performers to the table where they empty all the money and valuables that were stolen. The circus performers catch Howard taking pictures. One by one the circus performers attack Howard only for the duck to subdue them.

Finally the Ringmaster attempts to hypnotize Howard only for that attempt to fail that time when Howard punches the Ringmaster in the face. Then Howard starts to pummel the Ringmaster so hard that Iris had to pull him off.

The pair go to a phone booth where Howard calls Lee at the hospital in Skudge, Pennsylvania. He finds out that Paul and Winda are expected to live. He gives the camera to Iris and tells her to give it to the police. He also tells her that he intends to remain behind in Cleveland because he wants to nurse some memories or abort them.

Topical 1970’s References: Beverly wanders in as a judge in Howard’s nightmare saying “Here comes de judge,” which is a reference to what Sammy Davis, Jr. used to chant on the TV show Laugh-In.

Before that, it was a song that was performed by Pigmeat Markham that was released back in 1968.

The Bottom Line: The scene where Beverly tells Doctor Bong that she’s glad that he coerced her into marrying him rubbed me the wrong way. I’m not sure if it’s a demonstration of the Stockholm Syndrome or if she has been hypnotized into loving Doctor Bong or if it’s simply echoing the untrue myth that a woman who’s forced to marry against her will eventually becomes soft and loving towards her husband. If it’s either of the first two scenarios, it’s a poor way to show it, and it it’s the latter, it’s blatant sexism.

The issue was campy towards the end as the circus performers attack Howard one by one when they would’ve had a better chance of defeating Howard had all of them lunged at him and subdued him at once. It’s a pretty campy satire of a typical comic book fight where such things frequently happen.

htd28

Howard the Duck #28
Cooking With Gas
November, 1978

Credits: Marv Wolfman, guest plotter; Carmine Infantino, penciler; Frank Giacoia, inker; Patterson, letters; Glynis W., colors; Mary Skrenes, dialogue; Steve Gerber, editor; J. Shooter, consulting editor

This issue was a fill-in issue that was printed after Marvel fired Howard the Duck co-creator Steve Gerber. He is listed as editor of this issue but the story was written by others. This issue is also chronologically out of order because the previous issue had Beverly adjusting to her new life as Mrs. Doctor Bong in the Himalayas and Howard trying to chase the Circus of Crime in Cleveland with socialite Iris Raritan. This issue has Howard and Beverly back together in Cleveland as if nothing had ever happened between them.

Synopsis: This story is told from the viewpoints of the supporting characters in this story rather than from Howard’s viewpoint.  As the opening sentence of this issue says: “Ever wonder what happens to those people who encounter a talking duck—and decide to go on living?” The story begins with an elderly woman who’s also a secret operative known only as “Miz,” who walks up a flight of stairs in order to keep her appointment with a psychiatrist known as Dr. Pheels Goode. She walks in on Dr. Goode making out with his sexy female secretary in his office.

Dr. Goode abruptly ends that make out session with his secretary and starts to have a therapy session with Miz, who starts to recount the night that she was working undercover in a cafe as a bikini-wearing waitress. She got a call from her employer who told her that her contact at the cafe was a Mr. Dutch and she needs to look for him. Miz thought that her employer really said that her contact was a Mr. Duck. She looks around and sees Howard, who happens to be at the cafe with Beverly at the time. Miz walks over to Howard and tells him that she has the evidence that he’s looking for on how the U.S. Army is conducting secret experiments on unsuspecting civilians.

At that point two U.S. Army men burst into the cafe and start to chase Miz. Howard tries to stop one of them because they were chasing an elderly woman only to get punched to the ground. The Army men chase Miz outside where, as she recounts, she was able to fend them off with her use of karate. She returned to her employer, who told her that she really needed to look for Mr. Dutch, not Mr. Duck, and they thought she was having mental health problems when she told the employer about how she met a talking duck so they made her see the psychiatrist. Dr. Goode concludes that she’s mad so he rings a buzzer and a couple of orderlies bodily carry Miz away.

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A second patient enters Dr. Goode’s office. He is a very nearsighted and clumsy bus driver named Seymour Driver. Seymour starts to recount what happened when Howard boarded his bus while being pursued by the same Army men who earlier pursued Miz. Apparently Howard had learned the details about the U.S. Army conducting secret experiments on civilians by putting gas in the sewer system and he wants Seymour the bus driver to take him to the nearest Army base. Seymour initially refuses because the Army base isn’t on his route but Howard forces him to change his mind after he points a sharpened pencil at Seymour’s neck. The bus takes off just as the pursuing Army men were about to board that bus. The bus crashes the gate and Seymour tells Dr. Goode that he was sent to the psychiatrist after he told his superiors about how he was hijacked by a talking duck with a pencil pointed at his neck. Dr. Goode concludes that Seymour Driver is also mad so he rings a buzzer and have the orderlies carry Seymour away.

A third patient enters Dr. Goode’s office. His name is General D. Zastermarch from the U.S. Army. He does a sweep of the office to make sure there aren’t any bugs planted. Then General Zastermarch settles down and tells Dr. Goode what happened when Howard managed to sneak into his office at the U.S. Army base. The general shoots at Howard but keeps on missing. Howard manages to get to the Top Secret files despite bullets being shot all around him (but none of them would actually hit him, which indicates that General Zastermarch’s shooting skills totally suck) where he finds the evidence that he’s looking for then runs out of the office. When the general tells Dr. Goode that Howard is not only a talking duck but he’s also a talking communist duck, Dr. Goode press the button again for the orderlies to take the general away.

At this point Dr. Pheels Good starts to question his own sanity because three patients in a row told him about encountering a talking duck. He looks out the window and sees Howard and Beverly walking past while they were talking about the U.S. Army’s secret plan to test laughing gas in the sewer system as a way of placating the civilians in the event of a neutron bomb from the Soviet Union being shot at that area so the people would die happy. The psychiatrist begins to freak out at what he has just saw so much that his orderlies start to carry him out of the office while Dr. Goode talks about being invaded by ducks and making quacking noises.

Topical 1970’s Reference: Miz mentions to the psychiatrist that she thought that Howard maybe worked for Jack Anderson, who was an investigative journalist and columnist in the 1970’s. There are also numerous Cold War references throughout the issue, which reflects the fact that there was still a Cold War going on between the United States and the Soviet Union. While the anti-communist sentiment wasn’t quite as intense as it had been during Senator McCarthy’s hearings in the 1950’s, there was still plenty of distrust between the two superpowers.

The Bottom Line: The idea of having one of Howard’s adventures told from the perspectives of other supporting characters is a pretty novel and unique idea. It’s too bad that the execution was sloppy. The issue begins with the gratuitous make out scene between an older man working in an office and his younger, sexier, buxom secretary wearing a dress with a plunging neckline—something which became a tired old sexist cliche even back in 1978 (when this issue was published). Then it goes on to the clumsy bus driver who is just as klutzy as Jar Jar Binks was in Star Wars, Episode 1: The Phantom Menance before it concludes with the stereotypical staunch rigid, pro-American, anti-communist Army general who’s on the lookout for any hidden bugs or any other spying device while flashbacks show his poor shooting skills. It’s obvious that this issue was hurriedly thrown together in the wake of writer Steve Gerber’s firing because it relied so much on stereotypes and cliches at the expense of the original humor and satire of the previous issues. With better writing and a more thought-out plot, this could’ve been an interesting and memorable issue instead of the sloppy mess that it turned out to be.

These issues were reprinted in Howard the Duck: The Complete Collection, Volume 2, which can be purchased onine at AbeBooks, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, BookDepository, Half.com, IndieBound, Indigo, Powell’s.

Next post in this series.

The Howard the Duck Series

Howard the Duck: The Complete Collection, Volume 1

The Early Stories
Howard the Duck #1-3
Howard the Duck #4-5
Howard the Duck #6
Howard the Duck #7 and Marvel Treasury Edition #12: Howard the Duck
Howard the Duck #8

Howard the Duck #9-11
Howard the Duck #12-14
Howard the Duck King Size Annual #1 and Howard the Duck #15
Howard the Duck #16

Howard the Duck: The Complete Collection, Volume 2

Howard the Duck #17-19
Howard the Duck #20-22
Howard the Duck #23-25
Howard the Duck #26-28
Howard the Duck #29-31
Howard the Duck Magazine #1

Greenbelt, Maryland was one of the many towns and cities that took part in the annual National Night Out on August 2. The Greenbelt one was held simultaneously in two different locations. I went to the first one that was held at Beltway Plaza Mall.

National Night Out, August 2, 2016

The Beltway Plaza event was held outside in the back parking lot.

National Night Out, August 2, 2016

There were all kinds of games and activities for all ages.

National Night Out, August 2, 2016

National Night Out, August 2, 2016

National Night Out, August 2, 2016

National Night Out, August 2, 2016

National Night Out, August 2, 2016

National Night Out, August 2, 2016

National Night Out, August 2, 2016

National Night Out, August 2, 2016

National Night Out, August 2, 2016

National Night Out, August 2, 2016

National Night Out, August 2, 2016

National Night Out, August 2, 2016

Free food was given away at that event but I didn’t go for it because, as you can see in the next photograph, the lines were so long. In fact they ran out of free food before the event ended.

National Night Out, August 2, 2016

There was even a skateboarding team who did all kinds of tricks.

National Night Out, August 2, 2016

National Night Out, August 2, 2016

National Night Out, August 2, 2016

National Night Out, August 2, 2016

National Night Out, August 2, 2016

National Night Out, August 2, 2016

National Night Out, August 2, 2016

I was given this cardboard truck along with coupons and other activities from Silver Diner. I later gave it to Makerspace 125 to place among other toys they have lying around for kids.

National Night Out, August 2, 2016

National Night Out, August 2, 2016

National Night Out, August 2, 2016

National Night Out, August 2, 2016

I went to the other event that was held in Roosevelt Center, located in Greenbelt’s historic district. Compared with the Beltway Plaza event, the one of Roosevelt Center was more low key. There were children who ran around the open air plaza while tables from local businesses had literature for people to pick up.

National Night Out, August 2, 2016

National Night Out, August 2, 2016

National Night Out, August 2, 2016

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