Saturday, December 12, 2015

A CENTURY OF SINATRA

As I've said many times before, Frank Sinatra's always been there in my life.  My mother—who, as a teenager, would cut high school to go swoon over Sinatra at New York's Paramount theater—made sure his songs were playing constantly in our house.  (For the record:  My father loved Frankie just as much.  If you were Italian, you had to.  It was a genetic imperative.)  I may have been a child of the rock and roll generation, but I was always under Sinatra's spell; and the older I got, the more I came to love—make that revere—his mix of swagger and vulnerability, bravado and tenderness.  Most of all I came to appreciate the aching humanity in Frank Sinatra's music.  For all his Vegas, Rat Pack glamor, he was, beneath it all, a skinny kid from Hoboken who knew the same loneliness and despair, hope and joy, that we all do.  And he was blessed with an extraordinary voice that could express it in the most natural, and yet magical, of ways.

In honor of what would have been Frank Sinatra's 100th birthday, here are some classic moments—starting with a very young Sinatra singing what was then his signature song.



And now here's Frankie at the height of his powers, with the amazing Count Basie and his orchestra storming away behind him.


And, finally, Sinatra in the autumn of his years, voice waning (and all the more poignant for it), facing down the darkness with eloquence and heart.


Happy Birthday, Frank.  The song is you, indeed.

79 comments:

  1. So are you saying that Frank Sinatra and his melt-your-heart-baby-blues created interest in Italian American men in your Jewish mother, and create J.M. Dematteis? Strange.

    I never really was that big a fan of Sinatra's singing. Sure I think"Fly me to the Moon" is a great tune, but mostly I think of him as the boy band of the day. Known really for his good looks and overly sentimental, even gooey at times, lyrics. And in the end I personally think his mob ties were more of a part of his success than his singing. He isn't exactly Robert Johnson level in my book. Of course I would never say that my views have to be anyoneelse's so, enjoy all you like. I know you were worried I would ban you from listening, and all those albums are a pain to dispose of.

    All that being said, I remember him best from the Manchurian Candidate. A great role in a great movie. So I by no means think of him as a waste or anything. I just think his secondary career was where his talents lied. Again, just an opinion, not a fact.

    This is a groovy little website,(make sure that you look up the notes on the episode "Surf's up and Breakfast at Galactus's"):

    http://auntpetunia.com/


    Jack

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    1. That FF site is kind of brilliant. It's so convincing that I now remember watching it as a kid. : )

      As for Frank: to each his own. But I will say (as someone who has read lots about Mr. S) that the mob had very little to do with his success. He earned it on the strength of his own genius. In fact, as you read about his life, you realize that the mob hurt him far more than they ever helped him.

      I just finished James Kaplan's THE CHAIRMAN, the second volume in his massive two-part Sinatra bio, and I'd recommend both books even to someone who doesn't like Frank. An amazing look at a brilliant, conflicted soul.

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    2. I don't think anyone can ever really play the F.F., the chemistry is too important. However, the more I thought about it, Elizabeth Montgomery seems like the best you could have gotten I that era.

      Did you notice who was the presumed writer for the Galactus episodes?

      Of course, there was also an episode that talks of hippies (played by Bob Denver? brilliant!) and the show would have been production a year before the birth of hippies, and 2 before they would become well known. Of course it was simply a fan project so you can't be too picky.

      As for Sinatra, I'll deferr to you as I have not read anywhere near as much, and assume that you are accurate. However, keep in mind that those writing the books probably probably wanted to portray a positive view of Frank, so who knows how much is kept, changed, or editorialized. Not saying it happened that way, I'm just saying.

      Jack

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    3. I noticed the hippie glitch, too, as well as the PKD references. What's interesting is that I tweeted that link and there were people who thought it was for real!

      The Kaplan books are very honest—Sinatra's flaws are on full display—so he's not holding anything back. What's nice is that he's not trying to do a Kitty Kelly and bury the man, either. He's just showing Sinatra in all his brilliant—and sometimes awful—fullness.

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    4. So it got passed around? Excellent. I have no idea who did this, aside from the info given on the site, but I ma glad they did. I am actually a little angry that it isn't real.

      I'm, not surprised people were fooled, it is extremely well done. I just hope whoever did it sees that a comic pro found out and like it. How can we make sure Stan Lee sees it? Tweet it at him Dematteis, quickly!

      Jack

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    5. Yes, it was EXTREMELY well done. I'd love to know who did it.

      Not sure if I'll tweet it to Stan, but...maybe.

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  2. Did someone have a birthday that I missed? Happy Birthday, sir!

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    1. If the "sir" in question is me, Douglas, no, you didn't miss it. It's today.

      Thank you!!

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  3. Better idea, Lois and Clark for the new era, this time with Bernie Rosenthal as the lead and Cap as the Superhero.

    BOOM. Just saved comic based media.

    jack

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    1. And comic-based media thanks you!

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    2. See, you probably can't even remember the name of that Marvel spy show... either of them... now. You just can't get Bernie out of your head. You'll probably wake up one day with a full script for the pilot and another season and a half in notes. How they got there will be a complete mystery.


      Cap and Bernie: Domestic... bliss? may not ever see the pages of a comic, but it can live on in an inferior medium, remember to check the Creation point notes Dematteis... the Notes...!


      jack

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    3. If we were doing this in the 80's, we'd have to cast Valerie Harper as Bernie, since Rhoda, on the MARY TYLER MOORE show, was clearly the visual inspiration for Bernie.

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    4. If I had to pick an actress Bernie looked like, gun to my head, I would say that it was what's her name from Scrooged, you know Frank Cross's hippie girlfriend. She was in Raiders of the lost Ark, too.

      That comes largely from Zeck's run, of course I wouldn't say that is a perfect match either.

      This is the essential, can anyone really play Ms. Rosenthal? Even if she had the exact right look, whop could play that bombastic, yet somehow down to earth charmer? You would have to do like in that book from a few years ago where they genetically create characters for TV and movies then program in a backstory and personality.

      maybe that's why they gave what's her name? Steve's French-spy chick from WWII, her own show, Bernie is just too big for movies.

      Of course, We all want to see that, so don't even consider that problem when you are putting together that script, we'll figure it out later. Wait... it will be unconscious side-project writing in your sleep.


      Jack

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    5. I've always thought it was kind of a shame that Steve Rogers never got a personal life, and the real turning point was when your run ended.

      I absolutely love the Gruenwald run--warts and all--but he pretty much jettisoned any hope Steve ever had of a personal life, and that's been the take ever since.

      So the Bernie stuff, beginning with Stern and pretty much concluding with your run, is an anomaly of sorts in the big scheme of things.

      Stan Lee never seemed to know what to make of Steve Rogers outside of costume, and I think the trend solidified to the point that it became an established trait that Steve simply can't live a normal life on any level. There's even a line in AVENGERS 2 where Steve tells Tony that the Avengers ARE his life now. Personally, I kind of hated to see that, but it is what it is.

      And hey, comics being what they are, I'm sure someone will eventually mine the civilian stuff from yours and Roger's run. I just hope I'm around to see it!

      --David

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    6. A personal life for Steve is a tricky thing, David; but it's no more tricky than it is for Bruce Wayne or Clark Kent. Let's face it: if SUPERMAN can have a personal life, so can Steve Rogers.

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    7. I believe you're talking about Karen Allen, Jack. An interesting choice.

      I've come to the conclusion that you just may be the biggest Bernie fan on the planet. And if we're singing Ms. Rosenthal's praises, then we have to give praise to the man who created her, the great Roger Stern: truly one of the most valuable players in Marvel history.

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    8. I'm perfectly aware who created Bernie, but beyond that great landmark, Stern also wrote the great stories where we got the definitive pre-origin Cap and the story where is approached to run for president, but he says he can't since he has to serve all people equally and not a party. Good run, just too short.

      Because that run was so short, most of the work on the character was done after he left. Yes, he did lay much of the groundwork though.

      As for Ms. Allen, (which I probably could have just looked up since this is on he internet, but that would have been a whole thing), I wasn't suggesting her for the role, I just think that she looks like Bernie, of course she was originally draw by John Byrne, and many of the women he draws have that sort of look to them. Looking back, that could have bee a good fit to play her, her characters often had that sort of goofy but strong vibe to them.

      When it comes to being a fan, I would say that with female supporting characters at Marvel, she is probably tied with MJ Watson as having been the best in my eyes.

      uninteresting side note- Zeck will be at a minor comic show in the area in February, and I have been considering getting a sketch of Ms. Rosenthal from him when the time comes.


      Jack

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    9. Can you really tell me this doesn't have at least have a passing resemblance to Karen Allen?

      http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-K7FYRy6kP7E/UrS4ALPcKLI/AAAAAAAABVM/fsOowIAm9Vo/s1600/Cap_248F.png


      Jack

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    10. From I understand, Zeck didn't do many conventions for quite a while, but now he's back in the swing of things. Great guy, great artist.

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    11. Like I said though, I think that might just be the Byrne style.


      I can't vouch for Zeck as a person since we never met, but yes, he is a great artist. then again, you would have to be to capture the marvelous essence of Bernie Rosenthal. Maybe that is why she left the book... no other artist could really show her in her glory.

      By the way were you a fan of Jurgen's run on Superman? If so, his new series Superman: Lois and Clark is really good. The concept is intriguing, as are his writings of Supes, Lois and... their son?

      It is neither the overly dark nature of comic of the past decade, nor is it the annoyingly self-aware style that has come about recently. It is just a comic, a well written comic. Which also happens to be outselling the more "current-continuity-friendly" Superman.


      Jack

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    12. I've heard very good things abut the LOIS AND CLARK series. Jargons is a total pro and know show to deliver a satisfying read.

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    13. Hmmm. JURGENS was auto-corrected to JARGONS. Weird.

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    14. I also remember liking his work on Ben Reilly back in the day. He is really good at combining Silver Age ideas with modern sensibilities.

      hats have go off to him since Superman has to be one of the hardest characters to write since no one seems to ever be happy. There is always some complaint.

      Lois and Clark is one of two DC ongoings (minus Vertigo)that I am reading. The other is some comic called Justice League 3000 balloons or something. The Jl is in the future or the past or something... no I think it was the circus.

      I just hope we can get a similar themed
      ongoing with Spider-AMn where he is still married, perhaps written by, I don't know J.M. Dema... what was his name? he writes that Justice LEague book. J.M. Demazgorlok? yeah, that sounds about right. he wrote spider-man back in the day, liked the marriage and wrote a tale about him being hunted good stuff.

      Jack

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    15. Demazgorlok is pretty good for an old hack and I hear he'd love to write a book like that! : )

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    16. With the success of the recent mini series "Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows" and the aforementioned success of Lois and Clark, that pitch may not be too hard of a sell.

      Now we just need to find a way to have Cap and Bernie in their book without making it seem too repetitive. Different tone is the obvious answer.

      Then again Maybe start with the Spidey married book, then once that has the high sales in have an issue act as a backdoor pilot for the Cap and Bernie comic.


      Also, next month Len Wein returns to Swamp Thing.


      Jack

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    17. And I hear that Len is having an incredible time writing it. The Wein-Wrightson ST is one of my all-time favorite comic book runs, so this is a very good thing.

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    18. I'm conflicted about Wein's return to Swamp Thing. On one hand he still is consistently good, and his original run was great.

      However, the depressing fact is that it seems DC has to keep cycling in old talent. This will be the 3rd DC ongoing I will be buying now, after giving multiple ones chances, or seeing them cancelled. Clearly I am not the only one doing this. The three I will be buying though (assuming Wein is as good as we know he is capable of) and all three are from creators who's height of popularity (not skill necessarily)was over a decade ago, pushing two decades in the most recent case.

      I'm glad to see old favorites, especially since the two that have already come out ARE doing new things with the characters. The problem is what about the new?

      I gave New 52 Swamp Thing a chance for about a year, maybe a little less, but eventually gave up on it. It was written well enough, it just took a long time to get going. I can take bad comics, it is the ones that feel like I didn't get a whole comic, but rather just part of one that really bugs me. It is very perplexing, given Snyder wrote it, and his Batman never had that problem.

      Anyway the point is that comics need new readers, for sure, but what about new creators?


      Jack

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    19. If you look at the lists of who's doing what at Marvel and DC, there are tons of new writers and artists (plenty that I've never even heard of) working on their books, so it doesn't seem to me that new creators are a problem. They keep coming, as they always have.

      As for old creators, I'm happy to see DC using established voices. Too often, those of us who have been doing this for a long time are labeled as "legends of the industry" and then shunted off to the sidelines. There are so many hugely talented, and very experienced, people out there who can't seem to get any traction with the Big Two.

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    20. And readers seem to be largely rejecting them. My point was more that the only books to be excited about are from long established creators, who yes it is good to see that there is still work from them.

      Readers do not seem to be that fond of what thew kids on the block are doing.

      I think part of that comes from the fact that there is no homegrown talent anymore, with all new writers coming from indie books, they have established styles that don't always gel with established characters.

      Then there is the fact that editors seem to be very effected from horror stories of the 90s, where editorial mandates were everywhere and causing writers to walk. Editors need to help writers do their best, even established pros like Frank Miller fell from grace when editors became afraid to not guide.

      Then there is the change in mindset. It seems like new writers are about being the redefinition of characters and the biggest name ever. That is why I walked away from Snyder's Batman, which I liked, everything was too big always going from major event to major event with no time to breathe.

      It seems like the older writers have the healthier attitude, of "I get paid to write, I will do the best I can, I will put my voice in, but these aren't my characters. Let's make a great story."

      Then there are indie writers sitting on great ideas because they want to save them for their creator owned projects. Another hazard of drawing from that pool.

      Of course, I can't imagine that the shift from character driven to plot driven in a serialized medium is helpful.

      The most annoying to me though is the writers who are clearly trying to use comics solely as a stepping stone to TV, movies, or video games.

      In the end, I think the big problem is just that the big fracturing in the 90s is still trying to be fixed. And what comics should do is still up in the air a bit.

      Jack (didn't I used to have a sign off?)

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    21. Now, go enjoy Scrooged before the season is over.

      Jack

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    22. Thoughtful and insightful, as always, Jack. You really should be doing a weekly column somewhere with your thoughts on the industry. I'd certainly read it!

      I'll just address one thing in what you wrote: the "major event" syndrome. I don't think that's coming from the writers, I think it's coming from the market. It seems that just creating solid, entertaining stories doesn't move comics anymore. The fans buy things in droves when there's an "event" happening and the companies respond to that and the creators are then encouraged to follow that model. At least that's my take on it.

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    23. First I have to watch A CHRISTMAS CAROL and IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE!

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    24. First off, that is a very... complicated view of "events." As the guy who is in comic shops every week, I don't know anyone who likes big events, the problem is how they are manipulated to buy.

      If people didn't read Flashpoint they would have had no idea why all the main DC characters are a good decade to decade and a half younger. If you didn't read House of M you wouldn't know why the mutant population of MArvel was decimated. And so on and so forth.

      When comic companies constantly rig them so understanding of things are linked to them it becomes complicated in gauging reaction. While I personally walked away a while ago and only read the stories in the comics I read (for instance I read JLD issues of forever evil, but not the actual mini-series) I can understand why those who hate them keep buying them. It honestly feels almost like a scam.


      That isn't what I was talking about. Snyder has said that he was most inspired by big moments in batman's life, IO think he is emulating them in the pages of batman. I am not privy to those meetings, but it seems that there is little pushing going on. This is a guy who sincerely wants to right the epic sagas of the Bat, so while there may have been a push to say... include all the other Batman family books the ideas themselves were organic.

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    25. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BzD6JYUGggU



      Jack

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    26. You do know that post was from me right? The one about events.

      Kore on that though, Starlin in the 90s moved towards the Infinity Gauntlet in Silver Surfer, wrote that, then Warlock and the Infinity Watch, which largely acted acted both as a connection from infinity to infinty.

      I like those, but why? I think part of it was that he didn't necessarily view it as a big event as an epic story. Also think that there were a lot of great character moments, while often time events (even focused on one character) can lack that. It is more plot driven, which gets even heavier when you want to be "the difinitive.' Even really good writers have trouble in that trap.


      Just remember Scrooged IS an adaption of A Christmas Carol. Hope you can get around to it (if you like it), it still holds up pretty well... though, it is still very of its time.

      Hope you enjoyed that link.


      Jack

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    27. You know, if the 'legends' wrote such great stories that we all remember with fondness, then let them write them. A lot of the new books are just garbage nowadays from the big two. Also, newer writers seem incapable of a competent one and done story. For the most recent events I bought zero of the DC books tied to Convergence and at Marvel I only bought Planet Hulk and Weirdworld and if Devil Dinosaur hadn't been in PLanet Hulk I doubt I would have read that.

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    28. Yes, I knew it was you.

      I've seen SCROOGED a few times. I enjoyed it, but it never "clicked" for me the way that classic versions of CHRISTMAS CAROL have. In a weird way, GROUNDHOG DAY may be a better Bill Murray Christmas movie, even though it's not about Christmas. The Spirit of Christmas is certainly at work in that film.

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    29. There's a lot of terrific new talent out there, Douglas, and I think (hope?) that there's enough room on the playground for the newbies and the oldies to play nicely together! : )

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    30. Personally, I wonder how much talent fell through the cracks or lacked learning because some of that old talent that maybe should have moved up to editorial didn't

      As for Scrooged:

      Funny, I never could warm up to It's A Wonderful Life. It isn't because it was too sappy or anything. It was because the town was WAY more interesting without him.

      Hoped you enjoyed the link

      Jack

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    31. I did, thanks.

      So you'll be moving to Pottersville soon? : )

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    32. Glad you enjoyed it.

      Another interesting point, small towns like that usually have a dark underbelly.


      Now, any thoughts on my editor point? If not... cool, just wondering.

      Jack

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    33. No thoughts re: editors. Maybe I'm distracted trying to get work done before Christmas descends!

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    34. I am going to try and do my best to explain the problem with the legends returning in droves.

      It isn't the act in and of itself. I am excited for the new Swamp Thing and have been really enjoying Starlin's current stuff with Thanos.

      However the increasing numbers are what is alarming. With the JLI team back in the swing of things, Len Wein on Swampy, and Mike W. Barr and Gerry Conway already solicited for next year, there is a problem.

      Aside from the easiness for inferences towards a lack of hope for the future, there is also the changes to deal with.

      How many have written more than a mini or back-up in the past few years? Who know what can happen then. Will there be a warm up period needed for Wein? Will Conway have trouble trade writing? Writing is a skill like any other, you can get rusty and need to get your legs back.

      There is also the basic point creative fields need new blood. We always talk about the need for new readers, very true. Comics also need new creators.

      I agree there are not enough one and done stories, and that not every thing needs to be a six issue epic. However that is a job for an editor, so are discrepancies in characterization. I read a MARVEL comic that was more or less just just 22 pages of political snark. No real story just snark, in a major characters book. An editor should take care of that too.

      That is part of the great issue. Starting in the 80s fewer and fewer writers decided to become editors, so a lot of experience and wisdom was lost.

      Now you have people coming in from indie comics who are used to writing just that, indie comics. So no matter how good those were or weren't they aren't the same because it isn't just their creation.

      Then of course there is the creeping concept of hollywood. The early 2000s saw marvel farming out to Hollywood talent, and as a result JMS had a good Spidey run, but most of the rest treated it like a hobby with books perpetually late. Again, a job for an editor who knows the field.

      I'm getting side tracked though. Bringing in new talent and grooming them is important. Just think Dematteis, how valuable were Denny O'Neil and Archie Goodwin to your early career? That is a value you can't get in the indie world... or even in mainstream anymore.

      Of course there is no room anymore. Creators stay on in the big two longer now than they had previously. Dematteis, you wouldn't have gotten your job at Marvel in the 80s unless Englehart and Gerber left comics, Wein, Goodwin, and O'Neil moved on to management, and Wolfman and Conway jumped ship to DC.

      No comment on your quality, simply that you can't take a job that isn't there. Then in the 80s that stopped. You yourself said that boost in pay is what kept many in the creating game. How many great stories weren't told because there was no incentive to go onto editorial.

      Of course a lot of great stories were told because creators didn't abandon ship. So it becomes complicated.

      What's more, if those legends had become editors there would probably less using comics as a springboard to TV and film and Writers at the big two slacking on those books in favor of characters owned by the creative teams. They would probaably be told to shape up or ship out.

      The same is true for name writers, they would not get slack in terms of somethings. Plenty of creators are said to have "lost it," but really just don't have an editor who will stand up to them, for fear of them walking away.

      So, to circle all the way back to the problem of those legends as writers, they very well may leave. They've done their time, they might get sick of being back in the grind. How many are up around retirement age. Of course what will be really depressing is when the old timers are making their deadlines and no one else is. Seriously, I very well may drop the book flat out.

      To be continued for space reasons...

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    35. For what ever reason my part two didn't go up. No harm and no foul, but, I can't quite remember all of what was in it, so...period on sentence. Maybr having a some comments will jog my memory.

      And as a thank you for dealing with my nonsense:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pz7dZ9Q3K-E

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HuUOcqJb89o

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMSt-dOQfmE

      Hope you enjoy.


      take care,
      Jack

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    36. Hmmm. Part Two never arrived in my inbox, Jack. Sorry!

      Sorry, too, for the lack of comments on my end. My week just got a little crazy.

      Thanks for the links, too. I'll check them out!

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    37. I just figured that you either had nothing to add, or you were waiting for part two. No problem. Leave comments, don't, just do it in your own time.

      What's more I suppose I could have reread mine and tried to remembered, but that is a whole thing.

      I hope you enjoy them


      Have a pleasant day,
      Jack

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    38. In case you were wondering about the new Swamp Thing...

      The character is a tad more glib than I remember Wein's first run. I haven't read it in a while, but I remember it as more somber. Though, I wouldn't say it was unwelcome, it just took a few pages to get used to it.

      While only one issue is out, this mini series does feel like a classic Wein Swamp Thing story. It doesn't feel super immersive yet, but it was one of six issues, so leeway is given.

      All in all, not a bad start. I wasn't disappointed (always a possibility when a classic run returns, it just gets so built up) Probably my favorite new issue of the week, and at my comic shop at least it sold out, so who knows if this will be the last. Of course, like I said only one issue is out.

      Just thought I would report my views given that you say you were a fan of the first run, and it connects to the conversation above. I still don't remember what is gone, I may have to just breakdown and read what I wrote... or forget about it.

      Hope yo got a chance to listen to those links and that you enjoyed them.

      Take care, Jack

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    39. i know it is a different swamp monster, but the reason I like Man-Thing more (still a Wein ST fan though) is probably for the same reason he is less remembered, the classic book was basically an anthology.

      Other comic characters have acted in similar fashion(I remember a Phantom Stranger comic from the 70s, was that a common thing for him?), much like Creepy, Eerie, and the EC books they were not the focus. The difference was these other characters would take part in the story, only in a more remote way, either setting things in motion or acting as the final act deus ex machina. They were more observers than active participants except at the most crucial parts.

      I think this may be a great thing to bring back. Anthologies are great to test and train to talent. However, many fans are apprehensive of anthologies, yet love these sort of back-door-anthologies. When main books do this it is beloved. People seem to want someone to focus on for multiple issues. This could be the best way.

      More importantly...I'd like it.


      Jack

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    40. I'm going to have to read this. I love the character so much and I love Len's take on him more than any other. (With no offense to the great writers that followed!)

      I'll go listen to those links right now.

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    41. Enjoyed the links, Jack. Betty Hutton wins hands down. What a performance!

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    42. Re: Man-Thing. I know exactly what you mean. What made the (classic) Man-Thing stories so great was the fact that Steve Gerber wrote them. It wasn't about the character itself, but about the stories Gerber told through Man-Thing and his world. Swamp Thing on the other hand is a great character in and of himself.

      I never thought of Man-Thing as a "back door anthology," but you're right. I'd love to write a book like that.

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    43. I remember Alan Moore tries to marry the two in his Swamp thing run, so much so that I once read one of his stories and upon seeing a scene immediately caused me to flash back on a panel from Man-Thing.

      Now, I am not a man who has quite the same esteem for Alan Moore than most people do, in fact I think his story "For the Man Who Has Everything," which is beloved so much shows that he has a fundamental misunderstanding of the character.

      However, his run on Swamp Thing is one of the projects of his that I do truly enjoy. Few of of the issues I have read of it offered nothing for me, if any.

      That having been said, I always felt that in doing so, it existed in a strange limbo, never truly capturing the greatness of either. The feel was off, which was often enhanced by his desire to dig into ideas and not characters at times.

      As for the idea of resurrecting the idea of back-door-anthologies (a term I may have just coined), there are tons of ways to do it. You could create them, or look at what is already there, there are plenty of characters floating around to use.

      A host of forgotten golden age characters, who is to say that Timely's characters didn't have long reaching legacies we never heard of.

      How about all those great characters that were too much of an era? I love Son of Satan, but lets be honest, he will never have a series that lasts again. Unless maybe as a horror anthology character. Want to write a crime story, there are a lot of no power characters that fell in line with Batman's methods and never latched on, just have them be a minor part of the stories.

      How about the Challengers of the UNknown, just have most of them hearing the tale of the unknown thing with containment only being a few pages.

      You don't even have to change the characters, just the perspective. You can even delve into the characters every once in a while. Those tales of Ted Sallis were some great stories.

      You could split the book in two with a legend writing one and a newer creator on the other. Best of both worlds.

      I also thing that the unique style takes away much of the problems anthologies sometimes have. The problem is that you have to avoid the trap Gerber created, making it to connected to the author.

      They have tried to resurrect the book several times. In fact if I remember correctly I heard Gerber was supposed to write volume 2, except he had a falling out with Jim Shooter.

      So we got Fleischer which was interesting (no surprise since his Spectre run was a similar idea), but didn't feel right. Then came Claremont who I think was tripped up BY the anthology angle, since he needs a lot of time to explore characters.

      There have been a few that felt like Gerber stories, but many were descent stories that fell short of that ideal. I think the '97 series really worked because it turned away and did its own thing.

      Side note- I read Wein's run all at once, and wondered if Swamp Thing was mute. For the first 9 issues or so he never talks, just thinks. No idea why that popped out at me.

      The funny thing about those legendary creator books so far, from JL3oo1 to Lois and Clark to Swamp Thing, they do succeed ion making me want to buy more comics. The problem is that it is back issues. Another problem with bringing in to many legends at once.

      Jack

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    44. I don't think there's a problem with a book being "too connected to the author." Especially when you're dealing with an obscurity like MAN-THING. It's up to the writers that follow to put their unique stamp on the book. For better or worse, I didn't "do" Gerber when I wrote my short-lived MAN-THING series, but I consider it some of my best Marvel work. (Thanks in no small part to the art by the great Liam Sharp.)

      Moore's SWAMP THING is also my favorite work of his. Powerful, eye opening and poetic.

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    45. Did my post not go through again?



      Jack

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    46. beautiful. Stupid computer. Of course, if they have gained sentience that little barb may keep this from going through as well.

      So, the idea isn't that having a writer being too connected to a work is bad. It is however problematic if the goal is to set it up as an ongoing idea for other writers.

      Many a great series has died for that very reason, including Man-Thing, who has never really had a successful relaunch. Its fin, its great to do that imprinting... as long as you realized just how problematic it may be down the line.

      This was all worded better, and with deeper explanations. Give me a break, two days have passed.

      There was also something about surprise that the Beatles cover didn't win out, and that when I first saw that Betty Hutton performance back in the day, I fell in love. There was also a mention that it was odd considering at the time she was probably in her 70s and 80s. the magic of recording.

      Jack

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    47. So much that Gerber did back in the 70's could have been a creator-owned series had it arrived a decade later. The work was so incredibly personal. And remains unique in the history of comics.
      MAN-THING more than any other (well, I guess HOWARD THE DUCK was equally personal).

      That said, I think it's up to writers that follow to at least put their personal stamp on a series, To rethink the series and try to bring something new and fresh to the table.

      THAT said, your point is very well taken.

      Delete
    48. One thing that was in my original post, and not this one is that I wouldn't want it any other way. I don't think that there is anything wrong with that personal of work in mainstream comics. I have recommended that series to many people. Is till remember how it felt to first read it when I was a teenager.

      My pint only exists if the book is set up to be an ongoing idea that can act as a back-door-anthology by design, with a hope of showcasing both classic and new talent.

      I wouldn't mind more personal stories in mainstream comics... as long as they are story or character first. Many of the more personal comics these days feel like a desire to simply be too cool for school, making for a less than pleasant read.

      Let's be honest though, the only reason Gerber got to do that book that way was because it was a nothing character no one really cared about at the time. That is true for many creations of the era, Master of Kung Fu for instance.

      The idea isn't bad, but when a creator gets THAT involved, you can't be shocked when those who follow don't sell... no matter how good it is. I can't even give anyone's Howard a shot. I actually have enjoyed other people's MAn-thing stories... just with an odd scale.

      Jack

      Jack

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    49. We're pretty much in agreement here. That said, I've heard very good things about the new HOWARD THE DUCK comic. Haven't read it, though.

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    50. I have heard that too... but mostly from people who did not read the original. So, it very well may be great, however when you have that jaded view, great won't always ring as enjoyable... if you catch my drift.

      and to be fair, a few years ago, just before Gerber died, there was a Man-thing story in Legion of Monsters: man-Thing, where I had to do a double take top see if the musk-master himself wrote it. He did not, but it felt like he did. So, it is possible.

      I still think back-door-anthogies both personal ones and ones more open to multiple creators over time are a good thing. I wish I could see more, especially in mainstream.

      Jack

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    51. "The musk-master"! I think you've just come up with a new character: "mild-mannered, eccentric comic book writer by day, but at night he becomes the magnificent...Musk-Master!"

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    52. That was supposedf to be "muck-master" nor musk-master.

      Sorry


      Jack

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    53. I thought you were going for musky swamp smell. But The Magnificent Muck-Master works, too!

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  4. I remember watching old cartoons like Tex Avery's Little 'Tinker and Bob Clampett's Book Revue when i was a kid and wondering who this "Frankie" was the made all the girls swoon. Needless to say, i was so impressed that i tried to impersonate that iconic voice (with less success).

    Even though they weren't jazz in the sense that i was used to, down the line i learned to appreciate songs like It Was A Very Good Year and Hot Time In The Town Of Berlin. It's strange, to this day i still find myself trying to emulate the effortlessly cool dude i mimicked as a kid.

    With love to Frankie and thanks to DeMatteis for reminding me of him

    - Mo

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  5. You're very welcome, Mo. I recall some of the Sinatra appearances in those cartoons. And I can easily imagine a little kid trying to impersonate this animated singer.

    I've got a massive Sinatra playlist on my computer that covers (what I think is) the very best of Frank's music, from the Big Band days, though Columbia, Capital and Reprise. An astonishing evolution, an astonishing career and an astonishing voice.

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  6. I grew up with Frank, too, playing on the Magnavox stereo console in athe living room--I remember sitting on the floor next to the console and looking at the album covers, reading the jacket notes, and memorizing every line to songs like ALL THE WAY, I'VE GOT YOU UNDER MY SKIN, FLY ME TO THE MOON....

    Like yours, my mom went to see him at the Paramount numerous times--although she denies to this day that she screamed. :-)

    And I, too, have a massive Sinatra playlist...he is the one singer that I NEVER get tired of listening to...

    He was, and is, the one and only. We will not see his like again.

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    1. Those childhood memories—sitting on the living room floor next to the record player, looking through album covers—are very similar to my own, Mindy.

      I wonder if my mother and yours were ever at the same show at the same time?

      Thanks for sharing the Sinatra love.

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  7. Every sinatra song is just so full of passion. He didn't write them, yet, the main character in all of them seems to be the same bigger than life guy.

    By the way. I was reading about Creative Nonfiction and I thought about you. There is a narrative quality to everything you write, so that, even if it's nonfiction, it has the entertaining or artistic quality of fiction. Is there a "How to Write" Creative Nonfiction that you recommend?

    I've been rereading some of your first paragraphs and lines. I feel like they are always quick to draw attention by putting something interesting on the table that gets explained as you go on. Is that by design?

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    1. One of my favorites if IF YOU WANT TO WRITE by Brenda Euland. Highly recommended.

      As for first paragraphs, yes, it's be design; but, over time you learn to do these things intuitively, not consciously.

      Thanks for the kind words!

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    2. I had a couple of writing teachers explain that the first paragraph can be the most important one. Especially in journalism where the entire story might be cut down for space leaving only the first paragraph to get your point across. I still do that when I write a lot of things.

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    3. Smart teachers you had, Douglas.

      Plus. people tend to skim newspapers and magazines more than they do books, so you've REALLY got to hook them.

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    4. As a reporter, I can say that you should always be able to give a clear statement of what the piece is about from the lead. It is really the same for most things.

      The intuitive nature takes over pretty quickly because it is all based around how humans like to absorb knowledge.

      Jack

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  8. Just remember Dematteis, the 1920s are considered the first modern decade for many reasons, including the fact that it was the first time more Americans lived in cities than the country.

    As such, American art has always reflected the nations views on cities in one way or another. None more so than comic books.


    JAck

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    1. I've always been kind of fascinated with the 20's. In some ways, it was like a rehearsal for the 60's: a wild spirit roaming the land.

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    2. Actually, the 80s are probably more apt of a comparison.

      The 20s were the birth of consumerism in America, and the main images remembered are that of excess and decadence for their own sake. Not to mention the high crime rates in most major cities at both times.

      The 20s had its own version of the moral majority in tea-toddlers.

      Whats more the narcissism and excess were not hidden under different ideas.

      For that matter, the 20s saw a fair share of WWI vets suffering from severe psychological trauma, something much more associated with the 70s and 80s Vietnam vets. Largely of course because it took time for enough vets to enter the public knowledge, not a lack of issues.

      Then of course that was also the first era of stocks and high finance being a major component to people.. which was a huge player in the very idea of the 80s.

      The of course there was both decades fetishizing wealth.


      Personally, I find the 30s and 40s the most interesting points in AMerican history. The hard times of the 30s which forged a nations people and prepared them for their finest hour the next decade. to step up and save the world.

      In fact, everything we know of the world today was born from those two decades.

      Not to mention... you know... comics were born.

      Will Eisner when reflecting about the times once said something along the line of... the world was in desperate need. People were looking for answers Italy got Mussolini, Germany got Hitler, but America , we got Superman.

      I wish I could remember the quote, or remember where I read it.


      Jack

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    3. Interesting parallels there between the 20s and the 80s.

      And that Eisner quote—or sort of quote—is perfect.

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