Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas!

As with the last few holidays, I present to you another great gallery of festive fun and seasonal shenanigans across the pop culture populace. I find that the more people use their imagination to make the most of the holiday, the more exciting, fun & interestibg it is...Santa Claus can be whoever you want him to be, juat as a christmas tree can have any kind of ornaments you want it to have.

Enjoy...and have a very Merry Christmas! :)

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Jingle Bells, Batman Smells...

Jingle bells
Batman smells,
Robin laid an egg...

The Batmobile lost it's wheel...
And the Joker got away!

The first time I had ever heard this parody of the lyrics to Jingle Bells was when Bart Simpson sang it in The Simpsons Christmas Special, back in 1989. There is no official "full" version of this song parody and the origins of it have a big Riddler-worthy question mark stamped on it; we only know that it emerged in the public consciousness in the mid-1960s, rather conveniently close to the premiere of the live-action Batman TV series starring Adam West. I suppose it could have been a product of the massive and aggressive campaign to promote the show before & during its first season - the so-called "Batmania"  that made the series a pop culture fad for its first two seasons. It wasn't until the 1990s Batman: The Animated Series episode "Christmas with The Joker", that it became official camp shorthand "Bat-speak" by having The Joker (voiced by Mark Hamill) sing it on the show, albeit as a missed opportunity; why didn't they create a definitive full version of the song right there? Oh well.

If anyone knows the truth about where this spoof came from, feel free to drop in with your comments. In the meantime,  I found some fun stuff to share, including three memes I made myself, appearing here for the first time. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanks-for-Giving on Thanksgiving! (Part 2 of 2)

This concluding installment is going to read like a turducken, that infamous turkey stuffed with boneless duck and chicken meat - if you're set to have one this Thanksgiving, you might find it dry, tough and tender at the same time...reminds me of the books I read...

Few people know how to handle a turkey without looking like Lupo the Butcher,  so I found a psuedo-helpful instruction guide presented by a familiar face from the past, (Bob Hope!) along with some more wacky turkey day-related festivities, including a turkey made from a Lego Star Wars Imperial AT-AT (can you imagine how easy it would be if a real Thanksgiving dinner made/shaped like Lego bricks? You wouldn't carve it, you would just gently pull the slices apart! ).

In funnybook land, Batman, Superman,  Power Girl and The Huntress make perfect turduckens. I noticed that Scott Snyder has found a way to sidestep present-day continuity by tinkering with Batman's past in Zero Year & Dark City, while his Superman Unchained is shaggy dog turducken that's taken forever to cook. Meanwhile, Power Girl & The Huntress have had their Silver Age origins reinstated, with Modern Age twists - they were the Supergirl  and Robin of Earth 2, which means PG is Superman's Other Secret Weapon (inside joke) and Huntress, in an interesting retcon, was always Helena Wayne. That means that all of her appearances as Helena Bertinelli over the last 26 years or so were in actuality featuring the daughter of Batman & Catwoman of Earth2 living on Earth1, masquerading as the daughter of a slain mob boss(!), working as a schoolteacher by day, falling in and falling out with "uncle" Batman & his "family", becoming Batgirl during No Man's Land, joining the Justice League during the Grant Morrison era,  hooking up with The Question (both in comics and in Justice League Unlimited) and becoming a regular in Birds of Prey. I actually  find this retcon pretty neat, since the "Batman & Catwoman's daughter" hook is still iconic - there's just one problem: it's been two years now; all the loose ends implied by the retcon haven't been addressed yet! Obviously, storylines like Cry For Blood and Huntress: Year One are left hanging in the air, but I don't think it matters - Helena Bertinelli's characterization was rarely consistent and varied with whoever was writing for her: Joey Cavalieri portrayed as mature, but inexperienced;  Chuck Dixon cast her as a "bad girl" action hero, often standing-in as gritty version of Batgirl among Batman's sidekicks; Grant Morrison had fun with her rapport with Batman; Greg Rucka focused on her neuroses; Jeph Loeb & Jim Lee focused on her sex appeal; Gail Simone might have been the first writer who tried to find the rationale behind the inconsistencies; Geoff Johns toyed with reviving the Earth2 incarnation.   Finally, Paul Levitz, who created the character,  resumed writing new stories about her and brought her back and ... held down the figurative "reset" button just a little bit with an identity reveal.

So that's it. I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving. Remember to tuck your fingertips inward while chopping and slicing food - you'll thank me later.

And just like Snoopy & Woodstock, I'll be enjoying my Thanksgiving after you leave. :)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanks-For-Giving on Thanksgiving! (Part 1) :)

I know, I know!  It's called Thanksgiving, but the play on words is a nod to the rarely-seen TV Special, Daffy Duck's Thanks-For-Giving Special, which was produced and directed by Chuck Jones. The reason why it's not shown often is because the cartoons had little/nothing to do with the holiday - it was really just a chance to premiere Jones' sequel to Duck Dodgers Of The 24 1/2 Century: Duck Dodgers And The Return To The 24 1/2 Century. But the marketing for the cartoon featured an image of Daffy Duck in pilgrim garb, which I've posted below, along with other images of Thanksgiving craziness that I've found, including an epic crossover between the stars of three 1960s sitcoms: The Beverly Hillbillies, Petticoat Junction and Green Acres. Too bad it was just a photo op. It also appears to have been taken in the late-60s,  since June Lockhart is present (replacing Bea Benederet).

And I did not forget the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (or CBS's coverage of the parade, which had gotten a little bit hipper after they ditched the cheesy "All-American Thanksgiving" format around 2004/2005, though I wish they'd brought back Daisy Fuentes to cover it like they did to launch the change - nothing wrong with having a hip, sexy woman host a parade, says I). Remember the days when there was no Spider-Man balloon and a fan created an online petition to bring it back? I'm not sure if it made a dent, but I recall meeting the guy while standing on line for autographs from the Romitas, John and John jr. - he was low-key and nervous; he ducked out (!) and the woman accompanying him (I'm assuming it was his girlfriend or wife *) got them to sign a copy of the petition on his behalf.

"I'm a man on a mission" - his reply to me when I saw the long form in his hand and asked about it. Maybe it turned the tide?  Who knows?

And how can I not mention A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving? Even if I had forgotten,  all of cyberspace would have reminded me! My favorite tribute is the fan who made a batch of cupcakes depicting images/items seen in the special. The Peanuts gang's antics might be hard to take in large doses these days (nowadays ol' Chuck would be hooked on anti-depressants), but nowadays people are trying to reinvent Thankgiving dinners to allow for vegans or calorie counters; Charles Shultz's original target was anyone who insisted on having Thanksgiving dinner at a diner or restaurant, in which the experience gets shortchanged by flakey service; we're slowly learning how to love a plate full of pretzels, toast & jellybeans. My favorite scene is the last one played over the credits,  with Snoopy & Woodstock quietly enjoying a Thanksgiving feast after all the kids have left.

Lastly, I'm not a huge fan of Planes, Trains And Automobiles, the John Hughes film in which Steve Martin & John Candy play strangers who keep running into eachother in airports and train stations during the Thanksgiving weekend travel crush and eventually have to work together if they're going to get anywhere - partly because their characters were a bit cardboard (Martin was on his way to becoming the bland suburban "Dad" of Cheaper By The Dozen; Candy is sort of playing off himself - and his weird moustache & frizzy hair - for all of it - their chemistry was weak; maybe if it was Rick Moranis playing the Candy role to Martin or Chevy Chase playing the Martin role to Candy..), but it might be the only Thanksgiving movie I'm aware of, except for Other People's Money, which has a few scenes set around the holiday.

Tomorrow in part 2's installment I'll talk Turduckens - of the comic book kind, that is.

*I don't believe that woman was his wife or girlfriend. It was his mother.