Here are my excuses for not posting in over a month:
1. We just moved into a new house that weíve been fixing up.
2. We just got two kittens.
3. Iím on holiday right now and Iím being lazy.
4. I donít like to post things until Iím really, really happy with them and very sure that they wonít make me look stupid. Rarely being completely happy with my work + often looking stupid = no updates
My original intention with this blog was that I wouldnít get hung up with considerations of quality in it the same way I do with my comics. I thought it would be all easy going, "Here's what I'm thinking today" kind of a thing, but it hasn't worked out that way in practice. In an effort to rectify this, I will be revisiting some of the unfinished posts that have been gathering dust in my hard drive for the past several months, starting with:
A couple of months ago I was intending to post some sarcastic commentary on a comic story that Iíd come across via a Yahoo Group I belong to called Comic Spotlight. The story comic was called The Green Lama (sorry the link is no longer current) My plan was to make fun of this Golden Age comic hero named after a woolly beast with a long snout and point how amusingly lame the story was. I was also planning on pointing out that the art was actually sort of good.
I came this close to posting it, but decided to wait until after I found out more about the comic. I really donít enjoy listening to people dismissing or making fun of things that I love based on a superficial and/or largely ignorant understanding of ABBA... *cough* ...Sorry, I mean THE TOPIC... I figured that I owed it to Green Lama fans to know what I was talking about before making fun of him.
I was immediately glad that Iíd decided to hold off- First off, the Green Lama the comic was referring to wasnít that kind of Lama at all. A Llama is a quadruped that lives in Peru, a Lama is a Buddhist Holy Man who lives in Tibet.
I still think the story is lame, but not for my original reasons. In spite of the fact that the website hosting the story is called "Golden Age Greats" I was pretty positive that the story was from the 1960s- mainly because of the style of the art, which I found more modern looking than than a lot of the other comics that I'd seen from the same period (not a lot, really). When I realized that the magic words 'OM MANI PADME HUM!' , spoken by wealthy playboy Jethro Dumont in order to transform him into the Green Lama, was actually a Bhuddist Mantra I altered my position somewhat:
The Green Lama was a superhero obviously intended for the blooming Age of Aquarius. I imagine the writer as a 'West Coast Drop-Out Type' who somehow found himself cranking out hack work for a third rate comic book company to make ends meet. At parties, heíd tell people, "I work in comics, but not the normal type superheroís schtick that youíre probably used to; not at all. It may look like that on the surface, but Iím underneath it all there'll be this subversive element, letting the kids know where it's reallyat. Heís called the Green Llama, see, and heís all mysterious and weird looking, kind of like that guy, , you remember him? Yeah thatís right, The Spectre! Heíll be kind of like a mix of that guy and Captain Marvel. Heís a total square that transforms into a superhero, but, (this is the part thatís going to blow the kids brains!) instead of just saying an imaginary magic word like "Shazam" this catís going to use this real magic word that Iíve been tripping out to during my transcendental meditation sessions."
After sending an email to the curator of Golden Age Greats, it quickly became apparent that this other take I had on the character was also wrong. The art that I was convinced was 'Silver-Age' was the work of one of the quintessential 'Golden Age' artists,Mac Raboy, who worked on Captain Marvel Jr for Fawcett Publications until the mid-forties when he left for Spark Publications, home of The Green Lama. The character had originated in the Pulps in 1940 and the took up flight in Prize Comics later the same year and eventually landed his own title. He even was popular enough to inspire a Radio Show in 1949 (listen to The Last Dinosaur).
Raboy went on to draw the Flash Gordon strip that Dark Horse reprinted a couple of years ago. He had a flair for page layout and cover design, and the drawings of his that I've seen so far imbue grace to even the most heavy-handed war propaganda and wooden writing. He was a slow worker who didn't talk about his work much, at least according to the comments of a cousin that I came across on a comics community message board: "I remember Mac as a quiet, sort of "odd" fellow to our young minds.Rather reclusive. His wife Lulu, was very outgoing and was always involved in our family. They used to visit my mom and dad's home, the Marx's, in Westchester New York now and then, until they moved to Florida. Mac and Lulu never mentioned his work, although the older generation knew who he was and what he did. We regret never really being able to talk about his work to him or Lulu. We have, in recent years, seen some sketches and ink drawings he did, unrelated to the comic strips. He was good. "
See, it's hard to make fun of that. Would it have been better if I'd just gone with my original snarky post without a second thought?