Showing posts from January, 2018

Vale Mort Walker: 1923 - 2018

About ten years ago, or more now, I won a charity on-line auction that consisted of sketches, signatures and a few strips from American cartoonists, such as Jim Davis, Hank Ketcham and a lot that, frankly, I'd never heard of. Most I wasn't interested in, but this one was the reason I bid - a Beetle Bailey head sketch by Mort Walker . Even here, in Australia, I'd not only heard of, but routinely read Beetle Bailey , in paperback form mind you as it wasn't in any newspaper in Adelaide, and could appreciate the humour that Walker brought to the strip, even if it was quintessentially American. Perfectly executed slapstick humour works, no matter it's origin, or what language it might be. It's why some silent comedies are still so effective in obtaining laughs today, at times over 100 years since they first were made.  Mort has now passed , aged 94. He sold his first cartoon, professionally, when he was 14 years old and was working until the end. That's

Fred Brodrick: Universal's Secret Weapon

Fred Brodrick Self-portrait. 6 May, 1925. Everyone's Over the past year and a bit I've been working on a book which I've tentatively titled " The Secret History Of The Horror Film In Australia ".  This book will detail the beginnings of the genre in Australia, starting with the birth of cinema in 1896 and end in 1973. Why 1973? That's easy. Because there's plenty of other books out there that detail the resurgence of horror in Australia post-1973 so there's no need for me to rehash it. The book will cover what movies were made here and what came into the country, along with censorship, how films were promoted and received by the public and much more. I'm hoping to have it finished by the end of this year and I've yet to approach a publisher. Currently it's hitting the 100,000 word mark with no sign of ending. Along the way I'm writing about other parts of Australian cinema and finding myself cutting them out for various reasons.

Joe Simon, The F.B.I. and the Strange Case of the Missing Artwork

It's common knowledge that in the early 1970s a rather large amount of art was stolen from DC Comics and in the early 1980s another sizeable cache of art was stolen from Marvel Comics.  In the comic book art circles there are a number of collectors who refuse to acknowledge that the art was stolen, instead they prefer to call it ‘liberated’.  In the years leading up to the DC Comics heist the policy was to destroy original art outright, or to give pages and covers away as gifts and prizes to fans.  Occasionally artists would ask for, and subsequently take art back, or other professionals would simply take what was lying around.  However DC Comics policies meant that many artists never saw the original art that they worked on once they handed it in, until it was offered for sale collectors market.  The story became an open topic of debate when a short lived fanzine, Inside Comics , ran a detailed article on how the theft happened, complete with commentary and listed some of the

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