Gold Digger Bookshelf | Antarctic Press Library

The first 25 issues of Fred Perry’s “Gold Digger” are available as free pdf downloads on his publisher’s website.  Perry has been writing and drawing Gold Digger since 1991!  It’s one of the longest-running creator-owned runs in comics (only Cerebus ran longer, and it’s done now). 

House on Haunted Hill (1959)


While not scary by today’s standards (especially the skeleton), you can still enjoy the gleefully wicked interactions between Vincent Price and Carol Ohmart.  Those two are a scream.  They play a couple whose marriage is on the rocks.  He’s the rich older guy, she’s the trophy wife.  They openly discuss their desire to kill each other.  It’s sardonically witty, and very fun to watch.
The 50s had a macabre vibe running through it, from Vincent Price, to the Adams Family, Vampira and Rat Fink.  We tend not to remember it, but it was there.  It’s not surprising, when you consider that lots of Americans had recently come home from World War Two, where they saw a shitload of death.  Turning that darkness into a madhouse-mirror version of itself is one way to deal.  
The movie opens in a very artificial way, with some of the characters talking directly to the audience.  Price’s character introduces several of the other players, telling us why he invited them to spend the night in this haunted house, and why he thinks they accepted.  Their heads float on the screen as he talks.  Personally, I dig this.  Film is not real, so filmmakers should embrace that, and do all sorts of visually interesting, unrealistic things.  It’s also very practical.  If the movie introduced all these characters in a more “natural” way, it would delay the plot for a half hour or so.  Or, their backgrounds and motivations could be shown in far less detail.  But the way it’s done here, we get the information quickly and succinctly, and the story gets rolling.  It also informs us about Price’s character, because his assessment of the others highlights what’s important to him.
Honestly, the story that follows is no great shakes.  It is, however, written and performed well enough to keep it entertaining for 74 minutes.  It’s streaming on Netflix

Whimzical Whizkerz Charms and Buttons

Very cute charms!  You kickstart it! 

…when I asked my wife what Robin Williams died from, she, very wisely, replied “Depression” … because Depression is still such a misunderstood condition, you can hardly blame people for not really understanding.

The original post only has US helplines. I've added UK helplines underneath. It would be great if people could add numbers from everywhere in the world.
Depression Hotline: 1-630-482-9696
Suicide Hotline: 1-800-784-8433
LifeLine: 1-800-273-8255
Trevor Project: 1-866-488-7386
Sexuality Support: 1-800-246-7743
Eating Disorders Hotline: 1-847-831-3438
Rape and Sexual Assault: 1-800-656-4673
Grief Support: 1-650-321-5272
Runaway: 1-800-843-5200, 1-800-843-5678, 1-800-621-4000
Exhale: After Abortion Hotline/Pro-Voice: 1-866-4394253
Child Abuse: 1-800-422-4453
UK Helplines:
Samaritans (for any problem): 08457909090 e-mail jo@samaritans.org
Childline (for anyone under 18 with any problem): 08001111
Mind infoline (mental health information): 0300 123 3393 e-mail: info@mind.org.uk
Mind legal advice (for people who need mental-health related legal advice): 0300 466 6463 legal@mind.org.uk
b-eat eating disorder support: 0845 634 14 14 (only open Mon-Fri 10.30am-8.30pm and Saturday 1pm-4.30pm) e-mail: help@b-eat.co.uk
b-eat youthline (for under 25's with eating disorders): 08456347650 (open Mon-Fri 4.30pm - 8.30pm, Saturday 1pm-4.30pm)
Cruse Bereavement Care: 08444779400 e-mail: helpline@cruse.org.uk
Frank (information and advice on drugs): 0800776600
Drinkline: 0800 9178282
Rape Crisis England & Wales: 0808 802 9999 1(open 2 - 2.30pm 7 - 9.30pm) e-mail info@rapecrisis.org.uk
Rape Crisis Scotland: 08088 01 03 02 every day, 6pm to midnight
India Self Harm Hotline: 00 08001006614
India Suicide Helpline: 022-27546669
Kids Help Phone (Canada): 1-800-668-6868, Free and available 24/7
suicide hotlines;
Argentina: 54-0223-493-0430
Australia: 13-11-14
Austria: 01-713-3374
Barbados: 429-9999
Belgium: 106
Botswana: 391-1270
Brazil: 21-233-9191
China: 852-2382-0000
(Hong Kong: 2389-2222)
Costa Rica: 606-253-5439
Croatia: 01-4833-888
Cyprus: 357-77-77-72-67
Czech Republic: 222-580-697, 476-701-908
Denmark: 70-201-201
Egypt: 762-1602
Estonia: 6-558-088
Finland: 040-5032199
France: 01-45-39-4000
Germany: 0800-181-0721
Greece: 1018
Guatemala: 502-234-1239
Holland: 0900-0767
Honduras: 504-237-3623
Hungary: 06-80-820-111
Iceland: 44-0-8457-90-90-90
Israel: 09-8892333
Italy: 06-705-4444
Japan: 3-5286-9090
Latvia: 6722-2922, 2772-2292
Malaysia: 03-756-8144
(Singapore: 1-800-221-4444)
Mexico: 525-510-2550
Netherlands: 0900-0767
New Zealand: 4-473-9739
New Guinea: 675-326-0011
Nicaragua: 505-268-6171
Norway: 47-815-33-300
Philippines: 02-896-9191
Poland: 52-70-000
Portugal: 239-72-10-10
Russia: 8-20-222-82-10
Spain: 91-459-00-50
South Africa: 0861-322-322
South Korea: 2-715-8600
Sweden: 031-711-2400
Switzerland: 143
Taiwan: 0800-788-995
Thailand: 02-249-9977
Trinidad and Tobago: 868-645-2800
Ukraine: 0487-327715

Zero Hour 4-0

This is a weird series, because it exists to accomplish a change in continuity, not as a story per se.  The concepts are so abstract — chronal energy, entropy, destroying the universe to rebuild it — that they can’t be fully represented in narrative pictures.  You can’t blame writer Dan Jurgens for resorting to so much expository dialog.  Aside from Hawkman and the Legion of Super-Heroes, it’s hard to see the changes made here that couldn’t have been accomplished in a standard super-hero story.  Even the Hawkman stuff, however, highlights the super-hero genre’s need to make its publishing and creative history part of its narrative.  You can’t just say, “Hawkworld isn’t part of this character’s official history. It was a different approach that we tried, but it didn’t work out in the long run.”  Instead, it’s manifested in the shared universe as an alternate timeline that happened because of space-time anomalies left over from the Crisis.  It’s wild, from a group psychology standpoint, that super-hero comics contain that extreme degree of “let’s all play along with the make-believe”, while at the same time insisting that these fantasies should be plausibly realistic.


Cross-overs are known for character deaths, and Zero Hour has its share.  Most famously, the Justice Society of America gets decimated by the villain Extant.  While it’s not pleasant to see so many of these first-generation heroes offed in such a perfunctory way, it is part of the commitment to driving the DCU forward.  The ones who survive go on to feature in other comics’ supporting casts as mentors to the younger generation.  That was a good role for them, that served the larger fictional universe better than them being active super-heroes.  But the JSAers aren’t the only casualties.  Lots of characters die as entropy eats time from both ends.  Even Batman gets wiped out of existence.  Those deaths, however, are not permanent.

Extant appears, at first, to be the big bad of this story, but it’s actually Parallax, the mad-god persona of Hal Jordan.  This may be the part that has the most resonance to the current DC, since the Parallax idea was reworked and deeply incorporated into the Green Lantern mythos.  (I know that was done before the New 52 reboot, but it seems to have also happened in the new DCU.)  Parallax is exactly the type of villain that today’s super-hero comics are obsessed with: a very powerful, crazy-yet-competent antagonist who believes his cause is good, or, at the least, justified.  Some of the heroes from alternate time-lines have a real conflict of interest here.  Parallax promises to re-create a universe where they all have a place, where they can all go back to the lives and worlds that they remember.
 


It’s always cool to see lots of super-heroes teaming up.  I can’t explain it, but when two or four characters who normally don’t go on adventures together are going on an adventure, it’s cool.  You get plenty of that in Zero Hour.  Appropriately, it spans DC’s history, from the JSA to the Legion of Super-Heroes.  Some folks from alternate time-lines join in, too.  Something I respect is how many younger and newer heroes get a push.  In the final battle, characters like the Ray (II), Damage, and Darkstar Donna Troy play a big part.  This era saw a lot of revamps of old ideas, and use of legacy.  It felt like the DCU was changing and moving forward in a fairly natural way.  It would’ve been nice if that approach had continued.  


All these characters look great in Zero Hour.  Dan Jurgens and Jerry Ordway drew it.  Jurgens apparently did layouts or thumbnails, and Ordway finished it.  It looks far more like Ordway than Jurgens.  As a big fan of Ordway, that’s fine by me.  


Arguably the biggest fall-out from Zero Hour was the re-boot of the Legion.  This was, I believe, the first true re-boot of that concept.  Although Superman’s new history after Crisis on Infinite Earths removed his adventures as Superboy, the Legion series did not stop and start over.  Various “patches” were used to cover over those discontinuities.  But after Zero Hour, their history started over from day one.  The re-jiggering of Hawkman didn’t work out as well as hoped.  New series were launched, and established series set new courses.  James Robinson’s justly proclaimed Starman series began here.  Other new series didn’t fare as well, like the radically different version of Dr. Fate (called simply, Fate), or the new team book, Primal Force (which I enjoyed).  Oliver Queen is particularly devastated by the events here, and his son Connor Hawke took over as Green Arrow.  I loved that run of GA, but it was ignored for a long time afterwards, and isn’t part of the New 52 history.  All of the DCU series had zero issues at this time.  For new series, it was an introduction.  For others, it was a chance to re-tell an origin, or establish a new direction.  The “zero month” thing was done again with all of the New 52 series.  


The last issue has a fold-out back cover with a time-line of the DCU’s new history.  It starts with creation and goes right up to the present.  It’s interesting to compare to DC’s current approach, in which Superman first appeared about five years ago.

Would I recommend Zero Hour?  Only to people who appreciate that “gigantic team-up” thing for its own sake, or to fans who like knowing all the history.  If you look it up, keep in mind that the numbering goes in reverse (because it’s counting down to zero).  Number four is first, number zero is last.

Aquaman #33/Aquaman & The Others #5/Aquaman Annual #2/Fury of Firestorm (Classic) #13 - Episode 97

fireandwaterpodcast:

On the latest FIRE & WATER PODCAST, Rob and Shag cover three, count ‘em three, new Aquaman comics, plus a classic Firestorm issue! First, Aquaman continues to struggle against the Chimera in AQUAMAN #33 by Jeff Parker, Paul Pelletier, Sean Parsons, and Rain Beredo.

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Next, Wonder…

What I’ve Been Reading Lately

Amnia #3
Amnia is an outer-space sci-fi series about a starship pilot searching for a mysterious woman named Amnia.  It’s written and drawn by Dustin Weaver.  Both the drawing and the coloring are excellent.  It has a very nice design sense, in both tech and characters.  It’s early days on this one, so the setting is still being established.  That’s a good thing, because it means you get to see it unfold in an organic way.  If you dig space-based sci-fi, check it out at http://amniacycle.tumblr.com/.

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Bandette #1
Chances are decent you’ve heard of this one already if you follow a variety of comics.  This comic overflows with charm.  Bandette is a high-spirited thief with a cause.  She steals from very bad people.  She has a network of allies who can help her out in inventive ways if a situation gets too hot.  The tone is adventurous and fun.  Written by Paul Tobin, art by Colleen Coover.  Available here: http://www.monkeybraincomics.com/titles/bandette/

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Bubble Gun #1
Bubble Gun is a high-octane cyberpunk adventure.  We follow a team of advanced-tech thieves who “acquire” items for a fee.  Our main character ix Molli.  She’s the rookie on the team, which is led by her older sister, Devyn.  As such, she’s not trusted to carry any weapon more dangerous than the bubblegun of the title, which immobilizes targets with bubblegum-like substance.  It’s got the elements we’ve learned to love in cyberpunk: outsider heroes, high tech in a near-future setting, evil corporations, and intrigue, along with the kind of action and character designs we love from super-hero comics.  Really fun stuff.
Written by Mark Roslan, drawn by Mike Bowden, colored by David Curiel.  See more here: http://aspencomics.com/books/

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comicbookcovers:

Tales To Astonish #13, November 1960, cover by Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, and Stan Goldberg

comicbookcovers:

Tales To Astonish #13, November 1960, cover by Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, and Stan Goldberg

comicbookcovers:

Doll Man #28, May 1950, cover by Dan Zolnerowich

comicbookcovers:

Doll Man #28, May 1950, cover by Dan Zolnerowich