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Homestretch

posted on October 4, 2015

Batiuk signing

As I head into October, I’m also heading into the homestretch as far as book signings come and go. If you check the Events section, you’ll see that everything comes to a halt after signings at Main Street Books, The Buckeye Book Fair and The Akron Comic Con in one fully stacked, back to back, action packed weekend. After that I’m home for the holidays, but, if you don’t have the opportunity to make it to one of those events, you can contact me through the site email and we can arrange to get any books signed and off to you in time for holiday gift giving.

Flash Fridays – The Flash #115

posted on October 2, 2015

 

 The Flash no.115

Here it is, gang, The Flash #115. The Magna Carta, the Rosetta Stone, the Book of Kells, the Bayeux Tapestry, the Declaration of Independence, the Dead Sea Scrolls and your truly’s personal epiphany all rolled into one shining masterpiece of a comic book. This book opened my eyes, opened my mind and opened my heart. The cover billboards the title “The Day Flash Weighed 1000 Pounds!” and shows a man in a window firing a weapon at the Flash causing him to blimp up to an enormous size. The moment I saw that cover on the comics rack in the Rexall drugstore, that hallowed holy of holies on Brown Street in Akron, I knew I had needed to have it!

The second I saw the very first panel of that story I was a goner. The caption read: “In a triple-reinforced glass prison in Gorilla-City, secret stronghold of an ultra-scientific civilization in deepest Africa…” Wow! We see all of that in the drawing, the gorilla in a glass cage, the jungle, and in the distance a futuristic city… and the gorilla is thinking: “Every time my nemesis the Flash succeeded in putting me in prison, I managed to escape*…” So the Flash has fought this really cool villain before! But when? The question is answered in the footnote: “*Editor’s note: the previous clashes between the evil gorilla Grodd and Flash appeared in issue 106, 107, 108 of this magazine!” What!? And I missed them!? Back in those pre comic shop-pre comic con-pre ebay-pre archive edition days, when you missed a comic it was lost to history! Gone! Forever! And I missed them! Let’s bow our heads for a moment to contemplate those lamentably lost issues.

Okay, skipping ahead for a sec… after finishing the issue I vowed never to miss another. So I decided to get a subscription which required me sending $1.20 to DC Comics by mail. Not wanting to trust such a sum to the pettifoggers and ne’er-do-wells of the world, I gave my dad the money and asked him to write me a check. Doing his parental due diligence, my father read the book and said he’d write the check but he didn’t think the book was worth it. I felt sorry for him… he obviously didn’t have a clue. Apparently he thought that by reading books like this I would be lured from the righteous path to the dens of inequity… okay, well that part he had right. In part two, we’ll explore just what was in that brain busting book.

John Darling – Take 2

posted on September 29, 2015

 John Darling - Take 2

In the summer of 1978, I received a call from the syndicate asking if I’d like to write for a strip called Heads and Tails which had been submitted by a commercial artist named Tom Armstrong. It consisted of celebrity caricatures along with some sort of humorous bon mot accompanying them. I told them that I preferred writing character driven work and suggested they use a talk show setting as the raison d’être for bringing in celebrities to interact with the cast. The syndicate called back and said “What have you got?”. Actually what I had was a character named John Darling and the cast of a small Ohio TV station. Along with talk show host John Darling, there was Phil the Forecaster, sportscaster Mike Majors, and news anchors Brenda Harpy and Charlie Lord. These characters all lived in the Funkyverse and had been growing and developing almost since the strip’s beginning.

The syndicate and Tom A all liked the idea so John Darling and the cast of Channel One decamped from Funky and took up residence in their own strip John Darling. The above strip was from when JD still resided in Funky.