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Comic Books « Ted's Polish-Mexican Page

That time Harvey Pekar got banned from Letterman

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Published on: May 20, 2015

Salon has a piece this morning on Harvey Pekar’s last appearance on Late Night with David Letterman. The headline’s emphasis is on Letterman, which makes sense given it is his last week on the air.

Never saw it? Not to worry, there is a grainy YouTube video:

I never got the impression that Letterman was angry at Pekar so much for the anti-GE talk as much as that Pekar was being an asshole. Oh course, the fact that Pekar was an asshole is a lot of why we liked him, and the reason he got on the show in the first place.

American SplendorSomething I found funny back when the American Splendor movie was released ten years ago was how often Pekar would be referred to as a “David Letterman guest.” I guess being on TV a few times give you more cred that a mere comic book writer.

Pekar made sure he got the last word. The exchange was portrayed in American Splendor #14 (“The David Letterman Exploitation Issue”).

Interestingly, despite the vitriol that Pekar seemed to display in the interview, the portrayal in the comic (a story called “The Grand Finale”) of David Letterman is relatively respectful. Mostly, this is that Pekar’s “voice” in the story is that of a detached observer. He is only reporting on what happened. Also, as Two Geeks Talking notes, Pekar’s telling is also an admission that, much like his portrayal of himself in his comics, he may have ramped up his own irascibility to make for better TV.

Despite his honest telling of the exchange, he censored it a wee bit.

AS Image 9

Hasta la proxima. Do zobaczenia.

Mighty Thor!

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Published on: May 6, 2011

I was a die-hard Marvel fan growing up. Had the Mighty Marvel Marching Society not been discontinued the year before I was born, I would have gladly signed up. Even so, I was always ambivalent about Thor. Even as an eight year old, I found the Elizabethan English silly (for those who don’t know, Thor talks like Shakespeare’s rejected first drafts). Thor also seemed to be the comic of the older fans. As a pre-adolescent, it seemed every teenage or early adult Marvel fan I met seemed to really dig Thor. I didn’t see what the big deal was.

I was, however, a dedicated reader of the Avengers, so I had a bit of a loyalty to the character. The loyalty was not expressed by reading his own book though; I missed out on the whole Beta Ray Bill thing and all those trips to Asgard. Like the lingo, a bit too silly for me.

Will I see the movie? Probably not, but more because I don’t make a habit of going to movie theaters these days than some sort of value judgement on the film.

Wouldn’t it have made sense to debut the movie on a Thursday? Check the etymology.

There used to be a band in town called The Host. Their antics were rather infamous. The lead singer was named Odin. Of course, his son was named Thor. Thor started playing drums very young and named Peter “Splat” Catalonotte of the River Roses and Phanom Limbs as his biggest influence. My friend Tim claimed to have spotted the young Thor banging on something at an event proclaiming himself “Mighty Thor.” I saw a flyer for a show that the by then in his early 20’s Thor was putting on a few years ago. I didn’t go, but heard good reports.

Hasta la proxima. Do zobaczenia.

From Off the Streets of Cleveland…

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Published on: July 12, 2010

American Splendor was easy to describe to friends, harder to describe why you’d read such a thing. “You mean a comic book about some guy’s own boring life?” Yep, occasionally as self indulgent as it sounds, but also brilliant. It was a concept that, thankfully, has not been imitated by lesser talents. We’ll miss you, Harvey.

Harvey Pekar’s hometown paper has a remembrance here. For comic geeks, the Cuyahoga County Coroner is named Frank Miller.

Worth seeking out is the 1989 film Comic Book Confidential. My highlights are Pekar and Jack Kirby (also gone) reading their own material in slightly gruff, quivering voices.

Hasta la proxima. Do zobaczenia.

Second Time Around

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Published on: June 30, 2010

The latest thing to cause constrenation in our pop culture is the revamping of Wonder Woman’s costume. What I haven’t seen reference to is that this happened once before.

Before I geek out on y’all and give you the history, you probably want to know my opinion on the new outfit. It’s not horrible, ‘cept it’s near identical to the costume worn by DC second bannana characters like Zatanna and Black Canary. An iconic character shouldn’t be confused with Zatanna fergawdsaik. It would be a little like changing Captain America’s costume to look more like Northstar.

Cover by Dick GiordanoAnyhow, back to 1968. Denny O’Neil, Dick Giordano and Mike Sekowski didn’t just give Wonder Woman a new costume, they revamped the character. Gone was the lasso, invisible jet and most of her super powers, and in was a highly proficient martial artist with wisdom on loan from Athena. The costume varied from issue to issue, but mostly was a model inspired by The Avengers’ (no, the TV show dummy!) Emma Peel. Given the call back to the Greek mythological roots of the character, some story lines had her wearing Greek and Roman inspired outfits. Fans know it as the Diana Prince era, since the character was for all intents no longer Wonder Woman.

The Diana Prince era lasted until 1973, when complaints from people missing the old Wonder Woman got to be too much. One person that complained was Gloria Steinem, who reportedly was less than happy that an iconic female character (to this day one of the few female leads in comics) was de-powered. The old Wonder Woman could throw a destroyer, this one could just kick your ass and speak dozens of languages.

Pop Culture guru Carol A. Strickland has written the definitive history of the Diana Prince era, and it’s always a good deal of fun to check out the Wonder Woman cover gallery here.

Hasta la proxima. Do zobaczenia.

Frank Frazetta, 1928-2010

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Published on: May 10, 2010

I recieved word from the Twitterverse that Frank Frazetta has passed away. I wasn’t a big reader of the titles he illustrated when I was younger, but he was always well respected in the circle of fans that I ran with.

His death comes only a few weeks after the final resolution of an ugly dispute among his heirs that culminated with one of his sons trying to break into the museum containing his works with a backhoe. Even though Frazetta himself was probably too infirmed to know the full extent of the chaos among his children, it’s a blessing that he lived long enough for there to be peace in the family.

Hasta la proxima. Do zobaczenia.

Two Trailers

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Published on: July 22, 2008

Two more comic book movie trailers are on the internet, Watchmen and The Spirit. I remember them talking about a Watchmen movie fifteen years ago (the word was that Arnold Schwartzenegger was interested in playing Dr. Manhattan), but it is only now that the thing has finally been released.

By the way, the role of Dr. Manhattan is played by Billy Crudup. Rorschach, the favorite of many fans of the comic, will be played by former child actor Jackie Earle Haley. The site for the movie is here.

Also coming out later this year, The Spirit. This is particularly exciting, since the Spirit is possibly the greatest comic ever written. And yes, I can back that up. The film’s site is here.

For those that are curious, the producers have decided against portraying Ebony White, the overly stereotyped black sidekick that made fewer and fewer appearances as the series went on.

Hasta la proxima. Do zobaczenia.

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