this blog is about SF, fandom, film, music, life, the arts, etc.
Thursday, May 07, 2015
Free Comic Book Day happened last Saturday, and I've not participated in it or Record Store Day for the past few years, not due to a lack of interest (well, maybe a little), but also I had chores to do on the weekend that were more pressing. I wanted to cut down a couple of sweet gum trees when I had a dry spell. Here in East Texas we've had a wetter season than normal. So this week, we were projected to have rain about every day for about five to seven days running. Normally I don't object to such things, it's great for the lawn and flower beds, etc. But sure it sure has made the surrounding areas waterlogged, brought out the mosquitoes, and there's been some puddling, which make yard work a bit more messy. You tend to get out when it is sunny, and then stay inside when raining, and look out the window at the cardinals, rabbits, and squirrels as they scavenge about. At least that's been my method of operation. Plus I see FCBD and Record Store Day as a marketing ploy to generate business, and there's nothing wrong with that, but in the past has offered nothing really to speak of. Plus if I want to buy music or a comic I just do so when I see something of interest, and don't do it on a regular basis anymore. If I do collect something actively it seems lately it has been DVDs. The last DVD I bought was used at a Salvation Army outlet called Inside Genesis: The Gabriel Yeas 1970-1975 (about the British progressive band, Genesis), I found a TCM Hammer Horror Collection four pack at a Dollar General which has Dracula Has Risen From the Grave, Horror of Dracula, Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed, and The Curse of Frankenstein (I love those older Hammer Horror features), and I also found a VHS called William Shatner's Star Trek Memories. So I've scored a few things.
I ran across this article which was fun to read from the folks over at The Comics Journal, which is about two guys hitting up a few comic stores on FCBD. It was fun to read and brought back a few memories. Towards the end of my comic collecting I wasn't that much into superhero stuff, though I'd pick up some from time to time that had something new to say like Watchmen, Marvels, Kingdom Come, Astro City, and a few others. I still have an interest in what's going on in the industry and still follow a few books like Velvet, Saga, and Winter World or whatever. But I was also interested in some of the alternative titles too like American Splendor, whatever Crumb might be doing, Xenozoic Tales, Planetary, Preacher, some Dark Horse stuff, etc.
I also ran across this article from an early fanzine on what might be John Romita, Senior's first comic interview. He's the artist that drew many of Marvel's superheroes back in the good ole days like Spider-Man and many others.
I also found this early article on Carmine Infantino, he was the Silver Age artist that drew The Flash and many other DC heroes.
As far as my Netflix watching goes, I have been more or less been binging on Season 4 of Game of Thrones. That series really has been brilliant. It's an adult take on fantasy, which means, it's not for children, unless you're a really liberal parent because it has sexual situations and ample buckets of blood and guts. But aside from those two things, which normally don't bother me, the story has been totally engaging. I've lost track of who some of the characters are, but you can still follow it along pretty well. It's on the same level as Lord of the Rings in many ways. I've also been watching the last season for Mad Men, which has also been an amazing run really. It's a drama that started out in the early 60's that has sort of soap opera format (but don't let that put you off). The scripting, the set designs, the actors, and plots for me have all been engaging, and if you grew up around that decade you probably can appreciate it all that much more.
Musically I've been listening to albums I've had around the house, but find their way back into rotation depending on where my mood is at the time. Thom Yorke is one of the main songwriters in the British band, Radiohead, whom I love a lot. The first thing I heard from them was their Kid A album, which I still love. The Eraser isn't much different from what Radiohead have done in the past, but I haven't listened to it much by comparison, and it still has that multi-layered approach, texturing, and a very modern sound.
I got in the mood to listen to some of the Paul Simon Anthology because I saw a couple of programs off PBS lately about the Vietnam war, one was about the draft, which went into a bit of history about it, and went up through the Vietnam years detailing the JFK and LBJ years, college protesting, Kent State, and all of that. There was also a special on about the Dick Cavet show that I used to watch back in the day when I stayed up that late at night. He was one of the best talk show host back then. I also like Tom Snyder, who had some pretty hip guest on. The fluff on TV in the late show spots currently are pale by comparisons and I have no interest in them. I'll occasionally watch the monologues for David Letterman, but most of them are just promotions for some actor's new flick, without any spontaneity or wit. Anywho, I was in the mood for some introspective rock after seeing those shows about the Vietnam era. The Paul Simon Anthology offers some of Simon's early days with Art Garfunkel along with a large chunk of his solo career, which offers some pretty good pop.
I'm a huge King Crimson fan, and lately have been listening to their fourth album, Islands. It's softer overall in tone than their first three efforts, but every bit as engaging with classical and jazzy elements. Next to the Beatles or really on the same level as their musical excellence I'd place King Crimson, Genesis, Yes, and Pink Floyd to a degree as well. All of these bands were very much into progressing their sound, going in multi-directions, and expanding upon what they did before--re-upping on what they had done and experimenting with some new direction in song writing and studio wizardry. All great bands.
I'm probably not the biggest Hawkwind fan, but I like them well enough. Their sound had a space rock, jammy vibe to it, and at times I get in the mood for it, though at times it sounds a bit dated. Though that doesn't detract from the music. Their first three or four albums are their best ones. I don't quite put them on the same caliber as say Pink Floyd or maybe even Ozric Tentacles, which have a similar feel to their sound, because Hawkwind tend to keep mainstream rock and roll riffs and just layer synth on top of that, but like I said, when I'm in the mood, it's fun stuff, plus they had great album covers.
I'd forgotten how great an album, Peter Baumann's Romance '76 album is. He was one of the members of Tangerine Dream.
Unfortunately one of their original member, Edgar Froese, passed away recently (Froese is the one dressed in the blue vest, Baumann is sitting down in the middle, and Christopher Franke is standing on the left). Here's an interesting obit on Edgar Froese and the band if you care to read it. At any rate, Baumann's Romance '76 doesn't stray too far from their legendary sound of what they were currently making during that timeframe, but it's still a pretty amazing album that is artfully crafted, subtly textured, and an amazing album if you enjoy early synthesizer music. I have around sixteen or more albums by the band, most on vinyl, some are solo efforts, some are soundtracks, and then I have several compilations by them on CD and well, I'm still a huge fan.