Fri, 30 September 2011
In 1979 Kirk Demarais bought a comic book at a neighborhood gas mart. It was a copy of Micronauts#9. Kirk was a kid at the time, and the comic book’s plot confused him. But he was drawn to the advertisements. Here’s how he describes it:
I turned to an overcrowded page of fascinating black-and-white drawings; I was captivated It was an ink-smudged window into an unfamiliar realm where gorilla masks peacefully lived among hovercrafts and ventriloquist dummies. A dozen pages later an outfit called the Fun Factory featured another full-page assortment of wonders, and elsewhere in the issue I found a hundred toy soldiers for a buck, an offer for a free million dollar bank note, and an ad for something called Grit.
Like many kids tempted to buy these alluring products, Kirk had wise parents who discouraged him from spending his allowance on them. But Kirk never really stopped thinking about them. A few years ago, he began scouring eBay and other online collectors' sites to purchase the novelties that he’d been denied as a child. These purchases are the basis of his hilarious new book Mail Order Mysteries, which reveals the disappointing truth behind fantastic-sounding products such as X-Ray glasses, voice throwers, 7-foot remote control monsters, and secret spy scopes.
In the introduction to his book, Demarais writes, "For me the collection represents so many things: a series of hard-earned revelations, my remaining sense of wonder, and the coming-of-age discovery that even kids need to be shrewd as serpents lest we get bit by one."
I interviewed Kirk on the phone from his studio in the hills of Arkansas.
Fri, 23 September 2011
In Gweek 018, Boing Boing’s managing editor Rob Beschizza and Kotaku’s editorial director Joel Johnson join me in a discussion about comic books, video games, books, LEGO, and more.
• Rob and Joel talk about the agony and ecstasy of playing the Diablo III beta.
• They go onto to praise Torchlight, a fine Diablo clone that doesn’t require you to be online while playing it.
• Rob and Joel argue over the pronunciation of “Planescape.”
• Rob updates us on Minecraft’s 1.8 Adventure release.
• Joel describes Blockade Runner, "Not Just Minecraft in Space.”
• Rob and Mark engage in a deeply thoughtful critique of Steven Soderbergh's Contagion.
• Joel reviews Feynman a comic book biography by Jim Ottaviani and Leland Myrick.
• Mark reviews Optic Nerve #12, by Adrian Tomine
• Mark gushes about Richard Dawkins' new book, The Magic of Reality without having read it.
• Joel gets an MBA in LEGO at the Lego Master Builder academy.
• Rob explains the new Boing Boing redesign!
• We close with a fantastic 1981 song called "Pushing Buttons," from a power pop band called TV Neats & The Experts. The song was written by Bedazzled’s Spike Priggen. You can buy TV Neats & The Experts' album on Amazon and on iTunes.
Mon, 19 September 2011
Gweek is Boing Boing's podcast about comic books, science fiction and fantasy, video games, board games, tools, gadgets, apps and other neat stuff.
The episode closes with another song by The Hokum Scorchers, a duo consisting of artist Amy Crehore and guitar maker Lou Reimuller. The song is called “I got your Ice Cold NuGrape," and it’s on the album Yanna’s Donut.
Fri, 9 September 2011
Mon, 5 September 2011
In Gweek episode 15, I interviewed designer and comic book historian Craig Yoe. He's been called "the freaking Indiana Jones of comics" a "twisted archivist of the ridiculous and the sublime," and "Dr. Seuss on acid!"
Craig was the vice president, general manager and creative director for Jim Henson and the Muppets, and was senior designer at the legendary toy think tank Marvin Glass & Associates. Today Craig is the co-creative director of YOE! Studio, which he runs with his partner, Clizia Gussoni.
As the premier comic book historian in the United States, Craig has edited over 30 books about comic books and illustration, including Krazy Kat & the Art of George Herriman, Amazing 3-D Comics, Archie: A Celebration Of America's Favorite Teenagers, The Golden Collection Of Klassic Krazy Kool Kids Komics, Dan DeCarlo's Jetta, The Art Of Ditko, Boody: The Bizarre Comics Of Boody Rogers, And Secret Identity: The Fetish Art Of Superman's Co-Creator Joe Shuster.
I spoke with Craig in his studio in upstate New York.
At the end of the podcast, The Hokum Scorchersreturn with another song, "Pick Poor Robin Clean."