Sunday, January 28, 2018

Steve Bissette's Taboo!

Back in 1988, I went to a comic convention in New Hampshire. There I met Steve Bissette. Steve had recently announced that he was launching a horror anthology entitled Taboo. As I was regularly contributing to Amazing Heroes (AH) at the time, I asked if I could interview him, and secured his contact info. After the con, I contacted my editor, Kim Thompson, at AH to pitch the article.

I was given the go-ahead and then reached out to Steve. Only, Steve told me that he wasn't quite ready to launch the series. So I got back to Kim, who told me to continue to pursue Steve, and when Steve was ready, and I got the interview, to let Kim know, and he would schedule the article.

Well, I wound up calling Steve once a month for a year, while he gathered material for the book in preparation for the launch. Well, when he was finally ready, I got to chat with him. Steve, if you didn’t already know, was a extraordinarily talented horror artist and writer. When I began the interview I confessed to him that I really wasn’t a big fan of horror.

We then spent the next four hours talking about all kinds of horror, from comics, to books, to TV to film, and of course about Taboo itself. As it turns out I — quite literally — knew of every horror reference he made. Which really surprised me as (as I told Steve)  I really didn’t like horror, mostly as it truly scared the living crap out of me.

Needless to say, I got the interview, wrote the article and had it published in issue #153 of AH.

Then, for some 10 years after it’s publication, whenever I would run into Steve at a con, he would be very nice to me, saying hello, introducing me to others around him, and chatting with me. I never really understood why Steve was always so nice. Then one time he said to the folks with him. “Bob was the first person who wrote about Taboo.”

It was then that it suddenly occurred to me that what to me was simply me chasing a story (calling him once a month for a year), was to him the tenacity of a reporter intent on promoting something that was something of a life passion for him.

I have since caught up with and frended Steve on Facebook as well as reviewed his book Teen Angels & New Mutants, which details Rick Veitch’s groundbreaking work on the series Brat Pack. Anyway, today I happened to come across AH #153, and thought I’d post the interview in its entirety here.

I honestly think that it is one of the best articles I’ve ever written,

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

A (Writing) Blast from the Past

So, I was going through some old (file, not music) CDs of mine, and I came across one where I had archived an article I wrote back in 2006 for the premier issue of a magazine called Norwalkplus. As that particular article never quite made it to being posted online, I figured that I’d post those pages here now.

This turned out to be a pretty cool gig for me for a while, I even got to have a number of articles appear in not only Norwalkplus, but the mag’s sister publication Stamfordplus. While I don't have scans of those articles, I do have links to those online pages.

Super 7: Two sides of the same highway — this was an article for Norwalkplus about the proposed extension to Route 7

Artists in Residence — An article about The Silvermine Artists-in-Residence program. (Norwalkplus)

Engineering the 21st Century — A profile of the then newly-opened engineering high school AITE (Stamfordplus)

Stamford Today — about the Stamford Art Association (Stamfordplus)

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

A question of Suns

OK, so I was just watching the most recent episode of Supergirl on the CW (1/22/18 — Fort Rozz). In this episode she needs to travel to the Kryptonian prison, Fort Rozz, which is currently orbiting a blue sun.

Now, while I totally understand the concept of different colored suns (as well as the comicbook legacy that Kryptonians gain powers under yellow suns) it has always bothered me as to how Supergirl (man) is able to maintain her/his powers when out in space.

I'm sure that this must have been addressed in the comics over the years, only I don't actually recall.

I mean, is it that all Kryptonians actually have power, only the rays of a red sun somehow negate them? Do they only have powers under a yellow sun? (Do they have additional or alternate powers and/or abilities under different colored suns?)


Anyone want to weigh in on this?

I mean, it’s not like this is keeping me up at night, but I really do kinda want to know.


Sunday, January 21, 2018

How to properly hang a U.S. Flag

As a (“former”) Boy Scout (Once a Boy Scout, always a Boy Scout), one of the things that truly grinds my gears is when someone improperly handles or displays a U.S. flag. Sure, sure it is a relatively small thing, only it really isn't because usually the folks that are handling the flags tend to think of, or refer to themselves as patriots. Well, you see— to my way of thinking, if you are going to call yourself a patriot, then you should know the proper way to display the iconic image that denotes your very patriotism.

Now, while I have, quite often, seen improperly-displayed flags in public, where I generally tend to see them improperly displayed most often, is in entertainment (films, TV, Comics), and have called it out on a number of occasions — both in person, and in this blog, it always seems that folks simply never quite seem to understand that research is important, and just because you "know" something, if you are working on a project, that you really need to look things up before committing them to paper or film.

A couple of films that I recall having wrongly-hung flags, are Hoosiers (1986) and Meteor (1979).

In Hoosiers, in the background of numerous scenes that took place in gyms, during various basketball games the flag on the wall was hung backwards.

In Meteor, there is a scene towards the end of the film where the U.S. flag is hung alongside a Russian flag, and the U.S. flag is hung backwards (I have no idea if the Russian flag is hung correctly).

Needless to say, comics, film and real life aren't the only places where the flag, or an image of the flag is improperly displayed. We tend to decorate our clothing with flag imagery as well, and yep, you guessed it, it is often displayed there wrong as well.


Still, what set off this current tirade is that I spotted this image in the January 2018 edition of Marvel Spotlight.

So, here we have that classic image of “soldiers” (mercs?) who have painted the U.S. flag on their face (presumably to show what bad-ass “Patriots” they are, only (again) they have painted the flag wrong!

  • When the flag is hung vertically on a wall, window, or door, the Union (blue section) should be to the observer’s left. When the flag is hung either horizontally or vertically against a wall, the Union should be to the observer’s left.
So this version of the painted flag on their faces is simply wrong! Wrong! WRONG!

Once again:

This is wrong

This is correct

Thanks for paying attention, and you know, feel free to pass it around.