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Sally Forth Comic Con: Pleased to Meet Me…I Mean You

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on July 19, 2018

If you can’t get extremely excited about things as an adult that doesn’t mean you grew up. It just means you died inside. So happily freak out when the moment calls.

Sally Forth Comic Con: And Introducing Ted Forth as “The Nullness!”

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on July 18, 2018

Having Ted Forth appear as a silhouette in the background of panel three is the perfect way to ensure readers focus solely on Hilary and Sally’s conversation. But it also gives us the opportunity to introduce Ted’s alter-ego as superhero (and part-time notary public between intergalactic struggles) “The Nullness!” (This is in addition to him being the leader of a cadre of assassins who kill on spec known as “The Gilded Hand.”)

As “The Nullness!” Ted can disappear into the background of the comic, something he tends to due almost never. Alas, the name is an easy target for those who don’t like “them thinkin’ moments” and exclaim with the full brute force of their wit “You bet Ted is a big nothing!” But truth is “The Nullness!” was “Plan B” in regards to naming. That’s because Ted had originally filed his credentials under the superhero name “The Black Hole” given his powers lent themselves better to such a nom de crimefighter. Alas, he ran afoul of Disney lawyers, who somehow also copyrighted “earth,” “galaxy,” and “all of spacetime” back in the late-70s in hopes of creating a tetralogy of films starring those hunks of cinema V.I.N.CENT and B.O.B.

“The Nullness!” has proven a somewhat problematic crimefighting persona for Ted. For starters, his sheer gravitation ability to absorb all light is not under his own control, meaning it can happen at any time, anywhere, say in line at a Trystero Con signing or during his own emergency surgery, causing the doctors to go my sense memory to locate the aneurysm. (Why everyone and everything around him is not also absorbed has to do with Ted’s desire to never get too familiar with strangers.) Second, the attention-getting exclamation point in “The Nullness!” seems to go against a superhero name that expresses absence. This exclamation-contradiction has also caused similar problems for “The Whisperer!” and “Stop Looking at Me! Stop Acknowledging Me! WHY MUST I ALWAYS BE THE CENTER OF ATTENTION?!?” who, it was later discovered, was not a superhero at all but rather the guy who can in on Tuesdays to water the plants at the the Hall of Justice and had a nervous breakdown. By the way, did you know the giant monitoring screen in the Superfriends Hall of Justice is known as the “Troubalert”? This is what happens when you leave the naming of things to a group of people who can only think of referring to themselves in terms of “Adjective + Gender.”

And the third—and perhaps most troubling—problem is that we’ve now set up an in-strip reality in which every time not only Ted but any of the characters appear in silhouette people will think they are all “The Nullness!” And the truth is they are, all united to fight “The Gilded Hand” which, admittedly, has caused numerous personal and scheduling conflicts for Ted.

Sally Forth Comic Con: Signings and Meetings

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on July 17, 2018

I tend to avoid signings because I never really know what to say when I get to the person except, “Here’s how it’s spelled…Oh, you can throw in an ‘h’ if you want…” At San Diego Comic Con a few years back Berke Breathed actually guessed within a few miles the region my family’s surname came from. Of course, I didn’t say, “You know, I write a comic strip, too” because one, that sounds like I’m presuming some sort of familiarity, and two, there’s always a chance my full response could be met with a polite smile, which is both highly professional and absolute death.

Several years ago I almost had the chance to meet another childhood and comic strip hero, Charles Schulz, at a Beetle Bailey event in 1999, but Mr. Schulz had fallen ill (and would pass away the following February). I’m rather certain he would not have wanted anyone fanboy-ing over him and I’m pretty sure I would have been unable to utter anything in front of him except “Urg.” In fact, I spent most of that evening in catatonic shyness even without the creator of Peanuts around, the new guy who knew not a single person in the room. But fortunately I was sitting next to Bunny Hoest of The Lockhorns who, frankly, is one of the nicest, warmest people you will ever meet and made sure I didn’t just stare at my shoes or the exit sign the entire time. (A few years later I would go to her almost Gatsby-style house out on eastern Long Island, where you quickly realized the couple in the comic strip was the complete inverse of Bill and Bunny in real life).

I’ve done book signings over the years and everyone has been extremely nice. In fact, I’ve found 90% of all people are very decent. The other 10% are just louder. So go say “Hi” to those you wish to meet. You can certainly say “Hi” to me. I’ve done enough therapy that I promise I won’t sputter “Urg” in response.

Sally Forth Comic Con: Sally Forth Bobbleheads!

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on July 16, 2018

Sally Forth Comic Con: Chris Hemsworth Edition

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on July 16, 2018

It would be quite hard to find someone who doesn’t think Chris Hemsworth is good-looking. (Of course, simply saying that brings out the always hair-trigger contrarians or insecure guys who can’t admit when another guy is attractive, but we digress.) But you know who really finds him attractive? My mom.

My mom has never watched a Marvel movie, simply because it’s not her type of film. (This will now trigger the “I never cared for superhero movies” proclamations, but not the point.) However, for someone who starts her day with BBC News and TMZ on her iPad, she knows who both geopolitics and almost every celebrity. And she is very well-aware of Chris Hemsworth and has said on more than one occasion “Now THAT is a very attractive man.” (She especially likes him with is long Thor hair.)

So when Thor: Ragnarok came on Netflix and I was visiting, I thought we should watch it. As I said, Marvel movies are not my mom’s cup of Earl Grey, so we didn’t get all the way through it. But while it was on my mom’s running commentary essentially consisted of “He is really good-looking…Okay, now there is a good-looking man….How could they cut his hair?!? Still very attractive though…Hey, is it just me or does Valkyrie look like Stacey?”

Judge Parker: Bleeping is the New Grawlix

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on July 16, 2018

Grawlix: The symbols (&%$#!) you see in comic strips whenever a character needs to curse out when even writing “damn” will get you moral-outrage letters from the very same people who will later send you emails rife with racial epithets.

Also, Mike Manley did a HELL of a job with man-bun guy!

Starlee and the Moonbeams: The Lost Episode

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on July 15, 2018

Starlee and the Moonbeams
Episode S04E24: “Rock, Scientific Papers, and Scissor Kicks” (Unaired Series Finale)

Episode Synopsis: Uh, pretty much everything said. Plus, a subplot about “Starlee’s Saved Ones,” an orphanage run by the band where kids can learn musical skills and Krav Maga while hurtling on a comet because there isn’t enough room for the children on Starlee’s spaceship The Island Universe.

Reason Episode Never Aired: Syndication network partners demanded the addition of a “happy ending” as well as voice-over narration to make it easier for viewers to follow the plot’s rather Byzantine complexity. Series’ creators demanded that blood could spurt that far depending on how you approach the jugular. Creative standstill led to episode never being aired first-run, in later syndication packages, or in the 2002-released DVD collection Starlee and the Moonbeams—Greatest Hits, Kicks, and Stabs.

Series Synopsis: American animated television series that ran from 1986 to 1989 on first-run syndication. The series focused an all-woman intergalactic punk band, with each episode featuring two original songs by the Moonbeams and one better one by the group’s major nemesis the Darkstars—led by Carina—as well as the occasional dance-off that inevitable resulted in brutal hand-to head combat. Each member of the Moonbeams had a specific science degree, codename, and an instrument that could be quickly employed as a deadly weapon or detonation device, which were used on missions as they travelled the cosmos in their ship “The Island Universe” helping all the people of the galaxy while not battling either the Darkstars for musical recognition and high-grade, highly unstable plutonium or Starlee’s unscrupulous former (and Darkstars’ current) manager Ray Ricmond, (whose hemorrhaging in the finale was one of many reasons that episode never made it to air).

Band Members:
Starlee—Lead Singer/Guitarist. Degree: Astrophysics. Weapon: Rickenbacker Samurai Sword/Musical throwing Stars/Pulse cannon earrings.
Aurora—Lead Guitarist/Backing Vocals. Degree: Geomorphology. Weapon: Heavy-Gauge .020 Electric Guitar Garrote Strings.
Jova—Bass Guitarist/Backing Vocals. Degree: Astrobiology. Weapon: Bass Multi-Effects Sonic Blaster/EMP Processor.
Proxima—Drummer/Backing Vocals. Degree: Exploration Systems Design. Weapon: Nunchuck Drumsticks.

Voices: Karla Philips (speaking/singing voice); Various other voice actors who failed to negotiate getting screen credit.

Production Companies: Filmation/Ruby-Spears/Toei Animation/DiC Entertainment/Sunbow Entertainment/Hanna-Barbera Productions/Film Roman

Number of Seasons/Episodes: Four seasons/96 episodes (95 aired)

Holiday Special: “Starlee and the Moonbeams: I Saw Three Starships (Come Crashing In)”

Starlee Doll—Recalled because doll replicated characters fireball-shooting fingers by attaching matchbook striking surfaces to each hand.
Carina Doll—Recalled because doll’s evil laugh was both unplanned and unstoppable.
The TestaRosetta Stone—Starlee’s car covered in alien hieroglyphics. Recalled because it went 92 mph backwards the moment you opened the box.
Lonely Sun god Ra-Ra—Recalled because when turned on it burned through tabletops, flooring, and the earth’s crust.
The Island Universe—Starlee and the Moonbeams’ spaceship. Recalled after a small child fired one of its missiles only for it to go straight through a nearby Vermeer painting.
Lunatick—Space creature. Recalled because it was filled with almost a gallon of unrefrigerated pasta sauce to simulate sucked blood.

Recognition/Awards: Cited 147 times by Action for Children’s Television for excessive violence and encouraging young viewers to bash each other’s skulls in with whatever musical instrument or simply untethered item was handy.

Sally Forth Comic Con: Just How Many Mechagodzilla Heads Does that Theme Park Sell?

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on July 14, 2018

Jim Keefe completely surprised me with a cosplay nod to the Forths’ big summer trip last year to Tanaka Kaiju World! Read about it right here! (Also, I’m quite a fan of how he bookended the first panel with two yellow cosplay helmets peering off in opposite directions. Clearly Ted also approves.)

And speaking of cosplay headgear, Nona’s week of trying on new disguises continues with the motorcycle helmet for Celty Sturluson (Celty the Headless Rider) from the anime Durarara!!

And Big Reminder: Tomorrow you get to see an actual episode of Starlee and the Moonbeams, complete with the Darkstars, an original song, and what may be references to 47 Jem and the Holograms episodes! Don’t forget to tune in, only at Sally Forth and Trystero Con 2018!

Sally Forth Comic Con: There Is No One Best Era

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on July 13, 2018

There is no one best period for art, for literature, for music, for any imaginative and expressive pursuit. What happens in a generation speaks to that generation but it is crucial to be heard and read and seen by others for us all to have rich, full lives. Yes, we have our favorites moments. I still listen to a lot of 80s/early 90s alternative music. But it’s crucial to look outside of your own history. Look back on what others have done before you. Look ahead at what may come with great excitement. And keep your eyes wide open to what is happening right now in every creative endeavor.

Because to do otherwise is to stop living. Life is about experience. (It’s never been about finding the meaning of life. It’s about feeling what it means to be truly alive. In the living is the purpose.) Experience results in growth. And the moment you stop growing is the moment you start dying. So don’t become a relic. Never take pride in hardening your soul and limiting your scope. There is no accomplishment in stubbornness. There is no life in willful obliviousness or dismissal or the fear that drives both.

And to that end let’s pause for a musical message about the importance of being youthful of mind and spirit while celebrating the pop culture of any time with a video that combines a relatively recent song (2013) with footage from Jean-Luc Godard’s Bande à part (1964):

And now for today’s cosplay—It’s Nona again as she continuously puts on new headgear! And this time she’s going as Gwenpool.

And speaking of cosplay and refusing to live in any era except in one’s own comfort time zone, here’s a comment left under a recent Sally Forth strip regarding our Comic Con storyline…

So in the obvious case that this needs to be spelled out even more than has been repeatedly, this story takes place at a Comic Con. In 2018. At Comic Cons people dress up as their favorite characters, and those characters are often reflective of the current world in graphic novels, cartoons, movies, etc. Again, this is about opening yourself to new ideas, not complaining you’re not seeing a rogues gallery of only what you already know. And yes, cosplay does feature frequent nods to old favorites, but this comment is about mistaking cosplay for just putting in comic strip cameos. It’s assuming that the Forths live in a comic strip world when in fact comic strip characters should live in our world to make them truly whole. Besides, if you want to see the Forths hang out with classic comic strip characters Ted already did that when he crashed Blondie’s Halloween party, perhaps emboldened by some Shiraz…

Addendum: Oh, and if you ever get the chance to see Rob Paulsen live, do so! We did just a few weeks ago at Joe’s Pub in NYC and yes, we got to hear him sing “Yakko’s World” live (with an updated addendum for new and countries). Because of course you can celebrate what you loved when you were younger—as I am with this—so long as you remember there is so much more than that.

Sally Forth Comic Con: And Starring Nona as Minecraft Steve

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on July 12, 2018

Okay, before we say another word can we look at the level of immense detail Jim Keefe put into making Nona’s “Minecraft Steve” cardboard head box?

Having to create the color guide (for outsourced daily strips) for that mask alone is yet another reason why artists are allowed to kill their writer in cold blood.

As for our cosplayers, today we have Storm, Black Panther, Goku from Dragon Ball Z, ElasticGirl, and, of course, Brad Pitt as the Vanisher from Deadpool 2.

Jesus, that Minecraft Steve mask.

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