Thursday, June 24, 2010

Salem News: Rejected Cartoons

Just because I submit a cartoon to the SALEM NEWS is not a guarantee it's going to be used. Here are some of my local issue cartoons that were deemed unpublishable.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Retro: The Vampire Hat from LIDSVILLE

In a retro mood today..This is a sketch of Bela "The Vampire Hat" from the Sid and Marty Krofft TV series "LIDSVILLE" (1971-1972).
This may sound strange, but this is a character that really stuck in my mind when I was a kid. Even amongst the bizarre puppet/costumes the Kroffts used in their series, this one always stood out.
For any of you who may be too young to remember, LIDSVILLE was a fantasy TV series about a young teen named Mark (Butch Patrick, AKA Eddie Munster),who,entrigued by a magician's act, breaks into the magician's dressing room. He begins to inspect the magician's hat when suddenly the thing grows to enormous size. Mark, made even more curious by the sight, climbs up upon the now enormous hat and promptly falls right in,and finds himself landing smack into the world called LIDSVILLE, the land of living hats.
The plots basically revolve around Mark trying to get back home, in the meantime, coping with his new "Talking hat" friends, and dodging the machinations of the evil magician Horatio J. HooDoo, (The late Charles Nelson Reilly) Who regulary does "Zapping" attacks on the populace, as well as trying to retrive his former slave
Weenie the Genie, who now serves Mark (and is controlled by the magic ring on mark's finger.)
Basically, LIDSVILLE is a reworking of the earlier Krofft Show HR PUFNSTUF, with Mark in place of Jimmy, Weenie instead of Freddy the Flute, and HooDoo instead of Witchiepoo. The real difference in the shows however was that although Living Island was a happy place, LIDSVILLE Tended to be on the darker and bleaker side. You can tell that unlike Jimmy, who rather enjoyed his life on living island (despite the Witch) You can tell that Mark is less than enthusiastic about hanging around a town made of headgear, and unlike PUFNSTUF'S Witchiepoo, who had a touch of Wile.E. Coyote pathos about her, making her more of an annonyance than an outright threat, LIDSVILLE'S HooDoo was a VERY present danger. Magically powerful,short tempered, HIGHLY abusive, and tolerant of no jokes at HIS expense, When Hoodoo wasn't blasting the LIDSVILLE citizens during strafing flights on his flying "HATAMARAN", he was constantly either yelling at or clobbering any one of his own flunkies. (most notably Raunchy Rabbit) The main reason why Weenie the Genie was such a nervous bumbler was due to the way HooDoo mistreated him while under his service. HooDoo evem managed to come out on top in a couple of episodes, UNHEARD of for the standards of a Saturday morning children's series!
As for the good guys (Good Hats) They're not really much to care about or sympathsize with, and are bacisically steroypical (The caring nurse Hat, the "How! Ugh!" Indian headress, the dumb jock football helmet, etc. )and insipid. When push came to shove though, they could be as vicious as HooDoo in their retaliation schemes. Both sides REALLY had it in for each other!
BELA, seen here, was one of HooDoo's "Bad Hat" gang, his motley quartet of enforcers which included MR.BIG, a short gangster fedora, CAPTAIN HOOKNOSE, a bearded Pirate hat with a hook for a nose (and a ridiculous pet parrot that always stayed perched on his shoulder no matter WHAT happened) and BORIS,an axe-welding executioner's hood that rather looked like a egg with eyes.
Bela was supposedly a vampire, and even spoke with a classic Bela Lugosi type accent, but other than that was never SEEN actually doing anything vampiric in the entire series. Oh, there were references. For example, once he apologized for being late to a meeting because "The lid on my coffin got stuck" Tex the cowboy hat reffered to him as "That flying bloodmobile" (In which Bela spat back: "I'll get you, Cowboy! All ten gallons of you!") He was never even shown turning into a bat, though he warned HooDoo that he spotted an army of good hats "From the sky" (to which HooDoo replied: "Has somebody spiked your plasma?") Maybe things like that were too much for the Krofft's special effects budget, or the TV network standards and practices wouldn't allow such things. I'm sure the Kroffts would know..
Basically, though, in the ENTIRE cast of LIDSVILLE there was not ONE sympathetic or lovable character. Not ONE. It's the ANTI-PUFNSTUF. It's like this was made as an attack on other children's shows, with their cutsie contumes and goody-two shoes heroes. It's like one big, sick, joke.
And I LOVE It.
If you can, you should get the DVD collection of the entire series, and watch it when you're in a cynical mood. Not to mention Charles Nelson's Reilly's over-the top villiany as HooDoo is fun to watch.
Made an inpression on MY youth, I'll tell ya!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Salem News: Trapped Rats

Published 06/19/2010: A public meeting was held in South Salem over the proposed Methadone clinic. The turnout was MUCH more than expected, as many South Salem residents filled the Meeting area to over capacity, everybody agreeing that the South Salem Area is NOT a good place for a Meth clinic. It didn't help the clinic's cause that the Clinic's representatives never even showed up to plead their case, effectively chickening out.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Salem News: More Fees

Published 06/18/2010: The Peabody School Commitee voted to TRIPLE student school bus fees starting the following school year..That could work out to be about $300 per child-and since it's the FAMILY that pays..This was kinda comparable to The BEVERLY School Committee, which is now requesting that every student have his own laptop-but not just ANY laptop- it has to STRICTLY run on an APPLE system, so kids/families that DON'T have that apple-based laptop have to shell out $900 for EACH laptop themselves just to meet school requirements...
it costs so much to send 'em to public school, might as WELL send them to private.. at least everything's included, and they stand a chance at getting a better education! Seems the more taxes we pay, the less we get (and the more THEY get into their own pockets!)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

For Art's Sake: CGB# 1668

My latest installment of FOR ART'S SAKE from THE COMICS BUYER'S GUIDE # 1668:
This segment is probably the most political my editors Brent and Maggie would ever let me get. With all the infighting between all the political parties, and especially with all the attacks against the presidency, this old comics device came to mind..The country always ran great when Generic Comics President held office!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Salem News: Seeing the Past

Published 06/11/2010: The Marblehead Arts associationheld a show about Icons of good and Evil and one of the works was a portrait of Hitler. It was well-painted, but NOT
complimentary. A woman who saw the portrait got very upset due to it brought up some bad memories- her family was killed by the Nazis. And while she did not condemn the artist or demand the painting's removal, she did state that Images such as Hitler should not be shown in today's day and age. Many, (myself included) disagreed. Result was the museum put up a disclaimer/warning at the entrance of the exhibit to inform people that they might see images they wouldn't approve of. Fair compromise, I think. Check out the archives at for the full story.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Salem News: NIMBY

Published 06/09/2010: Last week, out of the blue, an announcement was made that a former furniture store on Canal Street was being planned to be made into a Methadone clinic, where recovering heroin addicts could go for doses of the drug to ease their cravings. This did NOT sit well with the residents of South Salem, were the proposed clinic is located. Salem, like many other cities, is known as a "Shelter Town" and often has- what's the PC term?- transients congregating around town and sadly, on occasion, being disruptive.
That, plus the fact that the Canal Street location is an often congested traffic area,next to a small shopping plaza, gas stations, fast food joints, and that canal is NOT on a public transporation route, meaning that the clinic's patients will have to walk thru the residential neighborhoods nearby to get to the place-it is NOT sitting well with the neighbors, who already have to cope with the Salem State College students on top of that..bacisally, it has cused a major uproar, with many people worried that the people who use the clinic will try to rob their houses, urinate in their lawns, harass their children, hang around the shops ..The fact that there have been many reports of hypodermic needles being found around the city lately hasn't helped either. A public hearing is scheduled for later this month.