Wednesday, October 4, 2017

ON HIATUS!


Hey all!

I usually write the entries for Gone&Forgotten a month or more in advance. Unfortunately -- or, actually, really fortunately -- I've been tied up with a couple of huge projects which kept me away from the site. So, what this means is -- hiatus! For a couple months, at least!

Think of all the free time you just got back! Why, you could grow a beard, or learn to knit a macrame hammock, or get that ol' elusive GED your mom always told you you'd need if you wanted to advance past "flipping burgers at forty-eight years of age, for God's sake, Rodney" -- the possibilities are endless.

I'll return to the blog no later than the end of the year, and will pick back up on all the Micronauts, Swamp Thing and Truly Forgotten fun, plu-u-u-us a couple of new features which I hope you'll enjoy.

In the meantime: Since the site came back in 2013, I've been maintaining anywhere from three to seven articles a week. This means you've got literally hundreds of back articles to keep you occupied. But if that's not enough, you can also check out:

  • The Chronological Superman: Cataloguing the Man of Steel through every form of media in which he ever appeared, on a year-by-year basis (also presently on hiatus, but there are more than 110+ pages of entries)
  • Gone and Forgotten on Tumblr: New out-of-context panels from weird old comics, every day!

And if you'd like to support the site:

And if you find yourself missing my constant droning on about inanities, you can always just follow my Twitter or Instagram.

Thanks for being part of the blog, and I'll see y'all in a few months! I'm sure the comics and tv shows will still be largely awful by then.

Cheers!
-Your humble editor, Jon

Thursday, September 28, 2017

TRULY GONE&FORGOTTEN : SUPER DOG



Many years before the debut of Krypto the Superdog, there was a floppy-eared superhero dog enjoying an adventure or two in the pages of Zoo Funnies. This was "Superdog," the hero hound of Animalville!

A product of Ellis Chambers -- best known for Dizzy Duck, if you're into this sort of comic book funny animal lore -- the unnamed puppy who became Superdog began life as the owner of "more comics than any other kid in all Animalville." These youngsters who get superpowers because they're hoarder nerds is a pretty consistent theme in comics, and I begin to wonder if there's an invisible hand of the market at play around here somewhere. Imagine selling your books on the principle tha, if you had enough, you'd get superpowers. If that were true, I'd be Galactus or some shit.

Terrifying.
The tiny pup is visited by The Spirit of Comic Book Animals, an anthropomorphic comic book (figures) who promises the pup superpowers if he'll just do him the courtesy of running headfirst into a tree.

I assumed the book is basically Jacob's Ladder, at this point, and everything that happens next is just a lengthy hallucination upon dying.

Anyway, the young pup gains not only super-powers -- specifically flight, super-strength and, I hope, a measure of invulnerability going forward -- but a super-costume and the identity of Superdog, which he promptly uses to stop crooks from ... being crooks. It's a kiddie book, man, he's not gonna stop murderers.

All it takes from Superdog is to punch one crook, and the bad guy plus his two accomplices turn themselves in to the cops. It didn't even seem like all that great a punch. No wonder kids were enthralled by the fast-paced adventure and Superdog certainly ran many more adventures than just this one, probably.



Wednesday, September 27, 2017

IF YOU SEE SWAMP THING, SAY SWAMP THING : FUTURE TENSE


With superhero television programs blowing up in the last few years, recaps of superhero television shows have become all the internet rage. Other sites, however, are hobbled by the need to cover shows which have been "recently broadcast" or which are "any good at all." But who covers the uncoverable? That's why Gone&Forgotten chooses to cover the 1991-1993 USA Network live-action Swamp Thing television series in a feature I used to like to call a dumb pun kind of title, but I've run out of those, so I just call it ...



It's Swamp Thing Beyond Thunderdome in a post-apocalyptic cautionary tale of the fragile environment! It's actually really bad, even though "Post-Apocalyptic Swamp Thing" is absolutely my favorite genre of early 90s comic book adaptations running on basic cable...

There's something ghastly in the swamp, and primarily it's most of the characters in this episode. It opens on Senator George Parker (Larry Black) and a crooked industrialist (Elon Musk, probably) arguing about how to scuttle some bad-for-business environmental reporting involving the swamp. "It has a lettuce dude in it" should have been on the top of the list, but it's not.

I hope you like these two, because it's the worst On The Road movie ever ...

While the Frick and Frack of government corruption plot out a complicated plan (The Senator is going to go to the swamp and look around and then go "Welp, looks good to me." That is literally the scheme in its entirety), Tressa meets a long-lost figure from her past. Alan (Paul Vroom) was one of Tressa's college pals, and the four-thousandth character in this show to wear the one photographer's vest available from wardrobe. So many goddamn photographer's vests in this show. It's how you know it's the Nineties.

Alan is made for Tressa, because every word out of their mouths is unbearable. They are the dullest star-crossed lovers known to mankind. And as they discuss all their wild memories for college, they go on to mutually describe just ... just the dullest couple of college kids ever. Oh shit, Alan was naked under his graduation robes! What a crazy fucker, going out in public with clothes on over his nude body! Damn! Boy, you crazy!

"Something froze this used condom solid, and I think it was ... the creature."

Long story short, the Senator (I mean, Congressman, really) hires the Kipp Swamp Tours Co. LLC or whatever to ferry him around, during which time Tressa will sternly point at grey water and the Congressman just shrugs and admits he's evil for LITERALLY NO REASON. Why tell Tressa? Fuck does she care?

Well, who does care is Alan, who comes popping out of the marsh with a gun! Talking crazy! He kidnaps the Congressman and starts a long slog through the swamp, aiming for ... okay, let me try to explain this.

Alan explains that pollution in the swamp, exacerbated by the depletion of the Ozone Layer, has created "alternative ecosystems" containing "mutated organisms," from a parallel timeline or something. He's read about it and he's sure it's real. In fact, he's so sure, that he hauls the Congressman all the way out to the supposed location of the Time Swamp, at which point they TRAVEL INTO A POST-APOCALYPTIC HOUMA. People got rags on and they got mutants too! It's FURY ROAD! We did it! We waited around long enough and Swamp Thing became something that people want to watch! This went from the worst episode to the best.

The mutant Stadtler and Waldorf

Meanwhile, back in the present, Tressa gets together with Swamp Thing so they can reiterate the absolute nonsense of the Time Swamp and form a plan. They're gonna go to the industrial plant that's caused the Time Swamp and  ... turn it off. Fuckin' wreck it. This occupies no material part of the plot, it's just a bit ...

Back in the future, everybody's dressed like Dengar and they are super-suspicious of Alan and Parker. In fact, the two of them are on trial, and Alan uses this opportunity to pastsplain the apocalypse to its survivors. "You got sick, there were mutants, the sun got brighter," bluh bluh bluh. These people lived this, man, you ain't got the right to speak for them from your place of privilege.

String 'em up for the crime of being insufficiently woke.

Since the future mutants can't support new people but also can't risk outsiders learning of their sanctuary hovel, they plan to execute the two time travelers. And who's the mutant judge who presides over them? Why, it's Will, looking like the bottom of a fishtank! I didn't recognize him at first -- not because of the makeup and the robes, but because he was wearing long sleeves.

"Have fun storming the castle!"
Tressa and Swamp Thing hop inside the factory, and according to one dial the place is unseasonably warm? This is apparently the cause of the Time Swamp, so Swamp Thing breaks out the apparent power to send chilling rays from his hands (shrug) and freezes the pipes? I can't say, I was really distracted by the fact that Tressa was standing by a meter shouting numbers. It was a true test of her acting ability.

Here, try it yourself. "Fifty!" "Eleven!" "One Hundred!" "The opposite of one hundred!"

With the plant disabled, Parker and Alan return to the present. The Congressman has a whole new perspective on he environment and promises to DO (clap) BETTER (clap). Alan kind of wants to beat cheeks, because years ago he got doused with toxic waste and now he's got Fatal Disease. I hear that disease is fatal.

Anyway, the final scene is a riot, because a relieved Tressa reassures Alan "You're safe now," and then literally the very next scene is his tombstone. All right, well, at least he won't live to see the future of the Time Swamp.

::sad trombone::

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Monday, September 25, 2017

MICRONAUTS MONDAY: 36 - THIS BATTLEFIELD EARTH


Micronauts vol.1 No.36 (Dec 1981)
Writer: Bill Mantlo
Artist: Keith Giffen/Danny Bulandi
Letterer: Jean Simek
Colorist: Bob Sharen
Editor: Tm Defalco
EIC: Jim Shooter

A fire extinguisher is used as a weapon.
The temptation to make this entry in the series just a single-sentence review is tempting. This is because this really doesn't warrant much more than a single sentence summary -- there's just not enough going on. Here, watch this:

"The Micronauts go the Earth again for no reason and beat up dumber Micronauts until it's over."

That was it, good night.

The M'nauts do, indeed, go to Earth again, having passed through the Spacewall when fleeing Deadzone and the Dog Soldier armies of Argon. They've ended up in an elementary school in an undisclosed location -- you'll remember that Mantlo has previously been explicit in where the stories take place, so it's weird to have a Generic Elementary School used as a setting -- where the gimmick of the story is exclusively "What normal sized thing can be used as a huge weapon against tiny alien ships?"

This series is gonna become excoriations if the quality don't pick up.

A tack is used as a weapon.
 I mean, let's see -- the Death Squad is still fighting the Micronauts, and that Repto has joined them for no reason. Battleaxe of the Death Squad turns out to be Karza's former chief scientist Degrayde for no compelling reason, and Mari continues to be a straw-woman feminist. Devil says "To the devil" again, third time in as many issues, and the Endeavor makes a last minute save again, just like last issue. Oh, and the bad guys now invoke Dallan and Sepsis, the gods of rebellion. I think this book has lost the plot -- compared to the first few issues, this is kiddie-wink stuff.

And that really is it. As individual issues go, this is non-existent. There's also no letter column for me to quote from or drop in images, and there's not much to say about Keith Giffen's pencils except that it would have been fun if he'd done this in his faux-Kirby style.

I guess maybe I can describe the ads? Lifesavers did a wordfind, that's fun. Coulda won a Lifesavers pencil case if I'd submitted an entry. Grit, they got Grit ... looks like you could get a 14 carat gold chain for eight bucks if you order before the end of the year. Good news for juvenile guidos.

Saturday morning lineups here -- oh, hey, The Kid Super Power Hour with Shazam, that was fun, I remember that. CBS had Blackstarr, which is great, but everything else was Kwicky Koala and Trollkins.

Bubble Yum, here's a Bubble Yum ad. Willie Wonka, too. I don't remember what a "Skrunh" bar, was, might be before my time. Hostess ad, of course, and something called the Youth Opportunity Sales Club with a logo that looks like some sort of homegrown Hitler Youth association. Back cover advertised those MPC model kits for the Empire Strikes Back, if you wanted a sculpture of Luke Skywalker hunkering down in front of a mud yurt for your bookshelf. Good ads, here, nice ones, I like the ads. Good work over at the ad department this issue, let's give 'em the credit that's due.

A globe is used as a weapon.

Friday, September 22, 2017

THE NOWHERE-NEAR COMPLETE GUIDE TO ADVERTISING MASCOT SUPERHEROES : TURNING JAPANESE

I know I just did it, but I call a moratorium on discussing Japanese anything under the heading of "Turning Japanese." It was already dull and dead in the water when Kirsten Dunst recorded a video for it, for some ungodly reason. Now it's coughing and cold, but it hasn't stopped moving yet. Someone put a shovel through its neck.

ANYWAY. Japan does invest heavily in the mascot game, most notably picking mascots for entire towns and prefectures. I approve of this. I myself will invent some ridiculous blasted hellscape for my old hometown of Tucson. Let me get on drawing a desiccated lizard who is also really alarmingly racist against Mexicans.

Here's my warning, though: I literally don't know who a bunch of these people are, or only vaguely understand them, although they appear straightforward enough. I blame cultural, um ... Marxism? Maybe, I just hear that on Twitter a lot ...

"Jake the dog and Fukuoa-Man the human..."

F(ukuoa)-Man (Fukuoa Now Magazine)
This propellor-headed superhero (he counts, guys, he counts. He's a spaceman/helicoper maybe, but they describe him as a superhero everywhere I could find info about him) is evidently called F-Man to make it easier for English-speaking people to refer to him. Also probably they didn't want his name shoretened to "Fuk-Man," but then they called him "F-Man" so I don't think anyone's a winner.



Rapi:tldier (Rapit Train Line, Osaka)
Rapi:tldier is not only utterly unpronounceable, but he's one of very few superheroes whose design is based on a train. I can think of no others, but I'm sure someone thought he was being clever and created something called "Locomotive Breath," is my guess. I don't know every comic book super-character instinctively, folks, sometimes it's a struggle.

What makes Rapi:tldier fascinating, besides the conscious choice to make his name utterly unpronounceable, is the promotional video which introduces him to a curious public. It is seventeen minutes of low-budget curiosity made flesh. Video. Well, video is the new flesh, I guess.



This person (I don't know.)
This is a superhero whose head is a bowl of noodles. Now you know as much as I do.


Thursday, September 21, 2017

TRULY GONE&FORGOTTEN : SHAMAN AND FLAME



I have spent a lot of time trying to figure out not only why these characters are called Shaman and Flame (no motivation, origin or explanation is given), or who even created these characters (Louis Ravielli is the artist, but no author is listed on any of the sources I frequent), but whatever the case, I kind of like them.

There's a real Will Eisner feeling to the story, not to mention the splash panel in the first place (although it lacks the architectural layout of an Eisner page, but it's cleverly introducing the idea of a school for crimefighting crook experts). The entire concept revolves around a crook named Slick Summers choosing to open a correspondence school for would-be crimefighters, private eyes, amateur detectives and so on. The hook of the story is that the "final exam" for these students involves actually pulling off a heist -- which Summers' men have assured the students is merely faked, with the approval of the bank and museum managers whose establishments are targeted.

I love the premise to this story, and have loved it
each of the, like, five times I've seen other Golden
Age comics employ it ...
This is a very good, classic golden age comics kind of plot, to the degree that it should be enshrined on a golden record and shot into space. Here's the problem, though ... the heroes.

Shaman and Flame -- The Dynamic Duet! -- are Don Wickett and Kandy Wilson, broadcasters for radio station WWGL and presenters of the Knickerbocker Chronicle Dispatch, "the first radio to do facsimile broadcasting of a newspaper." If your reaction to this revelation is "so fucking what," congratulations, we're twinsies.

Shaman and Flame have some groovy looking costumes and a suave Jet Car for getting around, but are otherwise evidently unpowered. Although Shaman boasts these large, loose boots which must have gotten all kinds of glass shards in them when he and Flame crash through a bank window, and yet he never complained, so ... I guess that's a power?

In the end, it's not so much Shaman and Flame who rout Slick Summers and his school of crooks, but rather their patsy Homer Hummer and a few of the other hornswoggled students. Still, at least they get "another exciting headline" out of the deal -- "Shaman and Flame Capture Criminals...."

I swear, the ellipses were actually in the headline which they showed us. The Knickerbocker Chronicle Dispatch uses ellipses in its headline. I wonder if they invented hashtags, too.

Riding in slick jetcars with boys.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

IF YOU SEE SWAMP THING, SAY SWAMP THING : THE HANDYMAN


With superhero television programs blowing up in the last few years, recaps of superhero television shows have become all the internet rage. Other sites, however, are hobbled by the need to cover shows which have been "recently broadcast" or which are "any good at all." But who covers the uncoverable? That's why Gone&Forgotten chooses to cover the 1991-1993 USA Network live-action Swamp Thing television series in a feature I used to like to call a dumb pun kind of title, but I've run out of those, so I just call it ...



A new element is added to Swamp Thing's backstory, but it doesn't actually make any difference or add any new depth to the character, so why even bother? I dunno. Let's call this one quits right here, shall we?







Anyway. This episode plays its cards very close to its vest, and unveils the premise throughout the medium of flashbacks -- otherwise known as "the most respected storytelling device in fiction." Also, it's loaded up with Chekov's Guns, except never for a gun. Chekov's hay fever, this episode has, literally has Chekov's Hay Fever. That's one for the books. Write it down.

A tuxedo'ed man is shown driving down the highway, blasting classical music with the sun roof open. Ah, youth. Turns out that this is esteemed and reclusive scientist Professor Bukovski (Key Howard), on his way to a phony awards ceremony which Anton Arcane (Mark Lindsay Chapman) set up in order to steal a lot of his peers' collective research. He will do this using people dressed like novelty strippers. Bear with me.

I swear this is Winston Wolf.

Bukovski is pulled over for no apparent reason by a twitchy, over-aggressive cop, which isn't all that surprising. If the 21st Century had a mascot, it would be a twitchy, over-aggressive cop pulling you over for no reason and leaving your corpse in a swamp. SPOILER ALERT! Bukovski's corpse ends up in the swamp.

This is because the cop is not a cop but rather a hardened killer (see above). He is, in fact, the late General Sunderland's go-to mercenary, "The Handyman" (Jordan Williams). He changes clothes with the shot-off-screen Bukovski -- in fact, he trades clothes, taking the time to dress the deceased professor in a cop uniform before burying him. Seems like it was a bit of a waste of time, that, but it's the personal touches. In any case, now decked out in the Professor's kit, the Handyman manages to infiltrate Arcane's little party, which is weird because Bukovski was a recluse and no one knew what he looked like? It was pretty well-established in the episode. He coulda just slashed the dude's tires.

No expense was spared.

As for the party, Arcane has set up a phony $500,000 prize and a giant bowling trophy for the best presentation at the doohickey, which he intends to award himself. Meanwhile, the hotel staff -- all Arcane's hirelings, and all dressed like sexy French Maids and poolboys, as though any second it's gonna turn into a Shriner's convention -- sneak around and rifle through all of the visiting scientists' briefcases.

Oh, and Arcane is being assisted by a new underling, Stella (Robin O'Dell), who has BAD HAY FEVER. Actually, she had been exposed to weaponized pollen, but that off-handed remark goes nowhere. Whatever the case, stay tuned for that sneeze!

"And be sure to pay Video Aces, my favorite video company ..."

Swamp Thing, for his part, has found Bukovski's corpse and is playing it like an accordion, grabbing the last loose memories the dead man can offer. This turns into one of three different flashbacks in the episode which pits pre-Swamped Alec Holland (Patrick Neil Quinn) against The Handyman in three different lousy disguises and on three different occasions. The last of those occasions? BLOWING UP THE HOLLAND'S LAB! Oh my god! Arcane DIDN'T kill Linda Holland, it turns out! This guy we just heard of for the first time did! Well that changes everything (nothing).

This is how every guy on the r/TheRedPill dresses all the time.

This effectively gives Swamp Thing a Joe Chill, a guy against whom he can direct the core of his wrath, a guy responsible for the path that took him through pain and loss to a newfound, individualistic becoming. Like Batman, this is the guy who turned Swamp Thing into a vigilante crimefighter, by which I mean he turned Swamp Thing into a potato.

Meanwhile, back at the party, Handyman has chained everyone together and set up a motion-detecting bomb in the room. If anyone so much as sneezes, it'll go off! Thankfully, no one here has hay feveOH SHIT I FORGOT ABOUT STELLA!

"Ah -- ahh -- ahhh -- KABOOM!"

Luckily, Swamp Thing had been talking to Bukovski's boutonniere ("Tell me, little flower," he says to it in the best scene the show has ever had), and he's put the bomb out by -- I think -- peeing on it. Water comes dripping from some plants which were happily positioned over the bomb, but I have to imagine that's Swampy's piss.

Liberated from the threat of utter destruction, Arcane pursues the fleeing Handyman, Swamp Thing hot on his trail. You know, for as fast as the guy to run. It's not like he's got some kind of Marsh Buggy or Bog Rover, you know (oh, wait ...)

BRB, going to eBay ...

 The finale involves a foot chase and Swamp Thing pretending that he can get knocked down by gunfire. Arcane chases Handyman with the defused bomb and keeps threatening him with it, which is ... maybe I don't know how bombs work. I don't think you just throw five sticks of dynamite into a fleeing boat and they explode. But that's sort of what happens! Just as he pilots the boat into the Universal Studios stunt show! That's gonna hurt ticket sales.

"I can only watch you eat, my face pressed up against the window paa-aa-aane ..."

The end of the episode is possibly the most fatalistic voice over Swamp Thing's ever done as he wanders back into the bogwater: "A score has been settled. The man who killed the woman I love and made me the strange creature that I am has been destroyed. But there is no [something, I couldn't make it out]. No wrong has been righted. It will never bring back all that I loved and that I lost..." Thanks for underlining the dumb problem with this episode, Emo Thing!

Charles Foster Kane is back ... and he's pissed!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Monday, September 18, 2017

MICRONAUTS MONDAY: 35 - THE ORIGIN OF THE MICROVERSE


Micronauts vol.1 No.35 (Nov 1981)
Writer: Bill Mantlo
Artist: Val Mayerik/Danny Bulandi
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Colorist: Bob Sharen
Editor: Tom Defalco
EIC: Jim Shooter

Well, Broderick is gone, and the book starts looking like every other low-selling book on the early 80s Marvel lineup. Honestly, with this tiresome Swordquest-lookin' story, plugged-in Faux-verine character Devil, and bog-standard artwork, it's impressive to realize that this goes another 30+ issues. I got my fingers crossed that it'll get better.

This is the big, double-sized issue which reveals the origin  of the Microverse. This would be great if it weren't, you know ... listen, maybe this revelation will be your cup of tea. It didn't do much for me, personally speaking. Stay tuned to decide if you're disappointed, too.

Booooooo.
Pharoid and Slug turn against Argon, giving the Micronauts a chance to beat cheeks for the Deadzone, based on a book by Stephen King. Argon, however, is in full Baron Karza cosplay and is gunning for them, hot on their tails. This is mostly an opportunity for Devil to talk like a dumb shit and hurl things at pursuing ships, and also I hate this character a lot.

Meanwhile, already in Deadzone and finally having beat off all of those demons*, Strange discovers the fucking origin of the fucking Microverse fucking finally. Will the wait be justified by the payoff? No, but pretend I didn't say that and stick around for the answer.

*I phrased that poorly

Aliens from space -- survivors of a thousand lost worlds, led by Prince Wayfinder of the planet Ithaka, in upstate New York -- land on primordial Earth, there to found a home "in the name of the homeless and displaced. Let all be content, and wage war no more."

It's a nice sentiment, but the prehistoric Earth is loaded with dinosaurs and DEMONS, the hateful jerks. When the aliens build a great city, the demons gather to destroy it, launching a huge dumb war. With the power of his enchanted blade, the Sword-In-The-Star*, Wayfinder manages to summon the power of the Time Traveler to this distant era, and tap the Enigma Force to imprison the demons for ... as long as they were imprisoned, I guess.

*Surely it should be the other way around...

"Let us build an Applebee's."
From here, everything appears to happen quickly, but it really doesn't -- it's a small amount of content spread out over some very chaste fighting. You'll possibly remember that early issues of the Micronauts pulled no punches in its fight scenes -- soldier and innocents alike were killed, maimed and purposefully hurt in the course of the battle, and collateral damage was high. In the scenes to follow, things will be pretty clean and fairly typical of your average comic book from the era.

Fireflyte uses her connection to the Enigma Force to rebind the demons, which is a super-lazy resolution to this threat that's been bouncing Dr.Strange up and down the driveway for the last three issues. When Argon and his Dog Soldiers catch up the Micronauts, they announce themselves with a volley of artillery which does little more than throw up some dirt, like low-budget squibs, and then ... and then Argon's "Death Squad" shows up.

The Death Squad sucks and are stupid. They are wildly unimaginative and arbitrary, and they feel like someone's bad idea of what a popular kids' toy line might feature, because they've associated "kids" with "tacky, stupid and willing to settle for whatever." The Death Squad is:
  • Ampzilla, who looks like a sassy fat Godzilla with a bunch of walkman stapled to his head and chest.
  • Battleaxe, who has an axe for a hand ... and a hand for an axe!
  • Lobros, the Power-Parasite, who legitimately looks like a Muppet wearing a fish for a tuxedo.
  • And Centauria, who is a centaur. By the way, I may not have introduced myself before now -- I'm Humano, the human.
  • There's also a Repto who just shows up out of nowhere.
Are they fucking kidding me?
Just as the battle starts, the demos break free, I guess to give Dr.Strange someone to fight. Rann and Fireflyte go to the temple to engage the power of Wayfinder, who is Rann's direct ancestor apparently. Everyone else fights Death Squad people. Demons briefly punch Rann all the way to Earth, to illustrate how this battle threatens the safety of Earth as well as the Microverse. Oh, and if I needed any better proof that it's the editor who's encouraging a lot of these terrible changes, Rann actually employs the most tired line in comics -- "Get out of my mind!" -- at one point. 

(It's not super relevant, but there's a subplot involving Nanotron and Microtron traversing Sandzone to recover the Endeavor. They'll eventually use it for the purposes of "You're all clear, kid, now let's blow this thing and go home"-ing the final battle, so expect that. A cutaway back to them, however, focuses on Microtron blowing compressed air through Nanotron's circuits to revive and, um, clean out the cobwebs, as it were? I think Microtron and Nanotron fucked in the desert, is what I'm saying)

They're having sex, right?

Let's see -- as the battle climaxes*, the statues of the dead champions start glowing with eldritch power, the keys are inserted into whatever hokey science-thing makes use of their power, and Dr.Strange and Rann are fused together as Captain Universe, The Hero Who Actually Wasn't All That Impressive At The Time. `Still, they defeat the demons, so that's nice I guess. Oh, and the origin of the Microverse is that the alien champions from India made it up. Well worth the wait.

*And also, for all I know, Microtron and Nanotron too ...

When the Endeavor saves the day, the Micronauts fuck off for Earth, pursued by Argon's Death Squad. Mm.

Lettercol fun! Sort of, the letter columns back, and this guy wrote a terrible poem about it!




Thursday, September 14, 2017

TRULY GONE&FORGOTTEN : REX THE SEEING-EYE DOG



Animal crimefighters are a fun-sounding idea which, more often than not, turn out to be a lot darker than the concept would suggest. For every Detective Chimp, there's a half-dozen crimefighting dogs, horses and ... uh, marmots? I dunno ... who keep finding themselves standing between the mob and innocents, or become involved in putting a kibosh to murder plots, or break up kidnapping rings. I mean, this isn't even a comic book problem, have you ever seen The Littlest Hobo? With a title like that, there should be musical numbers ...

Something is wrong with that lion.
Well, anyway here's Rex the Seeing Eye Dog, as far as I'm aware the only one of this breed of vigilantimal (copyright me, just now) who stands a very good chance of dragging a blind man to his death during one of his adventures. Previously, you had to be Daredevil or Dr.Mid-Nite to be a blind man in as much peril as this. It's a real step forward for human rights.

Rex is a service dog for Dan Baxter, the owner of Baxter's Circus and -- like all comic book circuses -- an institution rife with murder and racketeering. No wonder Ringling Bros is shutting down.

Baxter's circus really is a cesspool of anger and violence. On the very first page, we see bad trapeze man Karl haranguing good trapeze lady (and Baxter's daughter) Laura. Also, the circus' animal dealer, Jeffries, is threatening to take over the circus if the Baxters don't pay for a recent order of wild animals. Raise your hand if that's happened to you. I mean, if I had a nickel ...

Things get even more out of hand when a cart containing a vicious lion has its brakes cut loose, and it goes rolling through the crowd -- but Rex is there to stop it! He leaps on the roof to manage the brakes, which probably I wouldn't have put in a place where only a dog could get to it, but who am I, the boss of circus lion carts? Not anymore, I'm not, not since they started putting the brakes up on the top of the carts.

Rex! Get the gun!
Bruno the strongman is also murdered at this point, a crime which Rex could not stop. In fact, where was Rex when Bruno was murdered? Someone keep an eye on that dog, he's clever.

He's so clever, in fact, that he appears to be able to convey information to his blind master. When Laura is almost killed due to a faulty trapeze line (which, by the way, Rex presaged from his seat in the bleachers), Dan sics Rex on a figure dashing away. "Someone's trying to escape! Catch him, Rex!" Uh, not to be insensitive, and I do have friends with severely impaired vision so I know that blindness is a spectrum and all that, but Dan you better be fucking sure before you set the dogs on that man.

Of course, it pays off ... Karl and Jeffries are in cahoots, not only rigging Laura's near-demise and loosing the lion, but robbing the box office and passing some counterfeit cash into the mix. Amazingly, it's Rex who manages to coerce a confession out of Jeffries, solving the case.

The story ends with a text box celebrating seeing eye dogs and encouraging the kids who're reading the comic to do nice things for blind people, like helping them across streets and putting them on buses. You know, basically, trying to convince kids to be seeing eye dogs. I'm for it, gives the tots something to do in the Summer.

I forgot to mention "Tom the Midget," who does as much to
catch the crooks as Rex does, really.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

IF YOU SEE SWAMP THING, SAY SWAMP THING : EASY PREY


With superhero television programs blowing up in the last few years, recaps of superhero television shows have become all the internet rage. Other sites, however, are hobbled by the need to cover shows which have been "recently broadcast" or which are "any good at all." But who covers the uncoverable? That's why Gone&Forgotten chooses to cover the 1991-1993 USA Network live-action Swamp Thing television series in a feature I used to like to call a dumb pun kind of title, but I've run out of those, so I just call it ...



Hey, it's the first "sentient bird on the run" storyline in a Swamp Thing episode since "Falco" all the way back at the beginning of the first season. Gosh, I was beginning to think we'd never get to see any more longshots of hawks flying around against a clear blue sky that gives you no context for where they are or how fast they're moving. Am I ever satisfied with the change in direction!

Easy Prey isn't a very good episode, by which I mean it's pretty bad. Now, normally, if the episode was also as anemic as this one, I'd say "Fortunately, basically nothing happened." Instead I have to say "Unfortunately, I have to pad this out to at least five hundred words so that this article is as substantial -- judging by word count, anyway -- as all the other entries in the series. How'd I do? Someone count those. Meanwhile, here's the complete lyrics to British Prog Rock legends Genesis' 23-minute long 1972 concept album landmark track Supper's Ready ...

"I'm ... HUGE!"

Rich dick dad Tom Crown (Lou Bedford) takes his ungrateful, rat-faced son Jason (Bently Tittle, if you can fucking believe it) out to the swamps of Houma to kill things. Yes, Tom likes corporate acquisitions, crushing his enemies, capitalism and murdering things that cannot fight back. Jason ... does not? I don't know what he's opposed to, he just doesn't do whatever his father does so they can establish conflict in the story, I guess.

Spotting a rare, endangered hawk, Tom takes a potshot at it and wings (haha) the bird (oh no). This causes Swamp LSD Freakout Times for Will, who happens to be sleevelessly paddling through the bog water at this point. Theoretically, Will has been given an opportunity to see the swamp as Swamp Thing does, and apparently seeing the swamp means tripping balls because Will is FUCKED. UP. Swamp Thing literally has him do shit like look at leaves and cup water in his hand, just like the designated driver dude always does when you and a bunch of friends go do peyote in the desert.

"Like ... Alec? What if ... what if God ... is this leaf?"

Tom continues his hunt for the bird, even acquiring Arcane's permission to hunt the squab on his land. Okeedoke. He doesn't otherwise really feature in this episode, but he's nice to have around.

One of the weird things about this episode is that Tom and Jason's dialogue is so rife with exposition, but reveals nothing. We learn everything about these two characters, and it doesn't really shine any light onto them, about their motives or interests or pain or glory. Accusations fly wildly and feelings are hurt, but we could have seen that coming from the first scene.

They open on this shot on one scene, and I laughed for a solid minute.

In fact, I was expecting them to advance the tension to a twist of some sort. I had my hopes pinned on Jason turning out to actually being a stone-cold killer and murdering his dad in the swamp for the inheritance. But that didn't happen ... the tension stayed consistent, and that was hard to endure.

Even when Will is accidentally shot in the chest -- absolutely one of my favorite things that happens on this show, Will getting nearly murdered, every third episode or so -- there's not much added to the plot or pacing. Also, turns out that the wounded hawk has a mate. Also adds nothing to the episode.

Plus? That face.

The whole thing is, for some reason, centered around father and son Crown. Unfortunately, their storyline has no staying power. The hawks, sort of a B plot, I guess, seem fine and the wounded one has clearly just got ketchup on her feathers. The C plot of Will being high as fuck pays off in that he can telepathically tell the male hawk to, like, relax and don't worry about things. This fucking episode.

You know what it did have going for it, though? On two different occasions, this happens:

SWAMP HAWK

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