By Beau Smith
The other night I was in my attic. I was looking for a part of my sports autograph collection. I found them. I also found a lot more.
Like most of you reading this, I’m a lifetime collector. Not only of comic books, a lot of stuff: guns, knives, books, art and much more than I probably should have or that I feel I need.
Without boring you with the contents of the other boxes, I want to focus on the comic books. Most of the boxes that I came across (within reach) were filled with comics from the 1980s through 2000. Please remember, I worked for Image and Eclipse comics during these decades and have tons of those books. I was also on the comp list with most of the major publishers at that time. I started skimming through them, at least at first. As I piled through more and more boxes I noticed a distinct pattern.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
That phrase has been around for a long time, just like a lot of the characters in the comics I was shuffling through. I noticed and remembered that some of these books contained stories that I thought had changed the landscape of comics. Just in the Spider-Man books alone there were clones, weddings, deaths, and characters coming back from the dead. The Thor books went through more changes than Paris Hilton in a clothing store. Superman is another character that was remolded more times than Play-Doh in a kindergarten class.
Looking through all these books drove home the fact that the only consistency in comic books is change. I’m not really complaining. Things have to change to keep from getting stale. There just has to be a fine balancing act with change and consistency to keep the characters and the stories entertaining and of interest.
With the year-end having past, it brings out all of the usual news stories asking “What were the biggest changes of the year?” and “What will be the big changes of this year?” After going through my attic, I found the answer that will pretty much come true for every year. That answer is “Everything and nothing.”
Most of today’s hot and “Ripped from the reality of today” stories will be nothing more than time capsules at best. Does this mean your important, thought provoking storylines and dialogue of today will be snickered at by the next generation of comic book readers (If there is one) and looked at as “Old school.”? Mmmm? Yep? More than likely. Should this taint your memory of comic books past? Nope. It should tell you that comic books aren’t written in stone. They’re written in sand.
The sooner you realize that the sooner you can jettison any hard feelings you might have for those that don’t share your opinions on not only comics, but stuff in general. Enjoy the past, the present and don’t let one step on the toes of the other. The only person that should be weaving a tangled web is Spider-Man. After all, he’s the one with the immortal Aunt, the really bad clone and makes deals with the almost devil, not you.
Busted Knuckles Manly Cover of the Week: Super Heroes vs. Super Villains
One Shot, 1966
Here is comic book super hero insanity at its finest. The mid-1960’s brought us some of the most insane and fun super hero stories ever. The words “Wacky” and “Zany” were born here. Even as a kid I knew these books were crazy and not as serious as the Marvel super heroes or as sometimes bland as the DC heroes. Stories of The Mighty Crusaders and the various Archie Comics good guys/bad guys were always entertaining. They still are today. The cover to this fun one shot captures all the craziness that makes these characters so well loved in my collection. I’d love to see them reprinted and out for new readers. They should stand as a reminder that comics can be fun. Read these now before someone “revamps” them into the standard, all too serious, perverse mush that we have way too much of today.
Busted Knuckles Babe of the Week: Jill Dobson
Entertainment Anchor/Reporter Fox News
What do you get when the person doing the interview is far more beautiful than the starlet she’s interviewing? Answer: Jill Dobson.
The Fox News beauty is a stunner and with more screen time on Fox has proven that she has a great sense of humor and knows more about the world than just pop culture. She has a Masters degree in journalism and an even more impressive degree in beauty.
This week in The Roundup I’m going to share a few manly images with you, just some things and topics that pass through here at The Flying Fist Ranch. Next week I’ll leave you with more words:
“Get Off My Lawn“
Here is a shot of my good amigo, Jason Willey of Arizona. This was taken on Jason’s recent birthday where his local gun range lets you fire fully auto weapons for the special occasion. Jason choice was a MP5. When you’re six feet, ten inches like Jason, I think the MP5 can be overkill. (Enjoy the puns.) Happy Birthday, Jason!
My co-creator and artist on the original Parts Unknown, Brad Gorby, continues to enjoy his retirement from drawing monthly comics by using his spare time to construct action figures of the characters he help to create. Case in point is his incredible Maria Lucci action-figure. For those of you that are uneducated on Maria Lucci, she is the female lead in Parts Unknown. Note that Brad not only made the figure, but he designed and made the accessories and clothing for the Lucci as well. The boy has way too much talent. Why did he need me?
“Parts Unknown-Final Extinction“
Speaking of Parts Unknown, here’s some news. Parts Unknown has been optioned for a feature film by Peter LeFevre of Propeller Productions in Los Angeles. I’ll shoot you more news on that as things move on. In the mean time, here are some prelims and early rough pencils for the new Parts Unknown comic book Final Extinction coming soon from Unleashed Press. The art you see here is by two young hot shots with their own unique styles, Evan Quring and Warren Martineck. I was looking for two different slants on the action for Final Extinction, so I hand-picked Warren and Evan for this whole new slant on Parts Unknown. I’m looking forward to working with these two guys for a long time.
“My First Writing Paycheck Was Signed By Gary Groth“
One of my oldest friends in the comic book business, Dave Olbrich, has a great new blog that you should bookmark. Dave is one of the most experienced business people in comics of the past twenty-five years. In fact, Dave was the first guy to ever hire me as a professional writer when he was the editor of Amazing Heroes magazine from Fantagraphics. Now you know whom to blame for this. Dave has always been a kind friend and has helped me out of some very crummy spots through the years. He always has a HUGE smile on his face, a loud laugh and a much too hard, slap on the back for everyone. Do try and stop by his blog or the next hard slap will come from me.
Please note that you can now leave your comments on my official website www.flyingfistranch.com. You are more than welcome to leave your thoughts and comments in the Manly Photos and Manly Artwork sections of the site. I look forward to hearing from you. (Or so I say to your face.)
Talk to you next week, amigos. Remember, if you run across any books on The Old West that you don’t want, just send this way and I’ll give them a good home.
The Flying Fist Ranch
P.O. Box 706
Ceredo, WV. 25507
Prove your manhood by visiting Beau at the Flying Fists Forum!