By Beau Smith
You’d think that with me being in the comic book business for 20 years that my three (now grown) sons would’ve read comics or had some interest in em’.
They always thought it was cool that I wrote and worked in comics. They enjoyed hearing of my brushes with celebrities that they DID know, but none of them read comics on any sort of regular basis. That was okay with me. My parents never forced their interests on me. They just let me pick and choose my own and let nature take it’s course. I did the same. Figured it was a good route to follow with my boys.
Don’t get me wrong, they did take after me with a lot of stuff in pop culture and sports, but comics just wasn’t a part of it. My youngest, Nick would go with me to some store signings and conventions now and then. He always had a pretty good time and enjoyed hanging out with my buddies in comics. As I mentioned in the last Busted Knuckles, he went with me recently to my signing on Free Comic Book Day at Comics 2 Games in Florence, Kentucky. I also mentioned that on the way home he read the first five issues of Justice Society of America by Geoff Johns.
He really liked it.
He told me yesterday to start picking that book up for him. Ya know, there’s something about good guys beating up on Nazis that always brings a family together. Thanks, Geoff.
There was another breakthrough. This past week on “Manly Movie Night” I had him watch some episodes of Justice League Unlimited Season One. He’s hooked. I reeled him in with the Wildcat episode and then hooked him on the episode with B’Wana Beast, Wonder Woman & Batman.
Nick called today to tell me that he bought not only the boxed set of JLU Season One, but Season Two and Justice League as well. I guess I know what we’ll be watching this week on Manly Movie Night.
So the moral of this story is that if you hang out with me long enough sooner or later I’ll rub off on you. That’s okay if you’re family or a hot looking babe, but other than that it could just be creepy.
Inside The Comic Writers Studio.
Most of you out there at one time or another have probably caught an episode of Inside The Actors Studio with James Lipton. You may have even seen the skit of it on Saturday Night Live with Will Ferrell. Either way, it’s always some interesting stuff.
Well, now the world of comic books has their version of it. Talented and general smart guy, Eric Moreno at ComicBloc has been doing some really interesting and in-depth interviews with some of the comic book world’s top talents. Eric goes deeper than the tired old dribble of “Why does Batman really like wearing tights?” that you find on most news sites and slick magazines on comics.
Recently he and I spent a few hours talking about the craft of writing, history, and behind the scenes stuff in comics that I’ve been involved with and seen in my life. I’ve gotta say that it’s one of the most interesting interviews I’ve ever done and he threw questions and topics at me that everybody else has missed. That’s kinda hard to do.
I highly suggest that you ride over and check not only MY interview out, but all the others that Eric has done. I think you’ll find yourself checking them out on a regular basis and wishing that other sites and magazines would follow the path he’s carving out. Here’s the link to the interview.
Make sure after you read it you leave some input. I’d prefer some good ones. If you feel you must leave bad ones just make sure you leave your address so I can come to your house and help your “change” your mind.
True Originals ? Milton Caniff & Steve Canyon
I realize that most of my readers are younger than me. Hell, who isn’t? So from time to time I feel it’s my duty to take you young turks under my right wing and educate you with some stuff you should really know about.
This week it comes in the form of a couple of top notch trade paperbacks from The Checker Book Publishing Group. They’ve published two volumes of the great strip adventures of Steve Canyon by Milton Caniff from 1952 and 1953.
The adventures of Steve Canyon first hit the newspapers of America in 1947. It became the biggest hit ever. Milton Caniff gave readers some of the most enduring and compelling story telling ever seen. Caniff wrote and drew the book on how to tell and draw a story in comic strip/serial form. He was the influence for almost every writer and artist that you admire today. His work touched them all in his legacy of creativity. His words and ink run through the DNA of everyone that has ever put pen to paper in comics.
Like his work on Terry & The Pirates, Caniff’s work on Steve Canyon still stands tall today and makes for wonderful reading. If you have never really sat down and read any adventures of Steve Canyon then this is the perfect opportunity to do so. As a writer you’ll learn from his masterful pacing and dialogue. As an artist you’ll see movement, mood and ink placement in a light that you’ve never seen before. As a reader you’ll flat out love it. There is so much to enjoy and so much to learn from within these black and white pages.
Milton Caniff’s Steve Canyon: 1952 and 1953 are available now. Each volume has a cover price of $17.95. They are 160 pages each and jammed with great stories. Have your local retailer order them or contact the folks at Checker at http://www.checkerbpg.com.
Back In The Saddle
Sometimes it’s good not to see something coming. I don’t mean a fist or a beer bottle to the back of the head. I mean good stuff…like a western.
Recently noted children’s author, Caryn Tate (Sunny Bear’s Rainy Day) sent me a new western story that she did with artist Noel Tauzon (Elk’s Run) called Red Plains. Needless to say I was pretty stoked.
Even more so after I sat and read it. This is a short (like a film) 7 page story that immediately took me back to the wonderful stories and art of the great pulp westerns. Noel’s art is like a time machine that sets you right back into a time when artists could set the mood with a few brush strokes and the right amount of spotting blacks on art board. Caryn’s story is really rare in the way she gives you a beginning, middle and end within 7 pages. I was taught and cut my comic book writing teeth on 8 page back up stories. This is a perfect example of why more writers should be made to work like this.
I’m not going to give the story away, but let me say that beat for beat it really delivers. Caryn and Noel are currently looking for a publisher for this and I hope more of it. So if any of you smarter-than-you-look publishers are out there looking at this, make sure you contact Caryn and sign Red Plains up. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Now go head em’ off at the pass.
Busted Knuckles Babe Of The Week
Nichole Hiltz is one of those Hollywood beauties that always seems to show up in something that I’m watching…so it must be good!
You’ve probably seen Nichole in Smallville, The Riches, Desperate Housewives or even Dude Where’s My Car? , but you haven’t REALLY seen Nichole until you’ve seen her shooting guns and busting heads in one of my recent favorite b-movies: Venice Underground. The only thing missing from this film is a Drive-In to watch it on. It’s even got movie tough guys Danny Trejo and Ed Lauter in it.
Make sure you also check Nichole out in her upcoming movie Trailer Park of Terror. What you guys do without me?
Busted Knuckle Manly Cover Of The Week
Mighty Samson #9
Gold Key Comics 1967.
Some robots were just made to have their metal ass kicked. The Mighty Samson was the hero to make it happen.
Gold Key was the home of some of the best painted covers in all of comics. As a kid I was always thrilled to see a new Gold Key comic in the spinner rack. One of the best was Mighty Samson. He was a big , eye patch wearin’, club carrying, strongman that thrived on whupping every crazy monster, mad scientist and bad guy that the future had to throw at him. This cover is just a small sample of the great covers that Gold Key had to offer.
In last week’s Busted Knuckles I told you about my son, Nick and I arguing about whose monster SUV was the king of gas guzzlers. His Toyota FJ Cruiser or my Land Rover. Well, I got a bunch of emails from regular Knuckleheads out there wanting to see more photos of the “Beau Mobile” , “The Chauvinist Chariot”, and one I favor, “The Tank Of Testosterone”. So I hauled out the camera and took a couple of shots for you. Here’s my 1998 Land Rover Discovery LSE. It’s got a big ol’ V8 engine and enough pull power to yank a tree out by the roots or mountain climb with the best of em’. The Land Rover is one of the good things that the Brits have done. I guess it’s their way of thanking us for saving their ass in WWII.
As far as luxuries, this big boy has everything from heated leather seats, 6 changer CD with monster power amp, dual moonroofs, dual climate control and even a weather band. Don’t think that I’m one of these Truck/SUV Johnny-come-latelys, I haven’t owned a car since 1974. I was driving trucks, jeeps and SUV’s when everybody else had their ass in a Monte Carlo or a VW bug.
The Tank Of Testosterone…manly, yes! But the ladies like it too.
See y’all next week and make sure you stay out of my parking space unless you wanna end up under my tires.
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