Wednesday, May 02, 2012

What do you do when it's a Sunday afternoon and you're bored outta your gourd just like you were when you were eight and although you read the same PEANUTS paperbacks over and over again like your mother suggested you craved  more? What else but bust into a box of old books wallowing around in the abode and reacquaint yourself with some long-cherished reads you haven't touched in a good ten or more years! Here're a buncha books I pulled out of one of many storage bins that really brought out the old memories, some which I would have preferred to remain buried deep within my psyche for at least another decade or so! Well, at least now I remember some more humiliating childhood experiences that I will regale you with during the course of some future blog post!
THE RETURN OF A MAD LOOK AT OLD MOVIES, written by Dick DeBartolo, illustrated by Jack Davis (Signet 1970)
Elemental adolescent fun that fit in well with my Sunday afternoon loungeabout. Not as guffaw-inducing as the first Old Movies volume (which was a huge pre-teen laughathon twixt me and similar-minded ten-year-olds in the area) but still holding its own with typically obvious if still entertaining satires on everything from circus movies to Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland. Not only that, but Jack Davis' art doesn't come off as slapdash as it did in some of his later efforts for the mag that started it all for him!

THE BROTHERS MAD (Ballantine 1969)

This is the version with the bad Peter Max ripoff cover that was meant to draw in the unaware up 'n comers who didn't know that all this was wuz re-peddled fifties-era material in new 'n "hip" dressing. At least Ballantine wised up enough to return to the original covers for the next printing, though eventually even they would hire none other than Norman Mingo to paint all-new (and similar to the Signet books) artwork for these original MAD paperbacks' final go 'round in the late-seventies. Mostly classic Kurtzman era comic book reprints with some magazine era material all repro'ed rather atrocious-like but hey, for years these paperbacks were the only way anybody could get a quick fix of EC comic material so it wasn't like I was complainin'!


A copy with the original Mingo cover which was loads funnier and way more creative than that seventies "Alfie Seltzer" re-do of his. Nice selection of early-sixties stories as well with a classic Wally Wood comic strip spoof ("If Five Comic Strip Cartoonists Interpreted the Age-Old Riddle 'Why Did The Chicken Cross The Road?'"), a high-larious "Hollywood Surplus Sale" and of course the usual Don Martin and "Spy Vs. Spy" featurettes. Naturally there's the usual dross from the primers to Dave Berg's mirroring of his own vapid upper-middle-class En Why commuter living, but you can always skip over that stuff unless you want another good reason to cheer on the assassinations of John and Bobby Kennedy. (Added note; this battered second-hand copy was, according to the back cover scribble, originally owned by not one but three fine connoseiurs of MAD's inimitable satire going by the noms "Lou, Marty and Charles"! According to further scribbles to be found the trio purchased this ware way back in 1970 and guys, if you want your copy back well all I gotta say is frankly if you were stupid enough to get rid of this way back when maybe you should be taught a lesson to never let go of your childhood treasures lest they end up in the hands of some ne'er do well type like ME!!!!!)

BURNING MAD (Signet, 1967)

Good enough for one Wallace Wood comic spoof making this reprint of '63 material all the more yum yum eat 'em up, though once again you do have to put up with the usual New York snoot aura of Dave Berg and the tired ol' regular features. Strangely enough, I had thought, if even for one short second, that the title of this book was a spoof on the "Burning Man" festivals and that perhaps the title should have read THIS IS BURNING MAD complete with Alfred E.'s face adorning the familiar Burning Man symbol! Well, all I gotta say is that I really do have a vivid imagination, which I only wish I could put to better use on this obviously tiresome blog!


Given how I love the loony pre-teen illiteracy of these early Marvel endeavors it's no accident that I cherish these reprints from Marvel's first boss generation (roughly 1961-1965). The classic first ten issues of THE FANTASTIC FOUR all pressed up on nice glossy paper, and man, did these comics zone me back a good forty years to the days when I was searching out unobtainable originals and equally hard-to-get reprints for these stories. The only thing missing is the smell of aging newsprint that excited this hunter of flea market booty but I managed to get over that olfactory pleasure about ten pages in!

LAUREL AND HARDY, text by John McCabe, compiled by Al Kilgore (Bonanza Books, 1983 edition)

Helpful illustrated filmography and critique of each and every Laurel and Hardy film appearance which I gotta admit brought out alla them old-time growing up watching this stuff on tee-vee memories in me! Nicely illustrated and fairly accurate, this book is bound to get the ol' lump forming in your throat not only because it was stuff like this that made up a good portion of your own film credo, but because there are more than a few people out there who, with typical post-postmodern hatred firmly implanted into each and every one of their psyches, want these films and many others to stay firmly in the past and well buried so they won't corrupt the purebred futures these do-gooders have planned for each and every one of us! I get the feeling that these days watching Laurel and Hardy films would be just as big a crime to today's uplifters as flinching at an explicit gay porn film during a sensitivity seminar, or even worse farting during a talk being given by noted gay gadfly Dan Savage. The crime being that your fart could be heard, that is!
Speaking of Mr. Savage, this 'un from the TAKI'S MAGAZINE site (written by who else but Jim Goad) got me laughing and rip-roaring like nothing since that film I saw on Vietnam War atrocities. Really, I can't tell you how refreshing and inspirational it is to read something like this especially in these be kind to dumb radicals days, and hey if you're offended by what Goad and his various commentators have to say 'bout it all then so be it. Just remember that no matter how hard you've helped and rah-rah'd the new revolution that's upheaving our lives as we speak, it's gonna be your butt that's placed onna chopping block before anyone else's! Well, at least you guys are warming it up for me!

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