...aka an excuse to fulfill some self-important personal duty by submitting a weekend post that deals with nothing but various gulcheral activities and other flotsam that has affected my life these past seven or so earthspins.SICK MAGAZINE # 91 (July 1972)
Dun' look at me...I didn't buy it! In fact when this very issue was rotting away onna newsstands I certainly was not sneeking a peek at it the way I would MAD, FANTASTIC FOUR or NAZI CLEAVAGE PATROL. Well, I did peek at the thing once (the ish where SICK mag Alfred E. Neuman wannabe Huckleberry Fink was teamed up with Cher!) and felt so embarrassed about it that I never even mentioned the fact to anybody until now. Y'know, just like I do about my childhood travails regarding skidmarks, boogers and getting beat up by kids twice my size in spontaneous eruptions of that classic suburban kid game "Smear the Queer" (I always hadda be the queer, and for the life of me I didn't know what a queer was when I was a mere eight years old!). Sometimes it's good to bring up these past tragedies in order to help purge them from your system, but for the life of me they never are driven away no matter how many times I try to deal with 'em...all I feel like doin' is murdering each and ever one who was responsible for those horrific acts of extreme cruelty in the most painful way possible which of course is an impossibility, but then again I figure that the day I decide to forget what has happened and forget the nonchalant way my parents and teachers brushed off the horrid ways I would feel about myself ("don't let it bother you" being the quickie cop out line I was usually given) is the day my soul dies.
Sheesh, I have been reading too much of the Lester Bangs bio but back to the point. Yeah, I peeked at an issue of SICK just once and thought it was nada but a copy of a copy of a copy of the real thing...like CRACKED taken to its obvious conclusion. I even recall some gal who worked at the old NATIONAL RECORD MART (now FYE) complaining to her co-workers as to why they even carried the mag considering nobody bought it the thing was so wretch-inducing. And given how one could spot MAD ripoff idea #100 here and HELP! photo fumetti w/o the cutting edge there who'd wanna buy it!
Well, SOMEBODY musta bought it because a copy had evidently landed into the paws of one Brad Kohler who, for some strange reason considering his hero Archie Bunker is proudly positioned onna front cover, gave it to me, making me wonder whether I should praise Kohler to the rooftops for giving me something free or slug him inna puss (old timey term for face, not what you're thinking) for defiling my mailbox in the most obscene way possible. I ain't gonna do either because hey, now I have something to mention in this rotten blog that might seem different 'n unique from the rest of the things I do rant on about, and as you all know I will stick my neck (and other bodily appendages) out in order to add a li'l hoo-hah here which we all know could use more of it from time to time.
Anyway it ain't like I have a loathing for this particular ish...it's only that the thing is so half-hearted. And not half-hearted in the way CRACKED would swipe ideas whole hog from MAD and HELP! (who seemed to be looking over each other's shoulders for ideas to swipe themselves---or at least MAD was!) and reduce it all to quickie churn out, but half-hearted in "if we just plug in the right gags 'n jokes and try to be humorous and up-to-date about it maybe we'll hit the proper target," a credo that I should know from personal experience didn't always work even though at times I thought I was being a pure genius for being such an editorial Jackson Pollack.
Cover story on Archie Bunker doesn't hit the ol' fanabla meter one bit, even if it certainly ain't as groansville as that MAD "Gall In The Family" (both the original and the freebee record) were...like haw haw, Archie's old army buddy was Adolf Hitler oh how socially conscious and original we are! It ain't even a comical story with square word balloons in the grande tradition either but a collection of Bunker quotes from the tee-vee show which, as Kohler opined, were probably printed w/o the express permission of Norman Lear or CBS for that matter! I dunno how SICK could get away with such a blatant breach of copyright, but as Kohler also stated perhaps they were runnin' way below the radarscope and could get away with filling a good four pages with prime purloined material 'n mighty easily at that!
Other interesting bits include some obv. MAD lifts including "How Trouble-Making Has Changed", one of those comparisons between forties and seventies cultural de-evolution you woulda expected either George Woodbridge or Paul Coker to illustrate, not to mention an Ink Blot Test article that MAD had perfected a good fifteen years earlier. Also of interest is returning artist Jack Davis doing some Civil War cartoons which bear a striking resemblance to the ones he did for HELP! ten years earlier not to mention a strip he tried to get syndicated around the same time. If these comics are in fact taken from that old strip I wouldn't doubt it one bit considering how these humor mags sure liked to milk any MAD connections, no matter how tenuous they may have been.
And, taking yet another page from satire mag successes of the past MAD/HELP!-style, SICK actually got a flesh and blood celebrity, this time Art Buchwald, to do an article that only goes to prove that he never was the prime political har-de-har-har-er that many remember him to be. In fact, in this generally non-political piece Buchwald flops more'n that fish outta water you used to see all the time on those PSAs for asthma-inflicted kids and you know how much that makes you wanna stick your schnoz ot the window for a fresh inhalation!
Even the tastelessness (the nude Howard Hughes centerfold) ain't anything near to what NATIONAL LAMPOON was doin' at the time, and although the "Ghetto Poetry Corner" was slightly interesting, that's all it was. No wonder this 'un was flying off the shelves about as fast as deodorant in Italy because even a doofoid adolescent blob like myself could see SICK for the rip off of a rip off it most certainly was. The mere existence of it makes me wonder exactly what target group was being selected for a publication such as this, but then again I never thought that special education coke-bottle glasses hearing aid (the old fashioned kind) palsied IQ 90 kids bought magazines in the first place!
***FRECKLES DAILY COMIC STRIPS FOR THE MONTH OF JUNE, 1957!
Yes, I just hadda get some. I've often told you about my dawn of memory encounters sitting on my father's lap as he read this strip to me, and how I would get it mixed up with ARCHIE which was running in the Sunday paper and continued on its merry way while FRECKLES ultimately got the ax ne'er to be mentioned by anybody I knew but my father 'n sister again. These 1957 strips are pretty much like the ones I remembered, and for a comic that began in 1915 as a fine-pen delineated little boy strip that evolved into an continuing adventure strip before turning into a continuing anarchic teenage romp you can easily see just how similar to ARCHIE FRECKLES had become by this time.
The way I look at it Freckles was Archie and his not-so-obese pal Lard Jughead (albeit a hetero one who despite his average mug sported a hotcha gal by the tag of Hilda) while Bazoo was more or less rendered as a nicer Reggie and Nutty (or is it Rumford) was Dilton etc. And given the litigiousness of the Archie Comics people I kinda wonder why the lawsuit never came. Well, at least these teenage laff-riots were around for those of us who weren't lucky enough to be able to cop all of the ARCHIEs in this area unless were were lucky enough to get THE PITTSBURGH POST GAZETTE on scant occasion, and I for one had a ball reading these comics that you know'll never get reprinted in some grand Library of American Comics collection detailing the strip's history with detailed forwards from the biggest names in comicdom bound in the finest Corinthian leather. At least these strips appeal to my not-so-inner suburban slob mentality with their witty punchlines and pleasing artwork, and if you're one of those snootier-than-thou types who eschew clear art, gorgeous gals and groaning guffaws for slapdash lack of style and upper-crust socio-political masturbation there's always Gary Trudeau for you, and come to think of it you automatons were made for each other!
***FOREIGNERS AROUND THE WORLD by P. J. O'Rourke (from the February 1976 issue of NATIONAL LAMPOON)
I'm feeling in a particularly offensive mood right now and will admit (proudly, in fact!) that I can only get a good belly laugh outta the most vile, impolite and downright anti-PC material that can be found on the face of this earth! And that's particularly why, especially in this age where only the most piously protected are allowed to eat at the same table that Polish plumbers and shanty Irish never had and never will well, maybe stuff like the following article from the mid-seventies NATIONAL LAMPOON'll put a smile on my face 'stead of the usual modern-day humor which is nothing more'n a buncha lefty celeb types congratulating themselves on how they agree with each other. A classic from the glory days of the 'POON, long before author P. J. O'Rourke began acting coy and cute just so's he'd get invited to the same cocktail parties that people who would shrivel at the following article throw for people who just happen to look and think like they do (which ain't a mere coincidence as I've discovered oh so long ago!).
And while I'm on a 'POON klck, howz'bout this li'l slice of satire from their November '72 issue?
***RUFFLES MAX FLAME-GRILLED STEAK FLAVORED POTATO CHIPS!
Consider this 'un an addendum to my BLOBS LIKE US article of a few months back, but boy do these chips taste like an actual sizzlin' steak. And considering that I get steak about as often as I get patty day foegraw this chip can be cause for celebration. However, the flavor seems to wander off into some strange bizarre realm after you eat a few handfuls, and your mouth begins to throb with spice pains as if somebody was rubbing it with a light grade of sandpaper or somethin'. Still, this 'un reminds me of my Golden Age of overeating slobdom whilst in high school, when a bag of Ruffles Sour Cream and Cheddar Cheese chips and a bottle of diet Shasta (hadda watch them calories!) on a Friday or Saturday night was equivalent to a banquet at the table of Henry VIII, at least when that leg wound of his wasn't festering smelling up the place worse'n when he'd plop his pants during the final days of inbred agony.
***JOHN DERBYSHIRE'S RADIO DERB
Hokay, I will admit that I scarfed the above NATLAMP "Foreigners" article offa Derb's own website, but I know you will feel that it is something that should "get around". As should the man's weekly "fireside chat" regarding the news of the day. I gotta admit that. although I don't agree with the man on quite a few things, I do have an affinity for Mr. Derbyshire. After all I know how it is to be ransacked by half-baked insults, innuendo and downright lies that take facts, half-truths and whatnot and make 'em out to be a thousand times worse'n what was actually said or done. I also like that quaint idea of people who stand up and say what they need to say especially when it is bound to rankle the ire of the ruling
And given the man's taste in women, this time a rather shall-I-say gorgeous Chinese lady he was fortunate enough to take as his wife, how could I hate the guy anyway?
After you hear the news, listen to Derb. I haven't heard a better analysis of current events done with not only a suave accent but a bared-wire attitude that doesn't mind offending like this in ages, if ever. The guy really (even better'n I) can point out to you just why all of those mind-zapping monolithic soul-drenching cretins we have ruling over us need to have their eyes spitted at, and of course he doesn't mind using things like facts and data to back his claims up (like the one he trotted out this week when he showed just how the controversial "stand your ground" law in Florida has benefited blacks as much if not more than it has whites). After hearing Derb's take on the day's events you'll know why I wanna go and kick Rachel Maddow in the nuts.
***CITROEN PRESIDENTIAL LIMOUSINE (my guess late-sixties)
Haven't been reviewing many automobiles lately, but here's one that oughta rank as one of the classier ones to come outta post-war France. When I was a kid I often wondered if there were any full-sized automobiles being made in Europe other'n the Rolls Royce or perhaps some of the jobs Ghia was making for Chrysler or Ford, and other'n the mid-sixties Opel Diplomat with its rather American GM styling I really couldn't think of any. Of course that was before I discovered the Facel Vega Excellence, a large limo with a Gallic yet Amerigan look to it as well as this special job made for Citroen by French bodybuilders Chapron. It's more or less a standard Citroen, only extended and beefed up in the back. Amerigan sized, yet with that classic French style that all of those motor freaks who used to write for PLAYBOY went caga over. Like the fifties/sixties Tatras or even those Vauxhalls that looked a bit like Packards this car woulda looked great onna highways of the US of Whoa, only with the price tag this one undoubtedly had hung on it the only people who would be able to afford it woulda been welfare recipients!
***Might have a reg'lar post for you next time, but if the spirit moves me I might just print yet another CASSETTE CAGA or BOOTLEG BRAGGADOCIO We'll see...