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Father Of All… (Reprise)
In 2008, Green Day offered up a serving of 60’s garage rock, recorded under the pseudonym Foxboro Hot Tubs. The record, Stop, Drop & Roll, came and went without much fanfare, though it was found and loved by guitar-pop lovers like me. Father Of All… is the legitimate offspring of The Tubs’ singular release, and it’s been well-worth the wait.
While Green Day’s use of three punk chords hasn’t varied much, here, Billie Joe Armstrong seems to be reinvigorated, wringing out new melodies and vocal moves that feel both fresh and thoughtful. Propelled by Tre’ Cool’s slamming go-go beat and muscular guitars, the title track really gets the ol’ blood pumping.
Armstrong coyly winks his 48-year-old eye at his own legend in I Was A Teenage Teenager, before the band plunges into Hamburg Beatles’ mode with the gritty Stab You In The Heart. It’s cool that at this stage in the game, the band is still looking to stake-out new ground, when they could easily just clone their past success, to lackluster affect. Father Of All… is really solid from top to bottom.
The Lady from the Black Lagoon is author Mallory O’Meara’s dive into the life of Milicent Patrick. Until O’Meara’s book came out in 2019, not many people were aware of who Milicent Patrick was. Thanks to the author’s dedicated research, she has brought Milicent Patrick into the spotlight.
Milicent Patrick’s claim to (now) fame was that she designed the Creature from the Black Lagoon, for the film of the same name. She was a talented woman who not only created famous Hollywood monsters, but also worked for Walt Disney as an animator. Milicent faded into obscurity, and never got credit for her design…until O’Meara.
The Lady from the Black Lagoon not only follows Milicent Patrick, and her struggles through Old Hollywood, but also O’Meara’s own story and struggles in Hollywood. The parallel between the women’s lives is both heartbreaking and touching, and I’m sure if Milicent was still alive, the two would be fast friends.
I picked this book up for two reasons: I love old movies, and am always looking to learn more about them, and secondly, I’ll be honest, the cover of the book. I’m a sucker for an attention grabbing cover, and this book has got it! Setting aside the cover, though…the content was just what I was hoping for. It was an honest and well-researched look into what life was like in the movie industry for a woman, during what we now think of as ‘Old Hollywood’. Highly recommend.
Pick up the paperback edition of O’Meara’s Los Angeles Time Bestseller, available on March 3, 2020.
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My Oldest Comic Book: The Blue Beetle # 6 (Fox, 1941)
The oldest comic book I’ve ever owned was a copy of The Blue Beetle # 6, published by Fox Comics in 1941. It was a coverless copy, and I’m not certain whether or not I still own it. I have a box of coverless comic books in my garage, and I’m going to start going through that box soon for a post (or perhaps a series of posts) about ’em.
My kooky memory can often recall all sorts of specifics about when and where I accumulated a comic book or record in my sprawling collections. I can’t remember where I got this one. I’m pretty sure it was in the ’70s; I remember a National Lampoon Golden Age comic parody (called “Ver-Man,” maybe?) which reminded me of The Blue Beetle as depicted here. I did trade with a high school pal for a few very low-grade condition ’40s and ’50s comics; my coverless copy of The Avengers # 4 was among the books he received in the trade, so he did all right. But I don’t think this Blue Beetle was part of that stash. It could have been a flea market purchase. The precise recollection ain’t there. Hell, for all I know, I could have picked this up when I lived in Buffalo in the ’80s. I still think I got in the ’70s.
The Blue Beetle I knew prior to this was the Charlton Comics hero of the ’60s, who shared a name and nothing else with the Fox character. However, the Blue Beetle familiar to me grew out of the original Blue Beetle; Charlton acquired the rights to The Blue Beetle in the mid ’50s, and the company made a few sporadic attempts to continue publishing the character. Charlton revamped The Blue Beetle slightly around 1964–coincidentally, a good year for something that sounded like “Beatle”–but the books were dull and uninspired, boring. Legendary artist (and Spider-Man co-creator) Steve Ditko created the the new Blue Beetle, which debuted as a back-up strip in Captain Atom # 83 in 1966. As presented by Ditko and scripter Gary Friedrich, this new Beetle’s alter ego of scientist Ted Kord was under suspicion in the unexplained disappearance of Dan Garrett, the original Blue Beetle.
But that’s a story for another day, and it’s a story well worth checking out if you’re a fan of Silver Age superhero comics. For now, we go back to 1941 for a tale of the original original Blue Beetle.
Fox’s Blue Beetle comics are now in the public domain. This scan of The Blue Beetle # 6 comes to us via Digital Comic Museum, a trusted resource for free downloads of public domain comics. And now, my oldest comic book. Ladies and gentlemen, THE BLUE BEETLE!