Saturday, July 11, 2009


Uncle Eddie: "I very seldom deliberately delete a comment. When I do, I feel really guilty about it. I mean the person who wrote it had to have gone to some trouble, even if it was just a death threat, and that should be acknowledged. In recognition of that, here's a few unpublished comments from the past three years.

"Uncle Eddie, you stud's about you and me...steppin'?"

"Haw Haw (Snick! Harnk!)! Just kidding, Silly!! That was me! Hey, what did you think of 'Assassin's Creed?' Isn't that a way cool game? It takes a while to get a mission, though."

"Eddie, can I have the address of the girl on top?"

"Hi Eddie! Greetings from the 'Anonymous' community. Thanks for letting us comment here!"

"I'm sorry, but I find your practice of doing photo stories with a girl's wig on to be disgusting!"

"Uncle Eddie, I like your site but why do you persist in posting so many pictures of normal-looking women? What men want to see is know what I mean!"

"Um, Eddie...can I have the address of that handsome man above?"

"Here's a kiss for you Eddie...from a fan in Philadelphia!"

"Ditto from a fan in Wisconsin!"

"Another to you is kissing from fan we are being in Khazkstan!"

"Don't worry about putting stuff up that's bad for kids. We can take it!"

"Uncle Eddie, is it true that your male assets are...well, formidable?"

Thursday, July 09, 2009


Parisian artist Paul Colins was arguably the best jazz poster artist ever, and this (above) is his most famous poster.

Like everybody else in Paris in 1925 he was bowled over by the Revue Negre, which featured Josephine Baker dancing in a banana outfit. The revue also introduced 'The Charleston" to France. Audiences went nuts!

The famous bananas (above).

Baker dancing to "Hot Hot Hottentot!"

Colin couldn't fit all his impressions into posters so he did a series of lithographs for a book called "Le Tumulte Noir," which is where most of these pictures are from. Baker sat for him several times.

The odd angles of the poses struck by the dancers wowed everybody... did the frank sexuality.

In Colin's words, Baker was "part boxer kangaroo, part rubber woman, part female Tarzan." Baker was one of the all-time great free-form dancers.

Here's (above) the kind of thing Colins did when he wasn't drawing jazz artists.

Are some of these pictures racist? I honestly don't know. When they're done as well as these are, the whole question gets hard to focus on. You could argue that the red minstrel lips are a racial stereotype, on the other hand the artist clearly admires many of the people he depicts, even when he makes fun of them.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009


Like a lot of men I find the idea of mean women to be completely contradictory. I mean women, almost by definition, are kind and nurturing, aren't they? Apparently not, in some cases.

Every girl I've talked to about it has horror stories of other girls who gave them grief in school. Sometimes the bullying is physical, sometimes it takes the form of a whispering campaign aimed at separating the victim from her friends.

A really evil girl will go even farther. She'll try to change her victim's perception of herself. If the aggressor succeeds, even when the target is grown up she'll be a wallflower with limited career possibilities and no self-esteem. It amazes me that evil girls will devote so much energy to damaging girls they hardly know.

I'm dying to know what happens to mean girls when they get to be say, 25 or 30. What percent of them mellow out?

If you have a daughter, and send her to school, then I offer you this picture (above) of the girl who'll greet her in the schoolyard every day. This photo gives me the creeps. It displays a combination of natural meanness stoked by teen aggression hormones. No wonder your daughter hates school.

Oddly enough, surly Goth girls usually aren't the biggest aggressors. Maybe my artist's bias is at work here, but I reason that if Goth girls have a sense of style, which is a form of art appreciation, that this implies a yearning for higher culture. Am I wrong?

Meanness in young girls is shocking and appalling, but in older women women it's sometimes tolerable, provided you don't have to come in frequent contact with it. Maybe that's because nature has already applied its penalty. Maybe because it's sort of funny. Women like this tend to establish little kingdoms where they rule over small, alcoholic husbands and rebellious teenagers.

But there's a serious side. Imagine what it must have been like a hundred years ago in third world countries like China. Older women were sometimes merciless slave drivers who had no pity for the poor girls who worked for them.

You see it in some men, but it's more unexpected and therefore more disconcerting in women...that restless energy, that hungry need to go for the jugular of people they scarcely know.

I love this picture (above). I've used it in two blog posts. When this kid grows, just walk on the other side of the street and never, ever give her the wrong change!

Sunday, July 05, 2009


It isn't often that you get to compare the work of your favorite artists in some way that can lay claim to being objective. Maybe the closest you could get to a fair contest would be one in which both artists attempted to illustrate the same story, without being able to reference each other's work. Well, that's what we have here: Frazetta and Wood illustrating the same story. There's no stylistic similarity, so I'm guessing that neither saw how the other handled the story.

Hold your hats, it's going to be a battle royal!

I can't put up every page of the story, so I'll just put up highlights of what each artist did with the beginning, middle and end. The finished, inked page way at the very top is by Wood. The pencil page immediately above is by Frazetta. Frazetta's pages only exist in pencil because the magazine folded before he could start on the inking.

That's one of Wood's middle pages above. The story goes something like this: a lonely bachelor is staying at his hunting lodge in the woods. A beautiful girl knocks on the door requesting help. Her car broke down, and she was pursued through the woods by someone or something intent on capturing her. The bachelor takes her in and offers her his protection. They start chatting and discover that each is the other's ideal mate. They fall deeply in love.

That's one of Frazetta's middle pages above.

Here's (above) the next Frazetta page. As their love deepens an announcement is heard on the radio.

Above, the next Frazetta page.

The radio announcer says a beautiful blonde mad woman has escaped from the local asylum. The announcer warns that she's very beguiling, but is not to be trusted. She's a homicidal maniac who slowly cuts up and horribly mutilates her victims. Under no circumstances should anyone let her into their home.

The bachelor is horrified. He kicks the girl out, locks the door, and spends the night upright in a chair, holding a rifle. Outside the girl begs to be let in.

She says they both found the true love of their lives in the cabin. She says he needs to trust that, and not the radio. She says the maniac is approaching. How, she asks, could he leave the girl he loves defenseless, in the hands of a fiend? With great difficulty the bachelor listens to blood-curdling screams all night. Finally the screams stop and the sun comes up. With gun in hand he opens the door to the porch.

That's Wood's page above.

The bachelor opens the door and discovers....the hacked, mutilated body of the girl he loved, and who he kicked out of the cabin. The girl, the love of his life who had pleaded for help, had been telling the truth all along.

That's Frazetta's final page, above. So who do you think won the competition? Who did the superior version of the story?

BTW, the format of the second version is different because it was undertaken later when the Congressional hearing on comics forced EC to recast their comics stories in magazine form. The reasoning was that magazines are assumed to be for adults and are therefore less vulnerable to censorship. The public didn't go for it. Sales of the magazine format declined (Mad excepted) and the horror titles fizzled out. Poor Frazetta was ordered to seize work on the magazine story before he could finish it.

I assume that he never saw the earlier Wood version because there's no similarity in the approach.

Also BTW: Thanks to Milt for bringing this to my attention and providing the artwork.

Friday, July 03, 2009


Here's an interesting book, especially if you live in L.A. and are a Keaton fan like I am. The book takes frame grabs from the films and puts them side by side with shots of the same backgrounds, made today. If you're like me, and thinking about shooting some outdoor footage yourself, you might be able to take away some interesting lessons from this book.

Here the composition in the frame grab (above, left) favors the people and not the building, and it's clearly funnier that way. Next time I'm shooting real people against a beautiful building, I'll remember this. The modern picture also seems too contrasty, and the cars are a distraction.

I can't stand walking down sun-drenched streets with no protection. I'm always glad for trees and awnings (above). Even so, the mansions have much more comedic impact in the treeless pictures at the top. There the starkness of the mansions is a potent symbol for power and wealth.

More mansion shots. The one on the top is so stark and sunny! I guess when you're filming in the real world you have to seek out the backgrounds that will look good on film, no matter hot and oppressive it is to film there.

I like the way the mansion reads like a simple shape in the top photo...the perfect backdrop for comedy.

Comparing the building photos in the upper left with the one on the lower right: boy, the lower one certainly seems tacky and overly contrasty. The awnings on the old buildings are also sorely missed. If your home or business doesn't have awnings, what are you waiting for? All buildings look better with awnings!

I love trees (above), but on filmed comedies they make the scene too busy.

What wretch tore down the buildings above?

By the way, this shot reminds me that a slightly high camera takes in more of the sidewalk and makes characters read better. A good idea is to shoot on an overcast day, which greys everything down, and wear a dark suit yourself.

I think The Stooges also used this corner (above) in one of their films. It's funniest when shot frontally and symmetrically like it is here.

Darkening the bottom (above) makes the building less funny.

Another case (above) where darkening the building takes the humor out. No doubt the crime in modern cities makes knee-high windows impractical. That's too bad. I love windows like that.

Above, one of the nice old buildings that used to abound in Los Angeles, and which Keaton used in one of his films. I want to know who tore these down, and if those people are still alive, so I can boot them in the pants. Note the beautiful awnings.