Saturday, December 05, 2009



JOOR-EL (VO): "Wake up, kid! Wake up!"


JOOR-EL (VO): "You've gotta wake up! We have to hurry!"

SFX: Tap! Tap!...TAP! TAP! TAP!

JOOR-EL: "C'mon, little baby. Open your eyes!"

JOOR-EL: "It's your dad, Joor-el!"

JOOR-EL: "Listen, we gotta talk! We don't have much time! If you're hearing this, it means you're almost at your destination!"

BABY: Wakes, then (happy cooing).

JOOR-EL: "There you are, ya cute little thing, ya! Okay, brace yourself, this isn't going to be pretty! What you're seeing is a video. By the time you see this, the real me'll be hamburger."

JOOR-EL: "While you were asleep, Kryptoon began to break apart. In a minute or two the whole planet's going to explode, killing everybody."

JOOR-EL: "The worst thing is, people are blaming me for it!"

JOOR-EL: "Okay, I invented the planet burster with a big lever that stuck out the window...but I put a big note on it that said 'Don't Touch!' How was I supposed to know that someone who couldn't read would come along!?

JOOR-EL: "Anyway, I just put you in a rocket ship that'll take you to a place called Earth. Don't worry, you'll like Earth. The people there look just like us!

JOOR-EL: "Well, ahem!....not JUST like us....we are an exceptionally handsome race...."

SFX/EFX: (Loud rumbling and big shakes as the planet breaks apart).

JOOR-EL: "I've gotta talk fast! Listen! Earth's gravity is weaker than Kryptoon's! You'll have super powers there!"

JOOR-EL (VO): "Believe me, nobody's gonna take your lunch money if you don't want them to!"

JOOR-EL (VO): "And I threw in your dog. He'll have super powers, too! Remember to walk him every day, and don't ever get him mad!"

JOOR-EL (VO): "And a secret identity...You'll need to disguise yourself most of the time, otherwise pests'll always be begging favors!"

JOOR-EL: "Yeah, it's a gonna be a bit of a hassle..."

JOOR-EL: "....but, hey, there's a sunny side...."

JOOR-EL: "....heh, heh....think of all the GIRLS you're gonna get!" Muscles and a foreign accent...they'll eat it up!"

JOOR-EL (VO): "And X-Ray vision! Wait'll you see how handy THAT is!!!"

JOOR-EL: "One day it's not out of the question that you'll meet an Earth girl and have a family of your own."

JOOR-EL (VO): "Maybe she'll be somebody with muscles just like yours!"

BABY: (Cries)

SFX/EFX: (More rumbling and quakes: we're only seconds away from the end)

JOOR-EL: "Uh-Oh!"

JOOR-EL: "This is it! Kryptoon is breaking up! It's the final act! The Big Burrito! The Enchilada Grande!

JOOR-EL: "See ya kid! I planned it so you'll land soft as a feather in a park across the street from a nice old couple! They'll raise you up right! You'll get a good start!"

SFX/EFX (Ceiling collapses, then big explosion).

JOOR-EL: (A cry of anguish as he's buried under the rubble).

ON THE EARTH AS SEEN FROM SPACE: The baby's rocket rotates and retro fires.

The ship speeds through the atmosphere.


MA KANT: "Do you hear that, Pa!? You're going to think I'm silly, but I desperately hope it's an aircraft bearing the son we've always wanted...a son we could bring up to be a decent and responsible citizen."

PA KANT: "You're not silly at all, Ma. That's my dream, too. If only it would land gently and safely in that park across the street."


SHOCKED PASSER-BY: "Holy Mackerel! What happened!?"

RESCUER: "Something fell out of the sky right on top of that nice old couple! Wait a minute! I hear a baby!"

Thursday, December 03, 2009


More maps from the endlessly fascinating site: "" None of these maps look very good when reduced to the size they are here, so be sure to click to enlarge them.

So, what do you think of this 1950s map of Europe as seen by Moscow (above)? It's amazing what a difference a new vantage point makes!

This (above) anal-retentive, proposed reconstruction of London is a powerful argument to prove that Mensa should never be allowed to rule the world.

Here's (above) a map of Europe from 1915. When I was a kid newspapers would frequently put up high-quality novelty illustrations like this, but as time went on I saw less and less of them. It's wrong to say that internet news outcompeted newspapers. The newspapers the computer beat were hamstrung versions that hardly resembled the dynamic papers of the past.

A fascinating star chart (above)! According to this the first transmissions of "Seinfeld" have already reached Altair.

Here's what these cities (above) actually looked like when the map was made 60 years ago. Some have human faces. Boy, cities are kind of ugly when seen in silhouette.

No attempt at realism in this cyber map (above), but it's still intriguing.

Holy Cow! Africa (above) is THAT big!!!????

I reprint this map of the Hollow Earth (above) just in case your car breaks down while you're driving in there.

Another map with a novel orientation (above)...the world as seen from Irkutsk.

This (above) won't mean anything til you enlarge it. It's a vulture's map of Ethiopia, maybe from the 40s. Why a vulture? I don't know, but it sure is neat!

Here's (above) a children's book map of some imaginary islands in the South Pacific.

A map of Europe (above) made with girl's underpants!

I have no idea where this map (above) comes from, but it's hilarious! You could make this kind of map of the desks in your classroom, or of your work place.

BTW: This is my thousandth post on Blogger! Imagine that! I didn't know I had a thousand things to say! I wish this stuff was broadcast, rather than crammed into the phone lines. It would be exciting to know that some...thing... with tentacles slithering around Altair 4 would hear about this someday and wonder who I was.

Monday, November 30, 2009


Sometimes I think the critics are right and Dante really was one of the handful of writers who shaped the Western mind. He certainly seems to have influenced 50s mens magazines. Cover after cover looks like a scene out of Dante's "Inferno."

Here (above) the guy is running away from a tribe of nymphomaniac amazons, and the only way he can escape them is to run across a field of crazed weasels.

Coming up with stories for these mens magazines must have been a real chore. After all, the same publisher probably put out confession, crime and adventure magazines, and these must have siphoned off a lot of stories the mens magazines could have used.

The writers must have thanked God for old staples like cheating housewives and prostitutes, but even these could get stale. Frequently the staff had to fall back on the tried and tested method of taking ordinary events, sleazing them up a bit, and locating them in graphic Hell.

Take this picture (above), for instance. Nothing out of the ordinary happening here but the blocked-out eyes and minimal, kids printing set/ransom note lettering at the bottom of the page make it look like something weird and taboo is going on.

If the weird and taboo thing can be shown to happen in Hell (as it is above), so much the better. Pulp paper didn't take black very well, but the publishers turned a liability into an asset by emphasizing subject matter that played better in dark grey.

Grey gave the page a weathered, amateur look, as if it had been printed by ghouls in some underground cavern, and the editor just happened to find it stuck to the bottom of his shoe...just the thing for a magazine that claimed to break all the rules.

And how do you like the black & white photography (above)? It underlines the noir belief that the world is a dark place, illuminated by shafts of light.

Black and white can make the most innocent event seem sordid, especially if the photo is tilted and crudely retouched. Here (above) even happy old Bing Crosby is made to look like a skulker in the corridors of Hell. The actress on the right shows a lot of leg, but would still look innocent if the same picture were to appear in full resolution in Life magazine. Here, at half resolution and retouched, she looks like a denizen of the underworld.

Here (above) the downshots and headless bodies add to the effect of the noir lighting. We're obviously in some Clive Barker-type catacomb. Tattooing is made to look sooooo creepy here. But that's what the reader wanted. The reader wanted to be taken out of the crowded commuter train to an unfamiliar and dangerous world, and the magazine obliged.

Here (above) bandleader Xavier Cougat draws a terrific caricature of the singer on his left. Light-hearted and innocent you say? No way! The Hell theme favored by sleaze magazines demanded that the execution of the drawing take place in Hades. The ripped headline graphic, dark shadows and downshot angle reveal that we're in a slime-covered alcove in a nightmare alley full of screams and demented laughter.

No activity was so wholesome that it couldn't be portrayed as Hellish. "Who does Disney (above) think he's kidding?", the magazine seems to ask. No innocence here. The text promotes Disney but the choice of graphics locates him in Hell. The layout artist chose cramped, fever dream compositions, planting the idea that Disney films are somehow sinister and malevolent.

All this emphasis on Hell may only have been half intentional. Some of it must have resulted from the kind of flash camera that press people used in those days. Some of it must have come out of WWII when a lot of graphic artists had to learn how to make the bad guys look demonic. After the war we had a lot of skilled propaganda artists with nowhere to go, except the sleaze magazines where these techniques were still appreciated.

I've said what I had to say about graphic Hell, but I can't resist commenting on the boring composition above. Ugh! I hate to see amateurs attempt the wild stories and graphics of the pros.

Here's a similar pictorial theme done with more panache. The young woman carousing with a beer bottle is underlit and in a dark place, suggesting Hell. The picture of the man suggests that she was bullied into this life by a dominating gangster. The two pictures are so evocative that we can't help but make up stories to fit them. Before we even read the text we imagine the girl resisting the fast life at first, then learning to accept it. We draw the tragic conclusion that it's a joyless, crazy world, but she wouldn't leave it if she could.

The mistake the amateurs made was to suppose that prostitution is interesting all by itself. It's not. If the girl was coerced into it, or forced to do it to feed her baby, or if her choice leads her to discover the unimaginable, then you've got a story...just be sure to locate it in graphic Hell.

BTW: Many thanks to the "Here Comes Madness" blog, which is where I stole these pictures from. Thanks also to Anonymous for telling me about the site in a comment. The blog's URL:

Also BTW: I couldn't bear to end this without calling attention to the name of an article listed on the cover of "Wildcat Adventures" above. The article is "Death Cruise of the Two Nude Cuban Cuties," surely one of the best names for an article that I've ever encountered. Sigh! Geniuses truly walked the Earth in those days.