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Number 77 (Vol 2, No. 37).  This edition is for the week of September 10--16, 2001.
America Under Attack

   True story, and it happens to me a lot: day-sleepers would miss the end of the world if no one called. When I went to bed this morning, Tuesday, September 11, the birds were chirping, the cats were meowing...I thought about some yardwork, but thought, "Naw, I'll do it later," but otherwise all was right with the world. I go to bed about 8:15--8:30am; pretty late for me.
   The phone starts ringing about 12:00 noon. I ignore it because that's the "middle of the night", you know? About a half-hour later the phone rings again, this time the caller leaves a message, but I'm not listening. I finally get up around 5:15pm (late because of the interruptions) and see the Caller ID tells me the earlier calls were from people I knew. "They oughtta know better," I think to myself and continue to ignore the recorded message till later.
   I go outside to feed the kitties, and one of the earlier callers just happens to be riding by on his bike. He stops in to ask if I got his message. I say "no, I haven't been up long enough." Then he tells me the shit.

The World Trade Center's destruction    A little over an hour after I hit the sack, America was changed irrevocably by an abominable, systematic terrorist attack that took out the Twin Towers in New York and part of the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.. By now, everyone is well-versed in the method used: hijacked civilian planes and "kamakazi" crashes engineered by Middle-Eastern terrorists. There were more crashes of more hijacked planes elsewhere that evidently fell short of their goals. The death toll is in the thousands, perhaps more. They'll be excavating south Manhattan Island for days.

I asked all the obvious questions at first, just like I'm sure everyone did: assuming they had weapons, how did they get past airport security? Can you take over a plane without weapons? A TV reporter hid in the bathroom and called her husband via cellphone to say the terrorists were using "knife-like" weapons. There were 3 to 5 terrorists aboard each plane.
   The passengers were herded to the rear. They were probably told "no one gets hurt if you cooperate." Otherwise, if they're like me, they'd've thought "we're gonna die anyway, let's jump 'em." Out of the four planes hijacked, one plane crashed just outside of Pittsburgh, apparently on its way to the White House or Camp David. I'd like to think that pilot locked out the controls to prevent anyone else piloting the plane (it's assumed NO American pilots were actually behind the wheels by that point.)

This is indeed a sad, sad day. How can we defend ourselves against foreign religious-fanatic madmen who study how to fly airplanes for the sole purpose of suicide missions? We can't. The Jihad or Muslims, Afghanestanians, Osama Bin Laden, or whoever the hell is behind this do not think like we do. They believe they go to heaven for killing in the name of God or something. Their religion is their politics and vice-versa. I'd like to hasten their journey to heaven, tho. It's beyond tempatation to just want to nuke 'em. But we can't. This is an undeclared act of war by a renegade sect. My friends, I'm afraid this is just the beginning.

We must be brave and move forward.

Special Commentary
America Under Siege
Will Moriaty
Nolan--
You may recall that I was slated to tour the Sunshine Skyway on Tuesday, September 11, 2001. We almost made it to the top...

   When we were at the North Skyway Rest Area, our tour guide looked at his beeper and quickly quipped-- "According to this, a plane ran into the World Trade Center Tower." My immediate thought was that some doofus in a private plane didn't know his flight coordinates and bought it on one of the towers-- the Towers have been nearly hit in the past by stray private and commercial aircraft alike. Not much else of this incident was revealed or said until almost forty minutes later when our tour driver looked at his beeper and exclaimed "A plane has now hit a second tower!"
   I knew then that this was no accident-- now in my mind I was picturing terrorists in Cessna's swan-diving their way to Allah or Waco. With each passing moment as we rode out toward the main span a reprehensible terror was gripping my heart-- "We're under attack!" I thought.
   At one of the two main towers we descended 10' down into a 1,432' long tunnel between the roadway spans-- it was incredibly eerie, pitch black except for low-watt lights in the walls each hundred feet or so. It looked more like the subways of New York City (I've taken the subways to the WTC) than Sunny Florida. The jet like roar of tire impacting on the roadways by passing vehicles was deafening. By the time we reached the north end of this service tunnel we broke into sunny, blue daylight 175' above Old Tampa Bay. By then the beeper reports were sickening-- it was two hijacked airliners that hit the WTC! A highjacked airliner crashed into the Pentagon! A highjacked airliner crashed in rural Pennsylvania. My heart was jumping-- We were at war and I was at what can be one of the most vulnerable transportation links in this part of Florida-- the Sunshine Skyway-- and our President was only 25 miles away in Sarasota!
   I have visited the former and majestic World Trade Center Towers. I imagined the sheer horror of those poor people falling out of windows or falling with the structure as it collapsed-- I was looking down 175' at the Bay ( a potentially survivable fall), but they looked down at several hundreds of feet onto concrete and then oblivion. I was sickened.
   I've heard that the view from the top towers of the Skyway is magnificent. I was going to capture this on film and share it with my PCR readers, but it was not to be-- for security reasons we were ordered off of the span. The top two towers of the Skyway are 432' above the water. The Trade Center Towers dwarf that at 1,320' each.
   I was glad to get off of that span. I sat at the water's edge under some trees and collected my thoughts. It was a beautiful serene scene and day there by Old Tampa Bay, but I knew that 1,000 miles north in the Big Apple, it was a living Hell. I knew that we would probably lose up to 40,000 people or more once the rubble was removed over the next month or two. The World Trade Center Towers are what enticed me to finally visit New York in 1984 as I saw the sun rise between them while at Newark International Airport in 1983-- Another cherished memory of a place in time was obliterated forever.

I knew then--that we were at war...
--Will


Terence Nuzum
9/11/01
AMERICA'S DAY OF TRAGEDY

FIRST OFF I SYMPATHIZE AND FEEL FOR ALL THOSE WHO LOST THEIR LIVES AND FOR THE PAIN THEIR FAMILIES ARE GOING THROUGH.

TUESDAY MORNING: WHEN I FIRST HEARD THAT A PLANE CRASHED INTO ONE OF NEW YORK'S TWIN TOWERS I WASN'T COMPLETELY SHOCKED YET. I FIGURED IT WAS SOME HORRIBLE ACCIDENT. THEN I HEARD A SECOND PLANE HAD CRASHED INTO THE OTHER TOWER. NOW I WAS SHOCKED. THIS WAS NO ACCIDENT, THIS WAS TERRORISM. THE WHOLE WAY TO THE DENTIST THAT MORNING I KEPT THINKING HOW AWFUL IT WAS AND HOW MANY PEOPLE MUST HAVE PERISHED. WHO WAS IT? WHO DID IT? I WONDERED. BUT IT WAS AFTER I LEFT THE DENTIST ON MY WAY BACK TO WORK THAT I HEARD THE NEWS THAT WAS BEYOND SHOCK. A THIRD PLANE HAD CRASHED INTO THE PENTAGON, A CRASH MEANT FOR THE WHITE HOUSE. I WAS MINDBLOWN. YES, THE TOWERS TRADGEDY WAS TERRIBLE, AND MANY LIVES WERE LOST, BUT IMAGINING HOW TERRORISTS THINK, I REALIZED THAT THE PENTAGON CRASH WAS FAR MORE SIGNIFICANT TO THEM. NO ONE HAS EVER ATTACKED THE CENTER OF OUR GOVERNMENT. OUR SYMBOL OF POWER. BUT THEY DID IT. WITH OUR PLANES. I REMEMBER DRIVING BACK TO WORK THINKING THAT IT WAS LIKE A PLOT OUT OF A PULP MAGAZINE FROM THE 30'S. A SPIDER PULP TO BE EXACT: MACHINE GUNS OVER THE WHITE HOUSE. IN IT, ENEMIES OF AMERICA LEVEL THE CAPITOL AND OTHER SYMBOLS OF OUR CONTRY TO THE GROUND WHILE THE NATION SITS DEFENSLESS.

IT IS STILL UNBELIEVABLE THAT THEY HAD THE GALL TO ATTACK THE CAPITOL. IT SHOWS THAT THEY WANTED US SEE THAT THEY WOULD STOP AT NOTHING, THAT THEY WOULD SHOW NO FEAR,THAT THEY WOULD SHUT DOWN AMERICA FOR A DAY, AND ATTEMPT TO AND DESTROY PRECIOUS AMERICAN SYMBOLS. AND THEY DID IT. IF THIS WAS AN ATTACK OF WAR, THEN WE LOST THE FIRST BATTLE.

MY HUMBLE OPINION IS THAT WE SHOULD NOT POINT FINGERS OR JUMP THE GUN AND ATTACK SOME COUNTRY. AS IT IS THERE ARE ALREADY REPORTS OF RACIST VIOLENCE AGAINST MIDDLE EASTERN PEOPLE REPORTED TODAY. REMEMBER PEOPLE, THEY LIVE HERE THEY ARE AMERICAN TOO, ALL AMERICANS CAME FROM SOMEWHERE. THE LAST THING WE NEED ARE MORE CONCENTRATION CAMPS LIKE WE HAD FOR THE JAPANESE IN THE FORTIES. AND PLEASE DON'T LET MCCARTHY AMERICA RETURN.

ALSO I WANT TO ADD THAT THE FUCKING MEDIA IS DISGUSTING. REPLAYING THAT TRAGIC SCENE LIKE IT WAS A MOVIE OF THE WEEK. THESE TERRORISTS KNEW WE WOULD REACT IN SUCH A CINEMATIC WAY, THAT'S WHY THEY GAVE US TRAGEDY STRAIGHT OUT OF A DISASTER FILM. WE SHOULD NOT GIVE IN TO THEM AND EXPLOIT THIS FOR MEDIA PURPOSES.

IN CLOSING, ALL I CAN REALLY SAY IS THAT I AM TRULY SADDENED THAT THAT MANY PEOPLE HAD TO DIE FOR THE BELIEFS OF ANOTHER. WHEN I PICK UP THOSE SPIDER PULPS AGAIN AND READ ABOUT THE VILLAIN CONCOTING A BIZARRE PLOT TO DESTROY THE WHITE HOUSE, OR KILLING THOUSANDS AND LAYING WASTE TO AMERICA, IT WILL NOT BE BIZARRE. IT WILL NOT BE THE SAME AND IT WILL NOT HAVE THE SAME EFFECT. IT WILL NO LONGER BE A FICTIONAL FABRICATION OF A IMAGINATIVE PULP WRITER OF THE 30'S. BUT INSTEAD A HARSH REMINDER OF THIS AWFUL DAY. IN THE SAME VEIN, THE WORST PART IS HOW LONG WE ALL WILL LIVE WITH THE PARANOIA OF POSSIBLE ATTACK.

TERENCE NUZUM

P.S. HERE IS SOMETHING FRIGHTENING. I DON'T BELIEVE IN PROPHECIES, BUT THIS IS JUST FRIGHTENING.

"In the City of God there will be a great thunder, Two brothers torn apart by Chaos, while the fortress endures, the great leader will succumb", "The third big war will begin when the big city is burning" - Nostradamus
"It has been foreseen that exactly three hundred and fifty years into the future, silver phoenixs shall strike down the twin brothers of oppression that carried the king's nation, which shall bring upon the apocalypse." - Nostradamus (September 11th, 1651)

NOTICE THE DATE HE SAW THIS. SEPTEMBER 11TH.


SPECIAL MESSAGE TO READERS FROM NOLAN: It was hard to decide what to try to publish this week in light of what has transpired in and to our country. I dare say no other webmaster or publisher I know of has faced this exact situation either. A brief tour of the internet revealed a mixed bag of approaches. A few sites seemed to shut down altogether, while others are about 50/50 on total devotion to the tragedy or attempting to carry on business as usual.
   Obviously, "business as usual"--for the media at least--is untenable. It would be unconscionable to ignore these events altogether and insensitive or cowardly to say nothing.
    Although I have bent over backwards from the beginning to minimize politics and depressing tragedies in this newsletter, I certainly never counted on this. Be that as it may, while I definitely welcome the predictable outpouring over the World Trade Center incident--over which I absolutely sympathize--and will continue to publish appropriate editorials here, this is not the PCR's focus. The daily newspapers will still publish the comics pages, movie times, and Ann Landers. The Pop Culture Review still has its mission. Hopefully, we can bring some smiles back in this time of grief.
  The following articles below are very worthy distractions for your perusal. Give them a chance to improve your day...---Nolan

I'd like to introduce an exciting new addition to the PCR writers group: Drew Reiber has been active on the comics scene for many years. His writing has appeared in various places on the web and he is an avid collector and outspoken critic. A good friend of fellow PCR contributor Terence Nuzum, and a new friend of mine, I'm proud to introduce "Wake Up and Smell the Comics"!

Wake Up and Smell the Comics
#1: The End is Coming...

DC is setting itself up for a fall. Truth is, I've been saying it for months now. Not the small kind where there's a month or two of struggles in terms of shipping or a single famous creator takes off for greener pastures. No, I'm talking about a full-scale dive in ingenuity, creative loss, and overall sales.

While the publisher continues to lose ground in direct sales, it compensates with months long company wide crossovers and fifth week events that would frighten any small child when it comes to reading comics. Testing our resolve as fans and consumers are unlimited amounts of gimmick projects the likes of "Silver Age", "Sins of Youth", "Justice Leagues", "Batman Dies", "Return to Krypton", "Officer Down", "Our Worlds at War" and now "The Joker's Last Laugh". Making the consequences of these events even more depressing are the four core books, six family books and five to ten one-shots that become "complimentary" to even the smallest of events. How long does DC believe it can squeeze every penny from their most loyal readers? I have to ask did they really believe there would be a line of folks waiting to read a one-shot about what Harley Quinn was doing during an alien invasion? Are they really betting that the Jenny Sparks clone in Suicide Squad will turn heads and soar through the sales charts? Just wait until you folks see a Jokerized son of Darkseid chasing superheroes around. Oh, not that familiar with the concept yet? You will be you will be.

Adding to the popularity descent of DC's more mainstream titles, the company can't seem to hold onto their creative staff. If one hasn't jump ship for Marvel, they've bailed for CrossGen, or even Image. One can only assume for so long that it has nothing to do with their internal politics or business procedures. After all, Marvel doesn't seem to have a problem with sharing creators and CrossGen is apparently tempting enough that high profile creators are willing to sign exclusives and move to the Hellhole I call home: Tampa, Florida. For goodness' sakes, Chuck Dixon's Birds of Prey has already lost two ongoing artists in a row to the latter publisher. DC's answer to the problem? Tighten their grip. Throw exclusives like confetti and offer Vertigo or Cliffhanger/Homage projects like tissue paper. Yes, do anything and everything to keep the talent in house even if it means becoming a lot more lenient when it comes to publishing material. It's not that dangerous to become dependent on young and less experienced creators for the direction of a comic publisher, right?

But what about Wildstorm, they're pretty well-organized, right? You know, if you had asked me about it six months ago I might have agreed with you. Let's review DC *cough* I mean Wildstorm's latest publishing plans. "Pseudo-JLA" Authority ongoing series? Check. Authority ongoing spin-off series? Check. Authority ongoing spin-off series two? Check. Authority specials and one-shots? Check. Hardly two-years-old-engulfed-in-flames-fad running out of steam? Check. Oh, I'm sorry. Oh yes, I'm absolutely sure that the runaway success of adult-targeted Authority-style comics will trickle down through the entire imprint and generate new and youthful audiences for years to come. Absolutely. *Sarcasm off*

DC is a ticking time bomb, I assure you. If you're not convinced yet, allow me to flash some keywords and phrases that I'm sure I've subliminally implied to you by now. Ready?

Marvel Comics. Middle 1990's. Months long crossovers. Maximum Clonage. Onslaught. New, youthful creators in power. Todd McFarlane. Erik Larsen. Jim Lee. Image Comics. Darker, more adult comics are hot. Ghost Rider. Midnight Sons. Marvel Edge. X-Men are hot. Too many X-Men books. Comics are unbearable. Readership dries up. Comic industry apocalypse.

Any frightening images of the past rattling around in those skulls of your yet? I thought so.

The coming months of DC "events" will be pretty tough to wallow through, but with projects like Green Arrow, The Dark Knight Strikes Again and Wonder Woman it may not seem too bad. Of course that's until Kevin Smith, Frank Miller and Phil Jiménez decide it's time to move on to something else. Then you'll start to ask yourself some difficult questions. Must I own all thirty to forty crossover tie-ins? Is the Authority really as new and captivating as it was a year ago, now with The Monarchy, The Establishment and everything in between? Do I really buy anything and everything with Batman or JLA in the title? Or is it Wolverine or X-Men?

I don't know about you, but I'm not prepared to make the same mistakes I may have made almost a decade ago. I do believe I can survive a whole month or two without Jokerized villains or the latest return of Doomsday. I kept out of Our Worlds at War and I'm all the happier because of it. The real question is what will your choice be? Send a message of disinterest to DC or fill that terrorizing one-to-two issues gap in your Action Comics collection? It's your decision; choose wisely.


La Floridiana by William Moriaty
TAMPA FANZINES
LOCALLY-PRODUCED FANZINES OF THE '70s AND '80s,  PART 2.  by William Moriaty
THE NEXT WAVE
ADVENT #2: Summer 1978-- 56 pages, edited and published by Vincent Blesi. Artists: Guy Brownlee, Nolan B. Canova, Scott Gilbert, Alan Hanley, Interfan, Denis Lebrun, High Mason, Will Moor, Mike O'Neal, Keith Royster, Steve Souzsa, Aldo Stevenson, Pat Talbot, and Robert Young. Writers:- Vincent Blesi, Guy Brownlee, Nolan B. Canova, Scott Gilbert, Jerry Godwin Jr., Denis Lebrun, Hugh Mason, and Will Moor. Feature Stories: "Go to Heck!" art and script by Will Moor and Denis Lebrun. "Mystery Hero" art and script by Hugh Mason: "Reflections on Superman" art by Nolan B. Canova, Mike O'Neal, Interfan Portfolio (Sam Galentree, B. Neville and Dela Rosa and Herring), script by Nolan B. Canova and Mike O'Neal: "Mike Marlowe in the Case of the Mutilated Monarch" art and script by Scott Gilbert: "Fan-Dom Gazette" (author undisclosed): "Reb and the Starship Confederation" art and script by Guy Brownlee, and "The Comix Quiz" art and script by Hugh Mason.

   For over three years I had dreamed of somehow having an artistic collaboration with one of my best friends, Denis Lebrun, That dream was finally realized in the feature story "Go to Heck!" published in Issue Number 2 of Vincent Blesi's fanzine "Advent".
   It was a strange interim between "period" number 3 and "Advent" number 2. I returned from Jacksonville back to the Bay area in May 1976. "period" publisher Alan Rodgers was nowhere to be found. Rumors were that he had moved out to San Diego to go to college. In that same meantime, Denis Lebrun's relationship with the Tampa Neighbor newspaper was deteriorating rapidly, but persistent artist that he was, he soon landed a job with the Tampa Times, and by the fall of 1976, had his own comic strip appearing in that paper's daily comics section along with national and world syndicated strips. "Oh Heck!" shortly retitled to "Aw Heck!" featured cartoon "devils" living in, well, Heck! There was smart-alec "Alex", guard "Hector", flirty "Zeda", portly "Bubb", motherly "Birdie" (in honor of my own mother's nickname), and a bird that "couldn't get no respect" named "Rodney". In "Advent's" "Go to Heck!" story, I integrated the characters from Alan Rodgers' "Heavy Concepts" feature in "period" number 3, with Denis' "Aw Heck!" characters. I drew Robert Kanlon and Mystimetem in comic book illustration style, while Denis drew the "Hecklers" in the strip's trademark cartoon style.
KANLON!
Star trekkin' across the universe. "Heavy Concepts" stars Robert Kanlon and Mystimetem sail through the netherworld with Denis Lebrun's "Aw Heck!" characters in Advent #2, Summer 1978. (Click on image to see full-size.)
   Originally slated for distribution in the Summer of 1977, "Advent" number 2 (as evidenced by the "Sorry We're Late" penned onto the red, wrap-around cover) was one year late, but came out just in time as Rupert Murdoch (owner of the Fox network companies) signed a one year retainer contract through his Murdoch News Syndicate with Lebrun for the "Aw Heck!" strip.
   Although the "Go to Heck!" strip (and its sequel described in the next issue of PCR) was one of my favorites for obvious reasons, I thoroughly enjoyed Scott Gilbert's "The Case of the Mutilated Monarch". The story was about a space-age gumshoe, Mike Marlowe, who was a blend of Sam Spade, Mike Hammer, and Carl Kolchak all in one at a space cantina!

"Advent" number 2 was quite a production (56 pages in all) of which Vince Blesi should be proud. It may very well have become an extremely valuable collector's item had Rupert Murdoch's syndicate retainer contract for "Aw Heck!" not expired in 1979.

What are they up to now? Web addresses of some of those mentioned here:
DENIS LEBRUN-- Artist, "Blondie": www.blondie.com and www.kingfeatures.com/features/comics/blondie/about.htm
ALAN RODGERS--Writer: www.sff.net/people/alanr/index.htp#bio
SCOTT A. GILBERT-- Artist and Writer, Apeshot Studios: www.apeshot.com

Next Week: We will review "Zeta 1 Reticuli", issue #1, Fall 1981, featuring the conclusion of "Go to Heck!" in "To Heck and Back!" by Wil Mor and Denis Lebrun, and the reemergence of fanzine writer Alan Rodgers in "Not Too long Before the Fall" Part One. See you then!

Will was not familiar with the following extremely important and worthy fanzines, so I agreed to fill in the historical holes, lest we be found wanting for historical accuracy! To say nothing of leaving out some friends to whom we owe these remarkable endeavors! The following is just a sketch, believe me, there isn't space in the world to do these justice. I'm planning on doing a more thorough and exhaustive commentary on these influential 'zines someday, likely through Crazed Fanboy, where, if I can get clearances from all interested parties, I'd seriously consider re-publishing these for fans who never knew them.---Nolan

The Galactic Invader's HandbookAlternate G.I. Handbook Cover
The primary (left) and alternate (right) covers for Chris Allen and Scott A. Gilbert's "Galactic Invader's Handbook" Spring 1977. Cover art to both by SAG. (Click to see full-size.)
THE GALACTIC INVADER'S HANDBOOK. Spring 1977.
Published by The Andromeda Society and copyrighted by Chris Allen and Scott Gilbert (who founded the A. Society).
CONTENTS
EDITORIAL by Scott Gilbert. SPACE VERSE I: Lament of a Misplaced Star Dreamer by Lillie Deans. TO GWENT by Adriana Gomez. THE GALACTIC INVADER'S HANDBOOK--THE STORY by Scott Gilbert. THE KNIGHTS OF DYSON (comic) by Scott Gilbert. SPACE VERSE 2: The Last Step by Brian O'Sullivan. 2-B? (a story) by Gerry Monroe. Add'l art by Scott Gilbert, Adriana Gomez and Brian O'Sullivan.
COMMENTARY The Andromeda Society was a life-changeing experience for me. Basically formed from a group of like-minded Plant High School friends in 1977 who gathered regularly at some bank building to talk comics, sci-fi and movies, particularly Star Wars. I met the group thru Your Book Nook Newsstand, then a South Tampa mecca. I am still close friends with nearly all the original members.

Advent #1
Vincent Blesi's "Advent", #1, Summer 1977. Cover art by Aldo Stevenson. (Click to see full-size.)
ADVENT #1. Summer 1977. Edited, published and copyrighted by Vincent Blesi.
CONTENTS
DEATHLOK (artpiece) by Tim Corrigan. THE CRAB (artpiece) by Aldo Stevenson and John Zych. DEATH GRIP, featuring "The Annihilator", comic strip written and drawn by Aldo Stevenson. CENTERSPREAD by Clay McBride. SHANG-CHI, MASTER OF KUNG FU article by Keith Royster. MARS ATTACKS gum card review by Aldo Stevenson. THE RESCUE by Hugh Mason. THE MOVIES (behind-the-scenes) by Bob Greene. ARTIST PROFILE on Klaus Janson by Vince Blesi. THE COMICS QUIZ by Hugh Mason. THE SUPER-BABIES, a mini-portfolio by Alan J. Hanley.
Front and Back cover art by Aldo Stevenson.
COMMENTARY. Will Moriaty did not know Vince before Advent # 2, hence the greater space for it in his column, but I knew Vince from The Andromeda Society and totally supported his vision of a national, totally inter-connected fan network. Much of his content was, in fact, acquired from Interfan, in itself, a comics fan network of the day. I thoroughly enjoyed Advent # 1 and it was an honor to work with Vince on Advent # 2. Vince is one of those rare fan members who got away: no one we know has heard from him in many years.

NEXT WEEK: Before we leave 1977--1978, the Alpha-99ers and Adriana Gomez put forth ALPHAN MOONSCAPES and VIDEO BEAMS. Then, later, it's 1979 and Corey Castellano, Scott van Sickle and I conspire to produce VORTEX. Be here!


Mike's Rant!

Hello gang.  A hell of a week so far. I'll briefly touch on our tragedy, then it's back to the job at hand.

What can I add to the words that Nolan and Terence have written? I visited NYC dozens of times, but only went to the World Trade Center once. It was an awesome sight, gazing up from the sidewalk. When my friend Ben and I would drive there from Baltimore, it was always the first thing we saw when we approached the city. I can only pray that those who perished did not suffer and that those responsible are quickly apprehended and sent on their way to hell. I will gladly volunteer to pull the trigger on these fuckers! An added outrage was finding pieces of the building offered on Ebay Tuesday evening! I was glad to see that Ebay was canceling those auctions as soon as they were started.

CH-CH-CH-CHANGES
A few film studios are scrambling to make some changes in their release schedules. "Big Trouble," which was scheduled to open September 21 has been pulled. Also, the new "Ah-nold" film, "Collateral Damage," scheduled to open October 5, has also been moved. "Big Trouble" has to do with the purchasing of a nuclear bomb, while "Damage" is a film concerning a man's attempts at revenge when his wife and child are killed by a terrorist's bomb. Ironically, "collateral damage" is how Timothy McVeigh referred to the children killed in the Oklahoma City bombing. Sony has ordered the trailers/posters for "Spider-Man" pulled, as both feature the Trade Center prominently. And there may be reshoots necessary on "Men in Black 2," as the towers figured greatly in the film's story. (I'm glad you brought that up. Terence and I made a great commotion over the Spider-Man trailer when it first came out. Among myriad other thoughts I had after the tragedy Tuesday was that Sam Raimi was going to have to re-shoot that trailer and main scene because the Towers are now gone. Funny what you think of in times of distress like that.---N)
   On a brighter note, kudos to the cast and crew (our own Corey Castellano included) of "Gods and Generals," who didn't let these events sway them. During a break in the shooting, director Ron Maxwell gathered cast and crew around him and said, "Look, these sons of bitches who did this want to bring us to our knees. We shouldn't. The whole country should continue forward, and I think we should continue forward." Though filming resumed after lunch, Maxwell lost about 10% of his Civil War re-enactors, many of whom are in the military reserves. They had decided to leave and report to their units in case they were needed.

PASSING ON
Speaking of Corey, I regretfully must report the passing of make-up master John Chambers, who passed away this week at age 78 due to complications with diabetes. Chambers did much television work, including "Star Trek" and "The Munsters," but he is mostly remembered for his make up for the original "Planet of the Apes." For his work on "Apes," Chambers received an honorary Academy Award, only the 2nd ever given for make-up achievement.

MEMORIES
I'm loving the stuff Will and Nolan are doing on the local fanzine scene. Especially enjoy the names and memories that are coming back to me. I can remember spending many a late night with Vince Blesi. He was fun to hang out with. It's a shame no one's kept tabs on him. And I still have my copy of (Scott Gilbert's) The Galactic Invader's Handbook, albeit without the "alternate" cover. As a charter member of the Andromeda Society, I could tell you stories that would have you rolling off of your chairs. But, as usual, discretion is my best friend. Get me alone some time and I'll share my secrets.

LEARNING HIS A - B - C's
Happy to report that after 16 months in this country, Little Leaguer Danny Almonte has finally made it to school. If you read a previous column, you will remember that Almonte was the 14-year-old whose father provided a false birth certificate so he could pitch against 12-year-olds in the Little League World Series. Both Danny and his father's "visitor's" visas expired 8 months ago. No decision has been made yet on whether or not they will be sent back to the Dominican Republic. Should that happen, Danny's dad "will be arrested as soon as he sets foot in this country," according to Victor Romero, a public records official. For forging the birth certificate, Felipe Almonte faces 3-5 years in jail if convicted. Incidentally, Danny's stepmother told The New York Times that the family "had to commit this little fraud to give this opportunity to this child. As Latino's, we don't have the opportunity to participate in a competition as important as that one." Pretty funny, when you consider that one team in the World Series ALWAYS comes from Latin America.
    You know, come to think of it, MY son never made the Little League World Series. I wonder if I can pass him off as 12 next year.

ZAPPED
Unless you can show a doctor's note, you'd better not wear your aluminum underpants when you visit Colorado. This past week, the Colorado House passed Bill # 01-1221, which bans the wearing of said undergarments. Apparently, shoplifters use them to get past electronic detectors. Good news though: The law does provide an exception that allows people to wear them if they can prove it's for a personal reason.

HEY! DON'T TWIST THAT
Just for Scott Gilbert, I am happy to report that Chuckles the Clown was cleared of indecent exposure last week after arguing that he didn't realize his zipper was open. "Chuckles," whose real name is Kimble McLain, 42, was arrested after allegedly exposing himself to children at the Moline, Illinois Wal-Mart, where he had been hired to do magic tricks and make balloon animals. Questioned outside the courthouse, McLain stated he did not realize he was exposing himself until one of the children in the group took it upon himself and tried to make a poodle.

That's it for this week gang. God bless us all.


"Mike's Rant" is ©2001 by Michael A. Smith    "Wake Up and Smell the Comics" is ©2001 by Drew Reiber    "La Floridiana" is ©2001 by William Moriaty    Add'l thanks to Will and to Terence Nuzum for their extra input on the World Trade Center tragedy    All contents this page are ©2001 by Nolan B. Canova

Webpage design and all graphics herein (except where otherwise noted) are creations of  Nolan B. Canova, ©2001