Thursday, May 28, 2009

Great Day!

Sometimes you just have a great day and for some reason you feel social enough to want to share it with anyone and everyone. Last Friday I was a special guest on Fender's Den of Sin on CrossFire Radio. As an independent DJ Fender is himself both impressive and unimposing. He's a welcoming sort and that goes a long way with what he does. He and I actually go some years back. In fact he was the one who gave me the stage name "Animal" when he saw me playing and noticed the Muppets Animal mounted to my drums.

It's been some years and I do still play out, but those days are few and far between now. I'm okay with that. I feel as if I've done pretty much everything I've ever wanted to do as a drummer. The only thing I haven't done is play to an audience of 40,000 or more. If the chance ever presents itself I'll jump on it. No matter what kind of music it is. Even polka! Come on. The world is waiting for a Lawrence Welk revival.

As I entered Fender's studio the red "on air" light gave a friendly warning and I had no idea what to expect. I met his co-host, an impressive ex-military soldier who you never would have guessed had given any number of years to the service; a rocker they call McLovin - and the guy is full on fun. He brings Fender's show something that can take it to a commercial level.

When I took my seat before the mic and gave it a few checks it wasn't long before I met the show's producer Bruno, a rocker himself who gives the show a sense of the professional. So I was all set. The only thing I had prepared for was talking about the magazine (ROCKnROLL GraphiX) and promoting the contributors who've helped make it so wonderful. But just as the show started there was one thing I never could have anticipated...

My mother!

For those of you who tuned in you already know what happened. The next hour or so was spent with both hosts showering me with a barrage of embarrassing questions, which I had the pleasure of answering directly before my mother's ears. Of course there was no solace as they equally questioned my mother about my upbringing and the items she may have found under my mattress. There was great joy on their faces as she laughed and I ached to find a hole to crawl into. A highlight I'm sure they will most likely use in a promo jingle was when Fender was saying goodbye to my mother and she very proudly stated, "enjoy your sin!"

Despite my embarrassment I've been assured the spontaneous call from my mother only helped my cause. It seems to be true, so I am very glad of it. In short, thanks to Fender and McLovin for having me in the Den - to hammer me with embarrassment.

Nearly a week has passed since the show and I'm still getting positive feedback from it. A week can clear one's head, especially if one is focused on the daily grind. A typical day for me involves waking, going straight to work on the magazine/site; working a full 9 hour/day 40 hour/week job; working on lettering for various clients; attempting to promote the magazine in any way I can find; recruiting new talent and contributors; and all this while trying to fit in time with the woman I share my life with.

Man, when I look back at that I realize how much she tolerates. Not a lot of guy's girlfriends would put up with their men talking to porn stars. And that makes today an exceptionally great day. Someone once said it's the simple things that make life worth living. Hell. That's got to be true.

I started my work early today. I promised my Baby Girl she would have me for a whole two days all to herself and I intend to keep that promise. She was sound asleep for a good three to four hours while I got all my work done. And on that, everything just went right. No major setbacks. Everything smooth.

We headed out and did a few errands. Nothing too stressful. Then, as we drove casually though Crestwood, Kentucky, we came upon a commercial garage and my eyes widened with excitement. To my astonishment sat a fully restored 1968 Pontiac GTO. Beautiful! And close by was a classic red Thunderbird (I can't quite place its year). Two powerful Pontiacs side by side. It was a miracle. We pulled into the shop's lot and I introduced myself to the mechanic and we bantered for a while. This, again, is where I am impressed with my girlfriend's tolerance. No girly girl wants to sit and wait while her man talks shop and takes pictures of machines she only thinks of as vehicles to get you from point A to point B.

Well, after all this her only reward was a nice dinner. Okay. Not a great dinner but nice. Hey, there was steak. How can you not have steak after seeing two classic Pontiacs?

I'm not much for the sentimental, so I'm sure you'll believe when I say, Yes. It is the simple things that make life worth living.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Borgia Returns in Hand Painted Glory - July 09

I recall the very first time I was introduced to the movie Conan The Barbarian. It was at the back of a Playboy magazine. A full page ad proclaimed the movie’s existence and as a 12 year old boy already a fan of the Marvel magazine Savage Sword of Conan it became a quest to see this movie. But as a boy raised in the projects my personal resources were limited, to say the least. No, I had to wait until I was lucky enough to catch it on cable the following year. But when I did see it… what an experience!

"Infidel defilers. They shall all drown in lakes of blood. Now they shall know why they are afraid of the dark. Now they shall learn why they fear the night."

"Valor pleases you, Crom. So grant me one request. Grant me revenge. And if you do not listen then to hell with you!"

I can probably quote almost every line from the movie, so enthralled was that chubby little boy with it. To say it’s my favorite movie of all time is an understatement. That chubby little boy I used to be went out and found a long piece of flat wood, spray painted it silver and made a hilt for it by wrapping it in electrical tape. I even made a scabbard for it by wrapping it in strips of poster board and wrapping tape around that. I then found the belt from a brown robe and wrapped it around my wrist to make an arm band (that’s a lot of wrapping, I know) and tattered some clothing here and there to transform myself into a barbarian warrior.

"No one in this world can you trust. Not men, not women, not beasts… this you can trust."

That chubby little boy found his way into the woods and thus into a fantasy realm, where he battled witches, wizards and giant snakes. He even taught himself how to weld a sword the same way as Conan, with flashy stunt movements, twirling the silver wood sword behind his back. Many trees felt the wrath of that child.

I’m not about to compare July’s HM to one of the most beloved movies of all time, as I know some of you are thinking. I am, however, going to compare the feelings. After reading Eastman on Co.’s latest publication I had the sensation of being everything that I was as that chubby little boy who twirled fake swords and tried fruitlessly to grow his hair long and make his muscles big. In short, I was a kid again.

Bisley’s women are as abstract in their anatomy as they are vicious with their see-right-through-you stares. Lovely, yes. Sexy, for certain. But deadly. And a Bisley girl on the cover of HM is always stunning. Be careful when you open this issue. She may cause a paper cut.

I’m going to get right to what I think is best about this issue: Borgia. We’ve waited a long time for its return and the wait has been well worth it. Jodorowsky and Manara once again give us an orgy of debauchery and lustful delight, presenting us with a tale of Rodrigo Borgia as His Holiness Pope Alexander VI. And the machinations of Borgia knows no limits, as he schemes to force his Church on the whole of Humanity.

I can’t stress how debauched Borgia really is. Or should I say was? Do some research yourself and you’ll discover the historical figure Jodorowsky and Manara base their character on was possibly as sinful as his fictional counterpart.

I don’t want to ruin everything for those of you I know will read the graphic but I will highlight some spoilers: Incest on Easter Sunday, directly atop the Holy Altar; blasphemy; heresy; witchcraft; whore-mongering (beheading of a whore while she sits atop the face of an astrologer); astrology; homosexual intercourse by way of a threesome; deception; murder; and loads of sex, sex, sex! This is everything you’d expect from Jodorowsky and Manara.

I can’t walk away from this without mentioning the art work. Some may believe it is digital (coloring) but I don’t agree. I can’t be certain but looks hand-painted to me. Whatever the case it’s fantastic. And the shorts included in this issue are a nice compliment next to the feature graphic.

Standing out from the rest is The Coffins Will Dance No More by Stephane Betbeder and Pierre Doal, a ghost mystery in which a paranormal detective discovers the truth behind the family secret of his client. I’m sure there may be some who will argue this too is digital coloring but come on. Some artists still take pride in the work their hand’s create. Of course the lettering is digital. As a letterer that’s something I know a little about. And here it’s something I want to point out. I really admire how each balloon and each caption is colored to compliment the colors of each panel on every page. This isn’t something you see in the mainstream. Mainstream publications don’t take risks like this.

I have to tell you there isn’t anything in this issue to dislike or complain about. I love every page. To all the haters out there: Seriously, this one’s a challenge.

I want to give special attention to this issue’s Dossier by S.C. Ringgenberg. I’m not sure if many of you are reading his articles and if not you don’t know what you’re missing. Don’t skip Dossier this month. Go straight to it. And if you get a chance to check out Jane Wiedlin this Summer approach her and tell her you saw her in Heavy Metal.

Now if you’ll excuse me I have to get back to re-reading Borgia. That is one fucked up pope.