1987-1988 era Bruce Timm, from the retrospective featurette included on the Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures DVD set. A caricature of Timm also appears in one episode as part of Bat-Bat’s villain Ten-Face.

The Melancholy Tale of Charlie Brown and Violet Gray

Anybody who knows Peanuts knows that Charlie Brown is forever pining after the Little Redhead Girl, an unseen character who he never works up the courage to speak with. The earliest years of the strip, however, featured Charlie Brown in an on-again, off-again relationship with another character - a girl named Violet, who was the first major addition to the initial cast after the strip’s start. 1953 would give her the surname Gray, a move I can only assume was intended to underscore a parallel between her and Charlie Brown by giving them both color-related last names. (Mind you, it’s only ever mentioned once, but feels significant to me in light of very few recurring characters in Peanuts actually having surnames.)

Throughout the rest of the 1950s, the two became less and less friendly. I can’t imagine there was any kind of real continuity intended by Schulz, but reading the strips in The Complete Peanuts in sequence as I have been, it becomes painfully apparent that Charlie Brown becomes more desperate to have Violet’s approval - to have her as a friend - as time wore on. In a vacuum, you wouldn’t really think anything of the individual strips, but looking for whenever the series came back to just the two of them… you feel like you’re seeing their relations fall apart piece by piece, like a seaside cliff as it is slowly eroded by the waves of the pounding surf. It might be one of the most subtly depressing things I’ve seen in comic strips.

(The pink panels come from separate strips - in chronological order, IIRC, but I didn’t think to save the dates - while the purple ones are a complete strip from 1952.)

They’re playing our song…

The adorable hot-blooded battling robots of Iron Leaguer are enough to overcome even my own apathy for sports. Well, in theory; I’ve never sought out subs of Iron Leaguer or anything. I do own a toy of the heroic basketball robot, though… who is apparently named “Top Joy”. Huh.

Promotional flier for Georgia’s “House of Anime” store, whose giant catgirl mascot will conquer Atlanta(?) with the power of lens flares. I must have bought something from House of Anime at a local convention once, because I remember also having a paper grocery bag with the catgirl’s face on it.

The flier features a prominent appearance by Lime of Saber Marionette J, but my favorite part might be the 1999-era black and white screenshot of the store’s website. Netscape Navigator! For MAC! With a FAX NUMBER on it! … although, if you look closely at the background above the screenshot, it appears House of Anime owned a for-real RV with their logo and Lina Inverse from Slayers painted on the side, which is pleasantly insane (and helps explain the poorly-composited RV on the color half).

Autobot cast page from I Am Optimus Prime, an IDW children’s hardcover storybook that loosely promoted the Robot Heroes product line. Apparently the book wasn’t originally planned as a tie-in - evinced by the presence of Drift and Ratchet, who never had RH figures - but the book still has the line’s branding on it.



(also, not really sure what to make of Arcee’s characterization here)


Teutonic Knights - Alexander Nevsky. (1938)

The movie Alexander Nevsky, by Sergei Eisenstein, is about the defeat of the Holy Roman Empire crusade (Catholic) against the Slavs (Orthodox). This movie being anti-fascist propaganda, Eisenstein used a lot of not very subtle contemporary Nazi imagery to depict the Germanic invaders. The priests baptize Russian babies then throw them in a bonfire, sending them to heaven. The movie was banned when Stalin signed the non-aggression treaty with Hitler, but un-banned and promoted when the Germans invaded Russia. It’s ironic that a piece of communist propaganda (like Battleship Potemkin) would become such an influence on Hollywood cinema, from Conan the Barbarian, to Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, etc.


Even a good message can be told poorly. Try and tell an important message with ear-bleeding calliope “music”, clunky forced rhyming and animation that makes “Deputy Dawg” look like “Akira”, and you’ve got a disaster even before people get to the horrific world you’re setting up. There’s more creeps on the streets in this short than in “Hobo With A Shotgun”.

So just because “The Cautious Twins” has good advice at its core… really, what the hell, short?

Front and back of a Mighty Morphin Power Rangers trading card. While there was a full trading card set produced for the first series of the show, this card is unnumbered, suggesting it might have been a promotional pack-in of some kind.

I had forgotten how much the costumes created for the American-produced action footage looked like they had neck-braces. The Blue Ranger suit is particularly awkward here.

Front and back of High Stakes, a James Bond Jr children’s novel. Can I say that I love how utterly bored the villain, Ms. Fortune, looks on the cover? Like she really doesn’t want to be here, condemning this idiot to a frozen doom.

"Am I supposed to make a cold pun?" she wondered. "Surely being cocooned in ice means he can’t hear me."

"It is considered proper decorum, ma’am," chimed the butler.

Ms. Fortune sighed. "Well… I guess we gave him the COLD SHOULDER?"

"Permanently. Well done, ma’am."

"Meh. Should’ve stuck to white collar crime…"

According to Wikipedia, John Vincent is a pseudonym for author John Peel, who has also written Doctor Who novels. (Meanwhile, Live and Let’s Dance listed on the back might be one of the dumbest titles I’ve ever heard, but I think it originated with an episode of the show…)

At some point in my early years as a comic reader, my parents sent away for a box of 50-100 random comics from a magazine advertisement. A lot of it was ’90s-era drek that’s probably still haunting quarter bins, but one unusual inclusion was this copy of 1951’s Major Inapak the Space Ace. Inapak was apparently a chocolate-flavored milk supplement along the lines of Nestle’s Quik; these things were regularly flogged by space heroes in the 1950s, with parodies of the association coming as late as 1995’s The Adventures of Captain Zoom in Outer Space. The major here stands out for having the creative talents of Bob Powell behind him, an artist who worked on the Mars Attacks trading cards.

The story of Major Inapak ends with a brief excursion into science that dovetails into out-and-out hardsell advertising. “For health like a high-diver” isn’t a concept I’ve run into before, but I suppose they would have a particular health regimen… probably not one that includes a chocolate-flavored milk supplement from 1951, though. Strangely, my brief research into “Inapak” itself suggests the drink mix may have never actually been sold on the market. Whether this means it was planned and then aborted or just dreamed up wholesale by Magazine Enterprises to as a way to show how they would handle doing licensed tie-in comics for potential clients, nobody knows.

Part 3 of 3 of Major Inapak the Space Ace. Part 1 is here and part 2 is here.