AN EMPIRE OF ONE

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Archive for October 2011

The Liquidator Vs. Hydro-Man

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My FOOM contest entry, The Liquidator. (Kinda short for a villain, isn’t he?)

In 1972, Marvel Comics launched a new fan club called FOOM (Friends of Ol’Marvel). The goodies that members received included a subscription to FOOM Magazine which was edited by by Jim Steranko for the first year.

The editorial of the first issue included a contest announcement:

Marvel announces a character contest in FOOM #1. Note the “All entries become the property of Marvel Comics Group” at the end.

I entered the contest with a villain called The Liquidator:

Contest entrants, including me  (enlarge the picture and you’ll see my name in the left column, row 18), were listed in FOOM #2

I neither won nor received one of the many honorable mentions:

Kirby-esque contest winner Humus Sapiens in FOOM #3

However, a few years ago I was amused to discover Hydro-Man, a villain introduced in The Amazing Spider-Man #212:

This villain possessed several of the powers that I had given The Liquidator. According to Wikipedia:

Hydro-Man is able to bodily transform himself into a watery liquid substance; he can access secure areas and small openings with relative ease; when his bodily mass is dispersed in this form it simply reforms, albeit slowly depending on how far apart the mass was. All of Hydro-Man’s cells remain fully under his control when he is in his liquid state. Hydro-Man can also merge with and manipulate larger bodies of water when he is in his water form. He can increase his mass and cause tidal waves. He can turn parts of his body to liquid while retaining the rest of his human form, allowing him to slip from a foe’s grasp or have projectiles like bullets harmlessly pass through him. Through great mental exertion, Hydro-Man can also turn to ice and steam. Other examples of manipulating his watery form include firing off small streams such as a fire hose, shaping parts of his body into ‘solid-water’, constructs, and mixing himself with other compounds for different effects.

Postscript

The contest winner’s character was supposed to have guest starred in a Marvel comic. According to Wikipedia (again), Humus Sapiens did appear in a Marvel comic, but it was one that was published 28 years later in Thunderbolts #55 (Sept. 2001)!

UPDATE: November 10, 2011

Bleeding Cool Comics put up a post in which it’s pointed out that the current co-publisher of DC Comics, Dan DiDio, was one of the entrants, as “Danny Didio, ” although I was actually more interested to see James (The Crow) O’Barr’s name near the middle of the last column on the right.

Here’s the list of entrants from FOOM #4 (which does not repeat entrants already published in #2):

FOOM #4

Balzac and Jobs

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Honoré de Balzac

“Mr. Jobs met Mr. Wozniak while attending Homestead High School in neighboring Cupertino. The two took an introductory electronics class there.

“The spark that ignited their partnership was provided by Mr. Wozniak’s mother. Mr. Wozniak had graduated from high school and enrolled at the University of California, Berkeley, when she sent him an article from the October 1971 issue of Esquire magazine. The article, “Secrets of the Little Blue Box,” by Ron Rosenbaum, detailed an underground hobbyist culture of young men known as phone phreaks who were illicitly exploring the nation’s phone system.

“Mr. Wozniak shared the article with Mr. Jobs, and the two set out to track down an elusive figure identified in the article as Captain Crunch. The man had taken the name from his discovery that a whistle that came in boxes of Cap’n Crunch cereal was tuned to a frequency that made it possible to make free long-distance calls simply by blowing the whistle next to a phone handset.

“Captain Crunch was John Draper, a former Air Force electronic technician, and finding him took several weeks. Learning that the two young hobbyists were searching for him, Mr. Draper had arranged to come to Mr. Wozniak’s Berkeley dormitory room. Mr. Jobs, who was still in high school, had traveled to Berkeley for the meeting. When Mr. Draper arrived, he entered the room saying simply, “It is I!”

Based on information they gleaned from Mr. Draper, Mr. Wozniak and Mr. Jobs later collaborated on building and selling blue boxes, devices that were widely used for making free — and illegal — phone calls. They raised a total of $6,000 from the effort.” (my emphasis)

From “Steven P. Jobs, 1955-2011 Apple’s Visionary Redefined Digital Age,” New York Times, October 5, 2011.

According to the Inflation Calculator:

What cost $6000 in 1971 would cost $31,934 in 2010.

Written by David Kilmer

October 11, 2011 at 1:09 pm

The Cartoon Collector’s Companion

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My book, The Animated Film Collector’s Companion, was published in 1997. However, its followup, the completely revised, new and improved version which I wanted to call The Cartoon Collector’s Companion, although ready for publication in 1999, was never published.

Now you can view the complete book here. And it’s free!

You may be wondering: What the devil is The Cartoon Collector’s Companion? It’s a self help guide for the animation collector. It will help you find the cartoon you have spent years searching for because you did not know that it was included in an oddly named compilation. Most of the book’s listings are for companies based in the United States, but there are plenty of listings for cartoons released outside of the US. It’s obviously not up-to-date, but it’s still useful, especially for tracking down shorts that were released on VHS or LD, but never on DVD or Blu-Ray. (It’s unfortunate that there are so many films that fall into this category and will probably continue to fall into this category long after streaming has made DVD obsolete.) Also, don’t forget that even when a short can be easily found on YouTube,  you may want a better looking copy. This is the book that will help you find one.

Does the book include DVDs? Yes and no. While there are listings of  DVD titles from the earliest DVD years, you will find mostly information about VHS tapes and laserdiscs. There are also some additional features, but you will have to check the book out to find out what they are.

Written by David Kilmer

October 3, 2011 at 12:00 am