Kirby Day

How do you celebrate a holiday that has no history? Presumably King Kirby’s mother made him a cake, probably something kosher, something New York. I celebrated late with a couple high faluten beers and a stack of “Eternals” comics.

King Kirby kept pushing forward in his exploration of the mysteries of god. He adopted ancient aliens theory, the basis of “Eternals.” I imagine that, had he lived to be 101 he would have familiarised himself with Whitley Streiber’s work; maybe even reading the authors latest, co-written by Jeffrey Kripal, and would find ancient aliens redefined. Rather, Kripal and Streiber redefine modern UFO phenomenon. 

Alien abductions are not what we think. They appear to more closely resemble abductions by the Fey, or the gods. The encounter throughout history, as best as we can tell is the same, not ancient aliens, but contemporary god encounters. They always appear just beyond what we can imagine.

In the second chapter of their book Streiber concludes that even garden gnomes are part of the phenomenon. So I drink a bottle of beer with a gnome in the label and recline on a couch reading the two Kirby comics that I’ve had the longest, since I purchased them from the Super Value grocery store on the corner. Here’s to you, King Kirby, most imaginative of all cartoonists!

The Eternals no. 18 and black panther no.10 by Jack Kirby, king of comics, and two bottles of Belgian ale
Magenta monsters attack heroes in blue, beer prepares to wet my whistle.

These two comics sat in my toybox for a few years then were promoted to a separate box, then to a comic book long box, then burnt. I burned all my comics in 1992 in a frenzy of religious piety.

As a child I never read my comics. I never knew what these stories were about. That magenta suckers-to-the-face monster intrigues me. I looked at the pictures; I read the pictures, but never the full words. Shortly after my bit of holiness i purchased, one or two at a time, almost a complete run of Kirby’s “Eternals,” “Kamandi,” “Omac”, and “Captain America” (1970’s). Plus a few “Captain Victory’s,” “Black Panthers,” and “New Gods”, when I could get them under a dollar. I refuse to pay more than a dollar for a comic book. The best spot was Tosa Books. They priced everything at 49¢.

Kirby’s work spoke to me. It still does. He has great things to say, and shows us wonder filled cosmic and magical encounters.  His ideas, always distilled, purified by the dumbing-down process of children’s entertainment never patronise. And, best of all, he never feared being corny!

Long live the King!

Happy belated 100TH.

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The Singing Skull AKA: Ghost Subfarer

Acrylic on Lexan, world’s toughest plastic window covering. St. Marx, my castle, just replaced half of their stained glass window coverings with Plexiglas. Lexan, while skateboard proof (the contractor told me that they make skateboard ramps from it) yellows over time, a very short period of time.  Plexiglas does not. Now St. Marx has sparkling visible stained glass again as seen through invisible plexi. 

Painting on Lexan of A flaming skull
Recto
Back side of painting of flaming skull
Verso

Meanwhile, I scavenged the Lexan from the dumpster, and it works great for paintings using the Jim Nut technique; acrylic applied to the reverse side of the support (the Lexan in this case). The yellow discolouring adds character to the image like acid yellowing warms the comic book page.

This is a portrait of fictional character; The Singeing Skull, a submarine captain who draws his power from Aitch We Double Toothpicks. I made him up one day when my buddy complained about Ghost Rider® driving a motor cycle, I attempted to explain that Ghost Rider® was originally a cowboy so the move from horse to motorcycle… “It’s just arbitrary!” He cried.

“What if it was a submarine?” I suggested. His outburst of laughter assured me that I had invented something worth exploring. That was 15 years ago when we were fresh faced and bitter art school grads.

I placed this paining in the drive through of a defunct bank and put out the social media scavenger call. It was adopted by a local shy character.

I hope it warms her home. This painting is not only my first reverse onto plastic painting, but it’s also the first non-sketch image of my favourite submarine skipper. I wonder how he will evolve from this collector’s item, proto-state.

I just finished two pages of his comic epic. Here they are, I wrote them immediately after my discussion with my buddy 15 years ago, fueled by bitterness and P.G. Wodehouse.

Comic page featuring a submarine crisis, a missing cook
MS1 is a naval rank that means Mess Management Specialist first class, the head cook.
Page two of a comic featuring ghost subfarer
The angry crewman who appears in two panels was something I added while drawing these pages. It took a decade and a half to conceive his angry response. It’s my favourite part.

More to follow I expect. 

Neck Fat

Some guys have really fat necks.  Below is a fat neck, though not the fattest neck that I’ve seen.  How the human body decides to store unsightly fat is a mystery to me.IMG_20170606_175805272-1

 

I have the unfortunate advantage of a hyper thin frame and flesh.  This means that my neck is the width of the proverbial pencil.  When I call a guy pencil-neck I have three fingers pointing back at me, and together they equal the width of my neck.  I’m what they call, “skinny.”  You think that’s good?  You think that’s some kind of super power?  I have a news flash: It ain’t.  It’s the opposite; a super-disempower.  I tried to get a job as a mover and the guy behind the desk eyed me and said, “Him?  He ain’t got nothing!”

People love to ridicule me, tell me how skinny I am.  My own mother, every time she sees me tells me how I’m losing weight.  I walk into a room and everyone suddenly feels self conscious of their neck fat, arm jiggles, and Milwaukee goiters (hypertrophied bellies resulting from beer over-consumption).  It’s my fault so they insist on using the worst  term for my body as if I love it: skinny.

Skinny means, no power, no strength, no girls.  It’s a curse, I tell you!

Last summer a middle school girl yelled out the bus window, “I wish I was as skinny as you!”

Women want my body.

Do I need to say anything else?  Wait…yes I do.  After a quick glance at the above sentence I see that it gives the wrong impression.  Women want to live inside my body, wear it like a coat, a bizarre and macabre furless coat.  They do NOT want to own it as a toy.  They do not want to touch it, pet it, or embrace it.  I once had a promiscuous knock-out refuse to date me because I was too thin. “I would feel like less of a woman,” she told me, meaning: too fat.  So she walked away and immediately shacked up with a short pudgy character with a micro-penis.

It’s so true, I’m crying.

Neck fat.

You don’t understand what this narrow body of mine means. It means that when the stool his the fan and all tech fails and we’re reduced to 19th century farming because grocery stores have stopped working; I will be dead. I will die of starvation long before any of us get or acts together enough to produce did again. And as I lay dying, my body aggressivity devouring itself, I will do so in ill-fitting shirts and high-water pants.

Now that I’m walking through the foyer of middle age I’m loosing the thin body that has held me back for so long; I’m getting fat, but there’s no hope in this. Unfortunately, I’m not getting fat anywhere good: pecks, thighs, biceps, Milwaukee goiter.  No, I’m getting fat over (under) my perineum, if you want to know the gory details, and you didn’t, but now do.  I can feel my urethra falling asleep when I sit in hard chairs.  I shift over, tilting onto one or the other buttock to alleviate pressure.  It’s an unnatural way to sit.  “Hey, wake up buddy, keep the lines flowing!” I have to give it a pep talk.

Fat neck.  I’m relieved that at least I don’t have one of those.  Though if I did I could probably get shirts that fit.  Made in America! 

Out of Dodge, Into Activation

Cavedwellers,

When they fired me I quit.  I waved my middle finger in their eye and I said “Thanks work-job that I hated.  I’ll take it from here, and I did.  Now I’m self employed, have a manager, am painting regularly, producing work, and getting acting gigs.  Sounds great, doesn’t it?  All I had to do was say, “Never again, Consensus “Reality!” Reading “Valis” immediately following “Cosmic Trigger” may have influenced my decision.  Or maybe I just couldn’t take the boredom and condescension anymore.  Or maybe whenever I asked for help, people asked me,”Want do you want to do?” What I wanted to do was not have a job.

I want to never be strapped to someone else’s timetable of busywork.  I want to travel, fill in my debts, write, make videos and things (like my giant cardboard Millennium Falcon, made of recycled materials;

Model Millennium Falcon made of cardboard
Millennium Falcon waits for the bus
Model cardboard millennium falcon
Here it is on the studio floor
Cardboard Model of the millennium falcon on top of dumpster
Disposing of the Millennium Falcon the only appropriate way

or the comics that I keep starting and then procrastinating). I want to perform, make people laugh, and speak extemporaneously before large groups of people.  I want to explore the cosmos as a, don’t snigger, as a psychonaut,

Drawing of the Skräuss with a crown, eye in a triangle and 7 rayed Star
I fancy myself a magician, though really I’ve only achieved a few synchronicities that defy interpretation.

like Doctor Strange or King Mob.  I want to make T.V.-art like a talkshow, like a space show, like shows with puppets.  I have a script in the procrastination file about a special gorrilla suit and a hotel.  I have an idea for a Doctor Who fan film.  I want to do these creative endeavours.

I then look at the people that I have gone to for help and ideas of what I should apply for and say, “Nothing.  I don’t want to do anything.”  I have no idea what avenue to step down that will lead my feet to the paved visions of magic and creativity.  “I like people…” I offer tentatively.

“You keep saying that, but we’re not buying it,” one employment group said to me.  That was the last brick in my face that I will ever take.  I went home and just painted.  I’m done trying to appease these people.  I’m beginning to appease myself with the discipline of self employment, and it’s very rewarding.

A local podcast called me and offered me a paid position. A local talent agency called me and asked me to audition for a role called, “Indiana Jones Lookalike”, which is 1000% better than actually auditioning for Indiana Jones. I didn’t get the lookalike, but that’s fine, the next day I landed a role as an art professor.

And last night a knockout scientist delivered an answer to me (two days after shoaling a handful of sigils asking the question “what is my schtick?” That is: what is my message, my voice?) She told me that I should interview people because I’m good at drawing out people’s stories.  Ha! Purpose!  I’m still waiting to figure out the money part to begin flowing in, but I’m launching, Exponential Growth is occuring, it’s only a matter of time.

Sounds broke, don’t it?  “wait a minute,” you ask, “I thought it was coming up daisies not pushing up daisies.  You sound impoverished.”  In response I fix you with a steely eye and stiffen my back with a bit of the Wooster vigor and I quote, “Don’t curse a day of small beginnings.”   I don’t earn much, but I am eating and paying my bills.  I’m still just realigning.  I’m still only recalibrating, and so far the test drives look very promising, everything that I need comes to me.  When I finally get the hotrod out on the highway, look out Bonnaville Salt Flats drivers, The Millennium Chromatica is blowing past you.
You should join me Cavedweller. Let me know how your own jump to hyperspace progresses.

I’m a Poet?  What Gives! What does that even mean?

Picture of a man at a desk, to intercom says,
A pause, a communication

How could I?!

How could I be a poet?  What misstep wrought from indecision lead me to this pointed precipice?  Poetry… the Amway of letters.  Concentrated.  Unsalable.  Turns every friend into a hustle, “Hey, listen to this one…”

I remember the tight mouthed look of firm resolve that dropped over Susan Firer’s face when I asked her to read some of my poems.  It was stern, clinical, like the surgeon in the ER facing a young mother, “We’re removing your son’s leg.”  As she read, however, I watched the sigh of resignation in her eyes begin to breathe naturally.  By the last line we were friends.   I submitted the poem to Lungful! Magazine who gladly published it.

Jim Chapson once sat down with me in a couple student desks and went through a sheaf of my poems.  I remember two of his comments, “Well…” and of the poem To Age Inappropriate Attraction he said, “If I was Poetry Chicago, I would publish this.”  That was the last time that we spoke.

I suppose that this means that poetry can sometimes make friends.  The ratio, however, the scale with new friends weighed in it definitely has more lift than the scale with lost friends.  Amway saleshumans enjoy a similar ratio.

Some of these poems here in this volume have been published in Lungfull! Magazine; others have not.  None of them have been published in Keith Gustaad’s rag, Bramblethorn Review, or whatever it was called, even though we watch professional wrestling together at the corner tavern during Poet’s Monday while the rest of the poets watch poetry.  I bare no malice.  I know that I am a political liability.  I’m the chain-smoking-gun.  I’m the pop-fly in the ointment.  I vote libertarian, even though they don’t go far enough, as far as I’m concerned.

Meanwhile, a 6TH grade student of New York Schooler, Kenneth Koch said, “Poetry is emotion.”  The sixth grader must be libertarian, because I must take his definition further.  Poetry is also spirit.  Poetry is rivalry, jokes, and prescience.  Poetry is ribald-faced lies, affect, and je ne sais quoi.  It’s the signal conducting the heart-beat and the electro-magnetic pulse that the heart-beat emits.  Poetry is cause.  Poetry is effect.  It’s seen and unseen.  It’s a bunch of non-sequiturs like marshmallows and cranberries strung on a tree.  It’s the smile that you make in the thunderstorm when you see the gust of wind charging toward you.  It’s the rosy five pointed star that Venus traces as she traverses our sky, and the chart of this passage found in the center of an apple.  It’s my first observed red-headed woodpecker (at 46!)  lying stiff on the sidewalk below the yoga picture window.  It’s red hood radiated as Venus faded, obscured by Morning yawning and stretching her arms.  Poetry is learning that Lucifer and Venus share a Heavenly body.

Poetry is the smell of a sharpened pencil.  It’s the sound of a pull tab popping.  It’s that time I kicked a star down the street and attracted Hermes who made me drink with him in the November drizzle.  It’s the time the DPW repaved North and Prospect Avenues and laid welded bars in the asphalt, to give it the texture of paving bricks, then painted it red.  Within a week cars had tread twin dark lines lengthwise through each lane.  Within two years only the corners retained any memory of the color of bricks.

This is poetry.

This is Milwaukee.

I am both.


This spring look fortune new poetry anthology by Vegetarian Alcoholic Press, Return to the Gathering Place of the Waters.  I have. Bunch of poems in it!

David Bowie and “The ManWhoFell to Earth”

Philip K.Dick’s Valis, his gnostic novel, much beloved of all esotericism inspired me to watch a David Bowie film that I had been meaning to get to someday.  The novel pushed the film up from somewhere near the bottom of my list to somewhere near the top.  The film plays a large roll in Valis.  It would have dropped again in importance had I not spotted it on the DVD shelf of my castle’s thrift shop (I live in a castle, St. Marx Episcopal Church, Milwaukee) the day after I returned Valis to the library.

I hauled the old flatscreen from the St.Marx utility office into the guild hall, and shoved in the DVD.  I poured a generous glad of bourbon and settled in to the masterpiece, The Man Well Feel To Earth.  It was startlingly 70’s, that is, full frontal.  I lost no time in comparing the Bowie knife with my own, and am please to report that there was no appreciable difference. 

 I enjoyed the film.  It has a low budget aesthetic that I love.  The many full frontal sex scenes are refreshingly naturalistic.  That is, none of the actors or actresses are retouched supermodels.  70’s realism allowed for real people in the media, even for ugly people.  Go look up T.V. commercials from the period.

I have not yet grasped the film’s meaning.  It’s about loss and sinking from purity into our world of noise and inebriation, but that’s just the surface action.  I recommend it.  It has something to say.  I don’t know what exactly, but something.  And it has the P.K. Dick seal of approval.  I see that it will bear repeated viewings.

Perhaps I would have enjoyed it more if my castle’s housekeeper, my neighbour, hadn’t chosen that moment, ten at night, to vacuum the entrance rugs and then lead her two grade-school grandchildren on a Valentine’s Day present hunt right in my face.  I had to physically stand and block the flat screen at one point when a  7 year old boy crossed behind the couch, just, of course, JUST as the penultimate full frontal scene crashed and moaned across the screen.

It always works that way, I mused, watching the tail end of the semi-erotic action, empty glass in hand. The children scampered away, and the church yawned, and the alien remained a castaway never to see his family again.

Reason number 1 to read superhero comics

Procrastinating at the library, I noticed a book called “Wolverine Vs. Deadpool.”  It’s a collection of all the comics where the two superantiheros fought with each other.  The last story caught my eye.  Plot synopsis:  Deadpool attacks Woverine.  They fight; then they  psychoanalyze each other.   Then, on beat, wolverine’s son walks in to kill Wolverine.  They fight somemore.  Wolverine wins and reveals that the whole thing was his plan to incapacitate his son for rehabilitation purposes.  The end.

A real tear jerker.

What caught my eye was a panel where Deadpool reveals that he had wanted to join the X-Men and was rejected.  Wolverine says, “You wanna…? You’re not even a mutant!”  The unspoken obvious is that the X-Men are an exclusive organization for mutant-kind, or as they call themselves, humanity’s evolutionary next step, homo-superior.

picture of wolverine and Deadpool
Wolverine reveals his exclusive arrogance to low-life Deadpool

 

Overseen by a super mutant (supersuperhero) called Professor Xavier, they all attend classes at his school for “gifted youth” where they acclimate to their abilities.  At first this meant lots of physical combat training.  Then in the late 80’s when America went soft it was all about helping people deal with rejection they felt by the larger society of homosapiens who scorned them, gave them bad press, and wrote graffiti on walls like “Mutie go home!”  and in the spare time perform para-military exercises.

shrunkenheadstwo-thumb
dried apple heads, a folk tradition

In 1991, just as all this “Tell me your feelings!” sentiment rises throughout media culture, Deadpool appears in the Marvel Universe.  A secret government experiment gone haywire, he’s immortal with a face like a dried apple sculpture.  The poor slob reaches out to Professor X and gets barred from the only community that can help him, love him, give him a family.  Why was he rejected, you ask?  Why did Professor X, that big softy, tell Wadepool to stop smelling-up his doorstep?  Wade’s not one of them.  All Homo-superior are born with their abilities, Wade was given his later.  He’s mutated, but not a mutant.

He was an abused child who beat up his dad at his mother’s grave, then tortuously experimented on.  He’s disfigured for immortal life!  Wade needs a family and Professor X gives him the cold shoulder.  But he’s not the only puppy left in the rain.  What about Peter Parker who can’t get it together and suddenly has extraordinary power, and thus extraordinary responsibility, thrust upon him, resulting in the death of his uncle and job abuse at the hands of J. Jonah Jameson?  He could have used a few pointers at least, but no!  Professor Xavier’s School for Gifted Youth is only for mutants, not the mutated.  What about Bruce Banner and his answer management problem?  What about Steve Rogers, frozen in the Arctic for 20 (70) years? How does a caveman from the golden generation readjust to American Life in the 21ST century? What about Tyrone Johnson the ever hungering amorphous cold “Cloak”?  He never asked to become a super dimensional soul-feasting wraith. How does a guy deal with that, Professor?

Professor X could have saved the Marvel universe lots of trouble if he wasn’t such an elitist jerk.  He pretends to be the righteous one, only Magneto and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants use the term “homo-superior.” 

My only point is that these superhero worlds fall completely apart when their internal logic succumbs to reason.  The category mutant as defined by Marvel comics is a marketing category.  The X-Men are not the Avengers.  The two titles have their own rules.  Superheros born with superpowers are filed under X-Titles (X-Men, X-Man, New Mutants, X-statics, Weapon-X, X-calibur, Generation-X, etc.).  Every other superhero is just regular and are not part of the mutant soap opera.  

When the external definitions trickle down into the narratives they release fascinating hiccups of illogic.  That’s reason number 1 to read superhero comics.  Reader understanding becomes character understanding. “You wanna join our school? But you’re not a mutant, though!” This interchange between fiction and fan-“scholarship” is similar to biblical redaction, and in the same way creates a third thing.  It create scripture.