Tuesday, October 17, 2017

SUPERHEROES ARE DAMN-NEAR EVERYWHERE #109

Primary HALLE BERRY acted in certain X-MEN films, CATWOMAN, and DIE ANOTHER DAY.

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Primary KEN BERRY has one credit, voicing a character named "Seymour Grey" in an episode of BATMAN THE ANIMATED SERIES.

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Primary MICHAEL BERRYMAN acted in SPY HARD, DOUBLE DRAGON, WIZARDS OF THE DEMON SWORD, STAR TREK 4 and 5, THE BARBARIANS, and assorted TV shows.

Monday, October 16, 2017

MONSTER MASHUPS #22

In contrast to the "Swamp Thing-Demon" mashup mentioned earlier, Marvel crossed over two of its more successful monster-protagonists in 1974, each one guest-starring in the other's magazine.

TOMB OF DRACULA began by hosting the "Werewolf By Night"--




And then WEREWOLF BY NIGHT returned the favor.



An interesting contrast to the usual vampire-werewolf mythology, as expressed best in THE RETURN OF THE VAMPIRE, is that for some reason the Count cannot exert any control over this particular werewolf.



MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE (1840)

If one accedes to the general view that "Murders in the Rue Morgue" is the first detective story, it's interesting that it's also a prime example of an *uncanny* phenomenality, one in which the author conjures forth an irreducible strangeness, despite the fact that the author tries to stay within the bounds of materailistic causality, where no transgressions of natural law take place. The source of the strangeness is, as most readers will know, the culprit in a Parisian double-murder, whom detective Dupin flawlessly deduces to be an out-of-control ourang-outan.

I have to imagine that generations of Poe readers have probably to vault over the first four or so pages of the story, in which Poe subjects readers to a philosophical lecture on his theories of "ideality," by which he seems to mean something like Kant's idea of reason. This lecture in turn leads one to a prelude in which Dupin first demonstrates his peerless ability to divine his roommate's inward thoughts by external observation of the man's physical responses and verbal communicaitons. It's almost beyond question that Conan Doyle copied aspects of Sherlock Holmes from Dupin, even if Dupin was not the only influence on Holmes. But it seems Poe, unlike Doyle, really considered the "mind-reading" trick a bagatelle, since Dupin doesn't even make a point of emphasizing this skill in his last two stories.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

MONSTER MASHUPS (-2)

As a contrast to post #21, this one offers another comics-cover which also references KING KONG VS. GODZILLA, but is not a mashup.



From what I can tell this fire-breathing dragon-like creature never appeared before, so he has a "negative value," existing only to be an antagonist to the comic's monstrous star, Konga.

Similar negative values accrue to the monster-antagonists in all of the Japanese "Gamera" films. The studio in charge of Gamera, Daiei Studios, never pit the "good" turtle-monster against more than one creature at a time, and so all of the films fail the "mashup" test.



Amusingly, one of Gamera's opponents, "Barugon," copied the name of a monster-antagonist, Baragon, who appeared in just one previous film, Toho Studios' FRANKENSTEIN CONQUERS THE WORLD. I assume that the name-copying was nothing but a jape on the part of the Daiei moviemakers, since Baragon didn't exactly set the world on fire, even when he was revived in 1969's DESTROY ALL MONSTERS as a "team-player."

Addendum: I should add that in GAMERA SUPER MONSTER, footage from the older films is recycled to give the impression that Gamera is fighting each of his individual foes in sequence, and that all of the monsters have been sent against Earth by evil aliens. Yet I can't really call a "clip show" a true mashup, especially when it's transparent to anyone in the know that the footage has been recycled.

MONSTER MASHUPS #21

Even before DC's JIMMY OLSEN comic did a salute to monsters in this issue, the writers of the comic tended to play to the "monster kids" amidst their readers. Jimmy became a "wolf man" a couple of times, had a close encounter with Boris Karloff, and filmed his own monster movie.


It should be obvious that this is meant to resemble a famous monster-movie of about three years previous.


However, had KING KONG VS. GODZILLA never existed, this would still be a "monster mashup" by my lights. The same would be the case had Titano and the Flame-Dragon never appeared anywhere before this story, given that the monsters are different enough from one another to create the "mashup" buzz. The situation in that case would be akin to the "Legion of Super Monsters" covered in post #15.  


None of these outer-space creatures are meant to reference earlier creations, in contrast to the majority of mashups I've covered so far. In the case of Titano and Flame-Dragon, their resemblance to King Kong and Godzilla provides some icing for the cake, but the referentiality is not the cake itself.


THE MAN OF THE CROWD (1940)

This is more of a vignette than a developed story, and its premise goes like this:

A bored people-watcher speculates for a while on the comings and goings of the denizens of his city. He spies one particular old gentleman, and decides to follow the fellow, and see where he goes. To the narrator's dismay, the old guy doesn't do anything but follow other people himself, constantly seeking to be associated with, though not to actually interact with, large crowds of people. Hence he is a "man of the crowd," as the narrator dubs the man upon giving up the project.

The story may have had more consequence in the 1840s than it does now, given that for many the experience of big-city American life was relatively a new phenomenon.

Friday, October 13, 2017

SUPERHEROES ARE DAMN-NEAR EVERYWHERE #108

Primary DANIEL BERNHARDT had a featured role in the teleseries MORTAL KOMBAT CONQUEST, as well as small roles in LOGAN, THE MATRIX RELOADED, an episode of AGENTS OF SHIELD, and THE HUNGER GAMES; CATCHING FIRE.

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Primary CORBIN BERNSEN made a memorable "Captain Cold" in the 1990s FLASH series, as well as playing roles in MENNO'S MIND and the TV shows THE CAPE and STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION.

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Peripheral OLINKA BEROVA acted in THE VENGEANCE OF SHE with--



Primiary NOEL WILLMAN from KISS OF THE VAMPIRE.


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Peripheral ELIZABETH BERRIDGE acted in THE FUNHOUSE with--


Primary MILES CHAPIN (not shown) in PANDEMONIUM.