Today has marked a great victory for the German people in their own country. This victory was not the struggle between Germany and the nation it has been antagonising (yes, that was a sarcastic comment), but rather the decent German voters over the idiotic German voters. For today, Angela Merkel, chancellor of Germany and leader of the centre-right Christian Democratic Union, has claimed victory along with its brother party, the Christian Social Union, and its new coalition partner, the Free Democratic Party. The CDU/CSU's old coalition partner, the Social Democrat Party suffered a glorious defeat at the polls, indicating that Germans are wary of socialism--which we are in danger of having in the (not so) good old USA.
What makes this victory even greater is that the German people (by and large) refused to be intimidated by the warning it had received from Al Qaida, due to Germany's role in the Afghanistan War. By not changing governments, Germany has shown that it does has some backbone after all, unlike Spain, which caved in to terrorist threats during its 2004 general election.
Being of German lineage, I take pride in the old country today and pray for the success of Angela Merkel's new government, which I believe is well suited to lead Germany through the rest of 2009 and into the next decade. If only we were so fortunate to be rid of the leftist morons in our government, as well.
Alright, I've made up my limited mind and decided to go with Krazy Kat for this week's blog post on the comics of yore. Sorry to end the suspense.
Krazy Kat started as bit player as the family cat in George Herriman's zany strip 'The Family Upstairs'. (Sounds kinda creepy, now that I think of it.) The titular family was never shown, and always caused grief to the strip's protagonist, the head of the Dingbat family. Their cat appeared in a miniature strip at the bottom of the page, along with a prickly mouse named Ignatz (apparently the pet of the family that lived upstairs). In 1913, Krazy and Ignatz were given their own comic strip and The Family Upstairs faded into oblivion.
Krazy and Ignatz were joined by the new antagonist, 'Officer Bull Pupp, the constable. And a new, bizarre triangle was formed. For you see, Krazy was in love with Ignatz, who hated her; he often threw a brick at her head, which Krazy took as a sign of affection and always enjoyed getting hit with a brick now and then. But Officer Pupp was fond of Krazy, so he usually made life miserable for Ignatz by throwing him in jail at every opportunity. What kind of nutso world was this?! And the setting for all this was the southwestern American desert.
The American public didn't like it all that much, though the publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst, who owned the syndicate, loved it. So it stayed until Herriman's death in April, 1944. History has been very kind to this comic strip, as several in the industry have regarded it as the greatest comic strip ever made. I disagree as it's not one of my favorites, but I do like it, still. And Fantagraphics (them again) has reprinted every Sunday page from 1925-1944, and is now preparing to publish three more volumes covering 1916-1924's Sunday pages (which were printed years back and now out of print).
Readers, I haven't come up with a new post topic (but I guess THIS counts as a post), because I haven't decided to write about Krazy Kat next, or Gasoline Alley next, and the fact is that I'd rather listen to 80s music on iTunes right now (I don't have an iPod). I'll get to both eventually. But I thought I owed both of you an explanation.
[With that said, I'll retire this 'low readership' running joke. That kind of humor has been done time and again by the likes of Bob Hope and Jack Benny, et al. (Maybe some of you have heard of those guys...) And if such a joke rears its ugly head again in the future, I assure you it's because I will have forgotten about the pledge I made in this blog post.]
This just in-- I've decided to take a decidedly less cynical tack with the posts that I post and will only post positive things for a while, lest I become labeled as a curmudgeonly young man by all three of my readers.
That said, I would like to wish the Blessed Virgin Mary a belated yet reverent birthday greeting: O most holy Mother of God, we offer unto you our thanks and devotion, in commemoration of the blessed day of your holy birth. We humbly ask you to wrap your mantle of protection around us, your unworthy children who are so prone to straying from your Son's flock. And we ask that you please intercede for us and our loved ones, so that we might all be united in God's divine Kingdom at the end of all things. Thank you, dear Mother. Amen.
Next, I would like to announce that the comic strip post series will continue. I will post the next blog entry this weekend, as I haven't decided which series yet to write about. So stay tuned.
The sickening hype that surrounded (and still does) our idiot president has been rubbing off on similarly disgusting trends as of late. Take, for instance, Amazon.com's main web page: http://www.amazon.com/
Amazon's head honcho Jeff Bezos (more like 'Bozos') quaintly addresses Amazon visitors as "Dear Da Vinci Code fans". (More like "Dear moronic fans of crappy writing"--ok, I'll stop. Especially since my own writing frequently brushes up against that same level of quality and even strays into it.)
If you must read the tripe that is churned out by Dan Brown, consider reading it for free at your local library or at any bookstore. That way, Dan the blasphemer won't collect another royalty that he probably doesn't deserve.
Last time, I had discussed Prince 'Not so' Valiant. That didn't go over so well, so this time I'll discuss Popeye.
Popeye was created by cartoonist Elsie Crisler Segar and started as a bit character in the comic strip Thimble Theater in mid-January 1929. He was originally intended to be a briefly-important walk-on character, mostly amusing due to his deformed features. (First appearance shown here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Popeyfirst.png )
What he did was take over the whole series by 1930. And in 1931, Segar created his next best character, J. Wellington Wimpy, who was well-spoken and polite yet shamelessly sponged off anyone for food. (I think everyone knows someone like this in their life.) Here's a particularly fine (and gruesome example): http://www.math.pitt.edu/~bard/bardware/popeye/popeye10c.gif
During the 1930s, Thimble Theater became one of the finest newspaper comics due to its potent blend of bizarre characters, sharp writing, zany humor, quirky artwork, and often suspenseful plot threads. I can't think of any comic strip that has been like that, before or since. And I know enough about comics, so just take my word for it... And in addition to that, on Sundays, Segar wrote and drew a smaller companion strip to Popeye titled 'Sappo'. It was about a short guy with a fat wife who later acquired a mad scientist as a tenant. Here's a sample of that here: http://www.bullworks.net/daily/1933sappolg.jpg
Popeye's creator, E.C. Segar, died an early death in late 1938 of a liver disease. As such, his work didn't really have the chance to go into a period of decline, or 'jump the shark' as almost every other comic strip has. The Popeye comic strip eventually did decline years after Segar's death and still continues today under the mediocre hand of Hy Eisman (as you can see here: http://joshreads.com/images/0606/i060604popeye.jpg )
Fortunately, the best years of this comic have been preserved and resurrected. In late 2006, Fantagraphics published the first of a six-volume series that covers the complete run of Popeye as written and drawn by Segar. I've seen the first 3 volumes at Joseph Beth Bookstore. Check it out if any of you happen to drop by there. (... That's what I thought I heard...crickets. No really, I hear crickets chirping outside my office window...)
Popeye is better known for his cartoons, which can be acquired as public-domain released DVDs that one can pick up at almost any drugstore. But I'm not here to talk about cartoons. I'm here to talk about comic strips. There is a VAST difference...
And as far as I know, Popeye is not affiliated with Popeye's Chicken restaurant chain.