Unless you were alive and paying attention in the 1980s, you probably didn’t know that Transformers weren’t the first toys in America that changed into vehicles. “GoBots” were.
Transformers came from Rhode Island’s Hasbro, in 1984. GoBots came from Tonka, makers of fine metal toy trucks, in 1983. That may be why Hasbro did everything right, from the start- they saw what Tonka had already done wrong. And oh boy… Tonka did just about everything wrong.
Imagine if you will, a world parallel to our own, identical in many ways, disparate in others. Long story short, in this mirror universe, Bands I Useta Like was optioned by a major independent film studio, and made into a hit movie. It combined animation and live action, and because the producers had deep pockets, licensing songs for a decent soundtrack wasn’t a problem.
Whether I allowed the film to be produced at all was contingent upon the quality of the music choices. If they balked at a crucial song, or refused to include it, I would walk off the project. Which I did, and they replaced me on-screen with a real actor. Like I said, the movie was a hit.
The 2-disc soundtrack sold out of stores overnight. Even though it came packed in that shitty double jewel-box, which just winds up broken, on the floor of a car.
I won’t lie to you; I’m a conceited guy. I probably possess an overabundance of confidence in my own skills. As I grow older, I try to temper this arrogance, because I’ve seen how it can drive others away; friends, loved ones, fans. But you must understand the importance of this feature (not a bug). In today’s world, you have to be crazy to get anything accomplished.
I have a “Messiah complex”, for which I blame no one but myself. My endless vitriol directed at the entertainment universe springs from the concrete belief that I can do better for you. I can give you what you really want.
Set the Wayback Machine for 1998. I was at Kinko’s, in the middle of the night, running off copies of Mike The Pod Comix #4 (the blue one).
Those aren’t fonts. I didn’t have a computer. They’re typefaces copied from a book of antique alphabets, then literally cut and pasted. The rest is my own lettering.
The fourth issue was a transitional one. Drop Dead, my “90’s comic book“, concluded in its pages, in lieu of a seventh issue. I reprinted the Liquid Paper Pirates and Squeeky Wheel Gets The Grease strips from FINK, as well as For Whom The Beef Jerks.
Oh, and for the first time ever, I did full frontal, stark raving nudity. (NSFW!!!)
Mad medicine was everywhere in the 80s and 90s. There were toys and playsets endorsed by mad doctors, for use by kids. Every time you watched cartoons, you saw a skinny dude with crazy hair in a white lab coat, maniacally mixing chemicals and potions for some nefarious purpose. Under the influence of this, I created my own mad medicine man; Dr. Kill-Everybody.
Dr. K (no hair), with Fronkin Steen and Psuto Moto.
Either the trope became shopworn around 2001, or something happened that discouraged children from playing with chemicals. You don’t see mad doctors and scientists like you used to. Maybe this is a good thing; maybe the concept was subconsciously driving impressionable kids away from lucrative STEM-field careers. I don’t know.
What I do know is this. Mad doctors once flourished in our society, even though they were annoying, and generally sucked.
I adore them. Their art, their culture, their contributions to the enlightenment of our world. Hate me all you want, but I never felt prouder of Donald Trump than I did when he refused to shake Angela Merkel’s hand for a photo op. Trump didn’t want to get France’s blood all over his hand, and Merkel’s mitts are positively oozing with the spilt plasma of Europe.
In the 1982 science-fiction fantasy TRON, there comes a moment inside the computer world where the protagonists are imperiled by “gridbugs”.
Clearly a threat.
The danger is underlined by dialogue spoken by Cindy Morgan, as the shapely input/output program Yori:
“This isn’t going to be easy. If those gridbugs get us, we’ve had it.”
The gridbugs in question get a ten-second interlude, complete with a unique and rather corny soundtrack cue, and then go on to never affect anything or even be mentioned in passing again. Continue reading →