Archive for March, 2012

March 25, 2012

Second City Television

sctv

Second City Television (SCTV) is a Canadian television sketch comedy show offshoot from Toronto’s The Second City troupe that ran between 1976 and 1984. The basic premise of the show is that ‘SCTV’ is an independent television station in the city of Melonville.

Rather than broadcasting the usual TV rerun fare, the station produces a bizarre and humorously incompetent range of cheap local programming including a soap opera called ‘The Days of the Week’ (‘Monday… Tuesday… Wednesday… these are… the days of the week’), a game show, ‘Shoot At The Stars,’ in which celebrities are literally shot at like targets in a shooting gallery, and full blown movie spoofs like ‘Play it Again, Bob’ in which Woody Allen (Rick Moranis) tries to get Bob Hope (Dave Thomas) to star in his next film.

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March 25, 2012

Harvard Lampoon

harvard lampoon

The Harvard Lampoon is an undergraduate humor publication founded in 1876. It is the world’s longest continually published humor magazine. It is also the second longest-running English-language humor magazine, after the ‘Yale Record.’ The organization also produces occasional humor books and parodies of national magazines. Much of the organization’s capital is provided by the licensing of the ‘Lampoon’ name to ‘National Lampoon,’ begun by ‘Harvard Lampoon’ graduates in 1970.

The Lampoon is known for its bacchanalian parties, which can result in smashed plates and furniture. Robert K. Hoffman, co-founder of the ‘National Lampoon’ and major donor to the Dallas Museum of Art was a Trustee until his death in 2006, and was declared a Trustee ‘Ad-Infinitum’ a year later. The bone of his pinky finger is said to be encased in a block of lucite in the Harvard Lampoon’s ‘Brainatorium Crypt.’

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March 25, 2012

National Lampoon

animal house

cheeseface

National Lampoon was both a ground-breaking American humor magazine and also a wide range of productions directly associated with that magazine. The magazine ran from 1970 to 1998, and was originally a spinoff of the ‘Harvard Lampoon’ (is an undergraduate humor publication founded in 1876 at Harvard University).

The magazine reached its height of popularity and critical acclaim during the 1970s, when it had a far-reaching effect on American humor. It spawned films, radio, live theater, various kinds of recordings, and print products including books. Many members of the creative staff from the magazine subsequently went on to contribute creatively to successful media of all types.

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March 25, 2012

Heavy Metal

gloria by Angus McKie

Heavy Metal is a 1981 Canadian fantasy-animated film directed by Gerald Potterton and produced by Ivan Reitman and Leonard Mogel, who also was the publisher of ‘Heavy Metal magazine,’ the basis for the film. The screenplay was written by Daniel Goldberg and Len Blum.

The film is an anthology of various science fiction and fantasy stories adapted from the magazine and original stories in the same spirit. Like the magazine, it has a great deal of graphic violence, nudity, and sexuality. Its production was expedited by having several animation houses working simultaneously on different segments, including CinéGroupe and Atkinson Film-Arts.

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March 25, 2012

Heavy Metal

metal hurlant

jim mahfood

Heavy Metal is an American science fiction and fantasy comics magazine, known primarily for its blend of dark fantasy/science fiction and erotica. In the mid-1970s, while publisher Leonard Mogel was in Paris to jump-start the French edition of ‘National Lampoon,’ he discovered the French science-fantasy magazine ‘Métal Hurlant’ which had debuted in 1974. The French title translates literally as ‘Howling Metal.’

When Mogel licensed the American version, he chose to rename it, and ‘Heavy Metal’ began in the U.S. in 1977 as a glossy, full-color monthly. Initially, it displayed translations of graphic stories originally published in ‘Métal Hurlant,’ including work by Enki Bilal, Jean Giraud (also known as Moebius), Philippe Druillet, Milo Manara and Philippe Caza. The magazine later ran Stefano Tamburini and Tanino Liberatore’s ultra-violent ‘RanXerox.’ Since the color pages had already been shot in France, the budget to reproduce them in the U.S. version was greatly reduced.

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March 24, 2012

Métal Hurlant

screaming metal

Métal Hurlant (literal translation: ‘Screaming Metal’) is a French comics anthology of science fiction and horror comics stories, created in December 1974 by comics artists Jean Giraud (better known as Moebius) and Philippe Druillet together with journalist-writer Jean-Pierre Dionnet and financial director Bernard Farkas. The four were collectively known as ‘Les Humanoïdes Associés’ (‘United Humanoids’), which became the name of the publishing house releasing ‘Métal Hurlant.’ It was published in the US by National Lampoon under the title ‘Heavy Metal.’

The magazine was originally released quarterly; it consisted of 68 pages, of which only 18 were in color. Contributors included Moebius and Druillet, and such characters Arzach and Lone Sloane. Later issues featured Richard Corben, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Enki Bilal, Caza, Serge Clerc, Alain Voss, Berni Wrightson, Milo Manara, Frank Margerin and many others. Apart from comics, the magazine contained articles about science fiction books and movies, as well as music and videogame reviews. ‘Metal Hurlant,’ emphasizing complex graphics, cinematic imagery and surreal storylines, was highly influential throughout the world as one of the first mature expressions of ‘adult’ comic book making. It ceased publication in 1987.

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March 24, 2012

Blueberry

blueberry

Blueberry is a Franco-Belgian comics western series created by the Belgian scriptwriter Jean-Michel Charlier and French comics artist Jean Moebius’ Giraud. It chronicles the adventures of Mike ‘Blueberry’ Donovan on his travels through the American Old West. Blueberry is an atypical western hero; he is not a wandering lawman who brings evil-doers to justice, nor a handsome cowboy who ‘rides into town, saves the ranch, becomes the new sheriff and marries the schoolmarm.’

He is accompanied in many tales by his hard-drinking deputy, Jimmy McClure, and later also by Red Woolley, a rugged pioneer. Donovan is the son of a rich Southern farmer and started as a dedicated racist. He was framed for a murder he did not commit, had to flee and was saved by an African-American. He became an enemy of discrimination of all kinds, fought against the Confederates (although he was a Southerner himself), and tried to protect the rights of Native Americans.

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March 24, 2012

The Incal

incal

The Incal is a set of science fiction comic book series written in French by Alejandro Jodorowsky and illustrated by Moebius and others. ‘The Incal’ takes place in, and introduced Jodorowsky’s ‘Jodoverse,’ a fictional universe in which his science fiction comics take place. The story begins in the dystopian capital city of an insignificant planet in a human-dominated galactic empire. The series  stars John DiFool, anoccasional bodyguard. DiFool has no interest in being a hero, has mood swings and suffers from self-doubt and temper tantrums in which he threatens to walk away and assume a comfortable lifeh. He has a fondness for cigars, ‘ouisky’ and ‘homeosluts’ (gynoid prostitutes).

The series mixes space opera, metaphysics, and satire; a counterpoint to the grandiosity of the events is always Difool’s base, even cowardly nature. Every major character in The Incal is based upon Tarot cards – for example, John Difool is based upon The Fool with his name being a pun upon ‘John, the Fool.’ Moebius and Jodorowsky sued Luc Besson, director of ‘The Fifth Element,’ claiming that the film borrowed graphic and story elements from ‘The Incal,’ but they lost their case. In a 2002 interview with Danish comic book magazine ‘Strip!,’ Jodorowsky actually claimed that he considered it an honor that somebody stole his ideas, saying he believes that authors do not create the stories they tell as much as they make personal interpretations of mythemes shared by the collective unconscious.

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March 24, 2012

Airtight Garage

Major Grubert

‘The Airtight Garage of Jerry Cornelius’ (‘Le Garage Hermétique de Jerry Cornelius’) is a lengthy comic strip work by the artist and writer Moebius (real name Jean Giraud). It first appeared in discrete two-to-four page episodes, in the French magazine ‘Metal Hurlant’ between 1976 and 1980, and later in the American version of the same magazine, ‘Heavy Metal,’ starting in 1977.

‘The Airtight Garage’ was followed by ‘L’Homme du Ciguri’ (‘The Man from the Ciguri’) in 1995. Some of the characters from these stories also show up in the 1974 comic ‘Le Bandard Fou’ (‘The Horny Goof’), which can be considered a prequel. The story is at times confusing, as Moebius was making it up as he went along. The ‘garage’ itself is actually an asteroid in the constellation Leo which houses a pocket universe. Major Grubert orbits the asteroid in his spaceship Ciguri, from which he oversees the development of the worlds contained within. Several entities, including Jerry Cornelius, seek to invade the garage.

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March 24, 2012

Arzach

arzach

Arzach is a comic book collection of four wordless short stories by artist/author Jean ‘Moebius’ Giraud, which were originally published in the French sci-fi/fantasy comics magazine ‘Métal Hurlant,’ (published in the US as ‘Heavy Metal’).

The stories follow Arzach, a silent warrior who rides a pterodactyl-like creature through a strange, desolate landscape. The imagery and situations in Arzach are often compared to dreams or the subconscious. These stories had an enormous impact on the French comics industry, and the Arzach character is still among Moebius’ most famous creations.

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March 24, 2012

Moebius

moebius

Jean Giraud (1938 – 2012) was a French comics artist, working in the French tradition of bandes dessinées (Franco-Belgian comics). Giraud earned worldwide fame, predominantly under the pseudonym ‘Moebius,’ and to a lesser extent ‘Gir,’ the latter appearing mostly in the form of a boxed signature at the bottom of the artist’s paintings. Esteemed by Federico Fellini, Stan Lee, and Hayao Miyazaki among others, he received international acclaim. He has been described as the most influential bandes dessinées artist after ‘Tintin’ creator Hergé.

Among Giraud’s most famous works are the Western comic series ‘Blueberry’ he co-created with writer Jean-Michel Charlier, one of the first Western anti-heroes to appear in comics. Under the pseudonym Moebius he created a wide range of science fiction and and fantasy comics in a highly imaginative and surreal almost abstract style, the most famous of which are ‘Arzach,’ the ‘Airtight Garage of Jerry Cornelius,’ and ‘The Incal.’

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March 24, 2012

The Most Dangerous Game

Richard Connell

The Most Dangerous Game,’ also published as “The Hounds of Zaroff”, is a short story by Richard Connell. It was published in ‘Collier’s Weekly’ in 1924. Widely anthologized, and the author’s best-known work, it features as its main character a big-game hunter from New York, who falls off a yacht and swims to an isolated island in the Caribbean, where he is hunted by a Cossack aristocrat. The story is an inversion of the big-game hunting safaris in Africa and South America that were fashionable among wealthy Americans in the 1920s.

The story has been adapted for film numerous times. The most significant of these adaptations (and the only one to use the original characters) was RKO’s ‘The Most Dangerous Game,’ released in 1932, having been shot (mostly at night) on sets used during the day for the ‘Skull Island’ sequences of ‘King Kong.’ The film added two other principal characters: brother and sister pair Eve Trowbridge (Fay Wray) and Martin Trowbridge (Robert Armstrong). (Wray and Armstrong were also filming King Kong on the same sets during the day.)

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