Sunday, April 22, 2007

Cancelled Kamandi Cavalcade

I have stumbled across something of great interest while puttering around the old internet, and it is my pleasure to share it with you.

Cancelled Comics Calvalcade was a two-issue EXTREMELY limited-print-run comic published by DC Comics in 1978. They had just suffered an implosion by cancelling a large percentage of their monthly titles, and for copyright-protection reasons they wanted to get into print the already-prepared issues of many of the cancelled titles. For more details about the DC Implosion, just click here or here.

Well, listen to this. Nestled inside the 23rd posted response to a Newsarama article this past week was a link to a site which has made available for online viewing the Kamandi stories that were intended for issues 60 and 61 of that Jack Kirby-created title. Yes, I know Kirby had left the title about twenty issues before that but, still, here are two comics stories you may never have read before. I know I hadn't! Just click here and you'll find the links to the two stories if you scroll down a little bit.

If you are aware of similar websites where other Cancelled Comics Cavalcade stories can be viewed, please let me know and I will share the information.

Monday, April 16, 2007

The Hayfamzone Font

I am a fan of comic book lettering. You know that already! I've written on multiple occasions about how Ben Oda is my favorite letterer of all time (AND that you can download for free the Odaballoon word processing font that is based mostly on his work. You haven't retrieved it yet? Just click here).

I like to learn more about things I'm a fan of, and for a loooong time I've wanted to get and read the book Comic Book Lettering The Comicraft Way by Richard Starkings and John Roshell. For one or two years I waited for a copy of the book to show up on ebay but it never did, so I broke down last month and bought it on Click here if you'd like to investigate a copy yourself. But wait! Let me tell you more about it.

Probably almost all letterers working professionally these days do their lettering on a computer rather than with an Ames lettering device; this book explains step by step how computer lettering is done. At $9.95 for 64 pages, the book has a Brian Bolland cover and original stories by Jeph Loeb & Ian Churchill and Kurt Busiek & Stuart Immonen, as well as articles by Dave Gibbons and Tim Sale.

Especially interesting to me were the Top Ten Pen Lettering Artists as chosen by co-author and letterer Richard Starkings. The list intrigues me because my list of favorite hand-letterers is so very different from his. Okay, you twisted my arm. Here is my list of favorite letterers, in pyramidal form. At the peak of the pyramid, Ben Oda reigns alone. Midway down the pyramid are the follwing quite-fine runners-up: John Costanza, Gaspar Saladino, Ira Schnapp, Mike Royer, and the still-hand-lettering-today-and-just-as-great-as-ever John Workman. At the base of my pyramid there are very-excellent honorable mentions for Todd Klein, Art Simek, Sam Rosen, Joe Rosen, and Tom Orzechowski.

Of course I'm always looking for new ways to extend the hayfamzone brand, and this book gave me a brainstorm. It goes into a bit of detail about how to create a lettering font based upon one's own lettering. Back in the day, my hand lettering was (blushing) sharp and clear and brimming with character. Look here and here and here for a couple of samples. So why not design a hayfamzone font in my (gulp) spare time and base it on my very own lettering? Why not, indeed! Now please, don't anybody hold your breath waiting for the hayfamzone font to appear because who knows how long it will take me to get around to it, but today is the day that I officially add that project to one of my lists.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Lists, Hunger, and Rhapsody

I use lists. I always kept lists of what comics I had in my collection and what comics I needed. One facet of my comic collection of which I am proudest is my complete run of Sheldon Mayer's brilliant Sugar & Spike series, from the first issue in 1956 right up through the 98th issue in 1971; of course it would be impossible to collect the complete run of any title without maintaining lists.

My use of lists extends far beyond my focus on comics. In fact, I have lists consisting of lists that are then subcategorized into more detailed lists. One time when some students of mine made a satirical video that included one student portraying me, "I" was reading down a clipboard list of things to do and then "I" turned away to sneeze and then "I" returned to the clipboard list to put a check next to "sneeze."

When I hear a piece of music that I want to add to my CD collection, I don't immediately run out to the record store to purchase it. Instead I add the title to a list and try getting it on ebay instead of paying full retail. For DVDs, I always check the price at (recently shortened to and, very often, their price (which includes shipping) cannot be beat on ebay.

One list that I have maintained for many years consists of grocery items that I remember liking but which are no longer manufactured. (I don't presume to suggest that I'm the only one who ever thought to keep such a list; look here for one that I came across by another individual.) Let me mention some interesting things on my list that you may have forgotten or maybe never heard of.

Gorilla Milk (circa 1960s) was a powdered flavoring to be added to milk to turn it blue and make it taste grape; there were other flavors/colors also, but for some reason blue/grape is fixated in my memory. I never liked the stuff, and I'm glad it's no longer manufactured. (Maybe you thought this was going to be a feelgood list of things I miss? There's some of that coming too but please always expect the unexpected from theHayfamzone Blog!) Here is what Gorilla Milk looked like.

Dannon Apricot Yogurt (circa mid-1970s) was my favorite flavor of yogurt ever. Yes, I know Dannon still makes peach. Apricot was better. Look here for the history of yogurt and the history of the Dannon company.

Marathon candy bars (circa 1974) were twelve or fifteen inches long and consisted of a braiding of caramel covered with chocolate. The advertising tagline was that it took a long time to eat one, and it did! A certain confectioner is counting on a lot of people wistfully remembering Marathon bars, because they are marketing their Curly Wurly bars as a modern-day analogue of Marathon. And so much for my memory! That website says that Curly Wurly bars are the same length as Maraton bars: EIGHT inches. Look here to see what the Marathon wrapper looked like.

Pepperidge Farm Cinnamon Chip Cookies (circa 1980s) were so great in such a basic way; I can't believe they stopped making them. Doesn't anybody else miss these? I couldn't find a single link about them.

Chum Gum (circa 1960s through 1980s) was a barber shop staple at Mike the Barber's, and maybe at your barber shop too. (Mike the Barber also gave me comics after they had been in the reading pile for a while; one I remember clearly getting from him was the issue of Green Lantern/Green Arrow that had the hunting dogs on the cover.) Look here!

Kellogg's Banana Frosted Flakes (circa 1977) were regular Sugar Frosted Flakes with miniscule banana tidbits affixed on the flakes. I liked them. Click here to see what a box of the cereal looked like, but I think I remember a second version which had an image of Tony the Tiger piloting a banana boat down a river. Not kidding. Click here to see a cool image of 1300 cereal boxes, each one zoomable for enlargement!

Kellogg's Concentrate cereal (circa 1977) was a cereal that you were invited to sprinkle on other cereals! I would describe the flakes as being like small circles of onion-skin paper, a texture quite unlike that of any other cereal before or since. Just like a big K indicated Special K, a big C was emblazoned on Kellogg's Concentrate; click here to see a box of it.

Next time, comics themselves will return to centerstage in the Hayfamzone Blog, right where they belong! Spring vacation is officially over!