Sunday, December 28, 2014

Charlie Brown Christmas 2014

Christmas comes and goes faster and faster.

(Peanuts copyright Charles M. Schulz, United Feature Syndicate, plywood cutouts by Mom and Dad, made in 1965)
 
No snow this Christmas, but I found some big changes on the home front.
May be in for it in 2015.
Salut.
KR.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Wander over Yonder - the Gift

I guess I'm projecting too much of my own ideas onto Wander over Yonder. They could have had a real cliff hanger with Sylvia seriously considering getting back together with Ryder.
Spoiler Alert!

(art copyright Disney)

But we have learned more about Sylvia, after seeing "The Rider" episode. She was turning into quite an outlaw after leaving her relatively happy world of Marshfalaffle Apple Meadow. But being with Wander let's her share in his magic, and so she can tolerate most of his goofy antics. For instance, being decorated with jingle bells as they deliver gifts throughout the galaxy.

Wander is still a mystery, and maybe he should be left that way.
It leaves some things to the viewers imagination, and makes the show more fun.

Happy Holidays folks, I'm still trying to get into the spirit out here.

http://youtu.be/1Ji0f869QlU

How Thanos stole Christmas (Not the Grinch) - Part I

Another guilty pleasure. This scene was set up by my friend Trell at the Animation Guild in Burbank. You can check out his cool goodies at 



Trell deserves the credit. But this scenario could be totally insane: It would take the Avengers, Warlock, Captain Mar-Vell, the Defenders and Spider-Man to handle this crisis. Okay, and the X-Men and S.H.I.E.L.D. too.

(And it would probably have a cameo by Stan Lee as well.)


(Thanos created by Jim Starlin, copyright Marvel/Disney, scene set up by Trell, photo by me, Christmas copyright of Jesus)

Thanos would have no little dog Max to serve as a moral compass, or as a witness to his Holiday perfidy. Instead, Pip the Troll would probably be his unwilling servant. (Pip would be perfect as second banana with his smart remarks and stinky cigars.)

Will Thanos destroy Whoville? Would he incinerate little Cindy-Lou Who? Does he even enjoy "roast beast"? Hey, I'm just trying to get in the Holiday spirit here. It's been so hot and dry in southern Cal. Stay tuned!

Click button for Spoiler

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Big Hero 6


Finally saw Big Hero 6, so I'm not going to worry about spoilers here.


(art copyright Disney)

It's been a crazy autumn, so I'll be commenting and updating on this article, and others as I update this blog.

Update: When I get a chance before the Holidays.

Update: 12-29-14, okay, I'll say the film is the Iron Giant meets the Incredibles.
Troubled kid meets special robot, and overcomes adversity. I appreciated the work and design that went into Big Hero 6. But the formula of the plot wouldn't let me fall in love with the film.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Teachers as Performers NPR

This a bit off the track, but I agree with the premise: While we need rubrics and learning outcomes, students also need the intangibles.


I would quietly quote Mr. Incredible to myself before I would walk in the classroom:

 (copyright Pixar/Disney)
"It's Showtime!"

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

President Obama supports net neutrality

With such a pro-corporate bias in Washington, it's amazing that President Obama is taking a stand on net neutrality. But I applaud him on this, since he's been too eager to give in on so many other issues.
Craig Aaron's talk on KPFK's Uprising with Sonali Kolhatkar caught my ear; I think he outlined the situation very clearly.
Sonali Kolhatkar
Sonali Kolhatkar
Sonali Kolhatkar
Sonali Kolhatkar
Sonali Kolhatkar
 

Our society depends so much on phones, electricity, radio and TV, the premise of not reclassifying the internet as a Title II telecommunications service seems extremely unfair. And kind of absurd. Especially with the media mergers like the Comcast/Time-Warner deal still in the works.


One thing that puzzles me is how they expect us to buy stuff online if our connections are slow. It would take forever to see the merchandise!


The FCC's Chairman Tom Wheeler is still basically in favor of a two tiered system; "big pipes" for corporations who can afford to pay more...

And let the rest of us eat cake...

Time to keep calling your senators on this! And Tom Wheeler as well.
http://act.freepress.net/letter/internet_fcc_nprm_oliver/?source=faq

 (my pinwheel of death)

Thursday, November 06, 2014

More Jet Puffin

More Jet Puffin with some quick Photoshop color.


 Boffette is taking out a more heavily armored suit for a test flight.
She hasn't settled on a final color scheme yet.

(Photo and sketch mine)

Friday, October 31, 2014

Wander Over Yonder - The Liar

Here we see Sylvia in "Loch Ness Monster mode" as she rescues some little Tiki guys. They are trying to escape from an erupting volcano which is about to blow it's top. She swims away frantically as giant flaming boulders rain down from Mount "Krak-yer-big-toa".

(Spoiler Alert) 

Having reached the mainland, Sylvia thinks the excitement is over and heads to a beach side bar. She's unable to relax when she sees that Wander has gone back to rescue a momma bird and her chicks.

In a tree.

Right over the mouth of the volcano.

Sylvia can only mutter to her drink: "Wait for me, tiny umbrella".

 (copyright Disney)

The action really begins as they struggle to rescue the family of birds from the volcano. When Sylvia says trying to save the birds is impossible, Wander chastises her with "I smell a big pile of  'can't do-do'".

The running gag is the momma bird keeps biting them to protect her young. (She thinks Wander and Sylvia are attacking her chicks.) The bird also delivers an electric shock which illuminates their skeletons. 

One baby bird runs off ("Gary") and hides in a hole in the side of the hill. Naturally, Wander and party pursue, and only to fall into some caves underneath the volcano.

 I kept wondering who the Liar was in this episode. It turns out that it's Wander. He swore that no one would die this day. Instead, it is Wander who turns out to be the Liar when they become trapped. 

Fortunately, Sylvia does not succumb to despair. She notices the hazards they faced before, and gets an idea. She makes a literal leap of faith, and takes them to safety riding one of the giant flaming boulders as Mount "Krak-yer-big-toa" finally blows itself to bits.

Their boulder crashes back on the beach, which also knocks over the bar. Fortunately, one of the little Tiki guys brings Sylvia her drink, complete with little pink umbrella. But before she can take a sip, she gets shocked by the birds one more time, only this time they jump on her out of gratitude.

Wander compliments Sylvia on her bravery and ingenuity.
Sylvia smiles and walks away, saying: "I never doubted it for a second".
With her back turned, her smile turns into a grimace of worry.

Thanks again to-

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Jack-O-Lantern

Finally gettin' my Ghoul on!


Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Here there be Dragons...

Made from large sheets of styro my neighbor was throwing out, wood glue and tooth picks.



And Cobras!
She's actually on a rod to support plants, styro for the head and a "water worm" for her body.
Happy Halloween!


Friday, October 17, 2014

Jet Puffin development

Actually did this during last Christmas and New Years.

Here's Jet Puffin again... 


I'm in love with this character. She lives in the universe of my Over the Mountain comic, but she's way too sexy to have around all the time.

She also goes by the name "Boffette" which is my female version of the term "boffin". Boffin is British slang for scientist or technician. (Her real name is Jeanette.) She has an armored power suit similar to Iron Man, but her approach is a more defensive attitude when confronting an enemy. Most of the time.

Jet Puffin would be a romantic interest for Herman Bear all right, but they would also be scientific rivals as well. Herman Bear is a naturalist at heart, and the cosmic forces Boffette tries to harness seem unnecessary... and too dangerous to him.

Boffette likes Herman, but sees the bear as a chauvinistic meddler who thinks women can't develop advanced technology, and handle great power. Point of friction I would think.

I've scribbling a story on this all year, let's see what happens...

Monday, October 13, 2014

Wander over Yonder - The Date

Stumbled across this on
Mochi posting stuff...

SPOILER ALERT!!!



(art copyright Disney, screengrabs by Mochi)


According to Wikipedia, Sylvia has to go out on a date with Lord Hater. The premise is that Hater's date doesn't show up, and he decides to destroy the planet out of revenge. Wander talks Sylvia into going out with Hater to keep him from blowing up this unnamed world.

Looks cute!

Leo the Tech Guy

 I still listen to AM radio, and Leo the Tech Guy has something interesting to listen to on those slow Sunday afternoons. When I'm tired of sports radio, Leo has callers asking about Windows, hard drives, apps, cell phones, you name it. It just takes a while for them to get on topic I'm interested in.

I'm usually in the car, and not ready to use the phone while driving. It's more of a nuts and bolts program than Digital Village on KPFK, but Leo is a much more genial AM radio host than the others these days...


(photo copyright Leo the Tech Guy, photographer unknown)


Friday, October 10, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy - Animated Series

(Updated 10-12-14)
Hope this is a real scoop, it looks good.

First, via email from a friend,
Then, a post on Facebook,
Now, through the Animation Guild blog,

 http://animationguildblog.blogspot.com/2014/10/newer-marvel-animation.html

Next, the Hollywood Reporter...

 http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/guardians-galaxy-animated-tv-series-739981

So don't tell anybody!


 "Bigger blasters?"




(copyright Marvel/Disney)

Sorry about the small size, had trouble with the embed.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Marvel settles with Jack Kirby estate



(Photo taken by Suzy Skaar for "The Art of Jack Kirby" (Blue Rose Press, 1993)

It's taken me more time than I thought to comment on this news item, and I hope I've learned a bit more about the artist/employer relationship. When it comes to Jack Kirby, and all the work he has produced, it stirs up a lot of passion in comic fans.

And that's not a bad frame of mind, but it may not be useful when dealing with our current business climate. (My commentary will naturally be biased towards the artist.)

When Disney acquired  Marvel Comics, it seemed like mixing oil and water. I could not see how Disney's wholesome, family image could be balanced with Marvel's gritty superhero themes. Except for the profit motive, of course.

Marvel Comics had been owned and passed along by quite a few different corporations over the years since the first Lee/ Kirby days.The issues of who created which characters, and who signed their rights of ownership away as work for hire seemed to settled.

No one knew who would create the next Mickey Mouse or Superman, so these guys cranked this stuff out just to earn a paycheck. Comics were considered disposable, like old newspapers. Case closed, or so it seemed.

However, I learned recently from a debate on LinkeIn that the families of Siegel and Shuster, the creators of Superman, had been getting some kind of royalties, or share of the profits that the Superman character had generated for DC comics over the years. 

"With great power comes great responsibility"

(Simpsons copyright Fox)

Even though I'm a comic fan, I missed this information somehow. My assumption is the public having an image of the families of the creators of Superman being "left to starve" created bad press. And so a new arrangement was made to cut the heirs of Shuster, if not Siegel, in for some of the profits. Guess I need to hang out at more comic conventions. 

Oi.

Getting back to the settlement with the Kirby estate, a commentator on LinkedIn noted that this Lee/Kirby feud may have been old baggage that Disney did not want to lug around anymore. I can just picture their reluctant hands going down a little ways into those deep pockets and tossing the Kirby descendents a few bones. 

Whether the DC/Siegel and Shuster settlements set some kind of legal precedent will take more digging on my part. (Hooha!) But knowing the image Disney wants to portray may have spurred them into pouring oil on these troubled waters, even though it's quite late in the game.

Another thing that surprised me was how a faceless organization like Time/Warner could have made such a "warm and fuzzy" move with the Superman heirs. By faceless I mean that Disney had Walt, and Marvel had Stan Lee. But Time/Warner has no real "faceman", other than Bugs Bunny. 

Rant time: Business is business, and a deal is a deal, but maybe the world is getting tired of these huge media conglomerates winning ugly. Or else these corporations just want to avoid any more embarrassment.

But here's to Jack, still the King!

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Godzilla and Ultraman - The Amazing World of Japanese Special Effects



(copyright NHK and Tsuburaya Productions)

Godzilla and Ultraman - The Amazing World of Japanese Special Effects
It's fun sneaking around "backstage". I missed the beginning, but in Godzilla and Ultraman - The Amazing World of Japanese Special Effects  they displayed their techniques for making miniatures that went back to traditional Japanese gardens. And just good old forced perspective. The host was a westerner who seemed to love Tsuburaya, and even was allowed on a miniature set to pose with Ultraman Victory(?) The special effects people added the classic energy beams coming out of his hands to blast a monster.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-vdH86F6ZQ

They also talked to the pyrotechnics guy about his wiring set ups. He had something like the western studios have, sort of an electric xylophone. He could "play" the device so the squibs would go off with the proper timing. They also talked about Manga, and a car commercial using Tsuburaya's techniques where the car has to outrun giant monsters on a twisting canyon road.

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/tv/special/201408.html

I don't know if they will run this again, hopefully it will appear on the net somewhere. It's always great to see "old friends"!


Sunday, September 21, 2014

Green Lantern vs. Tweety Bird

Green Lantern vs. Tweety Bird: I'm surprised that no one has done this mashup before. I must have too much time on my hands.

(All artwork copyright Time/Warner)

Lately, I've sort of been competing with Ross over at http://braveandboldlost.blogspot.com/

Ross does marvelous comic covers with different superheroes who would not normally get together. This is usually due to copyright issues between Marvel, DC and other comic book publishers. My mashups have a more humorous bent, and I feel like picking on Green Lantern this morning.

Most comic fans will know the back story of the Green Lanterns, and the limits imposed on them by the Guardians of the Universe. If you dig this cover, then I don't need to belabor the point. 

I'll admit that I enjoyed the Darkest Night series, but I always think twice when I pick up a GL comic. Looking back on Hal Jordan's rough past, I can see him taking the place of Star-Lord in "Guardians".
 I'm still skeptical of most super hero movies. Phantom Menace really let me down, and I saw Green Lantern on the plane once(and tried to walk out.)

(rimshot! sorry.)

 After a bunch of lerpy Silver Age adventures where a character like Tweety could cause as much trouble as Mr. Mxyzptlk or Batmite, Denny O'Neil and Neal Adams put Green Lantern on a much more dramatic course in 1970.

No more mustard, lemons or banana peels now folks.


Monday, September 15, 2014

Cartoon Sidekicks (or the Big Dumb Buddies who take all the abuse)

This is an addendum to the horse and rider entry. Plus I'm feeling nostalgic again.


I've also noticed the design elements such as the differences in sizes, shapes and height. Plus the different color scheme of the characters, and how they relate to each other. Most sidekicks seem to have less detail as well.

(Credits going clockwise) Super Chicken and Fred (by Jay Ward and Bill Scott); Beany and Cecil created by Bob Clampett, Tom Terrific created by Gene Deitch, and Rocky and Bullwinkle (Jay Ward and Bill Scott again).

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Cartoon Horse and rider - Wander Over Yonder

I've become a big fan of Wander Over Yonder. and noticed over the years how the cowboy, or adventurer theme comes back to TV animation every now and then.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/WesternAnimation/WanderOverYonder?from=Main.WanderOverYonder

Wander Over Yonder seems to have some roots in these old shows.
Wander is the hippie-cowboy who rides his alien "Zbornak" named Sylvia.
Sylvia serves as his horse.
In most of these shows, the horse is very often the reluctant companion,
or, after a misadventure, is the one who usually says "I told you so."

(copyrights clockwise from upper left: Terrytoons, Filmation, Jay Ward Productions, & Disney)

Starting in the upper left, we have The Adventures of Lariat Sam from Terrytoons in the early 1960's. Lariat Sam was produced by Bob Keeshan (Captain Kangaroo). Lariat Sam's horse was Tippy Toes, a fussy horse who wore a bowler hat with a white dickie and bow-tie. While Lariat Sam relied on his lasso instead of a gun, Tippy Toes often took the brunt of the jokes in the show's physical humor.

Then in the 1980's, there was BraveStarr with his cyberhorse 30-30 by Filmation. 30-30 could use his bionic limbs to transform from a four legged horse to a person that stood upright. 30-30 was large, strong, had a short temper, liked a good scrap, and seemed to be a weapons expert. (He even talked to his gun "Mary Jane" in one episode.) But it was BraveStarr who saved the day in overcoming the villians with the right amount of reasoning, insight and directed power. 30-30's direct confrontations with opponents never seemed to end well.

Going back to the 60's, there was Dudley Do-Right. As a Mountie in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Dudley was far from being the sharpest knife in the drawer. His horse, simply called "Horse", was the only one to notice when things were going wrong. Horse was also the only cartoon horse that I know of who could not speak.

Which brings us back to Wander Over Yonder. Wander is a good-natured alien meddler who travels from planet to planet with his best friend Sylvia, who also happens to be his "Sapient Steed".

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SapientSteed

Sylvia is the more grounded "straight man" to Wander, and the voice of reason in contrast to his impulsive need to bring help and fun across the entire galaxy. She also gets more than her fair share of physical punishment from their enemies, and just by trying to keep Wander out of trouble. It's amazing she still stays with Wander with all the abuse she has to put up with.

*  *  *  *  *  *

Another show that was kind of obscure was Luno the White Stallion: I actually only saw one episode while on a car trip to Florida while passing through Atlanta. From then, I was hooked. It took me years to find some episodes on VHS. Luno was another version of Pegasus that symbolized travel, adventure, and magic. Luno and Tim could fly back in time to classic storybook adventures.

(original copyright Terrytoons)

Hey, the Aquabats liked him enough to put him in a song:
 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpmwW68FOJU
www.theaquabats.com

While not a TV show,  I have to bring up the Magic Pony by Soyuzmultfilm. CFPL TV 10 in London, Canada would drift over Lake Erie to northeast Ohio. The CBC brought me an extra range of children's shows in addition to the U.S. networks in the 1960's.

 (copyright Soyuzmultfilm)

To my knowledge, the Magic Pony was never shown, but I loved the full animation Soyuzmultfilm put out. The boy in this story learns the dangers in telling tall stories, and gets more than he bargained for when he accidentally captures the queen of the magic horses.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Internet Slowdown Weds. Sept. 10th

On Wednesday, September 10th, some websites will have the slowly turning "Wheel of Death" to give us a taste of what a two tiered, pay to play internet would look like.

Okay, I'm putting my cards on the table. Without net neutrality, the world wide web will end up like cable TV. Overpriced and useless. Another intrusive, domineering force trying to sell us junk.


In short, the big guys would get the fast lanes, while the rest of us will have to wait... And wait.
And perhaps, even be censored by an even bigger "Big Brother".


Keep emailing FCC chairman Tom Wheeler and President Obama to keep a free and open internet.


Plus, the ads get slowed down. That makes us wait, and it makes the advertisers look worse. 

Friday, September 05, 2014

Captain Universe - Sylvia Wander Over Yonder

More mashup craziness. Obviously, I'm a big fan of Wander over Yonder, and I can't resist putting Sylvia in these nutty, uncomfortable situations. That's what she's there for, right? Sylvia is tapped by the Uni -Power (Enigma Force?) to become Captain Universe!

After seeing Guardians of the Galaxy, I couldn't resist this:


(copyright Marvel/Disney, of all things)
 
Imagine all the butts she could kick now. But the Uni-Power will probably serve her only to save Wander, and any other bystanders who are in immediate danger. I want to give Sylvia her shining moment... And then bring her back down to earth.

Monday, September 01, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy Awesome Mix Vol. 2

Just my suggestions for the next movie's Awesome Mix Vol. 2:


(copyright Marvel/Disney)

1. Motherlode - When I Die
2. The Stampeders - Sweet City Woman
3. Pure Prairie League -Amie
4. Rick Derringer - Rock & Roll Hoochie Koo
5. Edgar Winter Group- Free Ride
6. ELO - Twilight

7. David Bowie - Look back in Anger (1979, might be too late in their timeline) or, Suffragette city 1972

8. Looking glass - Brandi you're a fine girl

9. Sugarloaf - Green Eyed Lady - How's that for Gamora?

10. Steely Dan - ?
11. Marshall Tucker Band? Heard it in a love song
12...

We have to remember that this tape was put together by Star-Lord's mother, so the songs would stay on the fun and light side. I'm still up in the air about these:

The Temptations - Papa Was A Rolling Stone (referring to Star Lord's real father)
The O'Jays - Back Stabbers
The Allman Brothers Band?
Queen?
Led Zepplin?
Kiss?






Guardians of the Galaxy - Film References Part 1

Guardians of the Galaxy was a nice treat for a busy summer this year. I almost felt like I was watching the original Star Wars for the first time. Nice balance between action and humor. And experience helped me notice quite a few references to other classic movies. These were deliberate tributes, I believe. Such as the classic prison line-up shot:


(All images copyright Marvel/Disney, unless otherwise noted.)

"The Usual Suspects"...


...which comes from classic Film Noir.

(original copyright Bad Hat Harry Productions, Blue Parrot, 
Spelling Films International, Gramercy Pictures, and PolyGram Filmed Entertainment)

Star-Lord, played by Chris Platt, gives us a misfit, wise-guy hero who is still lovable. He's sort of a jerk, but he grows on you the way Han Solo did. Peter Quill/ Star-Lord has the same identity/disrespect issues that Mister Furious (Ben Stiller) had in Mystery Men. His first opponents respond with "You're who?" or the "I don't care” attitude.

The Raiders of the Lost Ark homage didn't register with me. The scene went by too quickly. Star-Lord didn't have too much trouble getting the Orb out of it's force field container, and then he seemed to give up to easily when confronted by Korath The Pursuer.

(copyright Universal)

Neither guy gets the respect he demands. Rodney Dangerfield, look out!

Another movie reference in Guardians gives us the classic "Walk" shot...


Mystery Men had theirs...

(copyright Universal)

Which was a play off of The Magnificent Seven...


(original copyright The Mirisch Company/Alpha Production)


Which in turn was inspired by Akira Kurosawa's The Seven Samurai.

(original copyright Toho Productions)


The bigger theme was the oddball, rag-tag fighters coming together for a common cause. The obvious example was the original Star Wars:

(original copyright 20th Century Fox)

Nothing new under the sun, or the galaxy for that matter.


I don't mean to be critical here, but they may have been trying to squeeze in too much.

In Independence Day we have the giant starship descending on the planet, and the high-tech fighters engaged in a frantic dog fight over the city...

(copyright 20th Century Fox)

 And the similar scenes with Ronan's ship.



The Abyss: Maybe I'm reaching here, but the way Star-Lord rescues Gamora seems like a switch on Ed Harris' Bud Brigman's decision to let his ex-wife Lindsey (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) deliberately drown in hopes that she can be revived later:

(copyright 20th Century Fox)

In Guardians it's sort of the reverse: Peter Quill/ Star-Lord puts his space helmet/ mask on Gamora to save her life, without regard as to how long he can withstand the lack of air in space.
Korath The Pursuer
Korath The Pursuer


Coming up next: Vin Diesel's Groot as compared to his Iron Giant, alien abduction themes, such as Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and the Dirty Dozen - misfits sent on suicide mission.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy - original comics

Finally saw Guardians of the Galaxy. It's a great, fun action movie. (Just don't try to sit back and think.) I was a little leery of how the Marvel superhero movies tinker, or mostly just steamroller over their original comics' history. But they did do justice to some old childhood friends. Seeing all these heroes and villains was almost like a family reunion.

Wow, where to start? I still have the Marvel Preview 11 Star-Lord graphic novel from 1977.


(copyright Marvel/Disney)

This comic blew me away. Except for his living starship, Star Lord was a loner, driven by angst over his mother's murder by aliens. I had seen the earlier Star-Lord black and white comics, but the art and story turned me off. Chris Claremont and John Byrne must have known the original Star Wars was on the way, so they carved out this jewel for Marvel. In Marvel Preview 11, Star Lord eventually picks up some allies and discovers his real father was the Emperor of the galaxy.

A lot of water has gone under the bridge at Marvel, and Star-Lord has been revamped over the years. He had gone from being a kick-ass cosmic vigilante to becoming a beat up loser. For superhero movies, being part of a team seems to be a big selling point these days. So, Star-Lord gets thrown in with a group of misfits:

Gamora created by Jim Starlin


Originally trained by the master villain Thanos, Gamora is still green, and deadly enough to give even Star-Lord a hard time in a fight. But she is still one of the underdogs, and has a uphill battle all the way.

(copyright Marvel/Disney)

Drax the Destroyer, also created by Jim Starlin


Drax used to have a lot more cosmic power, and he used to be green. In the Captain Marvel comics, he turned out to be more like Thanos' punching bag. In the film, he remains this noble, stoic character, but he keeps getting pulverized by Ronan the Accuser. I wish they could have stayed more faithful to his original look. Fortunately, Jim Starlin got a screen credit for creating Drax, Gamora and Thanos too.

(copyright Marvel/Disney)

Rocket Raccoon created by Bill Mantlo and artist Keith Giffen


(copyright Marvel/Disney)

Rocket used to have other animal pals that had much more lighthearted adventures. I guess the Beatles never complained. I still have this in my parents' attic somewhere.

Which leaves us with Groot, created by Jack Kirby.


(copyright Marvel/Disney)

I thought Groot was something they made up just for the movie, but he turned out to be "real". Talk about making Mulligan's stew with leftovers, but it works. "GotG" may be the biggest hit of the year. Now I'm trying to imagine these characters working together in their original forms. 

But I never got into the original Guardians of the Galaxy comic. This movie is a far cry from the original comic, and I used to get them confused with the Guardians of the Universe from Green Lantern. Some geek I am.


(copyright Marvel/Disney)

Good thing Marvel held on to this copyright. It must be a nerve wracking experience to decide which property will take off and become a box office blockbuster. The alien archer Yondu got quite an overhaul, going from a superhero to an outlaw leader of a group of "ravagers".

* * * * *

 Bring on the Bad Guys. To my knowledge, Ronan and these characters never crossed paths, at least in the "Bronze Age" of comics.


(copyright Marvel/Disney)
 Special guest villain - Ronan the Accuser.


(copyright Marvel/Disney)
Extra special guest villain - Thanos!

Forty years ago, I could not  have imagined movies like this. The special effects technology simply did not exist. And audiences would have laughed... or yawned at actors running around in tights!
But someone had the drive to put out this film. I haven't enjoyed a movie like this in a long time.