*Good god what a day. Nothing but hustling here and there for nothing more than the privilege of sitting around for hours. And my legs still ache from yesterday: I was actually involved in a race against time. I had one hour to get a shitload of stuff together and obtain my paycheck before it was too late and I’d have to wait to have it mailed to me despite the fact that I needed the money today. Well I beat the clock, but I literally had to run much of the way. I can’t believe I used to run cross-country in high school. That must have been a different body. Somebody switched bodies on me while I was sleeping just for a laugh. I’ll have to write them a strongly-worded letter if I ever find their address. I bet my old body is being used for some degenerate yet undeniably fun purpose. Perverts. My ankles hurt.

*I did, however, get my copy of Gary Panter’s “Jimbo in Purgatory” and it’s even bigger than I’d thought. Like I knew the dimensions beforehand (17.25 x 12.00 inches!) but I hadn’t really thought to apply those measurements to real life. Little kids can stand the book up and open it and literally hide behind it. The cover is an awesomely gaudy thing, all blood-red and black lines and gleaming gold foil. It’s very well-done though; I loved how black cross-hatching was used to dull some the effect of the gold, leaving the ‘pure’ gold to the woman at the center of the image, whose lines are red (the same red as the rest of the cover) rather than black in order the further accentuate the gold as contrasted with the general red of the surrounding area. Quite an eye-catcher. I have no idea how I’m gonna store this thing. I’ll have to put it on the same stack as my old issues of “Acme Novelty Library”, the really big ones. There are only 33 story pages, each one dated (the work was done from 1997-2000) and densely packed with text and detail. There are ‘footnotes’ at the bottom of each page, but they aren’t numbered; it’s more of a list of the works consulted in the creation of each page, with no explanation as to how they were used. There’s also a bonus page devoted to thirty-three of Panter’s favorite vinyl LPs. I’ll try to have a review up soon, but this one’s gonna take a while to devour.

*You like Ralph Bakshi. C’mon, sure you do! You know deep in your heart that the later episodes of the 60’s “Spider-Man” cartoon were the best ones, especially the cut-up ones, pasted together from older episodes into a new semi-narrative, with strident dubbing and dialogue lathered on top to keep it moving. The earlier episodes, those were cheesy fun, and a bit more faithful to the contemporary status-quo of the comics, but those later ones were sublime in their desperation. It’s so rickety and energetic. Sure Bakshi’s feature films weren’t all winners. But “Heavy Traffic” and “Coonskin” were genuinely adventurous experiments in semi-autobiographical, sometimes improvised cartoon moviemaking. Too bad “Heavy Traffic” is only out in a cropped, edited dvd with few extras, and “Coonskin” is still VHS-only (unless there’s a laserdisc I don’t know of).

Anyway, in case you didn’t know, the final entry in Bakshi’s ’fantasy trilogy’ is coming soon to dvd: “Fire and Ice”. Co-written with comics stalwarts Gary Conway and Roy Thomas, and co-produced with Frank Frazetta, “Fire and Ice” came out in 1982, after a little break from fantasy filmmaking. The scattershot “Wizards” (1977) had led right into Bakshi‘s ill-fated production of about half of “The Lord of the Rings” (1978), which saw Bakshi’s style leaning more and more toward a rotoscoping-fueled ‘realistic’ animation style. His next film, “American Pop” (1981), featured an almost exclusively rotoscoped character animation style. Bakshi also completed work on “Hey Good Lookin’” (1982), which I think began production before “Wizards”, but remained unfinished for years. “Fire and Ice” reflects a further refinement of Bakshi’s realist style, only reunited with fantasy elements; it‘s smoother than “The Lord of the Rings“, in that there‘s no heavily tinted live-action footage of people in monster costumes.

The disc is coming from Blue Underground (web site may not be work-safe), which is very interesting news. They specialize in obscure horror and exploitation films, with a particular taste for European gore and sex. They’ve been branching out lately though, with a special edition of David Cronenberg’s early drag-racing film “Fast Company”, and they’re prepping a box set of work by British director Alan Clarke. There’s no set release date for “Fire and Ice”, but it’s sure to be a fun release.

*If you haven't yet, you ought to read Jason's "You Can't Get There From Here". Ken recently enjoyed it. Dave Intermittent sure liked it. You know I'd steer you toward it. You'll be amused and moved and you'll marvel at Jason's near-invisible yet total command of the page. Give it a shot.

*I can’t even twist these ankles. Man. That’s enough for now; more comical reviews tomorrow.

*And Sean, good luck and we'll see you again soon!