Sunday, September 27, 2020

ROCK BAKER'S CARTOON CUTIES: TIME FOR ISSUE #3!!!

Rock Baker's Cartoon Cuties #3 is now available for purchase from InDellible Comics. As with the previous issues, this one's filled with bubbling spirits and Cutie charms, as those amazing Annies of scenic Creek Bend once again grab the spotlight.

For this issue, we're served such Cutie personalities as Crissy Carrots; Daisy Poise; Beverly and Jeannie Baxter; Yvette Pond; Sugar Chestnut; Honey Garner; Misty Carter; Lois Teppert;  Mala Winston (who's tossed into a most revealing set-up!); and (my personal fave among the Annies) Minerva Mallen (joined by the wondrous Wendy Marco) in one of the craziest Annie adventures ever. (I, for one, will never look at coconuts the same way again!) 

Each and every story, however, is molded to give one the giggles, while warming one's heart. It's all part of Baker's artistic and storytelling skills, as he succeeds in mingling sexiness with contagious innocence.

In addition, Baker's panels, enhanced by Marc Haines, Jim Ludwig and Rusty Gilligan's colorful assistance, do a stand-up job referencing comics of the past, when many were published for the sole sake of making one feel good with their identifiable concepts and vibrant visuals. How gracious of Baker and his collaborators to get readers back to those precious basics!

I can't recommend Cartoon Cuties enough. Issue #3 only increases my need to praise Baker's merry creation all the further. 

Hop on the Cartoon Cuties sensation today:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08JF2DJXF?fbclid=IwAR2CgzQZAPR3HzrMF7CzqZHfuKMr6laYebylbEU8PO8YFT5seIeCLSAnyjA

Friday, September 25, 2020

AIRSHIP 27 PODCAST (OCT '20): READY FOR LIFTOFF!!!

Autumn is here and with it, a crisp, Airship 27 podcast.

For the Oct '20 installment, Ron Fortier and Rob Davis share more New Pulp developments, including info on Richard L. Kellogg/Gary Cato's latest, Barry Baskerville (Christmas-story) mystery; Airship's need for more illustrators to cover its many in-the-pipeline titles (including "The Purple Scar, Vol 4", for which I've contributed an adventure); "Mark Justice's The Dead Sheriff, Vol 4" (also by yours truly); and the scoop on the late, great, sword-and-soul-fiction creator, Charles Saunders and Airship 27's pledge to expand his celebrated mythologies and related characters.

The "Ravenwood Vol 4" audio book (as performed by Joe Formichella, which includes, no less, another of my tales) is referenced, as well. (BTW, this audio entry and eighteen, new Airship 27 titles are now available from trusty ol' Radio Archives, so do yourself a favor and take a look and listen at

https://www.radioarchives.com/SearchResults.asp?Search=Ravenwood+Stepson+of+My&Search.x=0&Search.y=0.)

In fact, enjoy all the New Pulp bells and whistles by visiting 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ENRgJYkiyxI&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR3oyQq02xpfR_kxSGfHSXNmr8Nv9N-D7ZZjBs5YolObyP5Ph2c30H9xTBQ

You're in for a swell, soaring time!!!

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

STATIC-MATION CUTIES: MARK HOLMES INTERVIEWED

In August 2020, I had he pleasure of interviewing renown pin-up artist, Rock Baker regarding his Cartoon Cuties Static-mation shorts. As Baker confirmed, his friend and creative partner, Mark Holmes (of Femforce fame), enhances the panels' flow with delightful, musical additives. 

I had the chance to interview Holmes, at which time he elaborated on his present and future plans for Cartoon Cuties.

Mike: Your choice of music works well for the Static-Mation shorts, Mark. I'm aware that your selected music is public domain, and yet it streams with precision to Baker's stories. How do you know what to tap into for an installment? Is your process instinctual, intentional or both?

Mark: Most Public Domain music I have found was created around the turn of the last century up until the 1930s. So it inherently has an "Old Timey" and innocent feel to it. When initially searching for music I searched for "Public Domain Cartoon Music" and found a couple of sites that I tapped into. So I pointed myself in the right direction and hit the target by accident. It wasn't until later that filmmaker, Joshua Kennedy pointed out YouTube's rich library of music that spans genres and time periods. Then I started to draw from there. 

Mike: Is there a certain choice of music that stands out to you among the Static-Mation shorts: one that seems maybe tailor-cut for a tale? For example, the "hillbilly" music for "The Legend of Lover's Bridge" fits to a tee to my ears.

Mark: Yes! I like that one also. Steve Reed's original piece in "Another Reason" is just about perfect. Truth be told, when I first saw Scott Joplin's The Entertainer was available and "Sister Act" came across my screen, I knew those two had to go together. That music selection is my favorite so far. 

Mike: Some of the recent Static-Mation tracks have proven more poignant than whimsical or comical. Do you see Cartoon Cuties heading in a more earnest direction as the mythology expands? (Baker's prose stories do, in fact, feature such deeper emotions.) How might such tonality impact the scores?

Mark: Rock is an old soul and draws from many areas. He has shown to have a pretty good balance of the comedic and dramatic. I personally lean toward the comedy, but I have become a little misty-eyed putting together some of these cartoons. I try to choose the music to fit the piece so comedy gets more upbeat and romance get the sappy stuff and drama gets whatever fits the mood. 

Mike: You've presented your musical-implementation process in an excellent YouTube video, but for the sake of this interview, can you give a basic rundown of the procedure?

Mark: Basically Rock sends me the plates, and I organize them in a stand-alone folder where I can work with them. I assemble in an open-source movie-maker program at six seconds per frame. I then save the video with no sound. I isolate the video in its own player and watch the silent video and get a general feel for what I have. I then go to one of my music sources, generally YouTube Music Library these days, and search out the theme. For instance, in "Living the Dream", we start off with a relaxing dream that turns into a nightmare. I searched for Dream Music and got several choices. Most didn't fit the bill because of the severe mood swing two-thirds of the way into the video. When I listened to the song, Lucid Dreamer, it had a severe mood shift built in, but in the wrong place! I had to whack off a good bit of the opening music to get that one to line up.

Mike: Baker intends to extend the Static-Mation format into traditional animation. When that happens, how will you tackle the technique? It would be trickier to implement or am I wrong? 

Mark: There is a famous, Clint Eastwood quote: "A man has to know his limitations." Personally, I am at my limit. A traditional cartoon is the next step and would require a composer who knows what he's doing. I would gladly step aside and let someone with real musical knowledge, talent and ability take over. 

Mike: As a "sound man", I'm assuming you'd also be involved with the voice and related, audio effects for traditional animation. Any thoughts and/or hopes on such?

Mark: Once again I would pass that off to someone else with experience in the subject. 

Mike: What are your musical influences, particularly with motion-picture soundtracks? Who are the composers you hold in high regard, and would any of them suit Cartoon Cuties, if you could only employ them? 

Mark: I love music movie soundtracks. I used to play the "Star Wars" soundtrack, James Bond, "Grease", "Saturday Night Fever", Spaghetti Western themes over and over again. Anything that I could get my hands on. Music and video always went together for me. I was around 18 when MTV premiered, and boy did that hit the spot. Music and short film combined. I view every Cartoon Cuties short as a mini movie and a music video. 

Mike: What draws you to Cartoon Cuties? For that matter, what entices you about Baker's artwork and storytelling in general? The two of you share a Femforce connection, and you've each worked with filmmaker, Joshua Kennedy, so there's are evident overlaps in your tastes and creative circles. 

Mark: From 2000 to 2010, I was completely out of comics That luxury had to go as at that time money needed to go elsewhere. I was a HUGE fan of AC Comics back in the day and missed getting Femforce comics for ten years. One birthday, my wife got me the entire back order of issues I missed, and I discovered the artist, Rock Baker. He drew stunningly beautiful, busty women, and I really fell for his style. An Internet search found him on Facebook, so my kids helped me set up an account so I could contact him. We share many interest like classic tv and movies. We have been more than Facebook friends ever since. When I started writing for Femforce comics, Rock and I collaborated on many stories, including "Book 'em, Synn", my first story ever published. 

Rock and I bounce off ideas with each other all the time. I came up with Crissy Carrot's catch phrase, "Hoppin Hassenpheffer" way back there when Cartoon Cuties was a different kind of animal. 

Cartoon Cuties is Rock's baby and a labor of love for him. I point out things I like and things I don't like. We do not always see eye to eye. We have a strong enough friendship where I am brutally honest with him, and he has big enough shoulders where so he can take it.  In the end, he is the boss on this outfit, and I'm just a hired gun.  

Mike: Baker has said he plans to promote Cartoon Cuties: the Static-Mation Collection further with a DVD release, but after that happens, how long do you anticipate it will take the two of you to get to the next animation phase? 

Mark: Rock needs to find a proper animator first. I will always be there as a sounding board if he needs me. 

Mike: Do you envision a Cartoon Cuties feature-length film, and if that opportunity were to arise, would you consider original music material for it. For the sake of a wish list, what composers might you consider? 

Mark: I would like to see an anthology piece with several shorts loosely tied together in a feature. Personally, I hope Rock can find a young composer and give that person the job.

Mike: Thanks for your insights, Mark!

Mark: Thanks for having me!

One can view Baker/Holmes' Static-Mation Cuties at   

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=69ktqR8dq_c&list=PLRPxwK10j5iR8_17DWy9y2ItfIWCSzIhp.

AU REVOIR, NANCY SAUNDERS...

Many will remember you best from your "Three Stooges" shorts ("I'm a Monkey's Uncle", "Stone Age Romeo" and "The Ghost Talks!" {as Lady Godiva}) and your western work with Charles (the Durango Kid) Starrett and Smiley Burnett, but you also made a delightful impression in other productions, in addition to holding court as one of the prettiest pin-ups imaginable. 

Included on your accomplished list is "Lone Wolf of London"; "A Likely Story"; "The Locket"; "Brideless Groom"; "The Bamboo Blonde"; "It Had to be You"; "Slappily Married"; "The Thirteenth Hour"; "Law of the Canyon"; "Arizona Territory"; "Six-Gun Law"; "South of the Chisholm Trail"; "West of Dodge City"; "Prairie Raiders"; "Whirlwind Raiders"; "Her Husband's Affairs"; "The Millerson Case"; "The Woman at the Beach"; "When a Girl's Beautiful"; and "Loves of Carmen".

Rest assured, Ms. Saunders, your legacy will continue to entertain and entrance, as you take your prestigious place among Heaven's adoring angels.  

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

SCARY MONSTERS #118: A CARNIVAL OF SOULS, GLOW-IN-THE-DARK, HALLOWEEN SALUTE!!!

Scary Monsters #118 is here, with an atmospheric, glow-in-the-dark-cover issue that salutes Herk Harvey's avant-garde triumph, "Carnival of Souls". (Isn't Scott Jackson's front-and-back cover artwork beyond spectral? And once slipped into the murkiness, his thematic collage grows all the creepier!)

In addition to "Carnival", the haunted horrors covered in this issue include "The Old Dark House '32"; "The Haunting '63"; "The Changeling"; "13 Ghosts '60"; and "The Ghost and Mr. Chicken" (with plenty of nifty, Don Knotts fillers to go along). 

In addition, there's harrowing Halloween fiction and remembrances; paranormal hi jinks; a cool ghost town; ghost hunters; a Don Post homage; "Burn, Witch, Burn"; "The Twilight Zone"; Roddy McDowall's golem gem, "It!"; and a guest-starring spot for that keen, killer-ventriloquist-dummy classic, "Devil Doll".  

Scary Monsters #118 is sculpted to get one in a perfect, pre-Halloween mood. Snatch up a copy at 

https://www.mymoviemonsters.com/store.php/mymoviemonsters/pd9853639/scary-monsters-118-ghastly-ghosts-amp-spooky-specters-preorder-coming-sept.

PIN-UP TIME: VIRGINIA NORTH AS VULNAVIA (PHIBES #1)