Polaroid 600 // Memphis, Tennessee // March 2014
We ate a lot of takeout for dinner growing up, mostly fast food—Captain D’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Krystal. After nearly twenty years as a vegetarian it all seems kind of hilarious, maybe even abusive, constantly jamming these bizarre processed shapes into our bodies. I loved it all at the time, though. My favorite of all of them was Sunday afternoons, when my dad would clamor for his favorite, and we’d get Chinese at the nice Chinese restaurant, the Dragon, over by Century Plaza.
I remember the crunchy noodles the best—that, and the placemats, my sister perpetually beating me in a game of Who Was Born in a Cooler Year because her ‘76 Dragon would always beat my Rabbit, or so we thought in 1985.
I think the Dragon still exists in one form or another, just by a different mall.
"If someone had told me in the early ’70s that the premier artist of my age would be a triumphantly average mediocre Canadian talent, with utterly ciphrous skills, and no particular grasp of anything beyond a very average approach to the material, I would have laughed."
—Howard Chaykin, Amazing Heroes #132, 1988.
Art from a Time²preview ad.
Illustration by Glen Orbik
For the Howard Chaykin-written series AMERICAN CENTURY.
"One of the consequences of the cybernetic revolution had been the revival of eloquence. When programming reached the same-language level, suddenly the best programmers were precisely those people who could articulate most clearly and to the greatest purpose.[…] You do not remember what it was like before, when heroes were mute and chairmen were illiterate, when fluency was seen as the stigma of impractical dreamers and coherence was transmogrified in the mouths of Communications Experts. But suddenly, astonishingly, all those veek mulladoids who had been incapabale of a complete sentence could talk. They could write. In fact, as it developed, any un-brain-damaged human was capable of linguistic precision, power, and elegance, so long as there was something in it for him, like say the chance to make a buck.
It was serendipitous, perhaps, that the first true CEO of the U.S. had had his Ll.D., that he had battled his way to the top not in spite of, but with the aid of, Shakespeare and Yeats and Gandy. It became expedient to quote Harington and the No Poet, as it had once been expedient, in other circles, to be conversant with the Bible, or the sayings of Chairman Mao. Now that you can’t get anywhere in the business world without a firm grasp of rhetoric, good English teachers can make hundreds of thousands a year, and there is still, after three-quarters of a century, a drastic shortage of them. No, you can’t imagine now the way that it used to be. I am sure you do not believe my description of the past. You might believe this is written by a vampire, but you could not possibly believe that.”
- From Nightshade (1989) by Jack Butler.
Mardis Gras, Fat Tuesday, 1937
Photo by Eudora Welty
This image used to be on the wall of the 5th floor entrance at DC Comics….it’s no longer there…
History of the DC Universe Poster (1987) by an incredible roster of artists, including: Jim Mooney, Jim Aparo, Steve Bissette/John Totleben, Denys Cowan, P. Craig Russell, Mart Nodell, Joe Staton, Dave Stevens, Bill Sienkiewicz, Jack Kirby/Mike Royer, Keith Giffen, Brett Blevins/Al Williamson, Michael Kaluta, Gene Colan, Steve Lightle, Brian Bolland, Michael T Gilbert, Jim Starlin, Joe Kubert, Art Adams, Walt Simonson, Paul Norris, Mike Grell, Mary Wilshire, Andy Kubert, Gil Kane, Kurt Schaffenberger, Bob Kane, Curt Swan, George Pérez, Howard Chaykin, Jan Duursema, Carmine Infantino, Jim Steranko, Gray Morrow, Neal Adams, Murphy Anderson, Dave Gibbons, Gilbert Hernandez, Dan Spiegle, Frank Thorne, Ramona Fradon, Matt Wagner, Ernie Colon, Bob Kane, Irwin Hasen, Joe Orlando, Dave Stevens, Pat Broderick, Steve Rude, Frank McLaughlin, and Dick Giordano
1987 and someone thought, “We should definitely include the racist-caricature version of Chop Chop and turn this whole thing into an offensive embarrassment.”
(via Inkstuds Spotlight: A Conversation With Qiana Whitted)
Come get your history lesson for the day
My friends The Delicate Cycle have released their debut album, and it features some of my Polaroid portraits. It’s pretty, smart pop that makes me happy to know them.
The stories in the comic books were illuminated lives. They might have been panels of stained glass. They radiated glory. The superheroes in their auras strode. One might imagine a writer praying to learn a similar prose, a style that might inform the ordinary and dear with something of the same light, a sense of color that might explain why such small things should seem so valuable. Hoping to hell not to fall to mere cartoon. Cartoon, maybe. God help us, please not mere.