Monday, May 31, 2010

Lure of the Enchantress

Enchantress knows the immobile Destroyer is of little use. “This grotesque form can be resumed easily enough; yet I draw now into my eternally beauteous body” she thinks, transferring back into the body she’s brought back to within an arm’s length, with but a pass of her hand. Before the Enchantress touches the ground, she levitates, fully possessed of her own consciousness, outside the stone-frozen Destroyer. “How much this pleases me,” she coos, “to have you all now beside me, free of that loathsomely obsessed form!” There is no defensiveness in her posture, effortlessly displaying her most charming self as the remaining Thor, Iron Man, and Captain America approach her from thirty or so yards away.
She Hulk digs into the stones fallen beside the dazed Grey Gargoyle, who takes several of these to the head. Determined to reach the person on the other side, she quickly excavates Sgt. Holt out of rubble. She also takes a formidable boulder and throws it at sputtering Midnight Sun, whose damaged aero discs, he assesses, serve little further purpose indeed after Hawkeye’s attack.
In fact, Iron Man still ponders the effectiveness of the cobalt ray treatment in restoring the avenging bowman, when he turns his immediate attention to the gaze of the lithe, unguarded, soft-eyed
Enchantress: What now have you to give me?
A girl on her special day?
Thor: What designs have ye on the Destroyer?
Enchantress: I’m quite happy to be free now in my own body. I’m so much more comfortable this way!
Captain America closes his eyes, shrugs and says: Remember what she’s...capable of!!!
“I’ve no special reason to harm you, brave Captain,” she replies, as snake arms of ectoplasmic substance venture into the cavern, seeping like vapors through the dusty aperture that lies beyond Thor’s arched back, flowing past his crimson cape to seek passage where none seems possible.
“You warriors would do well to partake of the wine with me! Even a goddess may some day celebrate, for such is the blessing to one who would enjoy long life, that we may connect the years out of mind with memory.”

“Drinking on the job wouldn’t be too much smarter than fighting the Destroyer!” quips Iron Man.
“I drink of many things, armored hero,” she replies, walking towards him as his boot jets bring him steadily to the ground. “We self-made wizards know like no other the thrill of our plans acting out in time and fortune! Yet is it any wonder we seek release from the brilliance of invention in an equal genius for...animal pleasures?”
The drifting hands reach the other side of the fallen rock pile which shifts, disheveled, before She Hulk’s tremendous strength and speed. Each takes hold of the two Norn Stones
“This is not the conversation I flew in here to have, Enchantress,” replies Iron Man, relaxing to a degree that distresses the alert Steve Rogers.
“Iron Man, you’re not asking enough questions!”
“Truly, there is much about which we might converse!” she says with a playful laugh. “Can you feel me surrender with such a fierce spirit in my presence? The time for helmets and shields is done, fair one. Let slip the cogs of war.”
“There’s...a lot I’d like to let slip,” replies Iron Man, perilously close to removing his helmet.
“As your fellow Avenger, I bid you beware,” mumbles Thor.
“Old friend, there’s no need for anyone here to feel jealous. I see everything this day I want, sitting precious in my hands!”
The man clutching the Norn Stones clings for dear life, dragged across the cave floor.
“How darling, you should hold the hands of my mind,” she says to him, beckoning for effect with her repetitively curling finger. “Never let it be said, Amora has not love enough for all she deems worthy!”
Her eyebrows arch; her cheeks squeeze high and tightly; her eyes dazzle with the essence of desire.

Concludes Next Post!!!!

Avengers: Ghosts of the Deviant Stronghold!: the Power of the Destroyer


When the Enchantress returns to the chamber, she levitates the body of the Absorbing Man close beside the Destroyer. As soon as they are at arms’ length, the mind becomes active again in the criminal, leaving the brutal destruction engine standing, inert.

“My intentions were to use the captured Valkyrie as the means of bringing Destroyer to life! Though I am loathe to leave my nigh-immortal, graceful frame...”
Suddenly, she merges her mind with the Destroyer, who raises its fists in defiance of all life present!

“Beware, Avengers!” shouts Thor. “Yon construct was created by Odin himself to stand as defense against the Celestials! Brute force will not be enough to stop it!”
“I have a plan!” shouts Cap. “But we have to get Gargoyle and the Destroyer lined up in position.”
With a concussive blast from its fingers the Destroyer crushes Thor into the wall; with its lowered visor, it opens fire on Iron Man. But which of the five is the real one? The walls behind the phantom images pulverize, even as the unharmed Avenger blasts the Destroyer with his chest-mounted unibeam. With a wave of its hand, the Destroyer begins to use magnetism to begin spinning the actual Iron Man beyond his own control.

(Prototype action cartoon)
Captain America leaps to Iron Man’s aid, to steady him, his shield now strapped to his back to free his hands. Just as Iron Man’s gyros begin to orient him, he begins firing his boot jets, the thrust directing him into an awkward headstand, crunching his fingers down into the ground. The Grey Gargoyle grabs the stone form of Hawkeye and hurls it at the star-spangled Avenger, who rolls forward tucked in a tight ball, springing out at full length to perform a hand stand and kick Sabretooth’s jaw.

Iron Man’s pulse bolts increase with kinetic force as they rush towards the Destroyer; still, the robot advances, haltingly. “Thor? Can you engage the Destroyer for a few seconds? I’m going to try generating an electromagnetic impulse...”

Grimly, Thor takes a blast from the Destroyer, then raises Mjolnir to batter the impossible foe. Captain America asks: “isn’t this creature powerless without the spirit of another within it? If we find the person’s body...”
“It’s the Enchantress, here,” says She Hulk, “but I can’t reach her body! There’s some sort of ward set over it.”

“Then let’s deal with this in a more nuts-and-bolts approach!” declares Iron Man. “EMP active in three...two...” A strange sound emits from his armor, which then collapses. However, the Destroyer continues to advance, unaffected. “That...that should’ve shut down its circuits!” says a frustrated Iron Man.

“Reminds me...I really HATE magic! It's not so much I wouldn't love to know it in a strictly mathematical way...but it's so unpredictable when you're fighting it for your life!"
Cap evades the Absorbing Man’s ball and chain, thrown like a hammer. His own throw connects with Creel, but unfortunately gives him the properties of Cap’s indestructible shield! This provides him protection when the Destroyer’s pulsing bolts blast away a huge chunk of the cavern. She-Hulk hammers away at him, but he remains unharmed. He then decides to try absorbing some of She-Hulk’s strength, as Titania rises again and crushes a boulder into the back of She-Hulk’s head.

Treacherously, the Grey Gargoyle speedily touches the shield while Cap’s back remains turned. The stone-heavy shield throws off his balance, but Cap delivers a round house kick to Gargoyle’s bread basket.

Thor notices the Destroyer again lowering its visor: "The disintegration beam! Nay, Destroyer!" With his magic mallet bearing the malevolent might of its attack, Thor leaps between the beam and his fellow Avengers, enduring its devastation! For what is immortal life, if not a gift freely offered for one's friends? The Destroyer directs the binding universal force of gravity, to nail Thor, arms to the sides, down on his knees to the spot. She Hulk, however, quickly bears the wounded Thunder God out of the way of the beam's smoldering passage.

Rushing to protect Captain America's flank, She Hulk runs up behind Grey Gargoyle, subduing both his arms with a full nelson hold, as a shieldless Captain America narrowly evades more crumbling stone. Thor collides with the Destroyer, battering it with his hammer. At that moment, the small black man with one hand, from the airplane earlier, strides into the chamber, smiling with determination in his eyes.

“Too bad I couldn’t get my hands back on the shield!“ says Absorbing Man, “The energies from that blasted robot are getting to me!” He advances on Iron Man, as eldritch energies crackling from the Destroyer run riot throughout the chamber. Iron Man, still rebooting his online systems after the EMP, uses his back-up power to his exo-skeleton to throw his refractory-coated armor in the way of the deadly beams from its head. The Destroyer trains its power upon Thor, then turns to bat Iron Man. Absorbing Man closes the gap now. “Guess I’ll have to settle for the armored Avenger!”

Absorbing Man touches Iron Man’s armor, and begins to take on its appearance. “Be a pleasure, clobbering ya with your own armor’s power!” His face becomes metallic, with circuitry appearing all over his skin.
Cap assesses the positions of the villains and shouts:

“She Hulk! Throw Grey Gargoyle at Sabretooth, NOW!”

“Have a nice trip, you bad-tempered garden gnome!” she says, as she launches him like an inhuman missile towards Sabretooth. The feral villain snarls and drops on his belly, out of the way. However, to his dismay, the Gargoyle’s touch freezes the Destroyer, stone cold, in its tracks!

“Take care, my friends,” says Thor, “I know not how long this ploy will keep the Destroyer at bay!”

“Who are you?” Iron Man asks the small black man. “In this melee, you could be totaled!” His armor has begun working again after the electromagnetic impulse; he lurches to his feet.

“They call me Nido,” he replies, without glancing backwards. “Just one thing I need to take care of here!”

Punches through his powerful exo-skeleton fail to free Iron Man. Then he stops to think. He gives a cybernetic command as he gestures with open hand over his head and begins to emit sound waves. When Absorbing Man takes on their properties, he begins to vanish, transmuted into pure sound!

“Noo!” cries out Titania. “What have you done with Crusher?”
His angry scream is the last sign of his presence.

Iron Man takes out a strange-looking device from his chest-plate and aims it at the statue-like Hawkeye. "Perhaps this will help loosen you up a bit---a cobalt ray based on a device the Gargoyle once attempted to steal! It made him human; let's hope it'll do the same for you, Archer!"

"If a lil' ole ray beam can make Mr. Disposition here human, you might have to put it on the market!" snarks She Hulk.

Next: The Enchantress' final stand! Her Destroyer plan fully revealed! WHO are the Celestials? And WHAT is the connection between the Celestials and gods that led to the Destroyer's creation in the first place?

The mystery of the twins, the phantoms of the lost Deviant catacombs, and the enigma of the one called Nido! Prepare for the smash conclusion: "Heart of the Mountain!"

Continues on

Friday, May 28, 2010

Ghosts of the Deviant Stronghold! Iron Man and the Avengers

From part two:

Captain America: Iron Man! Thor! AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!!!!
Grey Gargoyle: Just one touch, and I’ll...
Cap: Catching my shield is a matter of practice, Gargoyle! (flings shield into Gargoyle’s head) Something tells me you’re not trying out for the Mets.
Thor: The Absorbing Man must NOT come within an arm’s length of yon Destroyer! As God of Thunder do I call the winds to sweep away this doom!
Absorbing Man: Suddenly this whole place is cracking up and flying away! Blast it, Enchantress! He’s picking me up off the ground with a hurricane force!
Iron Man: My force field will keep us both from being swept away, Cap!
Captain America: I don’t know what the Enchantress is doing here, but as soon as we’re clear, she’s got to be stopped next! She’s powerful---unpredictable! And most likely behind this plot!
Iron Man: Hawkeye, She-Hulk! I detect you flying into the antechamber now! Thor’s cooked up
She Hulk: We’re getting long-hair’s summer breeze back here in the cave, Shell head!
Hawkeye: But I think we’ve picked up a hairy hitch-hiker on the way in! I’ll try not to crash this sky-cycle, and we’ll be right there!
Holt: I’m about to be sucked into the storm! The dusty vault with these stones nearly left me blind. They don’t even know I’m here...which is all that’s kept me alive, so far!
Suddenly, as Iron Man deactivates his force field, Midnight Sun glides in on his aero-discs and kicks him into the wall, skimming past. Captain America charges the Enchantress, too quickly for her to put her plan into motion. Titania still stand beside the Destroyer, imprisoned in an eerie glow.
Enchantress: By the dark trolls, Avenger! I’ll have your mortal life for this.
Grey Gargoyle: Our forces cannot be divided thus! Absorbing Man!
Leaping into the air, Gargoyle reaches out for the wind-swept villain. With a touch he turns him to stone, so he falls back to the ground near the frozen Destroyer.
Grey Gargoyle: The nature of his power should allow him to take the stone touch and still remain mobile. Were such a brilliant chemist as I, Paul Duval, to have such ability to absorb energies and substances, I’d be truly unstoppable!
Absorbing Man, changed now to stone on the surface and too heavy to been blown out of the ripped open cavern, struggles quickly to reach the Destroyer, while Sabretooth lands directly onto Iron Man. In the moment it takes for Iron Man to wrest free, Absorbing Man reaches the immobile Destroyer. Desperately, Thor hurls his war hammer Mjolnir into the robot, smashing it over...but not quite far enough out of reach!

As his hammer magically speeds back to the hand of its thrower, Thor cries out to Iron Man:
Quickly! Render yourself and all Avengers invisible!
Iron Man complies, as Midnight Sun comes barreling at Captain America on his aero-discs once more, to deliver a brutal kick. To his chagrin, Hawkeye fires an arrow with a bola tip that engages and swings around Sun’s left leg; the resultant imbalance slams him into the wall, and then the ground, where another arrow hits his right aero disc, releasing a corrosive that causes it to fall off the dazed assassin. The Enchantress sees Creel touch the Destroyer, and as the mind-transfer into the robot occurs, she disappears, saying:
The first thing the Destroyer sees upon its awakening, it will attempt to destroy, without rest! It can’t see meeeee...(fwash!)
Three phantom forms appear before the Destroyer at that instant: one of them declares, “Quickly! We are intangible...let us distract this behemoth!” Sure enough, his initial blast goes straight through their vanishing forms.
Titania is also unfrozen at this moment; dazed she tries to gain her bearings. Grey Gargoyle tells her: “Woman, the Avengers want those stones atop ---there!” he says, pointing. She looks down at her feet and sees: “Crusher? Baby, you came for me! That must mean these other guys are fighting the Avengers!!”
She walks up to the precipice on which the Norn Stones rests and slams into it; “well, anything I can do as a non-favor to those smug hero creeps!” In the resulting pieces slide the twins.
“Dave! This whole thing’s crumbling!”
“I kinda noticed, Nick!”
“Look! Dad’s levitating! He’s gonna make it!”
“It’s that stone he’s holding!”
“Yeah...apparently he believes it’s happening, too.”
Steve Holt, frantically wishing not to be caught in the rock slide, instead finds himself drifting out of their reach. His face bears utter amazement; it is the Norn Stones reacting to his mental command not to slide into the rubble.
Iron Man and She Hulk, with a beam generating cold and a cold blow, knock the disoriented Titania out of commission momentarily.
Iron Man, visible once more, is checking his computers, onboard. “I detected three other life forms in this area for a moment! But whatever technology they’re using is giving off energy configurations like nothing I’ve seen on Earth! Are they a part of this strange chamber? It seems filled with markings and ...wall art?---from some fantastic hidden race...”
Thor’s hammer engages the villains; Sabretooth decides, as Grey Gargoyle falls upon the shattered cavern floor, that a Thunder God is above his pay grade. Instead, he rakes his claws across Captain America’s shield. A quick kick to the villain’s solar plexus backs him off long enough for Captain America to charge him shield-first. As Hawkeye rushes over to check Midnight Sun, the Grey Gargoyle freezes him with his hour-long stone touch.
The Destroyer remains frozen; it has no way to detect the foes it believes it was awakened to destroy! Thor wonders aloud if the robot will retain the Absorbing Man’s powers, as well. At that moment, however, the Enchantress reappears...

The twins bypass the scene of battle to continue the search, adjusting for space warped by the teleportation tunnel. "Should we try to leave clue, in case Dad is active in this realm?" Nick asks Dave.
"Never leaves Mom’s side in the one where we grew up!"

"Kinda hope he’s not in the middle of this scrap, ‘less he has powers like Dad where we grew up!”

“Well, you know he's got the Stones. This’ll be a different version of Dad, anyway. Sides, what if we are just as lost?
I’m beginning to suspect we are."

"Is that someone we know?"
"What kind of ghost would haunt a Deviant stronghold?"

"Old friends," comes a voice. The patterns begin to resolve into three forms...


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Baja sabor: Israel Maldonado

Continuing the spotlight on great local music: classical, Brazilian, reggae and salsa all meet in the versatile music of the Israel Maldonado Band.

Here's the band as I first met them: performing salsa and Brazilian percussion for a noisy crowd! This clip was made at Winston's in OB upon release of their 2007 cd.

Israel's in search of more live footage, as the live show is where the Latin rhythm best comes to life, with band inspired by dancing people and the energy of the moment. While it's hard to find a clip that truly does the band justice, they DO sound great in the studio as well.

He also teaches music in Solana Beach and Ocean Beach (not a bad place for a volleyball fanatic, either).
Looped music is a Maldonado passion; you will find him creating loops sometimes in shows as well. I've included a link

You can also find the band performing at Art Walk in my late April blogs. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

From the book Not a Word of This 2 Any 1

Have you found yourself lately?

I seem to have lost a self along the way.

If you see me, tell me I'm seeking!!!

I could sure use some help with my energy leaking.

2 places only seen in dreams
while life becomes full of facial creams
and Daily working toward my health

Vowing 2 do good with whatever wealth
Accumulates in my life sot that materialism may not cause me strife.
Oh True to be my own
and leave a well-made road a stone.
And letting the energy Flow His mind found room to Grow.

art Lue, words Marc

Well, I DID take out the ten Fantastic Four installments from their April, 2009, place. But this counts as Post 101, now. Here is a pen cartoon I created from my dearest friend Marc Kane's poem.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Heart of the Mountain: Avengers Assemble (pt 2) with Thor, Captain America, and more

Iron Man's repulsor nearly tracks the lithe form, twisting out of reach atop his flying discs. While Iron Man doesn't recognize Midnight Sun as a former pawn of Fu Manchu, he finds the physical skill a nuisance to his plan to quickly knock him out before he can draw another bead on Hawkeye. With the two of them to fill the air with peril, however, Midnight Sun can't attack either of them, and so he speeds into a crevice, almost vanishing before the naked eye, as Hawkeye's last arrow travels in a near-perfect arc to pulverise the stones beside the speeding criminal, who is showered by loose dirt and stones. He plunges within the mountain with Iron Man in hot pursuit.

Sabretooth roars, right in the face of the She Hulk, whose eyebrows arch as though disappointed. She then roars back, and says, "happy?" He sniffs the air, says, "no sweat." She connects much of a powerful punch to his face, saying, "Probably."
He's tantalized by her colossal power. "I've never killed a green babe before," he snarls, smiling.
"Put up or shut up," she says, advancing on him, "you're not stopping me from going into this cave. You don't look the type to surrender."
"But it might be a good idea," says Hawkeye, drawin his arrow. "Just sayin'."

Sabretooth turns and lopes away, full bore, for the crevice that received Midnight Sun.
"Can always finish you off in the dark," he says, darting in. But an arrow flies towards him, with a shaft full of gas that imparts to his steps a drunken lethargy.

"Of course," She Hulk says, "that's the direction we're going, too."
"Es nada, Shulkie," quips Hawkeye; "We'll have this sky-bike you safely parked going before you can say, 'two in the hole!'"
"Think I can withstand the gas cannister," retorts She Hulk, "how bout I use some of that marksman ship you showed me and just pitch you into the cave?"

"That's an X-Men cliche, this is the Avengers," says Hawkeye. "but I'm flattered you'd like to thrust me into..."
"There's a fine line between jokes and sexual harassment, Robin Hood," says She Hulk, righting the Avengers Sky Jet. "if this thing's in running condition, grab a seat on the back, we've got to catch up!"
"CaN i HOLD on?" he asks.

"Iron Man, this is Captain America; do you read my position?"
"Fixed, Captain. Zooming after this character into a sightless catacomb! I'm not picking up any navigational technology on him, yet he's instinctively cutting a swift path to the heart of the mountain!"
"That's where the strength for an ambush lies. But they don't know I'm almost right on top of them!"
"You ringing a doorbell to get in?"
"I've got a Norse god of thunder with the biggest doorknocker in the business converging with me on this hillside!"

And inside...

Absorbing Man! That android...posed to strike!
He's froze up, sure as you touched him yourself, Gargoyle!
Who is that woman?
TITANIA! Baby, izzat YOU?!

She and this machine are at the moment of transfer---of her mind into its body!
Enchantress!!! What's the game, woman?

So you DO care for this girl! I recognize Doom's catspaw from the Beyonder's world...Take her out of the way, at the moment I bring forth a substitute of my choosing, and she is yours!

Holt (thinking) Is this what's drawn me into this place? What can I do against a group of world-beater supervillains? What is the purpose of havi---those crystals! The size of a phone booth...there's someone inside! It's---it's HER!!!The Valkyrie! I can't leave her there---I've got to book it over to her, even all I can do is wish really hard to free her!

(whispering from shadows): Look! Our dad's going for it!

Kinda hope he’s not in the middle of this scrap, ‘less he has powers like Dad where we grew up!”
“This’ll be a different version of Dad, anyway."

"C'mon, dude, we've got to distract the stony grey guy! He's walking up on the huge stones with the lady inside!"
"Is that Mom?"

Absorbing Man:
Waitaminnit, Enchantress! How cum you've already got a patsy on hand for yer switcheroo? I ain't dumb enough to wonder why you have a plan!

I'm doing you a favor, Creel! If you want the wench, remove her from the Destroyer's reach while I bring forth the Norn Stones!

Holt (thinking) Keep talking, I've almost reached you, Blondie...

(whisper): Dad doesn't see him!
Grey guy! Let's move on him! While the others are talking!!!
Hey! We've got the stones to stop him, right here!
Say what?
Let's rock these boulders onto him!

Gargoyle: Wha?!?

(from shadows) We're not interested in your version of freeze tag, Frenchie!

Enchantress: Something's happening beside my Norn Stones!
Absorbing Man: Somebody rattlin' yer Asgardian jewels? Why don't I step up and touch this robot myself---we'll find out whatever properties it's got when I absorb its...


The whole cave is shaking!
One thing in the universe makes that noise! Quickly, fool, take her before...

Gargoyle: I know you're up there...whoever's dumping these pathetic rocks will soon find themselves a statue of unliving stone!

Holt: Got you, babe! I wish I could just carry you out of ...what the hey? The crystal's shrinking! It's palm-sized!

Enchantress: You grey buffoon, someone's taking the Norn Stones!
Absorbing Man: Don't worry, Titania, 'bout being frozen beside some idol! The Absorbing Man's got the touch!!!


Enchantress!! Absorbing Man! Be still!!! Heed the words of Thor, Son of Odin, villanous ones!!!

Iron Man(flying in): Can't top the man's entrance without a few showgirls---but how bout some fire works?

Grey Gargoyle:
The mountain side!!!It's ripping open! After all these years, the power of the Thunder God...

Absorbing Man:
At least now I got enough light to split open their heads, with the power in this ro---

Enchantress: NOOO!!!

Captain America: Iron Man! Thor! AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!!!!

Picks up, part three, on

San Diego's Funk Scene

My friend and neighbor Tuf Dana Alan is one of the most talented songwriters/ arrangers/ performers I've ever known. Several times now I've seen his perennial band, Zamore, anchored by G. Whiz on bass, featuring the S.D. Sax Man, and of course, my good friend Tuf-Dana. The lead singers rotate a bit, but those three are always there. My favorites are their Prince and Michael Jackson covers; they also did Atlantic Starr's "Always" So here's a little of their flavor, from B.B. King's in Hollywood.

Tuf-Dana is always in the funkiest bands in San Diego. He's the one who turned me on to Funk's Most Wanted. They play new songs from Nelly, Outkast, Parliament, Earth Wind & Fire, Prince, Morris Day and the Time, Venega Boys, Robert Palmer's "Early in the Morning", "Take On Me," Cameo and, really, all kinds of good Old School.

My favorite FMW show was at House of Blues; my Mom was visiting (!) and insisted on going with us, despite intimations that the show could be a little, er, burlesque. Well, the first act was...Mom never went for this kind of thing growing up, but we were close by, gettin' down, while she stood with our friend L.O. (whose ankle was in a cast) beside the stage. During "the Single Life" one of the singers looked straight down at her and said, "How 'bout YOU, Mama?!?" She turned bright red...which is hard to see in a House of Blues....

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Marginal Findings

in all of us

there is a hero, if for no one else but ourselves until the time comes.

The Plot will Move Along

Imagination, Speculation, Iteration: Existence.

Briefly I'd like to say, the feelings of the world I wished to forever more experience were clear through adolescence, but before I got out of second grade, the wonder of carrying on the stories presented in the first 30 comic books ever given to us kids one Christmas Day assured that I would ponder interconnected, mysterious and exciting happenings on the best of the rest of my days.

Last year, I began rehabilitating my work after the death of my father, Cecil, from pulmonary fibrosis, at 57. I began with about thirty pages of hand written letters to my friend who'd shown up after absent years to support me at the funeral, along with a few close-by childhood friends, who all convened at his house the night after the burial to make something amazing and benevolent. Upon his encouragement, though I did not have a computer of my own for years between 2003 and 2008, I'd signed into an online forum that celebrated comic books, so much its name was secretly meant to represent, "Iron Man With A Nose."

Our IMWAN chum Dave Toxik.

Then there were, at the library, "me e-mails from Bali in Sri Lanka," where I thought of being, half the time, and my partnership with Angela Dawn kept me somewhat interested in a thread back to the comic books worlds that inspired me, voicing all characters and sound effects and music, depending on how busy my vocal chords were, somewhere Juustt beyond sight, so I could play with abandon.

Once you've been That kid, there are just certain roots you need to revisit each day when you look at the world.

Well, startin with Fantastic Four appearing across my lucid and then R.E.M. and then lucid again dreams, within a day or so I composed the first of ten installations of my emulation of the great King-Size Annual format; a tale longer than the usual monthly comic book we readers knew as "double sized"! With it began a window from Beyond (no, nothing to do with SECRET WARS planet...that I knew of...) where three long-thought dead Viking adventurers dove into modern future, one containing the Fantastic Four as I remembered them advertised in my childhood (no issues of that from the Penguin mascot-topped salvage store, D & L Supply, out on mysterious highway through West Rome. Why, the first official comic I'm releasing is set in that area, and I even, with Dad, rode on down that road at eighteen so that I could see University of Alabama, who were offering me a paid chance to live and attend college.

From there, the core spirits of my novel TRANZ acted one version of the principles at work in the action of TRANZ itself. By taking it apart in layers, I began to understand the more absolutely fantastic part of my visions. The Defenders---particularly Valkyrie, Hellcat, Nighthawk and Hulk---WERE in that box, chosen on the grace of containing my favorite hero, Spider-Man, on the cover, not to mention, if they saw him in comic book guise down below snarling, another fave, the Incredible Hulk. (remember: these characters actually had men pretending to run around and BE them on camera, as did, for that matter, Wonder Woman. The idea adults think enough of your hero to run around pretending to BE them is HUGE when you are a child.) My Mom and DAd both knew he was my favorite. I was huge on Superman's 1950s tv series. THAT was my DAD's super hero. And he, was mine.

Now the spirit and intrigue of that comic, published four years before, in spring of 1978, brought me another set of characters---this time, about whom I felt I and most people knew very little, save for Hulk.

With them, I have worked out, to the last chapter of nuances, an additional layer of the TRANZ story engine, which already contained mostly realistic-as-possible human beings and the best science stuff I as a layman could bring along. What I had now, what I discover every day since, is a faith in myself that the PLOT will move along, so long as I keep interested. Greater design comes from the carefully considered cast.

So with these strangers, FOR strangers, I began to compose short story pastiches.
In the course of looking up the Defenders online, to seek minutiae to consider as vivid story details, I found these profound was as though I'd rediscovered the Letter Column again: always my way of gaining clues about comics I'd never seen, much less read. Better yet, I had to imagine the comic from their words, myself. Considering I still wasn't sure how to pronounce the creators' names when I first read of them, I touched wonder at a level that humbles me daily. Its continued expansion came, in part, from blogger Plok, quoting a strange Henry David Thoreau for his blog title, saying things that connected my adult sense of literacy with meanings I'd found in the reality of the characters blessed to me in childhood...and my father.

Dad, who taught me to love the Atlanta Braves, or ignore the game and go outside and play, it never mattered TOO much, have fun. He stayed in to watch them... even after saying one night in 1986 or so, "if the Braves lose tonight, I ain't ee-hh-verr gonna watch them agin!". You can bet that became a favorite tease--we teased a lot in good times around my house, and that one was used over a hundred times, I betcha. Dad. How many of those comic books did you pick? Remember what I bought with the first money you ever gave me for my good grades, at the end of second grade? Two comic books, cover price. One for 25 cents, one for 50. Both MARVEL TALES reprints of Spider-Man. His web adorned DEFENDERS #63, so I get the comic with, undoubtably to their eyes, the Joker and Cat Woman as a bonus. I mean, who says you have to live in trademark approved worlds? Well, not my mom and dad. Not to me in second grade.

So that comic led me into reading anything I could about and by Steve Gerber. Already my connection with Steve Englehart's mid 1980s stories had come back in the last name of our character, Celestia Faith Englehart. We brought the Faith.

Turns out, Steve, about the time I was born, brought the Celestia---harmonica, that is, blown to return the world, nay, the universe from utter non-existence, by the man who happened upon it in the course of clashes and clues: Ben Grimm. Who you may know as the ever-lovin' blue-eyed Thing.

As I found out from reading Plok's blog, and his Seven Heroes of Steve. How I read! Listen: the most meaningful stream of consciousness ruminations on so many comics I've yet to read, and from there, imagined they might make me they might stay with me long after the comic is folded shut and the world calls me to lay.

I'd just discovered Doc Nebula's old letters online when somehow I clicked a link or did a search and found this amazing discussion that further, truly, introduced me to the characters I knew less and hinted at philosophies and questions and speculations involved in the conscious and subconscious equation of these creations.

What is it like to live in the margins, at the fringes of "normal" activity but still without having left the sphere of that activity completely? It isn't just a question for superheroes, obviously. But maybe it's a particularly apposite one for them: if the raison d'etre of the superhero is to be effective in protecting the greater mass of non-powered humanity, being stranded on the margins of society takes the ordinary superhero symbolism and invests it with some extra poignancy, because what it means to "help" or "protect" when you're out at the fringes is something different from what it means when you're closer to the centre. It's harder to know what to do, in other words: harder to act, and harder to succeed. Because the world of the margins enjoys its own logic, its own safeties and menaces, and for a superhero - that is to say, for any person, regardless of their empowerments - to be an effective force there, they must adapt themselves to its environment. They have to be willing to learn new things, that the people in the centre don't know. --Plok

By himself "Plok" composed a fabulous series that dealt with the mostly-missed Fantastic Four comic books (save for a year and a half spell at Liberty News Stand, with money worked for after school), examining underpinnings of the world of their making. With "7Soldiers" I found many thoughtful guests border on the downright educational, as my Defenders project drug slowly across the months, acquiring many hand-sketches and the occasional sanity check. Bet you didn't know you could get PAID in sanity!
Remember: the comics I ever DID have are nowhere around me but in my mind, where they're most safely packed. Only when I truly began last summer to pull out the boxes in my mind and read more of issues I'd half-glimpsed in a dream but never held in some form---discussion, and imagination---did the full force of the joy of creativity revisit me in my long-held burdens to compose a body of work that intruded my visions before school ended, and so, it is little surprise in that light I've turned the existence of the comic book, and the discussion of its story, into studies. Only, my notes were generally translated now into necessities and questions about my own budding set of characters, already too vast to write about except in corners chosen, like having a mansion but choosing in which few rooms you really stay.

I discovered the idea that Steve Gerber's 1970s Marvel work was generally attracted to similar themes, principles, and recurrent characters, to the degree that, were it lifted for the most part out of the Marvel Universe, it would display the coherency of a novel, stretched across, um, four years or so of writing. Incredible.

So by Christmas, I'd taken on DEFENDERS #21-25 to understand what plok and Comic Debris were on about: on Geoff Klock's blog I'd found his mash-up of poetry theory, his own BOOK on published super-heroes in our lifetime and how to read them, and his guest, primarily the Herculean Jason Powell, led me down an appreciation/ evaluation of every X-Men comic authored by Chris Claremont, over eighteen years!!! Every month!!! Those both turned out to be fun to read with Angela Dawn after dinner. ESSENTIAL DEFENDERS vol. 2 aided me with the core Gerber Defenders work, as I continued giving my own interpretation of them and my novel in weeks afterward.

And this was a productive approach: life at the margins can be very interesting indeed, especially when it's happy to stay on the margins and doesn't pine away for a richer relevance to the centre. In so doing, it makes slightly different connection with things: for just as the world of superheroes is marginal to the world of regular people, with its own peculiar rules and investments of meaning (that must be understood and adapted to) which stand in contrast to the normal praxis of living, the world of marginal superheroes concerns itself explicitly with how these tensions relate back to the world of "regular people": the symbolism of the superhero is explored in greater detail when it's seen that both the regular people and the superheroes are really all in the same boat, at least so long as they're outside the centre-places where the rules of living are handed down for free, instead of figured out at in Gerber's Defenders, ordinary people wander in and out of the action very easily, almost as if they belonged there. Even homeless baby deer are welcomed at Strange's Sanctum Santorum, when they have no place else to go. Everybody is all in this together, special powers notwithstanding - the "non-team" really is non as far as the team thing goes, because it mirrors the marginal world around it, which is always in flux.---Plok

Wandering in; imagination, realized at the margins. My school papers, these many years, always contained the hints of my unbridled creativity---most often spent developing unbelievable laugh stuff for my friends---popping up line-by-line beside the prosaic task of school, where I concentrated none the less. Generally.

Life in the margins. Accepting yourself as you must breathe from the margins.

I complete my Avengers tribute---as though I were pinch-hitting for that great pinch-hitter Roger Stern, writer of funny books---as a birthday present for my old friend David, in thanks for just reading those 30 pages. From there, with a quick primer in quantum physics and consciousness, I then add the script to my already-published plot for Tranz/ Defenders, which sounds like a cool movie or something on some alternative world, already!!! Or TRANZ GENDERS. There's a Star Man, indeed...

Steve Gerber died before he could receive a lung transplant...another ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN fan gone of the same cause, same age, basically...two months later than Dad. Their birthdays were just days apart. Mr. Gerber was gone before I ever really got to know his work (outside the only comic book I carried with us here to California: our freshly purchased, for-the-bus trip saved, ESSENTIAL HOWARD THE DUCK. Usually followed by "which has nothing to do with the movie, nor did the creator, nor have I even seen that movie." It kept me safe from the Kidney Lady, yes.)

But the sensibility of his work---while it is not the same as mine, shaped by our considerable differences as people---will not die. And I am the part of my father who will aid its arrival again in life. This in no small part owes to those who, in that meaningful sense of signifiers, knew him best in his work. I feel lots of ghosts beside me. It is pleasant also to have you electronic spirits gathered, as well, as I draw, as I write, as I pace and lay awake in my tiny apartment. I am just someone who owes everyone he's known so much, he can't help but somehow love them all. Pitch in a misanthropic overslept mood now and then, with some underslept one, and from that chaos, you get a pretty honest answer from me about who I am.

So what does it mean, then, for an ordinary man like my Dad? Not too much education, facing the world with his family, for his family, a hero in uncertain times, with interesting vulnerabilities he would not willingly show more than he had to save around little children; humor, and courage. What is it to face change? Face the margins? Face terminal illness?

Face death?

Face: existence beyond death?
Beyond...non-existence? For whom?

The fates of such persons now embody my fictional principles and ideas, centering everything around a nebula of hearts, held by four prime forces and something incalculable in algorithm yet pertaining to conscious essence.

It is enough to make the American Flyer harmonica my Mom bought me fall apart. I can't blow it. But neither could anyone of the others.

It is more than a body can take. Yet we come to better love ourselves when we see in our joys what may in us ascend the highest heavens of invention.

be chill, Cease ill

Friday, May 21, 2010

My gift to you: the sounds of Astra Kelly

Hey, good luck to this fellow up here drumming! He's heading for Afghanistan. This song, you find on the Astra Kelly band cd of eleven songs recorded here in S.D. at Studio West. Look for her at 11 am at the Hard Rock Cafe, Sunday the 17th!
"music" at SD Indy Fest

From Chicago we have Astra Kelly,who's graced San Diego for the past few years. with her powerful alt-rock sound, incorporating a guitar-driven rock line-up but also violins, and a passionate singing voice. You can hear those soul/ blues influences when she cuts loose. She's got several years of touring under her belt, and presently she's playing shows all over California.

Like all the musicians featured here, the words matter as well as the music. Her page describes the sound as "Catchy and smart, lyric-based, melodic rock with a message."
Her November 2009 release Battling the Sun can be found here:

When I listened to it, I found a stripped down acoustical side that highlighted her vocals, and even a reprise of track 2, "One and Only" hidden at the end that continues the intense rock out of the second half of the EP.

She has a lot of fun; tonight she taught the Dublin Square Pub how to clap along with a tune like a real Irish pub. LOL, San Diegoans. I think they knew the Bob Marley "No Woman No Cry" better. I do like it, as it's drunk-optional the way some traditional fare sorta isn't!
Next time I'll include the cool and fun back cover, like its front, illustrated by Billy Martinez, a name I recognize from local comics! He's the creator of Neko Press and also gives studio classes.

And most anything else you want to know? Start here:

Here's Astra Kelly and band at the Ruby Room; it's quite a scene!

This is the 2nd part of my local sounds series; I absolutely WILL finish up my ongoing story this weekend, it's all ready to go but for the typing...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Great Southern California music, Lestat's

Illustration: Marc Kane
"Bob Dylan with a skirt meets Jewel with an attitude."

She's Lindsay White; you've got to hear her sing! Inspired by gospel flavors growing up in Corocoran, CA, her dad's folk records, and those great 90's lady singer-song writers, she's been performing since she was 13. In March 2009, she competed as one of 6 finalists in the San Diego Songwriters Guild's Songwriting Contest at The Belly Up Tavern. I invite you to listen and find out why. Here he is at world-famous Lestat's, Live. You can find her and Lindsay and the White Lies playing every single week in San Diego and surrounding areas.

She's on YouTube and also at

Cavanaugh photos, Tanya Alexis

I wouldn't have met Lindsay without her friend and all-around terrific guy, Army Vet and Coffeehouse Rebel, Chad Donald Cavanaugh. Since he settled down with his wife and family, he's put his mind to this second career and dream, playing in Arizona, and New Mexico, as well as Southern California. I cannot explain this thoughtful observer's obsession with bacon. He can be found Fridays down at Java Jones, hosting Coffeehouse Radio, downtown on 9th ave. at Market Ave. has his upcoming dates.

Here's a very catchy Lestat's performance:

Well, video's shaky, but appreciated, 'cause here's these two in a duet written by Chad!!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Watercolor: four how-to examples

(resized for blog; link included to source)
Here in this rough cut video, we see different methods: watercolor pencils as well as a nice set of watercolor paint in tubes, applied with brushes.

Four examples, including photo reference.
Here it is back at its upload source:

Two demonstrate starting with a drawing; in one, ink and other pens are applied to solidify form and experiment with textured colors. One is a free hand painting done with the extra paint I'd spread. The last one, incomplete at this time, shows working with a landscape, from life, then referring to a picture later.