Sunday, October 31, 2021

Are You Afraid of the Dark?

Journey Into Fear was Canada's first horror-themed comic book. Published by Superior Publishers, Journey Into Fear last only 21 issues between 1951 and 1954. One of the issues was cited by Frederick Wertham in his "Seduction of the Innocent" and the series was probably discontinued due to the implementation of the Comics Code Authority in late 1954.

"Ghost Bride" was the first comic in Journey Into Fear #4 (Nov. 1951) and it's not very fear-inducing. It's about a woman who has a very specific medical condition and her husband who showers her with jewelry so she doesn't die. H a p p y   H a l l o w e e n !


Mary Worth
Libby and Pierre seem to be getting along. I can't wait for Libby to teach Pierre a thing or two and turn Wilbur's own dog against him when he and Estelle inevitably get back together.

Baby Blues
I'm wondering where Wren is? Is she in the pumpkin that Ham has stabbed all the carving tools through?

The Family Circus
"Can't a guy take a leak behind a tree without his children whining?"

The Born Loser
Oh, Wilberforce, most of the scariest things on this planet hide right in plain sight in broad daylight. Good night.

Saturday, October 30, 2021

Liberty Horror #5: Julia


The home was small. Barely enough room for Julia and her baby, who was upstairs in his bedroom asleep in his crib. The movers and two friends that had helped her get mostly settled had left. Julia made herself some tea and wandered around the house, practically in a daze. Her friends had lives—husbands and children—to get back to. She couldn’t get upset that they didn’t want to stick around. She wouldn’t have either.

Julia looked around the kitchen, looking at what she could have for dinner. She heard the clunk of the furnace downstairs in the basement turning off. She had only been in the basement once while looking at the house with the landlord. She decided that she would never have to go down there. A washer and dryer were in the mudroom so there was no reason to go downstairs.

From the baby monitor, Julia heard the baby stir and then start crying. She sighed heavily and went upstairs. When she got upstairs, her baby was quiet and still asleep. She shrugged and picked the baby up, waking it.

The rest of the day was spent playing, unpacking, and having dinner before placing her baby back in his crib and going to bed herself. She wasn’t tired and read for a bit. She figured if she went to bed earlier, the next day would arrive sooner.

When she finally laid down to sleep, she started on just one side of the bed. Just like she did when her husband was with her. They seemed to grow further and further apart with each day—both emotionally and physically—until, finally, they both knew it was over.

She didn’t want to blame the pregnancy or the baby, the degradation of their relationship had been happening for about year before that, but it certainly didn’t help. When he brought her the papers, she begged him not to end their marriage just a couple months into parenthood but he was done. She begged him to let her stay him until she could get back on her feet but he refused.

She didn’t even know she had fallen asleep until she was woken up by the baby crying through the baby monitor. She waited a few minutes, noticing it was almost four in the morning, and waited—hoped—the baby would shut up. When he didn’t, she threw the blanket off of her and shambled her way to the baby’s room. The room was silent, she stepped on a stuffed lamb that had somehow wound up on the floor. She picked up the lamb and looked at it. She then looked at the baby, quietly sleeping away except for a tiny, nearly inaudible snore.

She tossed the lamb into the crib and swore to herself. She went back to the bedroom and picked up the monitor. It was quiet. She turned it off and went downstairs. She began making coffee and turned the monitor back on. Still quiet.

She didn’t need the monitor. The house was small enough to hear everything that was going on upstairs. When enough coffee had been made for a cup, she poured herself a mug. Placing the mug and baby monitor on the coffee table, she collapsed onto the couch. Squeals began coming from the monitor. She groaned, threw up her hands, and felt like crying.

She leaned forward and turned off the monitor. She listened for squeals, cries, anything from upstairs and heard nothing. Fed up, she quickly and quietly went upstairs. Again, she stepped on the stuffed lamb that had, again, wound up on the floor. She took the lamb and monitor and left the room.

The day was spent with her baby. They played and watched TV, they ate and attempted to play outside for a bit. She took him in a stroller to the park two blocks away. On her way back, a neighbor from across the street ran over. Welcome to the block. What a cute baby. What do you do? I noticed a light on all night. The upstairs front window. The baby sleeps there? It looked like the light was on all night. I didn’t mean to trouble you. If you need anything, just knock.

Julia immediately went upstairs, placed the baby in his crib, and looked around. There was only the one light, on the ceiling in the middle of the room, and the night light in the far corner. Definitely nothing that lit up by the window. The baby was starting to doze off so she sat down and waited until he fell asleep.

The afternoon was quiet as Julia tried to finish some unpacking. She didn’t want to so she allowed herself to get distracted, repeatedly. At about six, the baby monitor came to life with the sounds of her baby’s laughter and coos. She listened at both the monitor and from upstairs to tell if noise could be heard. She didn’t hear anything even after turning off the monitor. She leaned down and rested her head on her palm. She waited a few more minutes then forced herself to get up and go upstairs.

The baby was asleep. The lamb was on the floor. She kicked the lamb under the crib and picked up her baby. He stirred and was soon awake. The evening and night went fine. It was similar to the day with playing, watching TV, eating, and continuing trying to unpack. At nearly midnight, the baby was starting to dose off. Julia carried him upstairs and tucked him into the crib. She read for a while and then fell asleep.

At three-thirty, she woke to cries and babbling. She reached over for the monitor before realizing it was off and both of them were downstairs. She didn’t know whether to feel relieved or aggravated that her baby was crying. She threw the blankets off and got up. Entering the baby’s room, the lamb was back in the middle of the floor and the baby was fast asleep.

She stayed up the rest of the night and was practically a zombie the next day. After bringing her baby downstairs, she didn’t go upstairs again. She actively avoided going upstairs until she was tired and ready for bed which was earlier than usual. She quickly fell asleep and was woken up at four o’clock by babbling and crying.

She was trembling as she went into the bedroom where the baby was quiet and still sleeping. She made a soft growling noise as she picked up the lamb from the middle of the floor and threw it in the hall closet. Still trembling, she went downstairs. She thought about making coffee but instead chose tea.

As she about took her first sip, cries erupted from upstairs. She dropped the mug and it shattered leaving mug shards and tea all over the counter. She stormed upstairs like a woman possessed and slammed the door to the baby’s room open. The baby, this time, was crying and reaching his arms up. Julia grabbed the baby and began shaking and screaming at him, demanding to know what was going on. The baby went quiet and his face and hands curled and spasmed. Despite the quiet in the bedroom, the crying and babbling was now coming from downstairs.

She practically threw the baby back in the crib and ran downstairs. Grabbing the monitors, even though they were off and had no batteries, she threw them across the room. One smashed into the wall, leaving a dent, the other crashed through the window. The crying remained but now coming from the basement. She pushed the table out of the way of the door. It fell over with a loud crash. She opened the basement door, turned on the light, and stomped down the stairs. When she got to the bottom of the stairs, the house was quiet again.

Her breathing calmed but she still shook. She started crying before growing dizzy and falling to her knees. She looked up slightly and saw the stuffed lamb in the middle of the basement floor.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

And Your Host...

Saturday Night Live
 is an institution in this country. It's hard not to be after being around for 47 seasons. Over those seasons, they've had some ups and some downs. Depending on your era of SNL, you may think there's been more downs. Harry Anderson, who turns 69 (nice!) today, first hosted SNL on February 9, 1985 after making several guest appearances. It was the tenth season and this season was rough, which is saying something considering the series had been pretty rough since Lorne Michaels left in 1980. NBC almost canceled the show after this season but then-NBC president Brandon Tartikoff saved the show, renewing it, and hiring back Lorne Michaels.

This episode features Jim Belushi, Billy Crystal, Mary Gross, Christopher Guest, Rich Hall, Gary Kroeger, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Harry Shearer--who had actually left the show a month before but was retained in the opening credits, Martin Short, and Pamela Stephenson. The musical guest is Bryan Adams.

The cold open I don't even understand. It's a Ronald Reagan State of the Union speech with Rich Hall portraying Robert Latta, who was a meter reader who was able to get into the White House during Reagan's second inauguration by following the Marine band. I guess you had to be there and I guess this was a shtick Hall did quite a bit in 1985. Anderson's monologue goes into detail about how he's no longer Harry "The Hat" but Harry "The Judge" and there's going to be a new Harry Anderson from now on. No more sticking needles through his arm, no more dropping his pants, no more insulting the audience about their poor choice of clothes.
I mean, he's got his face on the cover of national magazines now.

Harry Anderson is now a family entertainer. And he brought a friend! A white Guinea pig named Skippy who Anderson says can do acrobatic tricks. Skippy's not on board and refuses to work. Anderson asks why Skippy won't do his routine and Skippy says it's because SNL has a Caucasian drummer. Anderson says that's too bad and that if you don't work, you don't live and scoops up Skippy, cramming him in his mouth.
Harry Anderson: Family Entertainer.

In the first sketch, Belushi plays Cecil who returns home from the post office to find that his wife (Gross), believing Cecil dead because he was twenty minutes late, has taken a new lover (Anderson). We then come to find out that she's done this before. To Albert (Hall), who had left that morning--for work.
The best part is Harry's robe.

The next sketch is Billy Crystal and Christopher Guest as Ricky and Phil. I'm assuming some people thought it was funny. Christopher Guest returns to give us the Saturday Night News. I'm assuming some people thought it was funny. Billy Crystal makes an appearance here, too. He insults Hawaiians and their food. Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, and Christopher Reeve make an appearance in the audience during Crystal's fake stand-up routine.

The next sketch features Anderson as a judge in 1600s Salem, Massachusetts. Martin Short portrays a public defender who tries to defend his client from reckless carriage driving, poaching deer, and consorting with the Devil, copulating with demons, and using the blood of Christian children. Anderson is mostly just a background character to Martin Short's energetic lawyer.

Harry then tells the story of how he became infatuated with hats and tells about his friend, Morris, who taught Harry that with a little bit of felt, you can have any hat that you want. It's an neat story and the different hats that Anderson can fold is impressive.

During the good-byes, Anderson makes sure we know that Skippy is alive and well. He tells his then-wife Leslie and daughter, Eva, that he loves them. He then says we're in this comedy business for one reason. Anderson goes into the audience and pulls Carol Burnett up on stage.

Bryan Adams performed "Somebody" and "Run To You" but since I was watching on Peacock, you don't see the musical guest along with a couple other segments. You can find bits of this episode on the SNL YouTube channel or watch it, for free, on Peacock.

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Pussy Katnip: Cafe Owner and Crime Smasher

Pussy Katnip made her debut in The Book of Comics in 1944 published by Fox Feature Syndicate. She was a hat check girl and sometimes torch singer at the Kit Kat Night Club. The stories are credited to Len Short and Pussy Katnip was kind of a superhero as when she would drink her Katnip Fizz, it would give her a boost of agility and strength along with clairvoyance (almost like a spider-sense) that she used to protect her friends and place of employment.

She made only a handful of appearances between 1944 and 1945 before vanishing into obscurity.

Is that spotted dog supposed to be a Dalmatian? Not having read this story, why would Pussy know what a fire whistle sounds like but not the fire chief?

Maizie looks like she's having trouble putting that--what is it?--cowslip...?

I like Pussy's pose in the last panel. Always got to be "on".

Does she have to pour the Katnip Fizz on her head or is that just part of her "catfit"?

Pussy is loyal to no one. She doesn't care if the love of your life is a criminal. She will lock them in a closet and call the police on them.

I wonder if Maizie is getting her money back.

Madame La Fewtcher went kaflooey.

Kind of an overreaction don't you think? Where'd she get that dagger?