|14 April, 2013||Posted by Erik Carlson under Reviews||
I was working for a rare book dealer when I came across a volume of the 1955 U.S. Congress Committee on the Judiciary Volume of Juvenile Delinquency: Comic Books, Motion Pictures, Obscene and Pornographic Materials, and Television Programs. It was a volume (some 1,000 pages) of committee transcriptions dealing with how these monstrosities will infect American youth like some horrible drug. It sought to curb the temptation set up by the comic industry by making crime and evil so damn seductive. For impact, there are transcripts from purveyors, priests, parents, and victims.
My favorite bit comes from the Code of Comics Magazine Association of America (adopted 26 Oct. 1954):
“The comic-book medium, having come of age on the American cultural scene, must measure up to its responsibilities…
To make a positive contribution to contemporary life , the industry must seek new areas for developing sound, wholesome entertainment.”
Of course transcipts continue to allude to an American tradition of decency and fairness. Since most of these Senators are from Mississippi, Arkansas, Missouri, and Texas, and this is pre-60′s Civil Rights, I was never sure whose vision of American tradition they wanted preserved. I can make good solid guesses though.
Anyway, when I saw that Max Allan Collins was releasing his third Jack and Maggie Starr novel through Hard Case Crime I was pretty damned thrilled. When it was revealed that it would be a fictional attack on Dr. Frederick Wertham (the McCarthy of Comic Books) I was down-right ecstatic. Wertham firmly believed that he could save the world from the savagery of comic-books and did his best to see the industry crippled. He would save The Children by waging a war on a magazine stands of filth threatening to destroy a generation of adolescents. So, an imaginary comeuppence at the hands of master story teller Max Allan Collins seemed like the best possible way to spend a few hours.
And it was.
Collins’ original fiction is a blast and I cannot speak enough about my love of his work. Quarry and Ms Tree are two of my all time favorite characters. His CSI tie-in novels are better than the shows. Hell, I even read the novelization of Waterworld because his name was on it. But his historical fiction rises above ‘em all. I find them so in-depth, well researched, and well-crafted, that I wish history teachers took such care and love for the eras they talk about. Sure, I know that this is fiction. I’m not pretending much of this is real, but I know that he creates such a gorgeous overview of the time that it drips with realism.
The most shocking part though, is the care that Collins takes to create Dr. Werner Frederick (the fictionalized Wertham) as a victim. Collins recognizes that in order to have a true crime the reader must give at least one care about the victim’s untimely death: Otherwise, most of the comic community would probably cheer, applaud, and stop reading midway through. Collins’ job, to make a victim of an industry’s greatest nemesis (until Tipper Gore of course) is nigh impossible. Especially considering that whenever the Starrs are on the page all attention turns to them (I’m convinced he could write a Russian play with just these two bantering and I’d read it). Not only does Frederick’s death need to mean something, but it should also seem more important than the charisma of the protagonists. It is the moment when Dr. Frederick is in his inner-city office confronting a boy with a knife that Collins wields his power as an author. It is a moment which highlights the fact that as misguided and destructive as Wertham was, he was still human.
Seduction of the Innocent is an absolute must-read for a fan of comic history, wise-cracking investigators, and fans of historical fiction.
|10 April, 2013||Posted by Erik Carlson under podcast||
No. 13 Baby – The Pixies
request for Brooke Hensley
Eye of Fatima (pt. 1) – Camper Van Beethoven
I have a soft spot for the Drugstore Cowboy-esq depravity of this song. There is a particularly brilliant storytelling moment when David Lowery sings about these mules being “a government experiment…to give some cowboys some acid” where the production dips into a psychedelic wave and recovers as if it was only the shadow of a hallucination. Brilliant songwriting.
I’ve always felt that The Mountain Goats track “Beat the Devil” was some sort of indirect sequel. There aren’t, to my knowledge, many songs about carting drugs across the US, so my thesis may be weak, but I think its valid. If there are other songs about drug trafficking that aren’t on the Miami Vice soundtrack, give me a message. I may have another show on my hands.
Other Voices – The Cure
request by Mark Brown
Nowhere Fast – The Smiths
Meat is Murder is The Smiths best album. I offer no supporting assertions, because none are needed. This is inarguable.
The cover is one of my top ten as well. Any argument? Bring it to the comment section.
|28 March, 2013||Posted by Erik Carlson under Comics, podcast||
Bibliodiscoteque Presents: X’ploitation X’plosion X’perience #4
Come one, come all (above the age of 18) to another installment of Bibliodiscoteque XXX, a new show featuring soundtracks for
films comics that don’t exist. The concept for this show began as a challenge to myself and good friend to create a fake movie with a soundtrack that reached beyond our typical setlists, but quickly evolved into this hour of purely fictional audible entertainment.
For this show, however, I present a Tiki P.I. – Hawaii’s Only Supernatural Detective. This is a real book, with real pages, and a real plot. I’ll have issues available soon, but you can catch me at Asbury Comic Con this coming weekend.
Tiki P.I. – Three Dead Dogs at Makapuu
The Man from ENIGMA – The Kilaueas – Professor Volcanova
Danger Man – Steve Ital – Wicked Roots
You’ve Got Your Troubles – Desmond Dekker – Rudy Got Soul
Caramba! – Speedball Jr. – U69
Big Wave Riders – Los Coronas – El Baile Final De Los Locos…
Walk Together, Surf Together – Hawaii Samurai – The Shape of Surf to Come
Lipstick Twang – Messer Chups – Surf Riders from the Swamp Lagoon
XXX (Horny & Kinky) – Dr. Frankenstein – …In the 4th Dimension
Out Tonight! –Dead Elvis and His One Man Grave – Dig ‘em Up
I Was a Teenage Werewolf – The Cramps – Songs the Lord Taught Us
Primeval – Dynamite Pussy Club – The Church of Yeah!
Night of the Face – Satan’s Pilgrims – Psychsploitation
Hawaiian Hound – Texas Northside Kings – Texas Northside
Werewolf Boogie- The Ripmen – From Punk to Rockabilly
Your Demons Will Be Running – King Sickabilly – Weird Sounds From the Underground
My Girlfriend is a Werewolf – Thee Gravemen – Noises from the Hideout
Killer Wolf – Jon Spencer Blues Explosion – Plastic Fang
Tiki Please Me! – Los Tiki Phantoms – Y el Ejército de las Calaveras
|27 March, 2013||Posted by Erik Carlson under podcast||
I installed a new podcast generator and have to transfer the older shows to the feed.
I’m at Asbury Comic Con this weekend and hope to get to it soon.
|23 March, 2013||Posted by Erik Carlson under podcast||
I’m Your Man – Leonard Cohen – Cohen Live (for Brooke Hensley)
Picture In A Frame – Tom Waits – Mule Variations
In Spite Of Me - Morphine – Cure For Pain
Good Bye – Benny Goodman – Benny Goodman (for Vivian Raine)
Oh Oh I Love Her So - The Ramones – Leave Home
Ever Fallen In Love? - The Buzzcocks – These People Are Nuts!
Sweet – Tullycraft – Old Traditions, New Standards
Will Work For Food – The Halo Benders – God Don’t Make No Junk
Whole Wide World – Wreckless Eric – Greatest Stiffs
You Mean Nothing To Me – Jay Reatard - Single (for Roberto Milic)
I Don’t Like You – Stiff Little Fingers – Nobody’s Heroes
I Love You – Black Flag – My War (for Sam Cowan)
Some Kinda Hate – The Misfits – Box Set – Disc 2
Wish Me Well - The Bouncing Souls – Hopeless Romantic (for Johnny Destructo)
Shut Your Mouth – The Singing Loins -The Complete And Utter
You Make Me Sick – Satan’s Rats – Punk Rock Rarities Vol 2
Hate, Rain on Me – Andrew Jackson Jihad – Knife Man
I Don’t Like No One – The Peacocks – Angel
My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama – The Mothers of Invention -
Weasels Ripped My Flesh (For Tess)
|18 March, 2013||Posted by Erik Carlson under Uncategorized||