January 31, 2001
IF YOU'RE IN THE MARKET for tapes of old TV shows, then by all means check out www.kinevideo.net. It's run by a fine gent named Bruce Simon who I've known since around '67. He was a
charter member of the infamous Los Angeles Comic Book Club, which I've written about many times in my column...but don't hold that against the
man. Bruce is an honest merchant, as well as a lover and preserver of vintage television and he has the only or best copies of some genuine
treasures of the medium. So stop reading this and click above! Then go over there and buy stuff. And tell him his old pal Mark sent
JUST FOUND OUT DC Comics is putting out a paperback in June that will collect all six issues of
Fanboy, a mini-series I did last year with Sergio Aragonés and about two dozen terrific guest artists. Sergio and I are just
starting work on yet another Groo mini-series for Dark Horse. And Graphitti Designs is bringing out a signed, limited edition hardcover collecting the two Groo graphic
novels we did — The Death of Groo and The Life of Groo. So that's the answer to the question (which people actually write
to ask) of what comics I have coming soon.
SO FAR, the most-accessed articles on this site have been those about animation...especially animation voices. This is
probably because a pretty high percentage of those who have found their way to www.evanier.com
have done so via plugs or links on animation websites. So that our other topics don't start feeling neglected, spread the word to others.
If you have a website, mention us. If you have space to stick up a banner ad for this site, there's one over on
January 29, 2001
DAN GHENO was the only person who found the two hidden Superman articles, so he wins the 2002 Lexus LS and the trip to
the Bahamas. For the rest of you: To find the link, you had to find a mention of the Superman show on some other page, either by using
this site's search feature or, in Dan's case, by remembering that it was mentioned in the Julius Schwartz article.
If you went to that page, the header line (the line that appears in the title bar of your browser) told you where it was. The Superman
articles are no longer hidden. Matter of fact, you can read my two-parter on plot flaws in an episode of the George Reeves Superman show
by clicking here.
BASED ON a couple of conversations over the weekend, I'm going to slightly revise my statement about a possible WGA strike and
move in the direction of cautious optimism. From what I hear, they are talking, and seriously — which has not been the norm in any
Hollywood labor negotiations for quite some time. We seem to have convinced them we have a fair amount of solidarity — something that has
either been in too-short supply since the early eighties or we had it but couldn't make anyone believe it. More importantly, they believe we
have it now, months in advance of the expiration of the current contract. Some years ago, I was on a committee at the WGA which studied
the long '88 strike and attempted to determine what could be learned from it. One key finding was that, once the A.M.P.T.P. makes its first
"final offer," they have a devil of a time, for internal reasons alone, moving off it, agreeing even among themselves to an improved offer.
Ergo, the time for a Guild to show its resolve is not, as it has been with past WGA strikes, after we got an unacceptable offer thrown at us; the
time is before Management gets locked into a lowball. While it's too early to be confident they'll arrive at a deal and head off a work
stoppage in May, I do think the current Guild leadership has avoided at least one big sand trap. Maybe.
January 27, 2001
THE WRITERS GUILD website — www.wga.org — is currently featuring a
funny article by Steve Martin about the "possessory credit" that is an issue in the pending WGA strike. You'll also find the writers' side
— and therefore, the correct side, as far as we're concerned around here — of other issues in the current negotiations. The
possessory credit is a major issue which will probably be dropped from the discussions any day now. (By the way: There's a funny, official
website for Mr. Martin at www.stevemartin.net.)
And no, I can't tell you if there will be a Writers Strike or not. I think it's encouraging that there are negotiations at
all. The posture of the A.M.P.T.P. (i.e., Management) when past contracts with the WGA expired was to refuse to listen to our demands,
to hand us a "final offer" filled with rollbacks and to throw our negotiating team out the door. So at least, this time, they're talking.
On the other hand, the Guild is asking for some pretty solid upgrades...and not only are the producers greedy swine, they're greedy swine who have
successfully kept all the Hollywood unions on the defensive for years. They surely don't want to let one labor organization make significant
gains, for fear it'll start a trend. So I think it's going to get ugly...and your guess is as good as mine as to how ugly.
VOICE STUFF: Craig "Voiceroy" Crumpton calls my attention to a nice interview with Voice Master Frank Welker over on a website
for the Transformers TV series. Here's the
link. And so far, Dan Gheno is the only person to e-mail me that he'd found the hidden link on this site to my Superman articles.
January 25, 2001
KEVIN CUNNINGHAM is a very talented comic book letterer. He must be talented; he's darn near the only person in the whole
industry who isn't looking for work at the moment. When he isn't lettering funnybooks, he's captioning funny photos, creating clever and
amusing political commentary. It's called Cunningham Strikes and you can check out his latest efforts at his website. You'll also find an archive there of his past works, along with a link list to loads of
political sites — some intentionally funny, some not — that are mainly of a liberal bent. (My own views seem to be evolving; I now
have no respect whatsoever for anyone who can't find loads to criticize on both the left and the right. Kevin is good at firing in all
FOR SOME REASON, lotsa folks have lately been e-mailing me lists of DVD "Easter eggs." Those are the little hidden bonus
features that you don't know are there unless you luck onto them or someone tells you how to access them. For example, on the DVD of The
Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, there's a trivia game. That's not hidden but what they don't tell you on the packaging is that, if you
finish with three or less flat tires, the game rewards you by playing an 8-minute Disney cartoon — Susie: The Little Blue Coupe —
that you otherwise would never know is on the disk you purchased. An extensive list of DVD "Easter eggs" is maintained at www.dvdreview.com under the category, "Hidden features."
In honor of this trend, I have put two new columns on-line here — a two-parter I did last year, analyzing (i.e., ripping
apart) an episode of the George Reeves Superman TV show. However, I have hidden the link to them somewhere on this site. If you
want to read them, you'll have to hunt around and use your powers of deduction to find them. If you do, drop me an e-mail and tell me where you
found the hidden link, so I can post your name here and tell the whole 'net how clever you are.
January 24, 2001
JUST RETURNED from a quick (one night) trip back to Vegas for a business-type meeting. In the baggage claim area at
McCarren Airport, there's a monitor that's supposed to show you which carousel your Samsonite might be showing up on. Instead, it had the "blue
screen of death" which every Windows user knows as the sign that your system's gone kablooey. What is it about Vegas and Windows error
Had a beautiful room at the relatively-new (and quite beautiful) Mandalay Bay resort. It would have been the nicest non-suite
hotel room I ever had in Vegas, had the mattress not had the consistency of one of Fred Flintstone's tires. I didn't take a computer on this
jaunt, not even my little palmtop Jornada — first time I've gone 24 hours without touching a computer since I got my first, steam-powered
laptop back in the Mesozoic Era. I almost went through withdrawal and started wondering if they have some kind of patch you can wear to break
I DON'T ALWAYS AGREE with him but Joe Conason is one of my favorite political commentators. (I wouldn't trust any
political commentator with whom I always agreed, even if there were such an animal.) Often, he hits the proverbial nail dead-center, as I
believe he does in his current column on Ralph Nader's impact on the election and new administration. If you're interested, you oughta be able
to reach it by clicking here. (If it's not there, look in his column
archives for 1/29/2001.)
CLICK HERE TO SEE THE WHOLE COVER
NO, THE BOOK depicted above is not something I'm recommending. Among the obvious good reasons why not is that I've never
read it and almost certainly never will. But my amigo Buzz Dixon sent the picture to me and I figured it oughta be shared with you all.
Call it "disturbing imagery" if you like. Buzz...or anyone for that matter...have you read this thing? Could it possibly live up to or
down to (pick one) the scenarios we all could concoct? What could the artist possibly have been thinking as he painted this sucker and what
does the title have to do with it all? And is there anything to the belief that you can judge a man's endowments based on the size of his
feet? These are important questions.
January 21, 2001
I WAS VERY GLAD that my buddy Lee Nordling wrote his tome on newspaper syndication, Your Career in the Comics.
About three times a month, someone writes or calls to ask me how to sell their sure-fire, can't-miss, certain-to-eclipse-Peanuts strip
idea. You have no idea how much time it saves to just tell them to go buy Lee's book. It really is a wonderful overview of a complicated,
capricious business, and it explains things far better than I could ever manage. If you're interested in syndicated comics, it's a
The thing that gets me is that, ever since I recommended it in my column, I instead get calls and e-mails inquiring as to how and where
one might procure a copy of said book. Well, how about almost any large bookstore anywhere? It can't be that difficult to find,
considering that the websites for Amazon-dot-com and Borders both say it usually ships in 24 hours. How lazy and/or dense do you have to be to
e-mail me instead of typing in
www.amazon.com and doing a search for "Lee Nordling?" Or picking up the phone and calling Waldenbooks?
IF YOU'RE INTERESTED in the press recount of the votes in Florida, a fine site to visit is that of the Miami Herald, which is doing their own audit, as well as reporting on others. Somewhere on the page
you'll reach by clicking that name, you'll find a section called "Florida Count: What Went Wrong." This will help you wade past the Bush
partisans who have no idea what the ballots said but will never admit their boy didn't get more votes, as well as the Gore supporters who have no
idea what the ballots said but will never admit their boy didn't get more votes. It's kinda frustrating that the history of this whole sorry
blight on democracy will be written by whichever of those groups is more adept at spin and press manipulation and not, say, by people who want to
know what the actual vote was, or should have been.
LASTLY for today, I want to thank all of you who've written nice e-mails about this site and chatted it up across the web.
I'll be adding more columns some time in the future...whenever I feel you've all read most of what's already here. And I have a few other
add-ons in mind, if and when I get the time. I don't know when that might be, either.
January 19, 2001
THERE ARE MANY reasons to pay regular visits to
www.doonesbury.com — that is, presuming you have even a fraction of the admiration I have for Garry Trudeau's newspaper strip. One is
that you can order your Doonesbury books there and, for no extra tariff, they'll come autographed by Mr. Trudeau. Secondly, the site
features some very clever games, activities and web animations. Thirdly: You can also now sign up to have the Doonesbury strip e-mailed
to you each day. (Actually, they don't e-mail you the actual strip. They send you an e-mail that contains a link to take you to their
website — www.ucomics.com — where you can view that day's strip...in full color, no
less.) Matter of fact, you can subscribe for any or all of the Universal Press strips, including Garfield, Ziggy, Cathy or even
Calvin & Hobbes flashbacks.
You can also sign up for any or all of them over at www.garfield.com. I
assume other strips have done this before but for features of this importance, daily e-mail delivery — even of strips that are a bit out of
date — is quite significant. And it may have a lot to do with the way comic strips will be distributed in the future.
January 17, 2001
I LOVE A BOOK I can review in one sentence. If you have even the slightest interest in the Justice Society of America, you
must pick up a copy of The All-Star Companion, edited by Roy Thomas. End of review.
Okay, I'll write a little more: I just got mine and I can't imagine a better look at a great — some would say, the greatest
— comic book of the forties. Roy, Dr. Jerry Bails and a distinguished flock of experts have wrung out every conceivable fact, insight and
bit of trivia about All-Star Comics. The only regret is that the marketplace didn't support this kind of thing years ago, when more of
the comic's creators were alive and available for interviewing and to enjoy the finished product. This handsome volume is available from its
issuer, TwoMorrows Publishing and most comic shops and dealers, and it'll make a nice companion
to that Julie Schwartz book that you just rushed out to purchase on my recommendation. Put them side by side on your shelf.
MY PAL Aaron Barnhart is the TV critic for the Kansas City Star but never mind that. Of greater interest is that he
posts lots of interesting articles on his website, TV Barn. Most are by Aaron but there are
occasional (and swell) pieces by others. DVDs are often reviewed by another pal o' mine, Andy Ihnatko, and Andy has a particularly good one up
at the moment — a funny and perceptive piece on everyone's favorite rockumentary, This is Spinal Tap. Of special note is that Andy
compares the two different versions which have made it to DVD. If you're contemplating a purchase, you definitely need to read Andy's article
— an activity you can do by clicking on the little, underlined, different color word, here.
January 15, 2001
FIXED MORE typos and HTML errors (where do they all come from?) and added a series of columns about the great comic book editor,
Julius Schwartz. These, due to space limitations, got chopped-up and rearranged when they originally appeared in The Comics Buyer's Guide and I have
put them back, approximately as they were written in the first place. You can check 'em out by clicking on the word "here." If they don't tell you enough about Mr. Schwartz — or even if they do — you might want to
purchase and peruse a copy of his autobiography, Man of Two Worlds. It's available from all the mainstream online booksellers and in it,
you'll learn a lot, not just about comic books but of the dawnings of science-fiction fandom and the s-f marketplace in the thirties and forties.
HERE'S A REFERRAL I meant to mention earlier. We've recently seen a mess of Dr. Seuss parodies — some of them
reviews of the new Grinch movie; others, variations on How the Bush Stole the Election. I've seen at least four versions of the
latter...five, counting Bill Maher's on Politically Incorrect. The best one I came across was over at Slate Magazine and you can probably still access it (in text or audio versions) by clicking here.
January 13, 2001
STAYED A FEW extra days in Vegas, saw a few more shows, updated a lot of my Las Vegas Guide — especially show prices,
which are rising faster than Al Gore's vote total in Florida.
Funniest thing I saw in Vegas since the previous funny thing: A memorabilia shop called Antiquities in the Caesars Palace
mall is selling a hairpiece that they claim was worn by Frank Sinatra. How could you possibly authenticate such a thing? (Also saw more
Windows error messages in public places...in this case, on the monitors at the airport giving Arrival and Departure times.)
HERE, we see Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick, who are starring in the new stage version of Mel Brooks's The
Producers, presently heading for Broadway by way of Chicago. That's a great movie and two terrific stage performers, and I have no idea if
I think this is a sure-fire smash or a probable disaster, though I'm certainly eager to see which. The show has a site that's going up any day
— which you can reach by clicking here — and there are lots
of rehearsal photos over at Broadway.Com
and even more at Theatre.Com, along with a summary you
may not wish to read of how the plot differs from the film. More plot details can also be found in an article at Playbill.Com.
So would you invest money in a play about two guys who con people into investing money in a play? And just how do we know
Mel hasn't sold 25,000% of this thing?
January 10, 2001
VISITING LAS VEGAS, I went to shows, attended the Video Software Dealers Association convention and got a lot of writing done on
my laptop which, being almost a year old, is hopelessly obsolete. The V.S.D.A. con was a sparsely-attended bore.
Almost as few people were in the audience when I saw my pal Pete Barbutti, who is fronting a strip revue at the Plaza downtown, but
that was far from a bore. Pete — who logged an amazing 65 appearances on Mr. Carson's Tonight Show — is one of the great
storytellers and stand-ups, and a master at working a dead house, which is the norm for the shabby Plaza showroom. No one else could have
gotten that much laughter out of so few people, and a lot of it came from me. (And, yes, Pete has a website. The link is right here.)
Also caught Legends of Comedy, an impersonator show at the New Frontier which features fine carbons of Jay Leno, Roseanne,
George Burns, Rodney Dangerfield, etc. This is a nice, little show which could be a killer if located in a hotel that (a) wasn't a dump
and (b) would make room to advertise it on the big sign outside. Its producer is another pal o' mine and I told him he should try to
hire the publicist who's promoting the $3.99 Prime Rib Dinner in the coffee shop.
Funniest thing I saw in Vegas besides Pete Barbutti: Outside the Paris hotel right on The Strip, there's a 15-foot
illuminated sign that flashes messages about eateries and shows. The graphics come from a computer and Tuesday, when I walked past, there was a
huge Windows error message up there — "System Resources Are Low." It looked like the screen of a cheap home P.C. blown up to billboard
size — and the window that contained that message was partially-overlapping one that was running Dr. Watson, a primitive Windows diagnostic
program. Computer buffs were standing around on Las Vegas Boulevard (the C.E.S. is in town) and laughing, "They can't even afford the Norton
January 6, 2001
R.C. HARVEY writes solid, incisive articles and books on comic art. You can read some of the former and order most of the
latter at his website, which is reachable by clicking...oh, let's have you click right
here. I don't want to slight his other works as I gush over his most recent release, which is Accidental Ambassador Gordo: The Comic
Strip Art of Gus Arriola. It's both a sampler of a splendid, underrated newspaper strip and a biography of the fine cartoonist who produced
it for an astounding 44 years. (It's also a mystery: Why was this sweet, wonderful strip in so few papers and so often overlooked by the
cartooning community?) Anyway, you can buy the book many places but if you buy it from Bob's site, he'll sign it for you and you can order his
other volumes while you're at it. I suggest you do this.
I GET MY COMPUTER equipment from a gent named Bill Goldstein who is that rarity: An expert who really is an expert...and is
honest, to boot. If you live anywhere near L.A., I highly recommend Bill for all your computer needs. If you don't live near L.A., you
oughta at least visit his website and read up on how to delete personal files from a
computer before you give it to someone else. In fact, you might like to view a short segment Bill did on a local news broadcast, which you can
also do on his page. They went to thrift shops and Bill took donated computers and restored all the allegedly-deleted data (financial files,
passwords, etc.) of the donors to demonstrate how easy it sometimes can be. It'll make you go racing to reclaim that antique 286 you gave to
SCOTT SHAW! and Jerry Beck confirm my belief that Hanna-Barbera never produced a Car 54 cartoon show. The studio
tried to sell one, as witness the presentation art over on the Car 54 website...but, like most studios, H-B tried to sell hundreds of shows
that never made it to actual production. Scott and I got to recalling some of the weirder ones we'd witnessed and/or worked on...and I suspect
we'll do an article somewhere about them. Some were just as bizarre as (awkward segue to plug:) anything you'll find in Scott's
Monday-thru-Friday Oddball Comics column over on Comic Book Resources. It is, like Scott, always entertaining...and hard to forget.
January 5, 2001
OOH! OOH! It's amazing how many TV shows have spawned fan-concocted websites full of photos, facts and even
audio/video downloads. I just happened on one for one of my favorite shows, Car 54, Where Are You? You can check it out by
clicking here. And if you do and you're Jerry Beck or Scott Shaw!, check out the
section on an alleged Hanna-Barbera Car 54 cartoon show which, the operators of this site say, existed for eight episodes within the series,
Wait 'Til Your Father Gets Home. This one's news to me, folks, but the artwork looks like a legit presentation done at the H-B
From their site — and now, from this one — you can hop to the official website of Al "Grandpa Munster" Lewis. It's also amazing how many stars of TV shows past are selling
autographed pics and such through personal pages. Gilligan's Island fans can visit sites for Bob Denver, Dawn Wells and "Professor" Russell Johnson. Fans of the Batman TV show can snag pics of Adam West, Yvonne Craig and Frank Gorshin. Larry Hagman has a website. So
does Dwayne Hickman, who played Dobie Gillis. Bernie Kopell from Love Boat has a site,
Erik Estrada has one that plays the theme from CHiPs...even my dear pal Howie Morris
has one that sells Ernest T. Bass memorabilia. These folks are making more money on the Internet than two-thirds of the "dot-com" companies out
there...and I think it's terrific.
WE'RE STILL averaging about 100 hits per day here, thank you. Our most-accessed columns lately have been, in this order,
the ones on Mel Blanc, The Tonight Show, June
Foray, Red Skelton, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Mad World, The "Jack Kirby" Sketch and How to Break
Into Cartoon Voices.
January 3, 2001
HAD LUNCH lunch yesterday with my buddy Dan Gheno. I've known Dan since around 1970 and watched him turn from a devout
comic fan/letter column filler into a superb painter and art teacher who has been, among other achievements, recently cover-featured on American
This is not to suggest he is not still a devout comic fan. You can reach his website by clicking here. There, you'll find not only his recollections (and some great photos, like the one
I swiped to put up here of a 1973 visit that a group of us slobbering duck fans paid to Carl Barks), but a terrific interview with Dan Spiegle and
other treasures. And while you're in that neighborhood, click over to the section that showcases Dan's paintings and enjoy his unique,
penetrating approach to portraiture. He's another of the good guys and it's great to have him on the web.
I'VE ADDED what I think will be our last major addition here for a while...Mark's Las Vegas
Guide. This is a mess o' tips and recommendations on where to stay, where to eat, what to see, etc., when you visit that there town.
Also fixed a whole mess o' mistakes, typos and HTML errors throughout the site. This is so much more fun than paying work.
LASTLY: If you're interested in the question of who really got more votes in Florida — a mystery that is fast becoming the
Grassy Knoll of the new millennium — there are actually some interesting, non-spun, informative articles around. Mickey Kaus wrote one
for Slate, which you can read by clicking here. (If that doesn't work, try clicking here.)
January 1, 2001
GOOD MORNING, YEAR! Spent this a.m. doing a global search-'n'-replace to change all the copyright notices on this
site. Also added a new critter picture to My Backyard and as my New Year's gift to you, put up
The Cesar Romero Story, a much-requested column of mine. (As usual, "much-requested" means that one or more
people asked for it...in this case, one.)
MY PAL Nat Gertler pointed out (and I
have fixed) garbled text in a couple of columns. In converting Microsoft Word files to HTML, a number of odd things have happened, here and
there, including dropped or repeated blocks of text. If you happen across any, please drop me an e-mail at my address, which is at the bottom
of every page.
By the way: Nat is an actor, writer and all-around good guy. He's also one of the world's foremost authorities on Peanuts
and Charles Schulz. Clicking on Nat's name above will transport you to his website where he maintains, among other valuable info, a complete
list of every Peanuts book, and an on-line store to order those you lack but which are still in print.
And, speaking of catching mistakes, Nat is the person who explained to me that the recently-released Peanuts 2000 book had a
rather glaring omission in its first printing: Some genius at the publishing company had the bright idea to collect Mr. Schulz's last year of
Peanuts but they somehow managed to leave out the final strip! Brilliant work there...almost worthy of Charlie Brown, himself. So if
you're picking it up, you'll want to look for a copy of the second or any subsequent printings, to which that farewell strip has been added
and avoid first printings which don't contain it. (See what valuable stuff you can learn when you log in here?)
Click here to read the previous NEWS FROM ME