Saturday, June 25, 2016

Alex Toth / Peyo Saturday double feature

Since two of the greatest comic artists that ever lived share a birthday and I don´t want to do two post on one day I decided to do one for both.

Besides the time factor involved there is also the fact that quite honestly I don´t have that much to say about Alex Toth since I was too young to appreciate his art in the comics I was reading and when I was finally old enough to appreciate his artistic skills he had already passed away.

I also was unaware of his work on such cartoon shows like Super Friends, Space Ghost, Herculoids and Birdman. And I only watched Super Friends and Birdman so I´m just going to post a few of his art pieces below. 

Belgian cartoonist Peyo on the other hand was a big part of my life most notably with The Smurfs which were just about everywhere. I was a huge fan and one of the first things I learned to draw were the smurfs which was not the worst skill you could have in german schools around 1970.

And The Smurfs was actually a spin off since they just were a bunch of weird characters that appeared in Johan and Peewit ( first translated into german as Edelhardt und Kuckuruzz and then as Johann und Pfiffikus ). 

The comic about the magic flute was so successful that in was adapted as an animated movie which happened long before there was a cartoon show so it was a big deal. The Smurfs have been published by many companies over the years so there have been different versions of Johan´s jump. 

Besides the comics and the movie there were also the Smurf figures and I had a huge collection. Okay, maybe not that huge, I think around 30 more or less. But I was downright obsessed and this was pre internet days.

So what you would do as a kid is go to the various toy stores and look for new Smurf toys. There was one at the Rathaus in Ludwigsburg that was especially well stocked and another one very far away and you had to walk half an hour. I don´t know what happened to the shop because it went from a toy shop to a shop with almost exclusively model railways and accessories and then a bike shop. I have no idea if the shop still exists.

What I always found a bit weird - even as a kid - was Smurfette. And I´m not sure what I found stranger, the fact that there was only one female in the entire community or the fact that there even was a female Smurf.

One. Singular, Because in nature there are either species where you have male and females or species where there is only one gender. But species with a lot of males and only one female ? I didn´t know much about biology but that didn´t vibe with me. Later when I re - read the story it didn´t get better because at the beginning Smurfette is ugly - sorry, truth - and the Smurfs are only nice to her to be polite. Hello ? So this is their society : all smurfs are equal except for the ugly ones. Thank god that went over my head when I was a kid. As well as the theory that Smurfette is the town prostitute, a theory that was even discussed in a german movie so you know how embedded into german culture the smurfs are. 

Speaking about the Smurfs and culture the cover above may not look familiar to my american readers since the first story in which a Smurf is infected by an insect and turns into a hostile black Smurf who infects others. The story was slated to be published in America in the 1980s but because of political correctness they skipped in out of fear the story could be seen as a metaphor for racial wars even if no other country in which it had been published had the idea. When the story was adapted for the cartoon the black Smurf was colored purple and when the comic was finally published by Papercutz they stayed with the new purple color.

I´m sure the gay community has no objections to this. Anyway, speaking about the Smurf cartoon I finally got my chance to watch it while I was doing my military service in Munich, in fact it was kind of my last call.

Since the two comrades who were also in my room had permission of leave to sleep at home ( they lived in Munich, don´t worry ) I had it all to myself and one of them had put up an old black and white tv. Now there was a collective room with a big color tv but for some reason my fellow soldiers preferred to bunk at my crib and watch some Airwolf, A - Team, Night Rider, Baywatch or whatever was shown after service together. Now I´m not an antisocial guy - at least I wasn´t at that time - but after a few hours I needed to be by myself to do some personal stuff so I switched to The Smurfs which nobody except me seemed to like so they all left.

Coming back to Peyo you might ask how somebody who had not much of an allowance - and who spend most of it on Smurf toys - could afford all those Smurf and Johan and Peewit comics and the answer is I couldn´t. But I read all of them at the public library in Ludwigsburg which also had Peyo´s third title Steven Strong ( called Benni Bärenstark in german ).  

Peyo had a big impact on my life from all his comics I read ( I still have the first spanish editions of Johan and Peewit I bought safely tucked away somewhere in my comic collection ) to my first brush with obsessive collecting - they all disappeared over night, you know how mothers are - and even on the way I draw and which esthetics I find more appealing. 

As promised here are a few more Alex Toth drawings which I didn´t want to include before because of the size. You can also find an Alex Toth gallery at the DAVE KARLEN ORIGINAL ART BLOG with posts on Rafael Lopez Espi ( he did the covers for the spanish editions of Marvel comics and KOBRA ) and some original Marvel black and white splash pages

There are a few other birthdays to mention Today like the bodacious Linda Cardellini who turns 41. She´s been on 3rd Rock From The Sun, Clueless and Good Burger but while today´s audience knows her from ER, New Girl, Mad Men ( another reason why I should get a move on and start watching that show ) and Bloodline I first became aware of luscious Linda when I saw her as the sexiest Velma this side of a Zimmerman drawing in the first two Scooby Doo movies. Now I may be biased because of all the Zimmerman drawings of Velma but for me it has always been one of great mysteries in life why she was the ugly duckling in the cartoons when she clearly had more going on for her. I mean if you like skinny girls that have more beauty than brains then Daphne is definitely the girl for you. Velma on the other side has smarts, real curves and you bet she hides some big torpedoes under her sweater that are at least DDs. If I had to choose I would go on a date with Velma Dinkley especially if she looks like Linda. 

Besides reprising her role of Velma on Scooby Doo ! Mystery Incorporated, Robot Chicken and Scooby Doo video games she lent her voice to cartoon shows like Regular Show, Gravity Falls and Sanjay and Craig she played Hawkeye´s wife on Avengers : Age Of Ultron. Usually her birthday would be a good excuse to put some videos of sexbomb Linda on the blog but since I already posted the best two videos in this post let´s continue.

Spanish singer Chenoa celebrates her 41st anniversary and I missed her great moments like her audience raising appearance on El Hormiguero since she shot to stardom in the years when I didn´t go back to Spain.

Our next candidate is 53 year old George Michael and he was always on all the music shows, first as one part of Wham ! and then later as a solo act with videos like Freedom which could only be seen on Mtv after midnight.

Speaking of after midnight viewing : Playmate Of The Month in June 1985 Devin Devasquez turns 53 and she appeared in Andy Sidaris´ cineastic masterpiece Guns. Most people consider this one of the weaker Bullets, Bombs and Babes flicks ( or Girls, Guns and G - Strings movies ) but for me it´s one of his best. Not only did he put the sensational Cynthia Brimhall front and center it my opinion it´s where his patented formula really starts to click and raises the level of the following Sidaris movies.

Anthony Bourdain has managed the big 60 and his show is one of the few food shows I watch. I don´t really have a video with him but one of the things I watch on YouTube - mostly when I have to take it easy with my own eating - is people trying foreign food. One of the YouTubers who do this regularly is Emmy and she has a number of videos on german snacks.

In her 71 year spanning career Carly Simon not only has written some of the most memorable songs in pop history she also contributed to movies like Desperately Seeking Susan, Sleepless In Seattle or Working Girl.

Today is also the anniversary of George Orwell´s birth. There are some books you have to read in school which are a real pain but there are books like his Animal Farm or 1984 which influence you for the rest of your life. He was a visionary and all the things he foresaw like mind control by the government and the rise of total surveillance by the state have come to pass. And while he practically invented the idea of Big Brother he could not have foreseen all the suffering the world would have to endure by tv execs turning that into an unstoppable series of tv´s worst shows ever.

Originally I wanted to post the animated movie Animal Farm but since I try to limit the cartoon videos to one per post I reserved that for Alex Toth. There just isn´t a good one with the Smurfs from the movie with the magic flute. I´m keeping my Super Friend videos for more upcoming Justice League posts but here is a short documentary about Herculoids.

New to the blog ? Everything you need to know about TALES FROM THE KRYPTONIAN : top ten posts / more posts of interest / best of the best

Each generation imagines itself more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it.

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