Yesterday we sadly lost the great Valerie Harper. When I was a kid in the '70's, I absolutely loved Valerie & Rhoda, and watched the show, you should pardon the phrase, religiously ( as Rhoda's mom Ida would say ).
There was something about that whole New Yawk Jewish vibe that translated perfectly to British / Irish working class Catholic, or whatever the hell my family is.
As an adult, you can see how zeitgeisty Rhoda was in it's depiction of a modern woman who openly talked about and enjoyed sex, just trying to make her way in the world. But as a kid, I just felt like Rhoda, her nutty family and: 'Uhh, Carlton... Your doorman..?' could've been my friends, an impression only the best sitcoms give you, and something they all aspire to. Plus, of course, Valerie was one attractive lady, and one of my major TV crushes, natch.
Once a week, I could visit the Manhattan I saw in the comics, and it was just like I imagined it. And it was a big show. How big? Well, both Crazy & Maddid their own versions. You don't get bigger than that.
New York, that was your last chance.
Meanwhile, over at our sister blog, The Kids From Rec. Road, Sean Phillips still thinks he's Steranko, while David Holman still thinks The Fonz is gonna play Nick Fury. Me? I'm seeing red...
Who will win out? Join as, as always, at kidsfromrecroad.blogspot.co.uk
How's brawling blonde battler Brak The Barbarian doing on the never-ending road to Khurdisan? Well, in the only other Bronze Age appearance for the sword & sorcery superstar that never was, he's inexplicably and unceremoniously shoved in the back of The Chamber Of Chills, suggesting a inventory piece that languished in a draw for a while.
But, not only is this an original piece by Brak's creator John Jakes, it's drawn by Val Mayerik & Dan Adkins, who make a great art team.
I always liked Val's plasticy, surreal characters who looked ( as the witch does here ) like they were half-melted candles, and his strange style would've worked great on an ongoing sword & sorcery strip.
I always liked Brak too, maybe because I'd read the books at this time as well, and still think he could've been a contender. Unlike Conan, he occasionally had moments of self-doubt, and his world had room for both Lovecraftian gods and Christian priests. He was just different enough to make a mark, but sadly never did.
Jim Aparo would've been 86 today, and d'you know what? Different fans have different tastes, but I've never heard anyone say: 'Jim Aparo? Eh. He wasn't all that...'
So here's a Brave & The Bold that may've slipped some of us by. As the title makes clear, it's set on Earth Two, which normally I'm fairly uninterested in. To me, it's like nothing that happens there ever really counts.
But in this tale we have 'our' Batman meeting up with 'their' Robin and Batwoman, all trying to deal with the fact that they've just lost 'their' Batman, while we've just lost 'our' Batwoman. Got all that? Don't worry, it'll all become clear, as Alan Brennert's tale is all about the characterizeration, up to and including villain Hugo Strange. And of course, Jim is great. As always.
Here's an absolute masterpiece in panel composition & pacing from Sanho Kim, from Charlton's Ghost Manor. Doesn't matter what the story's about, just marvel how Kim gets speed and movement out of static drawings. I'll grant you, his style may not be for everyone, but boy, could he pace a story. Try not reading this in one minute flat.
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