Briefly Noted

Bits and pieces picked up on the road between Star Hawks Volume 3 and Steve Canyon Volume 9 …


“Now It Can Be Told” Dept:  Here’s hoping you were able to tune in on Wednesday, May 16th, to see my wife, Krista, vie with two other competitors on Wheel of Fortune. Krista is an exceptional word-game player (it’s murder trying to beat her at Scrabble!), and her skills were on display throughout this episode — though the capricious Wheel can both giveth and taketh away. That said, I was — and am — very proud of her! Here’s her official publicity picture, taken by a show photographer:

While in Los Angeles in March for the taping, we traveled around the general vicinity and in our rambles I spotted a store called The Comic Bug. Of course, I had to pay them a visit! What I found was a clean, extremely well organized shop — new and recent comic book releases were neatly arrayed on shelves in the front room, with a small selection of backstock available as well. The second room contained collections and graphic novels with large, boldly-labeled separators. These books were not only arranged by character/company, but also by creator — so there was an Alan Moore section, a Neil Gaiman section, and so on. Statues and posters were nicely displayed and available for sale, as well.

The owner was professional and cheerful; he offered immediate help when we entered and promised to answer any questions we might have. Even though I eventually walked away making no purchases, he spoke pleasantly to me on my way out, too. A very nice store, and if you’re in the Culver City area, I’d recommend stopping in.

“Hairless Joe & Lonesome Polecat Are At It Again” Dept: While Dean and Lorraine are in Italia, my wife and I began the month of May in Florida, attending my niece’s college graduation. A pleasant ceremony, and nice to see all my family members living south of Mason-Dixon.

During our time there, my family took me to a store in Lakeland that specializes in small-lot and imported candies, sodas, and memorabilia. While browsing their wide selection, what to my wond’ring eyes did appear but — Kickapoo Joy Juice!

Here’s another look, this time against a darker background:

The name, of course, comes from Al Capp’s modern satirical masterpiece, Li’l Abner. Those two Dogpatch scalawags, Hairless Joe and Lonesome Polecat, brewed up this concoction for the characters in that must-read comic strip, and starting in the mid-1960s the citrus-flavored soda-pop version of their creation was made available to a panting public — as you can see, it’s still sold today.

There’s an on-line presence for the beverage — Kickapoo Joy Juice website — and a reference to Dogpatch appears on the back of every bottle. I found that, while it didn’t offer the “stupefying potency” Al Capp once attributed to the fictional version, the soda’s flavor was thoroughly pleasant, and the cane sugar used in its creation added a freshness to the brew no substitute sweetener can equal. In the name of LOAC-based research, I even made a very rare exception to my standard “no caffeinated drinks” approach, because Kickapoo Joy Juice does number caffeine among its ingredients.

A most pleasant discovery, and one that made my trip to Florida all the (wait for it …) sweeter!

“The Other Stan Lee” Dept: Did you realize that in the mid-80s there were two Stan Lees plowing the lit’ry fields? Neither did I, until my research for our upcoming Amazing Spider-Man Volume 5 brought me to this review from the Pittsburgh Press:

Several other papers either reviewed Dunn’s Conundrum or listed it among the new acquisitions in their local library. Despite this early success, the espionage genre’s Stan Lee never built a major body of work, while the comics field’s Smilin’ Stan became the face of Marvel to untold millions thanks to that company’s line of comics, the Spider-Man newspaper strip, a variety of animated incarnations of several popular characters that aired on Saturday morning and syndicated TV, and most recently the big-budget motion pictures from Marvel Studios.

It seems appropriate to end this piece with a hearty “Excelsior!” directed to both Stan Lees, doesn’t it?



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