Tuesday 18 June 2024

Speak Your Brain! Part 80. Of purple prose and cool collectables.

Thanks to Charlie Horse 47 and Killdumpster for their sponsorship of this post, via the magic of Patreon

The Steve Does Comics Megaphone
Image by Tumisu
from Pixabay

Whisper it loudly, brave ones, for yet another landmark moment has been reached in the history of mankind, as the world's most talked-about event is back.

Yes, it's the 80th edition of the feature in which the first person to comment in the box below gets to decide just what is or isn't the site's latest hot talking-point.

That talking-point could be just about anything under the sun. Or over it, next to it or, even, round the back of it.

Therefore, be sure to make your mark in eternity and choose just what that topic shall be,

And may Fate bless each and every one of us.


Redartz said...

Wow, first in today?

Ok, it's always fun to hear about the quirks and contents of someone's collection. Soooo....what is the most unique/unusual/ cool item in you've ever collected? You may still have it , may be long gone. May be a comic, a trading card, or an old boot.

My submission: aside from a few pages of original comic art, the most unique piece would be a cyan printing plate pulled from a back of baseball cards. Labeled 1/1.

Or, there was the vintage Coca Cola Santa sign that presented a recipe for Cinnamon Coke. The sign disappeared from my apartment years ago, have never seen another. And I so wanted to remember that recipe...

Anonymous said...

Awhile back, sean and I had a back-and-forth about Alan Moore’s famous JLA cameo in SAGA OF THE SWAMP THING in which he described them as ‘The Over-people in their House Above The World’. A grandiose, evocative phrase with distinctly Nietzschean connotations. sean rightly pointed out that it introduced a whole new way of looking at those characters, which in turn influenced dozens of comics creators since then, to varying degrees, for good or ill. I countered that it was a fair point, and that as much as that scene impressed me all those decades ago, there’s an inherent pomposity to it that strikes me now as being just a bit silly. The concept of taking superheroes ‘seriously’ is one thing when applied to projects like Marvelman and WATCHMEN, but we’re talking about The Winged Wonder and The Scarlet Speedster here :)

The discussion then turned to the pros and cons of purple prose in the comics, including of course the trailblazing works of Dauntless Don McGregor. sean suggested that it might be a worthy topic for a future ‘Speak Your Brain’ — so, here we are, if anyone wants to pursue that subject. If not, I’m happy to cede the floor to other topics…


Anonymous said...

Oops, looks like Red got here first!

Most Unusual, Unique Items We’ve Collected, hmmm, excellent topic. I’ve collected LOTS of weird crap over the years…

Off the top of my head, I own a tiny piece of coal that supposedly travelled from Southampton to the middle of the Atlantic Ocean aboard the TItanic. Not exactly a rare or particularly unique item, I’m sure there are thousands and thousands of these things out there. They were selling them at the Titanic exhibit at the Luxor hotel and casino in Las Vegas about ten years ago. Couldn’t resist.

Gonna have to give this more thought…


Matthew McKinnon said...


I haven’t anything as unique as that.

I have got some cool autographs though...

About 20 years ago, my wife was working as a runner in a Technicolor film lab in Camden. They had a late session where they were colour-grading the trailer for the first Hellboy movie and Guillermo Del Toro was supervising in person.
As I was a fan I asked her to ask him to autograph my copy of Cronos on DVD, and he happily obliged and even drew a picture of the scarab device on it. What a gent.

I also met Dave McKean when he came to a screening of a film I assisted on as prep for designing the poster. He kindly signed my copy of Cages and dedicated it to me and did a drawing too. Another very nice man.

Finally I bought the AARGH charity comic Alan Moore put together back in 1988 back in the day. But I found another copy in my local charity shop a few years back signed by Gaiman, Moore and McKean. Moore had signed it the previous owner, also a Matthew, which was handy.

Anonymous said...

I haven't got anything that special.

When my brother & myself visited the USA, as kids, my Auntie Dorothy (in fact, a distant cousin), knowing we were comics fans, said she knew a comic book artist, and would take us to see him, at Dana point (?) in California - b.t. will know. The artist, Roger Armstrong, signed & dated to us, a poster featuring all the characters he drew. That poster's still on my wall but, unfortunately, suffers badly from "foxing".

As a teenager, my mother sent off to movie studios for stars' autographs (probably around 1950) and collected them in an album. My sister has it now, but I'm not on good terms with her.

Although Dauntless Don was the purple prose king, even Gerry Conway did the purple stuff.

See Marvel Team-up # 34:

"A cold dawn in late February. Tendrils of mist drift west from the East River like white fingers of frost. The sun is low on the horizon, almost hesitant, casting a murky gloom over the impersonal towers of the world's most congested island. All is dark, all is gray."


Well - you get the picture!


Redartz said...

Glad to share the podium with you b.t.!

As for Purple Prose, how about Roy Thomas' Conan stories? Some of them seemed rather wordy, if memory serves.

Anonymous said...

As Red knows, the Charlie is an accumulator, not collector - the odder the better! A Steranko autographed “History of Comics,” a Big Little Book Captain Midnight from 1942, various political buttons starting with FDR 1932 and PEP cereal buttons, and some 4 foot by 3 foot sheets of RC Cola cans, still uncut into individual cans, with each can of a professional baseball player from around 1976.

Anonymous said...

Other oddities include a coin from Syria Jesus theoretically could have handeld, some ceramic coins from german cities used as not-geld / emergency money post WW1. Also some USA military $ bills used as emergency money in 1944 France and Phillipines.

Steve W. said...

Red and Bt, thanks for the topics.

Off the top of my head, I can't think of any unusual or noteworthy things I've ever collected.

When it comes to purple prose; in retrospect, it seems strange that Don McGregor never wrote Master of Kung Fu. With Shang-Chi's love of internal monologue, he would have been perfect for it.

Anonymous said...

You once made an observation about Don McGregor that has stuck with me (forgive me, I’m paraphrasing): despite McGregor using many more words per page than any other comics writer you’d care to name, he didn’t really seem to have much to say.

I think Roy’s Conan stories are actually some of his best (and strangely, least “purple”) comics writing. For me, he was much more insufferably high-falutin’ and awkwardly verbose in AVENGERS, SUB-MARINER and CAPTAIN MARVEL in the late 60s/ early 70s. It’s almost like he was doing an overripe imitation of Stan Lee’s hyper-emotional and melodramatic scripting on SILVER SURFER. I find them almost painful to read nowadays.

Not much of an autograph collector myself, but I have accumulated a small number of autographed items over the years: Steranko, Jack Kirby, John Romita, Frank Brunner, Harlan Ellison, Ed McBain, Andrew Vachss, and a few others. One of the most unusual ones is an Arkham House Clark Ashton Smith collection signed on the flyleaf not by CAS, but by Fritz Leiber. I’m guessing it was from Leiber’s own personal library and that he had to sell it when he was going through rough financial times in the 1970s or 80s.

I’ve HEARD of Dana Point, but I really don’t have a clue where in California it is :D


Redartz said...

b.t.- that piece of coal is pretty remarkable, regardless of how many they somehow recovered! And good point about RT's writing. I certainly like his Conan tales; it just sometimes strikes me how floridly he speaks for a sullen barbarian. Of course I've never read any of REH's originals; so I'm rather uninformed to make an opinion...

Matthew- your autograph tales are quite impressive! Nice personal touches. How many folks can say they have a drawing by Guillermo del Toro?

Phillip- not familar with Roger Armstrong, but that poster is a nice item. Is it framed? Perhaps some of that foxing could be hidden by a mat (I'm a framer in the so-called real world)...

Charlie- political memorabilia is a fascinating area. Some of it shows that there was plenty of mudslinging in earlier years, too. And who was featured on those Pep buttons? Orphan Annie, maybe?

Anonymous said...

Red - Yes, the poster's framed (albeit in a cheap frame). Roger Armstrong's strips are things like the Funky Phantom/Dastardly Dognappers, & Ella Cinders. Unfortunately, the foxing's quite extensive - not just round the edges, but interspersed with the comic strips themselves.


Anonymous said...

Redartz , I do love my little chunk of Titanic Coal! When I saw them for sale at the Titanic exhibit at the Luxor, I was instantly reminded of those little plastic coffins filled with dirt from Dracula’s castle that they used to sell in the Warren magazines, which even as a kid I thought were 99% likely to be completely bogus. It’s entirely possible my Titanic coal wasn’t really harvested from the debris field near the wreck, but it only set me back ten bucks, so what the heck.


Anonymous said...

I dare say the Scots are the most energetic bunch of national anthem singers ive ever seen.

McSCOTTY said...

Phillip, I had forgotten all about the Funky Phantom cartoon until you mentioned it.

We do like to belt out "Flower of Scotland" at footy games anon, I just wish the team lived up to its potential rather than the fans getting awards for being "fun"

Anonymous said...

Roy Thomas was truly a man for all seasons.


Anonymous said...

Paul - Along with Cap America # 215, the Funky Phantom added to my interest in the American Revolution, as a young man!

Redartz & M.P. - As regards Roy Thomas, as well as Conan, Thor's obviously a biggie; and the Avengers story with Yellowjacket marrying the Wasp, etc, was great, too, as was the new Cap M's origin story. With dips in quality with other comics - Submariner, CM, etc - could Roy have been writing many titles, at that time - or was Editor-in-Chief ? Gerry Conway, too got criticized, but when he was probably writing up to six titles/month. As everybody already knows, without me mentioning it, Marvel making such demands would be a poisoned chalice for any writer.


Anonymous said...

b.t., Been a bit busy the last few days, so apologies for not turning up for Speak Your Brain and responding on 'purple prose'.
Funny you should mention Steranko's Chandler actually, as that just reminded me that in the 70s while comic book writers' captions were getting wordier, the first 'graphic novels' (see also: Hogarth's Tarzan, Gil Kane's Blackmark, the Delany/Chaykin Empire) often got rid of speech bubbles completely!

Anyway, I daresay there'll be more opportunities to get into the subject. No doubt an issue of Amazing Adventures or Jungle Action by Dauntless Don will turn up in a 50 Years Ago post at some point soon.