Search This Blog

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


I don’t know about you, but I’ve always felt that comic books based on movies or television series were largely superfluous. If you can go to the cinema or turn on the tube and watch the real thing, what’s the need for a comic book adaptation? Nine times out of ten, comics based on those sources end up being little more than catalogs of photo reference or poorly drawn original works that make one wonder why they bothered in the first place. Some of these adaptations go on to a life of their own after the source work is over and done with — Marvel’s long-running STAR WARS series springs to mind — but most fade fairly quickly, victim of leaden stories coupled with art that more often than not is the visual analog to a strong sedative.

Perhaps the most frequently revisited of movie and TV properties is STAR TREK, a visually and conceptually appealing playground in which writers and visual artists can go in just about any direction their imaginations may take them. Existing in four color form since the days when the Original Series (hereafter referred to as TOS) first aired on NBC, STAR TREK has had a checkered past as comic book fare and has often sucked out loud (the major exception to this rule being the 1992 graphic novel DEBT OF HONOR, written by Chris Claremont and illustrated by Adam Hughes). But, as has been proven time and again since the 1960’s, STAR TREK fans are a loyal, rabid lot and will often accept just about anything bearing the series imprint, no matter how sub par.

I know of what I speak, being a lifelong TREK goon who’s willing to give just about any new TREK project a chance, but even I have a limit and will not put myself through what I perceive as bullshit “product.” My tastes in TREK loyalty were born from and remain loyal to TOS, but I also enjoyed the animated series, three of the movies, about a third of THE NEXT GENERATION, most of DEEP SPACE NINE (my vote for the best TREK series since TOS) and loved the too-late-to-do-any-good excellence of the final season of ENTERPRISE. I watched the first episode of VOYAGER and checked in on it about ten times during its run, but it bored the living shit out of me and struck me as a far more pretentious version of LOST IN SPACE, only minus that show’s highly entertaining and often hilarious camp factor.

My point in mentioning all of this is to declare myself a sort-of hardcore STAR TREK geek, so keep in mind the following review is from someone who loves this stuff. When it’s good, that is.

Aimed at filling in the remaining two years of the “five-year mission,” IDW Publishing’s collected edition of STAR TREK-YEAR FOUR: THE ENTERPRISE EXPERIMENT is a direct sequel to the classic TOS episode “The Enterprise Incident,” one of the very best of the series’ three-year run. That was the one where the Enterprise violates the Neutral Zone and steals a Cloaking Device from a Romulan craft commanded by a beautiful (and strangely nameless) female commander who takes a shine to everyone’s favorite Vulcan sex-machine, Mr. Spock. Terrific stuff and remembered for a good reason, but did it need a sequel at all, much less in comic book form?

The story brings back the same Romulan crew from “The Enterprise Incident” — which makes no sense since the lovely commander was likely being sent to a formal military execution after allowing the loss of a Cloaking Device to the Federation; hey, the Romulans don’t play — as well as Klingon Captain Kor, and involves the Enterprise crew in a strange “phasing” mishap thanks to an untested Federation version of the Cloaking Device sending the Enterprise and her crew into another dimension (also directly referencing Captain Kirk’s experiences in “The Tholian Web”). Lieutenant Arex from the animated series is even thrown in — to no effect whatsoever — and we’re “treated” to rote set-to’s with the Romulans and the Klingons, with Sulu getting surgically altered to look like a Klingon and blah blah blah pfooey. It’s very much a case of “been there, done that ages ago” with absolutely nothing interesting or fun to keep a reader’s attention.

The sheer tedium of all this is bad enough, but what really sends this over the cliff is the utterly uninspired artwork by Gordon Purcell. It’s six-issues-worth of stiff photo reference handled by several inkers who apply a minimum of varied line weights to the artwork — the notable exception being the all-too-brief efforts of Jose Marzan Jr., inks so jarringly full of life in a desert of brittle tracing that they’re like a Carnegie Deli pastrami sandwich being handed to a starving man — the final results registering as a particularly dull coloring book.

But by far the saddest aspect of this project is that it was co-scripted by D.C. Fontana, a writer for TOS, the animated series, NEXT GENERATION and DEEP SPACE NINE who contributed such classics as “Friday’s Child,” Journey To Babel,” “This Side of Paradise” and “The Enterprise Incident,” among others. She’s proven herself an excellent TREK writer over and over (we’ll let the penned-under-a-pseudonym “The Way To Eden” slide), even providing the animated series’ “Yesteryear,” the excellent look into Spock’s boyhood that’s the only episode of the animated show to be considered canonical, so this assembly line repackaging of TREK tropes is hugely disappointing. It’s mostly a bunch of talking heads with their yammering interrupted by tepid scenes of would-be action, something that may have worked had this been a television episode, but as is it has all the verve of two-day-old road kill after the local turkey buzzards have at it. If this is what the two missing years of the mission have to offer, all I have to say is “ABORT! ABORT!”


This seemingly innocent kid’s record — from Disneyland Records no less — is a beautifully disguised gem that introduced me to the concepts of adultery, subterfuge as self-defense, wholesale misogyny as enforced local policy, Islamic vengeance, and lust built through anticipation. It focuses on the famous story of how Scheherazade kept a bitter, cuckolded sultan from serially marrying, fucking and killing the young women of Baghdad by telling him serialized fantastic tales for one-thousand and one nights, during which time he grows to love her for her fascinating yarns (to say nothing of her drop-dead beauty), all of which, though somewhat cleaned up for a younger audience, is presented in a completely straightforward manner that does not talk down to the kiddies and accents the proceedings with excerpts from Rimsky-Korsakov’s beautifully evocate Scheherazade suite. And as for Scheherazade herself, the actress who gives her voice sounds sexy and exotic as hell! No joke, this has been one of my favorite records for thirty-seven years — I got it from my grandmother when I was six — and if given a choice of keeping only ten of the albums out of the 2000-plus I’ve acquired, this would absolutely make the cut.

Monday, September 29, 2008


Ah, Disco Tex…

Back in the days when disco was first erupting onto the scene, the single “Get Dancin’” made it to number ten on the Billboard chart, bolstered by a mindlessly catchy beat, lyrics that could have been written by a five-year-old (and just may have been) and the flaming exhortations of former-hairdresser Sir Monti Rock III (aka “Disco Tex”) urging the listener to get on the dance floor because “we need you!” No joke, this was the outright gayest thing ever heard in the Top 40 up to that time, a distinction that even the Village People didn’t eclipse because most of the general public didn’t get the gag until the flack over “In the Navy.” Just listening to Disco Tex’s ranting and raving about how we have to get together and “boogie woogie woogie” will wear you out and possibly inspire an urge to throw on a feather boa and some fierce jewelery.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


This album may just be the oddest on display here in the Vault's record library, and that's saying something! I found it for a dollar in a cutout bin and just had to have it. I mean, how often do you find an album of sounds and music for your at-home S & M sessions fronted by a crazed uber-queen, on the Hot Waffle label no less?

Side A features eerie background music that drones on for about twenty minutes, and side B repeats the same track, only with the added bonus of the occasional whip-crack sound effect and some poor bastard screaming, "Yaaaah!" by way of emphasis. Why is this not available on CD?

Saturday, September 27, 2008


A collection of the seminal jungle-chick comic? SOLD!!!

It was only a matter of time, and Devil's Due Publishing has stepped up to plate and published the first in a proposed series reprinting the adventures of SHEENA, QUEEN OF THE JUNGLE, one of the most popular mainstays of the comics' Golden Age.

The progenitor of the female Tarzan knockoff genre, co-created by Will (THE SPIRIT) Eisner and Jerry Eiger, as well as predating the debut of Superman by a year, Sheena was literally the appointed queen of the entire jungle, an Africa readers in the days before readily-accessible travel and swift global communications were happy to believe in. Aimed at the adolescent male comics fan but just as easily enjoyed by little girls of that era (of which my seventy-five-year-old mom was one), Sheena's adventures were every bit as fun and exciting as they were completely improbable, and the series' popularity was ensured by liberal doses of the two things guaranteed to sell comic books, or just about any other form of entertainment for that matter: good ol' sex and violence. I enjoy Sheena at my present age of forty-three, and if I'd read this stuff as a kid, had I existed back in the 1940's, I would have been in hog heaven.

Not unfairly described as tales steeped in "torture, bloodshed and lust in an exotic setting" by Dr. Frederic Wertham in his infamous book "Seduction of the Innocent" and during the 1954 U.S. Senate Subcommittee hearings on Juvenile Delinquency, the Sheena adventures were little more than a catalog of the graphic violence characteristic to what one could get away with at the time and an excuse to display a scantily-clad hero who would have been right at home in the risque pinup artwork of the day. It was a winning formula that kept Sheena going strong for nearly seventeen years in the comics, headlining both JUMBO COMICS and her own self-titled book, before she was swept aside in the industry-wide cleanup of material deemed too sexy and violent for the innocent minds being influenced by such immoral and lurid works. She nonetheless continued on in a short-lived television series starring the stunning Irish McCalla (a moniker I've referred to in a previous post to as being akin to naming your shayna maideleh "Jewess Weinberg"),

Irish McCalla as Sheena. Gaw-DAY-um!!!

resurfaced nearly three decades later in a stink bomb of a film starring a woefully miscast Tanya Roberts (who did at least have the decency to appear in it full-frontally nude, which I assure you woke me from the torpor brought on by every other aspect of the movie), and then being unsuccessfully "reimagined" for the 2000's in an appallingly bad syndicated series starring Gena Lee Nolan, but after the original comics were expunged the magic was lost and it is highly unlikely that Sheena as she was meant to be experienced will ever be brought forth again (I deign not to speak of the beyond-tepid current comics incarnation).

Which is why I'm delighted to now hold in my hands a collection of the old school Sheena stuff, a compendium of two-fisted, ultra-violent (for the time) action, generously layered with endless images of the series' leopard skin-clad protagonist.

A typical Sheena cover, featuring two animals getting their asses kicked.

Your basic Sheena story involves Sheena and her companion, Bob, getting into and out of dangerous situations familiar to anyone who's ever seen a Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan movie, only usually with less plot, more cheesecake shots and the violence cranked up to eleven, especially when Sheena savagely kills at least one offending animal or person per installment. For example, any given story might feature:

grievous, animal-related bodily harm,

Sheena's nearly-spread and rather toothsome legs,

evil native femmes fatale who were topless if not for their strategically placed hair, who carried severed human heads in a basket,

frequent opportunities for the artists to create gratuitous "headlights" panels and scenarios in which the indomitable jungle queen was forced into submission,

and that deathless crowd-pleaser, an opening scene in which Sheena's serene and sexy bathing is interrupted by her ape pal, Chim, making off with her duds.

This formula was repeated ad infinitum, and the readers just ate it up.

One thing of particular note is that Sheena openly and unmarriedly cohabits with Bob, who is frequently referred to as her "mate," so it's quite implicit that our hero and her man are getting it on and no one seems to mind, a rarity in the era that saw Tarzan and Jane discovering the orphaned Boy since it was deemed unseemly for them to conceive out of wedlock. And Sheena's libertine ways were compounded by the fact that she was one of the toughest motherfuckers ever to grace the four-color page, making the Nazi-bashing Wonder Woman look like a pussy by way of comparison, so I guess nobody minded her unmarried relationship with Bob because any expression of being offended by it would have most likely resulted in a hunting knife through the esophagus.

The other thing to bear in mind when assessing the fun quotient of old school Sheena is its flagrantly un-PC content in terms of depiction of most of the non-whites who appear. Sure there are "well-spoken" tribespeople, but what would a strip like this be without the constant threat of "oogah-boogah" cannibals, witch doctors and the like? These characters (read "cannon fodder") are often hilarious, so if you read this stuff keep in mind that it's a product of its era and enjoy them for what they are in much the same way that one would now approach any Tarzan film made prior to Gordon Scott assuming the role (1955).

So, as you've no doubt gathered by now, I thoroughly enjoyed this first volume of Sheena's greatest hits (although "best of" is kind of a moot point since the stories are damned near interchangeable) and I eagerly await the next. UMGAWA!

Sheena: lookin' hot and pissing off conservationists everywhere.


At first glance, this would seem like a disaster waiting to happen.

Considering its ludicrous title and seemingly questionable concept, if ever there was an album that had no right to be as good as it is, this is it. Joe Quijano's approach here is absolutely serious — much to my initial disappointment — and the Latin-style instrumental covers of the musical's deathless tunes are truly excellent. This is due to come out on CD, but has been delayed for some unknown reason.

Friday, September 26, 2008


An iconic portrait of Kenshiro by co-creator/illustrator Tetsuo Hara.

It's the twenty-fifth anniversary of HOKUTO NO KEN, aka FIST OF THE NORTH STAR, so it was inevitable that the Japanese, masters of the usually excellent but also ridiculously pricey toys aimed at hardcore fanboy types (aka Yer Bunche), would put out a toy of the series' hero, Kenshiro, for the collector's market. Well, my ever-vigilant pal Mark G contacted me to let me know that such a toy has been issued, and it is indeed pretty damned good. But speaking as an expert on this character, I do have a few quibbles:

Kenshiro — or "Kenshirou" as it's sometimes spelled — stands about a foot tall and is decked out in his customary ripped-off-from-THE ROAD WARRIOR leather duds and looks pretty good. But I must confess that I never liked his look as much once he stopped looking like a biker and started tucking his trousers into what appear to be a cross between equestrian footwear and cowboy boots. That made him look too much like a superhero and less like the post-apocalyptic embodiment of Bushido that I had come to love.

The pliable leatherish outfit is quite nicely done, but if they were going to bother to go as all-out with this as they did, I wish the makers had given him a matching shoulder pad; yeah, Ken's aura and expanding musculature burn through his biker gear with alarming regularity (where does he get replacements from anyway?), but since the toy isn't depicting him in that state he should look like the image on the comic cover shown up top.

Once again the sculptor has failed to nail Kenshiro's likeness. This is far from terrible, but Ken's got a weird and long horse-faced look, which I would guess is what makes him such a bitch to properly craft in 3-D. His face here looks like some anonymous actor in the role and conveys none of Ken's intensity or menace. At least give him a furrowed brow, for fuck's sake!

Nonetheless, if this were priced at, say, sixty bucks I would have picked it up, just for the sake of adding another Ken to my ever-growing FIST OF THE NORTH STAR collection. But at a release price of $249.00, I can let this one pass.

Yes, you read that right: $249.00

Hey, I totally understand the collector's limited edition thing, but that's just plain crazy. Besides, I'm more than happy with my 1984 Bandai Kenshiro, one of those big, virtually impossible to damage action figures that has virtually no articulation, but would have delighted a child who was a fan of the cartoon show because it's arms can move (vital when one considers all the punching Ken gets up to) and it looks like the way he is depicted on the show.

My old school Bandai toy of Kenshiro from the 1980's: clenched fists, attitude, and none of that cowboy boot faggotry.

I got this thing back in 1991 from one of the freelancers at Marvel Comics who was a heavy duty collector of anime-related stuff (thank you, Alex), and it only cost me twenty bucks at the time. I have since seen it going for over a hundred dollars, mint in the box, on eBay but I'd never part with mine. Stiff though it may be, Kenshiro stand there braced to explode into combat, a subtle sense of barely-contained anger evident in the tense figure, and his eyes are focused to his left, as though listening to the irritating taunts of some overconfident, post-apocalyptic douchebag who clearly doesn't know who he is. Yet.

I'll replace this shot with a better, not-flash-saturated image as soon as possible.

What matters is they got the likeness and, more importantly, Ken's pissed-off attitude. Designed to be the knockabout plaything of rambunctious little boys and priced to move when it came out, this one's a real gem and serves to prove that sometimes it's best to keep things simple (and cheap).


Much more than meets the eye: the deadly and seductive Lilith.


Continuing what could be viewed as "WILD CARDS: THE NEXT GENERATION," this nineteenth entry in the WILD CARDS series takes up shortly after the events of the previous novel, INSIDE STRAIGHT, left off and reintroduces readers to the former contestants from the American Hero reality show. Now banded together as the U.N.-fronted Committee and lead by John Fortune (son of the late (?) super-pimp Fortunato and winged former-cheerleader Peregrine, still sort of possessed by the Egyptian goddess Sekhmet), that motley crew of Aces travels the globe in order to quell horrific situations raging from natural disasters to armed military coups. not totally secure in the knowledge that their assorted superpowers can win the day, much less get themselves home in one piece. As is typical for the mosaic (multiple writer) format of the series the action jumps all over the place, but the main plots take place in Africa, Iran (in an alternate reality take on our current war in the Middle East) and Texas, finally converging in a battle over which faction takes possession of an adolescent whose terrifying, uncontrollable ability renders him a human thermonuclear bomb.

As WILD CARDS novels go, this one is worth reading, but is a middling entry when stacked against much of what came before it. Sure, any long-running series will hit a series of peaks and valleys in terms of holding reader interest, but if you ask me the key to keeping the readers riveted is having characters and situations that generate some sort of desire to keep going, and the problem with this installment and its predecessor is that for the most part the new crop of heroes and villains just aren't that interesting. Lemme break down what's up, both the good and the not-so-good:
  • The American Idol parody, American Hero, could have gone somewhere had not the ubiquity of the original show long ago grown tired to the point of annoyance, so the joke's about four years out past relevance. Fortunately it doesn't have the prominence here that it did in the previous volume, so at least that's something.
  • Of the new batch of heroes only the Amazing Bubbles, Genetrix and the three-person entity of Double Helix/Bahir and Lilith can really hold their own, interest-wise, for long stretches of chapter space, and much of what occurs when the focus is not on them amounts to a mediocre superhero soap opera.
  • Speaking of which, the soap opera triangle of John Fortune, Drummer Boy — my vote for the most annoying and uninteresting of the new generation — and Curveball reaches new levels of predictable "who gives a fuck?" tedium and leaves the door wide open for more in the next book. Whoop-de-fuckin'-doo.
  • Original series character the Radical — an intensely powerful "friend" of Mark Meadows, aka Captain Trips — returns as an international "combat hippie," and appears to have sadly lost nearly all of the altruistic ideals and moral center held by his host. And speaking of his host, Meadows is now a mere minor presence among the many personalities existing in his head and his attempts at regaining control from an increasingly violent Radical are impotent at best. As a huge fan of the Captain, I'm dying to see how or if Meadows overcomes that Radical asshole and returns to the sweet, spiritual burnout that readers came to love. Oh, and his daughter, Sprout, is still around and still possesses the mind of a loving four-year-old in a body that's pushing forty.
  • The Carnifex/Midnight Angel romance from two books back rekindles but is given rather short shrift, coming as it does in the midst of the foofawraw over the nuclear kid, aka "Little fat Boy." Hopefully more will be seen of this since it's one of the few romantic subplots that's worth caring about.
  • Noel, aka Double Helix is a fascinating character, even when he/she's not in his/her Lilith or Bahir forms, and I demand more of this character as soon as possible.
  • Most disturbing new character: the Lady of Pain. You've got to read about her for yourself, but her version of empathic healing is something you'd never, ever want to see in real life.
  • Zombie-fans will definitely appreciate the addition of Hoodoo Mama, a bitchy New Orleans chick who commands the dead, regardless of species.
Bottom line: I'd rate BUSTED FLUSH among the merely so-so WILD CARDS novels and give it about a five out of a possible ten. It was worth reading, but when I think back to the entries that featured Fortunato, Captain Trips, the Swarm, Yeoman, Demise, Wraith, Kid Dinosaur, Dr. Tachyon, Puppetman, Mackie Messer and the excellent multi-book arc centering on Blaise, the Jumpers and the journey to Tachis (the aftermath of which still needs to be examined, and it would make for a terrific full-length novel), this book seems to be the result of the authors just cranking out anything in order to get an new WILD CARDS book out there. Considering how long the fans waited for new material — a hiatus of seven years, followed by another four and then two more before the current run launched — the results have been mostly somewhat disappointing, with 2006's DEATH DRAWS FIVE easily rating as the best of the post-original series lot. But I'll keep on reading the damned things, provided they keep giving me at least a handful of characters that intrigue me; when that stops, I'm out.

WILD CARDS: BUSTED FLUSH hits bookstores in December and is published by Tor Books.


Yip Yip Coyote first came to my attention by being featured on the soundtrack to BACHELOR PARTY, and the tune included there, "Dream of the West," came from out of nowhere to become one of my favorite recordings.

A project of Malcom McClaren, the mastermmind — some would say Svengali — behind the Sex Pistols and Bow Wow Wow, Yip Yip Coyote is solid proof that McClaren's tack of throwing anything against the pop music wall to see what sticks was not necessarily a sound business strategy; where the Sex Pistols succeeded on genuine social outrage and Bow Wow Wow offered a then-unique multicultural stew of rock and African Burundi rhythms, Yip Yip Coyote was a conceptual clusterfuck that attempted to gene-splice cowboy themes with overproduced dance music, and with the exceptions of "Dream of the West," "Cry Like the Wind," and the charming "Pioneer Girl," the album yields little worth listening to, and the British-accented vocals just do not work in conjunction with its shitkicker aesthetic. Nonetheless, if you hate the LP's contents, its cover makes for a striking wall decoration.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


The terror of the R train.

As I rode home on the R train last night, I settled in for the half-hour voyage next to a pair of chatty twenty-something women and dove into the chapter on the birth of the "roughie" exploitation genre in SLEAZOID EXPRESS, a loving chronicle of the days before Times Square was forever ruined by the Giuliani administration. As I thrilled to the sleazy filmmaking efforts of the Amero-Findlay collaborators, one of the girls rocketed out of her seat as though someone had just schlamped a four-million volt dildo straight up her framma-zamma, and nearly bashed her head into the metal straphanger's railing. "GET OUT OF YOUR SEAT! RIGHT NOW!!!" she shrieked at her startled friend, and before her still-seated pal could process the order, freakout girl had grabbed her by the arm and yanked her upright, dragging her several seats away to the other side of the subway car, nearly pulling the confused woman's arm from its socket.

Needless to say, this sudden outburst of panic shocked the living hell out of those of us who were either asleep or reading, and as the two crash landed onto their new seating area all eyes tried to determine just what was so terrible about the seats that they had flung from like chunks of masonry hurled by a trebuchet. A willowy young queer kid with ginger hair shrieked "What the fuck! You scared the shit out of me you crazy bitch!!!" to which the panicked rider pointed to the vacated seat and uttered "Look! There it is! Don't you see it? It's a cockroach!!!" At that, all eyes turned and beheld a minuscule example of one of NYC's most common vermin, maybe about three-quarters of an inch in length, a far cry from the Megalon-sized horror one would have expected to elicit such a primal, knee-jerk reaction.

Megalon: a roach big enough to be worth freaking out over.

All who saw it let out disappointed moans or cries of "Gimme a fuckin' break!" and "Aw, man! Lady, you're a fuckin' pussy!" and such before returning to their usual state of ingrained MTA-rider detachment. Little short of a foaming-at-the-mouth, wild-eyed naked man, covered in dried blood and sporting a fifteen-inch hard-on while violating a life-size cardboard standee of Seven of Nine can attract the attention of the daily subway traveler — believe me, we've seen and gotten used to some seriously fucked-up shit — so having our various reveries disturbed over a teensy-weensy bug was a bit of a buzzkill.

About two stops after the excitement had calmed down, the doors opened and in walked a three-hundred-plus pound Puerto Rican dude with a greasy, Jim-Kelly-sized Afro. The guy sat down and closed his eyes for a few minutes, but then he bolted upright and looked at the floor. Across it crawled the little roach, already forgotten by all the other riders, and the huge guy jumped from his chair screaming a heavily accented "Die, you motherfucker!!!" while displaying a shocking level of agility for one of his sheer mass, landing with all of his gargantuan poundage atop the chitinous stowaway, flattening it utterly and splattering its innards in an impressive pattern about the size of a smashed grape (seedless variety). As silence returned and the gigantic slayer of the wee once more took his seat and closed his eyes, all I could think of was the classic sequence from INFRA MAN (1976) where the hero, grown to titanic proportions, pulled the exact same move (minus the accusation of incestuous conduct) on a hyperactive arachnid-man, resulting in a sickening blast of green goo and a sort of fart noise.

How Infra Man would have handled it.

Too bad the big Puerto Rican wasn't decked out in a cool red and silver superhero outfit when he defended us from the horrid, crawly bastard. Now THAT would have been cool.


The title says it all.

No way would the estate of the King allow this compilation to be released legally since it contains literally the worst shit Elvis ever recorded, most of which is culled from his "films." A goldmine of unmitigated crap, this is a real endurance test, even for the most diehard of Elvis-heads, and includes such cringe-worthy horrors as "Song of the Shrimp," "Dominic the Impotent Bull," "There's No Room to Rhumba In A Sports Car," the virtually-unlistenable "Confidence," "Signs of the Zodiac," "Queenie Wahine's Papaya," and — I shit you not — "Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce." We also get treated to a couple of live tracks that present a very wasted Elvis butchering a couple of his classics, but the album earns its hefty collector's price with the inclusion of the King's incredible rendition of "Old MacDonald Had A Farm," in which Elvis sings the Old MacDonald part and makes it clear that if the animals of his farm ever get out of line he will merrily eat each and every one of them. And just when you thought this album was as over-the-top as it could possibly get, the distributors — listed as both "RCA Victim Records" and "Rip-Off Corporation of America" — included a xeroxed copy of one of Dr. Nick's prescription sheets, a horrifying artifact that makes one wonder just how Elvis survived as long as he did.

This totally illegal 1983 classic was re-released on CD in 2004 on the Dog Vomit label, so start your Google search now!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Don't worry; those PEBBLES AND BAMM-BAMM model sheets will go up as soon as I can scan them here at the design 'ho house. Do you have any idea who may have designed that show? The art looks to me like it was Iwao Takamoto, but I could be wrong.

BIZARRO SHIT FROM THE '80'S: "WOLFMAN TAP" by Electric Guitars

Time to delve once more into the Vault's crazy record library!

One of the zillions of bizarre one-shots to grace the alternative airwaves back in the days, this 1983 oddity is ostensibly a dance floor record but it eschews the familiar disco and new wave sound to give a breathless audience… (Wait for it!) a tap dance record about a werewolf who’s so psyched to be a lycanthrope that he just can’t help but to channel his inner Savion Glover.


How the fuck does someone even come up with a concept like that? And despite the group’s name there is nary a trace of electric guitar to be found anywhere on this twelve-inch, so the whole thing makes even less sense. A true masterpiece!


When best-selling novelists lend their skills to the comics/graphic novel arena the results can often be a painfully disappointing, but such is not the case here. Joe Hill, author of HEART-SHAPED BOX (and son of some guy named Stephen King) crafts a gripping account of a family’s attempt to rebuild after the father/husband is murdered by a seriously deranged high school student. The shattered Locke family leaves California after the arrest of the killer and moves in with the deceased father’s brother at the family homestead in Maine, but as anyone who has read horror fiction in the past seventy-some-odd years will tell you, it’s a bad idea to try to leave behind the gruesome goings-on in your life by moving to an island named “Lovecraft.” What begins as a study in how the different family members cope with grief soon veers into dark and creepy territory as the youngest Locke discovers a doorway that causes those who pass through it to leave their bodies behind and become ghosts, along with a well that houses someone (something?) that desperately wants out and will use any means available to gain freedom, including summoning the teenage murderer who set events in motion in the first place.

To say more would give away many of the fun surprises the creative team hands out, but rest assured that this first of hopefully several volumes delivers on all counts, boasting a solid story and exceptional work by Chilean artist Gabriel Rodriguez that resembles a fusion of Rick Geary and Cully Hamner, with just a dash of Frank Quitely.

TRUST YER BUNCHE when I tell you this is some really good shit that deserves your attention.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Wartime frequently saw the release of propaganda and instructional materials designed to "explain" the strange ways of the foes of whomever was involved on the perceived "good" side of any given conflict, and this 1942 effort by TERRY AND THE PIRATES creator Milton Caniff — starring two-fisted white people Pat Ryan and Terry Lee, both deemed expert on all things Asian thanks to having cruised all over the China seas for nearly a decade, kicking ass on any yellow devils fool enough to fuck with them (or, in the case of the Dragon Lady, just plain fuck them) — does the serviceman reader the favor of laying out all the pertinent info on spotting that heinous enemy of the American people, the insidious "Jap." And, no, Caniff was not referring to cute Red Sea pedestrians from Oceanside.

What's weird to me about this page is that the unidentified officer looks a hell of a lot like actor James Shigeta (of THE OUTER LIMITS episode "The Architects of Fear"), one of the people we're supposedly being warned against.

Remember, kids: look for a shuffle and not a happenin' pimp-walk.

Better yet, have them prove their DOCTOR WHO knowledge by successfully pronouncing "Raxacoricofallapatorius."

Hey, they're comic strip heroes.They wouldn't shit ya!

These are just some excerpts. The full text is quite enlightening, and I have it on good authority from a Chinese friend — thank you, Minh — that all of the info on the more detestable of the Asian races is one hundred percent accurate. Hey, if you can't trust comic strip heroes, who the fuck can you trust?

UP NEXT: the truth about Negroes and their secret plan to indoctrinate white American youth with their horrid and insidious "hip-hop" and "rap" musical stylings.

Monday, September 22, 2008


I just returned from a weekend at my mother's house in Connecticut, where I received an unexpected windfall.

My family moved to the Westport back in the summer of 1972 and one of the kids I knew from the beginning of second grade that year was a little girl named Leslie Casson, one of the minute number of genuine nice children at Hillspoint Elementary. When she observed my interest in drawing she told me that her father was a syndicated cartoonist by the name of Mel Casson, and over the years I had many dialogues with Mel regarding the history of the American comic strip and his own personal experiences in that industry, along with many anecdotes about the luminaries of the daily strip including Milton (TERRY AND THE PIRATES) Caniff, Charles M. Schultz of PEANUTS excellence and ubiquity, and many, many others.

As the years passed I lost touch with Leslie — despite my mother and I moving to a new house in 1980 and instantly becoming the Cassons' next door neighbors in the process — but I did run into her here in Brooklyn about six years ago and discovered she was now married and a mom. Then we skip ahead in time to a few months ago and the passing of Mel; Leslie (now having changed her first name to Culver) returned to the old family house and while sorting through her dad's things she found a treasure trove of old books of collected comics — dailies and magazine gag cartoons, as well as the odd one-shot bio of a featured cartoonist or an examination of the medium that was barely fifty years old when the books in question were published — and she figured I would enjoy them. Oh, how right she was!

Among the gems found in this three-shopping-bag assortment were a book on patriotism written and drawn by Milton Caniff that he had actually signed (!!!), a stack or rare hardcover Peter Arno books (whose cartoons were far more risque than I remembered from the days when my Aunt Connie had some of his more family-friendly collections lying about), a Charles Addams collection from 1946 that I'd never heard of

(which is rare, because I am a hardcore Addams nut), a first edition of the very first POGO collection,

another POGO book that featured creator Walt Kelly's singularly bizarre and twisted take on Mother Goose,

a 1966 Hanna Barbera style guide that features model sheets for pretty much all of their major characters at that time (sadly, this was just before SPACE GHOST and the H/B superhero boom) and contained gorgeous xeroxed model sheets from THE PEBBLES & BAMM-BAMM SHOW (1971) where the toddlers from THE FLINTSTONES were teenagers, a first edition hardcover collection of Milton Caniff's MALE CALL,

a signed (!!!) copy of a Caniff STEVE CANYON primer on the meaning of patriotism (that won't make you puke), and a book written by BEETLE BAILEY creator Mort Walker about the ins and outs of the life of a syndicated cartoonist, entitled BACKSTAGE AT THE STRIPS (Mason/Charter, 1975).

I hadn't seen that book since I checked it out from the Westport Public Library some thirty years ago, and among other fascinating thing it contains a glossary of terms that identify various cartooning tropes in verbal shorthand (more on that in another post someday) and a great chapter on editorial censorship, particularly about how it can be frustrating for to have an editor censor gags in favor not risking alienating or offending the readership, an especially telling chapter because the reader gets to see some rejected BEETLE BAILEY and BONER'S ARK (remember that one?) strips that prove Mort Walker was actually funny when his gags weren't being watered down or vetoed altogether (I'll scan those strips the next time I'm in Westport and run them here, so you'll see what I'm blathering on about).

But the main reason why I'm happy to have received BACKSTAGE AT THE STRIPS is that it contains a strip I never forgot since I first saw it in there three decades ago, namely the following unbelievable DENNIS THE MENACE daily from 1970, and not 1917:

Yes, this actually ran nationwide in 1970, which beggars the question of just how out of touch creator Hank Ketcham was. Were the 1960's something that didn't happen for him? Whatever the case, the Cleveland Press printed this apology the day after the strip ran, printing it in place of what would have been that day's DENNIS THE MENACE installment:

Yesterday's DENNIS THE MENACE cartoon offended a number of Press readers. The Press apologizes for the affront caused by the cartoonist. It assures subscribers that such a thing will not happen again.

What truly amazes me about it is that I don't think Ketcham actually meant any harm and just didn't know any better. DENNIS THE MENACE always kind of existed in a 1950's-style, suburbia-that-never-was OZZIE AND HARRIET universe of bland (though very well drawn) blandness that was informed by generations of outdated humor, and the depiction of the kid as a Sambo stereotype was just a part of the once-accepted visual language. Too bad Ketcham apparently hadn't payed attention to social advances and depictions of us "race" types since the mid-1940's.

Anyway, thank you, Culver, for these amazing additions to the Vault's comics library. Your dad was a great guy, and I regret that I didn't get to spend more time with him.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Saturday, September 20, 2008


Yer Bunche, deeply horrified by what I just witnessed.


as regular readers of this here blog well know, I am in no way averse to posting vile, disgusting and downright disturbing content. Hell, I'm usually downright psyched to share such nastiness with the (mostly) innocent Internet public! But over this past weekend my esteemed colleague Greaseball Johnny, an unimpeachably dedicated researcher into the far extremes of pornography and other questionable areas, alerted me to something truly nasty that I had to investigate as possible Vault fodder. This horrid porno abomination bears the self-explanatory title of CUM FART TSUNAMI, and judging from the packaging image it's exactly what it claims to be, namely "the mother of all anal felching videos."

That's all well and good (?), but when I Googled this feel-good movie and saw the cover image for myself even I had to put my tabi-shod foot down and refuse to run it. It's the kind of image that is in no way "work safe" and could quite easily get you fired on the spot just for looking at it, so whatever you do, don't Google CUM FART TSUNAMI — again, don't Google CUM FART TSUNAMI — while at work unless you have the insane urge to be completely and totally unemployed in this harsh economy. Seriously, once seen you may have second thoughts about ever again eating a glazed doughnut.

Never let it be said that I'm not looking out for your best interests.

Friday, September 19, 2008


Fuck Johnny Depp, I have no idea if this is real or not, but I must see it.

Aaaaaarrr, oh lusty readers o' this hyar loony blog! 'Tis Talk Like A Pirate Day — I wouldn'a shit ye! — so staple a foul-mouthed parrot ta yer shoulder, slap on an eye patch and be sure ta annoy as many o' yer co-workers, friends and family as ye think ye can git away with before gettin' a rusty cutlass shoved straight up yer already-violated-thanks-ta-years-at-sea-wi'-the lads arse! Go out and get completely pissed on strong drink an' enjoy a good, manly puke, tastin' yer own bile and channelin' yer inner Eddie Teach!

Aaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrr, I say! Aaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrr!!! (Why the fuck do pirates say that anyway? Are they hungover? Is it a symptom of scurvy? What the fuck is up with that?)

A terrible pirate joke:

Q: Gee, Mister Pirate! What's your favorite letter of the alphabet?
A: Aaaaaaaaaarrrrr, me heartie! Aaaaaaaaaaaarrrrr!!!

(You may groan now.)


I love this show. No, seriously. I REALLY love this show.

When XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS debuted in syndication after having spun off from HERCULES: THE LEGENDARY JOURNEYS, I really didn’t expect much from it other than being a source of cheesy barbarian babes entertainment in the vein of the old school peplum movies I loved as a kid.

The one and only Lucy Lawless as Xena.

The Xena character — as played with gusto by Lucy Lawless — was different from the standard bad guy warlord type only when it came to her gender, but she was considerably more violent than any other antagonist found on the ostensibly kiddie-oriented HERCULES, thereby making her actually of interest and worthy of a sister series that was rather different in tone and possibly more adult. The problem was coming up with a way to make a character as downright evil as Xena originally was palatable as somebody an audience could root for, so the creators had her closely interact with Hercules (translation: “get her hump on with the Herc”) and find his goodness and selfless desire to help others a motivating inspiration. That done, her own series was off and running.

The first season of XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS can be looked at as a case of an adventure show testing its own waters and seeing what worked and what didn’t, leaving much of what it would later become famous for to occur in subsequent years. The main thrust of season one is that of Xena uncomfortably coming to grips with her reevaluation of her purpose in life and kicking as much deserving ass as possible while striving for redemption — or, more frankly, attempting to temper and not erase her violent nature — all while wandering the earth during the days of Greco-Roman and other mythologies with the wide-eyed and innocent Gabrielle (played to great and endearing comedic effect by Renee O’Connor), the self-proclaimed “bard of Potidaea,” as her sidekick.

Renee O'Connor as Gabrielle.

So on one hand we have the implacable battle-hardened warrior while we have the sweet, artistic naïf with a heart full of kindness and hope on the other, and it’s a rather obvious given that the two will greatly influence one another whether they like it or not, each other’s aspects both serving to strengthen and weaken, depending on one’s point of view.

The dynamic between Xena and Gabrielle is certainly nothing new — if you ask me the series owes a huge debt of “inspiration” to Mercedes Lackey’s Tarma and Kethry, very similar characters whose existence shocked the shit out of me when I read their stories years after Xena had started, despite them having been around since the Eighties — but it’s fun to see enacted between two women on a TV series set within a Joseph Campbell-style landscape. The series definitely follows many of Campbell’s theories (truths, in my estimation) about the culturally universal “heroic journey” tale, but while it would seem on the surface to be Xena who’s the central focus of the journey in question, it is actually the chronicle of Gabrielle’s journey to becoming the warrior-poet ideal that just happens to intersect with Xena’s quest for redemption and a sense of peace, a quest that the viewer realizes is more and more futile with every step taken…

But I’m getting ahead of myself. The deeper analysis of Xena must be reserved for the subsequent seasons, although I would be remiss in not addressing the one aspect of the series that holds great fascination and appeal for the majority of its adherents: the “Subtext,” and that’s subtext with a capital “S.” XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS has an enormous cult following for many reasons — barbarian/mythological action, hot chicks in skimpy Frazetta-wear, genuinely funny forays into camp humor, monsters, a female empowerment stance unequalled in television history, crazy musical episodes, just to name a few — but it’s the major lesbian vibe that pervades the show almost from the first episode that renders it unique. There has been much debate over the close friendship of Xena and Gabrielle and whether or not they are lovers, thanks to the fact that the physical nature of their relationship is never explicitly spelled out (Or is it? Stay tuned for further seasons!), and I assure you I have my own take on that burning question, but for now all I’ll say is that season one plants many seeds of what could very easily be interpreted as a growing lesbian attraction. It doesn’t come close to the levels seen in subsequent seasons, but the germ is certainly there.

So, as previously stated, season one is pretty much a standard (though by no means unentertaining) first year for an adventure show, and of its twenty-four episodes just over half of them are must-sees for the Xena scholar. Not a bad average for a first season, especially when you consider for how long and just how badly STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION majorly ate the hose before it got good!

Episode #1: SINS OF THE PAST

Draco (Jay Laga'aia) attempts to sway Xena back to her evil ways.

Taking up right where we left her on HERCULES: THE LEGENDARY JOURNEYS, we join Xena as she unsuccessfully attempts to bury her warlike ways — both figuratively and literally — and saves farm girl Gabrielle from being sold into slavery. Gabrielle takes a shine to the Ass-Kicker from Amphipolis and the two become traveling companions (much to Xena’s initial annoyance, and the heartbreak of Gabrielle’s betrothed, Perdicas) despite Xena’s well-earned and widespread reputation as a violent, murderous pariah akin to Ghengis Kahn. We also meet Draco (Jay Laga'aia), a recurring warlord foil for Xena who always carried a torch for her, as well as a scar she inflicted upon him for “getting rough.” Sure, the guy’s a double-crossing asshole, but I’ll be damned if I don’t kind of like him.


Gabrielle, valiantly attempting to preserve her "blood innocence."

When Morpheus, the god of dreams, kidnaps Gabrielle in hope of making her his bride, Gabrielle must lose her “blood innocence,” meaning she must spill blood by making her first kill. The major developments in this episode are Xena coming to accept her own fierceness as an indelible part of who and what she is, and Gabrielle being taught by Xena that “Everything changes when you make your first kill.”


Marcus (Bobby Hosea).

While attempting to rescue a kidnapped princess from the clutches of an arms-dealing warlord asshole, Xena runs into Marcus (Bobby Hosea), an old lover who is torn between his love for her and his loyalty to the arms-dealing warlord asshole. Marcus eventually meets a sorry fate — the sole brutha up in this muthafukka, so that was inevitable — , but as this is mythology there are ways around that.


Ares (Kevin Smith) attempts to sway Xena back to her evil ways. Hey, I'm sensing a pattern here...

The first of several appearances by Ares (Kevin Smith; the Kiwi one, not Silent Bob), god of war and self-professed “former mentor and still greatest fan” of Xena. Ares is great fun here, trying his best to win the warrior princess back to his side, and he just gets better as the series progresses.

Episode #8: PROMETHEUS

No, this isn't the cover to an upcoming Manowar album.

The series gives us its version of the myth of Prometheus, and Hercules and Iolaus team up with our heroines to free the Titan from bondage (and the annoyance of having his ever-regenerating liver being eaten out by a fucking vulture every day) so the world’s populace can regain its ability to heal from sickness and injury. This one’s fun for the tying up of loose plot threads from Xena’s arc on HERCULES (the show, not his demi-godly meat-pony) and seeing just how far the word of Xena’s conversion from the Dark Side has spread. The dynamic between Hercules and Iolaus also inspires Gabrielle to become more proactive when the fighting starts, one of the first baby steps toward what she would later evolve into.


A not bad episode, notable for when Gabrielle finally ditches her cutesy Renaissance Fair look in the first of several makeovers on her warrior's journey.


In my humble opinion this is where the series we came to know and love really started to fire on all cylinders. I won’t spoil the surprises for those who haven’t seen it, but it’s packed to the rafters with Amazons, centaurs, deadly-serious ritual combat, and also includes the introduction of one of Gabrielle’s signature weapons.

Danielle Cormack as Ephiny the Amazon.

We also meet the charming and hard-as-nails Amazon tribeswoman Ephiny (Danielle Cormack), another warrior who could accurately be called one of Gabrielle’s role models and will be seen again on several occasions. A must-see for Gabrielle fans.


Galyn Goerg as Helen of Troy.

Not much more to say here other than that anything featuring Helen of Troy depicted as a black chick has my undivided attention.


Ultra-girly Xena lookalike, Princess Diana.

A very entertaining excursion into outright comedy, this one gives Lucy Lawless a chance to stretch her acting chops by playing both Xena and her ultra-girly lookalike, Diana, a clueless princess under threat of assassination. She and Xena trade places, and Lawless milks the change of pace for all it’s worth as Diana experiences the crushing poverty in her father’s kingdom firsthand, and her performance is so girly and cutesy that it verges on the disturbing.


Marcus, enjoying a short reprieve from death.

Kind of a nod to Mario Bava’s classic peplum opus HERCULES IN THE HAUNTED WORLD (1961), one of the very few genuinely good films of that glutted genre, this episode features Xena journeying to the Underworld to help Hades retrieve his helm of invisibility after it’s stolen by the shade of a serial killer. Apparently the helm grants Hades’ powers to whomever wears it, and the serial killer uses it to not only cause the inhabitants of Tartarus (the place for the damned in the Underworld) and the Elysian Fields (the place where you want to be if you’re dead in Greek mythology) to have their situations reversed, but also to escape back to the upper world and launch on a spree of invisibility-cloaked murder. Xena convinces Hades to grant a brief stay of death to her now redeemed but nonetheless condemned-to-Tartarus lover Marcus so she’ll have an able warrior to help her track down the murderous thief, which also yields the dividend of some bittersweet romantic coupling during breaks in the hunt. And look for Michael Hurst, Iolaus on HERCULES, in an amusing turn as Charon, the ferryman of the River Styx.


The one and only Bruce Campbell as Autolycus, the King of Thieves.

It’s fan-geek Nirvana as Bruce (THE EVIL DEAD) Campbell steps in as Autolycus, the swashbuckling King of Thieves and recurring character on HERCULES, who teams up with Xena to get their hands on an item of great importance to some ancient Red Sea pedestrians (an item seen to much greater effect in the first cinematic adventure of a certain two-fisted archeology professor). Campbell’s always fun and he’s a hoot here, doing his level best to irritate the living shit out of an in-disguise Xena (she’s supposed to be the concubine to the famed professional assassin he’s impersonating, so the opportunities for abuse are legion), so this one’s a must-see example of just how good the comedy episodes of this series can be (but don’t get me started on the bad ones).

Episode #17: THE PRODIGAL

Lila and Gabby pull the strings of a totally wasted Meleager the Mighty.

After freezing up during a fight, Gabrielle decides the warrior life is not for her and so leaves Xena, returning home to Potidaea. Once there she discovers her sister, Lila (Willa O'Niell), harbors resentment at her having left her behind for the more colorful Xena, while the village finds itself under threat of decimation by a local warlord. The story then becomes ONE SAMURAI (rather than seven) as Gabrielle puts the warrior skills and knowledge she learned from Xena to use in defense of her hometown and realizes she’s not the pussy she thinks she is. Xena’s in this one for maybe three minutes but you’ll be so caught up Gabrielle’s story that you won’t mind one bit, and it also features a fun turn by veteran character actor Tim Thomerson (QUARK, TRANCERS) as Meleager the Mighty, the Xena-era answer to CAT BALLOU's Kid Shelleen.


A thinly disguised version of the biblical story of Abraham, this one’s notable for the series' first blatant lesbian gag, in which Xena is described thusly by the villainous Mael:

“A trial, sent to us, by the Almighty, to test our resolve. Can you doubt it? All you have to do is look at her to see she’s unnatural, an affront to God. A woman with the strength of ten men? Out in the world alone, save only her scrawny little companion? It’s a complete abomination!”

Sounds kinda dykey to me, and I should know.

And then there’s the bit where a stark naked Xena strolls out of a lake and beats the motherfucking shit out of an assortment of ruffians with some fish she just caught. (No, we don’t get to see Lucy’s nekkid excellence, but it’s quite clear what’s going on and it’s very funny.)

Episode #22: CALLISTO

Hudson Leick as Callisto, redefining the term "sociopath."

Every hero needs an arch nemesis, and the tits-out crazy Callisto more than suits that role. Hudson Leick superbly personifies vengeful madness as the homicidal terror that Xena inadvertently created during her earlier days as a borderline psychotic warmonger and is truly creepy/scary, instantly earning a high-ranking place among the warrior princess’ rogues gallery.

I don't know about you, but there's something about this that just plain creeps me out.

The downside to this is that this episode also introduces Joxer the Mighty (Ted Raimi), a wannabe warrior who’s about as useful as maxi-pads designed for marble statues, intended to serve as comic relief, something already ably provided by the interaction between the show’s leads.

Ted Raimi as Joxer the Mighty. Are you laughing? Neither am I.

I have nothing against Ted Raimi and I give him points for making the best if what the scripters gave him, but Joxer is just too broad and unfunny to me in a way that I’ve despised since I was out of training pants, and unfortunately he goes on to plague far too many subsequent episodes. He does grow a bit as a character, but he’s totally unnecessary, his very presence often bringing any given story to a screeching, irritating halt. He's the Xena Universe's answer to Jerry Lewis at his most grating, and I don't give a fuck what the French say, that shit just ain't funny. There are those among the Xena fandom who defend Joxer, but I am obviously not one of them.

Episode #23: DEATH MASK

Not exactly the most cheery of family reunions: Xena and her older brother, Toris (Joseph Kell).

When Xena and Gabrielle encounter a town under siege by the brigands of the cruel warlord Cortise, they of course rush to defend the innocent villagers, but riding with the brigands is Xena's estranged older brother, Toris. To say more would give away too much, but this one is significant for providing a window into exactly what ignited the warrior spark within Xena in the first place many years ago.


Lesson learned here: triage in ancient Greece while under siege and being bullied by a religious fanatic is not a walk in the park.

Xena's advanced, battlefield-earned healing skills are put to the test as she and Gabrielle minister to the grievously wounded in a temple during the middle of a vicious war over, among other things, religious ideologies. Xena's single-minded focus while performing tracheotomies, dealing with sucking chest wounds and setting broken bones is pretty intense, and Gabrielle defines bedside manner as a Potidaean Florence Nightengale-style peacemaker. It's like a bizarre episode of E/R, especially when Ephiny the Amazon returns, in a particularly difficult delicate condition, and we get to witness the agonizing particulars of the Caesarean birth of a centaur (Imagine the vaginal birth on that one. Yikes!!!). Oh, and Xena's medical efforts make a lasting impression on some guy named Hippocrates.

So that's it for season one. I'm going to take a break from the world of Xena for a little while, but now that I've gotten into the rhythm of this particular project I'd say you can expect the next installment in about a month, so stay tuned!

And by the way, did anyone else notice that Xena's loyal horse, Argo, started out male and was later referred to as "she" or "her?" What happened?

Xena and Argo, the gender-changing steed. NOTE: when I first saw this photo I thought Argo was grazing on Xena, but then I noticed his head was on the other side of her thigh. What the fuck is wrong with me?

And why isn't this happening to me right this very moment?

Seriously, find me one thing wrong with this (other than it not being me that Xena's riding)!