Saturday’s ‘Superheroes!’ Presentation by the Cincinnati Pops at Taft Theatre was more than I was expecting. I had looked forward to a replay of 2013’s amazing ‘Superheroes!’ concert, but instead found that the show had been refashioned into a full-blown musical, charting the adventures of heroes Conduktor and Rubáto, and villains Purrfect Pitch and Otto Tüün, as portrayed by members of the Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati. The plot had the heroes laying waste to the bad guys’ scheme to replace live music with electronic, and — as an aside — destroy the world with a phalanx of gigantic tuning forks. An origin story was tucked in there as well. Songs from Hercules, The Wiz, Newsies, and Hairspray were repurposed to help tell the story along with selections from the Pops’ original Superheroes! concert. Great fun to see the characters I co-created with Cincinnati Pops conductor John Morris Russell live onstage.
Many of the kids, and even parents, in the audience came dressed in their best superhero outfits, and conductor Russell and I had a great time meeting attendees and signing programs and masks for them afterward.
Many thanks to the Cincinnati Pops team and the Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati!
That’s me with Joseph Hamzy (who played Conduktor in the show) and Cincinnati Pops conductor John Morris Russell. Other featured performers were Xavier Carnicom, Brooke Chamberlin, Austin Harvey, Trinity Gibson, C. J. Zimmer, Ethan Marx, Marlo D’Ascenzo, Mia D’Ascenzo, and Courtney Hammonds.
While continuing to sort through boxes that were packed away after the house flood, I discovered this page from the Dayton Daily News, August 16, 2004, announcing the opening of Comics and Games Emporium — How I got it or why I saved it, I can’t guess, unless it was just my custom at the time to file away articles about any area comic book activity that I stumbled across.
The gentleman in the picture, the owner of the Dayton comics shop, is Jim Broughton, whom I wouldn’t properly meet until a decade later. Jim and I became friends at the bi-monthly ASH Comics and Toy Shows in Indianapolis a few years ago, and until I ran across this newspaper clipping, I never connected him to the comics shop in the story.
I also never did get to Comics and Games Emporium — and apparently I missed my chance — but Jim Broughton, with Dan Taylor, now operate a great store, Jim & Dan’s Comics & Collectibles in West Alexandria, OH, and also host a quarterly comics convention at Wright State University which I enjoy and recommend (the most recent one was this past Sunday!).
Today is also Jim’s birthday, and I wish him a happy one and many more!
I’m continuing to sift through boxes of stuff that was salvaged from my house flood, and the item that surfaced today coincidentally ties in to my weekend’s television viewing.The Decades TV network fills each weekend with a marathon of a different vintage television series. This time around, the selection was The Millionaire, an anthology series that ran on CBS from 1955 to 1960. The premise of the show was that an unseen multi-billionaire called John Beresford Tipton (voiced by animation actor Paul Frees), each week tasked his executive secretary, Michael Anthony (played by Marvin Miller), with delivering a $1,000,000 cashiers check to a random person of Tipton’s selection as a gift. The remainder of the half-hour dramatized how these people from all walks of life were impacted by their unexpected windfall.
I parodied this series in my work for Archie Comics through a character I called The Elevenaire. The late great Stan Goldberg brought The Elevenaire’s visuals to life, and Stan was kind enough to send me copies of his pencils for the inaugural story of this occasional series. Those photocopies turned up in a box stored in my basement today, so I thought I’d share some samples.
Archie Comics does a great job of repackaging their past comics, but unfortunately sometimes the reprint department lets incorrect writing credits on stories slip through, so I like to set the record straight whenever I spot an error.
This week’s release is Jughead and Archie Jumbo Comics Digest #21 (which, by the way, is spotlighted in the current Riverdale Podcast!), and it contains a number of my past stories — a couple of them credited to other writers, so let’s fix that.
Here’s another item that was buried sufficiently deep in a closet that it survived the house disaster… and a great photostatic keepsake it is. It’s the splash page and additional art from a Superman story I wrote — and for fans of the classic era of Superman, there’s no mistaking the drawing style. The artist is Wayne Boring.
Wayne’s history with Superman runs deep. He was hired as a ghost artist for the Siegel and Shuster (Superman’s creators) studio in the mid-1930’s, and eventually became the main, credited artist for the Superman newspaper comic strip. When Siegel and Shuster split from their comic book publisher, Boring was hired by that publisher as a staff artist and became one of the main artists for the Superman comic book line for decades thereafter. His style couldn’t have been more distinctive; his Superman figures were the ones who looked like they were jogging across the sky rather than flying.
Wayne Boring had long-since retired when I began writing Superman stories for Editor Julius Schwartz in the mid-1980’s.
Around that time,I was invited to stop in and give a talk at my alma mater, The Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art in Dover, New Jersey. I had attended the school in its earliest days and we alumni were frequently invited to give a progress report whenever we were in town.
Sleep Cycle is the name of the latest iPhone app I’ve been using regulrly. In part, it’s a re-invented alarm clock, designed to gently lead you out of your slumber instead of jolting you awake.
It uses the phone’s built-in microphone to monitor your breathing while you sleep and charts the depth of your rest throughout the night.
if you set the alarm for 7:00 am for instance, Sleep Cycle actively monitors the half-hour window leading up to seven, choosing a moment when the depth of your sleep is at its most shallow, and then plays soft music to bring you out of it. While you may wake up a bit sooner than you intended, the effect is that you’ll awaken feeling more rested than if your sleep were interrupted in the conventional manner.
The app passively monitors your sleep all night long. The feature of this program that has caught my attention most is the graph, recorded nightly, that illustrates and rates my night’s sleep. Here is how I did last night:
Sleep quality, 70%, which is generally about at high as I get. On just as many nights, I get a grade in the mid-to-low forties, which I’ve come to resent. On this chart, that area around 1:00 am shows that I was in a very profound deep sleep, which grew less deep throughout the night.
Anyway, I find that I’m now going to sleep more purposefully, with an aim of beating my best record. I haven’t cracked 75% yet, but I’m determined. No more 40’s!
Sleep Cycle is a free download in the app store, if you’re interested.