First Stumpfinger story is published!

“The Dimensional Dollar,” the first short story I wrote with my Donald-Trumpy money-gulping supervillain Stumpfinger, is now published. Series 1963 A: An Anthology of California Writers is a series of stories from the California South Bay Writers Club about the journey of a single dollar bill, which side-slips into Super Holly’s universe for my story. I helped select and edit a few of these stories. I know these writers. They’re good. Spend $1.29 and have a good time.

P.S. In this first story, I spelled Stumpfinger’s first name as Billutons (goofy and greedy) instead of Billington (real and snooty). I’ll likely change it to Billington later, unless people like Billutons better. Comments and votes are welcome.

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Still time for Batton Lash’s Kickstarter!

Batton Lash, story writer and Ditko-esque artist, drew the cover of my book Super Bad Hair Day. He gave me great advice (red cape and up-arrow chest logo for Holly). He created Alanna Wolff, a great female lead and a great lawyer. Super Holly would hire Alanna in a nanosecond.

March 26 is the last day for Batton’s Kickstarter for his latest graphic novel, Grandfathered in. He reached his first goal of $11,000, but has another for $13,000 where he can offer another prize. From the Kickstarter page:

In this full-color original graphic novel, Wolff and Byrd take on a case in which a ghost is literally “grandfathered in” to a home inheritance. Grandpa has died but his ghost won’t leave the house—much to the chagrin of his son and daughter-in-law! Meanwhile at the law offices, the landlord wants Wolff & Byrd to leave because their clients are disturbing the other tenants. Plus: Someone from Alanna’s past comes back to haunt her, Jeff is having family troubles, and intrepid secretary Mavis has her own challenges! Readers can expect lots of plot twists and turns and a surprising revelation. This is the first all-new Supernatural Law graphic novel in 5 years!

If you want a strong, smart, tough female lead and a great courtroom story with the drama of Law & Order (sound effects: BOM BOM!) and the laughs of Seinfeld, read Batton Lash’s Supernatural Law graphic novels. If you contribute to the Grandfathered In Kickstarter, you can get goodies such as the new graphic novel ($25 and up).

Heavens to Murgatroyd! A comic book about a writer!

DC Comics is bringing several decades-old Hanna-Barbera cartoon characters back to life in new comic books. I am in love with one of them. (In a totally hetero way, of course.)

In my opinion, The Snagglepuss Chronicles has the best writing in current comic books. Mark Russell writes that pink cool cat as a gay southern playwright in the mid-1950s. It fits like a velvet glove. So go fit this comic book into your stash!

I love the dialog. In issue 3, Snagglepuss is on a talk show, where he neatly stated the difference between television and theater.

Snagglepuss: Television is about creating stars, theater develops actors.

Talk Show Host: And what’s the difference?

Snagglepuss: A star shows people who they’d wish to be, an actor shows them what they are.

In issue 2, a nasty woman from the House Committee on Un-American Activities tries to convince Snagglepuss to write scripts for her about the evil commies about to take over America and we gotta get them and anyone who remotely smells the least bit pinko. Snagglepuss elegantly, politely, and firmly refuses.

Snagglepuss: You ask for my pen, and that I cannot give.

Nasty Woman: Why?

Snagglepuss: Because it’s all I have.

I wiped a tear from my aspiring author eyes at that. I get the feeling I will wipe off a few more. HUAC did not treat writers well.

Huckleberry Hound is also gay in this storyline. Snagglepuss takes that poor, hangdog-sad soul under his wing. I admit I would never have thought Huckleberry would be gay. I can’t tell by looking at him, surprise surprise. A guy at Prism Comics once called me an ally. That was nice of him, but that didn’t give me gaydar.

Except for Porky Pig. C’mon, everyone knows Porky was gay! The rumor is that Porky kept his career because Yosemite Sam kicked down the office door of a homophobic executive who wanted to fire Porky, and Yosemite drew his pistols, and…

Yosemite Sam: Ah hates homophobes! Ah’m the nastiest, worstiest, shoot-em-firstiest bigot basher in the west, east, north, and south! If’n I hear of yuh ever threatenin’ my pal Porky Pig ever again, mah two six-shooters will do mah talkin’ for me! Like this!

BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM!!!

The executive’s desk fell into itty-bitty pieces. Yosemite hopped onto the homophobe’s lap and smushed his face onto the homophobe’s nose.

Yosemite Sam: One more thing, you skunk. Mah guns are cartoon guns, so they don’t run outta lead. Lemme show yuh!

BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM!!!

The executive’s chair fell to pieces. Yosemite stomped out of the office. Bugs Bunny stepped in and smirked at the carnage. He spoke to the trembling, white-faced, whimpering homophobe.

Bugs Bunny: Eh, what he said, doc.

P.S. I don’t own any velvet gloves, I just like the sound of that.

Michael Ironside and me at Cinequest!

For the past few days, I have gone to Cinequest 2018 in San Jose and Redwood City. The photo is Michael Ironside and I. You cannot see it, but he put his arm around me. Nice guy! He chuckled and poked me in the tummy when I told him I’d never forget Darryl Revok (the villain from the movie Scanners who made a guy’s head explode by thinking at him, although I think he could have done that with his evil smile). His performance in Knuckleball showed that he’s still GOT IT! I love older actors, their talent and skill age like fine wine. During Q&A for the movie Knuckleball, Michael pointed out so much about the movie’s themes (like love given and love withheld) that made me think, yeah, he is so right! He knows his craft!

Here is a rundown of the movies I have seen so far.

Short Film Program 1: Too Much Pressure. Too many sad violins. Okay, so I am a happy ending kind of guy. I liked the first short, Fighter, about a young man with Down’s Syndrome deciding if he really wants to step into the boxing ring (I was rooting for him). But as for the others? When they start with a long, drawn out, monotone violin note, I know I am in for a depressing time.

Short Film Program 2: Bending Space, Folding Time. The Apocalypse Will be Automated: Siri and zombies do not mix. Hybrids: Fantastic visuals. Rakka: Sigourney Weaver in an alien invasion short, and she’s still got it! Space Girls: Adorable! Tree House Time Machine: Best short film title ever, excellent kid actors!

Flin Flon: A Hockey Town. A feel good documentary. I am not a sports guy but I loved that high school hockey team!

The Go-Getters: Made me think of Repo Man, in a good way. The low I.Q. protagonists had rapid-fire dialog and the lowest goal ever: 50 bucks.

Peaches. Time travel comedy complete with retrofuture commercials!

Short Film Program 4: Animated Worlds. I missed the first short because Peaches ran a little long. Catherine had the best gloomy humor I’ve seen in years. Darrel and Our Wonderful Nature -The Common Chameleon were goofy rivals to Pixar. I Like Girls was cute and made me smile. The Edge of Alchemy was the longest short and had the least amount of story, funny how that happens.

From Baghdad to The Bay. Documentary about Ghazwan Alshari, a translator for the U.S. forces in Iraq, who was tortured for trying to help. I thought of George Carlin’s bit about oxymorons, like “Military intelligence.” Ghazwan came out as gay, which referenced an Iraq has another oxymoron: “Honor killings.” Homophobes have NO HONOR!!! Ghazwan is a gourmet chef, and the food looked YUMMY. I rooted for him. A lot. And I got my happy ending.

Skull. My good clone (my lookalike whom I met at Cinequest years ago, and we have been movie buddies ever since) picked this one. Science Fiction from Thailand. Unfortunately, the filmmaker needed to learn a big rule of writing: if a scene does not move the story forward, cut it. Skull was 2 hours and 10 minutes. With proper editing it could be a good film short. But I am rooting for that director, he made this with a lot of personal effort and on a very tight budget. Keep trying, kid, but study screenwriting.

Knuckleball: The director said the movie is a more realistic Home Alone. During Q&A, I made my usual comparison to Alfred Hitchcock, but the director said he was more inspired by Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, and I can see that. Lotsa suspense served hot and cold!

Short Film Program 7: Something Funny. I love this, lots of laughs. My faves were Space Butthole (so many butt puns!!!), The Spectacular Summer of Weredog and Amy (sad ending but I still smiled), and Bigfoot’s Love Slave. It is hard to go wrong with this program.

Short Film Program 6: DocuNation. Good lineup. My fave was 6th Graders School Roy Moore’s Attorney. You’d think a highly paid lawyer would be able to put sentences together. Nope.

Pick of the Litter. Follow one litter of puppies growing up, in training to be guide dogs for the blind. Most do not make the cut. There was a row of little girls behind me going “Aw!” Dogs are cinematic naturals. And yes, I got my happy ending.

Speechless. Joined my good clone for this one. About a writer who is trying to care for his senile mother. Scandinavian, sad, but an uplifting ending. I have to admit that as a writer, I would have liked a little more about him as a writer.

You & Me. Romantic comedy. Deaf girl, blind guy, goofy relatives, and a baby at the end. Lots of great performances: the girl’s way-too-many-philosophy-classes father was a hoot.

My Tourette’s. I liked it a lot. I only saw part of it because I had to meet my good clone before it ended.

Oscar Nominated Animated Shorts 2018: duel of the cousins!

Last night, Cousin Ben and I saw the Oscar nominated animated shorts. He emailed me and a few others a quick review. Following are his reviews, followed by my reviews in italics.

Negative Space – short and sweet. Best per-minute. Good for anyone who has had a dad, and who has ever packed a suitcase. Sad and funny ending, I do that kind of thing in some of my stories.

Dear Basketball – also deserving goodness per few minutes. A real thank you note/good bye, look forward. As Ben was driving us back to his place, we were trying to remember the exact order of the shorts. Or rather, he did and wanted me to do that too. He is 6 foot 6 so his wants are persuasive. I googled the show on my handy-dandy Android phone, and unfortunately found a whiny critic who complained about how Dead Basketball was just a commercial for Kobe Bryant. I said that I do not want to buy parts of Kobe Bryant. I am not a sports fan, but I liked this. A quick review of his career, and how it ends, and how he loved it, and I felt for him.

Lou – hey! Pixar is here being very Pixar which is always good. Ditto.

Revolting Rhymes – not very short. in-between a movie and a short. Reminds me of Into The Woods. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Into_the_Woods_(film). Thoroughly enjoyable. Half an hour, which is long for a short, but it held my interest the entire time. If a show lasts long but feels short, it has done its job. British humor, creepy British ending. Storyteller Roald Dahl wrote this short that twists fairy tales and obeys the Elements of Style advice of “Omit Needless Words,” for it has no wasted moments.

Garden Party – dark, disgusting, beautiful, humorous. Unique and deserving of consideration. I knew what the big reveal at the end would be, of course. The visuals and the humor at a gristly locale shows the great divide between frog and human.

Lost Property Office – decent classic contrived animation. Not on the Oscar list, maybe it was a runner-up. It was okay, it had a happy ending, the stop-motions animation was grayscale and moody, but I do not care for lingering shots on lost and found shelves. Okay, that last thing was just one scene, but still. I remembered a short film from years ago about a guy who was probably the filmmaker’s uncle: interesting to his nephew, but to me, not so much. That short had the probable uncle stand on a hill and stare at the horizon for a long time. In a short film. Short means you don’t have a lot of time. That grated on my writer nerves. A lot. When the script says, “Annoying guy stares at horizon for a long time,” the script needs rewriting. But this sort of thing can work in the right hands: even more years ago, I saw another short film called A Garage Door. It was just that. A shot of garage door for about a minute. A minute that felt like a week. The crowd started yelling. I think the filmmaker knew exactly what he was doing.

Crystal Gonzalez draws Super Holly LOVING coffee!!!

At the PLCAF Small Press Comics Expo today, I bought a comic from Crystal Gonzalez: In The Dark. I had to find out what Super Holly would look like drawn by her. Her style is crazy, loopy, scary, funny, the characters want to leap off the page and stick to your face while screaming. So I had her draw Holly having coffee.

A few tiny glitches. Super Holly has one e-bracelet, not two. (Kinda like Leela on Futurama.) The hip purse is attached to her belt. And her nose should be more eagle-beaky. BUT LOOK AT HOLLY’S INTENSELY CRAZY-SCARY-HAPPY FACE!!! AND THAT ELECTROSHOCK-CAFFEINATED HAIR! AND THAT EARTHQUAKING CUP!!! I LOVE THIS!!!!! (And I sometimes feel this way about coffee.)

Thank you, Crystal. I started reading your comic about the guy tossed into hell and trying to stay alive. It has coffee references. How fitting.

A couple of comic cons for me this weekend

I am headed to the PLCAF Small Press Comics Expo: 12-4pm Saturday Feb 10 at the San Mateo Public Library, 55 West 3rd Avenue, San Mateo, CA. Price: free.

On Sunday Feb 11 from 10am-5pm, I will go to the East Bay Comic Con. Location: Crowne Plaza, 45 John Glenn Dr, Concord, CA. Price: $8.

That’s it for now. Going to a voiceover class tomorrow. Then it is off to comic cons to meet local writers and artists, and maybe get some Super Holly artwork drawn. Or maybe Kittygirl?