¡Rábanos Radiactivos! #2192
Written by Fred Patten, and intended for Apa L, 2192nd Distribution, LASFS Meeting No. 3640, May 17, 2007.
Golden State Colonial Convalescent Hospital, 10830 Oxnard Street, North Hollywood, California 91606-5098.
Telephone: hospital(818) 763-8247; personal (818) 506-3159 * eMail:fredpatten@earthlink.net
Nippon 2007 in 2007! Denvention 3 in 2008! Salamander Press #2675


Michael Burlake took me to last Thursday's LASFS meeting. The big news was of Frank Gasperik's death on May 3 - and of his final wish that the LASFS accept a statue that was being made in his memory of Godzilla with a clock and a receptacle for Frank's ashes in its stomach. This generated a lot of debate between those who wanted to table the motion until further information about the statue could be obtained (how large is it? what does it look like?) and those who said an immediate decision was necessary because by law the disposition of a cremated person's ashes could not be delayed. The vote was to accept the statue. After all, if we don't want to keep it once we have seen it, we can always send it to NESFA. Burlake & I had to leave to return me to the hospital before the "what have you read lately?" program got started. (For the record, I have just finished Kockroach by Tyler Knox ("Kafka's "Metamorphosis" is turned on its antennae in this roaringly entertaining noir novel." - Publisher's Weekly); I am almost through Beyond the Gap, by Harry Turtledove (the first novel in a new alternate history series); and I just received my review copy of Infinite Space, Infinite God, edited by Karina & Robert Fabian.)

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I occasionally read my e.mail spam instead of automatically deleting it. Has anyone else been getting a lot of spam from Moscow recently? I got today what looks like (it's in Cyrillic) an adv't for take-out pizza at between 190 rubles and 270 rubles a slice, with an 8919 area code phone number to call. I suspect it would be cold by the time it was delivered here.

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Three weeks ago I published my 2006 Author Royalty Account statement from Stone Bridge Press for sales of my book Watching Anime, Reading Manga: 25 Years of Essays and Reviews, which was published in September 2004. Among my comments, I said, "The latest issue of Locus (I think; I have returned it to the LASFS Library so I do not have it available to double-check) has a brief news item that some national bibliographic agency has announced that 90% of the books published today sell less than 1,000 copies. If that is so, then Watching Anime, Reading Manga is probably doing pretty good for a non-best seller. It is also continuing to sell after two years, which is nice. I do not know whether 12% royalties is a high, low, or average rate; could someone more knowledgeable answer this?"

The New York Times has just answered me, in an article in last Sunday's Business section on the publishing industry. It includes the paragraph: "The advance payment to the author is often an estimate of the first year's royalties, usually 10 percent to 15 percent of expected sales. The advance is a liability for the publisher because it is a fixed cost. It doesn't have to be repaid by the author if it turns out to be an overestimate, which it usually is. But when earned royalties exceed the advance amount, the author is paid more." I got a nice advance when Watching Anime, Reading Manga was published in 2004, and the fact that I got royalties on 2006 sales shows that my advance payment was not an overestimate. If royalties are usually 10% to 15%, my 12% seems normal. I am satisfied.

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-- Comments on Last Week's Distribution:

Toony Loons #41 - (Zeff) TV jingles! "Give him Dr. Ross Dog Food, do him a favor; It's got more meat and it's got more flavor; It's got more flavor 'cause it tastes the way it should; Dr. Ross Dog Food is doggone good! Fido knows best ("Arf!); Fido knows best!" Was that the first TV commercial? Probably not, but it was shown over and over and over on Crusader Rabbit in 1950 until it was burned into my brain. The Mickey Mouse Club in the mid-'50s had lots of animated commercials; "Brusha brusha brusha; Here's the new Ipana; With a brand-new flavor; It's dandy for your teeth!" (sung by Bucky Beaver, who was little more than a face behind two giant incisors). ## The hummingbirds will not starve, but will people who feed them survive until the birds give up on demanding that their feeders be refilled and learn to go elsewhere? Aside from that, it is the time of year now for mother sparrows to push their babies out of their nests to learn to survive on their own. Those who look at sparrows feeding on the ground closely enough will be able to see lots of hen sparrows ignoring almost-full-grown chicks following them demanding to be fed.

S.F.F.A.M. #494 - (Merrigan) According to Wikipedia, "Jesse James is suspected to have shot 15 people during his bandit career." He did not miss every time. ## If the legend you heard had the crock of gold turning into dried leaves, you heard a cleaned-up version of the legend.

Why Are You Looking Here For A Title? - (Cantor) I will try to avoid using color just for the sake of being fancy. But it is good to know that I can include color in my zine now without having it reproduced as muddy black-&-white. My thanks to everyone who donated to my printing fund.

De Jueves #1530 - (Moffatt) No, the squirrel moves so fast that I cannot be sure that it is the same squirrel every time. But I assume that if a squirrel has staked out a territory, if it is killed another squirrel would not take over the territory immediately.

Godsilla Verzez # 139 -- (DeChancie) Yes, I got a review copy of Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination from its publisher, and I have already read it. I recommend it highly. Well, here is my review, from The Flipbook:

This massive biography - over 600 pages, plus over 200 more of notes, appendices, bibliographies, and index - is advertised as "the definitive portrait of one of the most important in twentieth-century American entertainment and cultural history. [...] meticulously researched - Gabler is the first writer to be given complete access to the Disney archives [...]"

It probably is definitive. It is notable that where virtually every other Disney biography since his death in 1966 has been heavily criticized by animation experts for gross factual errors and deliberate misrepresentation of his attitudes or motives (such as claiming that Disney was a spy for the FBI, encouraged anti-Semitism, or was really an illegitimate son of a Spanish dancer), the worst that Gabler's critics have been able to accuse him of are minor errors on the level of whether serious production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs began in September 1936 or several months earlier. These errors may be significant to cinematic historians, but the average reader will find them trivial. Gabler's book, with more than 65 photographs from throughout Disney's life plus other graphics such as a teenage life sketch and his first business card, ought to replace every popularized Disney biography previously written.

There are no big surprises here, and there is much detailed information about events glossed over in previous biographies. For example, every book has told how Disney created Mickey Mouse to replace his earlier cartoon star Oswald the Lucky Rabbit when the latter was stolen from him, but few have told exactly how this happened. Gabler devotes five pages to the event, giving names and dates. Want to know about the notorious but previously vaguely-described Disney studio strike of 1941? Gabler gives it pages 356 to 371, again going into detail. Any questions that a reader may have about Disney's personal life or his career should be answered in this book.

To a large extent, Disney's story is the story of the whole American animation industry. Many of the men who became famous at other studios in later years, such as Warner Bros.' animation director Friz Freleng and music arranger Carl Stalling, got their start among Disney's first employees. Gabler notes how many other studios hired away some of Disney's best men to create cartoons for them during the 1930s, or during the '40s made parodies of Disney's features such as WB's Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs and A Corny Concerto. It would be an exaggeration to say that Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination can serve as a one-volume history of the animation industry, but it is without doubt an essential read for every animation fan and an essential purchase for every public and academic library.
(From http://ginasflipbook.animationblogspot.com/page/2/)

Curiously, this definitive biography of Disney by Gabler has been published barely before an equally definitive years-in-the-writing biography by Michael Barrier, The Animated Man: A Life of Walt Disney, which I am awaiting a promised review copy of. Another book just out overlaps these Disney biographies and is just as important: Tom Sito's Drawing the Line: The Untold Story of the Animation Unions from Bosko to Bart Simpson, which documents in detail the labor strikes in the animation industry from the 1930s to the present, including the 1941 Disney studio strike which Gabler was (again, barely) the first to describe in depth. It is a good time for serious books about the American animation industry.

Vanamonde #730 - (Hertz) Remember indigo! Don't let them take our indigo from us!

Oh, All Right!!! - (Lembke) See my comment above to June Moffatt about the squirrel. I just saw "it" (or another one) dashing across the rooftop today. Squirrels are sort of like pigeons; there is an endless supply of them.

Hmmm. I seem to have more space than usual to fill this week. Here is another of my recent book reviews (without the art) from The Flipbook:

The Ancient Book of Myth and War
Author: Scott Morse, Lou Romano, Don Shank, and Nate Wragg
Publisher: Red Window/AdHouse Books
ISBN; 10: 0-9774715-1-9
ISBN; 13: 978-0-9774715-1-5

The four artists whose paintings compose this glossy hardcover 80-page art book/folio are young but veteran comic book creators and animation-studio artists. All have recently worked or still work at Pixar Animation Studios as sketch artists and designers.

In these 35 full-color experimental works (although a few are monochromatic), the four artists "each take a personal approach to their myths and heroes. Their stories include retellings of ancient myths as well as the creation of new legends" (from the Introduction by Harley Jessup).

All four work in modern art forms, from abstract to impressionistic. Scott Morse's bold paintings illustrate specific classic myths (the Deluge, the Golem of Prague, Oedipus Rex, Finn MacCoul, scenes from Native American folklore) and more general scenes of "war" (a Wild West barroom brawl, a modern urban "The Battle of Algiers"). Lou Romano's surrealistic works are more generic scenes of Greek history and mythology; "Spartan", "Trojan Horse", "War Monster", "Zeus", "Perseus & Medusa". Nate Wragg has created a cartoon ancient soldier, "Pathetos the Warrior', and painted him in battles around the world against "The Deep Sea Hydra", "Yeti", "Cyclops", "Demonic Centaurides", "The Ancient Fire Sasquatch" and more. Don Shank, the most varied artist, has created his own myths and battles ("Orange Goddess", "Fight", "Map of the First Galactic War", "Archway Usher" "Stab") in paintings that range from Dali-esque "realism" to pure abstractionism.

Each painting, on a right-hand page, is faced with the left-hand page's artist's notes, giving the title, description of what the scene represents, and medium. The latter range from "Gouache on watercolor paper" through "Cell vinyl on board" and "Collage" to "Digital". More and more modern artists, especially those who work in the cartooning industries, are painting entirely in their computers, and it is impossible to tell these works from "hard copy" acrylic or gouache or watercolor works on artboard. The Ancient Book of Myth and War is impressive both as a collection of modernistic fine art, and as a showcase of animation studios' artists' personal artistic talents.

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