¡Rábanos Radiactivos!
... es no. 2268

Written by Fred Patten, and intended for Apa L, 2268th Distribution, LASFS Meeting No. 3716, October 23, 2008.
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

Anticipation in 2009! Aussiecon IV in 2010! Salamander Press #2751

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Last Friday, I got an invitation from BayCon 2009 to be their Fan Guest of Honor next May. They will pay for me and a nurse to attend, or make me a guest-of-honor in absentia if I cannot attend. I accepted with a note that it is most likely that I will not be able to attend. Maybe the LASFS can arrange a video-interview to send up in my place.

On Saturday, Barry & Lee Gold stopped by to see me briefly on their way to a Loscon meeting, and I was asked by e.mail to proofread a new anthropomorphic homosexual sports novel by Kyell Gold. A very unusual mix of genres. Fortunately I do not have to be an expert in gay erotica or pro football to recognize typographical errors.

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Here is another of my reviews from The Flipbook, dated April 7, 2007.

Walt Kelly's Our Gang. Vol. 1, 1942-1943.
Author: Walt Kelly
Publisher: Fantagraphics Books
ISBN; 10: 1-56097753-1
ISBN; 13: 978-1-56097753-7

Walt Kelly is famous for his now-classic Pogo newspaper comic strip from 1948 until his death in 1973. Most cartoon fans know that Kelly began as an animator for Walt Disney, and that he wrote and drew funny-animal and fairy-tale comic books from 1941 until 1948. He actually began Pogo in comic-book form in 1941. Much of Kelly's comic-book art has been reprinted over the last two decades, especially his Disney comics covers showing Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck in his own art style.

Kelly also wrote and drew a human comic-book series during the 1940s, around the Our Gang children film stars. Movie historian Leonard Maltin describes in an introductory "appreciation" how Dell/Western Publishing licensed in 1942 the rights to produce a comic book featuring all the MGM movie short series like the Tom & Jerry cartoons, and they chose the Our Gang stories to lead off the comic book - and hired cartoonist Kelly to produce them. MGM had bought Our Gang from the Hal Roach Studio in 1938, and by 1942 had lost interest in them, so Kelly had the creative freedom to interpret the kids in his own way. The 8- to 14-page stories in these first eight issues were very close to MGM's last Our Gang one-reelers, based on publicity stills of the child actors and following the movies' stereotypes. Maltin, and Kelly collector-historian Steve Thompson in his introduction, promise that later stories of the 59 in the series will show how Kelly evolved, having the movie Gang grow older and be replaced with new characters who were Kelly's own, with realistic personalities rather than stereotypes.

This collection has several laudable goals: to show that Kelly could create excellent realistic human-character stories as well as funny-animal humor; to restore a missing dimension of the Our Gang works for those movies' fans; and to present a nostalgic glimpse of children's lives in America in the 1940s. As Steve Thompson says, "Not for them the over-organized and regimented sports, dance and music activities of today's youth. In those days before 'stranger danger' and almost daily reports of child abductions, in all but the largest cities during summer, kids could disappear after breakfast, possibly return for lunch, and then vanish again until supper, without panicking their parents." (I can confirm this. I am in my late sixties now, and I grew up in Los Angeles rather than an Eastern small town, but I had the same juvenile freedom to just "mess around" outdoors all day with my playmates as long as we stayed out of trouble.) It may be personal nostalgia for my own youth, but I found Walt Kelly's Our Gang vol. 1 to be thoroughly delightful.

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