LEV GLEASON SUPERHERO PANTHEON

Readers just cannot get enough superhero blog posts, so since it has been two weeks since I last did one of these, here is a look at the Lev Gleason pantheon of superheroes.

Blackout Lev GleasonBLACKOUT

Secret Identity: Basil Brusilof, MD

First Appearance: Captain Battle #1 (June 1941)

Origin: Once, when Dr Brusilof was in the experimental lab of the Belgrave, Yugoslavia hospital where he worked, a Nazi bombing run blew up that lab. Basil gained superpowers from the accident and fought crime and the Axis Nations under the name Blackout.

Powers: Blackout’s body became coal-black from the explosion which gave him his powers. The mysterious black gases/ energies that his body generated gave him massive super-strength, invulnerability and the ability to fly by shooting the gases/ energies from his feet like thrust from rocket engines. Similarly, from his hands he could shoot concussive blasts of those same gases/ energies.

In addition, this hero could see in the dark and his blackened body provided perfect camouflage for night-time attacks on the Nazis.

Comment: This hero should not be confused with the Holyoke superhero called Blackout.

London 2LONDON

Secret Identity: Mark (Marc) Holmes, radio newscaster

First Appearance: Daredevil Comics #2 (August 1941)

Origin: While covering the Blitz, suave newscaster Mark Holmes decided that his fellow Brits needed extra inspiration to maintain their spirit of defiance against the Nazis. He adopted the costumed identity of London and battled Axis Agents plus criminals.

London 3Powers: London was in the peak of human condition and excelled at unarmed combat. He also possessed the agility of an Olympic gymnast. In addition, this hero was a crack shot with the handgun he carried.

LondonComment: This superhero may SOUND run of the mill, but there’s just something about the name “London” plus the great font for the letter “L” on his forehead that makes him more appealing to me than other “regular guys in a costume” heroes.

On top of that, there’s the wartime morale appeal, especially with his Blitz-referencing catch-phrase “London can take it!”   Continue reading

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CARMEN BEST, A MARTIN LUTHER KING PERSON OF COURAGE, TELLS THE TRUTH ABOUT THE DEMOCRAT RIOTS IN SEATTLE

Carmen BestCarmen Best, Seattle Police Chief and Martin Luther King Person of Courage, recently spoke out about the way Democrat politicians in Seattle have been furthering their war on the police (see links below) and yesterday added to her earlier comments by pointing out the terrorist warfare gear that was seized as it was being handed out to Democrat RIOTERS (not protestors – RIOTERS).

That equipment included EXPLOSIVES, SPIKED STRIPS, BEAR SPRAY and THE KIND OF LASERS BEING USED BY DEMOCRAT RIOTERS IN PORTLAND AND ELSEWHERE TO INFLICT SEVERE EYE DAMAGE ON LAW ENFORCEMENT PERSONNEL. Some of the eye damage MAY BE PERMANENT. 

Democrat violenceThe lasers have already been used frequently in Portland, OR, against Federals who had to be sent in TO PROTECT FEDERAL BUILDINGS IN THE CITY. Most adults recognize that the Federal Government HAS ALWAYS been able to protect Federal Buildings in cities across the nation, but in recent weeks it has been especially necessary because Democrat mayors and/ or governors attack federal LEO’s because of Democrats’ obsessive hatred of President Trump.

Meanwhile Democrats continue to egg on the riots and the hatred of police by pretending these are “peaceful protests.”

As Matt Vespa noted (see links below), this latest Democrat meltdown/ war strategy “is over the deployment of federal agents into these crime-ridden hell holes run by Democrats. In Portland, they’re trying to set the federal courthouse on fire, rioters are throwing IEDs at law enforcement, and they’ve blinded federal officers with lasers, some of whom may not regain their vision.”

#WalkAwayI will say once again that my biggest regret in life is that I used to belong to the fascist organization called the Democrat Party. Join so many of us and #WALKAWAY from that repulsive organization that is waging war on the rest of us because they lost an election four years ago.   

Getting back to Chief Best’s comments she addressed “two recent events (Sunday, July 19th and Wednesday, July 22nd) have included wide-scale property destruction and attacks on officers, injuring more than a dozen, some significantly,” she wrote.

“This weekend we know that several events are planned across the city that will foreseeably involve many of the same violent actors from recent days,” she elaborated. “There is no reason not to assume we will continue to experience property destruction, arson, looting, and attempts to injure additional officers throughout the weekend and beyond.” Continue reading

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KID RUSSELL AND SALLY SKULL: TWO MORE NEGLECTED GUNSLINGERS

Painting by Charles Marion Russell aka Kid Russell

Painting by Charles Marion Russell aka Kid Russell

Frontierado is just over a week away! The joyous day is coming when we can enjoy our meals of buffalo meat, Tumbleweed Pizzas, Southwest Fried Rice, corn on the cob, Cactus Salad, mashed potatoes and Western Spaghetti ! Later we can wash down some Deuces Wilds (Red or Black) and Cactus Jacks while playing Frontierado Poker or watching Silverado.

My most popular Frontierado articles over the years have been the ones about neglected gunslingers of the American West. Here are another man and woman whose lives were at least as interesting as those of the bigger names.

Self-portrait by Kid Russell

Self-portrait by Kid Russell

KID RUSSELL – How cool is it that an authentic, acclaimed international artist spent some of his younger years wandering the Wild West, even earning the nickname Kid Russell? Charles Marion “Kid” Russell was born in 1864 in St Louis, Missouri. As with Klondike Kate Rockwell, most of this figure’s life story is outside the purview of this article.

Since Frontierado is about the myth of the Old West I’ll focus on the legends about Kid Russell’s wild, wandering younger years full of guns, ranches, saloons, cattle drives, bordellos and sketches drawn on any nearby flat surface, sketches that showed the nascent talent that would one day make Russell world-famous.  

Charles Marion RussellWhen he was age 16 Charles’ well-to-do parents gave up trying to force him to continue his schooling at an eastern military academy and let him move to Montana, where, clad in a brand-new buckskin outfit, he worked on a friend’s sheep ranch north of Helena. It took skill with a gun and a true survival instinct to live through encounters with rustlers, hostile cattlemen and their hired gunmen but Charles, already being called Kid Russell, thrived and felt more at home in this rough and tumble lifestyle than among his family’s hoity-toity friends in St Louis high society.     Continue reading

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B.I.D.E.N. – BIGGEST IDIOT DEMOCRATS EVER NOMINATED

Nina TurnerNina Turner, the black woman who served as the co-chair for Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign – which was once again sabotaged by the corrupt Democrats – recently compared voting for the senile and possibly demented Joe Biden to eating “a bowl of shit.”  (Link below)

Her scathing remarks about the scandal-plagued, groping Biden continued: “It’s like saying to somebody ‘You have a bowl of shit in front of you, and all you’ve got to do is eat half of it instead of the whole thing.’ It’s still shit.” (No word yet on how many Antifa (KLANtifa) bacteria were aroused by her imagery.)

Nina Turner with Bernie SandersTurner also pointed out “WHILE BERNIE SANDERS HAS ALWAYS STOOD UP FOR AFRICAN AMERICANS, JOE BIDEN HAS REPEATEDLY LET US DOWN.” Joe Biden has long been behind draconian legal measures against African Americans, often in concert with Hillary “The Human Herpes Sore” Clinton, who notoriously called African American males “super-predators.” (No, Hillary, career politicians like YOU are super-predators. And career criminals, too.)   

Nina had courageously criticized Biden for exploiting his proximity to Barack Obama to try to pretend he himself was a good candidate for African Americans.  Continue reading

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GLADIATOR: AN OPERA VERSION OF PHILIP WYLIE’S NOVEL

GladiatorEven though there are signs here and there that audiences are getting fatigued with the oversaturation of superhero adaptations for the big and small screens, there still doesn’t seem to be any end in sight.

What better time for an OPERA version of Philip Wylie’s science fiction novel Gladiator, from 1930? Wylie’s work is often credited with inspiring the creation of Superman and every other superhero that followed.

Long before the overrated and overpraised Alan Moore wrote The Watchmen, this very first look at a superhero presented the figure struggling with the moral issues regarding the use of his superior abilities.

Gladiator 2The central character uses his powers in World War One but afterward must cope with the limits of “super-powers” when it comes to dealing with political corruption and other problems that can’t be solved with violence. Or in which flexing his super-muscles would be counter-productive, maybe even ushering in a dictatorship.

In other words, the same type of stories which today are praised as “innovative” for “deconstructing the superhero mythos” WERE ALREADY EXPLORED IN THIS NOVEL NINETY YEARS AGO! 

As a break from movie and television superhero tales I think an Opera format would be an intriguing and unexpected way of adapting Gladiator. Let’s face it – if it was done for television or movies today it would be criticized as “derivative” (irony of ironies) and “talky.”

Gladiator 4 Man God

Marvel Comics’ 1976 adaptation

That talkyness would slide nicely into a staged opera since, as I often point out in my examinations of 1970s Marvel stories, operas – like many comic books – are filled with lengthy expository monologues, but in song form. (There are countless “senses-shattering” origin stories and villain rants that are sung in operas.) 

Think of this piece as a way of using the familiar superhero formula to encourage more people to “give opera a chance.” I love sharing my enthusiasms and I was very happy with the reception of those blog posts where I wrote about Ancient Greek Comedies to make them seem relevant. I want to try doing the same with operas. Continue reading

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COMIN’ AT YA! (1981): MOVIE REVIEW

Comin at Ya 2COMIN’ AT YA! (1981) – Directed by Ferdinando Baldi, Comin’ At Ya! is often credited with starting the pointless and bizarre 1980s revival of 1950s-style 3D movies. The film stars Tony Anthony, famous to us Spaghetti Western fans for the movie series in which he played a gunslinger called the Stranger. He appeared in others, as well, some reasonably good and others, like Blindman, so bad as to be virtually unwatchable.

Tony’s standout feature is the way he always looks like he’s ready to burst into tears, which always set him apart from the countless tough guys in Italo-Westerns. That feature stands him in good stead in Comin’ At Ya!

Tony Anthony

Tony Anthony IS Tinsley – I mean H. H. Hart – in Comin’ At Ya!

Anthony stars as gunfighter H.H. Hart. No, not H.H. Holmes, which would be an entirely different type of movie. Hart has, like many a fictional gunman, decided to leave his past behind and settle down with his one true love – a female gambler called Abilene aka the Cajun Queen. Abilene is portrayed by European actress Victoria Abril.

On their wedding day, H.H. and Abilene are separated when the ceremony is crashed by a gang of white-slavers led by brothers Pike and Polk Thompson. Our story inverts the setup of Louis L’Amour’s western The Shadow Riders, in which two brothers who fought on opposite sides of the Civil War set aside their differences to recover female family members from white-slavers headed for Mexico. 

In Comin’ At Ya! it’s the villains who are such a pair of brothers. Pike served on the Union side and Polk on the Confederate side. The duo command an enormous gang made up of veterans from both sides of the war in addition to renegade Indians and Mexican pistoleros. They steal the lovely Cajun Queen from her new husband and add her to the rest of their haul of young women to sell into slavery down in 1870s Mexico.

comin at ya - cinema quad movie poster (1).jpgOur main character, Triple H, ain’t havin’ it and sets out to recover his new bride and set free the other unfortunate women seized by the Thompson Gang. Needless to say he’ll also kill every member of the gang as well as some of the snobbish, upper-class Mexican aristos – male and female – who buy the ladies at an elegantly-appointed mansion/ former convent now used for slave auctions.

Even though this is really just a Spaghetti Western, albeit with slightly better production values, releasing a film titled Comin’ At Ya! clearly means you want it to stand or fall purely on its gimmick: 3D. First I’ll address the 3D effects and then examine the movie as a whole. Continue reading

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TRUMP’S NEW EXECUTIVE ORDERS SAVE WORKING CLASS AND POOR FAMILIES BIG MONEY ON PRESCRIPTION DRUGS

Trump is the new FDRDe facto Third Party President Donald Trump continues to be the most helpful president for the working class and the poor in decades. His four new Executive Orders will save – in some cases – FIFTY PERCENT on prescription drugs! Trump’s efforts to rein in Big Pharma have once again yielded positive results.

If you or any of your friends or loved ones have diabetes in particular, these measures will ease the burden on your monthly budget. Well, at least until Democrat judges intervene at some point in the future, then there will be a delay until higher courts overrule those abusive Democrats.

Democrat violenceAnd if you have handicapped family or friends then President Trump is once again saving you big money.

The Democrats, meanwhile, continue their war on the rest of us with their riots and hatemongering. Absurdly, they also try to pretend there’s a danger of President Trump not accepting election results even though they have made the country more bitterly divided than ever before just because they refuse to accept the 2016 presidential election results. Continue reading

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PULP HERO G-8 AND HIS BATTLE ACES – STORIES THIRTEEN THROUGH FIFTEEN

G8 aloneBalladeer’s Blog resumes its examination of the neglected Pulp Hero G-8. This continues a story-by- story look at the adventures of this World War One American fighter pilot who – along with his two wingmen the Battle Aces – took on various supernatural and super- scientific menaces thrown at the Allied Powers by the Central Powers of Germany, Austria- Hungary and the Ottoman Muslim Turks.

G-8 was created by Robert J Hogan in 1933 when World War One was still being called simply the World War or the Great War. Over the next eleven years Hogan wrote 110 stories featuring the adventures of G-8, the street-smart pug Nippy Weston and the brawny giant Bull Martin. The regular cast was rounded out by our hero’s archenemy Doktor Krueger, by Battle, G-8’s British manservant and by our hero’s girlfriend R-1: an American nurse/ spy whose real name, like G-8’s, was never revealed. 

Spider Staffel13. THE SPIDER STAFFEL (October 1934) – When the Central Powers feel that the Allied bombers are inflicting too much damage they make plans for a counter-strategy.

With the bombers accompanied and protected by capable fighter pilots like G-8 and his Battle Aces the answer is obvious: use a gigantic tarantula to cast webs across the skies to snare Allied planes and thus destroy bombers and fighters alike. Continue reading

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JOHN BULL: NEGLECTED GUNSLINGER

The Frontierado Holiday, which is coming up on Friday, August 7th, is about the myth of the Old West, not the grinding reality. Here’s another Frontierado Saga in honor of the season:

Union JackJOHN BULL – Very little is known about the early life of this mysterious British expatriate who became a famous gambler/ gunslinger. Even his name is in question – for obvious reasons – since “John Bull” had already been a standard nickname for British men in general for over a century.

Many accounts say the John Bull tag stuck to the Brit because he was so evasive about his real name, while other accounts claim his real name was John Edwin Bull or John C Bull. In my opinion it seems like a cosmically unlikely coincidence that an actual Englishman’s name would just HAPPEN to be John Bull, so I view it as an alias. Sort of like if an Irish gunslinger picked up the nickname “Paddy O’Rourke.”

The first accounts of him in the American West came in late 1861, when he took part in the Gold Rush to Elk Creek Basin back when Idaho was still technically part of Washington Territory. John Bull, giving his age as 25, claimed never to have engaged in anything as strenuous as prospecting, but said he had spent the last few years at multiple Boom Towns on the west coast, making a living as a card-player. 

PistolFor the next few years nothing can be pieced together except tales about “John” winning some big pots, losing others, gunning down sore losers and sometimes fleeing gold or silver camps with angry, shooting victims of his card-sharp skills on his trail. In 1865 or 1866 Bull arrived in Virginia City, NV where he met notorious gambler/ gunslinger Langford “Farmer” Peel and played a well-known practical joke on the young Mark Twain.    Continue reading

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DE BLASIO BASHED FOR HIS HORRIFIC HANDLING OF NEW YORK’S COVID-19 PROBLEMS

Bill de Blasio with Liberty's headBrilliant and daring artist Scott LoBaido bashed the disastrous demagogue Bill de Blasio, Democrat Mayor of New York City, in a terrific banner that he unveiled over the Staten Island Expressway earlier this week.

Bill de Blasio’s horrific handling of the Covid-19/ Coronavirus situation has been exceeded only by his dismembering of the liberties of New Yorkers, as depicted in the banner.

As LoBaido was quoted as saying about his classic piece of art as political protest: Continue reading

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