KILLRAVEN TWENTY-FIVE: THE 1983 GRAPHIC NOVEL

FOR PART ONE OF BALLADEER’S BLOG’S EXAMINATION OF THIS OLD, OLD MARVEL COMICS STORYLINE CLICK HERE  The revisions I would make are scattered throughout the synopsis below.

Killraven in his glory daysKILLRAVEN: THE GRAPHIC NOVEL (1983) – Killraven and his Freemen continued their guerilla war against Earth’s alien conquerors. In the 7th of its official line of graphic novels, Marvel Comics let writer Don McGregor and artist Craig Russell wrap up some of the storylines left dangling by the cancellation of the 1973-1976 series of Killraven stories. In the previous post I detailed how McGregor had, in the meantime, transferred many of the Killraven story elements and time period to his independent 1978 graphic novel Sabre.

In the meantime Eclipse Comics had signed McGregor to write a regularly published Sabre comic book series. In late 1982 the original black & white graphic novel was colorized and reprinted in serialized form in the first few issues of the new Sabre series. Unfortunately for Killraven fans that immediately made our red-headed rebel leader into the proverbial red-headed step-child among McGregor’s works.  

Understandably – and fairly obviously – Don McGregor was already saving up his best ideas for his own Sabre title, reducing this last chance for closure on the Killraven saga to a rushed, mundane, unsatisfying mess devoid of much of what had made the original series worthwhile. Even the dialogue, despite a few flashes of the old KR style here and there, was lackluster and pedestrian.    

Killraven and his Freemen seemed like pale imitations being handled by a fill-in writer as Don McGregor virtually Rian Johnson’ed his own characters. I’ll examine that in detail as we move along, but first let’s look at some of the changes necessitated by real-world events in the years between 1976 and 1983.

Killraven 2*** First, through no fault of Don McGregor or the original Killraven artists, Darth Vader became a huge pop culture figure in 1977. KR’s main alien villain, the High Overlord (introduced in 1974), had worn full-body armor and a Japanese feudal helmet like the kind Darth Vader went on to wear in Star Wars. Obviously, Star Wars was so much better known than the canceled Killraven series that this 1983 graphic novel dropped the helmet for the High Overlord to avoid looking like their villain was a ripoff of Vader, despite the fact that the High Overlord predated Star Wars

              That alteration to the look of the High Overlord was far from fatal, but became another of the distracting elements undermining this continuation of the KR story. Those other elements: Continue reading

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TWENTY COOLEST-NAMED USCAA COLLEGE SPORTS TEAMS

The year 2020 is going to be the year of Top 20 lists here at Balladeer’s Blog. Here we go with the 20 Coolest-Named College Sports Teams in the USCAA (United States Collegiate Athletic Association)

Webb Institute WebbiesWEBB INSTITUTE WEBBIES

Location: Glen Cove, NY

Comment: Sure, some people may have gone with Webslingers or even Webbslingers for this team but that would not be true to Webb Institute’s location and lore.

Great Bay College HeronsGREAT BAY COLLEGE HERONS

Location: Portsmouth, NH

Comment: Herons are similar to storks and ibises and dwell on every continent except Antarctica. Their coolness factor and obvious adaptability make them an ideal mascot for a college’s athletic teams!   

Pratt Institute CannoneersPRATT INSTITUTE CANNONEERS

Location: Brooklyn, NY

Comment: The team name Cannoneers all by itself would put Pratt Institute on this list but when you throw in that terrific logo at left it takes everything to the next level.  

East West University PhantomsEAST/WEST UNIVERSITY PHANTOMS

Location: Chicago, IL

Comment: Goths and college sports fans alike can get behind the incredibly cool team name and logo for the Phantoms of East/West University!  Continue reading

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FOOL KILLER PART THIRTY-ONE: JULY OF 1921

Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of the many facets of Fool Killer lore. FOR PART ONE, INCLUDING THE HISTORICAL CONTEXT, CLICK HERE 

Fool Killer picPART THIRTY-ONE: Moving on to the July 1921 issue of James Larkin Pearson’s monthly Fool-Killer publication. The Fool Killer’s (I prefer no hyphen) targets this time around were: 

*** Politicians and pundits who were still pushing the notion that the World War which ended in November of 1918 really was “The War to End All War” and that the world was poised for an era of peace and tranquility with no more bloodshed.

*** Nations which were still trying to develop ever-deadlier chemical weapons, despite the uproar over the long-term consequences of such weapons in the war from 1914-1918.

*** In particular the Fool Killer targeted jingoistic U.S. War Department scientists and /or officials who spoke of a deadly gas that our country had just developed – a gas which could supposedly “depopulate a whole city in a few minutes.” 

              Mascot new lookPearson and his Fool Killer wondered if, despite official claims that the government was trying to prevent other nations from getting hold of the formula, the U.S. might wind up using the gas ourselves at some future time and therefore become “the Huns” of a new war. 

              Here in 2020 we are accustomed to the notion that our own elected officials – from both parties – may be as totalitarian and destructive as any others. That realization came after decades of real-life scandals plus fictional espionage and science fiction stories using (eventually overusing) the “Are we are own worst enemy? theme. 

              I find it incredibly intriguing to see a contemporary 1921 example of that justifiable suspicion. The image of the Fool Killer – homicidal vigilante though he’s always been – taking down scientists, military men or politicians gambling with such poisonous gasses is wildly ahead of its time.  

*** In a REALLY prescient bit, he targeted people who felt that Germany should be forced harder and harder to try to pay war reparations no matter what damage it did to that nation’s economy. We all know where that wound up taking the world. Continue reading

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GODS OF BELLONA AND RENNELL ISLANDS

bellona-and-rennellIn the style of Balladeer’s Blog’s separate examinations of Hawaiian and Samoan myths as a subset of Polynesian Mythology comes this look at the deities worshipped on the Polynesian outliers Bellona Island and Rennell Island. Despite its much smaller size Bellona had a larger population for much of their history.

NGE’OBIONGO – The goddess of the stone ovens used by the people of Rennell and Bellona. The ovens were shown such reverence that it was forbidden to eat near them or to scatter firewood or even to speak in raised voices in their vicinity. Nge’obiongo would punish anyone who violated those taboos, just as she punished women who were bad or lazy cooks or who prepared meals without first properly cleaning their hands.

Undercooking the food would also invite this deity’s wrath. On rare occassions some of the prepared food would be left in the ovens as an offering to Nge’obiongo.

bellona-and-rennell-world-heritageMAHUIKE – The earthquake god of Bellona and Rennell Islands (henceforth Bel-Ren). Like his counterparts in Hawaii and Samoa, Mahuike lived far underground and caused earthquakes by pushing at the earth with both of his arms.

Once, after a particularly destructive earthquake, the god Tehu’aingabenga fought Mahuike for injuring his worshippers and broke off one of the earthquake god’s arms. Continue reading

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HUFFINGTON POST’S YASHAR ALI: DEMOCRATS ARE SIDING WITH IRAN’S MULLAHS AGAINST FREEDOM-FIGHTING IRANIANS OUT OF SPITE

Yashar AliBalladeer’s Blog is the only site on the web that equally criticizes both Republicans AND Democrats. In this case this story is about the excellent work by Yashar Ali of the Huffington Post about how irrational the Democrats are for siding against Iranian protestors just because of their (Democrats’) crazed animosity toward President Donald Trump. (Especially regarding THE PLANE THAT IRAN SHOT DOWN.)

The link is below but first some excerpts:

Yashar explained that “all the family/friends I spoke to who live in different parts of Iran) are furious that they were lied to for three days about the case of the plane crash. The Iranian government lied left and right about where the plan was headed” and what “brought down the plane.”

“The Iranian government completely mishandled the plane crash, destroying evidence in the process. Iranians are in the street calling for death to the Supreme Leader (something that could get them executed). Iranians are in the street calling for prosecutions, saying Soleimani is a murderer. Telling leadership of the Iranian government to resign and saying Trump isn’t the problem, that the Iranian government is.”

“The idea that [Trump is] to blame for a decision the IRGC made” to shoot down the passenger airliner, he writes, “is just absurd. And while Iranians aren’t a monolith and there are 80 million people in Iran, you don’t see Iranians blaming President Trump for the crash (in which Iranian citizens were killed). They’re blaming the IRGC and the Supreme Leader for a series of horrific mistakes.”

In other words, the Iranian protesters aren’t NeverTrump. They’re NeverKhamenei.

#WalkAway“I’ve gone through some of the most active and prominent liberal Twitter accounts and none of them mentioned the Iran protests today. These same people were actively tweeting about wanting to avoid war and attacking Trump for his decision. What happened?” Yashar wondered.

Yashar continued “Iranians are being used by certain people on the left (I didn’t say all) as a tool to attack President Trump. But these same people don’t seem to care to support their right to protest?” And so, he continues, “It seems to me the protests were inconvenient for some of these folks today. They were placing the blame on the Iranian leadership who lied repeatedly about what happened. They weren’t blaming President Trump… so it wasn’t worth it to bring attention to or support them?”

“Nearly 2 months ago,” Yashar explained, “Iran massacred hundreds (at least) and up to 1,500 of its citizens in the streets for protesting against gas prices.” Yes, you read that right: the Mad Ayatollah’s butchers slaughtered as many as 1,500 people because they had the audacity to complain about the rising costs of gas. “People in the streets are taking an enormous risk not only by protesting but by saying what they’re saying like death to the Supreme Leader”

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COLLEGE BASKETBALL RANKINGS FROM BALLADEER’S BLOG

Per the Glitternight Index:

Saint Thomas Texas CeltsUSCAA (United States Collegiate Athletic Association) – 1. UNIVERSITY OF SAINT THOMAS (TX) CELTS    ###    2. FLORIDA NATIONAL UNIVERSITY CONQUISTADORS    ###    3. BRYANT AND STRATTON COLLEGE (Buffalo) BOBCATS    ###    4. BLUEFIELD STATE BIG BLUES    ###    5. DELHI STATE (NY) BRONCOS    ###   

newportnewsapprentice-school-builder6. NEWPORT NEWS APPRENTICE SCHOOL BUILDERS (Shipbuilders)     ###    7. UNIVERSITY OF DALLAS CRUSADERS     ###     8. UNIVERSITY OF MAINE AT FORT KENT BENGALS     ###    9. CLINTON COLLEGE GOLDEN BEARS     ###    10. FIVE TOWNS COLLEGE SOUND     ###    Continue reading

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THE LOG OF THE FLYING FISH (1887): ANCIENT SCIENCE FICTION

Log of the Flying FishTHE LOG OF THE FLYING FISH: A STORY OF AERIAL AND SUBMARINE PERIL AND ADVENTURE (1887) – Written by Harry Collingwood (William J.C. Lancaster).

Professor Heinrich von Schalckenburg, a brilliant German scientist, is speaking at the Migrants’ Club, an organization of explorers and scientific pioneers. Von Schalckenburg dismisses lighter than air vessels and claims he will prove the success of heavier than air vessels with two of his most recent inventions.

One of those inventions is a crystal powder which can be used as an explosive and as a source of electricity and gas. The other is a new metal alloy that the professor has dubbed “aethereum”, a light but strong substance.

Von Schalckenburg says he is 100,000 British pounds short of being able to construct a craft capable of flying AND serving as a submarine. Mighty Jack, eat your heart out! Sir Reginald Elphinstone, a member of the Migrants’ Club, finances the professor’s project. Continue reading

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