SUPERHERO PANTHEON OF FOX FEATURES SYNDICATE

Superheroes continue to dominate pop culture right now and Balladeer’s Blog’s readers let me hear it when I go too long without a superhero blog post. Here is my look at the Fox Features Syndicate heroes from the Golden Age.

Dynamo Fox Features picDYNAMO

Secret Identity: Jim Andrews, electrical scientist

First Appearance: Science Comics #1 (February 1940)

Origin: Jim Andrews risked his life to contain a potentially deadly accident at the electrical lab where he worked, inadvertently gaining superpowers from the incident. He donned a costume and fought the forces of evil as Dynamo.

Powers: Dynamo could use his electrical powers to shoot electric rays from his hands, to fly, to surround himself with a force field and to magnify his own strength.

Comment: In his very first appearance this hero went by the nom de guerre Electro, but in his remaining 24 adventures called himself Dynamo instead. 

Black Lion picBLACK LION

Secret Identity: George Davis, big-game hunter

First Appearance: Wonderworld Comics #21 (January 1941)

Origin: George Davis’ career as a big-game hunter had brought him wealth and fame. Having met all the challenges of hunting members of the animal kingdom he decided to go after the most dangerous game of all: human criminals. To that end he donned a costume and took on supervillains and Nazi agents.

Powers: The Black Lion was at the peak of human condition and had the agility of an Olympic gymnast. He was also an expert at unarmed combat and could outfight multiple opponents at once. His totem animal the lion gave him superhuman healing ability. Continue reading

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TWIN PEAKS IN POLAND? THE MAGICAL WORLD OF ANIA

Magical World of Ania picBalladeer’s Blog’s love of quality horror ARGs (Alternate Reality Games) has been well established. In the past I’ve examined productions like Local 58, Claridryl and Jack Torrance (NOT the character from The Shining.)

This time around I’m taking a look at what I call Poland’s answer to Twin PeaksMAGICZNY SWIAT ANI or MAGICAL WORLD OF ANIA. Like Local 58, this ARG is still going, so if you’re interested in pitting your wits against the producer’s, the various mysteries remain unresolved as of this writing.

NOTE: BE SURE TO USE THE CLOSED CAPTIONING FOR TRANSLATION FROM THE POLISH LANGUAGE.

Magical World of Ania pic 2The eerie storyline revolves around the disappearance of a beautiful young Polish woman named Ania Slowinska and the dark, seemingly supernatural forces behind it. As the tale unfolds it becomes apparent other women have fallen victim to the same forces, with one having had all her teeth removed after being murdered.

Among the many suspects and supporting characters in the drama are Ania’s mother Kristina, who seems to be morbidly enjoying the attention her daughter’s disappearance has brought her. Others include Ania’s birth-father – whom she never knew – plus her step-father, an infatuated stalker, a jealous female friend and a faith healer with a very strange band of disciples.

Magical World of Ania pic 3Organs and limbs seem to be stolen for transplant use and replaced with porcelain or papier mache substitutes. This practice extends even to the heads of the victims … sometimes while they’re still alive. Obviously this is for adults only.  Continue reading

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MEDALS OF HONOR FOR THE 1871 KOREAN EXPEDITION

Medal of HonorHAPPY MEMORIAL DAY! As always Balladeer’s Blog marks the event with a few looks at neglected conflicts from America’s past. The servicemen who fought in those actions are just as deserving of being memorialized as those who fought in more familiar wars.  

KOREAN EXPEDITION OF 1871 – A Diplomatic Mission was sent to Korea that year, with the time period’s usual military escort of war ships on such ventures. The U.S. expedition was snubbed on the diplomatic side and then Korean shore batteries opened fire upon the military escort. The Americans launched reprisal raids for a few days then departed, leaving U.S. – Korean relations somewhat cold for years afterward. Medal of Honor Winners:

William F LukesWILLIAM F LUKES

Navy Rank: Landsman 

Citation: June 9th – 10th, 1871 – During the assault on the Han River Forts on Ganghwa Island, Lukes came to the assistance of injured Lieutenant Hugh McKee. The Landsman fought his way through heavy resistance to the fallen McKee’s location and refused to abandon his comrade.

Through swordplay, bayonet charges and hand-to-hand combat William received a severe sword cut to the head, a wound which would cause him to suffer convulsions for the rest of his life from the brain damage. When American reinforcements arrived they found the unconscious Lukes had suffered 18 bayonet wounds in the fighting.   

JOHN ANDREWS Continue reading

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JOE BIDEN IS CALLED UPON TO APOLOGIZE “TO EVERY BLACK PERSON HE MEETS”

Trump and Robert JohnsonRobert Johnson, founder of Black Entertainment Television and the RLJ Companies, joined the chorus of African-American voices condemning Democrat Joe Biden for his blatant public expression of the Democrats’ view that they “own” the black vote as surely as they owned black people on their plantations.

Biden, already under siege for his and his family’s international corruption PLUS sexual assault allegations, said “If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.” He stated this on The Breakfast Club radio show.

Biden racistNote also that Biden condescendingly used the word “ain’t” the way so many Democrats do when talking to voters of color, as if it will endear them to those voters. Joe Biden’s career has been marked by draconian legal measures against African-Americans, sometimes in conjunction with the disgraced Hillary Clinton, who called African-American males “super-predators.”   

Robert Johnson weighed in on social media by saying “VP Biden’s statement today represents the arrogant and out-of-touch attitude of a paternalistic white candidate who has the audacity to tell Black people, the descendants of slaves that they are not Black unless they vote for him. This proves unequivocally that the Democratic nominee believes that Black people owe him their vote without question; even though we as Black people know it is exactly the opposite. He should spend the rest of his campaign apologizing to every Black person he meets.”

Trump black supporters even moreTo help clarify all this for overseas readers and put such sentiments in their historical context: 

 In the final third of the 20th Century the speakers and money people of the Democrat Party began developing a very proprietary, some would say condescending, attitude toward African-Americans. The 1960s generation of American Democrats in particular had often treated the lives and history of African-Americans as a kind of hobby.

Black Voices for Trump picThese patronizing dilettantes originally demonstrated a protective, or at least supportive, attitude toward African-Americans, who in turn rewarded the Democrat Party’s candidates with almost unanimous support.

However, as the decades wore on and African-Americans had greater opportunities open up to them many of them began making up their own minds about what political attitudes they would embrace and what political candidates they would support. This did not sit well with the white Democrat power brokers.

Black Voices for Trump againA large portion of the Democrats’ power structure rested on the myth that all African-Americans were still Democrats. The mere existence of increasing numbers of African-Americans choosing their own political affiliation was a massive threat to the Democrats’ decades-old propaganda advantages: their false claim that they and they alone represented the wishes of all minority groups and their incessant accusations of racism aimed at all dissenting voices.

The whitebread Democrat leadership and the African-American demagogues (think Al Sharpton) they used as alleged spokespeople for “all African-Americans” began a campaign of harassment against any African-Americans who declared their political independence from the oppression and condescension of the Democrat Party. Continue reading

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CARNACKI (1971) RIVALS OF SHERLOCK HOLMES

For Balladeer’s Blog’s review of the first episode of this 1971-1973 series about non-Holmes detectives of the Victorian and Edwardian Ages click HERE   

Horse of the InvisibleEpisode: THE HORSE OF THE INVISIBLE (October 18th, 1971)

Detective: Thomas Carnacki, created by William Hope Hodgson. The first Carnacki story was published in 1910.

Review: Thomas Carnacki was an Edwardian detective who investigated the paranormal in 9 stories written by William Hope Hodgson, famous for the horror tale The House on the Borderlands. The fun of the Carnacki mysteries came from the way that sometimes the supernatural elements were being faked by human malefactors. The hero would solve the case either way.

In a fortuitous bit of casting which helps make this episode timeless, Donald Pleasence starred as Thomas Carnacki. Pleasence’s role of Doctor Loomis in the Halloween series of slasher films makes him a familiar face even to viewers unfamiliar with his loooong body of work.

CarnackiGiven that this program is titled The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes the best way to describe The Ghost of the Invisible would be as a hybrid of The Hound of the Baskervilles and The Speckled Band crossed with the John Silence series of occult mysteries.

Renowned “Ghost Detective” Thomas Carnacki is hired by the patriarch of the Hisgins family to safeguard his soon-to-be-wed daughter Mary from a spectre which has haunted the family for centuries. That spectre is the titular horse, a ghostly mare which has murdered the first-born child of each successive lord of Hisgins Hall … when that first-born child has been female. Continue reading

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CONCLUSION: AMERICA’S QUASI-NAVAL WAR WITH FRANCE (1798-1801)

It’s Memorial Day Weekend! Continuing this holiday weekend’s dose of seasonal posts is this concluding part of Balladeer’s Blog’s look at America’s undeclared naval war with France from 1798 to 1801. FOR PART ONE CLICK HERE  . 

Enterprise

MAY ?, 1800: (Some sources place this action in late April) The USS Boston, commanded by “the American Horatio Nelson” himself, Captain George Little, was in the Bight of Leogane, where it fought and sank a force of six French-allied ships in the navy of Hyacinth Rigaud. (Rigaud’s infamy was covered in Part One)

MAY ??, 1800: The Adams recaptured an unidentified vessel which had previously been taken by the French and converted for its navy’s use.

MAY ??, 1800: The Insurgent and the Adams teamed up to liberate an unidentified British privateer ship from the French craft which had captured it.

MAY ??, 1800: The Adams recaptured the Nancy (one of many vessels with that name), a ship previously seized by the French for their own navy.

Mascot sword and pistolMAY ??, 1800: The Adams defeated and captured the French ship Grinder

MAY ??, 1800: A very busy month for the Adams came to an end as the feisty vessel overcame three to one odds to defeat and capture the French ships the Dove, the Renommee and a third ship whose name has not come down to us.   

MAY 31st, 1800: The John Adams (separate vessel from the Adams) recaptured the American brig Olive from the French.  

JUNE 6th, 1800: The Merrimack battled the French vessel L’Hazard in order to free the French ship’s latest capture – the American Ceres.  The Merrimack succeeded in liberating the Ceres. Continue reading

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AMERICA’S QUASI- NAVAL WAR WITH FRANCE: 1798-1801

USS ConstellationMemorial Day Weekend is fast upon us with this topical post from Balladeer’s Blog. This one covers some naval actions from America’s undeclared, neither fish nor fowl, quasi-Naval War with France. Often called Stoddert’s War in reference to Benjamin Stoddert, America’s first Secretary of the Navy, this conflict was waged largely in the West Indies.

John Adams

John Adams

President John Adams wanted the infant United States Navy to protect American shipping in the West Indies from French vessels seizing our ships and sailors. The French Revolutionary government had adopted this policy to (in their view) “punish” the U.S. for not declaring war on France’s side in the Wars of the French Revolution.

Thus far America had remained neutral due to divided public opinion on the matter. Some voters felt the U.S. should join the war on the side of France but others felt that the current French Revolutionary government had overthrown, imprisoned and slain virtually all of the French figures who had aided America during our war against England, therefore negating any obligation on our part. (The paranoid French government had even jailed Thomas Paine when he visited the country.)

President John Adams later took great pride in keeping America out of an all-out land war. (Sentiment against France grew so strong that 80,000 men volunteered to serve against her. And don’t forget the rallying cry of “Millions for defense but not one cent for tribute!” following the X, Y and Z Affair.) Adams chose instead to act largely on defense by protecting our coastline, safeguarding U.S. shipping and expanding our Navy from three whole vessels (WOW!) to FIFTEEN.

Here are a few of the battles from this virtually unclassifiable conflict:

Stephen Decatur

U.S. Naval hero Stephen Decatur

JULY 7th, 1798: Off the New Jersey Coast, Captain Stephen Decatur, Sr led his 20-cannon Delaware against the 10-cannon French privateer craft La Croyable. The French vessel had just plundered the American merchant ship Alexander Hamilton. After a long chase and running fight La Croyable was seized by the Delaware. The French ship was renamed Retaliation and joined the growing U.S. Navy.

NOVEMBER 20th, 1798: Off Guadeloupe, the Retaliation (commanded now by William Bainbridge) ran afoul of two French vessels: the 40-cannon L’Insurgente and the 44-cannon Volontaire. The French opened fire and soon captured Retaliation, then imprisoned the crew in the hellish Basseterre Prison on St Kitts.   

FEBRUARY 9th, 1799: Nearly fifteen miles off the coast of the island of Nevis, American Captain Thomas “Terrible Tom” Truxton took his kickass nickname and his 36-cannon ship the Constellation into battle with the 40-cannon French vessel L’Insurgente. The battle began shortly after Noon and roughly two and a half hours later the French surrendered.     Continue reading

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