Sunday, November 23, 2008

Happy Anniversary to Calvin and Hobbes!

Posted by Stacy in Cartoon & Comic, Neatorama Only

Happy Anniversary to Calvin and Hobbes! It was November 18, 1985 (I know, I’m a day late), that the precocious little boy and his sage stuffed tiger/real tiger first hit comic pages across America. So, I thought I’d hit you guys with a little C&H trivia… I know, it’s not nearly enough to fill the void Bill Watterson has left us, but it’s a little something.

Bill Watterson

Ever since he retired from Calvin and Hobbes, Watterson has been painting and “studying music”. He’s notoriously private and apparently hasn’t changed his lifestyle much. Up until fairly recently, he still lived in his hometown of Chagrin Falls, Ohio. Now he lives in Cleveland, not too far away. He doesn’t do pictures or autographs, not for anyone, although he used to sign copies of his books and slip them into a little family-owned bookstore in Chagrin Falls. He found out that people were eBaying them instead of tucking them away in their own private collections, though, and stopped that practice.

Calvin’s Older Brother?

Originally, Calvin and Hobbes were supposed to be minor characters in the strip Watterson was trying to syndicate. They were both the same as they are now – a little kid and his tiger – but were supposed to be only occasional characters. When he sent that strip to United Features, they suggested that he rework the whole thing to center around Calvin and Hobbes. So Watterson did. And United Features rejected the strip anyway. It was eventually snatched up by Universal Press Syndicate instead.


You know those decals you see on trucks sometimes that have Calvin taking a whiz on the Chevy logo (or the Ford logo, or the BMW logo, or whatever)? So not legal. Actually, almost anything you see with Calvin and Hobbes on it is copyright infringement. Here is the complete list of things Bill Watterson has approved for mass production:

  • Books
  • Two calendars (1988-1989 and 1989-1990)
  • A textbook called Teaching with Calvin and Hobbes
  • One t-shirt for a traveling art exhibit
  • Watterson issued a cease-and-desist. Some of the makers complied and substituted a different (but similar) boy for Calvin, some replaced him with a female Calvin, and some just ignored him altogther. “I clearly miscalculated how popular it would be to show Calvin urinating on a Ford logo,” Watterson once said. Go here for a rather comprehensive site of all of the fake Calvin logos. It’s pretty impressive.


    You can probably figure out where Calvin and Hobbes come from (I’ll go over that in a second) but lots of the other characters are inspired by real-life people too – or not-so-real-life people.

    Calvin, of course, is named after John Calvin, the 16th century theologian who was a huge proponent of predestination. We don’t know Calvin’s last name. Watterson has said that people often assume that Calvin is based on his own childhood, but he disputes this fact and says that he was actually a very quiet, obedient kid.

    Hobbes is named after Thomas Hobbes, who said that the natural state of humans was to be at war. Watterson has said that he feels Thomas Hobbes had a “dim view” of people. Hobbes’ feline characteristics were based on Watterson’s cat, Sprite.

    Miss Wormwood got her name courtesy of C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters. In the C.S. Lewis tale, Wormwood is the nephew of an experienced demon and is being advised by his uncle on how to damn men to Hell.

    Susie Derkins received her distinctive last name because “Derkins” was the nickname of Watterson’s wife’s family’s beagle.

    Original here

    Kiss unhappy about rock hall of fame exclusion

    Paul Stanley, Eric Singer, Gene Simmons and Tommy Thayer (L-R) of the U.S. rock Reuters – Paul Stanley, Eric Singer, Gene Simmons and Tommy Thayer (L-R) of the U.S. rock group KISS pose for photographers …

    NEW YORK (Billboard) – They've sold millions of records, and influenced several generations of fans and musicians. So why isn't Kiss in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?

    That's what Gene Simmons would like to know.

    "There are disco bands, rap bands, Yiddish folk song bands in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but not Kiss," the band's outspoken frontman said during a speech at the Billboard Touring Conference on Thursday. "I believe we have more gold records in America than any other group, but it's OK."

    Having released their first album in 1974, Kiss easily fulfill the requirement that an eligible act must have released its first single or album at least 25 years prior to the year of nomination.

    But the band is not among the nine acts on this year's shortlist, which includes metal icons Metallica, rock guitarist Jeff Beck, and soul singer Bobby Womack. The final five, determined by a ballot of more than 500 industry voters, will be announced in January, ahead of the 24th annual induction ceremony in Cleveland on April 4.

    Simmons also took a dig at the top officials at the hall of fame's foundation, which is chaired by Rolling Stone magazine publisher Jann Wenner.

    "A lot of those guys on the board can go and get my sandwich when I want, and I mean that in the nicest way," he said.

    The speech was filmed for an episode of his reality show "Gene Simmons Family Jewels," currently in its third season on the A&E cable channel.


    Original here

    Vatican 'forgives' Lennon for 'more popular than Jesus' remark

    By Nick Squires in Rome

    The Beatles - the Vatican has forgiven John Lennon for claiming the band were 'more popular than Jesus'
    All is forgiven: the Vatican has made its peace with the Beatles

    Saturday's edition of the Vatican's official newspaper absolves John Lennon of his notorious remark, saying that "after so many years it sounds merely like the boasting of an English working-class lad struggling to cope with unexpected success".

    In a lengthy editorial marking the 40th anniversary of the Beatles' famous White Album, L'Osservatore Romano heaps lavish praise on the British band.

    "The talent of Lennon and the other Beatles gave us some of the best pages in modern pop music," said the newspaper, which has recently tried to shake off its stuffy image by covering popular culture events such as the Oscars and inviting articles from Muslim and Jewish contributors.

    Only "snobs" would dismiss the Beatles' songs, which had shown "an extraordinary resistance to the effects of time, providing inspiration for several generations of pop musicians", said the newspaper, regarded as the Vatican's official mouthpiece.

    It was in March 1966 that Lennon made his infamous claim.

    "Christianity will go," he told a reporter from the Evening Standard.

    "It will vanish and shrink We're more popular than Jesus now - I don't know which will go first, rock and roll or Christianity. Jesus was alright, but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It's them twisting it that ruins it for me." T

    he boast provoked outrage, particularly in the United States, where conservative Christians burned piles of Beatles albums. The band received death threats and radio stations, particularly in the South, stopped playing Beatles records.

    More than a decade later Lennon said he was glad of the furore he had caused. "My life with the Beatles had become a trap," he wrote in 1978.

    "I always remember to thank Jesus for the end of my touring days; if I hadn't said that the Beatles were 'bigger than Jesus' and upset the very Christian Ku Klux Klan, well, Lord, I might still be up there with all the other performing fleas! God bless America. Thank you, Jesus."

    Original here

    Top 100 films of all time, according to Les Cahiers du Cinema

    Not one British-made film has made it on to the French cinema magazine Les Cahiers du Cinema's list of the 100 best films of all time. But here are the hundred German, Spanish, Italian, Russian, not to mention American and French films, that did make the cut.

    Not one British-made film has made it on to a list of the 100 best films of all time
    Eleven out of the top 20 films were French-made, including 'Singin in the Rain'' (1952) starring Gene Kelly

    Citizen Kane - Orson Welles

    The Night of the Hunter - Charles Laughton

    The Rules of the Game (La Règle du jeu) - Jean Renoir

    Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (L'Aurore) - Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau

    L'Atalante - Jean Vigo

    M - Fritz Lang

    Singin' in the Rain - Stanley Donen & Gene Kelly

    Vertigo - Alfred Hitchcock

    Children of Paradise (Les Enfants du Paradis) - Marcel Carné

    The Searchers - John Ford

    Greed - Erich von Stroheim

    Rio Bravo - Howard Hawkes

    To Be or Not to Be - Ernst Lubitsch

    Tokyo Story - Yasujiro Ozu

    Contempt (Le Mépris) - Jean-Luc Godard

    Tales of Ugetsu (Ugetsu monogatari) - Kenji Mizoguchi

    City Lights - Charlie Chaplin

    The General - Buster Keaton

    Nosferatu the Vampire - Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau

    The Music Room - Satyajit Ray

    Freaks - Tod Browning

    Johnny Guitar - Nicholas Ray

    The Mother and the Whore (La Maman et la Putain) - Jean Eustache

    The Great Dictator - Charlie Chaplin

    The Leopard (Le Guépard) - Luchino Visconti

    Hiroshima, My Love - Alain Resnais

    The Box of Pandora (Loulou) - Georg Wilhelm Pabst

    North by Northwest - Alfred Hitchcock

    Pickpocket - Robert Bresson

    Golden Helmet (Casque d'or) - Jacques Becker

    The Barefoot Contessa - Joseph Mankiewitz

    Moonfleet - Fritz Lang

    Diamond Earrings (Madame de…) - Max Ophüls

    Pleasure - Max Ophüls

    The Deer Hunter - Michael Cimino

    The Adventure - Michelangelo Antonioni

    Battleship Potemkin - Sergei M. Eisenstein

    Notorious - Alfred Hitchcock

    Ivan the Terrible - Sergei M. Eisenstein

    The Godfather - Francis Ford Coppola

    Touch of Evil - Orson Welles

    The Wind - Victor Sjöström

    2001: A Space Odyssey - Stanley Kubrick

    Fanny and Alexander - Ingmar Bergman

    The Crowd - King Vidor

    8 1/2 - Federico Fellini

    La Jetée - Chris Marker

    Pierrot le Fou - Jean-Luc Godard

    Confessions of a Cheat (Le Roman d'un tricheur) - Sacha Guitry

    Amarcord - Federico Fellini

    Beauty and the Beast (La Belle et la Bête) - Jean Cocteau

    Some Like It Hot - Billy Wilder

    Some Came Running - Vincente Minnelli

    Gertrud - Carl Theodor Dreyer

    King Kong - Ernst Shoedsack & Merian J. Cooper

    Laura - Otto Preminger

    The Seven Samurai - Akira Kurosawa

    The 400 Blows - François Truffaut

    La Dolce Vita - Federico Fellini

    The Dead - John Huston

    Trouble in Paradise - Ernst Lubitsch

    It's a Wonderful Life - Frank Capra

    Monsieur Verdoux - Charlie Chaplin

    The Passion of Joan of Arc - Carl Theodor Dreyer

    À bout de souffle - Jean-Luc Godard

    Apocalypse Now - Francis Ford Coppola

    Barry Lyndon - Stanley Kubrick

    La Grande Illusion - Jean Renoir

    Intolerance - David Wark Griffith

    A Day in the Country (Partie de campagne) - Jean Renoir

    Playtime - Jacques Tati

    Rome, Open City - Roberto Rossellini

    Livia (Senso) - Luchino Visconti

    Modern Times - Charlie Chaplin

    Van Gogh - Maurice Pialat

    An Affair to Remember - Leo McCarey

    Andrei Rublev - Andrei Tarkovsky

    The Scarlet Empress - Joseph von Sternberg

    Sansho the Bailiff - Kenji Mizoguchi

    Talk to Her - Pedro Almodóvar

    The Party - Blake Edwards

    Tabu - Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau

    The Bandwagon - Vincente Minnelli

    A Star Is Born - George Cukor

    Mr. Hulot's Holiday - Jacques Tati

    America, America - Elia Kazan

    El - Luis Buñuel

    Kiss Me Deadly - Robert Aldrich

    Once Upon a Time in America - Sergio Leone

    Daybreak (Le Jour se lève) - Marcel Carné

    Letter from an Unknown Woman - Max Ophüls

    Lola - Jacques Demy

    Manhattan - Woody Allen

    Mulholland Dr. - David Lynch

    My Night at Maud's (Ma nuit chez Maud) - Eric Rohmer

    Night and Fog (Nuit et Brouillard) - Alain Resnais

    The Gold Rush - Charlie Chaplin

    Scarface - Howard Hawks

    Bicycle Thieves - Vittorio de Sica

    Napoléon - Abel Gance

    Original here

    Michael Jackson 'converts to Islam and changes name to Mikaeel'

    By Graham Tibbetts

    Michael Jackson and child in Bahrain
    Michael Jackson wore an abaya, a traditional Arab women's veil, in Bahrain Photo: REUTERS

    The singer, who was raised as a Jehovah's Witness, converted to Islam in a ceremony at a friend's house in Los Angeles.

    He is said to have sat on the floor and worn a small hat while an imam officiated.

    According to The Sun, the ceremony took place while Jackson, 50, was recording an album at the home of Steve Porcaro, a keyboard player who composed music on his Thriller album.

    The former Jackson 5 star was counselled by David Wharnsby, a Canadian songwriter, and Phillip Bubal, a producer, who have both converted.

    A source said Jackson had appeared a "bit down" and added: "They began talking to him about their beliefs, and how they thought they had become better people after they converted. Michael soon began warming to the idea.

    "An imam was summoned from the mosque and Michael went through the shahada, which is the Muslim declaration of belief."

    Last year his brother, Jermaine Friday, suggested Jackson would convert having taken an interest in Islam since Friday's conversion in 1989.

    "When I came back from Mecca I got him a lot of books and he asked me lots of things about my religion and I told him that it's peaceful and beautiful," said Friday.

    "He read everything and he was proud of me that I found something that would give me inner strength and peace.

    "I think it is most probable that Michael will convert to Islam.

    "He could do so much, just like I am trying to do. Michael and I and the word of God, we could do so much."

    Original here