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Friday, October 12, 2007

Toy and Action Figure Museum Celebrates Second Anniversary

As a means of promotion on this site, I'm posting an email just received from Jack and Carole Bender, creators of the Alley Oop strip.

Attention all Oklahoma Cartoonists Collection members:

We are pleased to notify you of the second anniversary celebration and fundraiser for the Toy and Action Figure Museum in Pauls Valley, OK, Saturday, Oct. 27, 2007, 7 pm. Instead of a sit-down dinner, this year’s festivities will be a casual wine and appetizer event. Kevin assures us, though, that there will be plenty of food around to feel like you've had dinner. The agenda will include the induction of this year’s OCC Hall of Famers, Archie Goodwin, Zack Mosley, Don Flowers, Don Woods and Steve Erwin.

Tickets for the festivities are $20 per person. Please RSVP to Kevin Stark, or Jack & Carole Bender, by October 20.

If you have questions about other details, you can contact Kevin at the same address.

Hope to see you all soon.
Jack & Carole Bender

Graphic Classics: Gothic Classics, $11.95 and 144 pages, from Eureka Productions

Compared to our microwave world of 30 second hot dogs, much of the literature of the 17th and 18th centuries seems to plod. The plodding 14th volume in the Graphic Classics series is Gothic Classics, adapting to five such novels or short stories from the past to comics. These are: "The Mysteries of Udopho" (Ann Radcliffe), "Northanger Abbey" (Jane Austen), "The Oval Portrait" (Edgar Allan Poe), and "At The Gate" (Myla Jo Closser).

If your first response to “gothic” is “oh, boy, horror stories!” you’ll need a new response. Modern usage has changed the meaning of the word, and these tales are much more like modern romance novels with just an added touch of suspense. You’ll have plenty of time to change your response; except for the short stories adaptations, the two adapted novels are very, very slowly paced.

That doesn’t mean that "The Mysteries of Udolpho" and "Northanger Abbey" aren’t well written and drawn. They are both. In addition, the adaptations seem faithful to the originals, although that’s a guess. I haven’t read the originals.

In particular, the two novels are relationship pieces, i.e., the study of the interactions and motives of human beings. In short, they are chick books. We call them soap operas today.

They are well written, but the dialog sounds stilted to our modern ear. The depth of characterization is exceptional, but the plots are, well, mundane.

All of the art is interesting, if not exceptional, in technique and style. Personal favorites among the artists are Carlo Vergara and Anne Timmons.

So, if you have a long afternoon on a sleepy day to fill, and would enjoy a leisurely stroll the centuries past, fill it with Gothic Classics.

Various writers and artists/available in book stories, comics shops, and at

Michael Vance

Check out Dreams and Visions #35 for a new Vance short story: