Monday, August 31, 2009

Dept. of Filk: The Literary Mack the Knife

This morning while running some errands I was listing to our local Public Radio station and it played a suite of Kurt Weil tunes from his Threepenny Opera. That inspired me to go back in my files and dig up a li’l piece of filk I wrote several years ago. Ladies and Gentlemen, let me present…

The Literary Mack the Knife

Oh the shark has
Pretty teeth, Dear;
And he shows those
Pearly whites;
You won’t find him
Read a book, Dear,
But you might see
Mack the Knife.

When the shark bites
With his teeth, Dear,
Scarlet billows
‘Gin to spread.
Mack is very
You might say that
He’s well-read

Once upon a
Midnight dreary,
Weak and weary
Pondered I;
Is that tapping
Just a raven,
Or is Mackie
Stopping by?

It was brillig
Slythy toves did
Gyre and gimbal
In the wabe;
Vorpal Mack went
Snicker-snack, Dear;
Jabberwock lay
There outgabe.

Mistress Em’ly
Belle of Amherst
Once sat writing
Over tea;
“Since I could not
Stop for Death, Dear,
Mack he kindly
Stopped for me.”

By the shores of
Gitche Gumee
Used to go;
Now Nokomis
Sits there weeping;
Mackie say it
Isn’t so!

Captain Ahab,
That fanatic,
Sought to kill a
Monster whale;
But who really
Sank the Pequod?
Mack says “Call me

Once an Old Man
Caught a “Beeg Feesh”
As he struggled
‘Gainst the Sea;
When the Sharks bit
With their teeth, Dear,
Mack said “Leave a
Bite for me!”

Rev’rend Dimmsdale,
Sinning Hester,
Ol’ Judge Pyncheon,
Sweet Goodman Brown;
Mister Hawthorne
Set them up, Dear,
It was Mack who
Knocked ‘em down.

Our great authors
Wrote us stories
Full of sorrow
Pain and strife;
Don’t go napping
While in Lit class,
Or you might miss
Mack the Knife!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Comic Book Inker of Note: Vince Colletta

If you look online you will see a variety of different opinions regarding former Marvel and DC inker Vincent Colletta. Some of the views come from fans and some from people who dislike his work or the man behind the work. The fans usually refer to the amazing volume of work by Colletta, as he worked many books each month, and did so with speed. The non-fans usually point to the same thing, that his work is sparse compared to other inkers, and suppose that it was due to the speed in which he worked. Fans say he was a rescue worker at the publishers, saving books from being late. Non-fans suggest that they’d prefer late and better work. Vincent Colletta’s claim to fame beyond speed is his work with Jack Kirby and some romance comics from earlier eras. Being that you are reading this, you likely wonder what I think about his work. It is a normal thought. Jack Kirby was the first artist I could identify by sight and know that his work was good. When I became more sophisticated in my views I grew to dislike the inks done to his pencils by Vincent Colletta, while I never felt the same towards any of his other inkers. I did not assume then, because I didn’t know, that it was speed, I simply didn’t like it.

But I appreciate that the person of Vincent Colletta worked hard, however the end result, because amongst other things, I realize art is about taste. I am not a fan of the work, and while I’ve heard a large amount of stories about Colletta by many of the artists in comics who I know, I do not suppose them all to be true. There are many other things I could say, but few have to do with his work, or even much the man himself. Most are arguments about the legacy of his work, and stories about the man. And of course there are debates online about things almost nobody witnessed first hand. So like him or not, Vincent Colletta was an inker who should be remembered for many good things, and perhaps some less than good things. Beyond that is not my point.

Two different considerations of Vincent Colletta’s work

Reasons to dislike Vince Colletta and his work

Reasons to like Vince Colletta and his work

Two different views:

Len Wein, Writer at DC and Marvel, on what he enjoyed most about working on Luke Cage: "Getting to work with the wonderful George Tuska, before Vinnie Colletta got his hands on the pencils and ruined them."

Jim Shooter EIC Of Marvel Comics : “He (Frank Miller) ended up getting a small job from Western Publishing, I think. Thus emboldened, he went to DC, and after getting savaged by Joe Orlando, got in to see art director Vinnie Colletta, who recognized talent and arranged for him to get a one-page war-comic job."

Search his work on the comic book data base