I just thought I would start up a personal column where I can reflect on different things about comics of the past.


First off, what a neurotic life that boy sidekicks led.






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Well, come on, who HASN'T been chased out of town by garbage-throwing citizens?

Musta been a thing in the old days...

I actually keep a couple of rotten tomatoes on my person at all times. Just in case I get my chance to run someone out.

I thought that was a strange scent for after shave.

-- MSA

Today's topic

Who would win in a battle between the original Black Cat, Judomaster, and the Black Hood?





Or would it be one of these guys


Bill Bell of the Shield's Young American Club 


Young Tommy Troy, aka The Fly.

MLJ was big on those judo pages in their SA comics. Little brothers everywhere hated them.

I can't imagine how many kids ended up with sprained everything trying those moves. Those backward and forward falls look especially promising.

I don't know which one would win, but I know which one I'd like pinning me to the mat.

-- MSA

Or in a scissors headlock?  ; )
Mr. Silver Age said:

I don't know which one would win, but I know which one I'd like pinning me to the mat.

-- MSA



I am reminded of the pilot episode of The Rockford Files, which starred James Garner as easy-going private investigator Jim Rockford, another incarnation of the Bret Maverick character which Garner always seemed to play.


A plot permutation has Rockford being stalked by Jerry, a gangster's henchman.  Jerry, portrayed by Denny Miller, is young, tall, equipped with bulging muscles, and is a karate master, to boot.  Through most of the film, Rockford ducks out whenever Jerry appears.


Finally, though, the muscle-bound thug catches Rockford having lunch in a restaurant.  The P.I. heads into the men's room, where he unscrews the liquid-soap dispenser and pours its contents all across the floor in front of him.  Then he removes his belt and waits for Jerry to come in after him.


Then the thug does, Rockford insults him, tells him how his physique and martial-arts prowess is actually compensating for his lack of manhood.  Provoked to anger, Jerry snarls and launches a flying kick at Our Hero.


But the action causes Jerry's grounded foot to step onto the slippery soap on the floor.  He loses his balance and his momentum sends him flying head-first into the porcelain sink.  While he is dazed from the impact, Rockford belts him then loops his belt around Jerry's ankles.  With the belt, Rockford hoists the other man's legs over his head and ties them to the stanchion at the top of a stall, leaving him flopping about helplessly.


I only saw that pilot, and that scene, once, but I can still remember Jim Rockford's parting shot verbatim:


"The problem with karate, Jerry, is that it's based on the ridiculous notion that the other guy will fight fair."





Many, many years ago, while Cheryl's son from a previous marriage, Rick, was living with us, he had turned seventeen, and late adolescence had brought him a growth spurt and a sturdy set of muscles.  I'm a tall man, but I no longer towered over the boy; he was now about an inch shorter than me and his physical development had him feeling his Cheerios.


That led to something which I imagine fathers experience with their sons at some point, the moment when junior has gotten old enough that he no longer feels physically intimidated by the old man and the kid wants to convey that.


With Rick and me, it happened one night when the Good Mrs. Benson, the boy, and I were in the living room.  I was standing on one side of the room, near the foyer; Rick was standing on the other side, leaning against the entryway into the dining room.  The GMB was sitting on the davenport, where she could see us both.


The mood was light, and I can't remember how the conversation got around to it, but Rick started talking about how he had gotten bigger, stronger, in the last few months.  In fact, he said to me, "I bet I could even take you."  The tone was light-hearted, but you could see in his eyes that he was also sending me a message.


"You think so, eh?" I said.


"Sure," said the boy.  "I'm younger and you're starting to get old."


"Rick . . . ," the GMB interjected cautiously.


"It's O.K.," I said.  I casually leaned against one of the plush chairs and put my hands in my pockets.  Then I said to Rick, "You know, you're right about about being younger and probably stronger.  You might be able to take me after all . . . ."


I saw a broad smile come across the boy's face.  Yes, he no doubt thought, I was admitting it.


While he was mentally congratulating himself on winning the challenge, I brought my hands out of my pockets, grabbed one of the cushions on the chair, and threw it at him.  Rick ducked away from it, and while his head was turned, I dashed toward him and grabbed him---in the most delicate place a male can be grabbed.


I had his ability to reproduce firmly in the grip of my hand.  I squeezed only a little, maybe the force one would need to open a stuck jar lid.  He squealed like a ten-year-old girl and started dancing up on his toes.


I squeezed again and said to him, "Do you still think you can take me?" 


Somewhere in the midst of his squealing and wiggling, he managed to shake his head and say, "No---no---I can't!"


Much to his relief, I let go.  The GMB was laughing uproariously.  "Rick, what did you expect?" she told him.


Rick never "challenged" me, again. 


Who said this parenting stuff was hard?



Great stories, Commander! Karate was always being touted as a great skill, but I'm not sure what you do after you break a board.

I don't know if you grew up in the Midwest (or possibly upstate N.Y.), but I believe you and I may be the only two remaining people who would use the word "davenport" in a sentence.

-- MSA

Mr. Silver Age said:


I don't know if you grew up in the Midwest . . . .

Ohio. Born in Oberlin, raised in Elyria and Amherst.  I also spent a good deal of time in Cleveland, Dayton, Bellfountaine, and Cinncinnati, where the relatives were.  And, of course, there was Upper Sandusky and Cedar Point.


Never got far enough east to take in Boardman, though.  If I had, we'd have probably bumped into each other at the comic-book spinner racks.



My mother-in-law still says "davenport," but she's from Wisconsin. I've heard a couple of Canadians call it a "chesterfield."

That explains it. My parents grew up in Amish farming country around Akron/Canton, and then moved to the big city northeast of there and stuck. We always had a davenport.

It would've been great if you'd stopped by. I could have given you the grand tour of spinner racks within bicycling distance. I had it pretty well mapped out.

-- MSA

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