BOB PEAK: American Illustrator Superstar

This piece was originally published June 1&th, 2013

Bob Peak Icon TemplateThere are times here at Mystery Box H.Q. when I set out to write about a subject that I feel is so undeniably a legend, so incredibly talented beyond mere words, and such a large influential part of the fabric of popular culture, that I start to feel…to say it in two words— humbly intimidated.

Bob Peak is one of those subjects.

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MINGERING MIKE: THE INCREDIBLE STORY OF SOUL MUSIC’S GREATEST SUPERSTAR YOU NEVER HEARD

This piece was originally published January 16th, 2012.

Mingering Mike Post TemplateThe true story of Mingering Mike is as unbelievable and gloriously happily, as it is also sadly believable and poignantly bittersweet.

For a period of time there was little this amazingly talented Giant of Soul Music, with his touch of gold, did not turn into a massive success.

“Between 1968 and 1977 Mingering Mike recorded over fifty albums, managed thirty-five of his own record labels, and produced, directed and starred in nine of his own motion pictures. In 1972 alone he released fifteen LPs and over twenty singles, and his traveling revue played for sold out crowds the world over.”

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MAIL-ORDER MYSTERIES!

This piece was originally published January 3rd, 2012.

Count Dante Post TemplateIf you were a kid that grew up in the late ’50s, the ’60s, the ’70s or even well into the ’80s, and you’re reading this, I would say that there is a pretty good chance that you also sat for many hours in front of the television set watching cartoons, sitcoms and action/adventure series, listened to music, and spent considerable hours reading comic books (and MAD Magazine! ). 

All this pop culture most assuredly helped to formulate a generation or two that really saw their creative imaginations run wild, and their youthful desires and wishes expand beyond even that of their older siblings who were brought up in the first crazy period of teenage rebellion known as the earlier Rock and Roll generation.


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TALES DESIGNED TO THRIZZLE: VOLUME ONE BY MICHAEL KUPPERMAN

This piece was originally published August 29th, 2011.

Thrizzle Post TemplateHere at The Mystery Box H.Q. I often enjoy pulling a release out of the past, just in case you might have missed it the first time around. Everyone tries to be on top of new releases, but often going back a bit has a multitude of rewards and can be a new discovery for someone who will then embrace it and in turn tell others how great it is.

Such is the case here…

When you come across a writer or a cartoonist’s work that has you laughing out loud to the point of shaking your head in disbelief that anything could be so astronomically funny, you just want to share it with the world.

Such is the case with Michael Kupperman, an American illustrator, cartoonist and writer that has written scripts for D.C. Comics, contributed to various anthologies such as McSweeney’s, has had work animated for Comedy Central’s TV Funhouse and has graced the pages of The Wall Street JournalThe N.Y. Times and The New Yorker, to name only a few of his many achievements.

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Gary Dell’Abate: Forever Baba Booey…

This piece was originally published January 3rd, 2011.

Baba Booey Post IconThere’s nothing like starting off the new year with a good book.

As well as staving off some of the winter chill surrounding The Mystery Box HQ, the distraction is a nice and gentle way of beginning things.



 

 

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And if there are some laughs involved in your reading material, then all the better.

Autobiographies are a fave of mine, and this particular one is especially worthy of interest…

The phrase “Baba Booey” has entered our popular culture.

Whether spoken by someone who has full on knowledge and knows the background of the term, a vague idea of its origin, or even absolutely no idea but they heard it said on TV or by somebody at school or work, they are words that are now bandied about, and often for no reason other than they sound funny, seems to mean something or somebody, and of course we all love some good old fashioned alliteration. 

Gary Dell’Abate is both the originator or these words and for now and forever will be known as Baba Booeyincarnate.

…and now Gary Dell’ Abate has a book.

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Drew Friedman’s TOO SOON?: 15 Years of Even More Genius

This piece was originally published November 23rd, 2010. Drew Friedman Tor Post Icon

One day, the gods of all ART great and marvelous, finally will decide to roll out their lengthy gilded achievement banner listing cartoonists, illustrators and caricaturists. This banner will have been imprinted (in a Ben-Day dots process) with all the names of those who have been creatively talented beyond the skills of mere mortal men and women.

Without a doubt, near the top of this list of illustrious souls, residing among the gloriously renown names of Jack Kirby, Harvey Kurtzman, Basil Wolverton, Jim Steranko, Wally Wood, Steve Ditko, Charles Addams, Edward Gorey and Robert Crumb among others, will be the name…

Drew Friedman.

For, as R. Crumb so eloquently has written, “I wish I had this guy’s talent.”

I have been a huge fan of Drew Friedman’s work for some 30 years now. Ever since I first laughed in astonishment at the panels that he and his equally talented brother, writer/musician Josh Alan Friedman (subject of a future Mystery Box column) came up with for inclusion in the seminal RAW Graphix Magazine, beginning with issue #1 in 1980.

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RAW Volume 1, Number 1 (July 1980) Continue reading, please click here…

Joe Shuster and Superman’s “Other” Secret Identity

This piece was originally published December 7th, 2009.

Henchman IconThe story is all too familiar: Artists, no matter what the creative medium they choose to work in, need to make money to pay their bills.

Throughout a career, there are doubtlessly going to be the periods when financial struggle necessitates employment at something that is not all that desirable and has little connection to making their beloved art.

Sure some folks are born lucky and comfortable, with money handed down from the heavens and carted over in golden wheel-barrels, or they have some otherwise solid financial situation that can carry into the later years of a charmed life. Well, these lucky souls managed to find that elusive pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. For many however, there is a path strewn with extremely hard work, intense focus, constant devotion and a lifetime of dedication to the craft, despite the highs and lows of any recognition and just getting paid.

So what if you happened to co-create one of the most well known comics’ characters known in the history of the 20th Century. Do you think that even this feat this would guarantee a soft cushion on the settee of lifelong prosperity and carefree worry?

For Joel Shuster, the co-creator of Superman, it didn’t…


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