Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Follow the Leader Episode 145: Rereading Rethinkings, and Autumnal Offerings!

Redartz:  Ah, October. My favorite month of the year. From Halloween to cooler weather to the spectacular display of nature's colors in the trees, Fall has a lot to offer. Add in the new television season, baseball playoffs and the Simpson's "Treehouse of Horror", and you can see why October ignites my enthusiasm. 

Bet you know where this is going. What features of fall do you enjoy most? Perhaps there was a particularly memorable fall tv season for you (Fall 1970 was a good one for youthful Redartz). Maybe its the ubiquitous candy corn. Whatever it may be, share your Autumn attractions. 

And, by all means, if you have a topic to throw out today, bring it on! Everybody loves a two-for-one deal...


Charlie Horse 47 said...

I do enjoy the fall themes... the crops being harvested... the leaves changing... and a good Oktobersfest party with a decent non-hopsy ale being served!

And, as the Missus and I age, we enjoy seeing the little neighborhood kids in their Halloween costumes.

I always been a sucker for a Mounds or Charleston Chew (or Marathon) candy bar and would raid my kids' candy sacks! And I used to be a fan of Hershey's "Rally" candy bar 50 years ago, but I don't think they exist any longer?

Hmmm... I'm not a "scare / horror" fan by any means and I frankly don't understand folks putting out Halloween decorations in September or referring to it as a Holiday (Holy-day). FWIW Halloween is catching on in France now where my wife is from. 20 years ago our two kids were the first ones to ever trick-or-treat in the village. It was quite the experience in a good way!

Anonymous said...


Here's another topic to throw out, 'cause I was just thinking about it:

What comics that you enjoyed as a kid (specific stories) that you now see differently through an adult lens?

I was thinking about X-Men #183, a classic uncanny issue I enjoyed when I was 12 or so...the one where Colossus and Juggernaut brawl in a bar. Colossus vs. Juggernaut was always cool, especially when Juggy is dressed as a huge civilian.

Revisiting it recently I saw how the fight was instigated by Wolverine, who basically wanted Colossus to get beaten up to teach him a lesson (he had just broken Kitty Pryde's heart by breaking up with her).

And now, as a grown-up, I look at the destruction caused by the fight, which is pretty much wouldn't have happened but for the whim of one of the "good guys", and I thought, maybe the whole mutant menace theme isn't such a black-and-white racism is wrong slam dunk that it's presented as.

Just saying, as a normal human, I wouldn't hate and fear mutants for "no other reason than that they're different"...I'd hate them 'cause they wreck innocent people's stuff to work out their own personal issues!

Of course superhero fights causing destruction is just one of the tropes (and they often include a little "send the bill to Tony Stark" tag at the end to at least try to make things right). But as a grown-up with kids just trying to get along in this busy, work-a-day world, imagining your lives turned upside down by these dumb X-Men fights, I can't help thinking: Where's a Sentinel when you really need one?

I like Fall 'cause of the weather, and the relative quiet of the kids going back-to-school. It leaves time for some deep thoughts (clearly) . :)

-david p.

Anonymous said...
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Humanbelly said...

Until, literally, today this October has been like the late-August/early-Septembers of 20 years or so ago 'round here. (DC Metro area--) A completely obvious and observable trend that the current administration has officially declared as non-existent. Sooooo the "feel" of the season is definitely out of whack.

I do love October, though, when the autumn weather sets in correctly. I love the crisp air; the smell of drying leaves (although I have a wicked allergy to them that wrecks my sinuses like clockwork every single year--- starting to come out of it even now. . . ); the cooler wind; the more ominous look to the clouds.

And the spooky-themes do ALWAYS engage me and delight me-- it's the time of year to listen to ghost-blogs and classic radio horror and catch beloved horror films. My belief in such supernatural phenomenon? Man-- extremely minimal. But I LOVE me some solid "true-life" ghost stories and recountings--- ha!

And of course. . . with October comes the three-month Procession of Holidays. And while there's a very vocal contingent of folks who cry out "It's too soon for ghosts/turkeys/XMas lights!! It's inappropriate!!"-- I've evolved into a mindset where, it's really one big, layered, cascading holiday season that can be connected and a bit inter-related. And am happy to surrender to the joy it sparks whenever that feeling decides to hit me. HB-Girl is known for watching mood-restorative cheesy Christmas movies throughout the year as a bit of self-therapy, in fact. Happiness is happiness.

Hmm-- now I'm in the mood to go see if Snap Judgement's been running their seasonal "Spooked" episodes yet. . . (hope my scenic artist is in the mood to be scared paint-less!)


Edo Bosnar said...

I find that all seasons have their charms, and don't necessarily have a favorite, unless Indian Summer can be counted as a season, in which case that's my favorite. Love it when the weather is dry and warm during October and even early November, then autumn's charms (the aromas of drying vegetation and the pleasantly cool but not cold evenings) come to the fore. Those were really rare when I was growing up in Oregon, as it usually started raining heavily pretty regularly and heavily right after labor day, or by mid-September at the latest. However, I remember that we had a great Indian summer that lasted until November when I was in the eighth grade (so 1981) - we were outside playing soccer in tank-tops in late October.
Here in Croatia, September and October can be pleasant, especially on the Adriatic coast, that's actually the nicest time to visit, although most tourists are unaware of that. Here in interior it's been pretty spotty the past few years, with rain clouds and lower temps rolling in right after August. The past week has been pretty nice, though, with a nice amount of sunshine, but Thursday the rain's coming back. Oh, well.

David P., I'd say that yeah, there's a lot of situations and characters in comics (but also other media, like movies and TV shows) that I perceive differently than I did when I first encountered them. However, in the case of the example you cited, X-men #183, I kind of thought that was a d***-move on Wolverine's part back then when I first read (I would have been about 16 at the time), both because that fight threatened the lives of a whole bunch of innocent people in that bar (to say nothing of the property damage) and because Juggernaut could have potentially severely injured or even killed Colossus. There's also the aspect of Logan wanting to teach Peter a lesson, so he arranges for someone else to kick his a** whil he sits and watches, as well as the fact that Juggernaut just wanted to have a night out in peace and wasn't out looking for trouble.

Colin: some of the original members of the KKK may have been of Scotch-Irish descent, but that was a very home-grown, American phenomenon - the only way it can be blamed on immigrants is if you consider everyone but the Native Americans immigrants.

Mike Wilson said...

I can't think of too many specific things about fall that I love; of course, we've already had some snow here in Saskatchewan (and more on he way) so maybe I'm just dreading winter. When I was a kid everyone on our street used to rake their leaves and burn them in the ditch (before burning in town was banned) and my friends and I used to love riding our bikes through the ash piles the next day.

As for David's Question ... I guess I never noticed some of the sexist elements in comics, where the female characters act like stereotypes or need to be rescued even though they're just as super-powered as the dudes. That story from Avengers 200 where Ms. Marvel is basically raped and impregnated by her own grown-up kid from the future sure reads differently now than it did when I was younger.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Regarding David's question, I have to admit that early Marvels are quite stereo-typical. But it wasn't until the past few years, with the $1 True Believers releases of early FF issues that it really struck me. I mean. when you read something at 15 years old, then 50 years later, you would ideally be a little more perceptive, lol.

And, if you read "hippie era" DC comics the use of "hip" language by the characters is just painful to read.

Can you dig it daddy-o? LOL

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Regarding the KKK there is plenty to read about on the internet.

The most violent thing I saw growing up, besides Vietnam on TV, was the Greensboro NC massacre in 1979. Youtube it and you can watch plenty of live footage of "KKK" members shooting people dead at close range.

But the biggest KKK rallies were actually against Roman Catholics in the 1920s. Not to suggest that Catholics suffered the horrors that blacks did by the KKK. It's funny living in this day in age to think that protestants were worried about "Papists" taking over the USA.

Redartz said...

Fine comments, all!

david p- to answer your question, yes, rereadings after so many years really do make a difference. I'd agree with Charlie that some of those early Silver age stories were a bit 'paleolithic'. Think how long it took for Susan Storm Richards to blossom into the powerhouse she eventually became. In addition, I'd generally say that the Bronze age stories seem to hold up better than the Silver (yes, this may be a controversial position, but I'll risk it).

Colin J- Okay, I have to ask. Do people wear Guy Fawkes masks on Guy Fawkes Night?

HB- oh yeah, the Fall season has been late arriving along the Ohio too. We were still setting all time heat records late last week. Much, much nicer now.

Edo- your description of the pleasant weather in Croatia is most tempting. It might just make a new entry on my bucket visit list (although my high school Spanish probably won't be much help in that regard). Is Halloween much of an event in your area?

Charlie- yes, those late 60's DC's had some great art, fantastic lettering (the great Ira Shnapp) and some cringeworthy lingo. "It's a Happening"...

Humanbelly said...

It's been kind of interesting to see how Halloween has caught-on in Europe in a relatively short span of years. Or at least that's the perception one gets over here. I recall it finally popped up on MIDSOMER MURDERS not too many seasons ago. Although-- hunh-- Agatha Christie had a later mystery that began at a Halloween party. . .so maybe the embrace isn't all that recent.

In the thingsincomicsthatdon'tseemsogreatanymore Dept:

-- Oh my heavens, the easy, casual, Jingoistic disparaging of the Commies/Reds/Soviets/Russians, etc. in the late Silver Age. And the fact that their lives seemed to be much MUCH more expendable in the writers' (esp Stan's) eyes.

-- The asinine, perpetual reliance on "Women's Intuition" in almost any circumstance. We saw this with Sue Storm/Richards a LOT; but also Janet, Jean Grey, and Betty Ross. This was a largely unintentional transgression, but toxic nevertheless. I could go into a long tirade about why it offends me so much. . .

-- LMD's. . . and I'm glad it started to finally get addressed in much later eras. Especially the Super-Adaptoid (well, he was and android actually, yeah?). Marvel fumbled a LOT when it came to keeping the waters about what a "person" was and what wasn't. The treatment and easy-expendability of these. . .Manufactured People. . . bothered me even when I was a youngster. The whole "I'm self-aware and autonomous and can think and emote and interact personally--- but I'm not really alive, so killing me isn't wrong" assumption--- what the hell?

-- BIG one, related to the above. Much later, mid-80's in the Avengers. Hercules falls in love with a mortal woman big-time. Just a sweet, regular lady. But it turns out she was simply some sort of manifested construct of Zeus' (to teach Herk a lesson?), and she evaporates at the end of her alotted span, pleading that she's a person, and has memories and feelings and. . . she's gone. . . Again, no real consequences. More like she was an inconvenient plot thread to be disposed of. Ugh.

Ahhh I could go on all night. . .


Edo Bosnar said...

Red, if you ever visit Croatia, don't worry about the language - so many people here, and esp. on the coast, can understand English just fine.
As for Halloween, no, it's not really a thing here. There were some attempts to 'import' the tradition, mainly in the hopes that it would prove lucrative, but they never really caught on in any significant way. Here and there nightclubs may have Halloween parties, and sometimes elementary school English classes will have little parties with the kids wearing costumes, but that's about it. (And of course, there's the expected backlash from moral watchdogs - with Catholic priests sometimes sounding the alarm that Halloween is actually a Satanist celebration; never mind that it's based on (Catholic) religious observances in northern Europe...)
What's big here, and in much of southern and central Europe, is the Carnival (i.e., Mardi Gras). That has a long and deep tradition, and people go all out with the costumes and celebrations - in a lot of cities, especially on the northern coast, they have parades and costume balls as well. And kids even do the equivalent of trick or treating.

Steve Does Comics said...

I know Halloween used to be virtually unknown in southern England but it was always a thing in Yorkshire where I grew up. One of my earliest memories is of wandering around in our back garden, in the late 1960s, with a turnip. In Britain, we traditionally used turnips, instead of pumpkins, until the fact that you practically need a chainsaw to cut through a turnip made people switch to using much softer pumpkins instead.

I also remember our primary school teachers getting us to make witches' hats and construct mobiles involving bats, black cats, crescent moons and yet more witches.

At home, when I was a kid, we'd bob for apples, try to contact the dead and attempt to scry in mirrors. I can report that no attempts at contacting the dead ever succeeded. I'm not quite sure why my dad was encouraging us to try and contact the dead but there you go.

Trick or Treating was, however, totally unknown. We did have Mischief Night in the Autumn which got conflated with Trick or Treating when that arrived in Britain, making Trick or Treating instantly unpopular and guaranteeing it was never going to catch on in a big way.

Redartz, people don't tend to wear Guy Fawkes masks on Guy Fawkes Night. However, there is a tradition of making a replica of Guy Fawkes from old scraps, and putting a Guy Fawkes mask on it. The figure is, on November 5th, burned on a bonfire of your own making. Traditionally, once you've created the figure, you push it around the area, on a cart, telling strangers, "Penny for the Guy," at which point, the said strangers are supposed to give you money.

Sadly, because the tradition of lighting bonfires in back gardens and on common land has almost died out, you really never see anyone doing that anymore. When I was a kid, you could go up on the nearest hill and see thousands of bonfires, all across the city. Nowadays, you're lucky to spot even one or two.

When it comes to seeing comics through adult eyes, I have, in my more mature years, come to be highly concerned at the way Reed Richards habitually played Russian Roulette with the fate of the Earth whenever he felt like it. One moment, he was opening up gateways to the Negative Zone, the next he was doing deals with Galactus. All of it done with no authorisation from anyone.

Anonymous said...

Down here in Trinidad & Tobago, it's basically summer all year round, so no fall season here but - it does get noticeably darker in the evening at around 6 PM as compared to July where it would still be quite sunny at that hour.

Halloween was traditionally not a big deal but with cable TV and with many T & T nationals having either lived in North America or having family there, more people are aware of the season, and you can see many Halloween themed products in some of the larger department stores. Trick or treating is not a thing here though.

- Mike 'T & T has many horror fans' from Trinidad & Tobago.

Humanbelly said...

Mike From T&T!!! Now THERE'S a happy and welcome voice to hear from--! (Or have you popped up now and then. . . and ol' HB just managed to overlook it?)

Is there another holiday down there that gets associated with ghost-stories and scary things, then? I've always had the impression that most countries or cultures DO have a "spooky" festival of some sort at some time of year. . . but that the US has typically ramped theirs up several notches over several decades. . .

(If anyone cares to continue on the topic, mind you---)


Anonymous said...

Red, Steve has comprehensively answered your Guy Fawkes mask question so I'll just mention a new tradition that has popped up in some places in recent years which is the burning of effigies of unpopular figures like Donald Trump, Putin, assorted British politicians etc, in place of the traditional Guy Fawkes effigy.

Halloween has become more popular in the UK but still nothing like the American level of popularity. Halloween-themed cakes and chocolate will soon be on sale alongside Guy Fawkes-themed cakes and chocolate - and I'll be buying some of both kinds :)

Humanbelly said...

Ha! Nothing says "Cake & Chocolate Holiday!" to me more than a historically murky plot to blow up the House of Lords in the early 17th Century-!

HB (Deeply sympathetic to Henry Garnett--)

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Fires in autumn. Used to be a tradition here too. Then environmental laws kicked in and burning of leaves became expressly forbidden.

But, yours truly has a garden. And I burn all the left over stalks, plants, grasses. But, (Don't damn me to environmental hell!) I use a metal fire pit, through a few logs in it and claim I am simply doing an outdoor "porch" fire which IS legal. I just happen to have a whole lot of unusual fire-starting material.

But I don't burn leaves and frankly they are difficult to burn b/c they often stick together and smother out the fire.

But I can appreciate what Colin described. Driving through some hilly French countryside some years ago with my French wife, in the autumn, there were small fires everywhere in the hills that one could see. Quite charming.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

HB - since you don't mind, LOL, "Merry Christmas!"

Humanbelly said...

Oho, CH-- I gotta tell you, on Tuesday I was having a PARTICULARLY harried, rough day-- and in the brief time I had to throw together some sort of dinner before rushing off to rehearsal, I put on Pandora's Chieftain's Christmas channel to put me in a happier frame of mind. . . and it TOTALLY WORKED. . . !

The fall leaf-burning ban began in our little Michigan town in the early/mid 70's, I think. It was RIGHT after we had an autumn weekend where the weather sorta forced everyone to pretty much burn them (which EVERYONE did-- right next to the roads, or in big piles in vacant lots/yards) on the same couple of days. Unfortunately, the weather pattern that weekend, while dry, was eerily heavy and still-- so the whole town was like a giant, closed, unventilated room. . . with tons of leaves burning inside it. The air was unbelievably bad. It was like living in a forest fire w/out the burning trees and heat. By the next fall, burning was forbidden in all residential zones.

HB-- still coughin' up leaf-soot. . .

Anonymous said...

Why burn leaves at all? Nobody burns leaves where I live - they just rot or get blown away.

One thing I love about Autumn is the return of the dark mornings. I like going out on the dark mornings, especially when the sky is clear and the stars are out (I've always been interested in astronomy so I look for the constellations or planets such as Venus which is so bright it's unmistakable).

On the subject of comics and things that only occur to you as an adult:
I'm not being entirely serious here but...where do the superheroes get their costumes? We know that Peter Parker is an expert tailor and makes his own, the FF's costumes are made by Reed using unstable molecules, Iron Man's suit is manufactured by Tony Stark and Thor's costume is probably made by handmaidens in Asgard but what about all the other superheroes (and villains)?

Anonymous said...

Also, my local council (municipal authority) collects green waste (grass, plants, twigs etc) so if anybody has leaves to dispose of they could put them out for collection. Better than burning, surely? Doesn't this happen in America?

Anonymous said...

By the way, happy Columbus Day!
October 12th is also my father's birthday - he died in 1999 but he would have been 92 today :)

Anonymous said...

Oops...I just checked and Columbus Day is on Monday even though October 12th is the actual date that Columbus discovered America (discovered America for Europe - obviously the Native Americans got there first).

So happy Columbus Day for Monday :D

Charlie Horse 47 said...
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Charlie Horse 47 said...

Hi Colin -

I think we burned leaves simply as a way of disposal. O/wise the grass would smother and die. Also, it would have prevented them from blocking drainage patterns. There were no community efforts to collect them for green reasons.

Also, some folks would light their yards on fire in fall, allegedly to restore carbon(?) to the soil. Allegedly the Natives used to do this for soil enrichment.

Communities have many approaches now:
- Some tell you to put the leaves in these compostable brown paper bags and they will pick them up for free. But - the bags cost around $3 each.
- Some tell you to put in the brown bag and put a sticker on it then they will pick up. The bag cost around $3 as does the sticker.
-Some tell you to simply rake to the street. The village then comes by with bulldozers and dumbp trucks to take them away. OR... I've also seen large trucks that vacuum them.

For my part, I compost them on my garden after I mow them up with my lawn mower. Owise they stick together and don't break down b/c no air is circulating.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Colin - We don't wish each other a Columbus Day Holiday, LOL! It's only a Government and Bank Holiday and businesses affected by a closed Government. E.g., no SEC means no stock trading.

H.B. - Yep... still coughing it up, lol!

Hey - any of you familiar with a show from 1969 called "The New People?" Also, any of you familiar with a UK show, same year, called "Journey into the Unknown?"

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Colin - I'll trade you a Guy Fawkes Day for a Columbus Day? Please?

There may still be some Columbus Day parades but, given modern sensibilities there's too much "overhead" to actually celebrate it.

Perhaps we should trade it in for Armstrong Day since that was truly a historic moment speech. Granted some 20% now think it was a hoax but you can't fix stoopid.

Anonymous said...

Charlie, thanks for the information about leaf disposal and Columbus Day :)

There aren't many gardens around here that have a tree in them so disposing of leaves isn't a big issue. But we can dispose of grass and plants by putting them in a re-usable sack which is provided free by the municipal authority (or "the council" as we say).

I'm afraid I've never heard of 'The New People' or 'Journey Into The Unknown' - but I was only 3 in 1969 so Scooby Doo and The Clangers were more my thing at the time.

I can see how Columbus Day would be controversial - the arrival of Europeans in the Americas was a disaster for the native peoples.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Hi Colin, Check them out on youtube. The New People pilot is pretty good though film quality not best.

ALso you will see numerous hits for "Journey into the Unknown from the UK. That is b/c its 6th episode is entitled The New People.

But both series have fairly respectable rankings on IMDB!

And if you want to see a good "native american" flick, check out Billy Jack. It was quite a popular movie 1971. At least, it made me feel better, lol.

Humanbelly said...

Our county officially changed the traditional Columbus Day holiday to, I believe, Indigenous Peoples Day this year. A solid move. The man was no hero-- not by a stretch. . .


Charlie Horse 47 said...

THat's right HB!

I hate to say this but I do not know anyone who was indigenous to the USA.

I am curious if you might know some Chippewas (Oujibwa) or Potawatami since you grew up on the east coast of Lake Michigan?

I did meet some Chippewa way up north near Boyne / Traverse City. Hemingway's first wife was from their tribe. But then he divorced her and I'll spare us the rest of her story.

Charlie Horse 47 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Charlie Horse 47 said...

My favorite "Billy Jack" moment... If you've seen them, there's a chance it's your fav too!


Humanbelly said...

SO MUCH of Michigan place-naming is based on Native American names, places, and language-!
So CH, I don't think we ever, ever met any Indigenous folks during my childhood. . . ever. My college, Central Michigan University, is very close to a Chippewa reservation, though--- and our school mascot name is, in fact, the Chippewas ("Fightin' Chips!")-- which may or may not be appropriate anymore. Same school colors as. . . Washington DC's Professional Football Team (whom I go to some effort to not name specifically).

And man, my hometown-- in our Diamond Lake subdivision, we lived on the corner of Pokagon Lane and Quinnesec Rd. And had a Pottawatomie Park in the village. Neighboring towns were Dowagiac and Decatur. But--- they were just complicated names to us. There wasn't much sense at all of NatAm history or culture or anything-- and the vague understanding that they did indeed once populate our area before the settlers arrived. . .

My Father-in-law's ancestry CLEARLY had a Native American individual not too far back (like, generally known), and some of that shows up in her youngest sister in particular. It's neat.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

B.t.w. gents. Indigenous Peoples Day is a state by state affair, not a US Federal Holiday. I learned that last night at an Oktobersfest Party... :(

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