Saturday, September 7, 2013

Oh Glory Day--Mine Book Has Arrived! All This, And More Thrills, From Science Comics! Plus Restaurnat News

No, dear friends, 'tis not a dream... 'this not a hoax! 'Tis not yet complete, but I felt compelled to share this thrilling cover image for my nearly-half-completed tome on our favorite topic!

Designed by our local asthete, "Ray-Don," this cover encapsulates all I hold near and dear to my quiverng breast. There are a couple of small refinements (or "tweeks" as my deisgner calls them) to "smooth on out," but I feel 'tis ready enough to share with you, my friends, my world!

As I continue work on the book, I fnd the page count continues to grow. Friends, this tome could indeed top 4000 pages, least I contain myself and include onlt the most essential and relevant information.When next I post here, I hope to have a "pre view" of the contents. Since so much of my research material is top-secret, and known only to me, I feel that this book will collide onto the scene of panelological history withthe immediacy and power of Halley's Comet!

'Tis immodest of me to proclaim, but I feel this volume will forever change how we view comic magazines, their creators, and their almighty capred crusader heroes!

I would like to solicit feedback from you, friends, on this cover design. Please be honest--do not spare me with your feelings, good or bad! One thing I wonder: ought the cover to have more heroic figures 'pon its fair face? Or would that make it too "active?" Do the colors please you? And the typographic "fints"? Be brutally honest Your opinions will only make this a better publication!!!

And now onto recent news "flashes":

Concerned about losing our patronage, Dorrie (with the suprising suggestion of mute Katrice) has come up with a creative solution. Perhaps you have heard of the new phenomoenon of the "food truck." 'Tis rather a "meals on wheels" for the non-elderly. The older amongst us will recall the food wagons that once serviced hungry working men during the nation's many lunch hours.

This is a twist on that old trope. Instead of day-old egg salad sandwiches, bagged cookies and such, "Dorrie's Diner II" offers a short list of the spouse's most famed concoctions. Famished passersby can easily read the six-foot laminated menu board, choose their favorites, and within moments, the mouth-tempting entree will be theirs to enjoy!

Raphael no longer has the maitre'd/waiter roles, in this transitional state, so he is our grandest promoter. Standing by Highway 11B, dressed in eye-catching colors, he waves and waggles an arrow-shaped sign in one hand, and a checkered flag (seen at the "victory line" of an auto race) in the other. Raphael has a different, and surprising costume, for each day! Yesterday, he dressed as a Frank Buck, "Bring 'em Back Alive" type jungle adventurer. Today, he wears a 1950s prom dress, with a blonde wig and make-up to match.

His creative flair keeps the mobile diner hopping. Dorrie and Katrice work by the grill. The bulk of their work is done early in the day. With six items on our menu (plus three desserts, fries, and such), the "women-folk" prepare large quantities of each entree. When a customer places an order, they need merely heat up a portion on the grill and viola! An almost instant, gournet-quality meal, for a reasonable price!

I take orders and tender cash. (We cannot accept debit cards; we accept checks from those we know and trust). Since our menu is so spartan, my shout of "a number four!" or "let's have two fives, ladies" is easily communicated to the culinary brain-trust.

It is hot inside that vehicle! I have learned to wear only T-shirt and boxer shorts during my sweaty shifts in the "Diner II." No one can see that I'm only semi-dressed. That is, save for one misfortunate Wednesday last week.

Raphael had determined that one of our rear wheels was a bit loose. The body of the mobile diner was prone to rock a bit during windy days. The rocking and shivering sometimes proved worrisome, but never so much that I cared to check on the wheel's state.

Due to public demand, we offered large basins of various condiments and sauces, each with its own stainless steel ladel. Our ever-popular "Sloppy Does" tend to be decorated with additional, and sometimes unapt, complimentary doses of ketchup, sweet relish and such. These basins, each with a tight-fitting lid, can be sealed easily at the close of each business days, and stored in our "on-site" refrigerator to await another day's service.

Sounds convenient, eh? And yes, for a spell, it was "just the ticket" for our eager enjoyers. That sweet spell was intruded upon one calm August afternoon, as a Boy Scout troop appeared, rabid with hunger after a nature hike.

Orders for "Sloppy Does" and "Bacon Blast Burger-Dogs" flew thick and fast, as the khaki-clad boys surrounded the vehicle. Unbeknownst to us all, two mischevious older Scouts took it upon themselves to "repair" the loose wheel.

In doing so, they "accidentally" loosened the tire which, at a downward angle, easily slid off its axis. Soon, we all became aware of a constant gentle rocking-and-rolling. Peals of eager laughter was heard. Finally, after one dreadful shudder, I heard multiple voices shout, "RUN!"

With that, the Diner tipped forward--it lurched, to be more precise. With the lurch, the basins of sauce emptied upon the trouble-prone scouts--a fitting punishment, in retrospect. The sauce-doused boys were still hungry enough to wolf down their sandwiches. Their scoutmaster gave me a sly, knowing smile as he paid the troop's bill.

The loss of our condiments  (and the wheel) caused us to close shop for two days. The wheel proved impossible to restore on our own, so a tow-truck from Hank's Gas-n-"Go" was summoned. The mobile diner was righted, and the wheel restored.

The combination of sweet and spicy sauces had attracted a swarm of crazed hornets. Our lives were in clear danger! We closed the van and returned the next morning with several sacks of "Kitty Litter." The pummeled clay absorbed most of the saucy damage. The ground was littered with the corpses of over-sated hornets. They had died in a state of rapture!

Order has since been restored, and the open basins replaced with quart-size pump bottles, which are chained to the counter of the van's opening. 'Tis just as well. What good fortune that, say, the mayor of our fair town, or one of its prominent social "queen bees," was not at the order window in that fateful moment.

Remarkably, all the entrees on the grill had not moved one iota! Dorrie's food is rib-sticking nutrition.

Now that stories of the "home front" have been exhausted, onto more pressing matters.

I'm sure you all have many questions about my forthcoming tome. Indeed, I, myself, have myriad quandaries about the project. Am I saying too much? Too little? Is my focus biased, rather than objcetive? These are reasonable concerns for any man of letters, or any historian.

After four decades of constant research, I am still stunned to find new "nuggets of wisdom" in areas where I felt there was no more to be known. Recent research has given me a great "back story" on the life and work of "Lester Raye" (real name: Larry Estee). I'll save these facts as a sort of "teaser" for my upcoming book. I am proud of my chapter on the Fox title Science Comics, which is titled "A Pinnacle Rare." Seldom did the golden age of panelology aspire to greater heights; seldom were such heights so suddenly, heartlessly dashed to oblivion.

"The Eagle" is a prime example of the comic-magazine feature that blossomed, and too soon withered into a sere nullity, as the war-drums of 1941 beat loudly. Here, for the benefit of you, my dear friend and colleague, is the finest hour of this feature. Savor each panel; prepare to be amazed!

As more astute readers will realize, "Lester Raye" was an anagram of the talened-but-overlooked Larry Estee. Born in 1911, Estee had no formal art training. Indeed, he had never considered drawing or art before he lucked into a job with the then-successful comic book empire of Victor Fox.

"I always liked pictures," Estee said in his lone 1969 interview. "But I figured they had some sort of device that made them up. I didn't realize that living people did these things," Estee was hired as a messenger for Victor Fox. "He loved to send what he called 'living telegrams.' Sometimes, you'd have to sing them to a popular tune. I had a good clear tenor voice, and that got me the job."

Fox's "living telegrams" typically consisted of mean-spirited taunts to rival publishers. "I'd have to walk into [Martin] Goodman's shop, or [Harry] Chesler's, and tell them how successful Victor was, and how much the ladies liked him, how nice his shoes were--that sort of thing. It didn't exactly make me popular. One time, I got hit with a T-square, right on the noggin! I still feel a bump from when that happened."

Quickly realizing his potential fate, Estee was determined to improve his status with Fox. "I told him I could draw pretty swell, and he bought it.I had really gotten Irving Donenfield one afternoon, with a downright nasty singing telegram from Fox, and he [Fox] was in such a good mood that  he hired me as an artist. He sent me home with a script and some drawing paper."

Despite no formal art training--or any prior inclination to so much as doodle--Estee fearlessly illustrated "The Eagle," which was to be the lead feature in the sixth issue of Science Comics. "It wasn't that hard," Estee boasted. "Heck, half the fellows Fox hired were winos, dummies, or worse. If they could do it, I could do it."

Through sheer force of will--augmented by "copying the funnies, which everyone else did"--Estee completed the story over a long weekend. The fungus monster, which features so boldly in the tale, was inspired by his mother's house-coat! "She had this ugly old green robe, worn out, with these flowers--I guess that's what they were--on it, She wore that thing night and day, so she was my first model! She didn't even realize it. She never even asked what I was doing in the kitchen with ink and a drawing board. She kissed me when I brought home the paycheck."

Estee's artwork became more polished, as 1940 wore on, but it also lost some of its excitement. He soon developed a professional style that ensured him a long career with the Fox company. "It was just a job with me. I didn't care a whit about the stories. They were usually the same damn thing over and over. Just crap. But I did them. At one point, Victor gave me a raise to six dollars a page! That was a great day. I still think about it."

Estee was drafted in early 1943, and he saw military action in Italy. "I didn't even think about comic books in the Army. I was too busy dodging bullets to care! We all did."

Upon his return to civilian life, in 1947, Estee took advantage of his status as one of "The Big One's" fighting men. "They had a law then, you could go back to where you used to work, and they would fire someone who didn't serve, right there on the spot, and give you his job. Well, that's what I did. The guy was in the middle of a story and they sent him packing. I finished the thing. I was a little rusty at first."

Estee was a mainstray of Fox's lurid crime, romance and teen humor titles through 1950. "By that time, I got tired of the business. The stories were dirty, and when people found out how I earned my money, they wouldn't speak to me. I was married then, and had a family to think of." With pressure from blue-nosed censors looming, the comic book industry was in peril.

Estee left at the right time--and changed careers in a surprinsing way. "I became a tight wire walker for Bregmann's Circus. It was a little company that toured the coastal Northeast. They ran an ad in the paper and I just showed up. I got pretty good doing that stuff, and the kids loved it."

But a "carney's life" was not to Estee's liking. "Those folks made the comic book boys look like priests! Swearing, drinking, gambling--and I was a pretty innocent kid!"

Thus, Estee again switched careers. "I saw an article about rocket science, and thought, 'what the heck, I bet I can do it.' And sure enough, the government hired me!" Estee was a member of the team that designed various Apollo space missions. "I'm in the history books! Who knew, back when I was drawing 'The Eagle,' that I'd be sending a man into space? I've had good luck, and I admit it."

Estee died a happy man in 1979--in a rare occurence for the business of panelology. He failed to note one achievement of which anyone would be proud. Given that Estee was a  modest man, it's understandable that he might have overlooked this one feat of his life. Recent research has revealed that he held a 1970 patent on an automatic, touch-sensitive dispenser for paper towels--that commonly seen in restrooms around the world.

If you don't have to touch a crank, or push a button, to receive clean paper towels in public, you're using "the Estee model," as they're called in the field of mechanical service devices. Estee lost the claim to his idea in a 1971 poker game, and others profited highly from his ahead-of-its-time concept. Such is life, and such is business. One man's dreams are most typically another man's fortune.

POST-SCRIPT: It has been brought to my attention that anonymous threats have been made to me, via the "comments" section of this "blog." I demand that the perpetrator of this heinous misdeed show his or her face, and apologize at once! Apokogies to the rest of you for this airing of my "soiled laundry," but I must ask that this people (or peoples) cease and desist at once. There are authorities and punishments for such seditious acts, as you certainly must realize!

Monday, May 27, 2013

A Life's Dear Dreams... "Up In Smoke"

'Tis with great sorrow that I return to the bloggnhg scene. This article, from the local newspaper, tells the story with grea t clarity:

This dreadful night still reverbates in my thoughts. I am every so grateful that none of us was hurt, and that, yes indeed, we were "insured up the yazoo," thanks to the relentless advice of our next-door neighbor, Burt Liffler. It was imperative that we doubly insure our home, during the time that "Dorrie's Diner" occupied its first spot.

When we moved to what we thought our permanent location, the insurance contract was transferred, with additional "riders" to accomodate the bistro's placement in an actual, "standing-alone" place of business.

We are awaiting the red-tape of the insurance inspector's paperwork to "wrap up," but we have been assured that we will be nobly recompensed. It  has been intimated to myself, in a "hush-hush" private communique, that our payment may exceed the amount of money we have put into both incarnations of the "Diner."

So rest assured, dear friends, that we are not in "the harmed way." Rather, we are on "comfy street," despite the horrors that still occasionally jolt us out of a sound night's sleep.

We are each thankful for what didn't occur. Dorrie is relieved that no one was in the Diner when the accursed fire occured. I am, of course, glad of that too. 'Tis double relief for me. That fateful night, I had almost forgotten to fetch a parcel of precious comic magazines that had sat 'neath the front counter for a few weeks.

Among the items in the archival quality box were several issues of what I consider the ne plus ultra of the Age Panelological--the Fox Features title, Science Comics.  It was, quite simply, too good to be true. While more pedestrian Fox titles flourished, Science was axed after eight mere issues.

There will not, I'm sad to say, be any panelological gems in today's posting. I  have been so busy with research and organization for my ongoing book project that any time spent with comic magazines has been devoted to their close scrutiny and study.

While "taking a breather," I stopped by my local comics emporium, Killer Comix!, and chatted with its owner, Bart Jaffney. In our talk, my passionate testimony of the wonders of Science Comics moved him to demand an audience with the rare issues. He assured me he would purchase a new pair of Farrago Research Gloves (the finest handling gloves for contact with aging acidic papers), and examine them in my presence.

Poor Bart! He spent 15 minutes paging through four issues. He uttered an occasional "huh!" or "huh?" before adjudging them as "pretty cool." I could tell he was just humoring me, and that his modern comic magazines, which he vends by the carload, had blurred his vision for the better things.

I cannot criticize him. It would be as if I had asked a steady consumer of store-brand grape "pop" to tender his opinion of subtle fine wines. They might seem bitter and unpleasant to his palate, so used to carbonation and the chemical artistry of the grape flavoring.

Similarly, were you to place a platter of fine Sherpa cusine before me, I might moodily pick at it, perhaps taste the corner of one seasoned potato, and deem it "okay." We all have different tastes, and bless the world for this!

Dorrie and I have been in coupled counselling. We are part of a group entitled "Survivors of Fire: A Healing Community." The group meets twice weekly in the "Bronson Room" of Chip's Broiler, a fine-dining establishment located downtown. The leader of the group, Melinda Marx, speaks in a softly lulling voice that puts me under within 15 minutes' time.

Parking is iffy, and I am often rudely awakened with a nudge of "the wife"'s elbow and asked for my input. I personally am no survivor of fire--I stood within 300 feet of the blaze, in my bathrobe and house slippers, but that, to me, does not comprise "survival."

Were there a group entitled "Observers of Fire," I might more boldly partake of the twice-weekly event. It seems helpful for Dorrie, as she seems very upset at the demise of the Diner. Perhaps I take the events too much in stride, as a panelologist.

We "men of the page" are accustomed to the dashing of dreams. That lone issue that would complete a run remains just out of reach; one cup of water, coffee or cola can destroy a prized periodical in a second's time; if abused in their first years of life, these comic magazines are slowly dying, browning and flaking away before our eyes. We are, thus, more incliged to "wax philosophical" about loss and tragedy.

The world gives... and it also takes away. But it does keep giving. As a result of the fire, we will  be able to take a vacation to Lake Tahoe. There, Dorrie will sunbathe, dip herself in the chilling waters of the great deep Lake, and play volleyball with complete strangers. I will relax in air-conditioned splendor, as I continue my ongoing research for my magnum "opus."

As well, I have been alloted 3,000 dollars in "madness money," to invest in more vintage comic magazines. I plan to purchase replacement copies and condition upgrades of several key issues in the New Pantheon.

It just happens that a comic-book convention will be held near Lake Tahoe, on the weekend of the eight-day stay we have booked. I hope to acquire some of these gems in-person. I am accustomed to ebAy, and find it a suitable conduit for new purchases. Still, nothing can replace the thrill of a first-hand "find." The sudden sight of its bright colors, its alluring protective sheath, the shock of its hand-lettered price tag,and the resultant "dickering" with its vendor, are all near and dear to my heart and soul.

While revisiting some of my early "Fanzine" efforts of the 1960s, I encountered this poem I wrote, at age 19. Its sentiments are as true to me now as they were in 1970, when I first penned it. (At the bottom of the page is the end of the last interview with , who was an inker of Western comic magazines in his final days.)

I fully intend to comtinue this blog, and after our return from Lake Tahoe, I shall no doubt have much news to report. For one thing, we've entrusted the household to "Sparks" for the duration of our vacation. I trust this structure will still be standing upon our return!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

"The Black Orchid"-- and the stunning story of its creators, Albert and Florence Magarian, from the enigmatic Tops Comic Book


Greetings and salutations! I seem doomed to begin these "posts" with an apology for my protracted absence. However, this time it is kustified.

I have been recovering from my "nasty spill" of late last year, while also working with efreveish intensity on my masterwork royale: The Golden Art of The Era Panelologic: 1937-1942. My original estimate of a trifling 1,000 pages now seems too modest. Indeed, this tome may well encompass 5,000 pages of fact, history and great comic book work from these six most golden years.

I trawl through a lifetime of research, interviews, doscuments and other facts to achieve this goal. It is my hope that this long-overdue book shall be taught in universities and other institutes of higher learning, and live long past my brief stay on this "mortal coil."

I am oft made keenly aware of material that falls beyond the scope of my "tome," but which still intrigues me, as it contains the essence of the art panelologic. Great works succeeded the "golden six" years of my book. Thus, I feel an urgency to share it here, while "the iron" is "hot."

In 1979, I acquired a most unusual comic book publication. So unique is its format that I had, indeed, forgotten I had it! It was stored, page by page, in a series of archival rice-paper envelopes, tucked in the middle of box W-3.

This book is the stuff of which dreams are made. There is a bit of intriguing history behind its publisher. The humbly named Consolidated Book Publishers were what one might wisely call a "journeyman press."

Their presses rolled night and day, printing everything from newspapers to banners to coloring books to restaurant menus. Their Apex Laminaster 2200 gave them the "edge" to succeed in printing any documents that needed protection, via a laminated cover.

By 1943, the comic book boom was duly noted by even the least likely sources. Due to "the war," comic magazines were the preferred reqding matter of our boys overseas. In their shell-shocked state, great work sof literature were beyond the grasp of "our fighting forces." Whereas, the immediacy, impact and power of the panelological page spoke directly to their needs and hopes.

Thus, Consolidated hoped to join the comic-book boom. It was seen as "the right thing to do," and a patriotic gesture of solidarity towards "our boys."

In-between a large run of laminated menus for a railroad line, they attempted to publish their first, fledgling effort in the comic magazine realm: Tops Comics. At a bonus 128-page size, the brick-like booklet would be shipped overseas and dropped, by parachute, into the theater of Pacific war. Copies, of course, would be sold "state-side" at news stands, but the idea was to give "the boys" a solid selection of thrills and laughs--the latter served up with a ream of "little moron jokes" and the detective spoof of "Dikky Dinkerton."

Due to a misunderstanding of the press operator, the entire run of Tops Comics was accidentally printed on laminated menu paper. Thus, one 128-page issue weighed some 14 pounds, and had a girth of nearly one foot! This was deemed unwise to ship overseas (altho' its laminate would have aptly protected it from the humidity and grime of the Padific Theater).

To make the matter worse, after the loss of revenue in waste from this printing mishap, newsdealers refused to carry the bulky, slippery product. One bundled "issue" broke loose in a Minneapolis hotel on a rainy afternoon. Its loose, laminated pages caused 11 slipping accidents, including one severe head trauma.

The resultant bad publicity ("Mother, 32, Whacks Noggin in Minn Hotel--Blames So-Called 'Comic Magazine' For Fall," read one national headline) temporarily derailed Consolidated Book Publishers. The pages languished in a dank warehouse until 1979, when Kurt Bolton discovered them and first distributed them to interested "fans." I was among the first to receive this parcel of musty, yellowing-but-cleanable comics history.

I pried one page apart, out of curiosity, and found that a perfectly-preserved printed page awaited beneath. I eventually separated all 128 pages from their time-worn plastic prisons. Since then, they have remained in their special envelopes, safe from sunlight or other damanging agents--and, until late last night, from my memory!

Most intriguing of the features accidentally printed on crisp cardstock, in a variety of color options, is "the Black Orchid," the creation of one of the most unique family teams in comicdom-- Albert and Florence Magarian. I shall tell their astounding tale after you have immersed yourself in the uniquely doom-laden, tense world of "The Black Orchid!"

Stunned, eh? I know well the feeling. Now, onto the matter of the creative team behind these stories. One would assume, from the credit of Albert and Florence Magarian, that these creators were husband and wife--rather like the Berenstain family of those charming children's books. Brace yourself for one of the weirdest stories in panelology.

Albert and Florence Magarian were Siamese twins!

According to this website, Siamese twins tend to be of the same gender. Given the endless quirks and quadrants of our DNA, it's no wonder that this roll of the genetic dice rendered a boy/girl co-joined birth. Albert and Florence were born in 1919 in the Bronx. From infancy, both children demonstrated an artistic bent. As one family story recounts, their uncle Farrell witnessed the tots each absorbed in a different creative action. While Albert doodled on the living room wall with a grease crayon, Margaret strained to play the keys of the family's out-of-tune spinet piano.

Due to a public outcry against Siamese twins in the 1920s, the Magarians were home-schooled, and seldom, if ever, left their home. In isolation, the brother and sister both turned to drawing. Each excelled in a different area. Margaret, the twin on the left (if viewing from their point of view) was a gifted draftswoman, with a sensitivity to contour and dimension. Albert, on the right, excelled at painting and fine-lined rendering.

If ever a team was literally born to create comic book material, it was the Magarians!

From 1939 to 1967, Albert and Florence Magarian created some 11,000 pages of comic book story and art. They fearlessly embraced all genres, and astounded editors with their elegant work--and, most impressively, with the speed in which they delivered finished stories.

Given an assignment by messenger, a script could be "turned about" in a matter of hours (if it were, say, a teenage humor piece) or days (if a more complex Western, war or historial tale).

The Magarians never met any of their employers. Their communication was by telegram and telephone. Farrell Safkarian, the afore-mentioned uncle, was interviwed by myself in 1981, and offered these revealing glimpses into a truly hidden life:

FS: They never left that two-bedroom apartment. Maybe once, in '52, when Albert had to have a root canal. The headaches got to them both, you see.

MM: Did you ever see them at work?

FS: (laughs) When DIDN'T they work? Night and day, they was at that [drawing] board. She sketched in the figures, you see, with her left hand. Albert had the pen and brush ready. He'd be finishing a drawing while she was still sketching it!

MM: Twas true teamwork, then.

FS: It had to be. They were like a married couple. Got on one another's nerves all the time. Albert smoked cigars. Margaret hated the smell. And she had a habit of humming the same tune, over and over, for hours at a time. Boy, would they yell! And fuss! The walls were splattered with ink, from Albert throwin' the bottles at Margaret. Only he could never hit her. She was too close. But those walls, boy. You could smell india Ink the minute you walked in there.

MM: Did you see them often?

FS: I was their errand boy! Got them groceries, went to the publisher's offices and got scripts. That was before they started to write their own stuff. And, of course, I took the big boards in for 'em.

MM: Boards?

FS: The pictures. They did 'em on these big papers. Looked like boards to me. All wrapped up. I don't know who wrapped 'em. But they were always wrapped in butcher paper and tied with twine. Really neat knots.

MM: What else did you do for them?

FS: Changed the radio stations. Albert loved the dramatic programs. I also went to see movies for 'em.

MM: Indeed?

FS: I'd see the picture, memorize the story, and tell 'em about it. I guess they wanted ideas for their comic books.

MM: What did you think of their work?

FS: (laughs) Aw, it was just for kids. I never looked at it. Was always surprised how well they got paid to do that stuff.

MM: Well, sir, there are many who declare this 'kid stuff' to be the thing of artistry.

FS: (laughs) There's one born every minute...

MM: Did Albert and Florence ever meet with their publishers?

FS: Nope. Never left that flat. They were afraid that if the world knew about 'em, bein' joined at the hip, that they'd lose their jobs. They spent their entire life in that apartment. Come spring and summer, I'd move their table by the window. When it got cold, we set it up near the radiator.

Albert was a sleepwalker...

MM: You don't say!

FS: I just did. He'd get up at night, walk around the rooms, out like a light. Margaret got used to it. She had me get her one of those miner's hats--you know, with the light on the top. At least she could read while Albert did his business. Then he'd get right back into bed like nothing happened. (laughs)

They were something else!

Indeed, their uncle's summation still proves apt. Albert and Florence Magarian, though they lived behind a curtain of shame, and distanced themselves from society, ironically helped influence the tastes of that tempting outside world. How they must have longed to join the throngs on the street beneath their window! How alluring must those gentle spring zephyrs have been! Yet they never dared expose themselves to the world.

Yet they did bear their souls through the medium of panelology. And for this, we remain ever thankful.

I am sorry not to have on offer any musings from my own personal life in this edition of the "bolg." My main priority is to present these forgotten works of the art panelologic. Perhaps I might best pursue a second "blog," strictly devoted to a diary of my daily comigs and goings. What think you?

Until next time, my comrades of the comic magazine!