Tuesday, May 31, 2005


Though I am not a big fan of working without pay, sometimes interning is a pretty good thing. I had to train an intern today to help me with my ad sales. He will be working for us throughout the Summer. Though it seemed overwhelming to him at first, I think he will work out in the long run. I needed him to do write ups for the various advertisers that run with me at the newspaper I work at. I think that he will work out fine.


Monday, May 30, 2005

Horror and Sci-Fi Movies I Like

Although this is not a complete list, here are some of the horror and science fiction films that I like. All well worth checking out:

Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein
The Blob
Bride of Frankenstein
Clash of the Titans
Creature From the Black Lagoon
The Day the Earth Stood Still
Destination Moon
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Ed Wood
The Fly
Forbidden Planet
Galaxy Quest
Hardware Wars
House of Wax
House on Haunted Hill
In Search of the Castaways
Invasion of the Body Snatchers
The Invisible Man
Jason and the Argonauts
Journey to the Center of the Earth
King Kong
Mars Attacks
Munster Go Home
Mystery Men
Phantom of the Opera
Planet of the Apes
Spy Kids
Star Trek
Star Wars
Thief of Bagdad
The Thing from Another World
This Island Earth
The Tingler
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
The Wolfman
War of the Worlds
What Planet are you From?
When Worlds Collide
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
The Wizard of Oz
Young Frankenstein

Have fun!


Saturday, May 28, 2005

More Death and Baycon

I mentioned earlier in the week on previous blogs that Thurl Ravenscroft and Howard Morris died. Now you can add Henry Cordon (the 2nd Fred Flintstone), Frank Gorshin (The Riddler) and Eddie Albert (Green Acres) to that list. So many of my favorite childhood heroes passing away all at the same time. In regards to Henry Cordon, that only leaves John Stephenson (Mr. Slate) as the sole survivor of any of the major voices on the show. I think Gerry Johnson (the 2nd Betty) may be still alive, also.

Also, as I mention in the title of this blog, Baycon Science Fiction Convention is going on in San Jose at the Doubletree Inn through Monday.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Memorial Day

Well, it is going to be Memorial Day weekend this weekend. For me and my family, it has no real significance at all since nobody for generations has ever gone to battle or war for this country in my direct ancestry line. I can't say that I am a pacifist, but I don't understand the concept of war. I guess if you don't have anything, you tend to lash out to get what you want. But what about a country like ours which has everything?

I have never been a fan of war and have always felt that the last "real" war was World War II. Someone reading this may object to my opinions but regardless of what happened on 9/11/01, we should not be at war now. We should have captured those at fault and be done with it.

Oh well. We seem to worry a lot about stem cells and women with feeding tubes dying than people dying in Iraq, both sides included. If we really cared about people getting killed, we'd come home from all battle situations, and there would be no more need for "Memorial Day".


Thursday, May 26, 2005

Thurl, Part 2

A lot of people ask me, "Why don't you be a writer full time?" Well, what happened today is a good example. I mentioned in a previous blog that I may have conducted the last interview with Thurl Ravenscroft on May 29, 2004 before he passed away a few days ago. The interview was set to run in "Hogan's Alley" #13, being published as we speak, but was pulled at the last moment for space considerations and now is scheduled for #14.

Since writers are usually paid upon publication, it would put a severe cramp in my pocketbook if I didn't have a regular, full-time job to support me. And overall, freelance projects have been slow due to our lackluster economy.

Anyway, on the positive side, "Hogan's Alley" and most of the publications that have published me like my work and regularly ask for more. So good things are happening.


Wednesday, May 25, 2005


I work as an ad rep at a local newspaper in my day job. It's a decent living, but I do aspire to be a writer, filmmaker or artist someday and use the position really to make ends meet. Ah, such is the life of the starving artist. Not much new to report today. I just felt like using my blog to vent out some frustration without incriminating me and my position, since it is frustrating at times to do what I do in order to achieve my more lofty goals.

They always say, "Do what you love, the money will follow." Yeah, the money will follow after you stop doing what you love and finally buckle down to making some money. Oh well.

A more upbeat blog should follow tomorrow...or maybe not...

Take care y'all and keep shopping at Mark's Rare Comics and my other websites so I can achieve my goals!


Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Thurl Ravenscroft and Howard Morris

I just received word this morning from "Good Morning America" that Thurl Ravenscroft is dead at 91 of prostate cancer. Now, what's more significant than that he was the voice of Tony the Tiger and sang "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" for "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and "Grim Grinning Ghosts" for the Haunted Mansion ride, is that I may have conducted the very last interview with him that is scheduled to be published in the next "Hogan's Alley" magazine. The interview took place on May 29, 2004.

Also, Howard Morris died at age 85. He was a semi-regular on "The Andy Griffith Show", a regular on "Your Show of Shows" and did the voice of Jughead for the various "Archie" cartoon shows that aired in the 60s and 70s.

Nothing more to report at this moment, but it is a sad day in Toontown again.


Monday, May 23, 2005

Comic Convention Stuff

At the Golden Gate Comic Convention in Oakland yesterday, I met up again with Scott Shaw! (well-known Hanna-Barbera artist among other things). I saw some really cool (as usual) titles that he purchased including "Marge's Blythe", a one-shot comic done by none other than Marge of "Marge's Little Lulu" fame. I guess that this was her attempt at a follow-up character. It was issued in 1960 and was part of the "Four Color" series for Dell.

There were quite a few other goodies in his stack including some "Dennis the Menaces" and a nice copy of "Jackie's Diary". I, myself was no so fortunate. I saw quite a few Harveys, but since I am some 500 issues away from a complete set, finding issues that I don't have is getting quite difficult. I saw plenty of "Richie Rich" comics, but I own all those. Mainly I am looking for missing issues featuring Baby Huey, Casper, Hot Stuff, Little Audrey, Little Dot, Little Lotta, Sad Sack, Spooky and Wendy that I don't already own. Check out "Mark's Rare Comics" website for a complete list of what I am looking for. I am willing to trade!

Anyway, I had a good time and hopefully next time I will find more Harveys. I did purchase six I needed, however...


Friday, May 20, 2005

Geek & Nerd Alert!

You can make your own Jedi Robe with these online patterns and instructions. Also check out pictures of the Jedi robes in use.

Thursday, May 19, 2005


Car accidents are weird things. While waiting at a red light on Monday, this 95-year-old guy decides to go into the turn lane, but misjudges so badly that he scrapes my car all over the rear left bumper and fender area. (I say "area" since there really aren't bumpers or fenders on cars anymore.)

So I call the insurance company and everything is taken care of including a rental car at no charge to me. I guess that's the purpose of insurance, but they always try to "gouge" you for a little more money. They do it by offering that $9 a day insurance on the rental and take a $200 deposit on your car, etc, etc. There's no need to do that. It turns out that I didn't have $200 available on my card, so they waived it! Well, if they could waive it so easily, why do it? Do they need that much protection on cars that they as a rental place get for free?

Then the body shop gave me an estimate on the damages to my car. He quoted me $1200. I thought, "So?". I mean I really didn't care. If the insurance company was paying for the whole thing, I really didn't give a hang if the repair was 50 cents or 5 million dollars! I'm not paying it, so why tell me? Am I really supposed to be grateful that "Whew, I'm glad I didn't have to pay that $1200?" Well, I did pay for it, over the last five years since I last made a claim. And this time it wasn't my fault, so charge away. I should have said just for kicks, "$1200, is that all? Surely, you could have gouged the insurance company double or triple that and justified it with "labor" costs."

It is all so artificial what we charge for things. If you really charged correctly for the body work, I doubt most car repairs would be above $50, parts and labor included. But the fact that we are at the mercy of someone else when our car is damaged, they jack up the price.

It's the same for all insurance, especially health care. I bet most pills cost about 50 cents or less, but the fact that in some cases it is life or death whether you have that pill or not, they can justify charging hundreds or thousands of dollars.


Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Tony's Online Tips for Friday, May 20, 2005

Thanks for the review by Tony Isabella
Tony's Online Tips


Editor and publisher Mark Arnold has published another great issue of THE
HARVEYVILLE FUN TIMES [Summer, 2005; $4.50]. This one focuses on the
Hostess ads which featured Casper and other Harvey Comics characters. This
first chapter of the ongoing series gives a brief background on the
advertising campaign so familiar to the comics readers of the 1970s and
reprints the first 32 of the Harvey ads. Man, was I craving a delicious
fruit pie or tasty Twinkie by the time I finished reading this feature.

There's other good stuff in the issue as well. Arnold reports the latest
Harvey Comics and related comics news. Chris Barat pays tribute to the
late Daniel Branca, one of the all-time great Disney artists from Europe. The issue concludes with Harvey cartoonist bios from the 1996 National Cartoonist Society Album. I'm amazed at how much Arnold got into his 32 pages.

THE HARVEYVILLE FUN TIMES earns an impressive four out of five Tonys. You can find subscription information for the magazine and even order issues via PayPal by going to:


At the site, you'll also find information on characters from Baby Huey to
Wendy the Good Little Witch, Arnold's own comics, and much more. It's
definitely worth a visit.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Brad Bird at the Computer History Museum

Brad Bird 1Animation film director and writer Brad Bird appeared at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA last night. I had the privelege of speaking with him for a few moments and took a photo and got him to autograph my DVD's of "The Incredibles" and "The Iron Giant". He said what I have said all along that story
is much more important than special effects in that he has seen some beautifully animated films with no story and some poorly animated films with a great story and would choose a great story over a lousy one anytime regardless of how a film

Brad Bird 2He said that "The Iron Giant" could have been at least half as successful as "The Incredibles" if they put a good marketing push behind it, and that now it is discovering a new life on home video. I wish they would re-release it to theaters. It's certainly better than half the garbage out right now.

I snapped the two photos last night as Brad was signing. Click on the pictures for a larger image.


Monday, May 16, 2005

Harvey Comics on CD-Rom

Shameless Plug Dept.

All of you Harvey fans, if you would like your very own copy (on CD-Rom) of the first issues of some of your favorite Harvey characters, why not purchase a CD-Rom from us at Mark's Rare Comics. There are many titles to choose from including "Casper" #1 from 1949, "Richie Rich" #1 from 1960 and "Little Dot" #1 from 1953. Many of these stories have never been reprinted and never in their original form with the advertising included.

Some of these comics can cost you upwards to $2000! Now, you have them at only a fraction of the cost. Check out Mark's Rare Comics or The Harveyville Fun Times! websites at the left for more details.


Thursday, May 12, 2005

So You Think Old Comics Are Expensive

Molecular Brain Research magazineCollecting comic books doesn't appear to be so expensive when compared to subscribing to Molecular Brain Research magazine. You can get your own personal annual subscription to Brain Research today for only $23,177.83 (that's only $176.93/issue!). Impress your friends with the latest copy of Molecular Brain Research on your coffee table.

My Movie

Well, I lost again. Boo hoo... I entered a local film festival called Cinecats
with my film called "Blow Job". Now I know what you're thinking...with a title
like that no wonder. So I realized this and entered the film under a new name
"Downsizing". It didn't help.

The judges didn't give their reasons as to why they didn't select the film, but
it might have had something to do with this title. Oh well. Life goes on. It's
still a pretty funny little film at 2 1/2 minutes long, and I'm not just saying
that because I worked on it. I'm saying it because of the reactions people have
given while watching it.

Anyway, if anyone would like to see it, drop me a line at thft@att.net and we
can make arrangements to get you a copy. Send me $5.00 via Paypal and I'll send
it to you on a CD-Rom disc.


Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Golden State Comic Con

I don't know if anyone remembers, but Wondercon before it was run by Comic Con International (a.k.a. The San Diego Comic Convention) used to be held annually every year at the Oakland Convention Center in Oakland, CA. Since that time, Wondercon has moved to San Francisco at Moscone Center, leaving a gaping hole in the Oakland Convention Center schedule. This problem has been rectified this year with the first of hopefully many Golden State Comic Conventions to be held the weekend of May 21-22.

They have quite a few guests lined up including Scott Shaw!, Warwick Davis, Trina Robbins, Bill Morrison, Erik Larson and many more. I will be in attendance if you would like to say "hi". Usually I wear my "Harveyville Fun Times!" T-shirt. The convention is from 10-6 on Saturday and 10-5 on Sunday and is $10 for 1 day or $15 for both days.

End of shameless plug.

I was not paid to promote this...



Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Use Your Library

In the midst of everyone complaining that they're losing revenue on such items such as movies and music, I suggest putting your local library to good use. Your tax money pays for it, and you get a chance to watch a movie or listen to a CD of an artists that you may otherwise not purchase.

Artists always complain that if you do this you are not giving money to those who rightfully have earned it, but I see it this way. I usually am checking out a movie or listening to a CD that I would normally not buy anyway, so how am I cheating anyone? Then the next time that artist releases something new, I may actually purchase their product, because I had a chance this time to preview for free (well, technically not for free, my taxes do pay for it.)

So forget Netflix or Blockbuster or Hollywood Video, and put your local library to good use. That's what it is there for.


Sunday, May 08, 2005

Little Lulu, Peanuts and Dennis the Menace

Hooray for Dark Horse Comics! They have just issued their third collection of "Little Lulu" reprints called "My Dinner With Lulu". This collection should have been the first as it reprints the oldest comic book adventures which originally appeared in Dell Comics' Four Color Series. Oh well, better late than never.

I hope that Dark Horse's plan is to reprint every new story of Lulu through 1984. This may take a while, but I know that many issues originally featured reprints, so the possibility is too cumbersome.

Another series that is well worth following is "The Complete Peanuts" series from Fantagraphics. The latest volume (#3) covers the years 1955-1956. The plan is to release each two-year volume over a 12 year period, with the last volume (#25) covering 1999-2000 to be released in early 2016!

The success of this is being followed by "The Complete Dennis the Menace" with volume one covering 1951-1952 coming soon, also from Fantagraphics.

All of these are definitely worth purchasing as they are very smartly packaged and annotated, especially the "Peanuts" series which has notes explaining some missing panels of certain strips.

All of these books are available through Mark's Rare Comics.


Personal Tank--Get Yours Today!

JL421 BadonkadonkFor do-it-yourselfers that are concerned about terrorism you can now buy a personal tank online. The JL421 Badonkadonk is a completely unique, extremely rare land vehicle and battle tank available for only $19,999.95. You can even transport cargo or a crew of five internally or on the roof of the Donk. Amenities include a 400 watt premium sound system, head and tail lights, turn signal lights, trim lighting, underbody lighting, fixed slats protecting the windows, and a unique industrial-strength rubberized flexible skirt that shields and protects the wheels to within an inch of the ground, while still allowing for enough flex to give clearance over bumpy and uneven terrain. Click Here to buy yours today!

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Free Comic Book Day

I am writing this very quickly today as I have to get out to "Free Comic Book Day"! If you don't know about this annual comic book "holiday", it is a chance to check out comic books completely for free without any obligation. I know that there are at least a half dozen titles to choose from including a "Simpsons" comic, an "Uncle Scrooge", a "Betty and Veronica" and a "Star Wars" title. Of course, there is much more, and you can BUY comic books too! What a novel idea! If you don't have a comic book store near you, or are unsure of where one is, call 1-888-COMIC-BOOK to find one near you...

Friday, May 06, 2005


So Disneyland is starting festivities for its 50th Anniversary. About time, too. I went to Disneyland in March and they kept saying May 5th, May 5th, May 5th. I think they missed the mark by not starting with their 50th celebration on Jan. 1 of this year. Oh well, better late than never. I know they wanted to start on a day so that the calendar would read 05-05-05, but so what, it's not Disneyland 5th Anniversary!

So, if anyone is going in the next few months, let me know how it is, especially if you are going on July 17, the actual anniversary of the opening day of the park. I hear that Fess Parker and Art Linkletter will be in attendance on that day...

This is Mark Arnold signing off. Talk to you soon with another blog. Everybody loves blog...


Protecto Syndicated

Protecto, The Little Robot weekly comic by Mark Arnold is now available via RSS feed (Protecto Atom Feed).

Click Here to go to the new home page for Protecto, including archives.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Comic Book Reviews

One of the projects that I work on regularly is one of comic book reviews for Comicbase. It's quite a challenging undertaking as I get 15 different comic books each month. Most of them I like, but some I don't and that's more difficult because I have to say something positive about each book I read. The best part is that I get exposed to comic books that I wouldn't normally read.

Anyway, if you are interested in purchasing the latest edition of Comicbase, click through on my Fun Ideas website, find the link in the list of the many projects and you can order it there.

A must purchase for any serious comic book fan!


Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Shopping Statistics

"When it comes to online shoppers, conventional wisdom has long been divided. Some have argued that the instant nature of shopping from home over the Internet leads to quick purchases while others have contended that easy price comparisons on the Web allow buyers to do more research first. For now, it looks like the latter camp is closer to the truth. According to a press release by ScanAlert, online shoppers are more frugal than many retailers previously thought. According to their testing, 35% take more than 12 hours to make a purchase, 21% take more than three days, and 14% take more than a week. On the average, online shoppers take 19 hours to make a purchase after the initial visit. This has some important marketing ramifications according to ScanAlert CEO Ken Leonard. "The implication to merchants is that the shopping cart is not just a convenience factor. It must be a comfort zone to shoppers. These results were not expected." In the press release, Leonard advised online sellers that "consumers abandon shopping carts with an ease that frustrates and often confuses online retailers. Retailers must understand, however, that almost half of all online purchases are from shoppers who leave a site after the first visit, and return -- even days later -- to buy.""

Moral: Don't be a statistic, shop and buy today on Mark's Rare Comics, So Rare and Food Shop located to the left of this blog.

Have a good day!


Sunday, May 01, 2005

Paramount's Great America Critique

Well, I didn't go to Great America after all. My friend Dane, who had the tickets said, "Well, we can get food until 2pm". I looked at the clock when he called and it was 1:42. I said, "Dane, even if I sped I wouldn't get there on time!" So we didn't go. No great loss. Paramount's Great America is about as dull as it gets, unless you have never been there. They add one
new ride per year, and it is usually a roller-coaster variation on something that they added last year. Not that I'm against roller coasters, it's just that the sameness of it all bores me.

Great America opened in Santa Clara, CA in 1976 as Marriott's Great America. At the time, it had a Bicentennial theme with the Warner Bros. cartoon characters walking around. Bugs Bunny was dressed in an "Uncle Sam" stars-and-stripes-type outfit and generally the park showed great promise. (There was also a sister Marriott's Great America that opened in Gurnee,
IL, but for the purposes of this conversation, I will stick to the Santa Clara one.)

Right away there were certain issues that made Disneyland look better. First of all, Great America had no central "hub" like Disneyland. In other words. Disneyland is laid out so that you walk in to Main Street up to the center of the park. From there you can go to Adventureland, Frontierland, Fantasyland or Tomorrowland depending on which direction you walk. Very
convenient. And say if you wanted to get to Frontierland in a hurry, you could cross through the hub instead of going through Fantasyland to get there.

Great America had no such layout, and after the first year they solidified this donut-shaped layout by adding the Tidal Wave ride in the exact centerof the park to prevent shortcut crossover to the other side of the park.

Another annoying tradition, though not evident in its first year was the addition of exactly one new attraction each year, which was invariably another roller coaster, as mentioned before. The additions of these rides eventually had to go somewhere, so more family-friendly rides were
discarded in favor of too many thrill rides. As a consequence, Great America became a hangout for gangs instead of families.

As Great America only was open for approximately six months each year, and faced with these gangs and expensive maintenance of the newer rides, coupled with the fact that at least one person died on one of the rides, the park eventually started losing money. Marriott sold the park to the city of Santa Clara, which was a very unique solution at the time in the 80s. (A side note: Even though the park was titled Marriott's Great America or after the sale, just Great America, to this day many people still refer to the park as "Marriott's" as in "Let's go to Marriott's this weekend". This continues until now, even when the park is officially known as
Paramount's Great America.)

When the city took over, the park was open year round, but nothing else different had changed, except Bugs Bunny and pals got the boot in favor of the Hanna-Barbera characters. After the city lost money on this for a few years, they finally sold the park to Paramount Pictures, which changed the theming somewhat to showcase their movies, but for the most part it was and
still is kind of a mess. Hanna-Barbera characters and merchandise still are in the park, even though Time/Warner owns those characters, and the only true "Paramount" addition is when a Klingon or two strolls through, but these have all been pushed aside for Spongebob Squarepants and the like as Viacom now owns both Paramount and Nickelodeon.

I myself, being a Harvey Comics fan, would find it very amusing if Paramount went back to their roots and had Casper, Little Audrey, Herman & Katnip, and even Popeye, Superman and Betty Boop walking around their park as they produced cartoons with all of those characters over the years and even owned some of them in the past. Or, you could have Hope & Crosby or
Martin & Lewis lookalikes, or even WC Fields, as all of them had lengthy Paramount contracts in the past.

So, as Great America approaches its 30th year in March 2006, I can dream but the park itself makes me sleep...