Sunday, 1 December 2019

The Basin Fire Starter Fire Fighter.

Fire Fighter / Fire Starter

Summer is fast approaching , the heat is upon us and of course preparation by the CFA for another fire season is well underway.
In our modern era, we are better prepared with more sophisticated technology and resources to fight fires, but there is always the threat that Mother Nature will outsmart us all.
Since the founding of Melbourne the Dandenongs have always been a place of respite in the hot Summers and as long back as the 1860s, it rivalled Sorrento and Portsea as a getaway destination for the affluent, escaping the crowds, heat and smells of an ever expanding Melbourne booming from the gold rush.
These days there is little trace on the mountain of the grand mansions that stood proudly in their opulence and finery. Names like Doongalla and Ferndale are legendary not just for their beauty but their famous owners. Names like the McKinnons and Griffiths. Pioneers in Industry and sport. Both these fine properties were lost to bush fires.
Victorians learnt very early to respect the fire dangers of the Southern Summer.
Respect of the land and bush fires were quickly inbred into the local populace and the Basin as a township had a Community ready to support each other in times of crises. Though up and running in one form or another the Basin officially formed its own Fire Brigade in 1926.
So imagine how bad it must have been to find one of your own had been responsible for deliberately lighting fires.
Newspaper reports fromMarch 1938 report that a Henry Frank Grumont (more commonly known as Frank Junior, son of respected community member Frank Grumont Senior) a young man of 21 was convicted at Ferntree Gully Courthouse of lighting three fires in different locations between the 20th  and the 23rd of February the same year, using a rudimentary incendiary device. For one of these fires he even raised the alarm to put it out. Grumont was also present at two of the fires to help fight them.
The devices were perforated tin cans that were placed over a short candle to prevent them extinguishing and that when they burned down would ignite the surrounding dry grass. A time bomb in its most basic form. Two days later Captain of the Basin Fire brigade Bert Chandler found several of the perforated tins whilst inspecting the burnt-out areas.
Grumont’s crime was discovered by some early CIS and smart detective work –acting on Chandler’s information- by First Constable Sage out of Bayswater when he visited Grumont’s house and finding two short candles. Though Grumont denied any implication he was arrested where he eventually admitted to Senior Detective Lyons the deed after being shown the cans and a piece of candle with his thumbnail on it and was charged.
His reasons for lighting the fires was to clear scrub – mind you, it was a 35-degree day with hot northerly winds - he then admitted it was to get even with some people who “had a set upon him” A phrase I’m not familiar with or its context. These words were repeated in many publications so I assumed it does not mean  people set upon him, as in beat him up.
Though the potential for Grumont’s crime was catastrophic, his punishment was lean.
The Brigade Captain Chandler though discovering important evidence implicating him, spoke of Grumont as one of the finest firefighters in the district, He then said he would hire Grumont and watch over him as the believed this lapse was due to the drink. This obviously held sway with the Magistrate and  Grumont was sentenced to six months jail which was suspended on a 50 pound bond for good behaviour for two years. Mr Chandelor even acted as bondsman.
In Rick Coxhill’s History of the Basin, he makes a very brief mention of the event and I quote “ The 1930s were bad years for fires, mainly because an arsonist was very active in the area and this continued until an arrest was made in 1938.”
This statement is not expanded on but it does imply that the person arrested may have been responsible for more than one fire.
Grumont's actions were dangerous at best and given his history was well aware of the consequences. Just three months earlier in November 1937, 150 houses were threatened in an outbreak, foreshadowing a bad summer fire season. His was even quoted in anARGUS news article about his concerns for the oncoming season. Grumont’s court appearance appeared in newspapers all over the country such was the interest in the outcome.
I believe there must be more to this story, information at hand would have suggested a harsher punishment, there may be more in the back story. As for Frank Grumont junior, he married that same year and moved out to Croydon and eventually Altona. In 1962 bush fires took the place he grew up in and where his mother still lived. Ferndale.
I’d be interested if anyone else has information on this subject.

The Argus 4-3-38 page 3 & 28-11-1938
BurnieAdvocate 5-3-1938 Page 7
The Age 5-3-1938 Page 22
The WestAustralian 15-3-1938
The Adelaide Advertiser 5-3-1938 page 23
The Townsville Daily 7-3-1938 page 3
The Herald (Melb) 4-3-1938 Page 3
The Weekly Times 12-3-1938
History of the Basin Rick Coxhill

Friday, 1 November 2019

What’s with LEGO?

What’s with LEGO?

The "project"
My experience with Lego is probably the same as most adults. It was a thing we bought our kids thinking they were old enough to build something that they were having a passing obsession with, then we ended up building the whole kit because the kids really weren’t that old enough to follow the instructions or have the attention span/patience to see the build through to the end.
Then a few weeks later it would be in a million pieces again and we as parents would find every piece by stepping on it in bare feet at any given time of the day in any given room. Basically, you repeat this with several kits until it all ends up under the bed in a big plastic container all mixed together with all the instructions missing with a stray piece escaping to remind us that Lego is instinctively made by evil Scandinavian monsters (probably the same ones behind IKEA kit furniture) to punish us.
I haven’t had to worry about Lego and its attraction to the soles of my feet for quite a while now that the kids are all grown and moved away, but recently, due to an art project I had to collect a certain amount of different coloured bricks to construct a model, then complete it with printed instructions and box. It was then going to be a gift for a long time associate.
There was no way I was going to ask any of my children if they still had their containers of Lego, let alone dredge through said boxes looking for the 184 pieces needed to commence my project. Lucky for me there is a shop in Bayswater Toy Bricks that sells deconstructed kits that have been sorted by colour into trays that you can sort through yourself. While this sounds easy, allow yourself some time and powerful glasses because all lego bricks come in a million different styles and the black ones all seem to melt together after five minutes of searching. Anyhow, after a long search I was 14 specific bricks short. This wasn’t the shop’s fault or my bad eyes, apparently people come in all the time and plunder these trays and I may have come in on a wrong day. I asked the lady behind the counter if by chance they sold individual bricks, which they did but only the more popular styles and the ones I needed didn’t fit that category. However, she said, it was my lucky day. On the following Sunday, next to the Council offices in Bayswater, the Senor Citizens Centre was the venue for A Toy Brick Market where there would at least 200,000 loose Lego pieces available. If what I wanted wasn’t there, it didn’t exist. This was great news because I was on a timeline to finish my project, the only downside was it was only between 9.00 am and Noon. Those hours are ok any other day of the week, but Sunday?
sunday 9.10Am Bayseter
That Sunday, being committed to the project, I rejected any notion of a sleep-in and a late breakfast and set off to find the elusive missing pieces of Lego. I gathered that I’d get there about 10 past 9 to allow the poor people setting up to drag their feet a bit and get the sleep out of their eyes. Pulling into the car park I couldn’t have been more mistaken. I was lucky that someone had already found their Holy Grail pieces and left the already full carpark as I drove in, I could feel the curses of the cars that had followed me in.  There were people everywhere. Mostly parents with children but still a great representation of the population in general. There was even a coffee van set up near the hall entrance to cater for those like me not familiar with this Sunday time zone. Or then again it could just be a Melbourne thing being the coffee consumption capital of the world.
In here there were treasures

On entering the hall I was amazed at the crowd this early in the morning and there had to be at least 150 bodies in there all digging through trays of coloured bricks and looking at second-hand kits in original boxes and other completely made models all vying for new owners. I gave the people at the door my gold coin donation as an entry fee and proceeded to sift through the trays with other people as desperate as me to find that one brick. There was none of this crazy, Boxing Day Sale pushing and shoving it was all politeness and order and within five minutes I had exactly what I was looking for and some extras just for good measure, then on the way out I bought a little Dr Who Dalek because it looked cool. At the checkout, there were a lot of happy people holding all manner of kits, models and plastic bags of Lego (at $5 for 100 grams, it’s a lot more and cheaper than
Everyone was looking for something important
you’d expect compared to a new set). There was a lot of money being spent and I got an indication of how really popular Lego is and it isn’t just for the kids. And mind you, this all before half-past nine on a Sunday morning. I had to remind myself at this as I passed more people coming in and cars followed me back to my parking spot.
As of writing this, my project is complete and I’m mailing it off next week hopefully making someone happy in the process. So, I discovered Lego is popular and more than I ever realised especially as a collectible for adults and I finally found a use for it rather than using it as an indicator of pain tolerance.

originally published in the BBCN Issue 282 October 2019

Wednesday, 2 October 2019

Mystik Spiral

A band from the cult favourite MTV show DARIA an animated TV series that was aired on MTV from March 3, 1997 to January 21, 2002

All of this info was shamelessly stolen from the Daria Wiki

Mystik Spiral is the band fronted and led by Trent Lane, Daria's friend Jane's brother. It is an alternative-rock grunge band, with elements of heavy metal: sources call it "post-alterna-grunge" or "trance punk". Most of their songs aim for screeds on the tortured human condition, to a ludicrous degree. They often introduce themselves as, "We're Mystik Spiral, but we're thinking of changing the name." Some of the alternate names have included "Helpful Corn" and "Something-Something Explosion". They also wondered aloud if it would help if they "spelled Mystik with 2 Ys". The roots of Mystik Spiral were planted when 12-year-old Trent Lane met musical soulmate Jesse Moreno at summer school (well, around the corner from summer school). These two young iconoclasts discovered that they shared a mutual love of rock and roll, water pistols, and gum. With acoustic guitars donated to the band by Mr.Vincent Lane (a big draw on the singer songwriter circuit of early-1970s Ann Arbor, Michigan -- see Daybreak Dreamin') the two boys began experimenting with unorthodox riffs and jarring, atonal juxtapositions. Eventually Mr. Lane clued them into the concept of tuning, and things took off from there. Performing for family and friends as 'Wax Lypps,' 'Indyan Burn,' and occasionally 'Boa Constryctyr,', the boys developed a repertoire of angst-driven power pop and Weird Al Yankovic covers. They decide to turn electric when they realized that it would be louder. In high school, they teamed up with drummer Max Tyler after he answered a notice placed in a local paper. Attracted by the pared-down, zen-like simplicity of the ad ('They charge by the word,' Trent notes), Max blew everyone away with his energy, drive, and ownership of a drum kit. The threesome played numerous basements throughout their teen years, developing their signature style of pioneering 'trance punk.' They changed their name to Mystik Spiral and immediately began reconsidering it. But the name stuck, since Jesse had already written it in metallic marker on his guitar case. The lineup became complete when the threesome spotted Nicholas Campbell hitchhiking along the side of the road in 1996, and the rest is history (including a five-hour wait for a tow truck when The Tank broke down a few yards later.) In the late 90's, Jesse briefly also appeared with the group Bats With Guns, which later splintered into Cats With Gats and Bats with Bats. Trent has worked on many solo projects over the years, including an unfinished tone poem inspired by the weather, a yet-to-be-completed opera about the life of actor Nick Nolte, and an idea for a sort of hybrid comic book/CD sampler that he'll get around to eventually. Nicholas and Max wish people would pay more attention to them. The band's "career" They are generally portrayed in a negative light - in their very first mention in "Road Worrier", Daria said the name sounded like a Doors tribute band and Jane laughed that they wish they were that good - and the few of their songs we get to hear are rubbish. Even Trent once said the songs in the second set were so lame, he'd leave the gig if he wasn't in the band ("Jane's Addition"). Despite all this, they keep getting gigs, both in Lawndale and elsewhere. They've performed at Brittany Taylor's birthday party, a kids party in Fremont, the Club Glamour Lounge near Ashfield, various dives across Carter County, and regularly in Lawndale at both McGrundy's Brew Pub and The Zon. Their website states "We are available for weddings, sweet sixteens, bar mitzvahs, acquittal parties, keggers. Not too early in the day, please... Cash, check, or barter accepted." A genre magazine named Smudge Magazine gave them a (ludicrously purple prosed) favourable review, calling them a "convincingly tormented quartet", while Muck & Rage gave them a bad review because the reviewer was a surly douche and thought Trent looked like the type of boy his ex-girlfriend liked. They had a website from 1999, fronted by Trent, where you could book them, join their fan club ("Make a stand against corporate rock (until we sign a record deal)"), and see their lyrics. Max set it up. It's very clear on the site that they need money badly. They have never released a CD. The IIFY Post-Movie Chat had Trent state they have a 15-track CD in the works "and we only have 14 left to go"; in 2001, their website said they needed to agree on the cover art and get the drum kit "out of hock". They have released a vinyl single of "Behind My Eyelids" (with B-side "Icebox Woman") under Plush Records (Daria Diaries) but on their website they admit many shops refuse to order it.

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

the Wombles

the Wombles

The Wombles are a British novelty pop group, featuring musicians dressed as the characters from children's TV show The Wombles, which in turn was based on the children's book series by Elisabeth Beresford. Songwriter and record producer Mike Batt wrote the series' theme tune, and went on to perform and write a number of successful albums and singles as 'The Wombles' with other collaborators. British Hit Singles ; Albums jokingly referred to them as the "furriest (and possibly the tidiest) act... are natives of Wimbledon Common, London". In 2011, the band played at The Glastonbury Festival.
Filmfair acquired the television rights to The Wombles and commissioned Batt to write the theme song. He waived the flat fee for writing a single song, and secured the character rights for musical production to write songs under the name 'The Wombles'
The band released several albums and singles. All four studio albums went gold  and four of the singles reached the Top 10 in the UK Singles Chart The Wombles were the most successful act of 1974, with albums in the UK charts for more weeks than any other act.
A single called "Wombling U.S.A.", written to break into the American market, was recorded in 1975 but was not released until 2000 when it was included on the cassette version of "I Wish It Could Be a Wombling Merry Christmas Everyday".

Live Performances
In January 1974, Mike Batt appeared on an edition of Cilla Black's television series as Orinoco, having been led onstage by guest Bernard Cribbins, to plug "The Wombling Song". Consequently, when the single charted, the "band" was invited to perform on Top of the Pops. Additional Womble suits were hastily made for the live performance.
When appearing as a band, the Wombles were always played by experienced musicians in full costume. Batt continued to perform as Orinoco, regularly accompanied by drummer Clem Cattini as Bungo and guitarist Chris Spedding as Wellington (complete with Spedding's trademark white Gibson Flying V)--both of whom had previously recorded with Batt. On one edition of Top of the Pops, the costumes were filled by members of Steeleye Span.
Tim and Andy Renton, who had worked with Batt in the latter incarnation of Hapshash and the Coloured Coat also donned the costumes, along with Robin LeMesurier, who also had a Gibson Flying V, but was kicked out of the band following an arrest for possession of marijuana
The band was the interval act at the Eurovision Song Contest 1974.
They amassed eight Top 40 singles in the UK and reached No. 55 in the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. They were awarded the Music Week Award for Top Singles Band of 1974. Reissues of the Wombles' music in the late 1990s and early 2000s also charted, extending their number of UK chart hits to thirteen.

Wombles' split and Wellington's solo career
The Wombles 'split' in 1976 and, following a severe drought that summer, a single called "Rainmaker" (credited to Wellington Womble) was released.
Glastonbury Festival
In April 2011, Batt announced that The Wombles would play at The Glastonbury Festival in June. Michael Eavis, the founder of the Glastonbury Festival, said that booking the Wombles was "a bit of a mistake".[9] Batt quipped that Uncle Bulgaria had been offended by Eavis' comments and had withdrawn an offer to tidy up the site after the festival.[10] The band pulled a huge crowd on the Glastonbury Avalon stage – bigger than the audience for the main Pyramid stage on the same afternoon– so Eavis' Avalon stage booker was vindicated.
The Wombles
·         Orinoco (Mike Batt) – vocals, piano
·         Wellington (Chris Spedding) – lead guitar
·         Tomsk (Les Hurdle) – bass
·         Bungo (Clem Cattini) – drumspercussion
·         Tobermory (Simon Chandler-Honnor) – piano, keyboards
·         Madame Cholet (Rex Morris) – saxophone
·         Great Uncle Bulgaria (Paul Peabody) – violin

They amassed eight Top 40 singles in the UK and reached No. 55 in the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. They were awarded the Music Week Award for Top Singles Band of 1974. Reissues of the Wombles' music in the late 1990s and early 2000s also charted, extending their number of UK chart hits to thirteen.

Source: various Wikipedia articles. Mike Batt, Womble's children's book and TV series, Wombles band

Sunday, 4 August 2019

A Quick Visit ToThe McClelland Sculpture Park and Gallery.

The Tree of Life
I reckon I’ve visited just about every garden there is to visit in the area, many twice. The appeal of a well maintained park or garden is a joy to stroll through. Whether it be the 1930s splendour of the Alfred Nicholas Gardens or the tight paths and sloping lawns of the Tim Neville Arboretum Boronia.
Something from Dr Suess
We are lucky to have so many within a short drive on any given day. But there are more places on my list that I have been neglecting. One of these is the McClelland Sculpture Park just outside of Frankston. I had passed it so many times whilst visiting friends in Mt Eliza or Mornington and from Boronia it’s a quick 20 minute trip down the Eastern Freeway and you are there, so no more excuses.
Our visit was a short one as we had to be somewhere later in the afternoon and since we were going virtually passed the front gate we had to pop in to at least have a look at the amazing sculptures that we had been told that were scattered around the property, and if that was impressive we’d come back for a more detailed visit later when the weather got warmer.
The Massive Rams Head

McClelland Park is a treasure of a place. It has a vibrant artist community, beautiful lake and gardens, café, meeting halls and gallery. It is well established and recognized as a premier art site. I was amazed when I discovered that the gallery has been open since 1971.
Driving up into the car park, we weren’t sure where to go so we headed towards some buildings which turned out to be the Guild huts, where different crafts from pottery, woodturning, lapidary, spinning and weaving as well as the more established painting and sculpting. The park is divided up into two areas, a bushy trail up towards the back where the carpark is situated and the more formal lawns and ornamental lake up to the front where the gallery and café are.
The Big Bug
The MightyHammer
The huge Pencil box

 As we walked between the buildings we saw people having meeting, talks were being given and light lunches were all laid out for social catch ups later. That’s when we stumbled on the first of the sculptures. The bush trail was a delight of hidden artworks that appeared around every corner. Many of them massive but all of them interesting. My favourite in this area would have to be the traffic light which looked like it had been plucked out of a major intersection by some unknown force and dumped in the middle of a group of trees. Mind you, it was completely functional, changing 
Someone parked their Rhino here.
every minute or so and telling pedestrians to cross. That was one of the amazing things about these works, many were interactive and were powered with cleverly concealed or placed power supplies. The scale of sculptures made you wonder how they installed them where they were. I was not paying attention to the given names of the sculptures mainly because most of the time I couldn’t see the relevance between name and creation (they were pretty vague), so I’ll make them up. There was the big ram's skull, the giant pencil box and woodpile and the wonky tower as well the huge hammer left on the big stack of rocks. Some sculptures played tunes as you walked passed them while other pieces looked like something out of a Dr.Suess storybook.  All curly and covered in hairy grass.
The Fabulous Traffic Light
The Worlds Easiest Maze

I was really enjoying myself and thought about being seriously late for our other appointment but a commitment is a commitment so we headed back to the car via the café and the lawn. That’s where we came across possibly McClelland’s most famous artwork, which I

managed to totally ignore on the road in. The majestic silvery Tree of Life. This free-flowing sculpture stands at least 30 metres tall and sits in the middle of a large lawned area and moves in the wind like an alien gum tree, like mercury in water. There is something cathartic about watching its limbs twist and turn as if it were made of hot plasticine. The trip was well worth it for this sight alone.
On that note, we had to leave, but a return visit is definitely on the cards. Next time with a picnic lunch and a visit to the gallery.
The McClelland Sculpture Park and Gallery is situated at 390 McClelland Dr, Langwarrin VIC 3910 and is open Tuesday to Sunday.
originally published in the BBCN Issue 280 Agust 2019

Sunday, 7 July 2019

The Record and Music Market

The Record and Music Market

 I like to think of myself as a collector, but the truth of the matter is that I am more of an accumulator. I have varied interests, I like books and music and comics and films and books on music and films about music and books about film and music from films and comics from books. You get the picture. Things accumulate.
I have a book library in the hallway. A CD library in one of the spare rooms, and in my study my collection of dead rock star figures, musical instruments and more books and paintings and posters and not a lot of wall or floor space.
So when I saw an advertisement for a record and music memorabilia fair at the local antique market I thought to myself: “That seems like a great way to get rid of some of my accumulated collective material.”  In that, what I really meant was all the stuff that was cluttering up my living space and making it hard to sit down, let alone walking in a straight line.
So, convincing myself that if I hadn’t looked at a book or listened to certain music for a given amount of time, or even had two of any particular thing it would go onto a pile to sell.  Now, I don’t actually have a lot of records, I replaced most of them years ago with CD’s so my main area of music-related sale items would be books, figures and ephemera, things like old magazines, patches posters and tickets.
As I gathered these things into a pile in my study, my son came into the room and looked at the stack about two-foot square and about the same in height he asked if I had gone out and have a big buy up and did I really need more stuff?
I proceeded to tell him of the market idea and that this was the stuff I was going to sell. He looked around and wanted to know where did it come from?
Seriously, looking around it was almost as if the cabinets and shelves had let out a big sigh of relief and stretched out now they had more room. Apart from the pile in the middle of the room, it looked like nothing had changed.
The start of the pile of things to sell
I was confident now that I had more than enough to sell and went off and paid my fee at the market. The man there showed me the table I would be using and was glad to see it was exactly the same kind of portable table I had in the garage at home.
So,  when I returned home I took all my stash into the garage and set about organizing my stall. I placed and stacked and rearranged trying to get the right look, or appealing showcase of my wares. I was quite enjoying this when the  wife popped in to see why I was taking so long, when she asked if she could  play shop too, she was banned. It’s my shed after all.
I was getting excited as the date arrived and everyone had a piece of advice. Make sure you bring change, everyone will have fifty dollar bills. People will knick anything, not in your eye line. You’ll get so bored, take a book. No one could dampen my enthusiasm.
I was good to go.
Some of the stall Mine is middle top
The market was being held on the Sunday of the Queen’s Birthday weekend at a large antique and collectables warehouse in Kilsyth and I had to be there at 9.30 AM to set up for a 10.00 AM opening.
The night before I had packed my car up to the roof with my wares, being the long weekend I could only use my Ford Focus, I couldn’t borrow any of the kids larger cars because they had all gone away for the holiday. I got a great park right out the front at 9.30, walked in and got a front row table and started to set up.
Started but never really got a chance to finish.
People started coming in early- as everyone knows the early bird gets the bargain- I looked up from arranging my books and figures and there was a group of people waiting to go through my meagre record stock (all up I think I only had about 25) I didn’t expect anyone to be interested in these as I put more faith in my music biographies and reference books being more desirable.
I had people ripping out records and waving money in my face while I was still trying to unfold my camp chair. Things settled down after a while but much to my surprise my vinyl records didn’t last long and the rest of the day was a steady stream of a sale here a sale there just enough not to be able to nick off for a coffee break, so luckily I bought my own thermos of hot sugary milk ( I forgot the Tea bags)
All up I had a good day and made a healthy return on my goods. None of the things that people of great insight said came true and the car was a lot easy to pack up that it was that morning. The guy who had the table next to me, a retired gentleman who did this for pocket money (he also sells a lot online with eBay) said he did well and I suggested he pick a book he’d like and I picked out a CD I didn’t have and we were both pretty happy with the trade.
Apparently, there’s going to be another one in a few months, I’m thinking rather than try and find a spot for the stuff I bought home, I just might give it another go.
originally published in the BBCN Issue 279 July 2019

Monday, 3 June 2019

11 Forgotten Heroes From History's Worst Comics Publisher

This article by Seanbaby originally appeared on CRACKED.COM. I had to repost it here for
 its historical importance and for just being a plain fun article. Hit the link to and read some
 of his other informative and interesting pop culture articles. 

11 Forgotten Heroes From History's 

Worst Comics Publisher.

In 1938, Centaur Publications was formed. In the four years of its lifespan, this company produced comics exactly like everyone else's, only crazy and worse. They had sloppy versions of Captain America, Green Arrow, and the Spirit, along with 12 different Flash Gordons and a female Superman named "Super Ann." To give you an idea of their creative bankruptcy, their Human Torch was called "The Fire Man" and their Hawkman was called "The Air Man." He wore a yellow penis costume and fought crime with a bucket, and I can prove it:
Most of Centaur's knockoff characters were forgotten until the early '90s, when Malibu Comics rescued them from the public domain to be forgotten again in the mid '90s. But in between their sad takes on Wonder Woman and Tarzan, they generated some uniquely insane comic book heroes, and some of them are worth another look.

Minimidget The Super-Midget

Minimidget the Super-Midget was very small, and I'm now done listing his special abilities. It's hard to express how difficult this made his life. His adventures usually involved him trying not to die from curious turtles or spilled coffee until he stumbled into crime he had no way to deal with. Ever. The writers dreamed up this awesome idea of a little man, but never solved the issue of how he would fight regular-sized crime. This meant the climax of every single Minimidget story was seeing how he would call someone, anyone for help. Minimidget the Super-Midget was a weird, useless speed bump in the plot of his own comic. He also had a tiny sidekick Ritty, who was three inches tall, a woman written by men in 1938, and just never had a goddamn chance.

Dr. Hypno

At this point in time, there were hundreds of colorful crime fighters with amazing abilities. Dr. Hypno, on the other hand, could mind-control up to one animal. He only needed two things: someone trustworthy to watch over his lifeless body and an already-calm animal. He basically had all the powers of a dead animal trainer's legacy.
To make matters more complicated, Dr. Hypno did not live in the woods, where cougars and nighthawks could be sent to destroy his enemies. He lived in the city with a Chinese slave, and when he transferred his soul into parakeets or house cats, all this did was add a deranged and unnecessary step to an otherwise normal event. The people around him seemed less in awe of his abilities and more in awe of how this pervert always found some excuse to stare into the eyes of a parrot until he became it.

Craig Carter And The Magic Ring

In a lucky turn of events, Craig Carter gave up a promising archaeology career to pursue fighting crime full-time, and THEN found a ring that let him command gods from any religion. That's basically the end of the tension, because he would never encounter a criminal who could deal with Zeus.
So it became a little suspicious when the comic kept running and Craig kept calling on these shirtless muscled men from ancient lore to solve problems an ordinary punch or a parrot containing the mind of a man could handle. If Craig was exploring a cavern, he'd summon Hermes, the God of Wearing a Hat and Nothing Else, to carry him. And if he was infiltrating a mob hideout, who better to help with a stealth mission than a gigantic, mostly nude Thor the Thunder God!? The point is, Craig Carter went to elaborate lengths to convince everyone it wasn't a magic fuck ring.

Ed Smith In The Air Corps

In a comic they published for the Chicago Mail Order Company, the Centaur creators were tasked to create a character specifically to promote C-M-O's easy-to-use savings. Proving there was no possible way to get fired from Centaur Comics, they landed on "Ed Smith." Young Ed had no enhanced abilities, but he enjoyed hobbies and activities, and honestly, it's not safe to tell you any more. Ed Smith didn't do fucking anything. He was so soul-crushingly generic that Nazi scientists described him to American prisoners to dissolve their genitals. If you clap when someone drops a plate in a restaurant, the organizer of your Oscar office pool would accuse Ed Smith comics of containing a demonic level of dullness.

Plymo The Rubber Man

Oh no. Hey, you kids get the fuck away from Plymo, the Rubber Man.

Speed Centaur

Sleek and nude Speed Centaur was the sole survivor of an arctic horse-man city, a chum of ideas thrown together by lunatics and then drawn by less-talented lunatics. Every issue of Speed Centaurfelt like it was written by a different Make-A-Wish child dying from early onset stupid. Most times, Speed was confused by our shirted, man-legged world, but other times he was a genius detective. He could fly, though not always, and one time he turned into a regular horse through sheer lack of coherent vision.
He mostly generated "Mystery Horse Tramples 15 More to Death" headlines, but he also somehow found a way to beat a bear to death every issue. The creator of Speed Centaur definitely listed his two greatest influences as "a lead-paint-eating contest" and "defending my lead-paint-eating contest championship."

The Rainbow

For no real reason, a man named Jim Travis, whom the comic generously described as "Jim Travis, college graduate," decided he wanted to be a comic book superhero. His girlfriend simply stated, "BUT YOU'VE GOT TO HAVE A COSTUME AND YOU'VE GOT TO BE A HE MAN." Jim missed this brazen slap to his manhood, and that very night, with no training or fucking anything, became the Rainbow.
And since this was 1941, the story wasn't an exploration of man's capacity for delusion. Everything worked out, and his first adventure ended with a woman exclaiming how she's sure to see him again, his "arch-enemy" Black Rufus vowing revenge, a promise of thrills and excitement next issue, and then the Rainbow never appeared again. That's how bad Centaur Comics was at everything.

Captain Jim

Captain Jim was the skipper of the SS Patsy, and he the only thing worse than his judgement was his racism. His ship was in a constant state of pirate occupation, which may have been on purpose so he could kill foreigners with his knives and teeth. This is where he did OK. Jim was a shitty captain, but he was a tornado of hate crime in a fist fight. He had so many fucked-up ways to call someone "Chinese" that I had to look four of them up. By the time Captain Jim was done crossing any body of water, it would technically be described as a wet pit of bright yellow corpses.

Dopey Danny Day

"Dopey" Danny Day was a reporter with no notable talents who badly lost every fight, and the closest thing he had to a personality was how he suffered two concussions per page. But in one issue, possibly because his brain could no longer register trauma, it occurred to him he could turn his life around if he answered every question with a headbutt to the dick.
That guy literally mentioned the word "nuts" before getting hit in the junk, and Danny didn't even pick up on it.
After that event, Danny leapt headfirst into everything. Sometimes he hit a dick and things went his way, and other times he hit something harder and lost a little bit more spinal fluid. Overnight, this comic went from a waste of everyone's time to the life-and-death struggles of a man who could only dive full-power at dicks and hope for the best. That's a story I always want to hear the end of, and the exact technique John Travolta uses to decide on movie projects.
RIP "Dopey" Danny Day 1939-1940
"Thank you for the membo soggy, hi, many yes of these head wounds are from penises, good night."

Headless Horseman

The Headless Horseman was a crime-fighting cowboy who wore an ascot tied to no neck and screamed from an empty space with no mouth. What dark witchcraft called on him? How does he see or hear? Does he eat by dropping animals into his collar or soaking his entire shirt in soup? Well, when a stunning twist reveals he is actually a girl with a six-inch torso and toddler hands on the end of octopus shoulders, those are going to seem like silly questions.

Copper Slugg

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From what I've learned from comic books, punching was the "happy holidays" of the 1940s. It was very common, it worked as a fine hello but better as a goodbye, and only uniquely lame pussies had any issue with it. In the '40s, you could beat a man half to death and tell the police, "Wait a couple days 'til the swelling goes down on this mook's face and see if he's yer guy. Also, yer welcome." If a magical wish transported you to a Golden Age comic book right n- PUNCH. That's how regularly it happens. So it's very strange that Copper Slugg's entire thing was how he punched people too often.
Slugg only appeared in one eight-page story, and in that time, he punched five men and one woman, with three -- possibly four -- of these incidences being total misunderstandings. And make no mistake, they were pissed about it. In the tens of thousands of Golden Age comic book stories, Copper Slugg was the only guy who ever got in trouble for punching because the punching itself was wrong. No matter how you feel about violence, that's inspiring. He punched so many people that the laws of his universe had to rewrite themselves around him.

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