7.30.2011

A Shanghai Surprise!


It seems that I blogged a little too prematurely. The magazine that came in the mail today hadn't even been opened when the previous piece was quickly tapped out. Lurkin' within those innocent-lookin' pages was a skillfully orchestrated Shanghai surprise. Check out the rest!


Page 9


Page 11


Page 13


Page 15

Page 17

Page 19


Art sheet by the Grand Imperial DJ Mane One stuck between pages 26 & 27


Art sheet by Storm (pencils) & Drah (inks) stuck between pages 36 & 37


Art sheet by Drah stuck between pages 44 & 45



Page 52

Stuck between pages 76 & 77

Artists' tags on page 80


Oh...my...Godzilla. I was laughin' my @s$ off at every new surprise. My only wish is that I had been having a really bad day when I pulled this monster outta the mailbox, because it would have lifted me out of the dumps. Crazy shout outs to my homeboys Stormko, Mane One and Drah! You ninjas got me good. Many thanks, muchas gracias & domo arigato!!!!!!!!


A Personal Touch

Anime Insider ("Used & Abused" variant cover)

Only because I made it to the Phoenix-con this past May am I not crushed that – like hundreds of others – I didn't get a pass to attend the con in San Diego. One of my homeboys somehow scored a pass, and I considered asking him if he could send me one of the complimentary souvenir books. I didn't feel like being a bother, though, and let him go in peace.

Opening up the mailbox today, I was surprised to find an over-sized envelope from San Diego inside. Even without my asking, my homeboy still sent me a copy of the souvenir book. Best of all, he also included a mildly beat up copy of Anime Insider from 2009, which featured a cover story on Afro Samurai: Resurrection.

Written on the cover in white, gold and black paint marker is "Used & Abused #1." Admittedly, I chuckle every time I look at it. But I also find it amazing how a personal touch like that can turn a beat up magazine into something I'll treasure for days and maybe even years to come.

Thank you, Arashi.

7.27.2011

DJ Mane One's 30 Minute Mix #97


Well, the countdown to #100 is on. That golden number represents the end (but hopefully just an extended hiatus) of DJ Mane One's weekly 30 Minute Mix. Number 97 hit the web earlier tonight, and Mane has issued me the directive to "protect ya neck" while head noddin' to this mix. I told him that I'm prolly just gonna do a few warm-up exercises to Kanye's "Work-Out Tape" before pressin' play on iTunes. What can I say? It's just the price you pay for graduating to the old school.

Shout outs to Mane One for the music, and to Zone of Wild Style Technicians for flexin' the mucho ill graffiti skills!

The 30 Minute Mix #97

1. Joint Right Here - Grand Puba
2. Emcees Smoke Crack Remix - Edan
3. Cause and Effect - Sojourn
4. Do You Wanna Hear It - Nubian Crackers/Artifacts
5. Jayou Remix -Jurassic 5
6. Here's a Smirk - Charizma & Peanut Butter Wolf
7. Come Get Me - Nas
8. Doe or Die - AZ/Raekwon
9. 1nce Again - O.C.
10. Watch How It Go Down - Termanology
11. Welcome Intro - Sojourn
12. Win Or Lose - Mobb Deep
13. Here I Go Again - Jean Plum

To listen online or to download, click here.

7.21.2011

Howard, the Mighty Duck


It was mentioned some weeks back that I scored a nice low-grade copy of Howard the Duck #1 at Phoenix-con for a dollar. Now, I wasn't even a fan of this comic when I was shortie. It was actually during adulthood that I acquired an appreciation for the adventures of the angst-filled fowl who was cursed by being "trapped in a world he never made!"

It's also been mentioned that I'm a big fan of the late artist Gene Colan. The majority of the books published under this title were illustrated by him, and it was mainly because of Colan that I ended up giving Howard the Duck a second 'gander'. In so doing, I came to understand how the book achieved cult-favorite status with older comic book readers in the 1970s.

Not only did Howard the Duck contain page after page of great illustration by artists like Val Mayerik, Frank Brunner and Gene Colan, the book also offered surprisingly intelligent story-telling by writer Steve Gerber, who co-created the character with Mayerik.

While flipping through the worn out copies of Subway Art and Spraycan Art in my studio, I was recently reminded of the impact that Howard the Duck comics also made on the first generation of graffiti artists. As illustrated here, a whole-car by Seen & PJay (1980) and a wall mural by Lee (1981) once served as spray-painted testaments to this cigar-puffing duck's popularity back in the day.

Click to enlarge


P.S. If you're wonderin' why the George Lucas produced Howard the Duck movie wasn't referenced here, it's because that movie sucked moo-goo-guy-ass™.

[MP3] Invisible Enigma - Supreme Shogun


"Now if any of you sons of @#&$% got anything else to say..."

Hardeep, my ninja over at Word is Bond, sent me a new track that he got in the mail from Invisible Enigma, a young MC outta Nigeria. Quite on the money, 'Deep assumed that it would be the kinda track that I would dig and I am indeed diggin' it. As a matter of fact, "Supreme Shogun" makes me wanna grab my katana off the wall, slip on my gold and black Onitsuka Tiger sneakers and kick in the door of a rival crime family. So, um... while I go get busy right quick, check out the free debut single from Enigma's upcoming mixtape, Desultory.

So sayeth...

St. Paco



7.18.2011

Rock Steady Break Beats Mixtapes


One thing that collecting can often give you is bragging rights. Whether it's comic books, baseball cards or vinyl records, the best way to show how 'down' you are is by showing off cool items in your collection that serve as tangible expressions of your passion or interest in a subject.

I consider myself an early adopter of hip-hop culture and have lots of stuff that shows just how long I've been down. The best examples are my records, but they're all back in Chicago. Well, I do have all my old school graffiti photos, but that's another story...

Well, when I got my hands on a series of four Rock Steady Break Beats mixtapes produced by Mr. Wiggles of the Rock Steady Crew, they reminded me of the kinds of cool stuff that I have back in Chi-town. And it wasn't so much the music that did it, but the graffiti-flavored imagery on the cassette inserts and on the cassettes themselves.

These mixtapes were put out by Wiggles in the mid-1990s, which is when I bought 'em at the previously mentioned Style Rock Shop. I listened to 'em quite a bit, too, but it's probably been more than a decade now since I've felt the need. I have my old boom box in the closet, but whenever I pull it out it's usually to listen to even older cassettes of radio broadcasts from Chicago.

In the process of digitizing the inserts illustrated by Wiggles for this blog post, I decide that my Rock Steady Break Beats mixtapes would go the way of Ebay. I've got my memories and now some really good scans that I can use to document some of the cool items that I once had in my collection.

With or without 'em, I'll always be 'down by law.'


Rock Steady Break Beats Vol. 1


Rock Steady Break Beats Vol. 2


Rock Steady Break Beats Vol. 3: Shaolin Break Beats


Rock Steady Break Beats Vol. 4

Rock Steady Break Beats (Blog Remix)

I wrote the preceding post a few weeks ago, and actually did put the Rock Steady Break Beats cassettes up on Ebay. For, perhaps, pretty obvious reasons, Vol. 3 (Shaolin Break Beats) was my favorite of the tapes, and the one that I least wanted to part with.

It was actually the first one that I bought, too.

Well, I put all four of 'em up and only three of 'em sold. The one I liked most is the one that is still in my possession. I'll take it as a sign that I should keep it. Haha.

Best of all, though, the first tape ended up in the hands of a new homeboy in Germany. This guy had been looking for Rock Steady Break Beats Vol. 1 for 15 years! And it was indeed 15 years ago (1996) when I bought my copy. Anyway, here's a note from Sahin and a photo:

Hello Paco...

You cannot imagine how I am delighted with this mixtape !!! For me this tape means very much, because it was the beginning of my breakdancing time. After 15 years, I finally have it and I'm very happy about it. Thank you.


– Sahin

Sahin and his hip-hop Holy Grail

Perhaps even better than bragging rights, I think that the other cool thing about collecting is getting the chance to pass somethin' along to someone who values it even more than you do.

Rock. Steady.

And on that note...



Lord. Have. Mercy.

7.17.2011

[Video] Ryu Black: Metsu Ansatsuken


Ryu Black (aka Ravage the MeccaGodzilla) has released a music video for "Metsu Ansatsuken," that slow-moving beast of a track from the Street Fighter inspired album Perfect 天. Also boastin' the killer body moves of Ruby Red, a dancehallin' diva from Taiwan, this vid was shot 'secret wars' style on the back streets and rooftops of Japan.

Get 'cha head nods on.



Metsu = destroyingAnsatsuken = assassin's fist

George Lucas on the need for peers.

Francis Ford Coppola & George Lucas
"There's no way of getting through any kind of endeavor without help from friends. And trying to be the number one person, ultimately, is a losing proposition. You need peers, you need people who are at the same level you are. You never know in life when you're going to need help, and you never know who you're going to need it from."

George Lucas

7.11.2011

The Electric Slight - Black Superheroes Show Disproportionate Distribution of THIS Power

COMMITTEE FOR THE EQUAL
DISTRIBUTION OF SUPER POWERS
1976 S. Isabella W. Cockrum Avenue, Suite 500
Washington, DC 20002


"CRISIS IN ELECTRIC LADYLAND"

July 11, 2011



To all whom this matter may concern:

It has come to the attention of the Committee for the Equal Distribution of Super Powers (CEDSP) that there are at present as many as ten (10) black characters in comic books and cartoons whose names, powers, or visible manifestations of power are related to electricity. Included in an initial report filed with the CEDSP in 2009 were the names of the following four (4) characters:


STORM

BLACK LIGHTNING

STATIC SHOCK

JAKEEM THUNDER


As an organization whose primary concern is the equal distribution of super powers, the CEDSP has drafted this 6-part notice to inform publishers that the quota for black characters with names and powers directly or superficially related to electricity has been grossly exceeded. Please be advised that no additional characters beyond those presently in existence will be permitted.

––––––

PART II.
EXHIBITS A-D

 EXHIBIT A: STORM

EXHIBIT B: BLACK LIGHTNINGEXHIBIT C: STATIC SHOCKEXHIBIT D: JAKEEM THUNDER


––––––

PART III. 
CLARIFICATIONS

In the interest of reaching a full and complete understanding with all concerned parties, we say again that the Committee for the Equal Distribution of Super Powers henceforth prohibits the creation of any new superheroes of African ancestry whose names, powers or visible manifestations of power have any relation (either loosely or literally) to the following:

e•lec•tri•ci•ty n 1. a fundamental form of kinetic potential energy created by the free or controlled movement of charged particles such as electrons, positrons and ions


juice
n (slang) electric power


light•ning
n flashes of light seen in the sky where there is a discharge of atmospheric electricity usually occurring during a thunderstorm.


shock
n a sudden painful physical reaction consisting of nerve stimulation and muscle contraction caused by an electric current flowing through the body


stat•ic
n a stationary electric charge that builds up on an insulated object, for example, on a capacitor or a thundercloud


storm
n 1. a disturbance in the air above the earth with strong winds and usually with also rain, snow, sleet, or hail and sometimes lightning and thunder


thun•der
n 1. a loud rumbling noise caused by the rapid expansion of air suddenly heated by lightning


––––––

PART IV.
ASSESSMENTS

It will hereby be observed that in our initial report it was noted that from 1975 (when the Marvel Comics superhero known as Storm was created) until the present time Marvel has consistently and ethically maintained a quota of one (1) black character with powers directly or superficially related to electricity. The members of the CEDSP applaud Marvel Comics for this achievement.*

Conversely, however, DC Comics has grossly exceeded the quota and ignored ethical guidelines by having five (5) such characters in its comics. Even more... shocking, four (4) more characters of this type were created by affiliates of DC Comics for use in animated TV shows. Included in a secondary report filed with the CEDSP in 2010 were the names of these additional characters:


THUNDER

LIGHTNING

BLACK VULCAN

SOUL POWER

SPARKY

JUICE


Because the CEDSP believes it should shoulder at least some of the responsibility for failing to prevent the disproportionate distribution of names and super-powers directly or superficially related to electricity to as many as ten (10) different black characters in comics and cartoons, no penalties for the infractions cited above will be assessed.

Be advised, however, that harsh penalties will be levied henceforth and forthwith against any and all parties who knowingly and willingly or unknowingly and unwillingly conspire to create yet another superhero of African ancestry whose name or power is either directly or superficially related to electricity. After 35 years, this insidious practice must come to an end.

––––––

PART V.
EXHIBITS E-G

 EXHIBIT E: BLACK VULCAN, LIGHTNING, THUNDEREXHIBIT F: SPARKY, SOUL POWER, JUICEEXHIBIT G: JAKEEM THUNDER & THE GENIE "THUNDERBOLT"
 
–––––– 

PART VI.
CONCLUSION


Because the CEDSP also believes in working as an agent of positive change, members of the committee have determined that quotas for black characters with abilities derived from every other known power grouping have NOT yet been exceeded. These include: fire, ice, speed, intelligence, radioactivity, magic, martial arts, robotics, genetic mutation, mythology, alien ancestry, wealth and childhood trauma.

Please note, however, that though the quota for the speed grouping has not yet been exceeded, it should be avoided. Track & field statistics dating to as far back as 1936 have rendered powers from this grouping extremely unimaginative and cliché. Furthermore, the speed grouping can be superficially linked to electricity, as in: That Usain Bolt guy is as fast as lightning.

For private inquiries related to this extremely sensitive issue, please e-mail questions to the Committee for the Equal Distribution of Super Powers. For any concerned parties who are at the present time prepared to make public statements regarding this matter, please feel free to post a comment in the area designated below.



Thank you.

St. Paco

CEDSP Chairman


 *Despite meeting the minimum requirement for inclusion, the Marvel Comics character Thunderball has been exempted from this report.

"Crisis in Electric Ladyland" © Paco D. Taylor 2011 • Storm ™ & © Marvel Characters, Inc. • All DC Comics characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof are Trademarks & Copyright © DC Characters, Inc.
In memory of Dwayne McDuffie & Gene Colan

7.09.2011

Buddha's Palm (Shaw Brothers, 1982)



There are hundreds of martial arts flicks, but almost nothing like the 1982 Shaw Brother's film Buddha's Palm. It's 85% martial arts, 10% special effects and 5% animation, which measures out to 100% of an arse kickin' good time. This movie is also high atop the list of martial arts movies that I love, but don't yet own. And as far as I can tell, it has never been released domestically– which is exactly why I don't yet own it. I'd be happy to have a bootleg, but I haven't seen any of those for sale anywhere either. If the trailer piques your interest, look for a streaming version of it online. That's how I got the chance to watch it sometime last year.

7.08.2011

The Camera Club of NY Zine & Book Fair

Domy Books, Austin. Photo by Lindsey Castillo

Over the upcoming weekend of July 16th & 17th, the Camera Club of New York will be hosting its 2nd Annual Zine and Self-Published Photo Book Fair. I will have copies of Page After Page and Octopussy #1 on hand for both perusal and purchase. If you happen to be in the Manhattan area, feel free stop by and browse the racks. There's gonna be a great selection of zines and other self-published works there to satisfy even the most discriminating of tastes. For more information, please visit the CCNY website by clicking here.

The 2nd Annual Zine and Self-Published Photo Book Fair
Saturday, July 16 & Sunday, July 17, 2011, 12-6pm
The Camera Club of New York
336 West 37th Street, Suite 206
New York, NY 10018-4212

7.02.2011

Finding Fast Willie Jackson

Finding Fast Willie Jackson
By St. Paco

The "Say No to Racism" sign in the window of R-Galaxy, a comic book shop located a few blocks away from the University of Arizona, should have been the first tip-off that something good was waiting inside for me among the store's numerous back issue boxes. But it would take some time for me to realize what was really 'in store' for me there.

The sign, by the way, is one of two at the shop which makes plain the proprietor's view on SB1070, the apartheid-like law that targets Arizona's Latino population. Knowing first-hand how often Arizonans say "yes" to racism (there're still lots of backwards idiots here who yell racial slurs from passing cars), the signs are a bold step for any business owner, and I applaud them.

When I first moved to Tucson back in January of 2000, R-Galaxy was located two miles west of where I lived on Broadway. At that time, I would visit the store at least twice a month. But after they moved, two other comic book shops opened on my side of town and I saw no need to travel to central Tucson to visit the store's present location.

Well, a few days ago I was on that side of town taking care of some business. R-Galaxy is only half a block away from where I was handling my affairs, so when things were finished, I stopped in to check out the store. And – for more than just political reasons – I'm really glad that I did.

I'm not sure of exactly how many back issue boxes are inside R-Galaxy, but if there's one hundred, then I went through all one hundred. I mean, nothing sucks like walking out of a comic book store empty-handed because you were simply too lazy to "let your fingers do the walking." So, I always make sure that my digits get the full back-issue-box-work-out.

Side note: My record collectin' homies tend to consider themselves masters of the exquisite art of "digging," but I tend to think that it was comic book collector's who first studied and perfected this ancient shopping discipline. As for me, I have mastered the Iron Fist, the Snake in Eagle's Claw and the Dim Mak (death touch) digging techniques.

Fast Willie Jackson #1, Oct. 1976

For some months I had been waiting for a copy of Fast Willie Jackson #1 to pop up on Ebay that fit my buying criteria, in terms of both condition and price. I had seen some low-grade copies going for surprisingly high prices, and high-grade copies going for as much as $50 bucks– which is much more than I wanted to spend on a high-grade copy.

Well, it was near the end of my search through the last of the back issue boxes when my fingers flexed and flicked up a copy of Fast Willie Jackson #1– in surprisingly good condition, too! Almost near mint, but not quite due to some wrinkling at the cover's top right corner. But it was better than most of the copies I've seen posted on Ebay and priced to sell at $11.95!

Page 1

Now, you'll just have to forgive me for the forthcoming allusion to the 1960s civil rights struggles (I mean, R-Galaxy has two "Say No to Racism" signs), but I still had to chuckle at the seeming irony of it all when I found the book and then thought to myself in the most sarcastic tone: I would find a book like this at the very back of one of the last back issue boxes.

Moving back the same way I came, I strolled in reverse through the isles to make sure that I didn't miss out on any other old school coolness. But I couldn't find anything else like what I'd come up with. When I walked up to the counter to pay for my find, even the cashier (and part-owner?) had to make an expression of surprise when she saw the book's badness for herself.

Page 8

Published in 1976 by Fitzgerald publications (in the virtually line-for-line art style of Archie Comics), Fast Willie Jackson only ran for seven issues. As such, I didn't know anything about the title's existence until about a year ago, and had been periodically on the hunt for the first issue ever since. Now the hunt – for this one particular book, at least – is over.


Sock it to me, mami.

Archive #6: The Sure Shot Flyer Rockers


When I moved to AZ in the mid-1990s, I met and became fast friends with the crew behind Tempe's now gone, but legendary Style Rock Hip Hop Shop. From Kangol brims, vintage Adidas Run-DMC jerseys and suede Puma Clydes, to b-boy breaking videos, spray tips, fat laces and graffiti mags, the Style Rock Shop had it all– and had it in spades.

To promote the shop, a weekly series of handbills were made by Style Rock staffers Storm (aka Weapon X) and RobGoblen. The dynamic duo rocked these flyers under the collective moniker of Sure Shot Flyer Rockers, a name that – for folks like myself – recalled the freshness of New York's "sure shot" flyer rocking king Phase 2.

Some time back, Storm gave me a rough idea of how many of these flyers had been made over the span of a few years, but I can't recall that number now. I only collected nine of 'em, which isn't at all being said as a lament; until today I didn't recall having any at all. And even a small collection of these flyers gives a nice snapshot of a very cool time in Phoenix-metro area hip-hop.

Submitted for your perusal: the Style Rock Shop flyers.