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DEANSPEAK
November 5, 2003
from Paul Dini

HOW I BLOGGED MY SUMMER

My good friend Ruth Waytz tells me one of the best ways to communicate in this techno-crazy society of ours is by blog. Now to me “blog” sounds like the name of a Muppet character that never quite caught on, even though I know it’s a shortening of weblog, the on-line diary that people post so other folks can catch up on their doings. Sounds okay to me, though the illustration below pretty much sums up everything that’s been going on in my life lately. Mostly work and other nonsense, though I have taken some time over the summer and early fall to travel, socialize or otherwise engage in bad behavior. As the activities of comic book folk and other pseudo-celebrities seems to attract a fair amount of fan interest (heaven knows why) I have decided to post a few snippets from my own computer diary.


Pretty much everything that’s been going on in my life lately.

I offer them here in the order in which I jotted them down. I’m sure it doesn’t count as a true blog, but as I have no idea how to update this site myself, it’s the best I can do for now. Anyway, onto the ramblings.

JUNE 29th

Went to a friend’s kid’s birthday party today, the third such party I’ve been to in as many months. Technically I’m thirty-eight years too old to be making the scene with the Chuck E. Cheese set, but most of my friends have young’uns, so I must do the dutiful uncle/godparent/weird older friend of the birthday kid routine. That means showing up on the appointed Saturday afternoon, smile on face, suitably bizarre gift in hand. (Best present I ever gave a kid was a realistic-looking shrunken head made out of dried goatskin. The kid loved it and his parents still invite me over, so they are cool, too.) One thing I marvel at is how elaborate the take home gifts have become for the little party guests. When I was a kid we were lucky if we got a paper cup with a couple of jelly beans in it. At the party today, the kids were going home with Disney dress-up dolls for the girls and roaring Hulk hands for the boys. At the party last month, the kids were allowed to pick their own movies from an assortment of Disney and Warner Bros. DVDs. Man, kids today sure have it sweet. The one time I won a prize at a kid’s birthday party (I was five) I had to give it back because the birthday boy’s mother realized the toy, a Viking warrior figure, was actually part of her son’s new Army Men Throughout the Years playset. With that humiliating and frankly unfair incident still fresh in my mind thirty-odd years later, today I felt perfectly justified in secretly helping myself to an extra pair of Hulk hands from the goody table. I decided not to tell my hosts as it would just cause talk.

JULY 10th

Mini-comics night with Coop, Johnny Ryan, Dave Cooper and a lot of other great cartoonists much more talented than myself. Every so often these fine artists will get together and do a bunch of homemade comics that they sell to fans at comic con, and tonight Ruth and Coop graciously invited me to sit in.

Johnny and his wife Jenny have taken over Tony Millionaire’s old apartment in Silverlake and Tony left a good portion of his bizarre taxidermy collection on the walls when he and his family moved to Pasadena. A lifetime spent studying mammals from all angles (inside, outside, skin, skull and bones) has made me somewhat a taxidermy maven myself. Practically the second I walked in, Jenny pointed to a badly decomposing snarling ring-tailed thing perched near the ceiling and asked me to identity it. “Coatimundi.” I nodded. “Mexican relative of the raccoon sometimes found in Arizona and southern Texas.” “What about that?” She asked, indicating a toothy, reptilian head that could have been mistaken for a baby Loch Ness Monster when seen from the proper angle. “A gar fish.” I said. “The head has been cut off, dried, varnished and nailed to a plaque.” “And that one?” Coop laughed, gesturing to a dusty figure on a wall bracket. “That’s an Alvin the Chipmunk doll.” I noted with casual expertise as I settled down to draw, grateful that all those years I spent sneaking into the Harvard Zoology Museum had finally paid off.

JULY 17th thru 20th

San Diego comic con. The big Kahuna of comic festivals, AKA the Geekiest show on Earth. A much-beloved annual enclave of comic creators and fans since 1969, the old con has gone legit in recent years. Occasionally there are flashes of the fun, funky fan gathering that I remember from between 1984 to 1996, but after that it got too big, too much of a trade show like Toy Fair or NAPTE. What did I do this year? Well to honest, I don’t really remember. I’ll try to backtrack to very start.

My comic con compadre Meredith and I headed south from LA on Thursday morning, stopped at Disney’s California Adventure hotel restaurant long enough to eat breakfast and make derisive comments about the guys in the Chip ‘n Dale suits. I voiced the theory the guy inside the suit was a big, scary misfit with a hook hand who really, really likes dancing with kids. Mere thought it really was a big chipmunk in the costume, but one too realistically rodent-like to be allowed to show his face. Knowing the Disney organization, that sounded about right to me. Our waiter was one of those overly jolly, bordering on unctuous Disney fops. When he dropped off the check, he made a big show of it, saying he’d like us to meet his friend, “Bill.” I countered with “And now may we introduce you to our friend, ‘Skip?’” For some reason he didn’t think that was very funny, though we did dutifully pay for our huevos rancheros before leaving.

We continued onto San Diego, arriving too late unfortunately, for Mark Evanier’s Dr. Wertham VS the comic book industry panel. (As Mark had shown me most of the filmed accounts of Wertham the week before, I felt I had already seen a good portion of the highlights.) We got our convention packages wandered into the dealer’s room where I bought a Quickdraw McGraw lamp for my western bar. After that, everything quickly settled into the four-day comic-con blur.

I remember signing books a couple hours each day with Alex Ross but the line was so long that I barely said ten words to him each day and when I did it was usually: “Can I have the silver pen? Thanks.” At one brief point during a Warners-sponsored party I found myself standing with Alex, Bruce Timm, Chip Kidd, Glen Murakami, Spike Brandt and Tony Cervone, all folks I like personally, enjoy collaborating with, and see in the same place at the same time all too infrequently. Later Meredith and I hit the Hyatt outside bar area and wound up chatting with Frank Miller, Brian Bendis, Joe Casey, Paul Levitz and a host of other genius comic book creators.

Saturday we had breakfast with my Vertigo editor Shelly Bond to discuss my next Zatanna one shot. Not much was resolved as Shelly and Meredith spent most of the time talking and bonding. I think Mere may have walked away with a mini-series, but I was no closer to finalizing Zatanna 2 other than Shelly and I agreeing that I would do another one.

Later that day the Dodgers crew and I screened one of the shorts for the crowd. They seemed to dig it and we signed a lot of autographs afterward. No one tried to burn us at the stake for desecrating the memories of Mike Maltese and Chuck Jones, which was our main fear.

Every now and then I’d pass my stepbrother Mark, a San Diego newbie whose only experience with conventions up to that point had been the occasional comic book or Star Trek show in Boston. I told him nothing he knew thus far could prepare him for San Diego and I was right. Last I saw of him he was waiting in line at the Mattel booth for a chance at winning a ticket to purchase the Keldor action figure. Apparently Keldor is the former human identity of masters of the Universe villain Skeletor, which is bunk ‘cause when I wrote the He-Man cartoons back in 1983, he was always just Skeletor. No fancy origin story, no motivation, just a pissed off blue guy with no skin on his face.

I bought very little at the show. Coop and I dropped some $ with the same dealer for a few bizarre Japanese toys and I picked up my usual assortment of hard to find art books at Bud Plant’s booth. I had a very nice time chatting with Olivia at her booth and purchased her newest pinup book. But as I had been lucky enough to acquire one of my favorite Olivia originals a few months before, I decided to pass on getting another painting.

Sunday was another long slow ride home with another stop at Disney before stumbling back into Hollywood tired but happy.

JULY 24th

Went out two nights ago to see my ultra-glamorous friend Dita Von Teese do her world-famous martini glass burlesque routine at Hollywood’s Club 40 Deuces. I was still pretty wiped from the comic convention, but I never pass up a chance to see the magnificent Miss Von Teese perform. As always Dita was a thrill and then some. No other woman fills a giant cocktail glass so alluringly.

Forty Deuces is a great small club and the only place in town where you can see classic burlesque performed every night. I used to go there a lot in the early 90’s when it was a bar called Smalls. The original Spumco studio was across the street and back when John K. was doing the first Ren & Stimpy cartoons I would meet up with him and his crew at the bar each night and get blasted. Occasionally the owners would have to bug-bomb Smalls and we’d move across town to Boardners, one of the all-time great Hollywood dives. A recent renovation has prettied up Boardners a bit, but it is still a down and dirty place to throw back a shot of dark rum when one is in the mood to do so. Ah, memories.

Well anyway, after the show my date and I lingered a bit with Dita and her manager Albert, a great guy and one time manager of a comic book store I used to frequent in Hollywood. Coincidentally, that was where Albert first introduced me to Dita a few years back. Now that’s a pal! Dita is also a sweetheart. She and I share a fondness for the classic Tex Avery wolf and dancing girl cartoons, which is not surprising as I feel like I’m in one every time I watch her on stage.

We eventually said our good-byes and I finally dragged my weary ass home around four. I passed my pet coyote on the front steps and he shot me a reproachful “Where the hell have you been?” look before skulking off to mug a cat. I was essentially dead at work the next day, so I cut out early, went home and fell asleep before eight. Woke up at nine AM this morning feeling fantastic.

JULY 27th

Bob Hope dies and the world mourns. I never really knew the man myself, but there was a photo of him and my father from a show during Dad’s Army Band singing days on our bookcase for years, so I always felt this weird familial link to him. Much more so than with Bing Crosby, whom my father actually did know reasonably well. The photos of Bing and my dad were tucked away in a scrapbook though, so I rarely saw them.

Living a stone’s throw from Bob’s palatial home Toluca Lake, I would encounter Mr. Hope every now and then. About six years back, I’d stop into the Toluca Starbucks for coffee prior to BATMAN and ANIMANIACS recordings (our sound studio was three blocks down the street) and Bob would be there most afternoons, usually with his daughter or a nurse, enjoying his daily cookie and coffee. Rob Paulson (the voice of Pinky and Yakko) can still do a flawless imitation of the elderly Bob ordering a Snickerdoodle. On separate occasions Alan Burnett and I repeatedly would sight Mr. Hope in the local Vons supermarket, always late at night, always prowling the aisles slowly checking out various items, either for prices or, I would assume, intrinsic humor value.

One more story about Bob Hope, I used to trick or treat his house every Halloween. I was hardly alone as there was always a huge line of treat-seekers going to and from his mansion door. Rather than candy bars, Bob’s assistants would hand out small toys like frisbees with a caricature of Bob on the front. Sadly the famous funny man was too fragile to give away the treats himself the last few years, though long-time Toluca residents assured me he used to when they were kids. Bob Hope was no slouch at Christmas, either. In one of his radio shows, he quipped: “I wanted our street to have the prettiest Christmas decorations in the neighborhood, so I strung colored bulbs from house to house all the way down the block. And I did all the electric wiring myself. If you’d like further information, just drive down Moorpark St. in North Hollywood, we’re the third pile of ashes from the corner.”

Hope-perbole aside, Bob did have the nicest display on the block, topped off with a life-size Nativity display set above the estate wall. Hopefully the family will have it up again this year as going to look at it right after Thanksgiving is as much a tradition for some LA families as driving through the Griffith Park holiday lights. Besides, It’s a nice way to remember the old fellow, not that anyone’s going to forget him any time soon.


AUGUST 4th

The deer are back on my hill. Saw a huge ten point mule deer buck around 1:30 AM this morning grazing on the rose bushes near my car. He was a big old fat boy, too. I seriously thought about taking a shot at him, then remembered all my guns were locked up at my brother’s place in Carmel. Besides, I have two buck heads on the wall already and my freezer will only hold ten pounds of venison steaks, tops. Not to mention most folks frown on shooting off rifles in the middle of Hollywood. Yosemite Sam might get away with it, me, never. I wondered if there was any way I could get my pet coyote Kelso to make me a symbolic present of the buck, but then I realized that if that scrawny fleabag actually managed to bring the muley down, he’d just eat it all himself. I quietly slipped out the front door and stood on my lawn for a few seconds admiring the Prince of the Forest. Then the buck caught my scent and took off in a mad scramble, raking the side of my Z-3 roadster with his hooves as he went over it. Son of a bitch! It may be time to go Nugent on the local wildlife after all.

AUGUST 6th

No sleep for days. Busy working on the big JLA book, the new Jingle Belle graphic novel and the outline for an hour-long Dodgers episode for next season. Topping it all off, I leave at 6:30 AM to fly to the Chicago comic-con. That’s less than two hours from now, so I’m up late writing this.

Earlier tonight I was way too wired and exhausted to sleep, so I went out and did the Hollywood after hours scene with my pal, Albert. A bunch of folks from Albert’s management company joined us for drinks and general carousing. No Dita though as she’s traveling with her boyfriend Marilyn Manson in Ozzfest. As Albert knows and reps a lot of celebs, the conversation naturally turned to celebrity stories. Not about the stars themselves, but the folks who cluster around them, looking to soak up that overflow glory. Paparazzi, hangers-on, fans, stalkers. Albert and I both work with well-known people and have a number of them as friends. Still, it always strikes me odd when I’m out with one and some fan apes out over them. It’s fun sometimes, scary sometimes, too.

Al and I swap a number of tales and I finish up with a long one about my old girlfriend Lana Clarkson. Albert didn’t know Lana and I had dated so I filled him in on my long history with her, everything right up until she took that last ride with Phil Spector. Most of my friends have also heard credible stories of how nutty Spector could act and they don’t doubt the nut shot her. Of course I’m convinced, though Spector’s lawyers are claiming it was an accident, or even more ridiculous, suicide. Yeah, right. It’s been six months and this whole mess still hurts. I can’t believe the vile bastard’s walking around on bail. Just give the sick pup a lobotomy and lock him in a rubber room already. Better yet, lock me and an aluminum baseball bat in there with him. Just for five minutes. Arrgh, it’s late and I’m bitter and delusional, two of my better qualities according to the friends who actually speak to me.

Oh well, it’s nearly 5:30 and the car will be here soon to take me to the airport. I’d better pack, shower, then drag a sack of dog chow out back where Kelso can get at it. He usually fends for himself while I’m away (advantage #1 in having a coyote for a pet rather than a dog) but I don’t want him after the neighbor’s cats again. I guess they are easier for him to catch than those pesky deer. Oh hey, it’s now the 7th, which means it’s my birthday too. Dinner tonight with the Chicago crowd. Should be fun.

AUGUST 13th

Came home from work today to a mailbox filled with Christmas catalogues. (Or rather, holiday catalogues, as the word Christmas has now been officially banned from all politically correct advertising. Holiday trees, holiday cards, holiday gifts, at some point the same picayune minds that dissected the word Christmas and found it offensive will do the same to holiday and discover it comes from Holy Day and the whole mess will start all over. We’ll probably be back to Saturnalia or Solstice before long.) Crap on a crutch, the catalogues start earlier each year! It’s one thing for me to sit in my office in hundred degree weather and pound out the adventures of Jingle Belle and her pals, I have to do that in order for the book to ship on time in November, (ahem-December this year, I’m late) but how many fruit baskets a week does Harry & David really think I’m going to order?


AUGUST 16th

My friends Steve and Xandy got married today and I went to the wedding. It was at the Shutters in Santa Monica and very nice. The ceremony itself was maybe five minutes long (the ideal length for a wedding in my opinion) and the food at the reception was terrific. I got in late and now I’m debating whether or not I should go to a beer party at my archenemy Kathy Griffin’s house. Kathy didn’t actually invite me, but a blanket invitation was issued through Ron Zimmerman, who assured me it was okay if I wanted to go. I’m pretty sure it’s a trap, so I’m staying home.


AUGUST 25rd

Saturday the 23rd was DD day, AKA the Duck Dodgers premiere. I picked up Krispy Kremes and headed over to Tony Cervone’s house for a breakfast party. Tony’s wife Thea made breakfast for a large cross section of crew members and friends. Tom Minton was there but not Spike Brandt, who lives about fifty minutes north of LA in cowboy country. Everyone there seemed to dig the show, kids as well as adults. Besides, even if the show stank, Thea’s pancakes would put the most disappointed viewer in a good mood.

After the show I zoomed up north to a friend’s beach house in a new rented Jaguar. My Z-3 roadster was in the shop, so I thought I’d treat myself to something nice. Besides, Coop and Ruth just bought a new Jag and I’ve been dying to try it out. As they will let me ride in their car but not drive it (I don’t blame them) I had to go out and get one for myself. It handled very nicely but I don’t know that I’m ready to cash in the old Z-3 just yet.

Passing a junkyard near Ventura, I saw a giant upper body sculpture of Santa Claus waving forlornly at the freeway from behind a chain link fence. I recognized it as the big Santa that used to wave from the roof of Santa’s Kitchen on Santa Claus Lane up near Santa Barbara. “I guess the rumors are true,” I glumly thought. “The old Santa Claus Lane really is gone.” Dang. As I was heading for that very spot, I’d soon have a chance to learn more. Just south of Santa Barbara I turned off the highway and cruised down Santa Claus Lane. Sure enough, Santa’s gone and while the same gift shops, restaurant and rest area is still there, the whole place has a generic air to it now.

I mourn the passing of the cheesy roadside tourist attractions known as Santa’s Villages. Literally. A couple years back, while at a writer’s retreat in the San Bernadino Mountains, Alan Burnett snapped a photo of me weeping in the barren parking lot of the recently-shuttered Santa’s Village in Skyforest. Yes they were dumb and hokey, with rotten food, mangy reindeer and (usually) scary-looking and badly-painted plaster of Paris elves leering at you from the tops of cracked toadstools. But they had a funky charm that even the sterile sheen of a Disneyworld or Legoland can’t duplicate. And the bee tram, dragon and snowball rides at the SV in Skyforest were actually pretty cool. Poor Santa. I guess the only time people nowadays want to see the jolly old elf is after Thanksgiving, then promptly on Dec. 26th he’s forced back into the dim recesses of the public consciousness for another ten months. Pity. Then again, I have his lardship and his jaded progeny to deal with throughout the year, so personally I have nothing to bitch about.

After reaching my friend’s beach house late in the afternoon, I went for a long walk along the shore. A large school of dolphins came in close and I waded out with my camera to get some shots of them. I have no idea if I got anything good or not, I’ll have to wait until I develop the pictures. It was fun getting close to the dolphins, even briefly. I haven’t had a good animal encounter since I tracked a family of red wolves into their den along the Tex-Mex border back in April. I took some decent elk and buffalo shots while I was down that way, too. No doubt about it, once I’m done with this year’s comic book stuff, I’m running away to someplace with trees. The Sierras, or maybe Western Canada. I’m sure Daffy Duck can get along fine without me for a week or two.


AUGUST 26th

It seems everyone this week has gone Mars-happy. Tonight I set up the big, super-strong telescope I stole from Alan Burnett but all I could see was an orange dot. Maybe I wasn’t focusing it properly or perhaps I had it zoomed in on my neighbor’s orange tree. Oh well, I see enough of Mars during the day, and frankly, the Duck Dodgers version of the angry red planet is better. Goofy robots, weird bird-things, and best of all, Tia Carrere! Rowr-rowr!

AUGUST 27th

Mars Fever Part II. Today was the Duck Dodgers crew field trip to the Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena. As if working on cartoons doesn’t make me feel enough like a kid, trundling up and down hills looking at rockets and robots completed the experience.

We certainly received the star treatment as we were guided through the labs by some of JPL’s best and brightest technicians. It was fun and informative, though I don’t know how much of that practical knowledge will work its way into future episodes, or into my mind, for that matter. In school, except for zoology, I hated anything to do with science and math, and still do. At one point during our tour I sarcastically whispered to Tony Cervone: “This looks like science and science sucks.” He laughed, so I’ll file that line away and give it to Dodgers next season.

AUGUST 28th

This is it! The night I sit down and finish scripting the Justice League treasury book! It is so late it’s not even funny, but tonight I will make the effort, pull an all nighter and have the last ten pages of text on my editor’s desk tomorrow morning at 9 AM New York time without fail!

Whoops, David Mandel just called. The 10:25 showing of “Pirates of the Caribbean” starts at the Arc Light Theatre in half an hour and neither of us have seen it yet. Off I go…

Back from “Pirates.” It was pretty good, except it had way too many endings. Still, Johnny Depp was great as Captain Jack Sparrow. He should get an Oscar nomination except they don’t usually give them for broad comedy turns. Then again, Lee Marvin won years ago for “Cat Ballou”…

Oh shit, I forgot to finish JLA. Oh well, I’ll get to it tomorrow. Besides, no one from DC reads this site. That I know about. I hope.

SEPT. 1st

YES!!! Tonight at 9:31 PM I finally polished off the last of the JLA big book! I zapped the remainder of the script off to Alex and my editors while drinking half bottle of Goslings Black Seal rum to celebrate. I then called Alex to share congratulations on the completion of our sixth and final opus, but for some reason my speech became more slurred throughout the conversation. I’ve never seen Alex put anything more potent than green M&Ms in his body, but he good-naturedly hung on the phone while I destroyed my liver and few remaining brain cells.

SEPTEMBER 2nd

I bopped in tonight around eleven from wherever I was earlier to an angry call from Ruth. “Where the hell have you been?!?” She yelled. “Here writing all weekend.” I said, mystified at my friend’s surprisingly confrontational attack. “You blew off Coco’s party Saturday night!” Ruth snapped. Jumping Jebus on a pogo stick! I did miss it! And this was not just a little drinks and cake thing but a huge party. Our friend Eddie G. had been planning it for a month. Hell, he even sent me a specially filmed movie invite for it! Eddie’s buddy and fellow sit-com scribe Don Foster had kindly donated the use of his massive in-house Tiki bar the Monkey Bucket to host the event. Food had been ordered from a top LA catering company and live music was being furnished by the great rock/country/you name it band Jack Shit. Plus I had Coco’s present wrapped, ready and sitting on top of my bar for the better part of a month now. This was the party not to miss, but sadly, I had. Dammit! That’s what I get for being good and staying in the previous night to finish my JLA assignment. No more making my deadlines for me! From now on I’m goofing off. More than usual, I mean.

SEPTEMBER 9th

Got dragged into a scene babies event tonight. My friend and one-time fellow TINY TOONS writer Sherri Stoner called today to invite me to the opening of her partner’s new restaurant . The crowd consisted of wall to wall scene babies, which is the name I give to the annoying trendos (male and female) who are so desperate to be a part of the latest big event that they will show up to the opening of a can of tuna. Most of the time they don’t even enjoy the events they show up at, they are two busy standing around in clumps and yakking on their cell phones to other scene babies at other events. Still, it was great to see Sherri after so long and her long-time boyfriend Sweeney’s place Amalfi is quite spectacular. Also in attendance was director and one-time PINKY & THE BRAIN scribe Peter Hastings, another confederate from the halcyon days of Warner Bros. Animation, circa 1990-1998. “Lots of our friends made it.” Sherri said, looking around the packed restaurant. “Even Kathy Griffin said she’d be here.” “Oh how nice.” I said through clenched teeth, quickly taking note of all the exits should I need to make a sudden escape. “You’re not still mad at her about the Melrose Street incident?” Sherri said. “That was ten years ago!” “Some wounds never heal, Stoner.” I grimly nodded. I swiped another tray of fresh house-cured sardines and left soon after.

SEPTEMBER 13th

John Ritter and Johnny Cash on the same day! Fuck! Between them and Bob Hope, all I can figure is God was lonely for some entertainment this summer. John did a guest voice on the “Last Resort” episode of BATMAN BEYOND and he was very nice and extremely professional. As funny as he was on THREE’S COMPANY, he never made me laugh harder than when he played a cheery to the point of hateful ice cream parlor waiter in an episode of THE BOB NEWHART SHOW. I always meant to tell him how much I enjoyed listening to his father, western singer Tex Ritter, but sadly I never did. Next time I go for ice cream, I’ll have the counter guys make up a Great White Whale for me in John’s honor. (And in case you’re wondering, that’s vanilla ice cream surrounded by marshmallow sauce and topped with coconut. Be sure to wear a fisherman’s slicker and hat when you eat it, and have a friend chant, “You can’t do it! You can’t do it! You can’t eat a whale!” It adds the proper air of authenticity to the moment.)

And Johnny Cash! “A Boy Named Sue” was the second country-western song I learned to sing by heart right after Marty Robbins’ “El Paso.” Nothing to do today but feel bad and play “Long Black Veil” over and over. Tomorrow I’ll be in a happier mood and I’ll play “Sue” “Folsom Prison Blues” and “One Piece At a Time”, but today it’s “Long Black Veil.” Ah what the hell, mourning’s for chumps. Lemme hear “Wanted Man.” Oh yeah, that’s the stuff. “Wanted man in California, wanted man in Buffalo, wanted man in Kansas City, wanted man in Oh-hi-o…”

SEPTEMBER 21st

The big ten day 3D festival at Hollywood’s Egyptian theatre was on its last day today and I finally made it over to view a selection of westerns and musicals. A few movie fan friends had gone to the whole festival, which they had dubbed “Geekstock.” Unfortunately I had missed all the animated 3D shorts that were shown earlier throughout the week. By all accounts, everyone’s favorite was Disney’s featurette “Melody”, rarely shown anywhere these days, let alone in 3D. “Melody” was the precursor to Disney’s better known “Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom” and according to animation authority deluxe Jerry Beck, the better of the two Adventures in Music shorts. I spotted Jerry as I walked in. He had all the freshness of someone that has just gotten off a three week bus ride, but he had been to every one of the screenings and was damn well going to make it through today’s as well.

First up on the program today was “Gun Fury”, a fair to middlin’ hose opera with Rock Hudson tracking down the varmints who kidnapped his fiancée Donna Reed. There were a couple of good shock effects, a few gunshots to the camera, and a rattlesnake bite. Not too shabby.

There was an hour intermission after a fairly ho-hum western called“The Nebraskan,” (the big 3D effect was that most of the second half took place in a burning cabin). With nothing better to do, I took a walk down the street to the Hollywood Toy and Costume store to check out this year’s new Halloween masks. I had just entered when I was hailed by Master Magician Rudy (Labman) Coby and his charming wife Denise. They were there to pick up a few props before heading to Japan in a few days. Seems Rudy’s next gig is as magic consultant/special effects creator on Marilyn Manson’s upcoming tour that commences next week in Tokyo. Rudy’s an amazing performer and also a wizard when it comes to dreaming up outrageous illusions and Grand Guignol-style special effects, all perfect for MM’s show. I asked Rudy to say hi to mutual friends in the Manson camp (after living in Hollywood fourteen years, I’ve discovered everybody I know sort of knows everybody else) then we wandered back to the Egyptian where I was to meet up with internet guru Harry Knowles.

Harry, just arriving from Austin with his dad Jay, had come to do some business in LA and catch the last day of the festival. Rudy, it turned out is an old buddy of Harry’s (see what I mean about everybody I know knowing everybody else?) and he was happy for a chance to catch up with him. After Rudy split, The Knowles boys and I settled into some funky old 3-D musicals. The first one, “The French Line” was pretty awful, but the sight of Jane Russell in 3-D more than made up for any shortcomings in the plot.

SEPTEMBER 25th

Show business magic today. Tom Jones (THE Tom Jones, the same one that sings our theme song) came in to do his own voice for a funny Duck Dodgers episode we have planned for next season. Mr. Jones was the consummate professional and gave us some hysterical line readings. People seem to be liking the Dodgers show so far, and hopefully the feeling will still be strong when this musical episode airs next year.

SEPTEMBER 26th thru 28th

Tagged along with Alan Burnett on a weekend jaunt to Hartford, Connecticut to see our friend and one-time Batman crew writer Randy Rogel in a musical at the Goodspeed Opera House. Randy has the title role in “Very Good Eddie” and he was, as always, superb. It was fun getting back east for a few days as well. We had time for some sightseeing the day before the show so I dragged Alan through the Peabody Natural History Museum at Yale. Their animal exhibits are still pretty good, though they have done away with the old taxidermy collections in cases look that I found so charming and have gone in for a more PC/edutainment feel. Ugh. Not a fan.


OCTOBER 31st

HALLOWEEN!!! Just back from Shane Black’s annual monster party. It rained all night, which was a boon to the firefighters struggling to put out the blazes in the nearby mountains, but lousy for the party, which is traditionally held in the backyard of Shane’s estate. As the yard was awash in mud, all 1000 or so guests crammed into Shane’s entryway and dining room. Actually that worked out rather well for me as found myself wedged between a beautiful blonde in a black vinyl fetish witch outfit and a striking six-foot plus supermodel, naked and painted bright green. They were charming girls really, just charming. I should call them.

Dean

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Announcment!!!!

Calling all classic Looney Tunes fans! Paul Dini will be hosting a tribute to Chuck Jones and the Looney Tunes legacy at Hollywood’s Arclight Cinemas, November 12! It’s part of their Master Storyteller’s program, and if you’re in the area and have any interest at all in these great vintage cartoons you should come on by! Also appearing with Paul will be the entire Duck Dodgers writing and producing team along with the voice of Daffy Duck and Marvin the Martian, Joe Alasky! For more information on the big night, click here!


COOL STUFF

NEW!

DRESS ME UP, BAY-BEH!

Hey! Remember those great old Colorforms? I haven't been paying much attention to toy trends lately (pretty shocking when you consider whose kid I am) but a fast glance around the workshop tells me we are still cranking them out as I see we have stacks of Harry Potter and Spongebob sets left over from last Xmas.

Well, as the chances of Big Chief Yellow Lap ever making a Jingle Belle or Mutant, Texas Colorforms set are remote at best, super artist and mega-fan C. H. Wolf (Doompuppet.com) has created the next best thing! Click on Jingle Belle's Fashion Igloo to play dress-up with me and all my gal pals. Outfit yours truly in her Mighty Elves hockey uniform and Santa's helper get-up. Engage in riotous revelry with dozens of lemmings. Help Tashi protest the immoral occupation of Tibet. Cast spells with Polly Green and toss mutant energy blasts with Ida Red. Oh there's just hours of free fun to be had in Jing's Fashion Igloo! And check back often as C. H. assures me new characters and props will be on display soon! Just added! Find the magic snowflake and click to visit the secret Mezcal
page!


NEW!

JINGLE'S CHRISTMAS IN JULY!

Hey! Through the month of July, check out the Oni Press Sunday Comics page for all-new summertime adventures starring me! Watch me square off with the Snow Leopards again in a Mighty Elves rematch! See me and my girlfriends be rude to our fans (both of them, ha, ha!) and shake your head with shame as I continue to make life hard on my dad – not that the big guy doesn't deserve it! Click here


JINGLE BELLE - THE MOVIE?!?

Could be! The film rights to my life story have been picked up by the fine folks at Revolution Studios and Adam Sandler's Happy Madison Productions! Check back here each month for further updates!

NEW COLLECTIBLE!

Here it is, the awesome new Jingle Belle maquette from Electric Tiki! For folks in the know, Electric Tiki is the infinitely cool collectors sculpture company founded by animator Tracy Mark Lee. Tracy has reinterpreted a number of classic TV and comics characters as a nifty line of animation-style figurines and his rendition of yours truly is especially cute! Click here to see and order Tiki-ized versions of Spooky, Hot Stuff, Richie Rich, the Bundys, Samantha, Serena, Jeannie and many more!


NEW ARTWORK!

Clampett Studio Collection has released a limited edition fine art giclee print of Lynne Naylor’s gorgeous cover for JINGLE BELLE’S COOL YULE. The Clampetts are the fine folks who are now the exclusive distributors of the prints and animation artwork formerly found at the Warner Bros. Studio stores. Check out their on-line site for more of your cartoon favorites, including classic and new pieces by our old pal Alex Ross!


NEW COMICS!

My latest trade paperback, JINGLE BELLE’S COOL YULE has been out for a couple of months now. Why wait until next Christmas to enjoy it? Pick it up at your local comic dealer or on-line from Amazon.com now!

Just released, it’s the MUTANT, TEXAS - TALES OF SHERIFF IDA RED trade paperback! Written by Dini, illustrated by J. Bone, it’s the complete saga of how my super-powered cowgirl pal became the law in Texas. The full four issue mini-series, with new never before seen bonus stories, development art and a special introduction by famed Texas horror science fiction author Joe R. Lansdale.

Ida Red


From left to right, meet Mutant’s wealthiest citizens, Mrs. Marjeanne Lansdale and her husband, Mayor Beaumont ("Big Bo") Lansdale, the enigmatic Clint Saguaro, Ida Red her own bad self, Ida’s Tia Oso, western-type sidekick Rollalong Diller, and the always intoxicating Donna Margarita Agavita Inebriata Mezcal. Little Shortall and Sheriff Wade Brunt round the picture. I don’t know where the shifty Kiyote Brothers are (probably up to no good as usual) but you can bet they’ll pop up once the first issue hits the stands early this May! That’s MUTANT, TEXAS – TALES OF SHERIFF IDA RED coming your way all this summer from Oni press! Line-up courtesy of the awesome J. Bone!

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Jingle Belle™ © 2004 Paul Dini, all rights reserved