May 31st, 2008

The Zombie

...And Hat's A Wrap!

"May 29, 30, 31" -  Hey there!  As you may have guessed from my last post of several days ago, my wife (The WOMP Staff) returned the favor and gave back the flu that I'd earlier given her.  Fun!  Now we're both drippy and grouchy and generally feeling like half-wrung sponges.  Oh, we'll have our moments of lucidity, thanks to the cheapest meds that Wal-Mart can provide...which is a good thing, since we both have to go to work each day.  We have had some recent fun (listed below) in our time off, but it has been stingily interspersed amongst hours of nose-and-throat reddening snortling and hacking.  Still, we had quite a weekend here at WOMP Headquarters.  For example...

1) Son of Frankenhoff - On Saturday, we entertained the duo of O.F.O.WOMP Brent Frankenhoff and his nine-year-old son, Bradley.  My hometown, Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, was Brent's old stomping ground in the lean years before he became Comics Buyer's Guide Bottlewasher-In-Chief, so he was pretty excited to be able to show Brad some of the places of which he often speaks.  Stopping first to pick me up, we went to legendary Pete's Hamburgers (where Brad experienced the traditional "standing in line for a Pete's"), then past the radio station where Brent had honed that distinctive voice, and finally to Lawler Park, right on the edge of the Mississippi River.  While Brent and I caught up a little, Brad happily devoured his Pete's burger, probably not realizing how perfect the setting was.  It was truly a classic Prairie du Chien experience.  After the wind began to pick up, we all headed back to WOMP Central.  There, I loaded Brad down with lots of free Monkey stuff (including The Adventures of Monkey comics, a hat, and even monkey socks), and then drew a big caricature portrait of him for his Mom, Kim.  All too soon, they were off.  It was a short visit, but it was a lot of fun!

2) A Wundterful Surprise - Just before the B&BF visit, I discovered that the intrepid e-reporter Brian Cronin, he of the super-popular Comic Book Resources on-line feature Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed, had posted an entry about everyone's favorite 1970's inker, Crusty Bunker (see it HERE)!  Even more interesting, perhaps, was that he also very graciously linked to, and even quoted from, my Lives and Time of Crusty Bunker postings here in The WOMP-Blog (via the LiveJournal Archives).  Thank you, Brian!  I'm truly humbled to have been of service (and don't even mind that he temporarily credited me as "John Wundt," for which he was so kind as to apologize here).  I just wish I'd done a more thorough job back then.  In the recent months, I've been thinking about revisiting the subject, particularly via interviews.  I've got e-mail, a digital voice recorder, AND a comics interview page (the never updated WOMP Gab Sessions, remember?), so why not?  I'll check the guest list for this year's FallCon to see if any Bunkers will be attending.  Oh, and that implies that I am, in spite of two years' worth of personal misgivings on the subject of comics conventions, attending the show again this year.  How can I not?  It's the 20th anniversary FallCon!

3) 'Net Catches More "Fish" - I assume that the mention of my LiveJournal in the Comic Book Urban Legends Thingee is why The WOMP-Blog Archives have been accessed so much recently.  In fact, we've recently picked up a couple of new Official Fish of WOMP (which, as you all know, is the first step to becoming an Official Friend of WOMP).  Welcome aboard, pepe325 and toonhead npl!

4) Harvey, We Hedley Knew Thee - Speaking of toonhead npl, on his LiveJournal (or her LiveJournal?  hmm...I guess I just assumed that toonhead npl was a guy's name) he has posted what may be the single most perfect and succinct on-line obituary ever.  Regarding the recent passing of comedian Harvey Korman, he simply wrote "so long dumdums."

5) The Truth About Hats and Dogs - OK, so I fell predictably behind on my blogging at the end of May.  Of course, it's not like the subject of "Hat Wearing Comics Characters" was all that scintillating or anything anyway.  Still, I wanted to give you all a little something extra for putting up with it.  That's why I will now, for the first time ever in print, tell you...

The Origin of Monkey's Hat!

Obviously, since Monkey is based on one of those traditional monkeys made from Red Heel socks, he came with a hat whether I knew why or not.  As I reexamined and revamped my childhood comics world back in about 1988 or so, I had to come to grips with just what my main character even is, nonetheless why he wore some sort of crazy...what is that?  A cowboy hat?  As a rule, I had tried to leave intact any of the silly explanations for things that I had invented when I was a kid, perhaps putting adult reasoning behind childish, I had to come up with some reason why a tropical native wore a reversible (white on the inside, gray on the outside) woolen hat (which is what it is supposed to be).  I'll leave the mittens and podboots to a future post, but to explain the hat, I have to just tell you one of the secrets behind Monkey's original home, the mystical African forest of Maula Mau Mee.  Although none but the pure of heart may enter MMM, it has still seen several visitors over the centuries.  One such visitor was Frederick Theodore, a survivor of the 1800's shipwreck of The Enduring Grace.  An amiable but self-assured fellow, Fred, a salty old swain, was unsurprised by the world of magically-mutated talking animals, finding many friends among them.  He greatly influenced their tiny, unique society (as did all such visitors), most notably a family of monkeys - due, in part, to his nickname "Spider-monkey," which he garnered for his aptitude for scrambling up and down ship's rigging, even in a storm.  That particular monkey family (last name: Monkey) honored his memory in many ways after he passed, including adopting and adapting Fred's wool sailor's-hat as a sort of emblem of remembrance and gratitude.  Since then, males in the Monkey family have worn similar hats, styled as they chose.  Generations later, now, Monkey wears his traditional two-color hat with the inside outwardly-rolled several times, giving it that big, puffy look.  And that's all there is to it...well, except that (and I really can't believe that I'm letting this secret out of the bag) the hat will undergo almost imperceptible, and extremely telling, changes as Monkey ages (and it'll all be "on purpose," as opposed to what readers might at first assume is just a gradual style change...hee hee).  Now, as to why Monkey's as-of-yet unseen dog, Socks, wears a hat?  Hmm.  You got me there.  Maybe he's hiding a bald spot.

6) Hat's All, Folks - So, here are what should have been your last Hat-Wearing Comic Book Characters of The Day for - May 29 - Fighting Yank, May 30 - Sgt. Rock, and May 31 - The Spirit!