Marvel Comics: The Untold Story by Sean Howe

In recent years, comics history as a discipline has become quite popular. Back in the 1970s, when my older brother occasionally drove me to Bob Sidebottom’s Comic Collector Shop on San Fernando Street in San Jose, the only widely available explorations were Jules Feiffer’s The Great Comic Book Heroes, Steranko’s two-volume History of Comics, and […]

Bela Lugosi

Lugosi lives on for posterity not so much as an actor but as the personification of his greatest character. When he performed as Dracula, Lugosi spoke for his own personal legacy as much as for his character when he pronounced the immortal line, “I am Dracula.” – The very essence of vampiric dreadHad fled […]

An Observation at the Reno Airport

A juggernaut, he parts the startled crowdWith promised force alone.  The mothers hideTheir children, chiding those who speak out loud;The men retreat, unmindful of their pride.All travelers give him space, and no one wakesThe colors on his skin, bizarre designsEntwining his arms, ouroboros snakesBeginning where they end and primed to strike!He moves unquestioned like an […]

The Final Lecture

. . . so then I said, “That brings to mind the debtsIncurred by Edward, King of England, howThe Bardi and Peruzzi almost metTheir ruins for loaning him such large amounts.”I tried to help him, but he never getsIt.  “Old-world financiers could make it out,”I’d offered while he rolled his eyes, “And soCan you.”  But […]

Today’s Guest Speaker: The Anti-Hamlet

Torn up by buckshot hormones, teenage mindsCan’t take in any information, saveThat spring consumes itself outside.  Ten daysUntil school’s through!  The learning curve defiesMy chalkboard stats.  A talk on suicidePrevention must seem strange when kids have madeOut graduation gift lists, and far awayReside the thousand natural shocks of life. The teacher snuffs his cigarette, says, […]

An Overnight Crisis Worker at Quitting Time

No spring in sight.  The wounded morning shedsDark, clotted clouds across a winter sky.Another shift wraps up.  I helped a manWho’d sealed himself inside a plastic sofaBag then sprayed himself with golden paint —The fumes would kill him, but he’d leave behindA scintillating corpse.  AmbivalenceWon out for him, but not for this year’s spring.A slight […]

King Vidor’s The Big Parade

The events of World War I catalyzed certain technological advances in combat.  What humanity now calls weapons of mass destruction first appeared in the form of chlorine gas, concocted by Fritz Haber, head of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Physical Chemistry, who after using himself as a test subject witnessed from a distance its use […]