Thursday, September 30, 2010


When I was a kid, I never believed in Santa Claus, because we went Christmas shopping with my mother; besides, young scientist that I was, I knew no man that fat would fit down our chimney.
However, there WERE a few really strange things I did believe....
Most people stir coffee, tea, etc., I believed that if you stirred it anti-clockwise, it would unmix.
I heard someone use the phrase, "skeleton in the closet" when I was about six, so I became convinced that there was one in our upstairs hall closet, waiting to jump out and grab me as I walked down the hall to bed.
I also believed in the Toilet Monster, a creature that lived in the pipes, and was awakened by the sound of the toilet flushing at night, and would try to get you if you weren't fast enough.
I believed that the stockboys who worked at the supermarket had the additional task of going out and shooting the Thanksgiving turkeys sold in the store.
I believed that thunder was angels bowling....thanks, Mom; storms weren't as scary.
I believed that the phone ringing at night was dead people trying to call you...thanks a lot, Rod Serling, and my cousin, Todd.
I thought mechanical fortune tellers were alive; they still give me the lightweight creeps.
The Dreamland Theater had its restrooms in the basement, and to get to the men's room, you had to pass these three red steel doors, with padlocks on them; I was positive that that's where the monsters were kept between pictures. Once, as I was coming back from the restroom, I noticed that the farthest away door was I walked (carefully) past it, it began to open, and I ran like a missile up the stairs.
I stopped believing in such silly things as an adult...although I still cringe a bit if a phone rings at night.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

MARVEL, 1960's

Now, I'm sure some folks may wonder why I've written a blog on Marvel, when I just wrote one on comic books...

The best answer is, you hadda be there.

Picture this-it's the early sixties, and you're a regular comics reader. If you're a guy, you're probably reading DC, the home of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, etc. You've been reading them for a few years, and they're okay, but a bit, well...generic.

Bad guy shows up.

Hero shows up, to stop bad guy.

Bad guy throws some kinda monkey wrench into hero's plans.

Hero goes home, paces, talks to butler, dog, whatever.

Hero sees (hears, smells, whatever) something that gives him....AN IDEA!

Hero faces bad guy again, uses idea to defeat him.

Hero flies (swings, runs, drives, swims) away, whilst delivering witty / cute tag line.

For Wonder Woman, read, "heroine".

Yawnsville, daddy-o.

Suddenly, you see a strange title on the racks, or someone lets you read their new comic, and you're blown away....

A hero makes money using his powers, but can't cash the check because he has no I.D. with his codename on it.

One of the strongest men in the world has a teenage gang harassing him, 'cause they dig him; he's from the 'hood, after all.

And so much more.
What really made Marvel special back then was not just the stories, or the art, but the Marvel Bullpen, and their relationship to the fans, the Marvelites....
STAN the Man LEE
Jazzy JOHNNY ROMITA, and all the rest, those magical grown-ups who had such a ball turning out this modern American folklore, and making us a welcome part of it. Sure, DC had Letters pages in its comics, but they were nothing like Marvel. The Marvel Letters pages were like a big treehouse, where anyone who could climb up was welcome, and had a voice, not to mention that they were just downright fun.
Marvel has changed, and to be honest, I don't like some of what they've done in the past few years. However, Uncle Stan is still around, the films recall the magic of those days, and we Original FrontFacers have long memories.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Strictly speaking, I don't read comic books anymore; I occasionally read graphic novels, which are sometimes made up of stories from particular comics, and I enjoy the live-action and animated films put out by DC and Marvel. However....
There's nothing like going into the local candy store, or drugstore, or wherever, and seeing new comic books on the racks. Even if your favorite titles aren't in sight, you're inspired to dig through the racks until you find them, or the counterguy says, in an exasperated tone, "Hey, this ain't a gonna BUY sumthin'?"
The bright colors. The title logos. The cover art, sometimes having nothing at all to do with the story inside-this was what dimes were for, to buy these gems of fantasy and wonder, crafted just for you. The tingly thrill of pulling each desired title from its niche, wanting to read them right there, but wanting to wait until you reached the comfort and privacy of your room or favorite space. Savoring each story, cheering inside as the hero defeats the bad guys, saves the city, or the world, or maybe just the girl, and still managing to keep his secret identity intact.
Comics have changed a lot, and I fell off the merry-go-round at some point. The animated versions of DC's heroes and Marvel's live-action films seem pretty close to the characters I lovingly read for twenty-five years, fallen, flawed people with the desire to do good, and to uphold justice, not by concensus or committee, but by simple, basic right and wrong.
That, it has always seemed to me, is the way to go.

Friday, September 17, 2010


So sue me...I love bad cinema.

It probably stems from being exposed to Ghoulardi at the age of seven, and all the other purveyors of cinecheese that warped my young mind.

The fact that pot and bad movies go together so well didn't hurt, either.

Back in the mid-70's, on Saturday afternoon, I'd head over to Mike's, or Dave's, and we'd tune in "MAD THEATER"on Channel 43 at noon; Super-Host would run two movies back to back, along with his arch commentary about local and national government (Supe's Sivics). We'd fire up a joint or the bong, and get mellow.

At four, 43 would show another movie, generally also horror or SF; we'd raid the fridge, or walk up to the store for munchies. "STAR TREK" came on at six, and "SPACE:1999" at seven.

"THE STAR MOVIE" began at eight, and was also often a trip...we'd get lit again, and hit the streets at ten, well-buzzed and happy.
In the 80's, Lorain Twin Cinema began Dollar Night on Monday and Wednesday -we'd catch horror, SF, and action-adventure flicks, and vote amongst us as to how much of a dollar the movie was worth.
Today, of course, I can rent DVDs of really awful movies (or buy them), and I don't get high anymore, but I still love cheese...having YouTube on computer and THIS Network on TV helps.
Generally, watching these films is a solo experience these days; my friends are a thousand miles away, or passed on. However, I lift my glass to absent friends, and shout "GO GO GODZILLA!", as the Big G hits the Big T again.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


They were talking on the news about another move to legalize pot in be honest, I don't really have a strong stance on it, one way or another.
I smoked pot for years, the last time being about eighteen or so months ago. By that time, I wasn't smoking it daily, as I once had, or even weekly, nor was it something I felt I HAD to have. I looked at it as I look at the occasional beer I might drink, something I do once in a while, not to excess (the Bible prohibits drunkenness, not alcohol use), and I don't see it as something I'm contemplating in the near future.
For me, the fact that pot is currently illegal is the sticking point; as a Christian, I'm supposed to shy away at lawbreaking, as long as the law does not oppose the Word, 4-X, if there were suddenly a law requiring public worship to Obama, I'd defy it, privately and publicly, for worship is to be given only to God through Christ Jesus. I didn't always feel this way about it, but I'm more comfortable leaving it alone.
If pot ever becomes legal, I'd consider taking it up again, with the same self-restrictions I place on alcohol ; indeed, if it comes to overall safety, I'd give pot the edge. I wouldn't smoke it looking to fill a hole in my life (BT-DT-GTTS), but just as a relaxant. I don't crave the high, but I'm not above being nostalgic about the feeling.

Friday, September 10, 2010


Yes, I am a Christian, and a fundamentalist, at that; basically, all that means is that I believe that the Bible is literally true, i.e. if Genesis says that everything was created in six days, I believe that...why not? We're talking about capital-G God, here.
To be a fundamentalist Christian means to believe that (A) man is a fallen creature, in need of salvation, (B) faith in Christ is the only means of salvation, not any other belief, and (C), some things are just plainWRONG in the eyes of God, and man saying that they're okay counts for nothing.
Having said these things, let's talk about what Christianity DOESN'T mean....
(A)-It doesn't mean that jews, muslims, homosexuals, etc. are going to Hell because of what they are...if they go, it's because of what they do not have, that saving relationship with Christ.
(B)-It doesn't mean that I'm to hate people. 4-X, I don't hate muslims, but I hate islam, because it's decieving people into Hell, same for mormons, jehovah's witnesses, satanists, whatever.
(C)- It doesn't mean that I'm somehow "better" than people who're not saved. I still have my sin nature, and I sin daily; we all do. The ONLY difference is that I have believed in Christ, that He is the Son of God, and God, the Son, that He came to earth as a human, lived, bled, suffered, died, and rose again, to pay man's sin debt.
(D)- I don't witness to people because I want to "force my beliefs on them", or because I hate them...I can't force anyone to believe anything. And, if I hated other people, I'd simply remain silent about Christ, and watch them trip merrily off to Hell.
Ask the Holy Spirit for knowledge, and understanding....if you're sincere, you will recieve it.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


Sometimes, you just gotta do what you feel is right, regardless. I must admit, I would've handled this differently now, but at the time, it seemed the way to go.
My dog, Nipper, had no leash or collar, or a licence. I figured, he faithfully followed me everywhere and behaved himself, so what's the use of binding him up? As far as the licence, I saw it as just more Big Brother interference.
Anyway, one day he and I are at the store along with Ralph, the beagle from next door. The three of us are walking back when I spot this low-slung, dirty blue city truck-THE DOGCATCHER! I shout, "RUN, guys", and we take off for home, Ralph racing up on his porch, Nip and I ducking in our front door. Thing is, the Kraut saw us, and came straight to my house.
He couldn't take Nip; we were in the house, and it was a first offense, but he issued me a citation, to appear in court the following Monday.
So, there I was , before the Honorable Valentine Toth, explaining why my dog didn't need any of these things, and why I, as a citizen of this great country, didn't believe in them. Judge Toth listened patiently, then explained to me how, my beliefs notwithstanding, the law was the law, and I was fined ten dollars.
At the time, I didn't have ten bucks, nor was I inclined to hand it over anyhow. The Judge said, "Mr. Hopewell, you may pay the fine, or spend a day in jail." With the strains of "One Tin Soldier" ringing in my ears, I stuck out my wrists for the bailiff.
The worst part was all the razzing I took for going to jail over a dog. Thing is, Nip was my friend, and sometimes, you make the hard choice for a friend, and for a principle.
Y'know, had I a friend like Nipper today....I might do it again.

Friday, September 3, 2010


I miss school.
True, by high school, some of the fun of it had worn off, but I miss that anticipation of a new year, new class, teacher, new students, sometimes.
Until the fifth grade, I went to school with the same kids...then we moved, and I spent a year getting used not only to new kids, but a new grade school-4-X, you ate lunch at the school, rather than going home for lunch, as before. Near the end of sixth grade, we moved back to the original area, and when I started Junior High in the fall, it was with kids from both grade schools I'd attended.
Hawthorne was an old school, and a lot of the teachers had been there when my mother had been a student. Still, just the novelty of going to different rooms with different teachers for each subject made it interesting.
To be honest, I wasn't a very good student then... I'd sorta dropped out of participation in society, not a smart choice, but it was the one I made. I still learned, and enjoyed learning- I just didn't do homework.
It's almost expected to say that kids today have it easier in school than we did, but I disagree. We didn't have to face drugs, people with guns, and the thousand and one factions that attempt to lay claim to the souls of children today, not to mention apathetic teachers and agenda-driven school boards.
If I had the chance to go back today, and do it over....I wouldn't.