Archive for the ‘Identities’ Category

Flagging your identity

May 7, 2022

Friday’s Wayno/Piraro Bizarro (Wayno’s title: “Logo Design”):

(#1) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 2 in this strip — see this Page.)

There’s a relatively straightforward implicature from what Superman says, that there was a time when he didn’t wear an identifying logo — “the big red emblem” — but used only his spit curl (BrE kiss curl) to identify himself.

(Well, there is the rest of the costume, including the cape, but I suppose the idea is that those items would merely identify him as some superhero or another, speeding through the streets and airspace of Metropolis, but would fail to distinguish him from all the others. While the spit curl would have been something unique; it could have been, oh, a goatee, red eye shadow, pixy ears, a big butch metal neck chain, red knee pads with S on them, brass knuckles, high-heeled boots, any manner of things, but a spit curl ought to work.)

As it happens, in his early appearances, starting with Action Comics #1 in June 1938, Superman had the S shape on his chest, but not on his forehead. What to make of that? — Has he forgotten? Is he confabulating? Or does his use of “is too subtle” not implicate a spit-curl-only period?

Perhaps it merely conveys that when he started his career he, or maybe Martha Kent, realized that spit curls alone apparently are, as a general matter, insufficient to distinguish exceptional individuals from the herd, so added the logo from the beginning; in that case, he might have said “an S-shaped spit curl apparently would have been too subtle [for our purposes]”, so they axed the spit curl completely in favor of the much less subtle logo.


Melecio / Biaggi

August 7, 2021

(Much talk of men’s bodies and sex between men, in street language, and just-at-the-XXX-border images, so entirely unsuitable for kids and the sexually modest.)

This posting is an offshoot of another posting in progress, about the playful sexual slang trouser trout ‘penis’. One notable use of the compound is as the name of a gay porn flick from 2007 (from the Monster Bang section of Raging Stallion). That led me to one of the flick’s stars (Antonio Biaggi — Juan Melecio in real life, but he uses Biaggi offscreen for many purposes) and his recent political career in Wilton Manors in South Florida. So: reflections on juggling identities, on the lives of pornstars, and the management of spoiled, or tainted, identities.

I’ll jump right in with some of the hard stuff.


Edward Winter

December 3, 2019

… the actor, who recently popped up twice on my vintage tv, first in a 1981 episode of The Greatest American Hero and then in a 1985 episode of Cagney & Lacey — where I instantly recognized him from his recurring character Colonel Flagg on M*A*S*H, from 1973-79. I was of course interested in him as a member of what I’ve called the Acting Corps (actors who get regular work and so pop up in movies or on tv, notably or inconspicuously, in various roles; also in him as a man with a conventionally good-looking face, a leading-man style of face (rather than a character-actor face); and also in him as someone with a strong and recognizable actorial persona, which runs through a number of his performances.

A standard p.r. head shot of Winter from the 1970s/80s:



The existential question

October 11, 2019

In today’s Zippy strip, Zerbina and Zippy contemplate their existence — ever an issue for self-aware cartoon characters:


How do we know we exist? And if this perilous sort of existence, created in the mind and (literally) at the hands of an artist, fails to be validated by those in the outer, non-cartoon, world, are we nothing but a dream (sweetheart)?

Perhaps a concern for all of us, but especially pointed for cartoon characters. Who will speak for them, especially now that Mad Magazine is gone?


Will the real Zippy please stand up?

April 20, 2019

Yesterday’s Zippy takes us to Littleton (NH, not the more famous CO — or, for that matter, IL, IA, KY, ME, MA, NC, or WV), where our Pinhead falls into an identity crisis:


Everybody, including the counterman, is Zippy, or at least a Zippy. And the strip begins with a stretch that is both two panels, each with a Zippy in it, and one full-diner-view panel, with two Zippys in it. We’re in the nightmare world of clones — who am I?

Then there’s the observation in the last panel: No one brings small problems into a diner. Certainly, an interpretation of what happened in the strip before this, though as that it’s crucially ambiguous. But maybe also a moral that we should take away from those events, a piece of advice about what we should or should not do.


The return of Lazlo?

June 30, 2015

Today’s Zippy finds Lazlo and Connie holed up, unhappily, in a motel near Duluth:


The Pinhead life begins to look attractive, even congenial.


The Crannich chronicles

June 29, 2015

A missing part of the saga of character actor Lazlo Crannich in Zippy. Earlier postings led up to a discussion of identities and performances, and then Lazlo agonized unhappily about his job portraying Zippy, through a series of strips, until he simply fled the scene and escaped to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.


Auditioning to be Zippy

June 28, 2015

When we last heard from Lazlo and Connie, the actors who perform Zippy and Zerbina, they had fled to Copper Harbor MI (where they were staying at the King Copper Motel). The story then shifted (on June 24th) to Griffy and the task of finding replacements for the actors. The first strip in this story line: