To My Friend by Jerry Whitworth
When I was a kid, for the most part, I was the only person I knew really into comics. Occasionally, I’d run into someone else who read them but it was a fairly solitary existence. My world changed in 2003 when I bought my first computer. I worked at a retail store and rather than a Christmas bonus, they gave you a slip you could use to get 10% off any one item in the store. I used mine for a computer I put on layaway and had a family member help me bring it home because my parents didn’t have a car at the time. Getting online, I found a horde of websites about comic book knowledge like DCU Guide, DC Cosmic Teams, Heroic Images, and the Captain’s Unofficial Justice League Homepage. These sites gave me the opportunity to expand my knowledge of comics without buying longbox after longbox of comics as I had before. At some point, I befriended Jason Kirk of the Captain’s site and I became a contributor from character profiles to his listing of cinematic appearances of characters to desktop wallpapers. I produced so many background images, Jason made a mini-site called the JLA Desktop and, to supplement it, I created a Yahoo! group called the JLA Micro Desktop. It was through this group I met Glenn Walker. While the group was primarily about images, we also had debates about current comics and past comics. In my thorough research of the medium, people viewed me as some sort of comic historian and thought I was twice my age. Glenn was a frequent contributor to our discussions and he became one of my first online friends before things like MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter existed. Over the course of running the group, JLA/Avengers began publication and I decided to host a tournament on the group. People would secretly vote among match-ups I set up and I announced the winner via stories I wrote about the fight. While I was published before for two essays I wrote about my life growing up in Philadelphia and had character profiles on the Captain’s site, these stories I told about these bouts were my first fictional tales that I shared with anyone. Everyone was a fan of these short stories but perhaps none more so than Glenn. He loved them. He wanted more of them. He wanted me to write for a living so he could read these stories that came out of my head. He may have been the biggest advocate I ever had in my life to write.
Snap into your Slim Jims, and shut off your Super Nintendo Entertainment System, it’s time for the latest installment of Wrestling Time Machine!
Review: Where is Zog? TP by Jerry Whitworth
Back in 2015, creator Jeff Martin (HEAT: The Space Age of Pro Wrestling, Wrestlemon) was asked to pitch a comic to a music magazine. Listening to one of his favorite bands Gwar, the song “Where is Zog?” played which planted the seed for what became his webcomic Where is Zog? on HeavyMetal.com. The series features aliens Grum and Zill marooned on an unfamiliar world in search of the mysterious Zog. Despite its science fiction-based premise, the piece is best described as a dark comedy as Grum and Zill race from life-threatening situation to life-threatening situation with comical gore and death. A running gag of the work is the different interpretations of what a zog is to the different cultures of the alien world (which undoubtedly is a nod to the reader themselves who have little idea what the Zog the story centers around is in fact). Admittedly, I’m not really the target audience for this piece. I have little idea about Gwar where in doing research into the band and its expansive mythology, only more questions seemed to emerge (it should be noted, Martin would eventually get to contribute to a Gwar comic in the final issue of Dynamite’s GWAR: Orgasmageddon mini-series). And while there are space-based science fiction and dark comedies I enjoy, it’s slightly out of my wheelhouse. Still, I found the work to be inventive and entertaining albeit difficult to encapsulate what it is. Spending a few days considering it, I would likely qualify it as if someone took a PG-13 version of the original Heavy Metal (1981) animated film short “So Beautiful and So Dangerous” and stuck it in a blender with Undertale, 2011 ThunderCats, and Rick and Morty and you’d have some idea what you’re in for regarding Where is Zog? It’s an ongoing journey that is yet resolved where Grum and Zill’s misadventures seem to stack upon themselves more danger which, seemingly, will result in an entire planet uniting to get rid of them. You can own Where is Zog? in print via its Kickstarter which ends November 9th and should ship by the end of the year.
Review: Polybius Dreams #1 by Jerry Whitworth
Creepypastas, or horror-based urban legends from the internet, have grown in popularity in recent years with the likes of Slender Man, Candle Cove, and Jeff the Killer entering the mainstream. However, one of the earliest creepypastas is making a resurgence on the printed page. The Polybius legend is of an arcade cabinet video game called Polybius distributed by mysterious men in black to a handful of arcades in the Portland, Oregon area in 1981. These machines acted as part of a psychological experiment, one that made players addicted to it, induced various psychological affects (amnesia, night terrors, sleepwalking, depression, seizures, hallucinations, etc), and led to some committing suicide before the game disappeared a mere month after debuting. As with the other noted creepypastas, there are people out there who believe in the existence of this game (which some attribute to the early version of the 1981 Atari game Tempest which reportedly gave a player a migraine in Portland). The phenomenon surrounding Polybius even led to the development of a documentary from Todd Luoto, Jon Frechette, and Dylan Reiff that, due to lack of funds, culminated into a currently ongoing seven-part podcast series centering around Bobby Feldstein who claims the game was real and played a part in his supposed abduction (as well as the abduction of at least one other child). About six months ago, a crowdfunding effort would begin to produce the first issue of a comic book based on the legend of Polybius. Titled Polybius Dreams, Ben Grisanti, Keith Grachow, and Ester Salguero through Grisanti’s Hypnotic Dog Comics recently published its first issue and are currently crowdfunding for its second chapter of the four part series. Following a trio of lovable losers in Patrick, Paul, and Michael in 1986 Autumn Hill, NY, a mysterious new game called Polybius arrives in the small town’s arcade followed by the deaths of several youths. Friends with the arcade’s co-owner, the trio are given the opportunity to play the new addictive game after hours thus pulling them into the suspenseful mystery.
Grab yourself a bag of Butterfinger BB’s, set your VCR to record TekWar and tune in to the latest Wrestling Time Machine Column, as we flip the switches and travel back to January of 1995!
Hello my precious professional wrestling pals, and welcome to another edition of Wrestling Time Machine! We’ve got the dates keyed in on our time circuits, the Flux Capacitor is a-roaring to go, all to take us to February of 1997*!
Wrestlemon: Gotta Review ‘Em All by Jerry Whitworth
Known primarily for his webcomic HEAT: The Space Age of Pro Wrestling (fusing pro wrestling and science fiction), cartoonist Jeff Martin is combining together elements of pro wrestling with another genre in battle monsters. Wrestlemon (2017) parodies the popular Nintendo property of Pokémon (short for Pocket Monsters) while also parodying pro wrestling with allusions to lucha libre in its featured monsters and homages for the likes of “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes, “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair, Jake “The Snake” Roberts, John Cena, Demolition, Ultimate Warrior, and more. The plot revolves around rookie trainer Jacey and her Wrestlemon Technico (after the lucha libre term “tecnico” meaning technician and referring to a babyface or hero) as they begin their path toward competition in the world of Wrestlemon. In their way is Jacey’s rival Thad and his Wrestlemon Roodo (after the lucha libre term “rudo” meaning rough and referring to a heel or villain) as Thad struggles to escape the shadow of his legendary father and his Wrestlemon Flaireon. All paths lead to a Wrestlemon gym where Jacey and Thad must prove their worth as trainers and their Wrestlemon demonstrate the ability to overcome in such a highly competitive environment.
Top 10: Favorite Articles at CAC by Jerry Whitworth
Hey Stranger Rangers, I told you I’d be back and here we are. As I said in my last post, ComicArtCommunity.com and I have parted ways and over my five year career with the site, a few of my 267 articles have stood out. Previously we covered the most popular articles on CAC where now we’ll examine my favorite. The criteria for my favorite articles largely encompass one prevalent component: hard work. While I tend to invest a lot of time and energy into many of the pieces I write, some I have really needed to pore over and research. As such, many of these projects I’ve needed to care a great deal about in order to bring to completion (as I assure you, not every article I begin crosses the finish line). Of course, some of the most popular articles were also my favorite (like “Destroy All Monsters! Tokusatsu in America”) but for the sake of this list, there will be no repeats. Without further ado, my favorite articles I’ve crafted for CAC.
Top 10: Most Popular Articles at CAC by Jerry Whitworth
Hello Nerdfect Nation, this is your intrepid co-host Jerry Whitworth back with a new article. Its been a while, I know, but there’s been an important development in my life. As many of our listeners know, I’ve worked for ComicArtCommunity.com for five years but, sadly, we’ve recently parted company. No hard feelings, they’re still a great site and resource but it was time to move on. At this time, I don’t know where I’ll end up, but for now, I thought it would be fun for a small retrospective. I’ve produced 267 articles for CAC (not including the biography I wrote for the Al Rio Tribute Art Book Volume One), which is roughly on average an article a week for my time there, and certain pieces of work stand out from the rest. Thus, I will produce two Top 10 lists: first, my most popular articles and second, my favorite. Based on the number of views and unique visits, the following are the ten most popular articles I have written for CAC. Enjoy.
Good day my Wrestling Time Travel Compatriots, it is I, your humble docent through this exhibit on the History of Professional Wrestling, and today we will be continuing our journey through January of 1997!
Hello fans!!! I’m your host, Bobby Fisher, and THIS is Wrestling…Time…Machine!!! This is your go-to guide through the low-definition war zone that is the Attitude Era of Professional Wrestling.
Hello fans! I’m your guide, Bobby Fisher and this…is…THE Wrestling Time Machine! So on today’s post, we’ll be talking about November of 1996. I AM going to try to be more active on our eponymous website. So…November of 1996 was an interesting time for both of the Big Two.
The latest episode, our forty-first, just dropped the other day. Hosted by Bobby Fisher, Jerry Whitworth, and some guy named Glenn Walker, Nerdfect Strangers #41: “Gators ‘N’ Glaives” is a journey into comics, wrestling, role-playing games, and the latest batch of superheroes on television.
For visitors to this website who might wonder what the title is all about, let me tell you, Nerdfect Strangers is not just a cool name for a blog/website, it’s our podcast, and the podcast came before the website. We’re going to start to be more diligent about making folks aware of the podcast, starting now.
The latest episode, our fortieth, just dropped the other day. Hosted by Bobby Fisher, Jerry Whitworth, and some guy named Glenn Walker, Nerdfect Strangers #40: “Tales from the Pizza Bowl” is a journey into comics, wrestling, and the sitcom zaniness of “Laverne & Shirley.”