Thursday, February 23, 2012 Things I Found Looking For Something Else #11

Perfect for the cephalopod-themed villain in your life.

From artist Maximo Riera

Wednesday, February 15, 2012 R.I.P. John Severin

John Severin, one of the last true illustrators working in the comics medium, has passed away.

Like a lot of kids of my generation, I first encountered Severin's work in Cracked Magazine.  He was one of the artists you'd always hope would turn up in the latest issue.  His caricatures were always spot-on, and his drawings were vividly precise and "realistic" despite the cartoony antics they involved. I still fondly remember the "Far-Out Four" (Steve Austin, Billy Jack, Kwai Chang Caine, and Henry Kissinger) story he drew from the issue above.

Much later on I encountered his work on Mavel's Kull the Conqueror.  I was blown away by the amazing detail and storytelling in every panel; you could tell that Severin was getting his Hal Foster on and loving every minute of it. I'm not a particular fan of Robert E. Howard or barbarians in general, but the series sure made me a fan of Severin. I was spurred to track down a copy of Severin's Kull II portfolio, and the hand-signed plate hangs framed in my "library".

Incredibly, Severin's talent never seemed to diminish over time. The man was still turning out great work right up to the end. Just check out this awesome 2011 piece from Dark Horse's Witchfinder series:

I'd take one John Severin over a dozen Alex Ross' any day of the week. He was one of the great under-appreciated talents of the medium*, and he will be missed.


*His sister Marie, who has survived him, is another.

Sunday, February 12, 2012 The Folk Singer & the Cave of Zombies

From Reuters:
South African man escapes zombies but not police

Tue Feb 7, 2012 10:56am EST

(Reuters) - South African police have arrested a suspected fraudster for impersonating the award-winning traditional singer Khulekani Kwakhe "Mgqumeni" Khumalo, who died in 2009.

The unnamed man, who appeared in court in the eastern KwaZulu-Natal province on Tuesday, had said he had not died but was kidnapped by a witchdoctor who cast a spell on him and imprisoned him in a cave with zombies, local media reported.

Thousands of people in Khumalo's rural eastern home village of Esiggumeni, turned out to see the man at the weekend. Riot police with truncheons and water cannons were deployed to keep the crowd under control.

"I have always been alive," he was quoted as telling the crowd by the Independent Online news site. "I have lost a lot of weight but it is me."

Police said the suspect's fingerprints do not match those of the famed singer. The man also does not have the same scars on his face as Khumalo had.

"Detectives conducting the enquiry were convinced that the matter required criminal investigation," police said in a statement.

First, hat's off for having a nickname that's more difficult to pronounce than your actual name.

Second, I love, love, love how a conman in need of a good cover story, something that can past muster with the general public, goes straight for "I was ensorceled and kept in a cave with zombies".  And it works.  At least until the po-pos showed up.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012 Real Life Supervillians Suck #4

Reported all over, but I pulled the story from KCRA TV (Sacremento, California):
Police: 'Bombs' In Bank Robbery Are Apple Pies

Suspect Allegedly Stole Undisclosed Amount Of Cash, Left Behind Suspicious Package
2:07 pm PST February 4, 2012

SACRAMENTO; Calif. -- A man who police said robbed a downtown Sacramento bank claimed he had a bomb inside a fast food bag, which turned out to be apple pies from McDonalds.

Sacramento police said Daniel Hegwood walked into the Wells Fargo bank at Capitol Avenue and 30th Street about 1:15 p.m. Saturday.

Hegwood, 33, told a teller that he had a bomb and wanted cash, Sacramento police spokesman Andrew Pettit said.

"The suspect left a package at one of the teller windows and said there was a bomb inside. He got cash from the teller and fled on foot," Pettit said.

As Hegwood exited the bank, he left behind a bag that he said contained the bomb.

Officers spotted Hegwood about a block away in the Sutter Hospital parking garage. He was wearing a red backpack.

"There was money protruding from the backpack," Pettit said.

As officers tried to take Hegwood into custody, he claimed there was an explosive inside his backpack.

Police setup a perimeter and bomb technicians searched the backpack. They found only money and items belonging to Hegwood.

Meanwhile, the bag inside the bank that the man also claimed contained an explosive actually was two hot apple pies from McDonalds, police said.

Of course, longtime comics geeks know this isn't the first time fruit pies were used to pull a heist: