No. 221 – Porcine, Moi?

Miss Piggy image courtesy ABC/John E. Barrett/The Muppets Studio

Princess Gadarina (prog 390’s (1984) “Star Fry-Up“) from the Ace Trucking Co. story On the Dangle[1] (progs 378386), written by John Wagner and Alan Grant and drawn by Massimo Belardinelli (1938–2007) v Miss Piggy of The Muppet Show (ITC Entertainment, 1976–1981), created by Jim Henson[2] (1936–1990)

Inspired by jazz and popular music singer/songwriter Peggy Lee (née Norma Deloris Egstrom, 1920–2002), Miss Piggy has in more recent times become a feminist icon, having in 2015 alone broken off her long-standing but intermittent relationship[4] with Kermit the Frog, written an article entitled “Miss Piggy: Why I Am a Feminist Pig” for Time, and received a Sackler Center First Award from the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum, New York. Announcing the news, the award’s namesake, public historian and arts activist, Elizabeth Sackler, stated that Miss Piggy was the embodiment of “spirit, determination, and grit,” who had taught millions of people valuable lessons about overcoming obstacles.

Notes:

  1. On the dangle: fictional trucker slang for “on the lam,” meaning “on the run [from the law]”
  2. Miss Piggy was performed by master puppeteer Frank Oz from 1976–2002 and by Eric Jacobson since 2001
  3. Possibly a reference to Romeo’s famous line in William Shakespeare’s (1564–1616) tragedy Romeo and Juliet (c. 1591–1595), “But soft, what light through yonder window breaks?” (Act II, Scene II)
  4. We are now, officially, a hack

No. 219 – ’60s Night at The Capon Club

Mick Jagger performing (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction[1] (London Records/Decca Records, 1965) with The Rolling Stones in May 1976, in Zuiderpark Stadion, The Hague, Netherlands (photo: Bert Verhoeff/Anefo, Nationaal Archief)

Tribute act from the Ace Trucking Co. story The Doppelgarp (progs 451472 (1986)) in prog 467, written by John Wagner and Alan Grant and drawn by Massimo Belardinelli (1938–2007) v Mick Jagger, lead singer of The Rolling Stones

The Capon[2] Club featured in The Doppelgarp probably isn’t so much based on the famous Cotton Club nightclub in Harlem, New York, as it is on The Cotton Club, Chicago; a branch of the original run by mobster Ralph “Bottles” Capone, Sr. (1894–1974), older brother to the notorious Alphonse “Al” Gabriel Capone (aka Scarface, 1899–1947), boss of the Italian-American organized crime syndicate, the Chicago Outfit, during Prohibition[3] (1920–1933).

The character Al Capon from Ace Trucking Co. is probably based on Paul Muni’s (born Frederich Meshilem Meier Weisenfreund, 1895–1967) portrayal of Tony Camonte in Scarface (United Artists, 1932).[4]

Notes:

  1. (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction was the first Stones’ No. 1 in the US charts and their fourth in the UK, initially only played on pirate radio stations in the UK due to the its sexually suggestive lyrics
  2. A cockerel that has been castrated to improve the quality of its flesh for food and, in some countries, fattened by forced feeding
  3. A nationwide constitutional ban on the production, importation, transportation, and sale of alcoholic beverages in the US
  4. ‘Cause he certainly doesn’t look like the man himself. Got a better idea? Let us know

No. 215 – True Grit

Uckpuck customs officer Rooster Cogburn in prog 467’s Ace Trucking Co. story The Doppelgarp (progs 451472, 1986), written by John Wagner and Alan Grant and drawn by Massimo Belardinelli (1938–2007) v US Deputy Marshal Reuben J. “Rooster” Cogburn played by John “Duke” Wayne (born Marion Robert Morrison, 1907–1979) in True Grit (1969)

True Grit is based on the novel of the same name (Simon & Schuster, 1968) by Charles McColl Portis, and the film was followed by a sequel, Rooster Cogburn[1] (Universal Pictures, 1975), also starring Wayne. True Grit was remade (Paramount Pictures) in 2010 by Joel and Ethan Coen with Jeff Bridges in the role of Cogburn. There was some minor controversy surrounding Bridges’ wearing of Cogburn’s eye patch over his right eye while Wayne’s Cogburn wore it over his left, with some right-wing savants entertaining the notion that it represented Bridges’ left-wing politics as opposed to Wayne’s conservative Republican politics. This was nonsense; the matter for Bridges was simply one of comfort; in Portis’ novel Cogburn has two functioning eyes and no patch.

Wayne’s portrayal of Cogburn earned him his only Academy Award for Best Actor[2]. As he accepted the award he memorably quipped, “If I’d known that, I’d have put that patch on 35 years earlier.”

Notes:

  1. Wayne’s penultimate film before The Shootist (Paramount Pictures, 1976), ending a 50 year-long career which included 169 feature-length films
  2. He was also nominated for Best Actor for his portrayal of Sgt. John M. Stryker in Sands of Iwo Jima (Republic Pictures, 1949), but lost to Sir Laurence Olivier OM [Ordre du Mérite] (1907–1989) for Hamlet (Rank Film Distributors Ltd./Universal-International, 1948)

No. 44 – Dave Cluck Five

Prog 456’s Ace Trucking Co. cover by Robin Smith vs. The Dave Clark Five

English pop rock group The Dave Clark Five (pictured here in 1964) whose single Glad All Over knocked the Beatles’ I Want to Hold Your Hand off the top of the UK Singles Chart in January 1964, were part of the “British Invasion” of the United States of British music and culture in the mid-1960s.

They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, by Tom Hanks in 2008

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No. 22 – Feek the Freak

Mictlantecuhtli image courtesy Museo de Antropología, Xalapa, Mexico

Feek the Freak from Ace Trucking Co. by Massimo Belardinelli (1938–2007) v Mictlantecuhtli (meaning Lord of Mictlan [underworld]), Aztec god of the dead

Surpassing conventional definitions of homage, worship of Mictlantecuhtli sometimes involved ritual cannibalism, with human flesh being consumed in and around his temple.

Aztec civilisation emerged in the 14th century and was consolidated into an alliance of three city-states that dominated large swathes of Mesoamerica (modern Mexico) during the 15th and 16th centuries.

No. 21 – Speedo Ghost

Massimo Belardinelli’s (1938–2007) illustration of the Speedo Ghost spacecraft featured in Ace Trucking Co. which debuting in prog 232 (1981) v Chris Foss’ cover for Planet of Treachery by Edward E. “Doc” Smith and Stephen Goldin (Panther/Granada Press, 1981)