Thursday, January 28, 2010

Orphans Successful

No injuries. No arrests. Even Hank Magitz had nothing to complain about when all was said and done last night at The Black River Barn in Randolph, NJ, where the Orphans reunited for the first time in more than two decades. Pictured below: lead guitartist Rich Grunes looking guilty, as usual.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

My Sensei's Tougher That Your Sensei

Hanshi Richard Lenchus, founder of The Legend (a hybrid Shotokan system) wrote to his blackbelts this morning:

Learning 22 katas doesn't mean anything if you can't do one well, but I have this problem of loving to teach even things I don't know well, as you all know. I think you all should go to Staten Island at least once a week to be polished up... Here are the katas I have taught you all:

Heian Shodan
Heian Nidan
Heian Sandan
Heian Yondan
Heian Godan
Tekki Sho
Tekki Ni
Kanku Sho
Kanku Dai
Bassi Sho
Bassi Dai
Elbow Kata
Sepai (goju kata)

In Vermont we also did:
Gojushiho Sho
Gojushiho Dai
Mask 1
Mask 2
Bo kata Evening Storm

We must review all before we go on to:
Nijushiho Sho
Nijushiho Dai
Tekki San

Orphans Reunion Tonight!

The Orphans, those late-1980’s post-garage-rock wunderkinder hailing from Rockaway, New Jersey and Parts Unknown, will be reprising their frenetic pop-Rockaway-rock experience tonight only at The Black River Barn in Randoph, New Jersey. Fronted by Hank Magitz (vocals, rhythm guitar) and Jim Reeber (vocals, keyboards) and featuring Rich “what are the chords?” Grunes on lead guitar, the Orphans last appearance was at CBGB’s in 1989.

Rumor has it that Moshe “Tok Sho” Morgenstern, an original member of the flab four, will be sitting in on bass. “It wouldn’t be the same without Morganstern—we'd be in tune,” quipped Magitz in a rare phone interview this morning from his home in Parts Unknown.

“We expect all of our fans to turn out for this long-awaited event,” said Reeber, who has spent the last two decades fronting New Jersey’s Own Hoi Polloi. “We’ve reserved a table in the back for them.”

The Orphans disbanded in 1989, shortly after their fabled CBGB’s appearance, when Morganstern elected to pursue a solo career, which led to the hideous state of unemployment he now finds himself in. “If you’re not willing to die for your art, or at least kill for it, you’re just another gut worm,” said a bitter Magitz to Rolling Stone at the time of the band’s breakup. Magitz, who refused to revisit the bitter momment in this morning's brief interview, has a new book that will be available in March.

The Orphans will be taking the stage tonight after 10:30. Everyone should be good and drunk by then.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Books for Sale: The Meth Library

This post will be updated regularly as I add new books.

Many of my books are now out of print. I have author's copies of each of the following. If you'd like one or more, email me at Also, let me know if you want books signed or personalized.

Books written by Clifford Meth:
Billboards (IDW Publishing, 2009) - hardcover - $15

This Bastard Planet (Aardwolf Publishing, 1996) Cover by Joe Linsner - TPB $8

Conflicts of Disinterest (Aardwolf Publishing, 2004) TPB $10

Crawling From the Wreckage (Aardwolf Publishing, 1998) Cover by Joe Kubert - TPB -$10
god's 15 Minutes (Aardwolf Publishing, 2004) Cover by Wm. Michael Kaluta, afterword by Harlan Ellison - 244-pg. hardcover $35

god's 15 Minutes (Aardwolf Publishing, 2004) - Trade paperback of above - $22

Aardwolf #1 (rare comic from Aardwolf Publishing, 1994) - Cover by Gray Morrow and art by Dave Cockrum. Contains two Meth stories. Signed by Gray Morrow, Dave Cockrum & Clifford Meth. - $6

Snaked #1-3 (comic series from IDW Publishing, 2008) - Cover by Ash Wood, art by Rufus Dayglo, story by Clifford Meth; full series (all three comics) $12

Edited by Clifford Meth:
Strange Kaddish (Aardwolf Publishing, 1996) Stories from Harlan Ellison, Neil Gaiman, Clifford Meth, Bill Messner-Loebs, others; art by Gray Morrow, Dave Cockrum, Nelson deCastro, Mike Pascale - $10

Stranger Kaddish (Aardwolf Publishing, 1997) Stories from Harlan Ellison, Neil Gaiman, Clifford Meth, Peter David, Bill Messner-Loebs, Mike Pascale, Ilan Stavans and Walter Cummins; art by Bill Messner-Loebs, Janet Aulisio, Paty Cockrum; cover by Dave Cockrum - $12

The Dave Cockrum Benefit Auction Catalog (Heritage Auctions, 2004) - $5.00

Lori by Robert Bloch (IDW Publishing, 2009) - $12.00

Heroes and Villians (Two Morrows, 2005) The ltd. edition William Messner-Loebs benefit sketchbook, with cover art by Neal Adams and contributions from John Cassaday, Dave Cockrum, Gene Colan, Alan Davis, Adam and Andy Kubert, Joe Kubert, Joe Quesada, John Romita Jr. and Walt Simonson... and essays by Clifford Meth and Neil Gaiman - $25

Other books worth having in your library:

Whirlwind: Stories and Art by Dave Cockrum (Aardwolf Publishing, 1997) Ltd. edition; cover by Marie Severin, introduction by Chris Claremont. - $10

Monday, January 18, 2010

Kelly Freas Covers Meth

My new book is finally being solicited. And it features a cover by the sensational Kelly Freas art by Mike Henderson, a foreword by Bob Duggan, an introduction by punk-rock legend Richard "Handsome Dick" Manitoba and an afterword by the brilliant Avram Davidson. And Aardwolf Publishing is offering it with a money-back-if-not-delighted guarantee. How's that for confidence?
Order it here.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Tag: You're a Fag

Joe Louis never went through this. Neither did Jackie Robinson. But apparently you haven’t made it as a Black athlete today until you’re accused of being gay.
Some scumbag with an agenda or a vendetta or just out to shake things up comes along and says, “Tag: You’re gay,” and he says it on the internet and boom, that’s it—there goes a man’s reputation. At least for a week. As Harlan Ellison once quipped to me, the internet is the greatest villain of the 21st Century because it makes all information suspect.

This just happened to Atlanta Falcon’s fullback Ovie Mughelli. A nameless maggot pops up out of the dirt and tags the big man with the stigma just to hurt this football pro’s rep and before you know it, it’s a running wildfire on the Black Gay Chat boards and a few celeb-wanna-be gossip blogs. Why? Because people without real lives—the sycophants and bottom-feeders—to say nothing of those with a must-politicize-my-perversion agenda—are willing to take any goddamn piece of gross gossip without validation or proof and run it up the fagpole… er flagpole.

Face it home boys: The worst thing you can call a Black athlete is gay. Not that there’s anything wrong with it, hahaha.

Fortunately, big Ovie didn’t take the bait, didn’t dignify the no-name who allegedly “outed him”. I suspect he’s too busy with the ladies to pay it any mind. Reminds me of a joke about the Pope.

Bottom line: If you believe half the things people say about your favorite athletes, you’re a bigger fool than the people saying it. I just listened to Ovie’s agent, Todd France, brush the whole thing off on 790 the Zone. No big deal, said France. Just another day in the life of an agent. But this small voice is sick of internet graffiti.

Photo of Ovie Mughelli. If this is gay, sign me up!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Gene Colan on the Flap

Here's the flap copy (below) for The Invincible Gene Colan. If you didn't order this yet you're not as smart as you think you are. Get a signed/numbered one here.

For 65 years, Gene Colan has been a mainstay of the comic book industry. He is easily one of comicdom’s five most important artists. You can name the other four.

Born in the Bronx in 1926, Colan began drawing at the tender age of three then launched his professional career at the legendary Fiction House in 1944. Following a two-year stint with the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II, Colan returned to full-time illustration work for Marvel Comics’ precursor Timely Comics then spent the majority of his career at Marvel until announcing his semi-retirement in 2008 (at the age of 82).

At one point or another, Colan worked on nearly every major Marvel character, but his defining work on such books as Daredevil, Iron Man, Dr. Strange, Howard the Duck and Tomb of Dracula set industry standards that could not be denied. Beloved by fans and pros alike, Colan was finally inducted into the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 2005 and is now recognized as one of the industry’s most influential pioneers.

But all of these words mean nothing. Open this book. Gene Colan’s magnificent art says it all.

THE INVINCIBLE GENE COLAN is a moving visual biography of Gene Colan’s Marvel career and most memorable work. Comics culture’s leading luminaries—from Stan Lee to Neil Gaiman—lend analysis and insight to Colan’s inimitable, captivating work. Edited by author and comics historian Clifford Meth, THE INVINCIBLE GENE COLAN is a stunning, long-overdue tribute to Gene “The Dean” Colan, Marvel’s one and only Iron Horse.

Monday, January 11, 2010

JR Weighs In on Celebrity Extortion

JR--front man of The Septimus Orion Project (and formerly of NJ's legendary horror-punk act Rosemary's Babies) offers us some ideas on how to treat celeb-sucking bottom feeders:

Extorting celebrities seems to me to be an offensive act of desperation. It is an attack on individuals who usually do nothing more than entertain the public. Committing that evil sin brings them healthy paychecks, and the envy of many. As horrific as it is in itself, it seems to me to be even more insidious on a deeper level.

I think of it as an attack on a system that permits financial gain based on personal achievement. Value exchange is a fundamental component of the free market. Someone develops their talent and skill, then provides what others want. When creepy slime balls rise up to loot the earnings of celebrities, they are looting the riches built upon individual freedom. They are exploiting a system that enables the self-made, the entrepreneur. Extortionists are barren thieves whose actions undermine those aspects of our lives that give us hope. Moreover, their selfish, stupid acts are based on the fact that great things are achieved by imperfect human beings. As such, the extortionist wants us to be ashamed of our humanity, and despises a world where others can act where they themselves are impotent. They detest those who rise despite their flaws. They want not only to steal money, they want to steal glory, attention and power.

I have a suggestion. Jail time is not always the best answer to a crime, so lets get creative. Since greed is a human failing, let's mete out justice based on that fact. I think extortionists should be stripped of their rights, rendered incapable of working in their chosen fields, or even of getting menial jobs. They should be made slaves, working for food and shelter only. This way, they can know what it is like to suffer for being human. --JR

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Celebrity Muggings

The Tiger Woods hoopla seems to have died out since I last mentioned it but in retrospect 2009 turned out to be a great year for selling celebrity secrets. John Travolta and David Letterman come to mind. Cindy Crawford. Why do I think Michael Jackson’s death had something to do with one?

I would like to have written Letterman’s monologue where he described his sexual liaisons with staffers. Kurt Vonnegut would’ve done a brilliant job with Bill Clinton’s, no? But that's besides the point. The point? Most of the crap you run into on celeb gossip pages is meant to cut a stream into someone else's business. It’s the deep-pockets theory, folks, as in these people have them. So some ratbastard holds a gun to their heads and attempts to tap the exchequer. Extortion is a constant threat to the rich and famous. Heavy lies the head that wears the crown.

And for every extortion case you hear about, there’s ten you don’t, according to an article I recently read. In the Travolta, Letterman and Crawford cases, the attempts to squeeze money resulted in criminal charges. Of course, I prefer the way Bobby Blake handled the ho who tried to extort him. Allegedly handled. And you can take dat to da bank.

Ian Anderson / Jethro Tull - Speaks Out

I am transcribing a new Interview with Ian Anderson. In the mean time, here's a look back:

Meth: The last time we spoke was backstage at The Meadowlands in New Jersey as we watched the Berlin Wall coming down on a monitor.

Anderson: I remember it well. Our German Tour manager broke down and cried when he heard the news and saw it on Television. Over here [in Germany] Mikhail Gorbachev appeared on a TV show that I also did a few months back and he got a standing ovation for five minutes on prime-time Saturday night TV. They don't let the audience applaud that long unless it's someone somewhere a little upscale from the Pope in people's love and admiration. He set in motion all these things and it was a momentous day. And now here I am in Germany on tour with a somewhat beleaguered economy as a result of paying for the old Eastern German integration into the German economy, but even now people still have a very big... Anyone over the age of 15 will remember those breaking news captions.

Meth: While we're on geo-politics, most pop musicians have come out strongly against the U.S. and U.K.'s War in Iraq. What's your position on the subject?

Anderson: I don't know. It's difficult to have an opinion that is clear cut about an issue as complex as this. I was having a discussion with a German friend in Germany two nights before the U.K. and U.S. attacked Iraq, and I was saying that if they go through with this, this will be years and years to come of a commitment from the U.K., U.S., and whoever else is foolish to go along with it. This is taking the lid off of a very dangerous country. And whether you like it or not, the evil Sadam Husein is the guy who kept that lid on and kept Iraq essentially free from being what it is now, which is a state that is fostering the most violent terrorism currently on the planet--at least most frequently violent in the sense that the number of deaths of American soldiers is over 1,000; the number of on-going casualties this week was 50 people. And that's just another day in Baghdad. This is not something that will get a quick fix on January 30 any more than when Afghanistan voted in, this morning, the man in the green cloak, who seems a perfectly reasonable chap, but there is no way he is in control of Afghanistan, let alone the enormous increase in opium and therefore heroin production that has occurred since Afghanistan was so-called "liberated."

It's all good and well playing with the ideas of democracy, but life ain't that simple. Whereas I don't think I can be one of those people who is saying I think the U.S. should pull out of Iraq--or the U.K. or any of the so-called coalition, which amounts to a few hundred other people (laughs). Far and away the U.S. is bearing the brunt of this and will do for years to come. I'm talking about the poor, old people who will have to fund the tens of billions that this will continue to cost the U.S.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Steve Englehart - Max August Lives Again

Received the following letter from SF and comics writer Steve Englehart. I will soon be interviewing Steve, whose work I've admired since boyhood, for this blog and others. Stay tuned:

The Point Man, the first book in the Max August series, will be on sale March 2, and The Long Man, the second book, will be out on March 16, two weeks later. The Point Man is a reissue of a book that came out in 1981.... I've made very slight changes to it, all based around one simple fact: the first time around, Max was 33 years old in 1980, when the story takes place. When I got the idea to make Max timeless and watch him live through time, starting in 1980, I thought it would be easier to do keep track of his life if he were to do it in round numbers. So for the new edition, I made him 30 in 1980. He was, then, 35 in 1985, when he became immortal--and he's been 35 ever since, as we shall see. Everything else about the book has stayed the same. It still takes place between Christmas and New Year's 1980--a point I must make so you don't wander in blind and wonder why Max is the king of AM radio, or what AM radio is. It still involves a normal guy who stumbles into a world he, like most people, has no idea exists. Many books, when republished, are "brought up to date," but that's exactly what I didn't want to do--couldn't do--with The Point Man. Each book in the series, including that one, is a snapshot of its time. Max doesn't change, physically, but the world around him does, and quite a bit. Welcome to the life of an immortal man. Well, it turns out that immortality is more complex than it might appear. The Long Man is set at Halloween 2007, and Max, as noted, stopped aging in 1985, but his life has gotten more and more bizarre in the two decades since then. One obvious thing is that most--but not all--of the people he knew in 1980 are either much older than he is or gone altogether. His familiarity with the hidden world has changed a lot, thanks to what he learned in The Point Man and nearly thirty years of first-hand experience. And the faces of evil have changed as well. I'm not going to say any more than that right now, since--if you haven't read The Point Man, or read it lately--I don't want to give stuff away. Then will come The Plain Man, set at Midsummer 2009...but that's literally a story for another time.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Harlan Ellison's Phone Number

Some yutz searched my blog today for Harlan Ellison's phone number (as if I would list it; you people are getting dumber). I know this because I use Google analytics (which reminds me that my Google stock is up nearly 90% over the last 12 months; bought it when the rest of you panicked in '08; I'm getting smarter). Anyway, I took this as a sign from above to call my old friend.

What did we talk about? None of your business. But I'll tell you this: Having a pal like Harlan to call from time to time is one of the gifts from above. Some of you only have me.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

60% Off Dave Cockrum's Personal Golden-Age Blackhawk Comics Collection

Dave's favorite title. And he had all of them.
Proceeds benefit Dave Cockrum's widow. And these prices are sensational. Have a look.