Sunday, July 24, 2011


Dreams don't come to me like they used to. This could not be more of a relief. 

From 1989 through 2004 I drank as much alcohol as my body would tolerate. There were a number of complex and boring reasons for this. One of the more colorful justifications was sleep related. When I was sober, that is to say, before I first drank, sleep came reluctantly and always brought nightmares. 

There was the one about the woman with the winking eyeball embedded in her navel. The time I was Jesus in a flooded parking garage also remains vivid. Both of these dreams are old enough to drink their ownself. 

Some times nightmares of sex with family members would haunt me. Everyone has had that one, but it doesn't make it any less disturbing. Having to explain in the dream world to one's own Grandmother as to why you are having erectile issues is a hassle no one needs, asleep or awake. That one is actually a post-sobriety one, and happened about ten years after Grandma's death. 

My oldest dreams, the ones that have stuck with me since youth are numerous. Being chased by Frankenstein's monster around the apartment complex of my youth. The dream named "hair Full of Bees." Doing battle with a top-hatted villain called The Gas Master whose powers had to do with chemistry, not flatulence. 

The worst dreams of all are the ones in slow motion, where walking is a complex conscious event. Something sinister is right behind me, and my legs don't make sense, and the air is like Jello. It feels like dwarves are standing on your chest. The threat, imagined but unseen gets closer. The touch of a malicious hand flickers across your shoulder. Death is upon you and a forced scream that spills over into waking is the only escape. 

That's the one that makes me thirsty, parched for the acidic splash of gin on a hot Summer's night at 3AM. That's the dream that wakes the cat, the wife, and prods your brain with needles the next morning when you can barely remember waking the night before.  

Sunday, July 17, 2011


All I really want to write about is Steve Ditko.

Netflix has recently added the Spider-Man cartoon from the 60's. These cartoons were my gateway into comics in 1974. I first saw the episode about the Flying Dutchman with Mysterio in a hotel room in April of that year. I was with my Grandmother and Mama in a Travel Lodge in Louisville, Kentucky just days after the big tornado. We were waiting for our new apartment to be ready, having just moved across the state from Paducah. I was 3. Grandma was 53, and Mama was 26.

The tornado caused some damage on  the roof of the complex we were moving to. So, to keep me busy, I was given free reign of the hotel room TV. Channel 41, WDRB had all the cartoons Bugs Bunny, Spider-Man, Mickey Mouse Club reruns. They also had all the monster movies on weekends. Everything from Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein to Black Sabbath. I finally watched Black Sabbath a few weeks ago, after having built it up in my head for 35 years. The scene with Boris Karloff toting the devil's head proudly still freaked me out, even more so in color.

What does any of this have to do with Steve Ditko? Quite a bit, and we'll get to that later.