Monday, November 26, 2007

Macaroni & Cheese on a Stick

So "recently" (and when I say "recently," I actually mean quite a while back) I finally made it to an honest-to-gooddness Renaissance Faire. Now, granted, I live a fairly geek-fueled lifestyle, what with my Romulan Ale (legalize it!) and my Green Lantern underpants. However, when it came to Renaissance Faires (or the much easier to type: Ren Faires) I had always had little to no interest.

Had I fallen prey to the general public's distaste for all things different and costume related? Perhaps. Nerd elitism? Maybe. Did the extra "E" in "Faire" just freak me out for no good reason? Most likely.

For whatever reason my comfort zone included the power ring over the privy and the batarang over the battle-ax. This was mainly due to the fact that I had never stepped foot onto an actual Ren Faire and never intended to.

This was due to change since "Unfortunately Named Nephew 1" and "Unfortunately Named Nephew 2" liked 1) swords and 2) hitting things with swords. So seriously, where else could you take them? So off we went...

Now don't mistake this for an account of a Ren Faire-skeptic coming to terms with a newfound love of everything Elizabethan. Because, really, who'd be interested in reading about that crap?

No, this trip led to a far more important epiphany. Much like the State Fair, the Ren Faire truly shines when it comes to food. Imagine an excitable, mead swilling fanboy's reaction when turning a corner and seeing this sign:

Well you don't have to imagine because it sounded something like this, "GASP! It am macaroni...on stick!! Cheese!" Yes, at these places the impossible is possible...and quite tasty. Several child endangerment laws were bent (if not broken outright) as I made my way through the masses, NFL style, to get my golden delicious prize.


Yes, it's deep fried. Yes, it tastes really good.

Now, I'm certainly not the first person to say that everything tastes better when it is "on a stick" but I'm the one saying it right now. Everything tastes better when it is "on a stick."

I'd like to tell you more of my impressions of the Faire but all the parts of my brain that would house those memories were replaced by "feel good" fluffiness brought about by my new favorite carbohydrate source.

Let that be a lesson to all of you too afraid to try new things.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Salicrup Talks Toilet Paper

Occasionally the Merry Marvel Marching Society marches to a slightly different tune. When that happens we all benefit.

In 1979 the battle between good and evil entered the bathroom...and on the front lines was comic legend Jim Salicrup. You might know Salicrup for his work as a Spider-Man editor for Marvel Comics or his current work as Editor-In-Chief at Papercutz.

But in my opinion some of his most ground breaking work might have been when he took a few beloved Marvel characters into a brand new medium. Not TV...not the movies...not even the internet. I am talking, of course, about Marvel Toilet Paper:
Mr. Salicrup was good enough to talk with me about writing an original Marvel Team-Up story for publication in the ground breaking new medium of toilet paper.

CBL: How were you initially approached about the project?

JS: Marvel had a special department, run by the great Sol Brodsky, that handled the production of anything that wasn't a part of Marvel's mainstream line of comics. The company which made the Marvel TP earlier had success with a New York Times Crossword Puzzle TP as a novelty product, and decided to license the Marvel characters for a similar product. Sol's department handled producing materials for licensed products, and I was writing and editing a lot of that material at the time, so it just made sense for Sol to ask me to write it. Although we were all greatly amused by the concept of Marvel TP.

CBL: If you can recall, what did you think at the time about such an unusual product tie-in?

JS: I loved it! Stan was always saying that "Marvel was going to take over the world," and crazy projects like these were a way of getting Marvel, Spider-Man, and the Hulk greater recognition outside of the world of comics. With the Marvel TP, it was a funny idea that communicated that Marvel was a company that obviously didn't take itself too seriously -- which was a big part of Marvel's wide appeal.

CBL: What do you recall about the process of writing that particular story (a Hulk/Spider-man team up vs. the Leader)?

JS: The goal was to tell a simple story that managed to be true to the characters, and to capture a bit of the feel of the comics of that time. We tried to make it fun, but not silly. In writing the actual script, instead of writing "Page One, Page Two," etc., we called it "Sheet One, Sheet Two," etc.

CBL: Once the work was done and the toilet paper was on the market, how did you feel about the end product?

JS: Keep in mind, that this was not actually marketed as regular TP. You would've never found it with other TP in a supermarket. It was totally a gag/gift item intended to be amusing. For example, there was a great display in New York City at the world-famous flagship Bloomingdale's of the Marvel TP! I felt like Andy Warhol-- as if I had contributed to a Pop-Art exhibit! Over the years, I've been very lucky to be involved with the Amazing Spider-Man, a truly wonderful character and pop culture icon. Millions of people truly love this Stan Lee and Steve Ditko creation, embracing both Peter Parker and his web-spinning alter-ego. I must say, it's been a real honor to be a part of it all.

Well there you have it: a 2-ply team-up of bowel moving proportions.