Author Archives: dale

How Many People Did King Kong Squish?

So the other day, No.2 Son asks me a question. I don't know if this was a spontaneous thought or something he'd been pondering for a while, but he looked up at me and:

"Y'know King Kong?”


"At the end, when he falls off the building…?


"How many people did he squish when he landed?”

Obviously I had no idea.  

But because, as the all-knowing high-father of my house (sorry, I’ve been reading a bunch of old Thor comic books, recently), there is nothing I don’t know the answer to…. at least as far as my kids are concerned, I fell back on my default answer:

“What do you think?”

He pondered this for a few moments, shrugged, said, “Plenty!” then moved on to discussing how to throw a change-up when pitching in Little League.

That was it.  He’d moved on. But the question hung in there for me. It was less the actually question itself. What stuck in the back of my head was a much shorter question. Why?

And not, why didn’t I know the answer to that question, but why had I never even thought of it?

(For reference, I’m a purist, so the movie we're talking about, the one my kids have seen, is the original King Kong.)

Let’s be honest, Kong IS a bad guy.  He IS a monster.  He IS a killer.  On Skull Island, the big ape kills plenty of people, locals and tourists alike. When he breaks free in New York, the body count starts to build pretty quickly…. and in some places, quite deliberately viciously.

Yet not only do we care about Kong; not only do we feel sad when he dies; not only do we walk away feeling that Kong was a victim…. THE victim; we completely forget the deaths he’s caused, directly and indirectly…. and we never once think about who might have been under that giant, hairy, bullet-ridden…. and now significantly more squishy, body.

Compare that to the palpable, frothing outrage of the fans, when Metropolis suffered a whole slew of damage and deaths as Superman fought Zod in "Man of Steel.”

Why didn’t people care when it came to King Kong, but they were outraged in Man of Steel?

Initially, you might think it’s down to special effects. The power of computer graphics makes it easier to destroy a movie city; that creative toolbox didn’t exist in 1932.  But that doesn’t hold water.  The movie 'Independence Day’ did WAY more damage, caused WAY more deaths, and THAT movie had people cheering in the cinema. (I have no idea why…. I thought it sucked.)

You might argue that the effects in Kong are so crude, compared to the sophistication of todays CGI masterpieces, that as an audience, you don’t TOTALLY buy into the reality…. you don’t completely suspend belief. But again, if that WAS the case, why do we also feel sad when Kong dies?

Honestly, I STILL have no idea what the answer is.  Why that question never occurred to me before. Why don’t we care how many people King Kong kills?

Do you know?


Meanwhile, Back At The Ranch

So things have been quiet here for a while.

Projects I wanted to work on, personal ones that were usually more speculatve in nature, got put on the back burner, while others, took priority.

Alas, most of those are the kind that I can usually not talk about until all the 'i's are crossed and the 't's dotted.

And then there are the ones that are less securely locked down, that I still can't talk about, because I don't want to jinx them.

However, one of those secret projects is now out there, and I can point you towards it.

For those who know me more for the words and the writing, the new project is something of a departure, as I'm working solely on the art.  But I'm no dummy (dispite the way my blog posts often suggest the contrary), I'm teamed up with an awesome writer who is no novice to writing comics.  My creative partner on the projects is none other than the man, the legend, Howard Mackie.

(He's actually a very laid back, easy to get a long with, no frills, "There really is NO need to keep calling me THE HOWARD MACKIE, just Howard is fine." kinda guy.)

Anyways, go check it out over on THE MONSTER KID website.  We have a few pages there already and more lined up.

And look for more regular updates here soon.


No…. really!

Book in a Year #252

I know, I know…. seriously quiet for a while, so to make it up to you, here's something I wrote for the holidays.

A Piece of Potato.

It's the Christmas Story I mentioned a while back. 


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Book in a Year #242

When I was a kid, Christmas was one of the times when family and friends would make an extra effort to meet up and spend some time together.  It wasn't like we wouldn't see each other the rest of the year, but at Christmas there was that little bit of extra time to make it happen.

As a kid, the bonus here was that you would always get extra treats, goodies and maybe even gifts.

That wasn't me being greedy or self-serving. That was me being a kid.

Which, now that I think about it, is kinda one and the same.

Of course, there was always the chance that if you visited in the days after Christmas, a cousin might well have gotten that really cool thing you had been yearning for… nay, dreaming of your whole life… right from the first moment you had seen it… in their hand… 30 seconds after you arrived.

But those were fleeting moments, as I was lucky enough to have cousins who would share… and there was a more than good chance they were feeling the same jealous pangs about whatever I'd received.

Fast forward to today.

Where I live a 3500 miles away from most of my family.

And the majority of those miles are the wet kind, so it's not like I could set off super early and make the drive.

In years past I've had family even further away and friends I went to elementary school with go all the way around the world.  

Full disclosure: On some level, in the part of my head that's still the little kid who would get excited about going over to see cousins, in the week between Christmas Day and New Year's Day, this concept still blows my mind.

I have friends across the globe.  Old friends and family still in the UK.  New friends close at hand and some spread across the continent I now call home.  I have friends I've met through work or socially, in person and online.  Friends who are so far away they will start their celebrations almost a day before I do.

And yes, with that time difference I'm even taking into account the fact that No.3 Son will likely be awake at an ungodly hour to see if Santa has been yet.

The thing that brought me so far away from the place I was born and raised is the thing that helps me keep in touch with them now.  The interwebs.

So I'll use that technology to send out this message.

Wherever you are, and however we know each other, be that relations, friends new and old, or you've stumbled on something I've written and decided to stay around to see what I come up with next (if you're in this group, thanks for reading), I wish you all the happiest holiday season.  I hope it finds you with the ones you care about, and if you have to spend time with some of the less liked relations…

Y' know, like cousin Morty, with the bad comb-over, weird cabbage-like aroma and wandering hands.

…that time is short and cushioned by alcohol… or candy canes… or a chance to use that new app on your phone that will fake an emergency call.

However you celebrate this time of year, wherever you are, have a great time and have a drink for me.

'Cos I'm gonna be having one for you.

Possibly two… because I care.


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Book in a Year #224

I know with the recent casting of Wonder Woman in the next Superman movie happening… and then the first official trailer for Amazing Spider-Man 2 coming out… and a half dozen other things that are of major importance to the maintenance of a free world, it's easy to miss smaller stories that happen somewhere else.

Of course, on occasion, even things that happen in other places make it into the news.  So in all likelihood you have seen this.

South Africa's Nelson Mandela dies in Johannesburg.

Being that this IS something that happened somewhere else, and that I likely have readers who have no idea of the history of the man, I'd encourage you to check something the BBC put together here, about Mandela's life.

Now when someone like Mandela dies, it has an impact, and in the world of politics this is just the kind of event one can hitch a name to and gain some exposure from.

Whether it's appropriate or not.

So I wasn't at all surprised to see things like this….

Screen Shot 2013-12-06 at 11.49.41 AM

….popping up on my Facebook wall today.  

This is just one example, and I've seen variations on a theme, usually aimed at right wing politicos, both here in the U.S. and back in the U.K.

That kind of political hay-making is tacky.  It is hypocritical.  It's even out right obnoxious.

But I would suggest that anyone who feels the urge to lay down some righteous fury at those who are exploiting this situation; aiming hate and vitriol where it might well be deserved.  I'd suggest those people consider the example of Mandela himself.  Are you behaving in a manner that personifies the person you're attempting to honor?

I'm not defending the political hacks who will doubtlessly say whatever they feel portrays them in the best light to achieve their personal ambitions, merely trying to value a better example.

Just a thought.


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