Monthly Archives: June 2016

The Mohs Opera Sedan by Mike Baron

THE MOHS OSTENTATIENNE OPERA SEDAN

One day Roger and I were out biking through the rolling hills of southern Wisconsin when we came upon a long, low industrial building yclept Mohs Motors. We pulled over to check it out. Bruce Mohs, who was then in his sixties, came out to meet us and offered to show us around. Inside the long low building sat his masterpiece, the Mohs Ostentatienne Opera Sedan, an immense, grotesque automobile built on an International Harvester chassis. The only entry was through the massive, top-hinged rear door.

The Ostentatienne was powered by an International Harvester truck engine. Entry into the car was from the rear; solid steel side rails (designed to protect passengers during a crash) prevented doors along the vehicles sides. The Ostentatienne could be ordered customized to suit its buyer’s wishes; Ming styled oriental rugs, refrigerators and sealed beam taillights were some of the options available. Production was reported to be three to four vehicles per year, only one was ever built.”

The vehicle weighed over five thousand pounds. Mohs had other inventions including the world’s longest motor-scooter, capable of seating There was also the Safarikar, finished in naugahyde. Mohs tried to sell us his book, The Amazing Mr. Mohs, but we were too stupid to bite. How I wish I’d bought that book.

mike odd car Mike motorcycle

Dogs by Mike Baron

DOGS

Years ago, the reclusive Canadian ninja/lumberjack/artist Neil Hansen, who drew Badger, Whisper, Punisher, and his own Epic series Untamed, came to visit in Madison. I had to leave for a convention. I told Neil he could stay at my house and use my motorcycle, but he had to draw something. I gave him a script that came to me in a nightmare, about a man and his dog. When I returned, Neil had penciled, inked, and lettered it. I showed it to people over the years, but there was no place for it in civilized society.

The last time Neil drew, he provided covers for my IDW Badgers. I have seldom encountered a greater talent, yet Neil has not taken pencil to paper in years. I asked him recently if he would, and he told me that he had tried, but the fire had left him. I’m certain that if I assigned Badger to run Neil’s life, he would be drawing in no time.

Less years ago, I was kickin’ it with peripatetic pulp prophet Paul Pope, who drew the cover of the new Badger #1. Paul said he had carte blanche to do an eight page strange sports story for DC, and invited me to write something. I have always been fascinated with disc dogs, which is a strange sport indeed. I wrote “Fluke,” but by then Paul had vanished.

Cesar Madarro sent a friend request and a story request. I gave him “Fluke” and he hit it out of the park. Cesar told me he had also illustrated a Fabian Nicieza story called “Mad Dog,” and sent me that as well.

My partner Steve Rude and I sought to syndicate Nexus and I thought of my old pal Jay Kennedy, EIC at King Features Syndicate, forgetting that Jay had drowned in Costa Rica in 2007. I sought Jay Kennedy on Facebook, and a Jay Kennedy enthusiastically responded. This Jay Kennedy lived in Massachusetts and was also an artist. He was puzzled by my syndication request but we figured it out. When I told him about Dogs he asked me to write him a short script.

Now I had a whole comic worth of dog stories. All I needed was a cover. I turned to Badger artist and old friend, Mike Norton, whose Battlepug now has three volumes out from Dark Horse. Mike has also drawn for Marvel and draws the popular Revival book for Image, with writer Tim Seeley. Mike Jones did the colors. Finally, our Baby Badger logo was drawn by Badger artist extraordinaire Val Mayerik, who illustrates the current run.

If Dogs proves popular, I plan another book about skinks.

Comic Cons by Mike Baron

The convention season is upon us, my friends. And with it, certain exhibits will use boom boxes to advertise their wares. Nobody likes them. Nobody. Not even the people who are playing them. They only serve to make conversation more difficult and to cause headaches due to that incessant, infernal throbbing, the same sound you hear when some self-obsessed asshole pulls up to you at a streetlight blasting Beasty Boys or Li’l Wayne from the giant speakers in his trunk.

My friends, don’t let this happen to you! I’m calling on each and every one of you to go up to the blasters and ask them, politely, to turn it off. I am asking con organizers to not permit this noise pollution.

Another irritation, about which we can do nothing, are the illegible public address systems the organizers use for—for what? Most of the time the distortion is so great I can’t understand a word they’re saying. It’s so loud you can’t hold a conversation while the announcer is blasting. Conventions need jumbotrons to broadcast their messages.

WATCH FOR THESE HAZARDS: Double-wide baby trams. Groups of cosplayers gathering in front of your table preventing access. The Joker. The little boy eating a jelly doughnut who likes to flip through your comics. Cosplayers with five-feet-wide costumes. Corn dogs. Funnel cakes.