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Posts Tagged ‘pop culture’

The other day, Hugh Hefner, founder and publisher of Playboy magazine died at age 91. Hefner created a million dollar empire, becoming a pop icon in the process.

Not being in the millennial generation, Hugh Hefner was a symbol of hedonism, erotica, and freedom. During my childhood, I discovered my father’s slash of Playboy. Perhaps it was the taboo element of the magazine, but I loved the thrill of looking through those magazine. Of course I was caught, thus the magazines quickly disappeared.

As I became an adult, I continued to be fascinated by Hugh Hefner, and other personalities similar to him, such as Hustler publisher Larry Flynt. In my early twenties, I also learned about ‘alternative’ porn such as the lesbian magazine On Our Backs. Chance meeting with the authors of Sleazoid Express back in the ’90s turned my interest to vintage exploitation and Times Square filth. Learned even more with the book Tales of Times Square.

However, never forget reality. Erotica and porn is a complex dark world. You’re dealing with various human beings who are chewed up and spit out once their purpose is served. Was Hugh Hefner really a symbol of American hedonism and free speech, or was he just nothing more than a sleazy opportunist who didn’t respect women?

The truth was Hugh Hefner was both. Not so much of a hedonist, but rather a controversial symbol of the American Dream.

On one hand he was a symbol of free speech, and civil rights. From 1969 – 1970 he had a television show called Playboy After Dark. The Playboy Jazz Festival still continues to this day.

Along the years Playboy published content from writers, illustrators and cartoonists. Dan DeCarlo was known for his pin-ups. Yes, that same Dan Decarlo who created Josie and The Pussycats for Archie Comics. Harvey Kurtzman was another cartoonist. Writer Ray Bradbury had his classic novel Fahrenheit 451 serialized in Playboy from March to May 1954.

On the other hand, he did publish photos without consent. The very first issue of Playboy was launched thanks to non-consented photos of Marilyn Monroe. The story goes that Monroe being broke posed for a nudie calendar. Using an alias, she only got paid $50 for the photo session. The photographer later sold these same photos to Hefner for $500. The rest is history.

Later on, Playboy continued the trend of publishing photos without the person’s consent. Celebrities such as Madonna, and Vanessa Williams had their nude likeness exposed in without their consent. Vanna White was a personal friend of Hefner, but her nude photos were published regardless of her approval.

More of Hefner’s disregard of women were uncovered following the days after Hefner’s death. Time Magazine, New York Times, Salon, and other mainstream news sources didn’t exactly publish obituaries in a nice light. They weren’t exactly wrong either. Hefner built his entire empire based on exploiting women – although in the end, he wasn’t worth as much.

Yet it was Playboy magazine that many artists (such as myself) who used those same photographs as reference material while learning to draw.

Another irony. It was a 1985 Boy George interview published in Playboy that helped my friend “come out” to his mother about his attraction to men. This same friend also forgave me cause he lent me the interview and I lost it…oops.

Today in the post-millennial internet age, Playboy is quite tame compared to the free online porn readily accessible. Also, people will always look at naughty photos. People are visual creatures. Regardless of gender, sexuality, etc., people will always objectify each other. Objectification is psychological. It may not be correct behavior, but it’s a fact. In the end it’s up to us to responsible for our own behavior. Even if it’s easier said than done.

Recently I had a conversation with someone about seeing things black and white, as opposed to looking from a grey perspective. Playboy is a perfect example of why things are not always so black or white. Playboy was a huge splat of grey.

May Hugh party in his Playboy mansion in the afterlife. Although buying a plot next to Marilyn Monroe was straight-up old man creepy.

Here’s the Psycho Bunny sketch of the week.

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Psycho Bunny embodies the Playboy lifestyle. Oct. 2017. Based on the comic Psycho Bunny written and drawn by Michele Witchipoo on WitchesBrewPress.

Facebook: Psycho Bunny & Michele Witchipoo – WitchesBrewPress

Twitter: Psycho Bunny & Michele Witchipoo

Tumblr: World Ov Witchipoo 

DeviantArt: Michele Witchipoo

Instagram: WitchipooArt

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Catching up with blog posts that should’ve been online last week. Here I contributed once again to the Sketch Lottery site. That week’s character was the best known bounty hunter in the Star War universe, Boba Fett.

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Boba Fett quick sketch as seen on Sketch Lottery. Michele Witchipoo, May 2017. 

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Feeling a bit nostalgic lately. Probably due to avoiding the current news.

Not the world’s biggest KISS fan, but during their heyday, they had their moments.

During 1993 or 94, my Halloween costume was of Gene Simmons as a ’90s Raver. This was way before ‘mash-ups’ were popular.

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Halloween costume from either 1993 or ’94. Gene Simmons from KISS dressed as a ’90’s Raver. Before the concept of ‘mash-ups’ were popular. 

Introducing the Psycho Bunny sketch of the week. Psycho Bunny meets KISS.

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Psycho Bunny meets KISS. Particularly Gene Simmons. Based on the comic written and drawn by Michele Witchipoo on WitchesBrewPress. Feb. 2017

Okay, here comes the usual plugs. There’s two Facebook pages, one for Psycho Bunny, the other for WitchesBrewPress (illustration work). Please like one or both pages. Gracias.  You can always buy a comic off the WitchesBrewPress website. Every week they’ll be a new Psycho Bunny sketch, so keep tuning back in.

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Here’s my latest contribution to the Sketch Lottery site. SpongeBob Squarepants meets Clockwork Orange. SpongeDroog.

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As seen on Sketch Lottery. Drawn by Michele Witchipoo Feb. 2017. 

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Seems since Jan. 20th 2017, there’s been a different protest everyday. Psycho Bunny has his own priorities.

Introducing the Psycho Bunny sketch of the week.

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Psycho Bunny has his own priorities for protesting. The Psycho Bunny sketch of the week. Based on the comic written and drawn by Michele Witchipoo on WitchesBrewPress. Jan. 2017.

There will be no craft fair on Feb. 4th due to a cancellation. However, there will be other events in the NYC area where you can purchase a copy of the comic. So stay tuned.

Don’t forget to click “like” on both Facebook pages for Psycho Bunny and WitchesBrewPress. Psycho Bunny also has his own Twitter account. It may not be as shocking as Cheetos, but at least it’ll be somewhat saner. Just overall misanthropy,  spread equally.

Till next time.

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Did a very quick sketch of Alice In Wonderland for Sketch Lottery.

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You can check out the full sketch here.

 

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From Thursday Oct. 6 to Sunday Oct. 9, I felt as if I lived at the Javits Center. That’s because it was the annual New York Comic Con. Earlier this year I received my Pro pass for which itself felt good.

As usual it was packed and the cosplayers were out in full force.

To the left as you walked into the main entrance, there was a entire section dedicated to Wonder Woman. Not just because the Wonder Woman movie will be released in 2017, but Oct. 2016 marked the 75th anniversary of the character’s first appearance. There were also a lot more Wonder Woman cosplay than ever before.

To my relief there wasn’t as many Harley Quinns, but plenty of Pokemon characters. There was some unique ones that stood out above the others. Darth Maul looks happy here.

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NYCC. Photo by Michele Witchipoo Oct. 2016

NYCC 2016 had an increase in Bob’s Burgers cosplayers. Louise and Tina Belcher were the most seen. Occasionally you would run into the entire family.

During the course of the four day event, I checked out a few panels. Panels are very good. For one, they give you a wealth of information in regards to the comic book industry, or discuss pop culture. If all else fails, you can rest your weary feet in the seat closest to an outlet to recharge your cell.

Some of the panels I attended were: BOOM Studios, DC Comics, and IDW (where they discussed an upcoming release to benefit the Orlando Pulse shooting victims).

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Panel for IDW during NYCC 2016.

Two panels however intrigued me the most. One was for Trump magazine (NO! Not Donald Trump!!!) put on by Dark Horse and Kitchen Sink Press. In 1956, Trump Magazine was a short-lived publication financed by Hugh Hefner, and put together by MAD Magazine’s Harvey Kurtzman. Among some of the speakers on that panel were Denis Kitchen and Al Jaffee.

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The Panel for Trump Magazine (No, not Donald!), a short-lived publication from the 1950s.

The other panel that grabbed my attention was the panel titled ‘Bringing Stories To Life: Holding a Comic Con at Your Library.’ Here local librarians from Connecticut explained the ins and outs of operating local comic cons from the library.

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Librarians from CT discuss how to do comic cons at the local library. NYCC Panel. Photo by Michele Witchipoo. Oct. 2016.

Back for more cosplay.

One thing you cannot forget. The real reason why we have comic cons in the first place. To promote comics. As in artists, writers, pencilers, inkers, etc. Onward to Artist Alley.

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Walking around the Javits Center was exhausting. It was time to head home and come back another day.

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Everyone needs rest sometime. NYCC. Photo by Michele Witchipoo. Oct. 2016.

During the NYCC, I found out there was going to be a panel for the latest Planet of The Apes reboot series. Since I was a huge fan of POTA, I trekked all the way out of the Javits Center to the Theater At Madison Square Garden. That’s where they held the special events, like the one for Doctor Who earlier during NYCC.

Point blank, this Q&A ‘career conversation’ with actor Andy Serkis, who portrays Ceasar in the Apes reboot was the only letdown during NYCC 2106. This might be clarified why in separate blog post.

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Actor Andy Serkis after finishing his Q&A panel during NYCC 2016.

I stuck around however to catch the Stan Lee panel at the same venue. Which went off much smoother. Moderated by film director and famous geek Kevin Smith, the panel also had Walt Simonson and Chris Claremount. The packed house was treated to an oral recollection of Marvel comic history. Insert very crappy photo of the panel itself.

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Very bad, blurry photo of the Stan Lee panel at NYCC 2016 with Kevin Smith, Walt Simonson and Chris Claremount.

Barely getting enough rest, it was time to head back to NYCC.

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Classic Star Trek cosplay on the NYC subway. Photo by Michele Witchipoo. Oct. 2016.

Since NYCC has become so popular, expect free swag. During the weekend I got a free Monster energy drink which I usually never touch, some wafer cookies and a complimentary sample of Death Coffee.

The cosplaying continued.

The last day of NYCC was spent getting merch I didn’t need like this Muttley POP. Then off to cruise Artist Alley once more.

This year there was some new interesting talent in Artist Alley, as well as those established such as Terry Moore (Strangers In Paradise), Joe Staton, and Erik Larsen (Savage Dragon).

One person that stood out was graffiti artist Andre Charles, otherwise known as ACharlesNYC. I brought a pin from him. He was so kind to give me a second one for free. Which was a score because I was having trouble which color to choose from. Besides, it’s always good to share old school NYC memories with someone.

Another new comic I discovered during NYCC was titled Pugly.

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Also snagged a free issue of Faith, a popular comic book title now published by Valiant.

Of course some more cosplay.

Some T-Rex creatures were spotted as well.

Another trend I noticed. This year people were cosplaying with their pet dogs. I asked someone cosplaying a character from Adventure Time how he got his dog in. He replied listing your pup as a service dog. While it’s cute, I was left wondering if it was safe at all for the dogs themselves.

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Adventure Time cosplay. NYCC. Photo by Michele Witchipoo. Oct. 2016.

Another curious observation during the NYCC weekend. I kept on seeing something scribbled on the bathroom doors inside the ladies room. Later I discovered it was a quote from The Handmaid’s Tale in Latin: ‘don’t let the bastard grind you down.’  Quite fitting for these times, especially during the current U.S. Presidential election, in which NYCC was the perfect escape from. Ironically, this was the same weekend that news broke out about Trump ‘grabbing pussy.’

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Quote from Margaret Atwood’s book The Handmaid’s Tale in Latin: ‘Don’t Let The Bastards Grind You Down.’ NYCC. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

In all it was fun as always. Maybe one day I’ll have another table at NYCC Artist Alley again. Till next year.

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Superheroes resting at the shoe shine stand. NYCC 2016. Photo taken by Michele Witchipoo. Oct. 2016.

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