Archive for Bob Burden

Pg. 17, #7

Posted in Comics, FILM, literature with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 12, 2020 by dcairns


The moral life of man forms part of the subject-matter of the artist, but the morality of art consists in the perfect use of an imperfect medium. No artist desires to prove anything. Even things that are true can be proved.


‘It’s in the cellar under the dining-room,’ he went on, so overcome by his worries now that he forgot to be pompous. ‘It’s mine — mine. I discovered it when I was a child, all by myself. The cellar stairway is so steep that my aunt and uncle forbade my using it, but I’d heard someone say there was a world down there. I found out later they meant an old-fashioned globe of the world, but at the time I thought they were referring to the world itself. One day when no one was there I started down in secret, but I stumbled and fell. When I opened my eyes, I discovered the Aleph.’


We see, from the start, the very strong inclination of science to deny, as much as it can, external relations of this earth.



More and more madly poured the shrieking, moaning night wind into the gulf of the inner earth. I dropped prone again and clutched vainly at the floor for fear of being swept bodily through the open gate into the phosphorescent abyss. Such fury I had not expected, and as I grew aware of an actual slipping of my form toward the abyss I was beset by a thousand new terrors of apprehension and imagination.


“I have seen Niagara thunder over her gorge in the noblest frenzy ever beheld by man,” rhapsodized Frederick Starr in a piece for the Chicago Tribune in 1909, recovered for us now by Stanley Kauffmann and Bruce Henstell in their fine anthology, American Film Criticism: “I have watched an English railroad train draw into a station, take on its passengers, and then chug away with its stubby little engine through the Yorkshire Dells [sic], past old Norman Abbeys [sic] silhouetted against the skyline, while a cluster of century-aged cottages loomed up in the valley below . . . . I have looked upon weird dances and outlandish frolics in every quarter of the globe, and I didn’t have to leave Chicago for a moment.”


Seven passages from seven page seventeens from seven different books. I belatedly recalled an entire forgotten bookcase, and rushed to avail myself of it. Of course, apart from stimulating your brains to assemble strange narratives with sparking connections, and get you wondering about what comes next, these offerings can also serve as inspiration for your purchases — if you respond favourably to a prose style, you can seek out the excerpted volume and roll around in it. See below for details.

Flaming Carrot Comics #1, by Bob Burden; The Picture of Dorian Gray, preface, by Oscar Wilde; The Aleph And Other Stories 1933-1969, title story, by Jorge Luis Borges; The Book of the Damned, by Charles Fort; Tales Designed to Thrizzle #3, by Michael Kupperman (looks like a front cover but is a panel from page 17): The Whisperer in Darkness, by HP Lovecraft, from the story Dagon; The Silent Clowns, by Walter Kerr.

Forgotten Fantomas

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , , on May 12, 2011 by dcairns

No, Princess Danidoff! Fantômas will never be Forgotten!

Pal Fejos’s 1932 FANTÔMAS is only part of the show over at The Daily Notebook today — check it out.

Among the many interesting and weird aspects of the movie, is the extent to which the master-criminal’s  Mastery of Disguise is deployed. Here’s the aftermath of a murder scene. A detective has been stationed to see that nobody leaves the room, even though to all appearances, nobody is IN the room. Do watch the clip before reading on ~

“How many Indians are hiding in this room?” went the old-time western saying, the answer being “As many as want to.”

In Bob (THE MYSTERY MEN) Burden’s surreal superhero comic The Flaming Carrot, there was a villain known as “The Chair”, owing to the fact that his one superpower was the ability to transform himself into a chair. Eventually, supervillain work dried up for him, we’re told, and he now earns a meagre living impersonating background furniture in other comic books.

Of course, since Fantômas is a world-class desperado, he disguises himself as a nicely-upholstered armchair. No rickety stool, he.

And somewhere in 1932, Edogawa Rampo watched with a notepad…