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by editor I forgot my name

My wedding and other things that happened during our hiatus…Chicago WizardWorld Con '99…A Cool Thing That Happened To Me…On thinking and judging for yourself…and last issue's Quizlet results

New Wife, New Apartment, New Job, New Life!

Melinda and me! Ye olde editor, Michael Hutchison, is now Michael Hitchedison! I tied the knot with my loving bride, Melinda Alme (now Melinda Hutchison), on May 15, 1999. The ceremony was conducted at the St. Luke's United Methodist Church in Frederic, WI, by my father, Pastor Richard Hutchison.

We were getting nervous on Friday night. Not from jitters but because the chapel was still being refurbished! The workers and the church's youth group were busy that night finishing up the painting, taking down the scaffolding, cleaning up the whole chapel and putting the pews back!

Melinda, as you can see, looked beautiful! She did a heck of a decorating job. Our reception had an "M & M" theme, with M&M balloons and figurines. We had a blast, although my relatives appeared to dig up every embarrassing story there was to tell about me.

Me and my brother and friends We then spent the next week on the road, taking a honeymoon in Colorado. We journeyed down to Loveland and Estes Park and then drove through part of the Rocky Mountain National Park. Actually, we were going to go all the way through the park; we got halfway there when the road was blocked by a sign declaring it closed! You'd think that SOMEwhere along the line they could put up a sign announcing that the highway was only open in the summer!

The wedding party As we came back, we passed through South Dakota and saw about 300 signs for "Wall Drug" all within a few miles. Curiosity arose. When we got to Wall, we decided to check it out. Wall Drug isn't actually in Wall; rather, like the way the Vegas Strip isn't in Las Vegas, it's a strip of buildings outside town. It's just a BIG TOURIST TRAP! :-P

Since then, we've been super-busy like you wouldn't believe.

Melinda got a new job at the Mork Clinic in Anoka, MN. We found a really great apartment in Roseville, MN, and have been moving stuff in for week after week. We have an amazing amount of stuff…and thus, will have an amazing amount of things for sale in August! :-)

And to cap it all off: from out of the blue, I got a new job as a webmaster! This guy whose small web site I designed two years ago called me about being the webmaster for a new interior design/home furnishings company. They actually landed the URL (it doesn't work yet, as I haven't designed the site!). The job pays a lot and I get to work from home, but the future of Fanzing is uncertain. We'll see what my free time is like!

As for other things in the future:

Artist Kurt Belcher, my wife Melinda and I will be at the Chicago Wizard World Convention on July 16-18. If any of you plan to be there, let me know! I'm really looking foward to it, because I'll be talking with Chuck Dixon and possibly getting in some conversation with a DC editor or three. I've never believed that a crowded convention hall overflowing with thousands of fanboys all wanting to work for DC and Marvel is really the place to make inroads into the industry. Nonetheless, Kurt and I will be showing around some proposals we have. One is for my Elongated Man series; the other is for Kurt's Captain Comet series. Actually, of the two, Captain Comet may actually have a chance. When I first read Kurt's proposal in last issue's "Brainstorm's Corner", I thought it was the best one he's done. I'd pay good money to read it every month…and apparently I'm not alone, as feedback on that one was very good! Since then, he's asked me to collaborate on the proposal. Given that "Starman" may end when James Robinson heads for Hollywood, there will be a lot of fans wanting something equally seeped in history and grandeur (and perhaps a bit faster paced). We'll let you know when we start approaching editors so that you all can send a "Hey, we'd pay to read it" message to the editor! :-)

Look for my full Elongated Man proposal in a future issue of Fanzing.

Melinda and I are going to be at the Fall Con here in the Twin Cities on September 25 & 26; it's at the Thunderbird Hotel right across from the Mall of America (that's the world's largest mall; the one with the Camp Snoopy theme park inside it). We plan to get a dealer table and sell off my comic book collection. It costs almost $200 for a table, but the other dealers appear to make money so I guess it's worth it! If you can, you should try to attend. There are always famous writers and artists there! I plan to make it a Fanzing table and hand out fliers, display some Fanzing artwork, perhaps even sell some original art. If any Fanzing artist would like to send off some fan art and give me a price to sell it at, we could make arrangements.

THIS was cool!

I was reading the message board on Chuck Dixon's new web site. Some woman I've never talked to before posted a list of the "Top 7 People Who Should Be Working In Comics" and Louise and I were on the list!

It's one thing to beg for feedback and get compliments. It's another to discover an unsolicited opinion posted in a place where I may never see it. Wow! That made my week!

I made a really nice find on Ebay recently.

For the last several years, I've been curious to see an episode of "Amos N Andy" and decide for myself whether it's as racist as it has been labeled. I've read numerous reviews that say otherwise…that it was a brilliant and hilarious show which was given the yoke of representing an entire race (something which NO show can do). And, as the first show with an all-black cast which portrayed them as full-fledged people at a time when they were otherwise maids, butlers and chauffers, it deserves to be praised as an advance instead of reviled as a put-down. Well, that's what THEY say. My dad saw some episodes when he was a kid and he thought it was funny. I thought it was time for me to decide for myself rather than be told what to think about it.

Due to the outcry against the show, the distributor of "Amos N Andy" will not let the show be broadcast or issue it on videotape…but there were some public domain shows on video at one time. A few weeks ago I went onto and did a search for "Amos Andy"…and found a bunch of them. I won auctions on four tapes…and then later got a 40-episode boxed set for about $120!

So I watched two episodes on one of the individual tapes ("Viva La France" and "The Electric Clock") and I decided for myself. IT IS ONE OF THE FUNNIEST CLASSIC SHOWS I'VE EVER SEEN! Viva La France is worth some chuckles, but The Electric Clock is roll-on-the-floor funny. Melinda and I had a great time watching it.

The series follows the sitcom adventures of three black principal characters living in Harlem. "Kingfish", so-called because he is the Kingfish (like the "grand poobah") of the local men's lodge, is the Fonzie or Urkel of the show; introduced as a joke, he became one of the leading characters. Kingfish's character could best be described by one word: "speechifying"; he speaks in the oratory style of a preacher or similar community leader, and where his vocabulary stops he makes up words that sound intelligent. Kingfish is always looking for a quick buck and tries to con people out of their money…and we're talking petty cons. For instance, to get the 27 bucks Andy's currently carrying, Kingfish buys a beret and pretends to offer a French language class (despite not knowing French himself). Andy is a friendly, likeable man who is somewhat gullible. Amos, who runs his own cab company, is much smarter. He usually sees through Kingfish's schemes and helps to solve whatever the daily problems are.

As I said, the scripts are hilarious. While the slang lingo is a bit overdone, it's worth remembering that most modern black comedies also use slang…it's just modern slang. I think if you took any "Amos N Andy" script and changed all the occurrences of "I is" to "I be" you'd have the script for next week's "Malcolm and Eddie". (Actually, given that Malcolm and Eddie has two friends as the lead characters as well as a money-loving community leader, that's probably do-able!)

A black actor named Damon Standifer has written a very good article about the difficulties, even today, in including any black characters on TV that don't get criticized for portraying blacks in one light or another. It got me thinking: What if whites were only represented by ONE TV show? Would whites be happy with any of the shows we consider giants of the industry? "Andy Griffith"? You have a sheriff who reclines on his job all day; an anxious, scaredy-cat deputy; a man who's so constantly inebriated that he throws himself in the drunk tank; an elderly fusspot who's constantly having histrionics about the pies she's baking or some such thing; and let's not forget Goober and Gomer. If we were so concerned about how the white race were represented, let's face it: Tim Conway, Don Knotts, Carol Burnett, Jim Carrey, Robin Williams, Lucille Ball, Chevy Chase, Adam Sandler, Chris Farley and Mike Myers would all be decried for their moronic clowning.

I think it's about time that Amos N Andy was judged on its own merits instead of reviled based on the outcry of people who've probably never seen an episode. If you're interested in seeing for yourself, I'm sure you could find some videotapes on Ebay. Plus, I'll be selling a few of my videos on Ebay as well; if you'd like them, e-mail me and I'll let you know when they're up for grabs!

The Results of Last Issue's Fanzing Quizlet:
Q: What intercompany team-up would you like to see most?
(of 919 respondents)
24% Ambush Bug meets The Tick
23% Elongated Man, Mr. Fantastic and 2 Sues!
23% Steel and Iron Man
9% Lobo vs. Jughead
13% Howard the Duck and Captain Carrot
8% Predator hunts the Inferior 5

This column is © 1999 Michael Hutchison.