The Home of the Creative Mind

Welcome to PooBahSpiel, the online voice and home of the creative mind of Mark Monlux, Illustrator Extraordinaire. Prepare yourself for an endless regaling of art directly from the hand of this stellar artist. And brace yourself against his mighty wind of pontification. Updates are kinda weekly and show daily sketches, current projects, and other really nifty stuff.

Monday, February 29, 2016

The Comic Critic Reviews "Popeye"

My initial exposure to the character Popeye was through the 1960s’ King Syndicate animations. It wasn’t until I was in high school that I saw the original Max Fleischer Popeye animations from the 1930s. Filled with innuendo and constant background muttering by the characters, they were nothing like the sanitized King Syndicate animations. They had a gritty, worn-show feel to them that definitely let you know on which side of the tracks the characters grew up. It was in the midst of my watching the Fleischer animations that Popeye the movie was released. I was doubly excited because Robin Williams was going to play the title role. The television series “Mork and Mindy,” where Williams played a confused but good-natured alien trying to understand the human condition, was an extremely popular show. Popeye was released while the show was still dominating the Nielsen Ratings, so it didn’t take much convincing to arrange a trip to the theater. It wasn’t a blockbuster and it didn’t win any prizes, but I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. Much of the look and feel of the film paid homage to those original Fleischer animations. I thought all of the actors did a great job portraying the characters from the comic. I was particularly pleased to see Ray Walston as Poopdeck Pappy. Regardless of its poorly constructed ending, I feel Popeye remains an underrated movie. This might be due to the bias-created euphoric feeling that pop culture held for me back in the 1980s. Maybe you will catch some of that feeling when you give Popeye a viewing.

Monday, February 22, 2016

The Comic Critic Reviews "The Voices"

What I’m about to talk about is not typecasting. But we’ve all seen it. An actor or actress takes on a role and not too long after, they appear in another role that’s a bit like the previous role. But that’s not typecasting. Not really. Somebody somewhere saw something in one performance and thought that special something could be expanded in another. Tony Shalhoub played a man devastated by his wife’s death in Thir13en Ghosts. And showed odd quirkiness in other films like Men in Black and Galaxy Quest. He also played a funny, depressed cab driver in TV’s Wings. He got to show all of these in TV’s Monk, where he played a detective wracked by Obsessive Compulsive Disorder after the devastating death of his wife. I’m just saying I don’t think it’s a complete surprise to see Ryan Reynolds play Deadpool when he’s played a charming schizophrenic in a playfully dark horror comedy. The Voices is predictable. We all know that a schizophrenic going off their meds is a recipe for disaster. I watched The Voices because I wanted to gain perspective from a schizophrenic’s viewpoint: how they struggle with their condition, the world, and how to deal with their actions. The subject of mental illness is unsettling, and whacking at it with a knife or saw goes to a dark area that many don’t want to visit. Ryan Reynolds gives a good performance that has us cheering him on and yelling at Jerry the schizophrenic. In The Voices, Reynolds creates empathy with the audience for a person who does horrible things, and I’m sure that caught the eye of someone somewhere.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Return of Stickman #1593

Finding the inspiration to this strip should be a piece a cake. My take on it would be how the insurance adjuster would look at the situation. Calling in that claim would be hard because you just know somebody is going to make a joke somewhere.

The Return of Stickman #1592

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The Comic Critic Reviews "Soylent Green"

The movie Soylent Green was based on Harry Harrison’s book “Make Room! Make Room!” which came off the presses in 1966.  The counter-culture movement is waving its freak flag high, in protest against the war in Vietnam, rampant pollution, and discrimination. It’s not at all surprising that writers wrote alarming forecasts of what the future might hold if mankind didn’t change its ways. And it’s not at all surprising that several save-the-environment-themed movies would also be produced. A few years later, 1973’s Soylent Green provided a glimpse of a filthy, dystopian future where the only thing left is humans sweltering in their juices. The audiences who first saw it were still in a war with Vietnam; Nixon’s Watergate was happening; and peoples’ voices were being heard. The newly created Environmental Protection Agency had begun taking action against polluters. This movie contains the final performance of Edward G. Robinson, one of the truly great actors from a golden age in film. Unknown to the rest of the cast, Robinson was dying of cancer, making his deathbed scene in the film even more poignant. Charleston Heston, who had worked previously with E.G. in The Ten Commandments, was moved to tears in his own performance as acted across from Robinson. Robinson’s performance alone is reason enough to watch Soylent Green. But what remains most striking about this film is that all of its dire social and environmental warnings are still relevant today.

Monday, February 1, 2016

The planets aligned when Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure premiered. It was the end of the 1980s. California’s “Valley” pop-culture was at its height with style, language, music and Mall Culture. Bill and Ted were yet another couple of characters portraying the youth of that culture. And this movie could have easily come and gone, like so many other teen films trying to capture that unique moment in a bottle, were it not for some happy choices. One of those was hiring George Carlin to play Rufus. His respectability as a comedian added credence to the humorous story. While there is some sexual humor, it plays a side note. The real magic of the movie is in the characters Bill and Ted, played by Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves. While they are shown as airheads, they are first and foremost gentlemen. They are kind, considerate, and are polite without affectation. Even though their love is for Heavy Metal, they never aggressive except when defending honor. Their attitudes permeate Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure because they embrace life as an excellent adventure. The audience gets caught up in their optimistic joy. With a superb song selection, a most bodacious script, and some well-timed comedy, you will have a most excellent time watching Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.