Junior Mad Scientist – Lab Notes

Based On A True Story — new comics by me

April 30th, 2008 by Weber


click here to download (approx 370k) then click on the image to make it readable.

New comics about everyday people and everyday happenings. This particular one happens to be about me. Stay tuned for more info on this exciting new feature on JMS!

Posted in Comics | Comments Off on Based On A True Story — new comics by me

Carlos V — some (more) follow-up

April 30th, 2008 by Weber


Two-Face (flipping coin in the air): “Heads — I shoot you. Tails — You have to eat this candy bar.”

Me: “C’mon HEADS!”

Below is a copy of my initial info request via the Nestle site and the same-day reply from Liz Rocklin, the nice lady from Nestle’s Corporate & Brand Affairs. Thank you, Liz!


Nestlé USA Media Inquiry

FirstName: Bradley
LastName: Weber
Organization: JMS Labs
City: Chicago
State: Illinois
Email: bweber@juniormadscientist.com
Deadline: May 1, 2008

Good morning,

I’m writing a short article on the Carlos V candy bar. The latest packaging bears the legend “DARK KNIGHT.” Nothing in my research indicates Carlos V was known, in his time or after, as “El Caballero Oscuro” or had any related sobriquet.

Can you please clarify the connection between Carlos V and “Dark Knight?”

Many Thanks.

Bradley Weber

From: Rocklin,Liz,GLENDALE,Corporate & Brand Affairs
To: bweber@juniormadscientist.com
Sent: Tuesday, April 29, 2008 3:21 PM
Subject: RE: Nestlé USA Media Inquiry

The name “Dark Knight” was developed to correlate with the Dark Chocolate version of Carlos V. The name Dark Knight also references Knights, which has to do with the kingdom that Carlos V oversaw.


So, there’s the answer. I don’t buy it, but there’s the answer. Enjoy!


Posted in Food, Weridness | Comments Off on Carlos V — some (more) follow-up

Carlos V — some follow-up

April 29th, 2008 by Weber


Why so crunchy?

This whole thing about the Carlos V/Dark Knight candy bar is making me nuts.

Why is Nestle using DARK KNIGHT on the box? What’s the connection?

On Tuesday, I emailed them a request for clarification. I’ll post their reply as soon as I get it.

Posted in Food, Weridness | Comments Off on Carlos V — some follow-up

The Great Comic Book Plague: Final

April 28th, 2008 by Weber


Time to hang this one up . . . Oh, wait.

At JMS Labs, we are very concerned with closure. Usually, it’s body bags and bio-hazard containers, but, hey, closure is closure.

To wit —

The last bit of follow-up to my April 9th post rebutting Varney’s ignore-ist approach to Frederick Wertham:
Varney’s initial post
My rebuttal and his comments
His re-direct
His inquiry and my comment (#5 and #6, respectively)

Though I’ve drafted a careful reply, I’m letting that last thought (#6) stand as my final word.

— Over at The New Republic, Douglas Wolk replies to David Hajdu’s comments regrading Wertham, comics, etc.

— Little did I know that while wrapping up my comments on the whole Wertham blow-up, comics maestro Eddie Campbell (Fate Of The Artist, The Amazing Remarkable Monsieur Leotard) was doing the same, though he’s done a way better job of following and expounding on the whole pointless mess. Read his posts from April 21st, 22nd, 25th, and 28th. Campbell’s informed analysis is well worth your time.

“God save us from some of these half-arsed historians,” indeed.


Posted in Comics, Editorials | Comments Off on The Great Comic Book Plague: Final

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of Sell-Outs

April 25th, 2008 by Weber


(click here for larger)

Anybody who’s talked to me for more than 45 seconds will tell you that I can be a pretty harsh critic. This is especially true of comic books and movies. Bring up either topic and settle in for some serious un-varnished truthifying about the sorry state of mainstream storytelling in both industries.

For years, these two have been traveling hand-in-hand down the deeply rutted road to Stupidsville, riding first-class atop bales of crisp cash, picked fresh and green from consumer pockets.

The stories these clowns have been feeding the public are tantamount to narrative fast food — a steady diet high in saturated schmaltz and saccharine full of empty promises, wasted time, and perfect for replacing mental muscle with synaptic flab.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Editorials, Movies | 8 Comments »

The Dark Knight no es sabroso

April 20th, 2008 by Weber


What’s a 16C Spanish Monarch have to do with Batman? Uhhhhh . . . .

Another new candy bar at my grocery store today: Nestle’s CARLOS V. Why every Holy Roman Emperor doesn’t have a candy bar named after him, I don’t know. Maybe they lack the same marketing engines employed by baseball players, NASCAR drivers, and other religious icons.

According to the fine people over at Candy Snob, the CARLOS V seems to be a re-release of an older confection. Why? Something to do with the packaging, perhaps????


and the zoom-shot


What’s the connection? Is there one?

Nothing I’ve read indicates Charles V was known as “El Caballero Oscuro”; his parents didn’t die in a robbery-gone-bad; nor did young Charlie develop a predilection for high-tech gadgetry and vigilante justice; all of which leaves me flummoxed how Nestle might justify tagging this candy with the ‘Dark Knight’ moniker.

Yeah, yeah, whatever. How’s the candy?


Unlike my encounter with the Big Mo’, I bought this particular ticket and took the ride. The first bite of the CARLOS V is dry and overly sweet, like Eucharist crumbles stirred in a package of Swiss Miss, but not as tasty. The second’s even worse.

At two-for-a-dollar, the CARLOS V is still a rip-off — that is unless you plan to give them to lousy neighbors or hated co-workers in the hope that bad candy will drive them the hell away from you. Then it’s a bargain.

But if you like candy and dig the chocolate/wafer combo, stick to Kit-Kats.

Posted in Editorials, Food, Weridness | Comments Off on The Dark Knight no es sabroso

Kirk vs. Cthulhu?

April 13th, 2008 by Weber


I’ve just finished reading Tales Of H.P. Lovecraft, a collection of the master’s shorter works selected and introduced by Joyce Carol Oates. (With some nice cover art by Mike Mignola, creator of the steampunk-tastic, Amazing Screw-On Head!)

Tales is a nice intro to Lovecraft’s mad and lonely world. The ten stories showcase what I imagine are some of the man’s best (and most accessible?) efforts, but also provide a Whitman’s Sampler of what has become known as The Cthulhu Mythos.

The central tenant of Lovecraft’s ‘pseudomythology’ is that Earth has been repeatedly invaded and populated over the eons by a series of alien races. In fact, “At The Mountains Of Madness,” hints that everything living here — plants, animals, humans — evolved from some ancient Elder Things’ experiments that were left to run wild.

So, if they (the Old Ones/Elder Things, Outer Gods, etc., etc.), are of outer space, and for as far and wide as the Enterprise ranged over the years, you’d think sometime, somewhere, Kirk & Co. would have come across these star-spawn, or at the very least, the degenerate remains of their home worlds.

I went looking for Star Trek/Cthulhu Mythos stories — authorized or fan fic — but my Interwebbular searches availed naught.

Has anyone written or found anything in this vein? If so, I humbly request your links. Please add them to the Comments section.

Many thanks.

( Kirk image courtesy of these nice people, Cthulhu image courtesy of this guy.)

Posted in Book Reviews, Editorials, Stories, Weridness | 3 Comments »

The Great Comic Book Plague: some follow-up

April 10th, 2008 by Weber

“I need this like another . . . Oh, wait.”
“Man, I need this like I need another . . . . Oh, wait.”

Below are a few items relevant to my April 9th post regarding the trouble with ignoring/forgetting the historicity of Frederick Wertham’s crusade against comics.:

—- Varney’s reply to my rebuttal. (I’m still considering a response.)

—- The New Republic’s ultra-cool slide show of ’50s horror comics covers. While only eight in the deck, each is a fine example of the lack of restraint publishers showed during the period. (original link via BoingBoing)

Of particular interest is the cover for Mister Mystery #12 and it’s strong use of the ‘injury-to-eye-motif’, which was a big story element in that era.

I can’t help but wonder if that particular theme/meme helped sell more comics, similar to former DC Editor Julius Schwartz’s maxim that any comic will sell better with a gorilla on its cover.

(image courtesy Greg Hyland over at LethargicLad.com)

Also —- if you’re into the whole Wertham argument, there looks to be the start of a debate between Ten-cent Plague author David Hajdu and pop culturalist and comics/graphic novel theoretician Douglas Wolk.

Click here to read Wolk’s initial volley.

Posted in Comics, Editorials | 6 Comments »

Robot Watch for X-mas, please

April 9th, 2008 by Weber

Every day, I kill fifty or sixty emails hawking ‘herbal remedies,’ legal advice, mail-order brides, and watches. Always with the watches. Hermays, Rol-esques, Tag Hewrs, and other overpriced knock-offs.

I might not be so quick with the shift+del If I ever got an email for one of these babies.



According to BornRich.org (‘your ultimate guide to the most expensive things in the world’), the Mr. Roboto ‘will go on sale from September 2008 for approx. $4,800.’


(more details on the watch and it’s inspiration here.)

Posted in Gadgets and Toys | Comments Off on Robot Watch for X-mas, please

Equal Time: a rebuttal

April 9th, 2008 by Weber

(image courtesy of Dial B for Blog)

(update April 13, 2010: had do disable comments on this because of the massive amounts of spam. If you have something to say about this post or want to add to the discussion, send me an email via the ABOUT page or comment on another post and I’ll transfer it over. Thanks. bjw)

Stopped by The Church Of Shiny Objects blog the other day, just to see what my pal Varney’s been up to.

Chris turns a good phrase, lately in the service of movie reviews, sports commentary, and other pop culture consumables.

In the April 7th entry, Equal Time, Chris briefly discusses a Slate article referencing Dr. Frederick Wertham and the 1954 comic book witch trials as discussed in David Hajdu’s new book The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic-Book Scare and How It Changed America.

Chris’s notes read fine until the concluding paragraph:

Wertham is well on his way to being utterly forgotten . . . . we should do nothing to slow that course from finishing itself out.

And I’m thinking that’s not such a good idea.


To quote the oft mis-quoted George Santayana: Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

Never mind the inability to learn one’s history. Deliberately allowing it to be ‘utterly forgotten’ is an even surer ticket to Doomsville.

Why remember Wertham?
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Comics, Editorials | 1 Comment »

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