It was Black Thursday yesterday with two icons in the world of Steve passing from this mortal coil.
First off, actor John Phillip Law passed away at the age of 70. Law appeared in at least two of my favorite sixties movies BARBARELLA and DANGER: DIABOLIK! as well as other quirky treats like THE GOLDEN VOYAGE OF SINBAD and Otto Preminger's totally demented SKIDOO. (I'd forgotten he was in that last one, but it's hard to compete for attention in a movie when you're up against Jackie Gleason on acid and Carol Channing dancing around dressed like Captain Crunch.)
Law was a serious actor with chiseled good looks, but his career never quite kicked into high gear. Maybe it was those slightly crazy looking blue eyes. I mean, check this shit out:
Yow! Then again, I think Law's willingness to get a little nutty with it that added to his charm and made his movies so much fun. "I've had more kicks out of playing far-out things," Law told the Los Angeles Times in 1966. "It's like putting on a funny face and going out in front of people and going, 'yaaaaaa.' " Well put, and if he wasn't quite a household name, at least he had VIP status at the Playboy Club and a young Jane Fonda reached into his junk for her laser pistol. That's a pretty good resume in my book.
On the comic book side of things, cartooning legend Will Elder also passed away yesterday at the age of 87.
Elder is probably best known for his collaborations with Harvey Kurtzman, especially in MAD and on the LITTLE ANNIE FANNY strip for Playboy. (Maybe Hef is joining me in this overall mourning.) Elder pretty much defined the MAD style, what with his chameleon like ability to draw in different artist's styles, his flawless caricature and especially his ability to shoehorn an astonishing number of gags into a single panel. Elder oozed funny the way a southern sherrif oozes meat sweats.
Seriously, if you ever want to take yourself down a peg or two as a comic book artist, just look at Elder's work. Aside from the aforementioned MAD and LITTLE ANNIE FANNY there's also his work on TRUMP, HELP! and HUMBUG as well as some great movie posters and original paintings. The only thing Will Elder couldn'tdo as an artist was suck. You'd do yourself a solid by checking out the man's site.