Sunday, November 28, 2004

Wilson's Weight Gain Comic Watch

From time to time, I'd like to apprise you of any new instances of comic art weight gain that I come across: this latest pops up as a back-up in the first issue of Paul Dini's current Jingle Belle (Dark Horse). Dini is best-known as an animation scripter who has worked on The Animaniacs and oversaw the first and best Batman cartoon series, and he also does the occasional comic series, many of which feature perky/sexy heroines. (Several Animaniacs toons included cartoon WG sequences, I should, add, but I don't know if Dini was directly responsible for any of 'em.) His Jingle Belle has appeared in several holiday comic book mini-series, but the primary figure in the book's back-up is a Halloween witch named Polly Green.

Polly lives in a spooky old magical tower on the side of her family’s split-level suburban home. Her family consists of two parents, a teenaged sister and a younger brother – and all four of 'em are inordinately greedy, constantly demanding that Polly conjure up presents for them. Because they're her family, Polly can't cast any direct spells on 'em, so to teach the acquisitive brood a lesson, she turns their split-level into "one big oh so Christmasy gingerbread house." Predictably, her mundane family members go to town on the house ("The best thing about gingerbread houses is they grow right back," she explains.) And in no time at all, all four Greens are roundly super-sized. "You really should have read the nutrition facts before pigging out," Polly sez and she points to where they're posted on the side of the house ("Calories: Zillions!")

Artist Stephanie Gladden (whose style is frankly more appealing than Jose Garibaldi, who tackles the main story in this issue) makes the newly fattened figures cartoonishly believable (mother and daughter are especially nice). Even if the fat Greens' appearances are limited and their primary poses bawlingly tearful, I'm suspecting that FAs into WG fantasies will find the panels appealing. Hop over to a comic book shop and check out the last two pages of Jingle Belle #1 to see if you agree. . .

Friday, November 26, 2004

Holiday Scares

So I'm looking at the paper on Thanksgiving – and on the front page is your typical holiday scare story about how holiday dining can be deadly on dieting. ("Americans," I'm told, "are generally clueless when it comes to proper portions." But with so much emphasis these days placed on counting calories or carbs or whatever, I tend to take such blanket pronouncements with more than a grain of Mrs. Dash.) Buried five pages in the same paper is an AP story correcting a Center for Disease Control study released last spring stating that obesity was about to overtake smoking as the No. 1 cause of death in the U.S. Apparently, said much-publicized study contained a number of errors, according to the Wall Street Journal, which included counting total deaths from a year outside the study. The study claimed that the number of so-called "obesity-related" deaths was 400,000, but at least 80,000 of these deaths were apparently "overstated."

I must add I'm skeptical about most of the remaining 320,000. At one point in the story, we're told that "poor diet and physical inactivity" were responsible for the burgeoning fatality rate – but that's hardly equivalent to being fat. A fat body may be a side effect of poor diet and non-exercise, but it isn't consistently so. So how many of these deaths are really related to obesity itself? Considering the CDC's readiness to jump on a set of unchecked numbers that already supported a preconceived conclusion, I'm not sure we'll ever really know. I do know that next Thanksgiving, I'll probably be reading another variation on the same dumb diet story on the front page of my newspaper.

Hope you all had a well-proportioned Thanksgiving out there. . .

Monday, November 22, 2004

Mo’ Better Toot

Comedy Central has finally posted some images from the Drawn Together episode described below, but only one of ‘em shows the full-sized Toot Braunstein. She’s dipping her chips in a barrel of fat that’s been lipo-ed off her body, incidentally. (Yeah, I know: ickkk!)

Friday, November 19, 2004

Story Time

Wound up posting a batch of stories on the Weight Room this a.m. For some reason, there were more dominance-and-submission type stories in this story pool than usual (a sign of the times?), so much so that I added a code to the Index for "dom" stories. Despite my earlier posting on the subject, all of the new stories have at least gone through minimal editing: ain't ready to give up the red pen yet!

I'm not much for the explicit s&m stuff, but it's a recurrent theme in Weight Gain fiction. I'm not quite sure why this is, though I suspect that part of it connects to the idea that fatness equals a loss of personal control. Dominance fiction is, after all, about one character showing off his/her Mastery of Their Domain. Where better to display this uber-control than in the Land of Anti-Fat?

Thursday, November 18, 2004

More Toot

Well, last night's Drawn Together has its inevitable weight gain story: as half of the cartoon cast residing in the show's faux Real World house were given an unlimited amount of food – and zaftig Betty Boop stand-in Toot Braunstein went on a nonstop binge to "fill the void" in her life. At her hugest, Toot is drawn as a female Jabba the Hut: a joke once used by the South Park boys on Sally Struthers. (And also by moi in an unrealized movie script – but let's not go there. . .) The show's writers toss in just about every mega-fat joke they can remember (one of the other animated characters, for instance, gets stuck in one of Toot’s folds) and also include some calculatedly yucky moments (lots of vomit in the episode’s second half). But I'm betting that screen caps of Jabba Toot show up in one of the Yahoo groups before the week is out. . .

My own take: the mega-sized Toot is not as cute as I'd personally like to see her (but, then, my starting model would be the "laugh 'til you are fat" BBW Betty Boop from the Fleischer "Betty Boop and Little Jimmy" cartoon), primarily because the folks at Drawn Together are more interested in subverting cuteness than anything. At times, her body doesn't look as believable as it does in other scenes (they especially seem to have difficulty making her arms gesture convincingly), though her multiply chinned face is rather nice. If I were a cartoon guest in the DT house, I'd definitely wanna do her. . .

UPDATE: Comedy Central has been posting stills from each episode on its DT page, though at this writing, they haven’t put up any from this week’s ep yet.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Sunday Will Never Be The Same

Feeling rather hairy today, so I pulled a couple of Rhino CDs collecting Summer of Love singles. Nuthin' will pull you out of sixties nostalgia quicker than a too-large heaping of the pop singles packaged as feel-good grooviness, but listening to one of 'em, I was reminded of one of my first big adolescent FA lusts: Elaine "Spanky" McFarlane. Other boomer fat admirers, recalling the era, look to "Mama Cass" Elliot, the one Mama of the Mamas & Papas who could really sing. Me, I had a case for the plump hippie chick in the big hats.

The single included in the Summer of Love set, "Lazy Day," is arguably one of the band's ickiest. But with their better 45s ("Sunday Will Never Be the Sun," "I'd Like to Get to Know You") and album tracks (a great version of "Brother Can You Spare A Dime," for instance), S&OG was a swell 60's folk-pop band. And Spanky was an even sweller singer. A few pounds later, she took the late Mama Cass' place in a revived version of the Mamas & Papas, but I have happier memories of seeing her in the 80's as a part of Flo & Eddie's (a.k.a. the Voices of the Turtles) Happy Together revival tour. She was no longer just plump by then – but a fat-&-happy Earth Matron, wearing a fringed vest that nicely showed off her fulsome arms, happily singing the earnestly liberal songs (remember "Give A Damn"?) of her youth. If I wasn't married, I'd have gladly signed up then and there to be her groupie/roadie. Every once in a while, I'll read some crap claiming that yer typical Baby Boomer is youth obsessed, yet, as so often happens, I found the older and fatter Elaine to be even hotter than her younger self. She still had a great voice.

Visiting a Spanky & Our Gang fan site, I now see a retrospective four-disc boxed set of Miz Spanky and the Boys is scheduled for release this season. About time, think I, since up 'til now the only CD of the Gang available in the U.S. was a Greatest Hits collection. As someone who has pleasant memories of the group's full vinyl releqses, I'm looking forward to the retrospective - "Lazy Day" and all - even though I know the chances of seeing her at her Happy Together fullest in the box set booklet are pretty damn slight. . .

Monday, November 15, 2004

The Grammar Thang

Spent some time over the past weekend, editing stories for the Dimensions Weight Room Library: a task that I took on when former webmistress Dani left the site suddenly and without notice, lo, these many years ago. Volunteered for the position of Weight Room Librarian, having read too many tales where the urge to pull out my red pen overrode any possible fanta-sizing pleasure that the stories may've offered. I'm no William Safire, but I has enough of a grasp of grammar to know when the most basic rules of verb/subject agreement and tense is being violated. (Yes, I deliberately flubbed the verbs in the previous sentence – and if it doesn't jar your reading of it, then you probably won't give a rat's ass about the rest of my grammatical musings.) So for the past three-plus years, I've been doing a quick 'n' dirty editing job on every manuscript sent to the Weight Room.

Some days, I wonder what the hell I was thinking. I mean, I've made my share of grammatical gaffes over the years – whenever I reread one of my stories, I'm guaranteed to come across at least one sentence that I wanna rewrite or correct – but not in every frickin' sentence. At times, I think this all is karmic repayment for my college undergrad days, when I thought for a year that it was the height of creativity to write everything like e.e. cummings. Other days, I decide it's a damning reflection on the quality of public education in this country. Some contributors, I know, are writing English as a second language, so I'm ready to cut them more slack – but what about all those native speakers who write as if they'd spent all their time in English class sniffing magic markers and dreaming of floating fat chicks?

Occasionally, of course, I'll run across an author whose flubs can be fun to read: one former contributor to the Weight Room used to consistently misspell "stockings" as "stalkings," which inspired a whole different kind of imagery every time he described a shapely pair of legs. But many of 'em are a chore to edit: writers who start out describing a scene in present tense, for instance, only to shift to past tense and back to present without any discernible purpose. I don't work to catch every error – just the most egregious ones – but even that can be time-consuming.

Most FAs, I suspect, if they had their druthers, would rather just read the stories as written without all the editorial muss-&-fuss. As long as the writer keeps the characters' names and sex consistent – and doesn't mishandle the stats too much – they're satisfied. In an era when even the major publishers care less and less about the niceties of proofreading, perhaps they have a point. Perhaps I do need to just back away, just code the stories I receive so they'll fit the Weight Room Library format, and let the writers stand or fall on their own. It'd certainly give me more time to spend on my own writing (though, when it comes down to it, I can find plenty of other ways to distract myself from finishing my writing projects) and get the submissions up faster. Maybe it's time to toss away the red pen for good?

Tuesday, November 09, 2004


Late last Friday I received a set of emails that went a long way toward alleviating my personal post-election doldrums: BeakerFA, the talented weight gain cartoonist, had sent me a trio of WG pinup sequences that he'd been commissioned to produce for an FA with disposable income. (Why don't I ever run into one of those benefactors?) The three sequences were devoted to female figures that the customer had requested – tough-looking lady cop, gaunt goth grrl and trim librarian – and featured two- to four-panel sequences of each one magically ballooning to super-size. I dug 'em all, but especially favored the librarian sequence (I've even written my own quasi-realistic librarian weight gain tale, "The Fattening of Marian Meredith," so it's clear that I like the idea of playing around with that particular icon), so I naturally wanted to add all nine images to the BeakerFA Gallery on Dimensions. Beak wrote that he wanted to get permission from his patron to do so, a not-unreasonable stance to take, but happily I heard back from him the next day giving me the go-ahead. Rearranging my schedule, I put together a page of his pinups and posted it on the Dim site that same morning.

In a very short time (and displaying an artistic growth you can measure just examining his work in the Gallery), BeakerFA has become one of my favorite fanta-sizer artists. His cartoon figures have heft and personality, sexy playfulness and their own distinct look. Check out any one of his pinups, and you immediately tell that this is an artist who enjoys looking at fat women. You can see it in the way he pays attention to every curve and bulge (note the legs on our librarian, the way our startled goth grrl develops an extra fold along the sides of her exposed torso and the way it follows the demands of gravity); you can see it in the occasional looks of self-satisfaction that he gives his super-sized subjects (our full-sized lady cop provides a good instance of that). These are women who are clearly meant to be the size they are.

I've collaborated with Beaker twice in the past two years, and, both times, he's produced graphics for "Fat Magic" stories that surpassed my meager powers of description. He's the best kind of artistic collaborator in that he's able to take what you've given, add his own personal elements and hand you back something that you recognize as both yours and his. Most writers who've had their works illustrated know how truly rare that experience can be. I hope that the anonymous FA who commissioned these works recognizes what he got.

And, Beak, please feel free to disrupt my schedule any time you want. . .

Friday, November 05, 2004

Blues in A Blue State

Your obedient weblogger has been in a funk all week since the Tuesday election. Without getting into politics too deeply (I don't feel that's the realm of this blog), let's just say that as a writer who has spent a lot of his career toiling in dubious fictional realms, I can't help but feel nervous about a voting bloc that apparently claims "moral issues" as a primary justification for extending our imperial presidency. I know I'm a big ol' reprobate, but I also know that the kind of paranoid moral judgmentalism that led so many Americans to build a legal wall against same sex unions ain't that far from holier-than-thou putdowns of fat erotica and/or weight gain fantasies. At the end of the voting day, both forms of moral bigotry give me the chills. . .

Monday, November 01, 2004

"Down, Strumpet!"

This Halloween weekend I spent part of my Saturday morning watching one of my favorite horrorflix, 1973's Theater of Blood. A grisly murder comedy starring Vincent Price in his hammiest Dr. Phibes mode, the movie revolves a mad Shakespearean thespian named Edward Lionheart, who is murdering a cabal of theater critics in ways that are meant to parallel memorable killings from the Bard's plays. To accomplish one of these, he deceives a married critic named Psaltery (Jack Hawkins) into believing that he’s been cuckolded by his platinum-haired wife Maisie. Busting in on what he’s led to believe is an adulterous tryst, Psaltery smothers his zaftig spouse, quoting from Othello as he does so. Like most of the movie, it's a darkly funny scene (you just know that these established British actors got off on the idea of wholesale critic slaughtering), but what most drew my attention to it was the casting of Diana Dors as victim Maisie.

Diana Dors isn't a name most young American moviegoers remember, but at one time she was one of an army of would-be Marilyns – a platinum-tressed British bombshell who starred in 50's B-movies like Man Bait and Lady Godiva Rides Again. Possessing a classic cheesecake hourglass figure, she was an exemplar of sexy glamour in the fifties and early sixties, but then something happened . . . she got fat. By the early seventies, when Theater was lensed, she'd already been relegated to more matronly parts: cat house madams and overweight housewives. One of her last roles was as the fat fairy godmother in an Adam Ant video – what a comedown.

To many Dors fans, the woman's weight gain ended her career as a glamour queen. But to an FA, this is the time when she gets to be interesting. As a college student in the early seventies with too much time to go to movies and an abiding love of horror, I first took note of the fuller-bodied former Mrs. Richard Dawson in Theater, but I also remember seeing her in other low-budget Brit scare flicks like From Beyond the Grave and Berserk! Even when she was playing a harridan, I enjoyed watching her simply because whatever her limitations as an actress (and, to be honest, they were considerable), she was a damn good-looking mid-sized woman.

I think of Diana Dors whenever I reflect on the appeal that celebrity weight gain has for many fat admirers. Go to most of the Dors Internet fan sites – and it's lotsa luck, finding a photo of her from the Fat Years. Too bad, since the BBW version of Dors can be far more uniquely gorgeous than the carbon copy pin-up queen of her youth. I could watch her limited screen-time in Theater repeatedly (there’s a marvelous comic bit where Price, impersonating a masseur, attends to Maisie as she lies in bed: all you can see of her is head, plump arms and shoulders, but it's enough). Seeing her, I can definitely understand how that poor sap Psaltery was driven to his jealous doom. . .