Sunday, April 20, 2014

Here is my new snippet of biography which I'll be using in an anthology of short stories entitled The Bitten:

James Rozoff is the sum of his influences, which include: Percy the Penguin and Eric the Half-a Bee, Harold the Barrel and Hobbes the Tiger, Adenoid Hinkel and Ma Hunkel, Featherhead and Lucky Lack, Gabrielle Maples and Ernest Everhard, Clarence Oddbody AS2 and Alucard, Terry and Julie, Desmond and Molly Jones, Latka Gravas and Sammy Maudlin, Alec Holland and Jim Nightshade, Mr. B Natural and Jim Anchower, Tasty Taste and Nigel Tufnel, Fatty Lumpkin and Jean Valjean…. You can find more about James by typing his name into a search engine.

I'm hoping there will be someone on this planet that will recognize a majority of the references I make. If I find such a person, I will consider him a brother (or sister). Actually, if you get the first reference, you're already in. You see, I've come to realize just how much I've been influenced by characters from books, films, and even music: many of the people who have most shaped my perception of life are entirely fictional. That's not to denegrate the wonderful people I have been blessed to know, but to be honest I find the people I hold most dear are those who have introduced me to those vivid characters stored on paper, wax, and celuloid. So with that thought in mind, let me introduce you to those influences of mine, hoping that you may experience some of the joy I've felt by getting to know them.

Percy the Penguin is a song by the band Stackridge and tells the story of a penguin who lamented the fact that he could not fly. You can hear the song here, but you'll have to go to 3:20:

From Monty Python, Eric the Half-a-Bee is a song that is a little less than serious:

Harold the Barrel is a song from the band Genesis. It is every bit as absurd as the previously mentioned song, but decidedly darker:

Just to prove I'm not a total anglophile, Hobbes the Tiger is a character from Bill Waterson's great comic, Calvin and Hobbes:

Adenoid Hinkel was Charlie Chaplin's parody of Adolph Hitler from The Great Dictator. Here is a great moment of cinema:

Ma Hunkel is an obscure reference, even for comic book readers. I'm rather fond of obscure references:

Featherhead and Lucky lack are from a Blues Traveler song. It is both absurdly touching and inspiring:

Gabrielle Maples was from the movie The Petrified Forest. Portrayed by Bette Davis, she is a young woman stuck in the middle of nowhere who dreams of living in France:

Ernest Everhard is the main character of Jack London's The Iron Heel:

It's surprising how many fans of It's A Wonderful Life don't recognize the name of Clarence Oddbody, Angel Second Class:

I was refering to the Gentle Giant song when I referenced Alucard, but I see they are not the only ones, maybe not even the first, to use Dracula's name backwards:

I'm a huge Kinks fan, and Terry and Julie are characters mentioned in Waterloo Sunset:

Desmond and Molly Jones from Obladi, Oblada (The Beatles):

Latka Gravas was a character from Taxi, a sit-com that ranks as highly as any other:

Sammy Maudlin was the character I randomly chose to represent the SCTV, which was the funniest thing on TV when I was young:

It appears that I'm really delving into my childhood influences--perhaps they are the deepest kind. At any rate, I was six years old when I bought this comic, and it was always special to me. Of course, when Alan Moore started writing it, it affected me even at the age of eighteen:

Jim Nightshade was from Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes. My fifth-grade teacher had the book and let me borrow it, making it perhaps the first real novel I ever read:

Mr. B Natural. What can be said about this one? I guess watching the clip her is the only real way to understand:

If you are a regular reader of The Onion, you should be familiar with Jim Anchower, a righteous dude:

Tasty Taste is from the criminally unheard of movie, Fear of a Black Hat: It was obviously influenced by This Is Spinal Tap.

Speaking of Spinal Tap, here is Nigel Tufnel doing what he does best:

Fatty Lumkin never made it to the movie, but he was a hobbit in The Lord of the Rings.

It was the original one with Fredric March that I saw when I was 5 years old, with an older brother there to explain it to me. This scene has stuck with me since then, making me wiser than I elsewise would have been. It has lost none of its profundity through the years and has influenced many of my decisions in life:

My contribution to The Bitten anthology, I Shall See The Sun, can be found here on my blog, but only until the time the anthology is released. At that time it shall be available only in the anthology, which we have assembled as a sort of benefit for a fellow writer who is battling cancer. As you might guess, the insurance plan for writers is not an ideal one. More on The Bitten to follow.

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