Friday, May 18, 2018

Amazing Arizona Comics #2 Trailer

Amazing Arizona Comics Month continues!  Phoenix Comic Fest is next week, and I'll soon share my itinerary for the weekend, so you know where and when to find me.

In the meantime, dig this trailer for 2010's Amazing Arizona Comics #2, featuring June Monsoon, Al Gore, and the truth behind that year's burst of the Tempe Town Lake Dam!

Sunday, May 13, 2018

The Secret Origin of Wigwam, part 3

Today's post is a special two-in-one!  Because I'm posting on Mother's Day, today's Amazing Arizona Comics Monthly entry is an actual excerpt from Mother Road's travelogue!  It's also the conclusion of "The Secret Origin of Wigwam," Mother Road's sidekick on her adventures protecting Route 66.  

If you've been following the ol' blog the last few days, you read a synopsis of the time Crystal Vortex (the Sedona sorceress) accidentally brought Route 66 attractions to life. You also read a brief history of the Santa Fe Railroad, and its one-time mascot Chico. Now, in this blurb from Mother Road's diary, you'll see how the two are connected and have brought a new hero to the world -- Wigwam!

Wigwam's first memory is crawling out of the desert sand, like he was birthed from the earth herself. The way he describes his surroundings at the time, I think he was in Winslow.  Makes sense, since the Santa Fe ran through there. 
I don't know if Wigwam knows, but he's clearly "Chico," from those old Santa Fe ads, brought to life.  I talked to Speed Cameron.  Crystal did something a few months ago, some magic that brought the Jack Rabbit and the other oddities on The Route to life.  Good thing he stopped the giants before they smashed Flagstaff.  I couldn't join the party -- that was the day the Gila Mobsters tried to turn a mountain in Oatman into a hot sauce volcano. 
Anyway, some piece of Santa Fe Railroad memorabilia must've been touching The Route when Crystal cast her spell. Crystal's reverse-spell targeted the attacking attractions, so Wigwam might've been spared.  The way he tells it, Wigwam wandered the desert for days, unaware of whom or what he was.  When he stumbled into Holbrook, he saw the Wigwam Motel and fell asleep under its sign.  That's where I found him. 
I never thought about taking on a partner out here on the road.  Actually, I HAVE thought about it, and I hated the idea.  Dead weight, that's what I figured. Mankind is the biggest reason The Route has gone to seed these past 50 years.  I've realized Wigwam may be a boy, but he'll never grow to be a man.  He's just some marketing scheme brought to life, and he may outlive us all.   
That makes him everything I hope The Route can and will be.  Nothing makes more sense than me protecting him, and him protecting me.

There you have it, folks!   Here's a panel from Mother Road and Wigwam's recent adventure, from Amazing Arizona Comics #33.  Happy Mothers' Day! 

Friday, May 11, 2018

The Secret Origin of Wigwam, part 2

Continuing the never-before-told origin of Mother Road's sidekick, Wigwam!

The Santa Fe Railroad is one of America's most traveled and storied cross-country expressways.  I dare say it was the "Route 66" of railroads, with service from Chicago to Los Angeles, to boot.  Of course, such a journey would bring passengers right through Arizona, and notable stops included Winslow and the Grand Canyon.

One of the tickets (heh) to the Santa Fe Railroad's success was its marketing.  In the early '60s, many of their print ads included a young Native America boy, named Chico. According to this article on the website Bid On Travel:
While Chico’s name emphasized the Hispanic heritage of much of Santa Fe’s operating territory, his clothes and feather evoked images of the Navajo and other lands of native peoples its trains passed through. 
Amtrak’s Southwest Chief still travels through a portion of the Navajo Nation on former Santa Fe tracks. 
I will let others decide if Chico would be politically correct today, but he has to be one of the most effective corporate symbols ever created. He set the tone.
Considering the debate over images like the Washington Redskins' mascot, Chico probably wouldn't survive much past a marketing pitch meeting today.  In fact, if his likeness didn't still exist in those vintage advertisements, and if a certain spell didn't bring Route 66 icons to life just a few years ago, some might say he'd be lost to the annals of Americana forever.  Yet, a glance at the graffiti that adorns Route 66's landmarks to this day might lead one to believe that a Native American boy haunts the highway, maybe even bringing those very vandals to justice.

To be concluded!