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 America's forgotten Buddhist superhero - from the 1940's pulp magazine

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Jcbaran

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Join date : 2010-11-13
Age : 66
Location : New York, NY

PostSubject: America's forgotten Buddhist superhero - from the 1940's pulp magazine   Fri Mar 09, 2012 12:19 am

http://www.salon.com/2012/02/09/green_lama_imprint/America’s forgotten Buddhist superhero

A New York gallery pays homage to a 1940s pulp magazine hero, the Green Lama

By Aaron Kenedi, Imprint
















Topics:Imprint, Design


This article originally appeared on Imprint.
Sunday afternoons in New York can lead to all sorts of odd discoveries. This most recent one brought me to the Rubin Museum of Art on
17th Street and into an arts mashup the likes of which I have never
seen and probably would not have believed if someone were to tell me
about it.
First
of all, you should know that the museum (my new favorite as it turns
out; just spend five minutes in the serenity of the cafeteria to
understand why) has an ongoing exhibition called Hero, Villain, Yeti!: Tibet in Comics.
Reason enough to explore. But Sunday’s particular multi-pronged program
featured an original commission by the acclaimed visionary composer Paul Haas. For this event, Haas created a synchronized work
to accompany the panels of the 1940s cult classic comic book hero the
Green Lama. “Part radio-play, part light show, part silent film, part
concert, this unique offering by Sympho and the musical trio MAYA,”
provided a narrative score for the sequential projections of panels from
Episode 2 of the Green Lama comic book series. Hosted and narrated by
WNYC’s Elliot Forest, the event featured noted actors Linus Roache (“Law
& Order”) and Brian Cox (“X-Men,” “Troy,” virtually everything
else) voicing the characters. I mean, really, with that setup, how could
you lose?
If you have never heard of the Green Lama (and I admit,
even as a comic book nerd, I hadn’t) apparently he was an American pulp
magazine hero of the 1940s whose superpower was imparted by, of all
things, Buddhism. Om mani padme hum.
Such is the mantra of billionaire playboy Jethro Dumont (best
billionaire playboy superhero name ever) when he wants to magically turn
into his crime-fighting alter ego, the Green Lama. With his trusty
sidekick Tsarong, Dumont/Lama battles evildoers like Willie the Sleeper
and the Mad Magi.
While the premise of the Green Lama’s power
purports to be divined by the enlightened, the writing is pure pulp and
camp (as evidenced by the panels included here).



But
discovering a long lost superhero was really just part of the fun.
Surreal as it was, the combination of the excellent music by MAYA
(harp, flute and percussion), along with the spirited voice-overs, and
the lighting/synth/background artistry by Haas himself, created a
mixed-media sensory experience that was like nothing I’ve seen before
and, dare I say it, it even bordered on the spiritual.


Copyright F+W Media Inc. 2011.
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Anne

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Location : Dorset, UK

PostSubject: Re: America's forgotten Buddhist superhero - from the 1940's pulp magazine   Fri Mar 09, 2012 4:50 am

:-) As a 1950s baby, rather imagining that the word "Buddha" would rarely have been heard outside a few private quarters in the pre-1960s West, I was surprised recently to discover the title When Buddah [sic] Smiles listed among the recordings of Spike Jones...not least because I hadn't expected to find "Buddha" even misspelled among 1940s recordings. I think Spike & his City Slickers did some great stuff (and I'm thinking of having his earlier recording of Cocktails for Two played as mood music at my funeral...date TBA!) but I rather put off listening to WBS, wondering what irreverence I might encounter!... I dipped my toe in the water this morning and discovered it's a brief instrumental piece, slightly quirky but with no pistol-shots, rip-roaring rags or quasi-flatulence... Gosh! (-:

For the curious...
http://www.myspace.com/spikejones-45859298/music/songs/when-buddah-smiles-75160636
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cmpnwtr

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PostSubject: Re: America's forgotten Buddhist superhero - from the 1940's pulp magazine   Fri Mar 09, 2012 1:46 pm

And let us not forget "Grasshoppa" of 1970s television, the David Carradine (who recently came to an ignominious end) figure who was a Chinese/American Shaolin Buddhist monk, roaming the West, righting wrongs and in search of his destiny. This was quite a figure, combining martial arts, Chinese wisdom sayings, and pulp Hollywood mysticism.
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Ikuko



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Join date : 2012-02-08

PostSubject: Re: America's forgotten Buddhist superhero - from the 1940's pulp magazine   Sun Mar 11, 2012 3:44 pm

I am loving the green lama!now that's my kind of man!
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Lise
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PostSubject: Re: America's forgotten Buddhist superhero - from the 1940's pulp magazine   Mon Mar 12, 2012 12:25 am

Me too!

I'm now trolling the web in hopes of turning up a long-lost copy of this comic book -
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