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Early October 1999

Second Spectacular Issue! Featuring:    The New Fall TV Season!    Indiana George of the Jungle Vs. The Mummy!    PLUS: The Secret Origin of Ash!    Drive Me Crazy drives NEW staff member Buffy completely insane!    And   Eeyore takes on the Hollywood Death Machine!
 
The Importance of Being Ash
Ash

 
Since the first issue of Glebe's illustrious entertainment rag I mean mag hit the stands less than two weeks ago, I have been inundated with queries as to the origin of Ash, my mysterious 'nom-de-plum'. And by inundated of course I mean one person asked me, and I desperately needed something to fill up half a page in this issue. Well, dear reader, that is certainly a valid question, for there is a deeper meaning aside from the obvious, which is that it's a pretty cool name. I'm going to assume that you, like most normal people, own at least one copy of Sam Raimi's 1987 classic Evil Dead II: Dead By Dawn, and watch it regularly on special occasions such as Halloween, Christmas, and Thursdays, and are therefore well aware of the unbelievably cool main character, one Ashley J. Williams (played by the great Bruce Campbell), known to his friends as Ash. "Aha!" you say, no doubt with a smug expression on your otherwise blank and vapid face, "So that's where he got it from! He thinks he's as cool as Ash!" Well, it is and I do, but that's not the whole story.
 
For example, one need look no farther than the illuminating world of literature to find another piece of the Ash puzzle. The fact that I am a big fan of the graphic novella, or 'comic book' as the kids are calling them these days, should come as no surprise to anyone who knows me well. For I am a connoisseur of all forms of art, and what better middle ground is there between the great literary works of Shakespeare and the stunning visual imagery of Picasso or Degas than the latest issue of Warrior Nun Areala. Also, comic books tend to involve very few actual words, a big plus if the word polysyllabic hurts your head. Now, those of you familiar with the wild world of funny books may remember a series a few years back called Ash, which featured the wacky misadventures of smarmy, ass-kicking firefighter Ash, who incidentally had a haircut very similar to the real Ash's at the very end of Evil Dead II. Granted, this animated Ash never got anywhere near as cool as the real Ash, but he got points for trying.
 
But perhaps comic books aren't quite your thing. Perhaps you're far too hoity-toity to read books that run about 22 pages every month and have less words than an exit sign on the Queensway. And perhaps you utterly disdain horror movies and refuse to watch Evil Dead, because your film-going tastes run more towards the science-fiction end of the spectrum. Well, you're in luck, because as you'll no doubt remember, there happened to be a little sci-fi movie a few years ago that also had a character named Ash in it. Perhaps you've seen it. It's the heart-warming story of a small, brown little alien who gets accidentally left behind on Earth by his spaceship and ends up staying with a human family, teaching the three children about life, love, and what happens when a carnivorous creature bursts out of John Hurt's chest and starts eating people's heads. Yes, that little film was Alien: The Extra-Terrestrial, and it starred Ian Holm as Ash, the crew science officer who actually turns out to be a murderous android who must teach Sigourney Weaver about life, love, and the importance of staying away from movies starring Sarah Polley.
 
But what's that you say? You suffer from some strange taste deficiency and don't like Alien? Try eating more fibre. Also, try watching 1940's movie serial The Crimson Ghost. Starring Charles Quigley as Duncan, a brilliant criminologist who moonlights as a physicist and is completely incapable of going through 5 minutes of screen time without punching somebody, The Crimson Ghost tells the story of a mad criminal genius who for some baffling reason wants to destroy the world, and he must do this by obtaining the 'atomic cyclotrode', a device with the ability to halt all electrical activity, which somehow blows cars up. Aside from providing the symbol for rock 'n' roll greats The Misfits, The Crimson Ghost also contains tough-talkin', hard-hittin' crook-for-hire Ash, the Ghost's right hand man.
 
So the answer you sought was not quite so simple as it seemed, was it, dear reader? Ash is not quite the two-dimensional character you assumed him to be, a name pulled from thin air just because it sounded cool. No, Ash is in fact a creation spawned from a childhood spent hunched in front of a television, soaking up cathode rays like a sponge. Wasted youth, you say? Shut up. Nobody asked you. I prefer to think of it as a willing full-body-and-soul immersion into the fetid pool of raw sewage we call pop-culture. And I can't swim.

 
 




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