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  A quintbot and a princess of MarsOct 07, 2011 3:52 AM PDT | url
Added 1 new A* page:Penultimate ink study:
Yes, for some reason I painted a five-legged robot! That is the kind of silly thing I get up to when just drawing random things for practice, I guess. =p
Speaking of silly things, someone on an online forum asked me today how I pronounce "smbhax" (this site's short URL, which I use as my handle at various places online), and I had to confess that I pronounce it "simba hacks"; although I don't know if I had ever actually said it aloud before last week, when without thinking about it I dropped "simba hacks" in a work-related conversation with some friends, to their great amusement.
One of them also pointed out that "Simba" was the name of the young lion in Disney's "The Lion King" animated movie of 1994, which caused me some consternation because I'd always had an image of an elephant flash through my mind at the sound of the name, although I *have* seen "The Lion King." Googling for an elephantine Simba came up with this message thread, in which someone managed to find a link with a movie quote revealing that "Simba" was the name of Tarzan's elephant friend in the Tarzan movies starring Johnny Weissmuller and Maureen O'Sullivan in the 1940's. Weissmuller was quite the strapping fellow (I couldn't find a photo of the elephant :P):
I've probably seen snippets of one or two of those at some point, although I wonder if I didn't get it rather from some reference to them on an old TV show or something.
More factoids! "Simba" actually does mean "lion" in Swahili; why it was given to an elephant in the 1940's Tarzan movies, well, an informed poster on that thread hazards a guess:

Edgar Rice Burroughs created an ape-language for the books, in which "lion" was "numa" and "elephant" was "tantor." Apparently the screenwriters changed these words to either Swahili (sometimes with no relation to the real meaning) or to gibberish because of copyright issues.

I *do* remember "numa" and "tantor," come to think of it, as I read those ERB Tarzan books a decade or two ago—along with some of his other fun adventure series, like the "Barsoom" series (adventures of "gentleman of Virginia" John Carter on Mars), and the hollow, primeval-Earth land "Pellucidar" series. Good stuff!
In an interesting coincidence, for much of this week while drawing A* I've been listening to the first Barsoom novel, "A Princess of Mars," as a free audiobook. In fact I'm really excited about having found that site——as a whole, and plan to pillage its free treasures to keep my ears occupied during cartooning hours for the foreseeable future.
Yay! I'd planned to go directly into the more literary stuff I guess, but then I noticed they have a conveniently organized science fiction section, and could not resist first sampling its more sugary delights. The only drawback of free audiobooks, I guess, is that some of them aren't the best recordings (the reader of "Princess of Mars" is a little flat, but does well enough)—a distressing number of them have very prominent hisses and clicks in the audio. Audiobook readers! Please make sure you have a good recording setup before you record your reading of a classic book for all posterity! Now we're stuck with a hissy rendition of "The Gods of Mars." ;_; Well I refuse to listen to hissy stuff so I'll just be going through the site's archive a little faster than I'd hoped, I suppose. :P Still there are enough quality recordings there to keep me occupied for many pages of A*, I think. :)
Another coincidence: Disney is putting out a live-action movie adaptation of "Princess of Mars" next year (May 9, 2012), called simply John Carter. It's directed by Andrew Stanton, who also directed Disney's "Finding Nemo" and "WALL-E," which I have heard people liked, so that might be promising...although Burroughs' novels aren't exactly standard cartoon fare, being rather bloody affairs—and on his Mars, nobody wears any clothes :o. I'm guessing there will be some changes from the book. :P
Rather interestingly, although "A Princess of Mars" came out as a serial in 1912, and a book in 1917, it's never been made into a film. There have been a number of fairly advanced attempts, including an animated one by Looney Tunes director Bob Clampett in the '30s, which would have been the first American full-length animated film, a Disney project in the '80s whose cast was going to include Tom Cruise, and an attempt by Paramount around 2003-2004 that didn't quite get off the ground.
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