Greetings from the Odinson,
2018 The Year in Review: Part 1 – A Requiem for Icons
2018, unfortunately, saw the world lose more people that mean so much to so many different people and in so many different ways. The Odinson would like to take a moment to acknowledge a few names that have impacted his life over the years, names of people that were highly influential in my life, and people who, unfortunately, passed away in 2018.
STAN LEE – Face front, True Believers! More than George Lucas, more than John Carpenter, more than Kevin Smith, this man, THE MAN, has had more of an impact on the Odinson than any other writer, producer, director, artist, and any other person that has ever worked in the field of entertainment and/or contributed to the lexicon of American Pop Culture.
For my full thoughts on how this man has touched my life see The Odinson Celebrates a True American Icon: Stan Lee.
Marvel Comics, the company this man cultivated and helped turn into an American institution, is honoring Stan Lee with a special tribute banner that will appear across the main covers of all their major titles from December through January. For a complete list of those covers, some that have already come out and the ones scheduled to in the coming weeks, click here – Marvel’s Stan Lee Tribute.
The Man. The Myth. The Legend. Stan Lee.
Steve Ditko – In partnership with Stan Lee, Ditko co-created Spider-Man, arguably the most popular, important, well know, and beloved super hero in the world! Also, these two legends of the industry created the Master of the Mystic Arts – Doctor Strange – and the fantastic world he lives in. Steve Ditko also created and co-created other legendary comic book heroes like Blue Beetle (Ted Lord), Captain Atom, and the Question for Carlton Comics. These three iconic heroes would not only go on to become mainstays in the DC Universe, but they would also serve as the templates and inspirations for the heroes of Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons.
Thank you, Steve Ditko. You brought so much joy into our lives.
Harlan Ellison – Cantankerous. Brilliant. He was truly a complex man that was truly one of a kind. Star Trek: The City on the Edge of Forever is one of the most emotionally powerful episodes from the franchise’s original series. “Repent, Harlequin!” Said the Ticktockman is a challenging experiment in storytelling style whose influences can be felt to this day in the works by modern masters like Quentin Tarantino. From The Man from UNCLE to The Twilight Zone, from Star Trek to Babylon 5, Ellison’s work spanned the breadth of classic sci-fi entertainment. If you are a fan of science fiction then you know his name. If you do not know his name, you should.
Here, in no particular order, are more pop culture heroes, personalities, and icons we lost in 2018 and a brief description of what they meant to the Odinson.
Jerry Van Dyke – He was the brother of the legendary Dick Van Dyke and had a long and distinguished career, but the Odinson will always fondly remember him as the lovable, always-mean-well Luther Van Dam from the underrated 90s sitcom Coach.
Keith Jackson – A longtime and well respected sports broadcaster that covered everything from football to baseball to boxing and all sports in between.
Dolores O’Riordan – She was the lead singer The Cranberries. Thanks to classic songs like Linger, Dreams, Ode to My Family, and Zombie, her melodic, yodeling, Irish voice still echoes through my speakers to this day.
Stephen Hawking – Scientist. Author. A truly brilliant man.
Mitzi Shore – She is the mother of comedian Pauly Shore the Weasel. She was also the proprietor of The Comedy Store, the venue that fostered and cultivated a who’s who of the world’s funniest people to ever walk the earth including Rodney Dangerfield, Robin Williams, Jim Carrey, Dave Chappelle, Louis CK, Michael Keaton (yes, that Michael Keaton), David Letterman, Richard Pryor, Joe Rogan, and so many, many more comedic legends that I could go on and on.
Art Bell – West of the Rockies… If you are a fan of science fiction, the paranormal, unexplained mysteries, conspiracy theories, alien abductions, Bigfoot, and/or the Loch Ness Monster then you are probably familiar with the syndicated radio program Coast-to-Coast of which Bell was the host.
Harry Anderson – A very funny comedic actor with memorable appearances on Cheers, the greatest television show of All-Time. But, he also starred as Judge Harry T. Stone in Night Court, a much underrated TV series and funny take on the judiciary system.
Barbara Bush – She was the First Lady, wife to President George H.W. Bush and mother to President George W. Bush.
Bruno Sammartino – One of the most important professional wrestlers to ever lace up his boots. Though by time the Odinson became a wrestling fan in the early 80s, Sammartino was at the end of his illustrious career, a career that saw him hold the championship belt for over a decade. His reputation was larger than life, even in the pre-internet days of the early 1980s. Simply put, he is a legend.
Verne Troyer – He was Mini-Me, the cherry on top of the delicious comedic ice cream Sunday that is the Austin Powers franchise.
Margot Kidder – Aw, beautiful, tragic Margot Kidder. She will always be my Lois Lane.
Anthony Bourdain – He was a celebrity chef and author with a highly entertaining personality that was the driving force behind such beloved travel/food shows as No Reservations and Parts Unknown.
Vader – Leon White was the hulking man-monster that terrified children and intimidated even the toughest wrestlers. He was a beloved, hated, feared, and respected wrestling icon of the 80s and 90s with a notorious reputation for working stiff in the ring.
Nikolai Volkoff – A WWE legend that played a fantastic Russian heel in the Golden Age of the 1980s. He is known for his feuds against Hulk Hogan and his longtime partnership with fellow heel the Iron Sheik.
Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart – A member of the Hart Foundation and along with Bret “The Hitman” Hart one-half of one the best tag teams to ever lace up their boots.
Robin Leach – Host of Life Styles of the Rich and Famous.
John McCain – A highly decorated veteran and a man that served his country both abroad and at home.
Gary Friedrich – A comic book legend known for his work in horror comics like The Monster of Frankenstein and the Son of Satan, but he is probably best renown for co-creating Ghost Rider (Johnny Blaze), the Odinson’s favorite incarnation of the Spirit of Vengeance.
Marie Severin – A highly celebrated colorist and inker that helped nurture and shepherd Marvel Comics through the Silver Age and into the Modern era.
Norm Breyfogle – If you read Batman comics in the 80s and 90s then you are very familiar with this man’s excellent work.
Scott Wilson – An actor with a long career of notable roles in such films like The Right Stuff, Young Guns II, Judge Dredd, and not the least of which was his memorable turn as Hershel in AMC’s The Walking Dead.
The Dynamite Kid – Tom Billington was one-half of the British Bulldogs, the Odinson’s 2nd All-Time favorite tag team in pro wrestling history. The Bulldogs had a legendary feud with the Hart Foundation in the 1980s. The Odinson is super bummed that wrestling fans never got to see the British Bulldogs in their prime clash with the Odinson’s All-Time favorite tag team – The Road Warriors. It would have been a clash of titans that they would still be talking about to this day.
George H. W. Bush – He was the 41st President of the United States of America, father to President George W. Bush, husband to First Lady Barbara Bush, and a man with one hell of a sense of humor.
Sondra Locke – Longtime muse of legendary actor/director Clint Eastwood and co-star in many of his movies including The Outlaw Josie Wells, Any Which Way But Loose, and Sudden Impact.
Penny Marshall – Beloved actress, writer, and director. Her directorial resume includes such classics as Big and A League of Their Own. The Odinson will forever fondly remember her as Laverne DeFazio from the sitcom Laverne and Shirley.
Whether it was through music, television, movies, gaming, or comic books, there are 33 names of people who had a profound effect on pop culture, and the Odinson. They have passed on to the next plane, and to them all I bid R.I.P.
This is Odinson bidding thee farewell