Monday, June 25, 2007

In the Old Days

Hello again; It's been a while since my last post, I've been a busy little rascal, hating on several different comics (especially "A Distant Soil" - man, that was incomprehensible. Either Colleen Doran is taking way too many drugs or she's just lost it and she's living alone with fifty cats).

One comic I don't hate is called "Out Our Way" by J. R. Williams. It's a strange comic to read. The dude wrote it between 1924 and 1955, and it's about being nostalgic for days thirty or so years past. That is to say, if you were like fifty years old in 1924 and you picked up a copy of the paper and read the comic, you'd say "Oh yes, that character's predicament reminds me of what I was like when I was 20 years old in 1894".

Yeah - the humor in the comic comes at you from weird angles. You have to stare at it a while to figure out what the hell was supposed to be so funny about it. They're jokes written for a time that's more than a half century past and they're nostalgic for another time before that.

Here's a relatively recent example (drawn in 1950). In it, it's hard to figure out what the hell's going on. You have to look close at the man's jacket and piece together the relations of everyone in the damn picture.

It's full of folksy wisdom that is really really odd. To my mind, it paints a swell picture of the feelings of the American people faced with great and sweeping technological change. Reading it, you realize that though we Americans weren't exactly barbarians that long ago, we still had a lot of frigging hay to brush out of our ears. It's almost like the people he writes about, their ways are way too far past "quaint"; they seem almost primitive (but they're not, of course; primitive people live in the 3rd world).

Witness the following cartoon: I'm inclined to wonder exactly how common of an occurrence this situation was. Considering it was in a daily cartoon in 1950 and published by a whole mess of newspapers for hundreds of thousands of readers, it's not a stretch to imagine people from those days wouldn't think of this as something completely unfamiliar. Consider the woman's dire pronouncement, too. What other weird crap did those old fogeys know that's now completely lost to us thanks to that bitter hag?

Right, and the caption - "Born thirty years too soon". It took me a while to figure out what the hell that meant. I like to think of it this way: suppose you order a pizza and you expect it to be at your house in 45 minutes. However, as soon as you hang up the phone, the pizza guy's at your house and ringing your bell. In this case, the pizza arrived 45 minutes too soon. So in the captions above and those that follow, "born thirty years too soon" meant that whoever the main character was in the 1950s was supposed to have been born in 1920; that way he'd be all caught up with the strange technological menace sweeping the pristine American land in 1950. Or something. Hell, I don't get it. Leave a comment if you can figure it out.

This next stupid comic was from 1952. It's pretty self-explanatory. What's weird is that what the young lady's doing doesn't seem weird at all. The grandmother, however, is pretty frigging pissed. The mother is sort of resigned to it. We in 2007, however, are left baffled.

Oh yeah; it was also automobile time back then. In the next cartoon, we learn that back then (whenever the hell - 1950, I think) a bunch of people were using horses a lot in their daily lives, like every single day. Then the automobile came, and "newfangled" wasn't simply a word used to goof on old people. Back then, when an old person said "newfangled" they meant it and they would get really pissed off at you if you laughed at what they said:

Yeah, technological change was rampant back then. Even stuff we totally take for granted, like, stuff that's utterly ubiquitous nowadays, it used to be strange and new. Man, that's totally weird, you know? Like, even really stupid stuff, those idiots back in 1930 had to sit around like a bunch of jerks and wait for it to get invented:

And lots of people back then (apparently) were really nervous about not being a part of the changing times that were sweeping the nation. This next comic from 1946 (for crying out loud) shows a young girl trying to avoid social stigma to which her father is completely oblivious. He can't figure out what his daughter's problem is, the dumb hick. And this is in 1946!

Lastly, the following comic appeared in newspapers in 1950. It's not that difficult to get, but I mean, crap, even something as stupid as a radio was giving these people problems. I don't even have a radio in my house anymore! Well, actually I have a clock radio but I only listen to it on alternate months beginning with "J". Does anyone even have a tape player in their house in 2007?

Anyway, that's only a little bit of "Out Our Way". I'm not really goofing on it too hard. And I sure as heck don't think things were better back then. Those were different times than ours, but not completely unrecognizable. I like the angles the jokes come at me from these comics, and the guy's actually a pretty good artist.

If you figure out what "born thirty years too soon" is supposed to mean, let me know.
Chris Benoit (1967--2007)

Just an observation---about the next stage being anger and what's I've witnessed as this grisly story unfolds over the internet, among fans pros, the media, etc. The observation has to do with smarks, and for the moment let's include those in the business as another class of smarks.

If there's one thing a smark hates, it's being fooled. Being worked. That's what sets us smarks apart from the common rabble after all. From the evidence at hand, Chris Benoit worked us. He worked 99.99% of planet Earth into thinking he was a pro, a stand-up guy, a respectable man who loved his family.

And that's the part that ____ing stings for us. That's the anger we thought we saw peeking through on tv Monday night. Damn it, man, we trusted you. You were the honest one, the hero, the underdog we rooted for, the...babyface. We all got swerved, and two innocent people paid for it with their lives. Did Nancy or Daniel see this coming? Were they fooled too? The rumor sheets are starting to say they may have known there was something wrong. We may never know, or then again we may find out one day.

There's a sense of betrayal running through those standing inside and outside "the sport" this week. And part of that is never going to go away.

Friday, June 15, 2007

The Black Super Villains Union

I'm posting this to adderess a little know issue in the world of comics: The plight of the Black Super Villain.

I know what everyone is thinking and, yes, the thread at Newsarama did get up to a bajillion pages but out of all of that indignation and bile spewing come this true account of why it is not just any mean spirited Black Man can be a a Black Super Villain.

The Black Super Villain Union

It's the organization any self respecting Black man who wanted to be known for his evil deeds and be respected by more than just himself, would have to join.

The problem is, that it is not run my Lex Luthor, who, contray to his pigment in the JLU cartoon and his bald head and deep voice, IS NOT BLACK.

It's also not run by Apocalypse, who may or may not be Egyptian but who is certainly never actually claimed to be Black.

It can only be run by one man:

Moses F'N Magnum!

Yes there may be some subtext in that picture but subtext is the very nature of the Black Super Villain. How isa brotha supposed to take over the world if all of his social statements are made by screaming. Sometimes you just have to stand behind a giant phallic podium and...expound...

I digress.

Now it's clear to me that Moses was based in another ruler of industry, Maurice White of Earth Wind and Fire fame. Look:

The wisdom of my statement cannot be denied...

Moses has a right hand man at Union meetings. That man is more than likely Mr. Fish.

Mr. Fish gets the job because he has...well he looks crazy but he makes up for it by packing heat and choking a bitch, who may be bulletproof on a roof top.

Moses magnum takes application and he and Mr. Fish review them. I think it goes somethink like this:

Moses: NEXT!!!!

(cue the bumper music from Soul Train)

In walks Thunderball, of the Wrecking Crew---

MM: And just who in the hell are you supposed to be?
Thunderball: My name is Thunderball.
MM: Fish? You got a Thunderbell on your list?
Mr. Fish: Naw boss. Aint got no...Thunderbell on my list
TB: Thats Thunder-Ball. Like the James Bond Film...I'm in the Wrecking Crew.
MM: You a spy?
TB: No I'm not a spy. I'm a black Super villain. Like you.
MM: Like ME??? Are you the Leader of the Wrecking Crew?
TB: No, That's the Wrecker. I'm highly educated. I'm like the Black Bruce Banner.
MM: The Black Who? Is the Wrecker Black? Get him in here if he's got his own crew. That's built in labor as far as I'm concerned. I like to see a brotha sun contractin...
MF: He's the Black Bruce Jenner Boss. And the Wrecker is White. He fought Thor. Hits folks with a Crowbar. Wears a ski mask.
MM: What? Bruce Jenner? The Wheaties dude from when I was a shorty?
TB: Banner! Bruce Banner!!! The Incredible Hulk! I am as smart as that guy.
MF: I know someboby need to slow they roll up in this piece, that all I know. Walkin round here dressed like The Uncola and shit...
MM: Mr. Ball...Can I ask you a question?
TB: Oh sure, Anything.
MM: You hang around with a crew of guys lead by a white boy in a ski mask carryin a crowbar and it says right here in this update I got from Black Manta, that your last known stompin grounds was tryin to take over Canada.
TB: Yeah...
MM: Well the Hulk was a member of the Avengers for like a hot minute and then he decided after about an hour of their WASPish nonsense that he was better off raisin hell on his own.
TB: Yeah...
MM: You're the Black Who again because I don't think the Hulk is botherin with Canada or the Foot Clan or whoever the hell yall supposed to be. My official ruling is to hold off on this application until...well until yall get some damn sense. Fish, get this fool up outta here.
MF: Bout damn time. NEXT!!!
Next up: Rocket Racer and Man Ape.....

Clue Number 1

Iron Man: "If we don't find [Luke Cage], they will."
Ms. Marvel: "They who?"

Mighty Avengers #1

The truth is out there. Now put on the damn glasses.