So, this thought occurred to me…

§ July 20th, 2006 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on So, this thought occurred to me…

…at the shop yesterday, regarding the whole “Spider-Man unmasking” thing.

Now, those of you who remember the 1970s may recall a regular on The Gong Show called “The Unknown Comic.” For those of you who don’t…he was a stand-up comic whose gimmick was always performing wearing that paper bag over his head. He was something of a sensation at the time, but eventually the Unknown Comic unmasked on television, and that seemed to mark the end of that particular fifteen minutes of fame. (You can see the unmasked face, and read an interview with the comic, here.)

Now one could argue that the Unknown Comic’s popularity had peaked anyway, and doffing the bag was simply one last hurrah for the fad, rather than “ruining the mystery” and affecting the Unknown Comic’s popularity. But that latter interpretation is a possible tack to take with Spider-Man’s unmasking. Now that he’s revealed his identity, perhaps the public fascination in the Marvel Universe with Spider-Man will fade away as well, making him “old news” with the populace. Instead of “Hey, look, it’s Spider-Man!” it’ll be “Well, there goes that showboat Parker. Feh.”

Or maybe that’s what they’re doing in the Spidey books right now. I haven’t the foggiest.

Best book of the week:

It’s Flaming Carrot’s Bob Burden writing, and Rick Geary drawing. Really, what else do you need to know? It’s more younger-audience oriented than the two Comico Comics Gumby books drawn by Art Adams back in the mid-80s, but it still has that weird mix of childlike innocence and outright peculiarity that Burden has mastered. My only quibble is that the book could have used an extra pass from the proofreader (especially for the text page in the back), but otherwise, good show.

Another good book out this week, and it sort of surprises me to say this, is Elephantmen #1. The occasional release of “Hip Flask” comics, involving a hippo private eye in a world of humans, have met with positive reaction from our customers, but for some reason I never paid it much attention. Can’t say why, really. But this new issue serves as a good introduction to the scenario, essentially a Disney-type world of humans and talking animals, only played as a serious, noir-style drama. Yeah, I know how that sounds, but it works, oddly enough, and it’s sold mostly through the detailed, expressive, and moodily-colored art. The lead story, where the title character’s chance encounter with a young girl contrasts her innocent questions with his own violent and unpleasant past, is particularly affecting. It’s almost Spielberg-ian in its blatant emotional manipulation of the reader, but, hell, it sucked me in anyway. I’m a big softie…don’t tell anyone.

The Comics Journal #277 – It’s the 30th anniversary issue, and really, you should be buying this magazine anyway, but it’s worth it for the attempted phone interview between Gary Groth and the late Alex Toth. Toth starts out pissed off and gets even more so as the conversation continues. It’s fantastic. (Here’s the intro to the interview for some additional background.)

Jack Kirby’s Galactic Bounty Hunters #1 – I’ve noted this before, but, honestly, a creator-owned Jack Kirby comic. Published by Marvel. There’s some measure of irony to that.

In other new comics day news…we got our order via UPS about a half hour before we opened (instead of the two hours we usually get), we had a ton of stuff (the usual pre-San Diego glut, plus the large number of reorders that were supposed to show up last week but didn’t, plus the reorders due this week), and it was hot. Damned hot. Boo hoo, woe is me. We also got shorted half our order of the new 52, the one with the new (gasp) lesbian Batwoman that all the kids are excited about, so we ended up running out by the end of the day. Supposed to get the balance via an “emergency shipment” by the end of the week…I hope.

Thought this was an interesting quote from DC’s Dan Didio in this Newsarama interview:

“…In Young Justice – I’m sorry, but when you introduce a character called ‘Slobo’ [audience laughs] No – honestly – Lobo is a character that’s dark, dangerous, edgy, and over the top. That’s why Lobo is funny, not because he’s a joke. When you make a Slobo character, it’s not a good character. It’s ruining something stronger. It ruined Lobo, in my opinion. It’s selling a character down the river for a laugh, and I never want to do that.”

It seems to me that Lobo was pretty much ruined anyway, at the time, through overexposure, and needed to go away for a while. At least Peter David tried to do something different with the character in Young Justice, keeping a version of the character in the public eye without subjecting the audience to another hyper-violent “black comedy” Lobo comic…the demand for which had pretty much run its course.

For you folks what are attending the San Diego Comic Con…particularly if you’re going to be at the weblogging panel: if that Kid Chris character shows up, shouts “SPECIAL DELIVERY FROM PROGRESSIVE RUIN DOT COM!” and pegs all the panelists in the face with custard pies, I swear it wasn’t by my command.

I warned pal Ian about this, and told him I pictured it like a ’70s suspense action thriller…shots of Ian breathlessly charging up endless flights of stairs, frantic and sweating, trying to find Kid Chris before his attack, intercut with shots of Chris in some unused storage room at the top of those stairs, slowly applying whipped cream to the pies as he prepares to strike.

These are the things I think about at work. Must have been the heat.

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