I did not expect this post to invoke the name of Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man.

§ September 2nd, 2010 § Filed under peanuts, swamp thing § 13 Comments

  • So the results of yesterday’s poll is decidedly in favor of Ultra the Multi-Alien! Hoorah! I have no idea what to do to commemorate this!

    If memory serves, my initial exposure to Ultra the Multi-Alien was on the very early Nickelodeon Channel show Video Comics, which displayed old DC Comics stories panel-by-panel with narration and sound effects. I recall some of the featured stories included Silver Age Flash and Green Lantern stories, some Shelly Mayer stuff (Three Mouseketeers, Sugar & Spike), Adam Strange…and I’m about 79% positive that Ultra was in there, too.

    But outside of that, and maybe reading a reprint of his origin in a DC digest, and any cameo appearances he’d made since (like in James Robinson’s Starman), I haven’t had a whole lot of exposure to Ultra. Maybe when that DC Archives: Ultra the Multi-Alien hardcover comes out, I can catch up. However, I am struck by how similar in appearance he is to Metamorpho (immortalized in that song I presented yesterday). Comics really had a thing for characters divided up in fourths like that, didn’t they? Like Super Skrull, or Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man.

    And you can’t help but wonder just what’s going on, you know, with their, um, naughty bits. Half and half? Maybe split four ways, like it’s the point where Arizona, Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico meet? DON’T LOOK AT ME LIKE THAT, you know you wondered, too.

  • By the way, speaking of yesterday’s voting, the Ultra-Humanite would like to contest the results:

  • So reader Charles emailed to remind me that Netflix, the mail order DVD rental and online streaming service, has added America’s finest film Swamp Thing to its Watch Instantly streaming library. For those of you unfamiliar with Netflix’s rating function, you can rate movies you’ve seen with star ratings (1 to 5 scale), and based on your tastes, it will try to guess how much you would like other films you have yet to rate. In this case, I hadn’t got around to rating Swamp Thing, and Netflix’s suggestion-thingie said that I’d probably think it was a three-star film.

    AU CONTRAIRE, NETFLIX. I have corrected your incorrect assumption by giving the film FIVE stars, baby.

    However, I have not yet checked to see which version of the film it is…if it’s the one with an extra dollop of nuditivity, or the slightly less nekkid one (as discussed here). I’ll have to check and report back to you folks…as, you know, a public service.

    Oh, wait, just looked at the user reviews…someone claims that it’s the censored version, but, being of a skeptical bent, I still prefer to investigate this myself. INTO THE BREACH, MY FRIENDS.

  • Another follow-up to yesterday’s post…pal Nat, one of the world’s foremost Peanuts authorities (and, by the way, has provided the text for the forthcoming Peanuts Collection hardcover), popped into the comments to suggest that I’ve “subscribed to the myth of the timeless Peanuts,” which is fair enough. Like Nat says, the reprint books we grew up with tended to leave out the strips with celebrity references, which is probably why those references seem so out of place now. (The sports references, like to Billie Jean King, were usually left in, which is of course why they feel like they fit more naturally into the strip’s world.)

    By the way…there’s totally a Cheryl Tiegs reference near the end of that newest Complete Peanuts volume.

13 Responses to “I did not expect this post to invoke the name of Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man.”

  • rob! says:

    Ultra was indeed on Video Comics, because it was my first experience with the character. I even hunted down some Ultra comics afterward I liked him so much.

  • Did I just find the other person that watched and remembers Video Comics on early Nickelodeon? Is this why we both love Swamp Thing? Is it more evidence we may have been separated at birth?

    In addition to what you listed, they also did Swamp Thing, Space Ranger, Space Cabbie, Ultra, and random Mystery In Space shorts.

    I can’t hear “Ride of the Valkries” without think about the intro to that show.

  • I’ve needed money, Mike. I sold all my original Doom Patrols. To a guy who moved to Alaska. But I have never let go of my eight issues of Mystery in Space with Ultra.

    If only Bob Haney had written the character.

  • politescott says:

    My first introduction to Ultra was on the three-ring punched version of “Who’s Who” from the early ’90s. I was fascinated — yet amazed — that he rated his own page.

  • rob! says:

    Patrick Joseph–There must have been three of us, then, because I absolutely *loved* that show too. If there was DVDs of it I’d buy the whole set. I remember they used “Ride of Valkyries” as the theme song, with the kid riding his bike to the newsstand…good times!

  • Dutch says:

    I too am a Mystery in Space fan… Space Ranger Ultra Space Cabbie Good Times from all of them. I feel for the dude selling his Doom Patrol. I’ve got a damn fine run of them not all but enough.

  • Rob S. says:

    I remember Ultra from Video Comics, too. And the Three Dimwits — Winky, Blinky and Noddy!

  • CW says:

    I have a full run of the original Doom Patrol, including all of their early “My Greatest Adventure” appearances. Bought ’em back in the ’80s for what would be considered an amazingly low price nowadays.

    /pats myself on the back ;)

  • Abie the Fish Peddler says:

    It hardly seems fair to call the PG-rated version of SWAMP THING “censored.” We are not dealing here with a political statement, or an artist’s individual vision. It is a movie created for the purpose of making money, and the distributor decided it would make more money by releasing a version that children could legally see. That is not censorship; it is ordinary business practice.

    Semantics aside, I have never had any sympathy for the people who take a “European cut or nothing!” position. At issue, basically, is a look of one or two seconds at Adrienne Barbeau’s breasts. The movie does not suddenly become good with it, or turn bad without it. Nice to have if you can get it, I suppose, but not what the movie is about.

  • Mikester says:

    “…but not what the movie is about.”

    Sez you!

  • Bully says:

    Abie, I suppose you insist on removing the heads when you sell me a fish, too!

  • Nat Gertler says:

    To be fair, instead of “the myth of timeless Peanuts”, I should have said “the legend…”; as with many legends, it has a base in truth, but has been exaggerated.

  • Paul Wrider says:

    Hey, did Video Comics open with a spinning comic book rack to a classical music piece (I want to say the William Tell Overture)?

    In which case, I totally watched that as a kid. Great to know I’m not crazy!