November 21, 2013
What’s that smell…?
I swear, it wasn’t me…
If you’ve perused the site’s Archives before, you’ve probably stumbled across a few entries with the title Potpourri. Much like the fragrant mish-mash of plant material that either induces calm or vomiting (or calm-vomiting, depending the person’s allergies and the mix), this update will be a mish-mash of things stumbled across over some time that cause… well, again, it depends on the person. So be prepared!
Take the following from Atomcat, published by Digital Manga Publishing. When the creator of Tetsuwan Atom (or Astro Boy as he’s better known in America) decided to revisit his most famous creation, he decided to go on a different tact. No, he didn’t remove the uncomfortably rampant child nudity in his stories (tastefully censored of course), that’s still there (and I’m probably now on some government monitoring list for this sentence). No, what he did was decide to have a sickly cat get adopted by a wimpy kid, both of whom get run over by aliens. The cat dies and in a moment that would make the History Channel’s Ancient Aliens proud, the cat is brought back to life to make up for their running it over. Did I mention the cat’s brought back as a super-robot (see, the aliens got confused by the kids memories of Astro Boy being mixed with the cat who sort of looks like Astro Boy). The kid and cat are returned to earth like nothing happened and get into some strange, all-ages, kid friendly adventures. Well, as kid-friendly as stories that involve a dead, orphan kitten and a boy constantly being stripped naked by bullies can be… and just when you think you’ve got this book figured out this happens…
Okay, please remember this was meant to be a series aimed at kids. Taking the above into context, there’s really not much out of the ordinary – so an anthropomorphized female cat burns its butt on Atomcat’s jet-paws (at least I think it’s her butt, the smoke makes it hard to tell – did I just type that?) and is falling to her doom? We’ve all seen similar situations of butt burning in many, many Looney Tunes and other cartoons. Sure the amount of black smoke from the cat seems a bit much, still, that’s just artistic license right? So Atomcat saves the girl and our story continues…
No, seriously, WTF is he going to lick?
If there’s any question as to what Atomcat plans to lick – well – there’s a clearly marked trail coming from the appropriately named Munch, the girl cat. And honestly, I can’t add anything more to this; it’s as awkward as it’ll ever be…
At least they’ve got a stronger sense of decency than your average cat.
Anyone out there a fan of Archie comics? While I’m not a regular reader, the occasional issue can act as a great pick-me-up. Humor is something that seems sorely lacking in comics these days, with the modern emphasis being on gritty, violent and horrific contents. In short, there’s nothing comical in comic books these days, with a few exceptions, like Archie. A recent story that caught my eye appeared in Betty and Veronica #261-262. In it Riverdale is taken over by vampires who proceed to make vampire duplicates of everyone’s favorite Riverdale teens, starting with Veronica becoming Vampironica – a vampire dressed oddly similar to Vampirella. I’d include a picture of Vampirella but coupling that with the Atomcat entry above would turn this into an R-rated website and I can’t afford the loss in readership (hah, what readership?)…
Jughead, eye-level with Veronica’s butt, just closes his eyes and thinks about hamburgers. That’s my PG interpretation; feel free to use your imagination.
Eventually Archie and the gang manage to defeat the evil vampires thanks to the help of some good vampires, garlic and a convenient sunrise. Oh, and wooden stakes driven into their evil vampire duplicates, all done with a smile. Here, let’s see what happens next…
Now, remember the number 4. Remember, Veronica herself says “We have FOUR caskets to move!”
Veronica’s secret shame is that she, the daughter of a multi-millionaire tycoon, can’t count. It just goes to show the sorry state of Riverdale’s public school system – though it does explain why after 60 years the gang is still stuck in high school. It’s a shame too because if any of them could count, they might have noticed Vampironica had escaped from the castle where they trapped the evil vampires and caught her before her inevitable future bloody rampage in Riverdale…
They say when training for war that it’s important to dehumanize your enemy in order to be able to effectively fight and kill them. In World’s Finest Comics #123 Batman demonstrates the use of this tactic when referring to the most recent antics of Bat-Mite and Mr. Mxyzptlk – both imps from another dimension…
Yes, Batman has downgraded Bat-Mite and Mr. Mxyzptlk from human level threat to “SUPER-PETS”. They’ve gone from mischievous imps to the dog that poops on the carpet and gets whacked on the head with a paper because of it. It seems appropriate that Superman is holding a giant pooper scooper in moot silence in that panel, doesn’t it?
So we come to the final entry of this mangled mash. I’d like to say I saved the best for last, but after looking over the other 3 entries, calling anything “the best” would come across as some kind of sick joke. Anyway, enjoy the opening antics of Detective Comics (volume 2) #2 as Mr. Bruce (Batman) Wayne meets a new ‘business proposition’. For maximum effect, I’d suggest just looking at the pictures and filling in your own dialogue…
Mr. Wayne has the most poorly placed dialogue bubble I’ve ever seen.
Three things strike me as odd here. One, the look on Mr. Marder’s face as he’s staring at Bruce is somewhat... err… excited, and two, he’s taking off his clothes, and three, Lucius Fox is offering Mr. Marder “a harness”. No, nothing at all strange there… must be my imagination and… wait a second, did he say his name was Marder or Harder…?
Uhm, yeah, okay… obviously Bruce likes what he sees here. I don’t know what the artist was going for here, maybe it was surprise – but that’s not the final look Bruce’s face is giving.
Seriously, zoom in on the face and take a copy. Paste it next to anything you want for maximum creepy effect…
<![if !vml]><![endif]><![if !vml]><![endif]>
For instance, here’s his reaction to burning cat butt…
It’s almost like he’s thinking “Ooh, burning cat butt, I’ve got to get me some of that.”
I’ve been reading Batman for decades, honest-to-God decades, and nothing’s ever creeped me out more than that one panel above. The more you look at it the creepier it gets, all in that sexual predator looking at his next victim kind of way, and that’s Bruce F***ing Wayne looking at YOU! That’s BRUCE WAYNE looking at YOU and asking YOU if you have good INSURANCE!
And it goes on…
Are they… are they flirting with each other? After the look you got Mr. Marder, you should be getting the heck out of there, not reciprocating. That’s self-defense 101.
And so it goes…
Seriously dude, forget the deal, just save yourself!
For as long as anyone can remember there’s always been that nagging question by certain groups about what kind of relationship Batman and Robin had – and the sequence above doesn’t help. I’m not going to go into detail about it, just do a web search on the subject. The creative team on this book tries to get away from this innuendo by having Bruce, immediately after sealing the deal with Mr. Marder, encountering a Miss Charlotte Rivers who was waiting for him in his office. They then proceed to have a daytime soap opera explicit shacking up session to reinforce Bruce’s heterosexuality. However, I can tell you this much, at no point does Bruce give Charlotte the same look he gave Mr. Marder.
Honestly, I could care less about Bruce’s situation (bi, trans, hetero, homo, abstinent, castrated, whatever), Batman is about fighting crime and beating the crap out of criminals, and Bruce is about being a ‘playboy’ and running Wayne enterprises. There are lots of tasteful ways to approach the subject of Bruce’s relationships with other characters – ogling them like some kind of sexual predator isn’t one of them. That’s for the guys Batman kicks the crap out of.
Well folks, that’s all for now, until next time…