News From Yesteryear

Lee Entangled In Alliteration Of His Own Devising For Five Hours (1968)

Work in the Marvel offices grinded to a halt last Thursday when famed funnybook frontman Stan Lee became entangled in a labyrinthine alliteration of his own devising.

Lee, sipping his coffee and writing up the next month’s “Stan’s Soapbox,” leaned over his typewriter and was heard to say, “That’s right, fantastic frontiersman into the froth and foam of the fjords of fantasy fiction and fabulous funnybook follies, crazed craftsmen of classic comics capers are continuously conspiring to bring bigger and better bang for your buck with ten times the terrific, terrifying and tantalizing tales of treachery and t…of, ah…t-t…ah…”

Lee spent the next five hours gazing blankly out the window and muttering to himself. Several office workers grew concerned when they noticed that Lee hadn’t moved or even sipped his coffee for more than ninety minutes. They tried to communicate with him several times, speaking to him and poking him in the cheek with ink pens, but he appeared catatonic.

“All he would say is, ‘T…t-t-t-…’ over and over,” noted one distraught secretary.

Eventually a psychologist and two linguists from Columbia University were called in to help Lee come back to his senses.

“I haven’t seen a linguistic crisis like this since the Assonance Epidemic of ought-four,” noted one linguist.

Just when the situation seemed hopeless, Lee leapt to his feet and shouted “…triumph told in the mythic and miraculous mighty Marvel style!” When asked if he felt alright, Lee shrugged, then wrote the plots to the next sixteen issues of Spider-Man on the back of a business card.

Batman Series To Be Improved By Presence of Aliens and Costume-Wearing Dog (1971)

In an attempt to revive their once wildly successful Batman series, DC comics is making a few changes.

“Batman is a dark character, you know, and not like Superman,” said an anonymous DC editor. “You have to treat Batman differently. He’s a real person. His adventures are grounded in reality. That’s why we think the book could really use a crimefighting dog partner and some aliens.”

“Aliens, oh, yeah!” commented a DC artist. “Batman’s going to fight some interesting new characters. First is Rubout, a giant blue pencil who tries to erase heroes with his enormous eraser head. After that we’re thinking of slime covered communists from Mars, just the sort of thing you’d expect to see in Gotham City.”

Marvel Sued Over “Epic Saga” Comment In Darkhawk #7 (1991)

Disillusioned comic book fan and former self-proclaimed “Marvel Zombie” Mark Innes recently won an undisclosed amount of money in a civil suit against industry Marvel Comics over what he claimed were grossly misleading and highly fraudulent claims made by the company about the book.

“So I, like, I love Marvel comics, right? So when Darkhawk comes out, I’m all excited. It’s a new hero, a new number one. That’s big news! I bought three copies, of course. This sort of thing might pay for my kid’s college one day,” said Innes.

Anyway, I read some of the Darkhawk series, and then I went to buy issue #7. It said on the top, ‘The Epic Saga Continues!’ I took it home and read it and all the sudden I was like, wait a minute, this isn’t an epic saga! This is like some Batman wannabe guy in a motorcycle helmet with Wolverine claws fighting some guy with a billiard ball for a head.”

Innes brought a civil suit against Marvel, who attempted to have the case thrown out in the early going. After perusing the comic book, Judge Alan T. Finney was heard to remark, “You’re damn right this is going to trial.”

The trial itself lasted only two days, but the jury needed just under two hours to come to a decision.

“Two hours? Not really,” said one juror. “Maybe we were gone that long, but we went to lunch. Everybody flipped through the comic once more and we all agreed, yeah, some people definitely deserve their money back. It almost seemed like this Marvel company is just printing anything they can throw together in an attempt to flood the market and capitalize on some sort of rampant speculation, particularly speculation over new characters who are implied to be future hot properties as corporate commodities and franchise characters. Or some something. Either way, oh, man, that sucked.”

“I’m just glad it’s over,” said Innes after the trial. “And justice was served. I am the Punisher of Civil Litigation.”

“I mean, come on,” he noted. “Epic Saga? The dude looks like a fucking Silverhawk, for Christ’s sakes.”

Comics Journalism-Related Black Hole Opens Over U.S. (2005)

A black hole that opened over western Nebraska recently is being blamed on a pair of comics journalists, specifically an interview conducted between the two which, shortly after going online, created a sort of physics-defying “Lack incarnate” which engulfed much of the state.

Matthew Brady and Jennifer Contino, two comic book journalists who write for the popular online sites Newsarama and The Pulse respectively, are said to have created the cosmic suction when they agreed to interview one another. When the result when online, a “lack” was created over the Midwest — why this location remains a mystery.

Regarding how this “lack” was created, Timothy Reeding, a speculative physicist from the University of Chicago says, “After reading the interview in question, some of my colleagues and I have come to believe that the sheer absence of information present in the exchange, the extreme inanity of the article, somehow managed to manifest itself in physical form.”

This physical form is being described by noted philosopher Richard Lee as “a kind of literal Cartesian nothingness”.

An excerpt obtained from the now infamous article is found to be written in an almost indecipherable code in which English characters, presented as sentences in what is seemingly standard English language, are used to convey absolutely no information whatsoever.

Contino: So what has been your best interview of the year so far?

Brady: Speaking of interviews, you guys must have a pretty good time over there, huh? Tell us some anecdotes.

Contino: What is it like to work with Bryan “Mike” Bendez?

Brady: So the story is that you guys over there have some goofy fun while you turn out your exceptional product. Is there anything in particular I can say that will allow you to perfectly segue into your next practiced statement?

Contino: You know what’s fun? Blowing bubbles. I like gum. Do you like gum as well?

Brady: Okay, right, get this, okay. Finish my sentence. There once was a man from Nantucket…

Contino: If you could be any comic book character in the world, which animal would you be?

Brady: How big IS it?

“This is inexplicable,” said physicist Reeding. “Never in my life have I seen something so devoid of anything that it literally becomes a void. This represents an even greater threat to material and substance than Jonathan Safran Foer.”

And Now a Review of Street Angel from Slave Labor

The first issue of Jim Rugg and Brian Maruca’s Street Angel is an honest-to-goodness funnybook, of which there are too few. The series, debuting this month from Slave Labor Graphics, follows Jesse, a homeless eighth grade semi-dropout skateboarder / crimefighter. The book filters kooky Silver Age hijinks through a jaded, more modern filter.

Doctor Pangea (not sure if this is intentional or a Bendis-style spelling error) is a mad geologist who wants to, what else, return the continents to Pangaea. He enlists the help of some super ninjas and sets about his nefarious plan. The government catches wind of this and enlists the help of Jesse / Street Angel to put an end to his wicked ways. People fight. Jokes are made.

This is frivolous stuff, frivolous as hell, actually, which is what accounts for most of its charm. There are some good laughs to be had, and the breezily-paced book is nicely contained in (listen closely, comics industry) a single issue. It’s just plain fun.

Not that it couldn’t be better. I’m not exactly the target audience for this insofar as I absolutely loathe skateboarding and all the obnoxious posturing that goes along with the whole nerve-jangling subculture. Jesse isn’t the most well-developed (even in the loosest of terms) character, either. In fact, she’s pretty much a combination of silly abilities and obvious ploys for sympathy (she’s homeless, see, so you feel bad for her, but she can fight ninjas, so she’s cool — you want to be her and you pity her at the same time!). The character is going to need some work if the book is going to work long-term. The narration also occasionally slips out of goofy fun and into parody, ever-so-often moving too far into Just Plain Bad territory.

All of the books shortcomings are easily enough overlooked for the simple, kinetic art and sight gags as well as a few fantastic concepts. The book’s strengths and weaknesses both stem from the fact that it reads at times like it was written by a really clever fifteen year old.

Rugg and Maruca have a little tweaking to do to make this into a really strong series, but the raw material is in place. With a little work, Street Angel could certainly take a spot on my must-buy list along with the all-too-rare books like The Goon that exist just to make you smile.

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