Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Comic Book Turkey III: The Shadow to be a douchebag

 Damn it real life, why must you get in the way??? I had a whole plethora of awful comics to share here for Turkey month, but so far I’ve only gotten to post my big two-part exploration of Gale Leary. My sincerest apologies.
 That said, this next comic is more than enough to whet one’s appetite for awfulness. It’s not nearly as bad as Gale, but that’s damning with faint praise indeed.
 Back in the early 60’s, Archie tried to compete with Marvel by launching several superhero series as part of it’s “Mighty Comics” imprint. Most were written by Jerry Siegel (Who had fallen on hard times) and drawn by Paul Reinman (Who had also fallen on hard times). One of these was a revamp of legendary pulp and radio hero The Shadow.
 This is their version of The Shadow:
 ‘Yup. In order to make him more appealing to the kids, this series took everything that made the character cool and ditched it in favor of making him a typical superhero. Lamont Cranston was even re-positioned as a meek FBI investigator whom everyone saw as a weakling that couldn’t possibly be The Shadow (FBI investigators are known for their meekness, I guess), with Margo Lane as his secretary. What a joke…
 Our story here is titled “The Human Bomb” and comes from The Shadow #4, and hoo boy, our hero comes off almost as bad as Weisinger’s Superman here.
 ‘Yup. This story’s villain is a suicide bomber all right. Remember this comic (Published in 1965) next time some idiot talks about how suicide bombers only became portrayed as villains in popular media because of the eeeeevil Bush’s influence.
 Lamont overhears Margo on the intercom, opening a letter which she describes as “A death warning from a homicidal maniac”. As opposed to a life warning from a homicidal maniac? Or a death threat from a non-homicidal maniac?

 Eh, I guess there’s nothing wrong with that sentence. Homicidal maniacs tell me all the time that they’re not going to kill me, like the time I lent Michael Myers my mechanic suit after his turned pink in the wash, and he later e-mailed me saying I had nothing to fear from him this Halloween. I also get death threats from non-homicidal maniacs all the time too, most of whom are 14 year old rich white kids on Tumblr pretending to be minorities who threaten to come to my house and “slit my privileged cis white throat” for saying I don’t think Tyler Perry movies are funny. I keep waiting for them to show up, but they never do. And after all the trouble I go through making them lemonade…
 Anyway, on with the show. You won’t believe what the homicidal killer who makes death threats motive is:
 So he hates all millionaires and thus feels Lamont Cranston should die? What, did he roll a dice and decide to target him out of a list of local millionaires he was keeping? I presume he got tired of waiting for those Howell assholes to come back from their 3 hour tour.
 Margo and the chauffeur then decide the best thing to do is to take on this “Mr. TNT” themselves, instead of, you know, calling the cops or other FBI members or something.

 Lamont decides they aren’t equipped for it though, because they don’t know what Mr. TNT is capable of. Hey, you don’t either Lamont! I mean, I assume that it’s obvious that Mr. TNT’s gimmick involves dynamite, so it’s less a question of what he’s capable of so much as how to stop him. He then changes into The Shadow.
 Nothing to say here. It’s just nice to see that Reinman still had it in him when he felt like it:
 Mr. TNT then shows up, strapped in dynamite.
 You know, I kinda like his “Town that Dreaded Sundown” look, and all the dynamite. Thing is though, is that if he wants to kill all millionaires, and he’s apparently content to die along with them, how does he expect to achieve his goal if he’s only going to kill one millionaire? Did he somehow kill all the other ones back when he had the more practical identity of ‘Mr. Shotgun”? My God. Lamont is the last of his kind!
 Lamont repays his secretary and chauffeur’s loyalty by hypnotizing them into being helpless and thinking that TNT has already lit the fuses, so that they will be frightened enough to never step out of place again. Too bad that Mr. TNT will never appreciate the irony of all this; here he is thinking of himself as a champion of the oppressed, fighting The Man, and unknowingly being used by said Man to keep his employees in their place.

 It’s then confirmed that, yeah, Mr. TNT really was planning to blow himself up along with our hero. Ho Ho. Those cwazy suicide bombers/99 percenters just never think things through, do they?
 So, after toying with a crazy suicide bomber in order to scare his employees into submissiveness, all’s well that ends well.
"Now go make me a sandwich!"

 Oh, by the way, not that it’s even a story point or anything, but we never do find out who Mr. TNT is, what he looks like, or why he singled out our hero. I’m going to chalk it all up to him being one of Cranston’s ex-employees.


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