And now, something completely different

In that past month or so, I’ve been speaking to groups about free speech issues and my experience with The Howling Pig. Lots of people have asked me about what I’m doing now. Usually I mention that I’ve been active in local politics and that I do some freelance copy writing to get by. That’s not the whole truth. One of the things that I’ve been doing quite a lot of recently is read comic books.

Yes, comic books damn it. I’ve been lured back into the realm of graphic fantasy by my fiancee’s new-found love for blockbuster comic book movies. When I was a kid, my dad and I read comic books together. We weren’t really collectors and we didn’t have subscriptions but every couple of months we would drop into a comics store for back issues and take home armloads of comics to read. It’s kind of a nostalgia trip, but I have to say– fucking comics don’t make a damn bit of sense.

Maybe it’s because I’m all grown up now, or the English degree is fucking with my ability to sit back and read without being critical. There are some serious logical inconsistencies in these bitches that I can’t quite get past.

Yeah, I know the soap opera storylines stem from decades long print histories, and the origin stories are pretty laughable from a scientific point of view. I don’t really have a problem with that. It’s the lack of internal consistency that takes me out of the story enough to say WHAT THE FUCK?

Por ejemplo- Reed Richards aka Mr Fantastic is the leader of the Fantastic Four. He’s really really stretchy. The back story in the comics makes a point to establish that his superhero suit is also stretchy in order to accommodate his powers. So… dude is just personally bendy and has to wear super spandex to deal with it without sliding out of his pants in the middle of a fight. What about his colon? Yeah. That dinner he just ate before heading out to fight evil is also regular old stuff travelling its way through his digestive system. When he squishes himself into a long skinny rope to fit under a door, what’s keeping his last meal from squirting out like somebody stomped on a toothpaste tube?

Then there’s the sex. Sure, between the longstanding censorship rules and the ostensibly younger audience, any sexual relations up until about the 90s happened on the down-low and off-frame. The thing is that there’s obviously been a lot of fucking over the years since superheroes keep making babies. The logistics of this is pretty mind-boggling. Quite outside of the potential physical incompatibilities of some of these people, friggin Superman conceived a child with a normal woman. This is a guy whose sneeze can blow over a building. Lois Lane must have a cast iron cervix to handle that load. Hulk got bouncy with at least a couple of ladies and they must’ve had some keen superpowers to avoid becoming greasy smears in the process.

It’s probably just a limitation in the writers and perhaps in the audience that comics generally don’t explore the idea of superpowers more thoroughly. I would think it’s similar to the fact that it has taken decades of cellphone use before movies have finally started incorporating them into their plots. The ramifications of superpowers would be much harder to get into beyond whatever parable the current issue is trying to show. It’s more fun to employ your character that can generate vast amounts of free energy in a way that’s explodey than to think about the fact that hitching her the electrical grid for eight hours a day would probably accomplish more social good than shooting thunderbolts at bad guys.

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