Thursday, June 06, 2013
The Tough Figure Inside
I keep a long and faithful list of every book I read that has an owl in it? And you know how I have been buying old, yellowed comic books through the mail in an embarrassing and public attempt to reconnect with my lost youth? Well here is something that combines both of those fantastic hobbies! In the first issue of Jack Kirby's THE DEMON, a beat cop discovers Jason Blood (the Demon's alter-ego) conked-out on the ground in front of some mysterious ruins. Theorizes the cop, "YOU POKED AROUND THE OLD 'WARLY RUINS'... HEARD A HOOT OWL... AND RAN 'TIL YOU HIT A TREE." My friend Brian said this owl thing of mine "turns all of human literature into 'Where's Waldo.'" He meant it in a good way! But I just don't know anymore. Now, this has nothing to do with anything, but Jason Blood has a wacky pal named Harry Mathews, one t, just like the famed Oulipo writer (see also). And when Harry Mathews goes to a party at Jason Blood's house, he puts on a musketeer hat with a big plume and starts dancing to some rock-and-roll records, saying, "LET'S GET OFF THE WEIRDIE JIVE, GANG! LET'S ROCK IT! AND SOCK IT! --- AND SEND IT FIRST CLASS MAIL!!" I just wanted to tell you that. I also got the first issue of the comic book KA-ZAR by mistake. I had it confused with something else. What a vomitous example of purposeless consumerism I am. But in the first issue of KA-ZAR, Marvel Girl compares Iceman to Jerry Lewis. So for a moment I felt whole again. And finally let me draw your attention to the portion of an advertisement reproduced above. I saw it in another one of these DEMON comics and I suddenly remembered seeing it all the time when I was kid. It's for some weird toy where you pretend to sculpt a statue but you're not really doing anything. The statue has already been sculpted for you! And there's some gunk around it that you lackadaisically chip off to make you feel you're accomplishing something with your life. Boy, that really makes you think, doesn't it? Furthermore, the ad portrays its protagonist wallowing in the self-delusion his pointless new toy explicitly encourages, to the mockery and derision of his friends... a strange selling point. "BILLY USES THE SAFE CHISEL TO SCULPT AWAY THE SOFT OUTSIDE," says the ad copy. "EVEN HIS HARDEST BLOWS WON'T HURT THE TOUGH FIGURE INSIDE!" Just like my heart.