Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Hello, Bizarro!

I am still getting a great big kick out of SUPERGODS by Grant Morrison. At one point he's at a comic book convention, talking to a friend about some problems he's having writing a new Superman comic book. Then suddenly he sees a stranger who is very much like the REAL Superman. Yes, one of many Supermen who have been strolling around the grounds, but somehow this one is different: "the most convincing Superman I've ever seen... It occurred to me that this was exactly how Superman would sit." Morrison and his friend ask Superman a bunch of personal questions, and he answers them the way Superman would. It really helps Morrison get unblocked! Quote: "By choosing to frame my encounter as a pop-shamanic vision quest yielding pure contact with embodied archetypal forces, I got much more out of it than if I'd simply sat there with Dan sniggering at the delusional fool in tights." Now. You remember Bizarro, right? He's the opposite of Superman and lives on the square Bizarro World, where everything is the opposite of here. Okay! So here's the hilarious part. A few years later, Morrison is back at the convention with another friend who is writing a Bizarro comic book. They see a Bizarro! And the friend hopes to have the same kind of mystical encounter that Morrison had, so he invites Bizarro to a party. HE INVITES BIZARRO TO A PARTY! Never invite Bizarro to a party! Bizarro gets drunker and drunker and acts like a jerk... just the way Bizarro would! So Morrison and his friend finally tell the guy that to Bizarro, a "party" would mean being alone. "Other people, in fact, would ruin a party," they argue. Bizarro is convinced! He "marched backward up the stairs, blind drunk, while we all waved and yelled, 'Hello, Bizarro!'" Also hilarious is Morrison's description of a 1949 Batman movie serial in which Batman and Robin "have a thuggish, sozzled, and aggressive air." Morrison compares this Batman to "late-period Dean Martin... With his tousled hair and hooded eyes, his was a grown-up, manly, and possibly alcoholic Batman." This makes me think of my favorite Donald Barthelme story, "The Joker's Greatest Triumph." To quote: "'Press that button on the dashboard,' Batman said. Fredric pressed the button and a panel on the dashboard slid back to reveal a little bar, with ice, glasses, water, soda, quinine, lemons, limes etc." All right! I have given you much to think about. There are some real nuggets in there, I promise! Goodbye!