Thursday, August 24, 2006
Shoot-Out At The "I Can't Believe It's Yogurt" Corral
In "DC Challenge" #2 (December, 1985) Jonah Hex discovers three would-be bankrobbers trying to make off with a mysterious slab of rock. He stops them -- by shooting them stone-cold dead, natch. Oh, relax. They'd drawn their guns and it was Ye Olde Weste so that makes it completely acceptable on a moral level. Thinking the rock to be valuable, Hex tucks it in his shirt. That turns out to be a mistake. Let's go to the expositoritastic word balloons for the play-by-play! Jonah, in your own words, tell yourself what's happening.
"This chunk'a rock they wuz stealin' -- alluvasudden, it's glowin! An' it's got some kind'a writin' carved all over it -- lahk one'a them museum pieces--! Think mebbe ah'll jest hold on tuh this fer a while -- till ah can find out who owns it--! Might be an extra ree-ward in it fer me if'n ah-- ah -- ah ain't feelin' so good--! Startin' tuh get cold-- dizzy--!"
Really, couldn't all that wordy mess have been conveyed in thought bubbles or in caption boxes? Okay, scratch the caption boxes. When they're busy vomiting bombastic, hackneyed dreck like "Welcome to your nightmare!" they're obviously not up to the task.
So, we have a western character soliliquizing, but it sure doesn't sound like David Milch. But it does sound like Len "Remember how much you enjoyed Swamp Thing?" Wein! Wein is at his Weiniest in this comic: overbaked prose, "humor" that never rises above the level of a "Three's Company" episode and an overall cloying, elbow-jabbing, infuriatingly smug tone. So it's like Peter David, only stupider. Much, much stupider.
But of course, you come here for the fashion talk. My reservations about Wein's writing aside, I have to agree with him that the year 1985 is indeed a nightmare for time travellers. It was a time of Quantum Fashion, in which the old rules no longer applied. Women's necklines plunged, but only over one of their shoulders. Vast herds of mullets roamed the earth. Fluorescent pink was the new black. Everything was way too baggy -- except, for some reason, at the ankles. And you couldn't even get into a fancy restaurant unless you were moussed, gelled, or scrunchied to within an inch of your life. Those were dark days. So you know how I feel about 1985. And the caption box just told you how Jonah Hex feels about 1985.
But how does 1985 feel about Jonah Hex?
Christ, another Vibe wannabe? America was simply crawling with those guys in 1985. Worse than the pseudo-Madonna girls. Oh, and "nice threads?" He's a gun-toting redneck running stark-screaming bonkers through New York while dressed in a Confederate Army uniform. Sure, Len Wein, who wouldn't love that?
"That horse -- mah only chance --!"
Oh, Jonah--! Sodomizing a horse won't help you forget your troubles! Believe me. And anyway, if that perspective is to be believed, the animal is about twenty-five feet long and it's guarded by a seventeen-foot tall policeman. I know you're the baddest hombre in Ye Olde Weste but I have the feeling those two could seriously eff you up.