Thursday, November 01, 2007

D-List Monsters of Super-Hero Land: Poison Ivy's Chauffeur

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"THE STORY YOU'VE BEEN WAITING FOR!"

Oh, so it's written by Kevin Smith?

No? Good. It's another Gerry Conway story, though. Just give me a sec to pound down an entire bottle of antacid (with a vodka chaser) and we'll dive right in.

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Okay, that is one of the goofiest, most pathetic-looking tree monsters I've ever seen. And I've seen a lot of goofy, pathetic-looking tree monsters. I own the entire run of DC's "Millennium", for Pete's sake! Remember that one? Where the Floronic Man looked way too much like that big-haired kid from "High School Musical", and he insisted that everybody refer to him as "Floro", like he was that weird, "kind-of" friend from college who showed up for his sophomore year with a tie-dyed dashiki and a scraggly beard, and he wanted you to call him "Moon Sphinx" or some stupid shit, and you laughed right in his face, and the next time you saw him, you called him "Moon Sphincter" and then you and your friends pelted him with beer cans until he went away? Yeah, it was kind of like that. But this guy--! With the hang-dog expression, and the walrus mustache made out of twigs--! He's the ultimate in lameness technology. Batman just needs to shove his sorry ass into a wood chipper and be done with him.

Now, this story is penciled by the magnificent Gene Colan, so the monster's sorry appearance might be his fault. But I doubt that, because the inker is Klaus Janson. I have no idea how Janson got assigned to this job. (Or any other, for that matter.) I guess editor Dick Giordano thought the delicacy and richness of Colan's pencils could best be highlighted via Janson's muddy, blobby, black patches and veiny scribbles. Honestly, I don't know what the hell Janson dips in his ink bottle to achieve such unremitting hideousness, but I suspect his main tools are a blunt push-pin (for fine lines), a mascara brush (medium weight) and a whisk broom (spot blacks).

See how he scarred up Poison Ivy's face, up there? You can't expect me to believe she looked that bad in Colan's pencils.

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Oh, brother! Get a load of this doofus! Who really created this monster? Poison Ivy, or Sid and Marty Croft? It looks like an overgrown Muppet! I could buy this jerk-off as the mascot for some obscure community college's volleyball team, like, "The Fresno Fighting Ficus" or something, but not as an opponent for Batman.

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Tree monsters are too stupid for reverse psychology, so Batman uses plain ol' forward psychology, instead, and points out the obvious. And because we're on the third-to-last page of a Gerry Conway story, the tree monster totally has an Afterschool Special Moment. Apparently, he never realized he was a tree monster until Batman mentioned it. I would have loved to have seen the tree monster face the panel on "America's Next Top Model", especially back when Janice Dickinson was still on the show. "Tree Monster, your hands are like bundles of sticks, you've got no waist, your hair needs to be raked, and I'm sorry, but in this photo, it looks like you have no penis."

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Jeebus. Was the tree monster this simple-minded when he was a chauffeur? Because it's a wonder Ivy's car ever made it out of the parking garage.

So who's the real monster in this story?

Steel yourselves, gentle readers, for the Giant Sun Hat of Doom!

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That's Ivor standing in the back, in his pre-arboreal period. You remember Ivor, don't you? Ivor, her chauffeur? And yes, that is Bruce Wayne on the left side of the panel, although Janson's inks have altered his hairstyle and face into those of some vaguely Mediterranean stranger. And I'm pretty sure that happy balding guy on the far left is supposed to be Barbara Gordon. (Kidding.)

Ivy looks awfully cocky for a gal with a humongous potato chip atop her head. It's frightening! It's immense! It could blot out the sun, if it so desired. Only it doesn't want to. Not yet.

And you know what? I don't think Ivy even knows she's wearing it. I think it just drifted through space (from God knows where) and just... settled... on her noggin. And she hasn't even figured out it's perched there.

At least, not until... now.

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Tomorrow: Origami paper monster! Need I say more?

7 comments:

Isaac said...

Dang, that is one skinny Batman on the ol' Kubert cover, there.

(My verification work: pntanlrd; an anagram of "plant nrd." That's positively spooky.)

Bill S. said...

"...like he was that weird, 'kind-of' friend from college who showed up for his sophomore year with a tie-dyed dashiki and a scraggly beard..."

And lived in my dorm, and followed me around, making pronouncements about how I was an idiot for listening to the Pixies instead of Mahler, or how I was just too ignorant to understand William Blake. So you met Jim too? That kid sure got around.

Scipio said...

Good lord, I think it snapped her neck...

Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator said...

Yeah, but can she get NFL Sunday Ticket with that thing?

Anonymous said...

The hat is bad, especially for a rental. And it may have eaten her previous hat, if I'm looking at this right.

But did you notice the telephone!? You could sit in that thing!

You remember Ivor, don't you? Ivor, her chauffeur?

Heh. And I can just imagine Conway's Batman standing there.

Ivor...Ivor--Ah, yes. Good to see you, old man. How did your mother's surgery go? I see you're looking chipper. Sorry, that was insensitive of me. Alfred sends his best, and I hope you won't mind that I now need to pound the sap out of you. It's nothing personal.

Then the caption explains how Batman is sad, but not quite sad, and satisfied, but only just satisfied. But with a dozen metaphors that don't seem to relate to the situation. After screaming like a baby, Batman finally steals himself to face off against Ivy.

Oh my god, and by all I hold holy, why did you do this?

You didn't ask me not to.

I see why Conway does it. Once you get into the mindset, it just drops right out of you. Associate metaphorically as desired.

(My Moon Sphinx guy was an unshowering Asian kid. Yours?)

Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator said...

Hey, I didn't notice that giant phone before. That's like the big phone from Top Secret.

Blockade Boy said...

Isaac: I guess Christian Bale thought he was starring in "The Machinist 2."

Bill S. and Anonymous: I can't even remember my own private Moonsphinx's name anymore; just that I was amazed at how he managed to transmogrify himself into a brunette clone of the blonde trust-fund hippie that he'd glommed onto. (And Anonymous: a hat that eats other hats? Sounds like your average J-horror film!)

Scipio: That's always a danger with giant hats. It's a wonder Audrey Hepburn survived the filming of "Breakfast at Tiffany's."

Jon: Yes, while poor Batman is stuck trying to receive UHF stations by bending his ears around.

Jon: Given the usual size of phones in Gotham City (i.e. three stories high), I believe that phone is a marvel of miniaturization.