Wednesday, November 07, 2007

D-List Monsters of Super-Hero Land: The Origami Monster, Part Four

Welcome back! So... Batman's and the Creeper's plan of surprising an uptight middle-aged bachelor in his own bedroom--? It doesn't work the way they'd hoped.

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Rather than being "scared spitless", as the Creeper so cutely put it, Watley boots them out on their sorry asses. Still, that whole "I'll call the police" business had to be a bluff, given that Watley lives in Gotham, where the police own a massive spotlight with Batman's symbol on it. I suppose the Creeper is a "wanted man" (by a very narrow definition of the term), so they might hustle him out of there, but all Commissioner Gordon would do is hold Batman's cape for him while he rummages through Watley's underwear drawer.

...I'm trying to imagine what kind of "Creeper Symbol" the Gotham P.D. might develop if they ever wound up cooperating with the irritating little queen. Maybe a cannon that shoots red fur boas a hundred feet into the air?

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What's wrong with this picture?

...And why does it piss me off so badly? Is it because it's a cheap, pointless gag that borders on complete incomprehensibility? Yeah, that's the ticket. Also, it's a "background joke", but Jim Aparo has drawn the panel from a perspective that points directly at it. Holy balls!

And if something as minor as that can send me into a frothing fury, you can just imagine how I feel about the Simon Pegg-alike in Garth Ennis' "The Boys." Or any gratuitous appearance in a super-hero story of the Three Stooges.

Anyway, Batman has an idea to draw the Origami Monster to them by creating "an irresistible target." Perhaps he could arrange for Bela Abzug to do nude jumping jacks on the roof of an abortion clinic, set to the greatest hits of Elton John. But no, the Creeper has figured out how he can implement the Batman's plan, whilst simultaneously torpedoing Vera Sweet's chances to advance her career!

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Check it... Ryder's new show is directed by the Frankenstein monster! Good for you, dude! It's never too late to get your degree from the DeVry Institute!

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"America: Get Your Freak On!" That's what it says on all your currency, right?

I'm sorry, but I have to draw the line somewhere. And it's at Vera Sweet's unending collection of "Dogpatch Chic" polka-dotted business wear. My eyes can't take it! Why, Vera? WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME?

"Minutes later", Ryder heads out into the streets, where Batman swings over his head and offers up a compliment -- before asking him "Don't you worry taking stands like that will endanger your secret identity?"

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Yeah! Suck it, pre-Crisis Clark Kent! Of course, I'd like to think that a real hero would've noticed that the entire city of Gotham has floated up in the air and flipped upside down. (Seriously, what the hell is everybody walking on?!)

Batman has no time to figure out if he should be happy or mad about Ryder's dig at his barrel-chested alien buddy, because he has to go shanghai Watley -- in a disturbing panel, which shows him muffling the spindly demagogue with a blue-gloved hand, and telling him, "Easy, doctor! I just want to show you something! Hope you're not afraid of heights..." Sounds like Watley's going to join the Batplane Mile High Club. Whether he likes it or not. Still, I have a feeling he'll like it, if you know what I mean.

Their business concluded (entirely off-panel and within my own imagination), Batman deposits Watley on a roof, with a crisp new hundred-dollar bill between his butt cheeks. And then The Golly-Gosh Batman kicks some origami monster ass!

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Batman calls that a kick? Feh. Cyd Charisse could've done the same thing, standing perfectly upright. Plus, she'd have executed some cool, sexy maneuver where she leaps up in the air and does the splits and then a scissor-lock thing on the origami monster's head, and sexfully crushes it to death. I dunno. Maybe Batman's saving that for his "finishing move."

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Wait, so was there a squeaky-voiced, toddler-sized origami monster back then, too? Tracking down that kid in Watley's kindergarten class who ate paste, and giving him a wedgie? 'Cause that actually sounds quite adorable.

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Y'know, if it wasn't for the placement of the bat-symbol, I'd think Batman had somehow absconded with Ma Hunkle's rack in this panel.

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Conveniently for all involved, issues of religion, race, sexuality, or economics never even came into play with regards to Watley's motivations. To be honest, I'm not quite sure what to make of that. It was probably done to avoid offending people -- although, folks with extreme political/relgious views are pretty much incapable of not being offended. And while I think a lot of humanity's basic motivations can be boiled down to fear (or greed), the idea that Watley is merely a "scared little boy" seems rather condescending. The hidden message here is that all Watley needs is a little psychological therapy (and a good lay) and then he'll become a Democrat, like any sensible individual. And might I add, yikes. (I wasn't terribly fond of either of your major political parties when I was stranded in your era. Er, no offense. But don't worry; once Ralph Nader becomes President-For-Life, you'll all be much happier -- oh. Oops. I guess that counts as a "spoiler." Forget I said anything.)

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Yes, if there's one thing Republicans and Democrats enjoy, it's burning paper!

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So every time somebody watches "The O'Reilly Factor" a wino is murdered?

That sounds about right.

Tomorrow: Batman vs. the Perfect Killing Machine!

15 comments:

David Lawson said...

The hidden message here is that all Watley needs is a little psychological therapy (and a good lay) and then he'll become a Democrat, like any sensible individual.

So this story was the inspiration for Denny O'Neil's run on The Question?

Anonymous said...

I don't know if this will quell your rage, but at the time Brave & Bold didn't tell its readers who the next guest star would be. They would just put a clue in the story. The Legion guested in the next issue. So it's not a quasi-meaningless joke, it's a super-obscure old easter egg.

Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator said...

Waking up to the Creeper hopping up and down on my bed like that would freak me the freak out.

But having a giant boa cannon to call him sounds awesome.

Anonymous said...

Definitely agreed on the boa cannon. I'd move to any city that had one, just to send my friends the postcards.

But really, this story makes me sad, especially now that I've hauled out the original to read. It's very sub-par for Brennert, embarassingly so. This is the man who made the Batman/Catwoman (Earth-Two versions) romance work, gave us the middle-aged Hawk & Dove who (much as I loved it) were far more interesting than the Kesel versions, helped Batman save at least one Thomas and Martha Wayne, tossed off some fun Wonder Woman scripts (comics and TV), and brought back Supergirl behind the backs of his editors to put her in the best story of her career.

It's also surprisingly good characterization (including the jab at cowardly Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne), which makes the story feel that much worse.

Josh said...

Is it because it's a cheap, pointless gag that borders on complete incomprehensibility?

I was only eight or nine when I got this issue, and that stupid space ship haunted my dreams for years. For a time, I thought it was a plug for the Star Trek comics DC was doing at the time, but when I actually started WATCHING Star Trek, I noticed the ship bore only passing resemblance to the Enterprise.

This probably paints me as something of a churl, but when I was a kid, I didn't care for Jim Aparo art. I would only pick up Brave and the Bold because I was a huge Batman fan, and sometimes B & B was the only Batman title available at my little small town store.

Bill S. said...

I didn't use to like Aparo's art, but it's grown on me. Who knows why.

The resolution seems pretty standard, almost like an X-Men story ("I was trying to eradicate mutants, but I am a mutant! Oh, woe is me!"), but origami monster is still pretty cool. Thanks for sharing!

(At first I thought that was the Fantastic Four flying by, and then the Enterprise. The intent was not entirely clear.)

Phillip said...

"gratuitous appearance in a super-hero story of the Three Stooges"

Hey, I liked that New Mutants Asgard storyline! I believe there was also an appearance by the Enterprise in that one, too.

Blockade Boy said...

David: Thank you! You just saved me from having to read any of Denny O'Neil's run on "The Question"!

Anonymous: Hang on, let me check... nope! Still filled to the brim with rage.

Jon and Anonymous: It sounds like I'd better hurry up and patent that boa cannon before somebody else does! Anonymous, you're right about this story not being one of Brennert's better efforts. I guess I just really enjoyed the banter in it.

Josh: That must've been awful for you, although I'm not surprised. It just seems so random, like something from a David Lynch film.

Bill S.: I felt the same way about Aparo's art! I just hope the same thing doesn't happen to me in regards to Michael Turner, 'cause that'll mean I've lost my freaking mind.

Phillip: Don't remind me!

Bill S. said...

Oh Gawd, what if I wake up some day and like Liefeld's art? *shudder*

Flint Paper said...

Wait a second...Batman vs. the Perfect Killing Machine?
...
That could only be...

the TEN-EYED MAN!!!
ohpleasepleasepleasepleaseplease!


Please?

Blockade Boy said...

Bill S.: Maybe we should make some kind of "pact" in the event that happens to either one of us, huh? ...Just a suggestion.

Flint Paper: Sorry, no dice. (And did I say "killing machine" instead of "fighting machine"? Probably. My bad. Reading comprehension was never my strong suit.)

Dave said...

If psychology worked like it works in Batman, there'd need to be roadside lobotomy stands.

Bill S. said...

*looking at the Liefeld version of Captain America*

A pact, you say? Let me mull it over.

Blockade Boy said...

Dave: Lucy Van Pelt would make a killing!

Bill S.: Don't wait too long, though. I already have similar ones goin' on, in regards to Michael Turner and Humberto Ramos.

Accursed Interloper said...

Josh the churl "This probably paints me as something of a churl, but when I was a kid, I didn't care for Jim Aparo art."

It was brilliant, and deserved better scripts than these.