Brainiac On Banjo: Coming — Super Attractions!

Lady window shopper with a new one in the hopper whips up a chemical brew. Croaking to a neighbor while she polishes a sabre, knows how to flavor a stew. Never need to worry with a tin of “Hurri Curri” — poisoned especially for you! — “Cat Food” written by Robert Fripp and Peter John Sinfield.

I usually write this column the night before publication. Hey who knows, maybe something timely will happen on deadline. Well this time, something did happen near deadline.

I got hungry.

I just read the Superman vs Meshi manga that was released last week through one of DC’s many ever-changing, ever-shrinking online media operations. That’s not a slam against DC or its blind, deaf and dumb corporate ownership du jour. Almost all online media is struggling to figure out what to do these days, and that started well before the current noble and worthy WGA and SAG/AFTRA strikes. Just ask Elon Musk. No, scratch that; you don’t need to talk to still another self-important asshole.

Anyway, Superman vs Meshi was one of three Japanese-produced DC manga posted last week, the others being The Joker (obviously) and Batman (obviouslyier). I thought I’d check them out as I was a big manga fan when Viz, Eclipse and Dark Horse started bringing translations to this country, decades before it became clear that global warming will be the death of humanity. Not the world, mind you: planet Earth simply is in self-defense mode. But I digress.

I enjoyed all three, once I remembered to read the panels and the balloons from right to left. Another digression: when are Hebrew-language comics coming over?

Whereas Superman vs Meshi does have its supervillain content and some wonderful Daily Planet scenes, this story really is about Superman’s fantastic Japanese food jones. I identify: Asian food isn’t just for Christmas any more. It turns out that Kal-El really, truly loves this stuff, even more than he loves Lois Lane. Please note this story takes place well before Kal and Lois got married. I hope it’s canonical. One should not live on beef bourguignon alone.

Clark is in the process of being bawled out by Perry White for not delivering great front page stories like Lois does. In the middle of Perry’s tirade, they decide to take a one-hour break for lunch. Yup, just like real life. I’ve gained weight by being bawled out repeatedly by my bosses, so I get that. Clark — well, Superman because a flying Clark Kent looks silly — zips over to Japan for lunch. I missed the part about him breaking the sound barrier, but, hey, if I believe a man can fly…

Action sequences aside, Superman has about fifty minutes to order his mass quantities, consume the consumables, and fly back to Perry to finish receipt of his professional abuse. Of course, the final, most lusted-for dish in his feast isn’t available until about a second before he has to leave. This is the most intense part of the story: Kal really wants his food!

So when daughter Adriane texted me about having dinner, instead of our usual half-hour argument about what to cook, what we need, where to go, and why aren’t they open late Sunday night during tornado warnings, I said I have a taste for meshi.

“Meshi” is the Japanese term for “food” and, yes, it is the real villain of the piece.

Lucky for me, daughter Adriane also had a taste for the stuff. There’s a truly terrific Asian fusion joint about a mile from the house, and I hadn’t been there for the better part of a month. Plus, they’re closed on Mondays; so, I can tell myself this, like the Man of Tomorrow, is just in the nick of time.

I really enjoyed reading Superman vs Meshi, just as I’m certain I’ll really enjoy dinner. Thank you for the inspiration, Man of Steel! And good luck breaking the sound barrier on a full stomach!