Tag: Gilbert Shelton

Brainiac On Banjo: All-In The Sand Traps of Continuity

Brainiac On Banjo: All-In The Sand Traps of Continuity


“The simple things you see are all complicated. I look pretty young, but I’m just backdated.” From Substitute, written by Pete Townshend.

Do you remember F-keys? They’ve still got ‘em on most computer keyboards. I initially encountered them in the early days at First Comics when I could program my Olympia electric typewriter to bonk out phrases like “Jon Sable, Freelance” with one stroke.

Evidently, DC Comics still gives their F-keys quite a workout. I have no doubt the phrase “will change the DC universe forever!” became one of their first such shortcuts. “DC Comics! The Line of the Super-Stars! Where Everything You Knew is Wrong! AGAIN!”

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

Marvel Comics launched its Ultimate Comics line back in 2000. It lasted about 16 years until it got crushed under the weight of too many titles and way too many mini-series. It also had lost its soothsayers, Bill Jemas and Brian Bendis, the gifted Johnny Appleseed of revisionist superheroedom. They brought it back last year in a terrific relaunch that, on the face of it, has nothing to do with the original doppelgängers, at least not yet. This relaunch has spread like Topsy as well, and before long they’ll have to hire unemployed Elvis impersonators to staff it. Mainstream comic book publishing always dance to the tune of “monkey see, monkey do,” and long ago they managed to put the lie to the phrase “everything is better with a monkey.”

So after an infinite number of Crises On Infinite Sales Charts, DC finally has managed to figure out a way to have their stale cake and eat it too. They copied Marvel’s Ultimate Universe and — this is the most creative part — they named it after a popular brand of vodka. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo: All-In The Sand Traps of Continuity”

Brainiac On Banjo #042: We’re Not Getting Mad…

Brainiac On Banjo #042: We’re Not Getting Mad…

All your children are poor unfortunate victims of lies you believe / A plague upon your ignorance that keeps the young from the truth they deserve. – Frank Zappa, “What’s The Ugliest Part of Your Body?”

For those who have been following the long and lingering death of Mad Magazine, a couple days ago things took another turn for the worse when it was announced that after two more inventory-burning issues, the legendary publication would stop running new material.

That’s sad. 67 years ago Mad changed the nature of our culture, being the first comic book to confront our nation’s culture and its many foibles head-on. It was an important part of a vital movement in the 1950s spawned by innovators such as Lenny Bruce, Dick Gregory, Second City, Ernie Kovacs and Moms Mabley. Mad was all the more important by being the first specifically oriented to those not yet old enough to vote. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #042: We’re Not Getting Mad…”