Tag: Wilson Fisk

Brainiac On Banjo: The Ultimate Reprise?

Brainiac On Banjo: The Ultimate Reprise?

Is he strong? Listen bud, he’s got radioactive blood. Can he swing from a thread? Take a look overhead. Hey, there goes the Spider-Man! “Spider-Man” written by Bob Harris and Paul Francis Webster.

As is our want, my dear friend and editor Bob Harrison asked me if I had read this year’s version of Ultimate Spider-Man #1. I said I hadn’t, and I felt the last thing this particular Earth needs is still another Spider-Man book. Bob is a family man without sufficient time to debate me on this; he knows my position on this sort of thing because it’s his job to read my stuff here at Pop Culture Squad, so his simply said “Well, you should. It’s very good, and Jonathan Hickman wrote it.”

Bob’s never steered me wrong and, yes, I really like Hickman’s stuff. I haven’t read all that much of it lately as I haven’t followed the sundry X-Mens since they became, much like Russian nesting dolls, the first comic book franchise to spawn its own massively incestuous comic book franchise. That was around 1983. Had I been more observant, I might have had a similar reaction to The Killing Joke.

Like the word “unique,” the word “ultimate” is an absolute. One thing cannot be more ultimate than another. Ultimate is the top of the peak, and grammatically speaking there isn’t room up there for another. Yet we’ve had more Ultimate Spider-Man #1s in the past few years than we’ve had Doctor Strange #1s in the past few weeks. Is this new Ultimate even Ultimater? Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo: The Ultimate Reprise?”

Brainiac On Banjo: The Wolfe In Creep’s Loathing

Brainiac On Banjo: The Wolfe In Creep’s Loathing

A brave man once requested me to answer questions that are key. Is it to be or not to be? And I replied, oh why ask me? — “Suicide Is Painless,” lyric written by Michael B. Altman (age, 15)

For 89 years, one of the more reliable cultural stalwarts in the global pop culture has been the adventures of private detective / gourmand / orchid-raiser / fussbudget genius Nero Wolfe. His fictional history encompasses 33 novels and 41 novellas and short stories written by mathematician and pro-labor, pro-New Deal, pro-Roosevelt, anti-fascist Rex Stout through 1975. Wolfe has been featured in a gargantuan number of movies, radio shows, television series, stage plays and postage stamps produced all over the world.

As careful readers of Brainiac On Banjo (et al) may be aware, I am among Rex Stout’s many rabid fans. What appeals most to me is the dialogue between Wolfe and his assistant / legman / tormentor Archie Goodwin — quite frankly, I have found these particular scenes (of which there are many in each novel) to be among the best and more entertaining exchanges of words in the English language. A decade after Stout’s death the Wolfe series was and has been continued by Chicago Tribune journalist Robert Goldborough, who, to date, has written 16 more Wolfe novels including an origin of the Wolfe/Goodwin “team.” Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo: The Wolfe In Creep’s Loathing”