Thursday, July 2, 2015

Post 2994 - Things I Learned From Reading Comic Books

So, I grew up reading comics. I still have the dregs of my collection, that I am selling off piece by smaller piece. I will not miss most of them once they are gone.

I had some good times reading comics when I was younger, and I still reflect on trivia I picked up during those years. I thought I would share a couple of those things with you.

1. There was a Batman story from ... 1978 or so. Special 4 parter, in which "the" Batman was dead, and Two-Face was conducting some kind of trial to determine which of the Batman's Rogues Gallery had actually done the deed. The opposite of a traditional trial, these villains were all stepping forward claiming full responsibility, and it was up to Two-Face to prove or disprove these claims. The issues were written by "David V. Reed", a pseudonym for a 1950's to '70's science fiction writer who would sometimes "slum" by writing comics for extra money.

This storyline is remembered well enough that people have written blog posts about it, and later creators have all-but ripped it off. Here is but one. You can find quite a few more if you google a bit.

Anyway, the thing I learned from the storyline was the issue in which ... I forget which villain it was, but the bad guy claimed that some sticks of dynamite had heated and exploded, killing the Caped Crusader. Two-Face then hauled out some dynamite and proceeded to heat them up. The court was in hysterics until he explained that heating dynamite doesn't actually cause it to explode. An open flame to the wick will, but not heating it. He pointed out that in mining camps back in the day, prospectors would place sticks of dynamite in a skillet and heat it over open flames, as a way of priming it.

In the many years since, whether in books, or movies or on tv, I have seen many a stick of dynamite explode when exposed to flames. All these years later, I have said, "A-ha! That would never happen that way! You cheaters! You didn't do your research!" And I feel smugly superior. I guess they didn't read that Batman story in 1978 like I did.

Do you want to know how the story ended? Two Face was actually "the" Batman in disguise, trying to figure out who had tried to kill him.

2. Several years earlier, I read a comic story about a guy who was preparing for some kind of apocalypse. Probably some kind of nuclear event. Today we would call someone like that a "prepper". Back then, he was just some crazy dude.

Anyway, Buddy purchased all manner of canned goods, and stuffed them into his bunker, along with every other manner of item he would need to survive what was to happen. As the short story (5 pages or so) ended, there he was, in his bunker, as the earth was being destroyed. He is smug and self-assured until he realizes, to his absolute horror, that he forgot one thing: a can opener.

I read that story probably about 40 years ago. I have made sure that everywhere I go that I have a can opener with me. I bought one last month that I keep at work with the can opener I already had at work. I have two can openers at my work, in other words, in case one breaks. I don't know if there is a can opener at the kitchen at my work or not. I am smugly assured in my confidence that if something really bad happens and we are stuck at my work, that I will have a can opener to use as I see fit, plus a small selection of canned goods to use when I get hungry. My colleagues and co-workers can all starve to death, watching me eat a can of chicken noodle that expired 3 years ago. I am prepared.

I could go on, but it is getting late. Perhaps in the near future I will list some more things I learned from reading comics.

This is where you can pipe in and tell me about things you learned from reading comics.

See you tomorrow.


No comments: