Comics

It's Comics, People, or: On Moon-Launched Vampire Missiles and the Need to Lighten Up

An image from Captain Britain and MI:13

hide captionDracula on the moon: It's really better enjoyed than analyzed for its relationship to archetypal heroic blah blah oh look, we just fell asleep.

Marvel Entertainment

It comes with the territory: When you're someone who hits his local shop every Wednesday to pick up the week's new comics, you tend to find yourself hip-deep in one-sided conversations.

I've shrugged my way through my share of Who-Would-Win-a-Fight conversations, for example. I get why they exist. Never saw the appeal.

And you can't spend more than four minutes in a comics shop without hearing from the vocal contingent of Comics Suck Now, Unlike in [Year Speaker Was Twelve Years Old], When All Comics Were Brilliant and Awesome and Shiny and Cured Rickets.

Most troubling/enervating/tiring are those comic book buyers who, for whatever reason, seem incapable of embracing their fondness for funnybooks without first struggling to contextualize that fondness in the language of graduate-level Humanities seminars.

This lot have so thoroughly internalized Joseph Campbell's Hero with a Thousand Faces that they've grown a little too damn comfortable with words like "mythos."

Can we all agree that "mythos" is a not an everyday word, and should not be treated as such? And further, that dropping "mythos" into a conversation when one is sporting a t-shirt upon which Wolverine is engaged in an act of disembowelment tends to leach the word of its power?

To these folk, the Avengers aren't the Avengers, but instead a pantheon of epic archetypes around which mythopoeic narrative tropes have organically accreted.

Superheroes, they assert to all who'll listen and to many who won't, are our contemporary gods and demi-gods, whose adventures embody the modern mythic architecture that we, as a society, collectively construct to house our cultural fears and ambitions.

Thing is: all that heady circumlocution smacks of a desperate thirst for validation.

And some things shouldn't be validated.

Some things don't need to be.

Some things, like, for example, when Dracula launches vampire missiles from the moon.

After the jump: Dracula launches VAMPIRE freaking MISSILES. From the freaking MOON.

The comic in question: Last month's Captain Britain and MI:13 #10.

In which the following events occur, all of which are flatly awesome.

1. Dr. Doom and Dracula meet. On. The. Moon.

In point of fact, they meet at Tranquility Base, site of the first moon landing.

2. The tenor of the ensuing conversation: Surprisingly, gratifyingly bitchy.

3. During said conversation, in which Dracula appeals to Doom for the right to strike at Great Britain, Dracula offhandedly uses his patent leather tuxedo shoe to erase Neal Armstrong's footprint from the moon dust.

4. Dracula returns to his moonbase.

Let's just pause a moment, here, to enjoy the sentence, "Dracula returns to his moonbase," in all its arrant grooviness.

5. Dracula launches, from his moonbase (whee!), a barrage of vampire missiles.

Seriously people: MISSILES that are VAMPIRES. Real, live vampires. Well, you know, dead vampires, but still: Surface-to-air bloodsuckers, aimed straight at Ol' Blighty.

6. End of issue; to be continued. Dun-dun-DUN!

Now, see, isn't that all a heck of a lot more fun than dithering on about the hero's journey and whatnot?

Geeks everywhere, attend me: Eschew your lengthy disquisitions, they impress precisely no one. You have nothing to lose but your MLA membership.

If you need to reacquaint yourself with what comics are about — what they should be about — you need do only one thing:

Embrace the moonbase.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Support comes from: