Thursday, May 13, 2004

....I'm too depressed to even comment about the news these days, since I spend my "day job" looking at it in all its ugly permutations lately. One day we've got pictures of all the horrible things a few twisted Americans are doing to Iraqi prisoners, the next day we've got wall-to-wall video of some poor telecommunications worker getting his head whacked off on camera by some fundamentalist maniacs. Civilization, ain't it grand?

Which is why, in an entirely lighter mode, it's wonderful to have silly blogs like Beatles & Bizarros out there in the world. It's a blog entirely devoted to comic book appearances by the Beatles -- who knew the Beatles appeared in so many comic books? -- and Bizarro, the wacky "reverse Superman" character who's starred in some of the goofiest comics of all time. David does a nifty job of recapping the earliest Bizarro appearances, when the "reverse Superman" was created in a "duplicator machine" accident (what else?). To Bizarro, "good" is "bad" and "ugly" is beautiful.

The Bizarro Superman eventually married a Bizarro Lois Lane and they all went off to form their own "Bizarro World," a square planet floating in outer space where everything is back-asswards
and proud of it. As the series got even stranger, we had Bizarro duplicates of everyone from Batman to Titano, a 60-foot-tall "super gorilla" with kryptonite vision. (I swear I am not making this up.) Everyone talked in pidgin English like "Me hate you" for "I love you" and so forth. It got quite twisted and arcane after a while.

One of my favorite books in my collection is the "Tales of Bizarro World" paperback, which reprints dozens of Bizarro stories in the most oddball '60s comics you'll ever see in one handy package. These stories defy belief, with plots so absurd and characters so goofy they nearly leapfrog straight into a whole new genre.

I mean, Abraham Lincoln?? There's something so nakedly insane about so many of these Silver Age
Superman comics like Bizarro and "Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane", it's hard not to crack a smile. Many of them read like the entire DC Comics staff was tripping on acid when they were written. There were none of the "rules" that tie down comics today into being relevant and grim and gritty. Many of today's comics are still great, but there's something gleefully anarchic about this Bizarro stuff. Sometimes these days it feels like the real world has turned into "Bizarro World." It's nice sometimes to visit a place where things are Bizarro on purpose. Me am hate these comics.

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