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Archive for the ‘Satire’ Category

Harvey Kurtzman knew funny. As a cartoonist he keenly deployed slapstick, parody and satire in ways that were not only hilarious, but groundbreaking as well. In addition, he was a gifted ringleader, someone who could harness the best talent from the grindhouse that was the comics industry at the time. With fellow artists, Will Elder, Jack Davis, Al Jaffe, Wally Wood and Arnold Roth. Kurtzman created some of the most innovative humor magazines of the last century: Mad, Humbug, Trump and Help! These artists were his bullpen, the cartoonists he went to again and again for various assignments over many years. Although, all of the latter magazines failed (except, of course, Mad) they were bold experiments indeed, their influence still felt today. Would there be a National Lampoon without Help!? Probably not.

Kurtzman also help “discover” countless other talented individuals, many of whom worked with him on his numerous publications over the years; Robert Crumb, Terry Gilliam and Gloria Steinem to name a few. Before they made a name for themselves they all worked under the tutelage of Kurtzman’s expert editorship. And there were still others, comedians and the like, who starred in his series of Fumentti stories for Help!; Woody Allen, John Cleese, Jackie Gleason and Henny Youngman.

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After their successful pairing in the hilarious and light-hearted Lucio Fulci film, Zombi 2: Electric Boogaloo, Zombie and Shark decided to have a go with their own television variety show. This was not the first time a famous duo attempted to solidify themselves among the pantheon of memorable variety shows; Frank Sinatra and Fidel Castro, Albert Einstein and Phyllis Diller, The Wolfman and Frankenstein are just a few of the pairings that failed stupendously. But Zombie and Shark were confidant. America was ready for a primetime variety show hosted by the undead and a deadly shark. 

They pitched the show to CBS and the next fall, The Zombie and Shark Musical Variety Hour Which Sometimes, Very Rarely Mind You, Has a Cooking Segment at the End of the Program, Show premiered to the highest ratings in the history of CBS,  a record which was previously held by the televised launch of the first monkey in space. The nation was collectively smitten with the charismatic duo. Frequent guests included Harvey Korman, Carol Bernett and the man who invented processed cheese spread, Charles Gouda.

Zombie and Shark were the toast of Hollywood until The Smothers Brothers burst upon the scene with a retooled version of their old variety show. Initially called Mr. Bagorium’s Fantastique Ice Cream-A-Torium before it was changed the title everyone remembers, Now We’re Gonna Sing At You, the show was an instant hit for the Smoothers Brothers. Zombie and Shark were hastily removed from the spotlight.

Today, Zombie and Shark spend their sunset years in a retirement village in Florida, recreating their memorable match-up from Zombi 2 in the community pool every day at 3:00 with an evening show at 5:30. The audience, consisting entirely of retirees from surrounding communities, couldn’t be more pleased with the two minor celebrities.

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You Have Been Selected

Congratulations (place Government Work Program ID number here)! You have been selected in an extremely important and highly rewarding mission that will lift the spirits of this country while at the same time forwarding our government’s encroachment into outer space. If you are reading/inhaling this Informational Pamphlet /Nasal Insertion Pill (IPNIP) you are already on your way to Mars, strapped in your Gravitational Fun Chair and no doubt preparing for the task which awaits you. As you read/inhale this pamphlet, please, feel free to consume one (1) delicious Mutton Shake, compliments of the folks at Goodtime™ Mutton Shakes.

As you are well aware, the Earth and the Moon are no longer able to sustain the rate of growth in both population and industry that we have promoted over the last century. Since becoming the focus of a furious media blitzkrieg back in 2004, the Red Planet of Mars has been viewed as the next great suburban frontier, and, subsequently, the government has diverted billions of dollars from many useless public service programs to fund FLUMP’s (formerly NASA) excursion into the cosmos. To this end the American government, along with other coalition forces including the Mega Country™ Russia-Europe, recently incorporated America Part 2 (formerly Canada) and Cuba, have sent terraforming teams to Mars in order to establish an initial operational foothold. It is now the proud task of selected civilian/military government contractors and thousands of manual labor workers to build a massive infrastructure which will include a multitude of Terrestrial Housing Developments, Emotion Dumping Receptacles and McDonalds. You may be wondering, “What about robots? Why can’t they do this job? What’s wrong with them?” Firstly, that’s too many questions and secondly the notion that robots would be able to fulfill these posts by this time is the stuff of science fiction and popular fancy. Robots are designed for civil service employment, low-level management positions, and as dealers in casinos, not manual labor. Put that idea out of your mind. By the way, we can read your thoughts, so we’ll know if you really put that idea out of your mind.

Who then will be building this mammoth infrastructure on Mars if not robots?

That is where you, (place Government Work Program ID number here) come in. Thankfully the repeal of child labor laws in 2012, AKA Ross Perot’s Second Coming, means that no child will be left behind in his/her usefulness to our program. You can now join our government in charting the next great chapter in this nation’s history: American Colonial Usurpation, Phase 3 AKA I Can’t Believe It’s Not Earth. You will work along side prisoners, unskilled immigrants, animal/food hybrids, reality show contestants and other such individuals without regular employment/self-worth, in creating hospitable living conditions on Mars. Be advised, (place Government Work Program ID number here) this will be a difficult undertaking. You must overcome your size, your need for constant attention and nurturing and any residual attachment to your parents that you might have. You must understand your weaknesses and systematically neutralize them. Just think: human children can fit into spaces fully grown adult humans cannot; deep ground holes, sewer lines, duct work, air vents; use this to your advantage! Do not be discouraged by the fact that you have tiny limbs, or that your immune system has not completely developed, or that the recently discovered Martian Flesh-Eating Virus, which wiped out the first wave of development teams, has mutated into at least five other strains that we know about. Be emboldened by the knowledge that your diligence and hard work will pave the way for your fellow citizens to enjoy a more spacious, Mass Produced Entertainment-filled life on Mars.

Upon your arrival at the Martian Labor Corps base of operations, you will receive the following:

1.) Two (2) Meta-Terrain Oxygen Masks, with internal time release Strawberry Bubblegum Air Freshening Devices®, for work and leisure.

2.) Your choice of one (1) of the following Animated Nasal Insertion Videos:

a.) “Barney and the Martian Flesh-Eating Virus”, b.) “Popeye vs. the Old-Timey Martian Flesh-Eating Virus”, c.) “You’re Not My Martian Flesh-Eating Virus”, d.) “The Effects of the Martian Flesh-Eating Virus on the Human Anatomy and You”.

3.) One (1) Location Identifying Micro Pin, AKA/FYI “Monkey On Your Back”, that will be embedded at the top of your brain stem.

4.) One (1) Digital Music Nasal Insertion Disk of John Philip Souza’s greatest hits.

Any questions you might have after the disintegration of this Informational Pamphlet/ Nasal Insertion Pill, please direct to your nearest Ground-Level Field Supervisor. If you cannot locate one, one will find you. And don’t pick your nose. It’s disgusting. Remember, we can read your thoughts. We heard that. No, you’re a jerkhead-fart-brain.

In closing, if you are ever unsure of your own value in this vital operation, simply recall the words of expert marksman/child actor, Gary Coleman Clone 3, officially endorsed spokesperson for the Martian Labor Corps, “Whatcha talkin’ ’bout (place Government Work Program ID number here)?”

Good luck, and on behalf of President Arnold Schwarzenegger Clone 2, thank you.

Stewart Redgrave, Government Work Program ID Number: 98911132-2137888-12 Operations Manager, Martian Labor Corps

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DickDynamite

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What says Christmas more that Elvis? And what says Christmas even more than Elvis? How about a story about 1000 Elvises? Well, there you go…

 

Horse Elvis was arguing again with Table Lamp Elvis and Sausage Elvis (formerly Pig Elvis) in the dining room the three story dilapidated house on 5th street, the one with the pitched roof that was currently under siege from a colony of encroaching moss. The three Elvises were discussing the Surprise Birthday/Father’s Day/Exiting the Hospital Party for Mega Elvis—the King of Kings—father to all of the other Elvises that inhabited the house on a rotating basis. Horse Elvis wanted a peanut butter and banana ice cream cake with an edible picture of Mega Elvis on the top, the sort you can buy at Baskin Robbins. Table Lamp Elvis and Sausage Elvis were both of the mind that the birthday cake should be more austere, more refined—a tort or mousse of some sort. Horse Elvis whinnied and stomped his hoofs on the decaying wood floors, his towering black pompadour swaying atop his pate. Table Lamp Elvis rocked back and forth from the vibrations of Horse Elvis’ stomping, his light bulb clicking on and off. Sausage Elvis merely looked horrified at Horse Elvis’ sudden outburst, grease glistening under the tiny white jumpsuit speckled with jewels on the back side that formed the name Elvis.

     “You don’t have to get uppity!” Sausage Elvis stammered, wiping the grease from his forehead.

     “Look, I just think it should be an ice cream cake with his picture on top. I mean, who wouldn’t like that? Besides, Mega Elvis is not about fancy things like torts and such.”

     “All right, fine. We’ll go with an ice cream cake. Now, who’s in charge of decorations?”

     At that moment, Superman Elvis, and Superwoman Elvis–collectively know as the Super Couple Elvises — flew through the open window in the living room, carrying several boxes of decorations. As if on cue, a few moments later Super Couple Attorney/Accountant/Manager Elvis burst through the front door whistling “Blue Suede Shoes”, carrying a briefcase in one hand and a cell phone in the other. It was well established that Super Couple Attorney/Accountant/Manager Elvis usually appeared directly following the appearance Superman Elvis, and Superwoman Elvis.

     “We’ve got all the decorations, thankyouverymuch.” Sausage Elvis immediately struck his best Elvis pose, his top lip curling upward into the patented sneer.

     “That particular delineation of the Elvis sneer is trademarked by Superman Elvis and Superwoman Elvis, so I wouldn’t advise copying it unless you want a lawsuit.”

     “That’s enough Super Couple Attorney/Accountant/Manager Elvis, we’re among family here. No need to bring anymore lawsuits this week.”

     “Yes, fine…”

     “I’m sure we could always use more decorations, after all it is Mega Elvis.” Superman Elvis said cheerfully. Sausage Elvis stood back from the newly arrived threesome and folded his arms tightly, the stance of a defiant child. Sausage Elvis often felt usurped by the other Elvises, constantly reminded of his lowly status in the chain of Elvises. 

     Superman Elvis and Superwoman Elvis deposited the large boxes of decorations on top of the bulky, teak banquet table, and then quickly stood back, each smoothing back their pompadours adoringly. Super Couple Attorney/Accountant/Manager Elvis was busy filing the Super Couple’s taxes for the year while he was on his cell phone with the manager of a used car lot in Dayton, Ohio, making plans for the couple’s upcoming appearance at the grand opening.

     “Yes, their contracts are lengthy. You’re dealing with professionals. Yes. Yes. That’s right. Yes. No. No. Nnononononononono. No. No, that won’t do. A small photo-op at the end of the gig. Five minutes tops and then they’re gone. They have a grand opening of a tanning salon in Terra Hote, Indiana to attend later that afternoon.

     Horse Elvis blinked wetly.

     “He’s very thorough,” Table Lamp Elvis commented.

     “He ought to be for the percentage he’s taking in,” Superwoman Elvis said

     “But he’s family.”

     “Exactly. That’s why we can guilt him to work on holidays.”

     As Super Couple Attorney/Accountant/Manager Elvis dealt swiftly with various contract issues, Superman Elvis and Superwoman Elvis began hanging the previously boxed decorations about the house at lighting speed. Balloons, streamers, banners―they all went up within seconds.

     Soon more Elvises began to file into the house: Guy In A Gorilla Suit Elvis, George Clooney Elvis, ATM Elvis, Muppet Elvis, Elvis Impersonating The Early Years Elvis, Elvis Impersonating The Later Years Elvis, Soup Spoon Elvis, Sheep Dog Elvis, JFK International Airport Elvis (much too big for the house, he was told to mingle with Buckingham Palace Elvis in the backyard), Abraham Lincoln Elvis, Robot Head Elvis, Revival of All of Elvis’ Movie Musicals Elvis (this version of Elvis acted out all the roles in every Elvis movie musical including that of Elvis, his finely accurate renditions of the films often played out to a standing room audience of Elvises at Plastic Model Of String Of DNA Elvis even Evil Elvis (who was recently paroled after twenty years in prison for killing Good Elvis and was set to have his name officially changed to Recently Reformed Elvis at the county courthouse) among many others—all one thousand Elvises had RSVP’d (Mafia Elvis had made sure of this with a threatening message of his own sent in the same envelope as the invitation) and eventually be in attendance, for Mega Elvis’s Surprise Birthday/Father’s Day/Exiting the Hospital party, the largest gathering the House of Mega Elvis had ever seen.

     By the afternoon, Horse Elvis had returned with the peanut butter and banana ice cream cake, all of the decorations for the party had been hung around the house and the rest of the Elvises had arrived, all except Armored Tank Elvis who was escorting Mega Elvis home. All three stories of the house, including the basement were packed with Elvises. Elvises spilled out into the backyard, and side yards and into the front walkway and into the street in the front of the house. There was some loud grumbling about having no place to hide, until Invisible Potion Elvis had the timely idea of knitting a huge tarp that would cover all of the Elvises (to which Fancy Vest Elvis remarked in his usually condescending manner, why didn’t he come up with a potion for all of the Elvisis, he was after all Invisible Potion Elvis, to which Invisible Potion Elvis quickly admonished that he was only able to create small batches of potion at a time). And so, Woman At Quilting Bee With Large Beehive Hairdo And Poodle Sweater Elvis began knitting a gigantic quilt that would camouflage all of them before Mega Elvis arrived at the house. Once the quilt was done, all of the Elvises submerged themselves underneath the expansive, flower patterned comforter, its very size covering the entire house and yard in addition to a portion of the street. There was some “shushing” and moving of body parts at first, then the crowd quieted, breathing softly.

     The strains of “Love Me Tender” sung in a whispered refrain, echoed beneath the gigantic quilt.

     Sometime later Mega Elvis was spotted traveling slowly down 5th street, hovering in the air, held in place by ropes that were secured around various limbs, the ends fastened to Armored Tank Elvis who pulled Mega Elvis along like a float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. His loft was minimal, just above Armored Tank Elvis. His limbs moved about slowly, his frame monolithic, at time blotting out the yolk of the sun, his prone girth almost unwieldy. When they arrived at the house, all 1000 Elvises threw off the giant quilt that Woman At Quilting Bee With Large Beehive Hairdo And Poodle Sweater Elvis had made and yelled “Surprise!” Mega Elvis looked haggard. He simply groaned, floating pass the throng of Elvises to the decrepit house that awaited him.

     Go home, he said.

     The Elvises stared.

    Go home, I need my rest.

     The Elvises lowered their heads and dragged their feet along the ground as if they were being punished.

     Now!

     The Elvises flinched in unison at the sound of his booming voice.

     Mega Elvis shrunk himself down to a more manageable size so that he might fit trough the balcony doors of his third floor bedroom and once having done so, floated effortlessly through the double doors, causally releasing the ropes that had been tethered around his limbs and torso. The double doors then slammed shut behind him, leaving the Elvises, all one thousand of them, to regard one another listlessly. There was murmuring and grumbled phrases of irritation at Mega Elvis’s refusal to participate in the festivities. Finally the crowd began to disperse, leaving the house and the front and back yards, leaving the street, some, like Superman Elvis and Superwoman Elvis (followed hastily by Super Couple Attorney/Accountant/Manager Elvis on a small motor bike) and Parrot Elvis flew away into the powder-blue sky, while others climbed into their cars and drove away from the house, and still others managed on foot, like Horse Elvis and Sausage Elvis and Table lamp Elvis both of whom rode on Horse Elvis, until, a few hours later, they were all gone, all 999 of them, leaving Mega Elvis alone, in the third floor bedroom, laying on his giant guitar-shaped bed, his body still a smaller version that its usual ‘Mega’ size. He sat with the peanut butter and banana ice cream cake on his lap and slowly, deliberately, began to eat the cake with his bare hands, grabbing handfuls, raising them to his gaping mouth, until the head in the picture (his) had been completely removed and all that remained was a body, crouched in the famous Elvis Position: legs slightly splayed, one arm back the other pointing towards the horizon, pointing at something not yet revealed, but there all the same.

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PAGE TEN

PANEL 1

We cut to an angled shot of Modok throwing himself shamelessly at the feet of Mr. Hatchell. Modok remains in his flying chair as he does this.

MODOK (cont’d)

Please don’t shut us down! We just opened last week. Opening weeks always go like this! Please! I, I mortgaged my flying chair to fund this place! That loan shark we borrowed money from to build the floor will take my legs next! They’ll call me stumpy on the street! Do you want that? DO YOU?! “Hey look, it’s stumpy!” That’s what they’ll say!

PANEL 2

We cut to a close-up of Mr. Hatchell.

MR. HATCHELL

Please, Mr. Modok! I am a health inspector, sworn to uphold the law of this state and country when it comes to matters of food and cleanliness. You can beg me all you want! Not even a large suitcase full of unmarked cash, in bundles of 100, say ten-thousand worth—

PANEL 3

Modok rises from the ground, hovering above the rambling health inspector.

MODOK

Yes, yes, I see. Fine. Begging will not do.

 PANEL 4

Modok fires his deadly mind beam at Mr. Hatchell, incinerating him instantly.

MR. HATCHELL

AGGHHHHH!

JULIE

Modok, what are you doing?!

PANEL 5

The former Mr. Hatchell is now a pile of dust on the kitchen floor. The dust is framed in the extreme foreground. We see Modok starring down at the pile, and next to him a baffled Julie.

MODOK

Are you not aware by now that this is how I handle every crisis situation?

JULIE

But he wanted a bribe!

MODOK

?

PANEL 6

Julie is completely flustered. A dumbfounded Modok is visibly trying to re-run the entire incident in his mind.

JULIE

He wanted you to give him cash so that the restaurant would pass the health inspection!

MODOK

What? No–really? Well I completely missed that. I mean, I’m usually not that oblivious. Just look at the size of my head! Does it look like I would be oblivious?

 

PAGE ELEVEN

PANEL 1

Rocky has now positioned himself atop the head of the hypnotized chef, Pierre, and is pecking madly away. Chef Pierre and Rocky are pictured in the foreground, while Modok and Julie linger in the background near the pile of dust.

JULIE

Now what do we do?

MODOK

Hmmmm, let me think. Meanwhile, I’ll scratch my back via this big spoon I found.

PANEL 2

Modok produces a giant wooden spoon and begins scratching his back.

PANEL 3

We cut to a two-shot of Modok and Julie awkwardly standing in the middle of the ruined kitchen.

MODOK (cont’d)

So I saw you coming out of that knife shop the other day. What is it called, “The Cutting Edge”?

JULIE

Oh, yeah. Right.

MODOK

Buying some knives?

JULIE

No, just getting some sharpened.

MODOK

Oh, I see. That’s nice.

JULIE

Yeah, it is.

PANEL 4

Meanwhile, outside, Sir Chips has smashed into almost every car in the parking lot, while a mob of angry patrons are already queued up at the valet parking booth wanting their vehicles. The Cadillac that Sir Chips is driving lumbers along, having been smashed and scratched in every conceivable way. Galactus is still beside himself with anguish.

RED SKULL

Look, I know how hard it can be. One minute they want all of your attention, then the next they’re gone…

GALACTUS

Exactly!

RED SKULL

…Off to the Bahamas with some waiter named Miguel

GALACTUS

(confused)

Well…

RED SKULL

I could have had a head of hair like that. You know they do have such a thing as hair transplants. God knows I’ve got plenty on my back. I would have had one if that was what she wanted

GALACTUS

Yes, but…

PANEL 5

We cut to a close-up of Red Skull with a faraway look in his eyes.

RED SKULL

Plus, he’s twenty-two and in graduate school studying Andalusian Coat Making. I mean, how is making a Andalusian coat going to help anyone that’s not living in Andalusia? I’ve got skills, real skills! Life skills, people skills…What? Sorry, I sort of trailed off there. Yes, yes. You have to tell him how you’re feeling.

PANEL 6

We cut to a two-shot of Red Skull and a suddenly jubilant Galactus.

GALACTUS

Wait, I’ve got an idea! You talk to him!

RED SKULL

What? Me?

GALACTUS

Yes! You’re good with all of the emotions having to do with feelings!

RED SKULL

I can’t get involved

 

PAGE TWELVE

PANEL 1

Galactus motions toward Sir Chips who is still driving the battered Cadillac.

GALACTUS

I’ll help you with you’re monkey problem…

PANEL 2

We see a shot from over Galactus’ shoulder angled down at the Red Skull.

RED SKULL

OK. But you have to return everything to normal. And get rid of that angry mob. Without eating them.

GALACTUS

No problem. But turn around first. And close your eyes.

RED SKULL

Why?

GALACTUS

Just do it! It’s like knowing the answer to a riddle or why the Sphinx isn’t simply referred to as “that guy who needs a nose job”. You would prefer it remain a mystery. Believe me.

RED SKULL

Fine.

PANEL 3

The Red Skull turns around then closes his eyes.

RED SKULL (cont’d)

You better not be taking my wallet like last time.

PANEL 4

A blast of light occurs behind the Red Skull, then is gone as quickly as it appeared.

GALACTUS (V.O.)

OK, all done. You can turn around now!

PANEL 5

The Red Skull turns around and the parking lot has been returned to its prior state. The angry mob is gone. There are no damaged cars to be found. Galactus holds a small white bunny in his hand.

RED SKULL

Fantastic! But where’s Sir Chips?

GALACTUS

Oh, I turned him into this bunny.

PANEL 6

We see a shot framed from behind the Red Skull angled up at Galactus lovingly stroking the bunny.

RED SKULL

(angry)

What?!? Why did you do that for?!?

GALACTUS

Because I love bunnies! (begins talking directly to the bunny) Yes I do! I love bunnies, don’t I? Here you go.

PAGE THIRTEEN

 

PANEL 1

Galactus hands the bunny to Red Skull from off-screen. All we see are Galactus’ gigantic hands holding the bunny.

RED SKULL

What am I going to tell the zoo? They’re expecting me to return a Chimpanzee that knows sign language and can drive like an 80-year-old from Florida.

GALACTUS (v.O.)

Can’t help you there.

RED SKULL

Of course you can! Look at what you just did!

GALACTUS

Gotta go. See you Sunday. We’ll have brunch. You and the Silver Surfer will have a nice chat. I’ll make my famous Bloody Marys!

PANEL 2

Galactus flies off into the sky, disappearing quickly. The Red Skull looks down at the bunny that he holds in his hands.

PANEL 3

We cut to a medium shot of Red Skull looking at the bunny. 

PANEL 4

The Red Skull continues looking down at the bunny.

RED SKULL

You just peed in my hands didn’t you?

PANEL 5

The Red Skull continues looking down at the bunny.

PANEL 6

Same shot as the previous panels.

RED SKULL (cont’d)

And there goes the poop.

 

PAGE FOURTEEN

Panel 1

We cut back inside the kitchen of the restaurant. Modok has donned a chef hat, an apron and is stirring a giant pot of Jambalaya on one of the industrial stoves.

MODOK

Now, this is the way you make Jambalaya!

PANEL 2

Just then the Red Skull bursts through the double doors of the kitchen. Red Skull is mystified by the current state of the kitchen.

RED SKULL

(enraged)

Modok! What the hell is going on! Why are there chicken fingers stuck to the ceiling? Tell me that’s not what’s left of Rocky!

PANEL 3

We cut to a wide shot of the Red Skull approaching Modok. Modok has an immense grin on his face.

MODOK

(casually)

No, no silly. Just a little food fight you might say. My goodness Red Skull, you’re always so angry.

RED SKULL

(suspicious)

You sound uncharacteristically relaxed. Are you drunk?

MODOK

Oh, I had a few glasses of Scotch. I love Scotch. Love it. If I could wear Scotch like a fine velvet track suit I would. If I could call one of those 900 numbers and hear Scotch’s voice on the other end I would be on the phone a lot. Want some?

RED SKULL

No!

MODOK

I don’t think those anger management classes actually worked. Were you listening and taking notes?

PANEL 4

Cut to a shot framed with Red Skull in the background and an empty bottle of Scotch laying on its side in the extreme foreground.

RED SKULL

Bite me!

MODOK

(not listening)

You know we all have our own problems to contend with. I’m a recovering alcoholic— at least I was up until a few minutes ago–I have crippling problems with intimacy and then there’s my paralyzing fear of blind people

RED SKULL

(frustrated)

Modok! What happened here? 

PANEL 5

Modok and the Red Skull are framed in a wide, narrow panel; the Red Skull behind Modok, to the left of the frame and Modok at the stove cooking, on the very right edge of the frame.

MODOK

Oh, we had a minor problem. I, as usual, took care of it.

RED SKULL

Why are you cooking? Where is Pierre?

MODOK

Oh, he’s still coming out of the hypno- spell I put him under. It’s a long story.

 

PAGE FIFTEEN

PANEL 1

Modok is framed from the front, with the Red Skull peering over his shoulder.

RED SKULL

Where is the rooster? Where is Texas Bob’s prize-winning cock fighter?

MODOK

Oh, yes, Rocky. Right. Well, Rocky got a little out of hand and I had to send him to Dimension X.

PANEL 2

We cut to a close-up up of Red Skull, burning with rage.

RED SKULL

Dimension X?!?

PANEL 3

A two-shot of Red Skull and Modok. Modok suddenly becomes emotional.

MODOK

(whining)

He was horrible! He kept pecking at my face! My face is everything to me! Without my face how would people recognize me?!?

RED SKULL

So where is Rocky now?

PANEL 4

We cut to a close-up of Modok.

MODOK

Well, the good news is that I finally brought him back from Dimension X. The bad news is that he’s a little, well, shall we say, different. He’s out back behind the restaurant. I’ll show you.

PANEL 5

A wide shot of the parking lot in the back of the restaurant. Texas Bob, Modok and Red Skull all stand around the newly transmutated Rocky: He is gigantic, twenty feet tall by thirty feet wide and has the head of President Woodrow Wilson. Rocky seems extremely lethargic, his massive body slumped against the restaurant. Rocky GROANS a bit. Texas Bob is hopping mad.

CAPTION: Two days later…

TEXAS BOB

What in tarnation happened to Rocky?!?

MODOK

Well, I had a little trouble with inter-dimensional travel. It’s all very scientific.

TEXAS BOB

Scientific my ass! He’s got the head of Woodrow Wilson!

RED SKULL

Well, on the bright side, he appears more relaxed.

MODOK

And presidential!

TEXAS BOB

Look at him, he’s lost the will to fight! Rocky, what have they done to you?

END.

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Wittgenstein’s Waffle

“In a surprisingly short time I received a letter from New Zealand asking if it was true that Wittgenstein and I had come to blows, both armed with pokers.”- Edward Popper, recollecting a ten minute altercation between he and Ludwig Wittgenstein on Friday, October 25, 1946 at the Cambridge Moral Science Club, King’s College, Cambridge, England

 

Ludwig Wittgenstein: It was a delicious waffle. My man-servant Alfred makes these amazing Belgian waffles, the best I’ve ever tasted: slightly crispy on the outside, nice and soft inside, dusted with confectioners’ sugar and topped with fresh blueberries and vanilla whipping cream. I have them all the time. Even for lunch and dinner. I was having one for afternoon tea in the dinning hall the day that Karl Popper was visiting Cambridge. He was eyeing it the entire time I was eating. He made the comment that “it looked delicious” and “what a novel idea, eating a waffle for tea”. I nodded and continued eating my waffle, ignoring Popper who was now leaning towards me, his nostrils expanding and contracting rapidly, like a dog sniffing a treat. “You know, that is a rather large waffle, Wittgenstein. Two people could easily, well, you know…” The nerve! Popper wasn’t even trying to be subtle about his desire to consume my waffle! Just because he was a visiting scholar he thought that he was owed some sort of consideration. So I turned my back to him, and left the dinning hall as quickly as I could. 

Karl Popper: Arrogant bastard! He ate the waffle right in front of me! He didn’t even have the decency to offer me a bite. I’m sure he’s heard of my affinity for waffles―it’s legendary. I’ve even written a dammed book about the philosophical problems that arise from the consumption of waffles in an immoral universe!

Wittgenstein: I don’t care if he was some hoity-toity visiting professor! You just don’t physically demand one’s waffle! So I took my delectable delicacy and fled to room 3H where I thought I would be able to finish it in peace. However, he was right on my heels! Before I knew it, Popper had retrieved a red-hot poker from the fireplace and was brandishing it like a weapon, demanding that I hand over the waffle or that he would burn me like the cow I was! Maybe that’s the way they do things in New Zealand, but not in Britain!

Popper: Then the dammed fool takes a poker from the fire, pointing it at me like someone possessed while he horded his delicious waffle. He kept screaming at me that there were no philosophical problems surrounding the consumption of waffles, merely puzzles relating how much syrup must be added to enhance the flavor! He was insane I tell you! You can read all about it in my autobiography, Unended Quest for the Perfect Waffle. It became a rather nasty obsession of mine, as one might tell from the title. 

Bertrand Russell, well-known philosopher and fan of Popper: They were on either ends of the room, both with hot pokers in hand, Ludwig with his waffle, and Karl eyeing it from a far. By this time a crowd of onlookers had formed in the doorway. At one point during the row I yelled out, “What about a moral rule? A code of ethics?” Then someone from behind me shouted, “Stuff it, wuss!” Really! I would expect such language at Yale, but Cambridge?

Alfred, Ludwig’s man-servant: Of course I was flattered that these two gentlemen would go to such lengths to fight over one of my Belgian waffles. My wife Margaret hardly bats an eye anymore when I serve her one. Then I suggested settling the matter with pistols at twenty paces. I do love a good bloodbath!

Harold Smitch, philosophy student: So we all moved out to the courtyard. By this time the number of people watching the incident had grown by the dozens. Wittgenstein was one of my professors at the time and I was failing his class, so, of course I was pulling for Popper to blow his head off.

Maria Von Trap, shrill ex-nun: It was horrible! They kept missing each other. I mean completely. It was if they had no training with weapons whatsoever. Then out came the machine guns! They were acting just like those horrible Nazis! I took out my guitar and tried to lead the crowd in a rendition of “My Favorite Things” but it was useless. How does one solve a problem like this?

Keith Moon, drummer for The Who: It was f@#king unbelievable, man! Guns were blazing; the crowd was going f@#king wild! I took out me drum kit from the tour bus and smashed it to little bits just soes I wouldn’t be left out of the fun!

Genghis Khan, barbarian: I’ve never seen such destruction, and I should know. I’m Genghis Freakin’ Khan! They went from machine guns to cannons in no time at all. Popper destroyed a couple of statues and Wittgenstein one of the dormitories. If only I had one of those cannons at my disposal, the Great Wall wouldn’t have been such as pain in the ass to deal with.

Mummenschanz, mime theater group: (miming Wittgenstein and Popper planting sticks of dynamite and then detonating them)

Sherlock Holmes, famous detective: Then they both boarded tanks. They started at either end of the football field then began driving towards one another, firing madly away all the while. There was no mystery what would happen next. It was elementary.

Honore de Balzac, French writer: I did not care for either of these two, they are both pompous, arrogant windbags who couldn’t hit the side of the Eiffel Tower. And by the way, you British cretins, it’s pronounced Balzac not ball sack!

Albert Einstein, wacky scientist: The power to split the atom is nothing to be taken lightly, but Wittesengstien and Popper seem to love flirting with disaster. Eventually they launched a couple of atom bombs at each other and that was that. Of course, in the process, they leveled all of Cambridge and most of England. It would have all been for nothing I suppose, had I not discovered a half-eaten Belgian waffle near ground zero. It was because of that waffle that I decided right then and there to abandon my endless pursuit of physics and open up my own waffle shop on 3rd and Amsterdam in Princeton, New Jersey! My stars that waffle was scrumptious!

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