(Editor's note: For a very special STUPID COMICS, we here at Mister Kitty have brought legendary rock critic Lester Bangs back from the dead to review this week's comic. Enjoy!)
EEEEGGGAAAAAHHHH!!! EEEEYYOOOURRRWWWWWWAAAAAHHHHHAAAABBABABABABAPAPAPA PAPA OOM MAU MAU I'm back, babies! And let me tell you IT'S COLD DOWN THERE! Anyway I only got a couple hundred words so let me sit you down and tell you about Canadian Space Rock. Yeah, I know, CANADIAN SPACE ROCK. Sounds like something you'd pick up for the neighbor kids in a souvenir shop in Niagara Falls on on a rainy weekend somewhere around Richmond Hill. But no, I'm serious here, there's a whole subset of Canadian music that is all about the science friction, all exploding suns and cosmic vistas and amazing drug-addled astronomical PARABOLAS that only the most blissed-out Hawkwind freak can really appreciate.
Oh, you think Uncle Lester is joshin' yas? That just because I'm dead nobody has to listen to me any more? Well, guess again you BRAIN DAMAGED TRANKS, whassamatta, you never hear of KLAATU? You never rocked out to PRISM and their Canuck-only hit "Spaceship Superstar"? You want to sit there and tell me you don't own a copy of that FIVE MAN ELECTRICAL BAND record with the alien-visitation song "I'm A Stranger Here"? You mean to look me right in the bloodshot eyes and tell me you never heard of RUSH and their 24 gold albums and 14 platinum discs full of side-length prog-rock epics about extra-galactic libertarian fantasy wars? Well, attention all planets of the Solar Federation, you're are a big fat liar. Oh, you want more proof of north-of-the-border science-fictional excitement? Check this out.
I mean seriously, look at this comic book! It's like this was copied off the side of the GREATEST AIRBRUSHED CUSTOM VAN EVER! You've got your bad-ass dude with the sullen pageboy haircut, the Fu Manchu moustache, no shirt, some kind of pistol, gigantic motorcycle boots, some sort of outer space robot thing hovering around, and firmly attached to his hip is Miss Outer Space Tramp of 2986 AD - and they're on some kinda alien planet with ANOTHER alien planet in the background just hanging there all alieny!! Straight from North Bay Ontario - and lemme tell ya, it's the kinda place you come from, not go TO - comes COSMOS, 1986's comic book voted Most Likely To Suck In An Incredible Way! Well, no more dickin' around, let's get to it.
What better way to start your pompous Canoodian space adventure off than with pages and pages of world-building exposition? Personally, if I can't pick up a book and get right into the story and sit back comfortably knowing that the author will clue us into the necessary plot elements as a natural part of the narrative, then I generally set the thing on fire with my Zippo and throw it out the window onto passing Girl Scouts. But not everybody has my class. What really turns me on about this introduction is that every planet in this solar system is populated by guys with shiny caveman neckwarmer haircuts and extensive facial hair, and all the women were found via personal ads placed in LOW RIDER magazine. Right away you get the impression this comic book is like an expanded version of what goes on inside the brain of that guy you went to high school with who spent valuable class time huffing mimeo fluid and drawing boss cars in his spiral-bound notebook. This is that guy, after he saw "Star Wars" eighteen times accompanied by a dime bag of weed and sixteen Tuinals.
All right NOW LET US COMMENCE THE STORY! Yes, we're only on PAGE SIX, I guess we oughtta get this show on the road.
This is the part where we meet our hero, Matt. Matt's an average guy, his job is flying a super ramjet spaceship around, blowing stuff up. When he's not working he's ridin' the monorail (meaning, THE FUTURE!!) or having sex with his beautiful Low-Rider girlfriend or maintaining his hair and moustache. This is my kinda future, where everybody looks like sullen mechanics, except the women, who look like sullen disco rats.
The parade of unfortunate facial hair continues!! Here's the scene where The Captain gives Our Hero his Next Assignment, which is to fly to the Razor Blade planet and pick up some Schick Disposables. Remember, your key to good grooming to have the hair and the beard make a precise half-circle when viewed from the side.
And remember future people! Keep staring straight ahead and you'll never notice that all the women have the same hairstyle! Or that you're wasting yet another page of your comic book with exciting scenes of Commuting In The Future!! This is like that Dirty Harry movie where he rode around on BART all day running errands.
Okay! We're finally moving here with some of that fake military shouting KICK SOME ASS tight shirt, crazy space rifle action! Because this is what it's all about, wearing the absolute tightest clothes possible and going to other planets and blowing shit up while you look sullen. This is why we invented NASA and the Saturn 5 and went to the moon, not for that pansy foureyed science shit, but because we know that if we keep the wheels of progress moving at some point we'll be doing this stuff, flying gleaming space rockets to other planets and hollering KICK SOME ASS while we hustle around with our space guns, our shiny mullets gleaming in the eerie light of alien suns. Sure, there isn't actually any, you know, ACTION going on in this comic book - most of the action seems concentrated on Matt's gigantic shoulders and pert, almost nonexistent rear - but the PROMISE of action is there, and that's what we're about.
So rather than seeing our tough, bad-ass hero engage in any tough bad-assery, instead it was all a trap and everybody gets blown up. Thanks comic, you wasted six pages on describing the planetary structure of this solar system, but can't give us two panels of bad-asses doing bad-ass things so we'll know they're really bad-asses and not just a bunch of mulleted posers.
This is the PRECISE MOMENT in which you come to the chilling realization that you don't know if you're reading a slick outer space comic starring sullen mustache men, or gay porn. I mean, some beardo sunglass man claiming ownership of asses, that's pretty gay. That's gayer than CAN'T STOP THE MUSIC, which starred the Village People and Steve Guttenberg! I saw that movie opening night alone in the last theater in downtown Detroit, hurling Milk Duds at the screen every time Bruce Jenner opened his mouth.
There's a scene in every one of these sci-fi epics - and COSMOS is no exception - where the robots talk to each other about how they're going to rebuild our hero after he's been blown to shit. Seriously, think about it. But where COSMOS really breaks new ground is here, in which we get the first-ever ROBOT THOUGHT BALLOON. That's right, ROBOTS CAN THINK. Question - is the correct spelling "cybornetic" or "cybernetic"? What the hell - just use both.
And here's the tuff scene you've seen in a hundred revenge-fantasy cop movies where Matt, who's been totally blown to shit and rebuilt by robots, where Matt goes back in to talk to the boss while sporting the wrinkliest drapery in a comic that's already jam packed with wrinkly fabrics. I get the feeling the artist really liked those wrinkles and the crosshatching and the finicky little surface details so much, that he could spend hours and hours and hours just noodling away at it, like a speedfreak with a knitting jones, until the phone rings and it's the writer wanting to know when the hell those pages was gonna be done so the thing could get sent to the printers and they could get this comic into the comic book stores before the Black And White Boom was over.
Also Matt reveals his spectacle.
IT'S NOT OVER YET BABY! Except it is, this being the final page of the only single solitary issue of COSMOS ever to be published. What would happen when the half-robot Matt goes back to outer space to wreak mustachioed vengeance on whoever blew him up? My guess is he gets blown up again and soon he'll be ALL-robot Matt. And wouldn't that be a kick? Because I know I've ranged far afield from the nominal topic of "Canadian Space Rock", whatever the hell that is, but who wouldn't like to see a comic book that looked like this? A comic book that gave us the nervous crosshatchy vibration of a hundred million study halls jammed with bored figdety teens, heads full of Star Trek reruns and memories of that drive-in double feature of SPACEHUNTER ADVENTURES IN THE FORBIDDEN ZONE IN 3-D and METALSTORM THE DESTRUCTION OF JARED-SYN bouncing around their cough-syrup befuddled craniums? Because that's what comic books used to be about, they used to be about spinal-tapping the primal urges of troubled childhoods and giving them back to us thirty two pages at a time. And now they aren't and they don't. And that's stupid.
Hey, is CREEM Magazine still in business?
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