The independent comics revolution of the 1980s. We live it, we love it, we embrace its every fold and crevice. We marvel at its wonders, we thrill to its dizzying heights, we plunge screaming into its dank, dusty depths. We ask ourselves how could we be so lucky that the labored, painful, embarassing scratches that, in previous generations would never see mass reproduction, are now printed in the tens and hundreds of thousands to litter the streets and cause humiliation years and decades later.
Or maybe "lucky" isn't quite the word.
This is "Barney", a comedy private eye strip starring a hapless goof and his giant invisible cigar-smoking turtle pal. We're using the words "comedy" very loosely here. This entire concept is trademarked, by the way, so you'll just have to find another hilarious original not ripped off from a Jimmy Stewart movie concept to steal, pal!
Detroit 1986 is a miserable hellhole. Sorry, it's not going to get any better from here on out. Not even a giant invisible turtle will help.
Luckily our story takes place in New York City, judging from the Xeroxed background in the first panel. Let's join our heroes as they sexually harass strangers and shove their meaty hands into our faces!
Here's our high-tech 1980s super computer, here's our high-tech 1980s computer hacker, here's our super computer transforming into random objects, and here's the comic never explaining why our private detective or his invisible turtle companion were hired by this computer company to begin with.
All the excitement of meeting elderly relatives while your annoying friend makes sarcastic commentary AND the thrill of staring at a computer screen in a bedroom! How could this comic predict the next twenty five years with such amazing accuracy?
As we all know from that disaster with Windows Vista a few years back, when you try to tell a computer to do two things at once, it explodes violently and electrocutes whoever it can.
You're reading a stupid comic. Suddenly you see a giant invisible cigar smoking tennis shoe wearing turtle on his back. The turtle lays on its back, it's belly baking in the fluorescent lights, beating its legs trying to turn itself over. But it can't. Not without your help. But you're not helping. Why is that? Is it because this comic is stupid? Is that it?
Our U2-loving computer hacker pal decides he's got to alert the New Society and together work for fundamental social change through nonviolent action! Wait, wrong New Society. Anyway, he sends out an 'electronic message' to his 'network' of 'dweebs' and 'nerds'. Telephone calls? That's so Old Society!
As we learn from movies and TV shows, what computer hackers do is gather in a group that includes one (1) female, stand around a computer, and watch as one computer hacker bangs his fingers against the keyboard making bleep-bloop noises, while others describe the computer processes for the audience. Computer hackers are friendly, social creatures who crave human interaction and hate to be alone.
Fun comic art tip - bored with those sad boxy panel borders, with their boring 90 degree angles and tired old parallel lines? Just throw some diagonals in there at random. It'll spice up your otherwise inane, clumsily inked, poorly laid out, and overall misguided comic book about invisible turtles! It'll spice it up like crazy! You could also throw the whole thing out and go to $5 margarita night at your local Mexican restaurant. That's pretty spicy too.
Our private detective pal and his invisible turtle buddy are tracking down the walking computer the best way they know how -by ramming cars into walls at high speed. It's interesting to point out here that at no point in this story is the private detective actually hired, given orders, or even asked to do anything at all. Private detectives just wander around doing whatever the hell they want, apparently.
Destroying the car in a high speed collision was all part of Barney's plan! As was having the lettering get all weird! Why aren't you kids acting like normal teenagers? Hey pops, wait 20 years and teenagers will have their faces planted in video screens 24 hours a day. As will adults and children and pretty much everybody including people walking through crosswalks without checking for traffic. Whoops.
Want to talk to invisible turtle pals while creeping around suburban yards in the middle of the night? Become a private investigator. No clients or assignments necessary. Personal creep factor a plus.
Judging from this panel, Barney The Invisible Turtle is clearly visible to whatever this walking computer is using for eyes. Also the lady in the window is looking right at him. Also this comic is trying to subliminally program us in some fashion, judging by the fuzzy writing in the clouds and the weirdly-faced moon. This is all part of an Illuminati plan, somebody call Alex Jones!
It's a whizzy fun free for all as our heroes zip through the air following the magical jogging super computer. Meanwhile the New Society trudge downstairs in failure, to accept their rightful punishment for being sad 80s nerds, which is to stare at MTV for the next six hours hoping a good video comes on.
And without any warning (and why wouldn't there be?) the jogging super computer smashes into the suburban living room. I guess when those hackers executed the command "10 GOTO 20 / 20 GOTO PARENTS HOUSE SMASH IN WINDOW", they didn't think the computer would, you know, actually DO it.
Well Barney, we made it through another case that we weren't given and that we won't get paid for. What we need now is a vacation! And I mean US, WE need a vacation from slogging out way through this tedious un-funny mess of a comic. But wait, you ask. Surely there's more to the story of Barney The Invisible Turtle than this! From whence did he come? Why is he here? Will the creator ever fill us in?
Yessir he sure does. It may come as a shock to you but this comic is kind of vaguely reminiscent of that James Stewart feature film HARVEY featuring a luckless slob and his giant invisible animal companion. Just kinda sorta in a painfully obvious way, that's all. It's important to note the interesting Detroit locations mentioned in "Barney The Invisible Turtle" because this comic is carefully crafted to appeal to the Detroit market which is very discerning in its comic book entertainment as pertains to local issues and the concerns of Detroiters. And for further information on Detroit you can write the author in Wheeling, West Virginia, otherwise known as "the Detroit Of The Applachians".
That's it for Barney The Invisible Turtle! He got flattened unwisely crossing I-75 a few weeks after these adventures. Look out for invisible turtles, drivers!
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