Back in the 1970s, the comics industry looked at slipping profits and tried to figure out how to reverse the trend. They tried a lot of things - monsters, kung fu, relevance, relevant kung fun monsters - but nothing really stuck and they were kind of desperate there for a while. Still are, actually. Anyway at some point, somebody figured that the kids who weren't reading comics were probably having fun playing sports instead, and if they wanted that market, they'd better start printing comic books about sports. Somebody else said, kids also love tales of mystery and strangeness, so these sports stories also need to feature the weird and supernatural. Somebody else said, so what you want are down-to-earth realistic stories about sports that also feature bizarre occult happenings? And the editor in chief said, sure, why not, worth a try. And thus was born "Strange Sports Stories", the comic that gave us stories of the weird and the supernatural mixed in with stories about touchdowns and home runs and the infield fly rule, which, to be fair, was created by Satan.
Who among us has never dreamed of various fantastic sports feats in all the major sports, and also bowling? Bowling. Looks like all the GOOD sports were taken and SOMEBODY got stuck writing a story about bowling. Just kidding. I love bowling, it's just that I wouldn't want to have to write an eerie story about it.
Look Rip, don't knock the pity angle. It's as valid a girl-attention gambit as any other.
Humiliated by his awful bowling, Rip goes off into the night. Hey Rip, take a look at every other lane and relax. EVERYBODY's terrible at bowling. That's part of what makes it fun! That, and the beer!
Wandering aimlessly around the glades and gullies of the Hudson River, one hopes that Rip doesn't find himself falling down any one of the 100 foot bluffs that the area is known for. We also have important historical information casually nailed to trees, which means the local National Parks Service ranger is either slacking off on the job, or he fell off a bluff.
Dang it if Rip doesn't trip over his own two left feet and go rolling down just like a bowling ball and get his first strike of the day!
Wait a minute - Hudson Valley, little gnomes, Rip Van Somebody.... this is "Legend Of Sleepy Hollow", isn't it?
Wonderful to learn that 400 years ago the Dutch were freely hiring little people for their most important voyages of exploration. Also wonderful to learn that North America was an unpopulated wilderness without any indigenous peoples that might have known about the giant honking river that Henry Hudson "discovered."
Through some unexplained wizardry, every twenty years these seemingly immortal Dutch gnomes gather in the forest and have a bowling tournament. Coincidentally, "every twenty years" is about how often the average American goes bowling. Something about wearing rental shoes, I dunno
Taught by masters, our hero is sent forth to walk the Earth using his newfound skills to battle for justice and defend the weak. Usually in movies there's a speech like "there can be no second chance when kung fu is used for evil," but here it's "you must never bowl a perfect game." THEN WHAT IS THE POINT OF LEARNING TO BOWL??
Seems like we can't get a mystery suspense supernatural bowling comic without somebody hallucinating that a giant bowling ball is coming right at them. Is this a common fear of overworked comic book writers?
Hey, Rip has friends so devoted that they quit bowling and went out into the woods looking for him. Or maybe they, like most others in their generational cohort, merely quit bowling, never to return.
Look, who among us hasn't prayed to some supernatural entity while watching a bowling ball roll inexorably towards the gutter? I know I have!
And with the help of spirits from beyond the grave, Rip manages to get a strike in bowling. Always glad to see eerie supernatural forces brought to bear on the important issues facing society, like gutter balls
Suddenly all of Rip's bowling education comes alive as he rolls strike after strike! Even his date is impressed! Can Rip bowl a perfect game - even though that's exactly what Captain Henry Hudson told him not to do? Should we all wave our hands wildly in the air before releasing the bowling ball?
the most heartrending spectacle in bowling; when your bowling ball makes that sharp right turn into the gutter. Happens to me all the time, and now I know who to blame- those mischevious gnomes!
And the moral of the story is that when Dutch elves teach you how to bowl, never use that bowling knowledge to bowl really well because it's vain to excel at something that you were taught to do. But maybe... maybe the REAL moral of the story is to learn bowling from reputable professionals, not undead forest gnomes in pantaloons. Visit your local bowling center today! Guaranteed gnome-free!
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