It's been a secret for quite a while, but finally we can reveal the full purpose of all these installments of Mister Kitty's Stupid Comics - at a certain point the weight of our commentary will puncture a hole in the fabric of space and time itself and our words will rush forward into the past, hopefully reaching some of the writers, artists, and publishers of these very selfsame Stupid Comics. Perhaps they'll see how their work is received by future generations and will be inspired to make creative changes and perhaps move in new and more fruitful directions. Or maybe this changing of history will ironically result in an even worse outcome, twist-ending style. I guess we'll find out! In the meantime, here's one of those comics. Calling 1986! Come in, 1986!
Screaming out of the black and white and purple explosion of the 1980s it's Triune The Triple Man! He's confusedly introduced to readers as a single solitary figure, and not three people at all. A fun bonus for all the people who thought they'd only ever see the word "triune" used in a liturgical context, this comic makes a lot of promises on its cover - triple men, doomsdays rising, and some sort of dynamism - but so far what's doing all the heavy lifting is that gigantic helmet. So many questions raised here! Let's see how this story weaves them all into a tapestry of graphic storytelling art.
And naturally, since this is a small-press comic from the 80s, our introduction to the characters and the concepts of the story is a few dense paragraphs of text that start right off by telling us our hero's origin story will be revealed later. 9 out of 10 potential Triune readers will at this point put the book back on the shelf and instead pick up a copy of "Neat Stuff" or "Lloyd Llewellyn" or Chris Ware's debut that he'd rather we all forget about. But those that soldier on will have to soldier through this world-building, tell-don't-show word salad filled with Devaans and Sassees, clones and armadas, Rogeon galaxies and the gigantic planet Tandlpor and... ERWOLF, either your home for Comedy Bang Bang podcasts OR the planet crucial to the survival of the galaxy.
It's all blips and shreees and zzzZAAZzzs and veeps and ohnts as flying saucers and dinosaurs and bug-men dodge laser beams and Zip-A-Tone backgrounds in this, our splash page. Apparently these bug-men are called "Fehncr," the one crazy space alien name they left out of their introductory paragraph. How are we supposed to keep track of all these crazy aliens without an adequate introduction?
We considered plans of eight major urban planning departments and the one they went with was the city suspended on tiny rails above a huge crater. Keeps real estate values in check, I guess.
And here's Triune and his alien pal Rio, blasting away. Look guys, shooting Fehncr is serious business, leave your date night chatter out of it!
When you become a Triple Man you have to wear the Triple Man Helmet, which protects the skull, doesn't interfere with your mullet, and lets you smoke AND play the harmonica.
Here's Sassee and Devaan, the other two beings that live inside Ed's head. Gosh, I wonder who designed that crazy huge Triple Man helmet Ed wears.
We say "every bit" as one word now, that's what we do on Tandlpor. All the space planets are doing it.
Meanwhile at Erwolf City Hall, General Monkeyface, Councilman Bee, The Hood, what I believe is an early version of the classic Iron Man villain "the Unicorn", Bug Head, Bug Head #2 and Mayor McBighat argue about reciepts. Look, maybe the store will take returns without the receipt! It happens!
Check out where Big Hat Dude says "I'll see you in rion grips for this defiance!" A typographical error for "iron?" A crazy space alien thing they make grips out of? Who knows?
That's what I love about fiction. Even on wild space alien worlds, you get exactly the news you need every time you turn on the TV.
There's trouble afoot, and we don't just mean a cat floating around in a ball yowling at everybody! Because that wouldn't be super annoying at all!
Did he just... did he just casually drop the "Z-word" like it didn't mean anything?
Comic book sales started to slip preciptiously in the 1980s, and when readers are confronted with pages like this, where a floating giant-cranium head and a floating elf head try to convince a cigarette-smoking mustache man in a giant helmet to not blast a guy wrapped in Saran Wrap, it's easy to see why.
Let me count... - if we include the "Invaders From Mars" tentacle guy and the dude over there on the right who looks like somebody was tracing Iron Man and switched to tracing Wolverine halfway through, there are nine goofy freaks here, and that means that these are what's left of the superbly evil aliens who use their trillions of clones in their attempt to conquer the universe! Seems like overkill; Flash Gordon managed to conquer the universe, and all he had was Dr. Zarkov and Dale Arden.
Mayor McBig Hat got so bored with good municipal government that he just shot the entire city council! And if HE'S bored with this, imagine how the reader feels.
Is this guy one of The Ten? Or did he just shoot everybody and doom Erwolf because he was bored? Is this comic book ever going to tell us?
Erwolf's defense screens are down and that means when you need to design menacing space cruisers around simple geometric shapes, you can't go wrong with triangles.
If I'm reading this correctly, Ed "Triune" Wilson blasts the sleeping saran-wrapped dude, and that causes the werewolves piloting the big triangles to also die. You know, I usually make fun of comics that have to throw in captions explaining everything, but here I'm gonna say a few well-placed pieces of expository commentary would be refreshing right about now.
See, I TOLD you that supporting the entire metropolis on a few flimsy support spans was just ASKING for a giant triangle spaceship piloted by a werewolf clone whose mental-control host body had been laser-blasted by Ed Wilson The Triple Man to go out of control and smash into it! I TOLD YOU!
Here we have an event that blasts instantly across the trillions of light years of circumambient space encompassing the entire universe to affect every living being on every planet in every solar system in every galaxy, and this comic chooses to depict this awesome reality-shattering event with... some people in robes pointing at the sky.
Look, I've drawn bad science fiction comics myself, and the best part of the whole deal is drawing a lot of exploding starships, big shock waves and debris flying everywhere, that's the fun part. Why aren't you enjoying the fun part, Triune The Triple Man?
Here's the money shot, the cover image of Triune The Triple Man clenching his fists and shouting "NOOOOOO!" at the sky as lots of things explode, and the sheer power of the mid-1970s Star Lord comics drawn by John Byrne that are this comic's clear inspiration comes shining through. Oh, you thought we didn't notice? Everybody noticed, Triune The Triple Man.
Oh, that's what was happening with Big Hat guy shooting the city council, a "shape changer" got into the city's defense system. Thanks for cluing us in before you die, Hero Sidekick!
So sad to see Rio here die, what a fine upstanding... wait a minute, is that, like, a Confederate flag on your space armor uniform? What's up with that? Are you just a big Dukes Of Hazzard fan, or are you one of those "heritage not hate" people? Well, you dying now spares us a big argument. Thank goodness for small favors.
Kind of wondering why these Ten, or Nine, why they have to do everything all in a group? I mean, only one of them is doing anything; the rest could easily have stayed home. I wonder if only one or two were going, and then they got a call from Furry Hulk who said hey, what's going on, and then Furry Hulk invited Black Crab Klansman and the bug guy and the lizard guy and the Martian Mastermind, and then suddenly it was a big unwieldy group, and they had to take three cars and nobody could agree on a restaurant. I hate that.
I congradulate you, Triune The Triple Man! That's how we spell it here in outer space. Now stop zapping us until you've heard our full offer. Why wouldn't you want to spend eternity with a bunch of weirdo creepy universe-conquering stalkers?
"We've only minutes Ed! We had ten hours, but we sort of dicked around, and now we've only got minutes." Time to blast off and zoom into the unknown world of "to be continued," like every other ambitious black and white and purple comic book science fiction saga that couldn't be bothered to just tell a simple short story, no, they just assumed there would be issue after issue of Triune The Triple Man to let their complex cosmic epic unfold. And they were wrong. This was it for Ed Wilson and his cat and his floating head friends.
So here's our message for 1986. Start small. Work your way up to your epic saga. Stive for clarity in your illustration and storytelling. And get a dictionary, or at least a proofreader.
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