Last week was our 300th installment of STUPID COMICS and as such we asked YOU, our readers, to write in and let us know which of our features was your favorite. And I do mean favorite! We may be a bunch of big meanie-pants, sarcastically mocking the efforts of our betters, but at the same time you can't deny that there's entertainment to be found in the outstanding failures presented to the reading public by publishers who should have known better. And at any rate, all these comics were put in the marketplace deliberately by people who thought they knew what they were doing, sold for real money to people who maybe should have known better. So they're fair game.
So. Which comics did you think were outstandingly crummy or otherwise affronts to decency and common sense? Let's find out!
We recieved several mentions of the Archie comics story "Nostalgia Gets Ya" for its wishful, rosy-tinted, completely fake remembrance of the 1890s. Reader "Skiriki" says, "It is so astonishingly steeped in various forms of privilege and misconceptions of the era that I want to invent a time machine to reach back in time and throttle its creators."
Reader "John" wasn't alone in his recommendation of anything involving Stardust The Super Wizard, the most popular creation of abusive alcoholic cartoonist Fletcher Hanks. As John says, "It posits a world in which Superman was slightly more powerful, psychic, and an arrogant douche." Stardust and the work of Hanks have both been the darlings of comics' critical class for years thanks to their creepy, slightly deranged style and brutal lack of coherence. Two books reprinting the "best" of Hanks and Stardust, edited by Paul Karasik, are available from Fantagraphics. As we say, everybody loves stupid comics!
Another comic that recieved several reader votes for King Of Stupid is the black and white mystical fairy fantasy Morning Glory. "No question about it," writes J., who goes on to describe it as an "endless parade of stupidity". We quite agree, mostly because Morning Glory took six whole issues to get where it eventually was going. Six long issues of bogus anthropological posturing, straw-man Christian bashing, and self-insertion characters saving the day!
Reader K.M. got straight to the point by recommending the horror story that gives us ghosts, ghouls, werewolves, and total dick boyfriends - Fangs Of The Fiend! The real horror, of course, being the boyfriend who causes every bit of trouble by basically being an obstinate jerk.
Joe H. says he's having a tough time deciding between "Rock Heads" and the Christan propaganda Archie comics of Al Hartley. On the one hand, we have the confusing ineptitude of a comic all about two brothers whose heads are made of rocks, and on the other, a slick, smarmy screed using cute teenage cartoon characters to propose the transformation of America into a Christian dictatorship. It's a tough call.
Meanwhile M.M. from the U.K. finds Super Duck quite entertaining! As do we all! Something about a talking duck in lederhosen with amazingly bad anger management skills brings out the "fun" in everything.
Matt from Australia gives the matter a lot of thought but ultimately decides his favorite is the one where Superboy melts his parents' faces. This story has it all - gorilla suits, crazy 1920s slang, messy fetish pandering, and of course PLINK PLINK TAP TAP PLINK TAP. But it's the melting everybody loves.
The "unironic I Love the 1980s aesthetic" is a big plus for L.M. who enjoys "Nova Girls: Kissing Canvas", the story of posed photographs of big-haired gals battling other posed photographs of big-haired gals at the behest of cartoon characters, creating, as L.M. says, "a pocket universe of inexplicable badness."
Many other Stupid Comics came in for a mention - the furry comic about Jerry Garcia, the dare-not-speak-its-name romance story about the "Strange Girl", my personal bete noire "Love Among Europe's Creative Class", any of the Christian propaganda comics, the story where the cats of Phantom Zone criminals, also condemned to the Phantom Zone, plot against the Space Canine Patrol Agency - and many others. Really, one might think that the seventy-odd years of comic book publishing might very well be so packed with inexplicable goof that we may never run out of material.
Thanks to everybody for letting us share our Stupid Comics with you (and for giving us a plausible excuse to continue our obsessive-compulsive behavior!). Stay tuned for a few hundred more Stupid Comics!
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