Due to work conflicts- I don't have to time to post a fifteen minute break- but here are some ramblings from the archives of yet another unpublished submission to the Comics Buyer's Guide. It's a no brainer why this wasn't published.
From October 16, 2001
Hey, remember some time ago, I was venting some hostility towards the media and their misconstrued
theories of how we should all point the blame of those
horrible Littleton massacres on the all the violent
movies, video games, television, and comic books in the
Oh So ? column a few months back ? Remember how I warned you all that we could be in for a bumpy ride ? Well, something I caught recently on a new fall TV show, although totally fictionalized, could possibly set the wheels in motion, or get us jammed once again in the proverbial pothole.
Throughout my personal 35 year history in the powers of observation, I have come to the conclusion that the combination of the television written drama and the comic book culture are as synonymous as oil and water. A wet feather to a fan. A bowl of freshly chocolate dipped Bavarian pretzels after washed down with a bottle of Perrier and a handful of amphetamines. Or, better still, whatever malodorous effort Chris Carter has put into Harsh Realm to ruin all our future Friday nights. If you want the combination of respect in both mediums- watch Batman Beyond. Animation is our only salvation.
Now that I have finished dipping my chocolate into
your peanut butter with these asinine metaphoric comparisons, I will now state my reason of ire. In fact, allow me a few seconds to rewind for you the tape of this episode of a new fall show, a spin-off, if
you will of the hit rated and somewhat provocative, if not sometimes anal retentive in format, Law & Order- aptly titled; Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Both series are produced by Dick Wolf films and are first runned on NBC. The episode we'll be discussing about
will also have a second run on the USA Network in two weeks from whence I write this.
We cue to a courtroom scene and I do apologize that
I am no Bob Ingersoll, so my mechanics on courtroom procedures or legal terms may be a little on the
A young black female, a Detective Jefferies test-
ifies before a jury on a rape case. The lawyer for the defense states in her argument that the detective has sufficent evidence to charge a father with rape under the parental responsibility code, even though his thirteen year old son committed the crime while the father, who has never met the victim, was at work.
The detective stresses that evidence found through a
warrant served at the residence showed that the child was raised in a atmosphere which condoned rape.
The lawyer continues mockingly to inquire further about what the warrant turned up: Did they find Play- boy ? Did they find Penthouse ? Any sort of X-rated video tape ? No, none of the above. What was really
found at the residence were some comic books. Comic books. Can you believe that ? What a surprise !
The prosecutor then rises to cross examine the detective; holds up a copy of said perpetuating manga style periodical and asks if Dectective Jefferies recognizes the book that was seized at defendant's home.
'Yes, she responds, 'it is called Rapeman.'
" And what kind of stories are you likely to read in Rapeman ? " inquires the prosecutor.
The dectective goes on with her assumpation that- " it is about the adventures of a high school boy- who by
night becomes a masked super-hero- he settles old scores with women by raping them. ( So far, I see it as a hit potential as a Image comic).
" But, it's in Japanese. " remarks the prosecutor,
making a odd revelation, since she is of Asian ethnic-
ity herself.( And why they employ an Asian actress to
utter such a line with such mindless naivete is beyond me. )
" It's pretty clear by the imagery what's going on
there. The stories all end with women being beaten and raped by the hero ", rattles the dectective.
And it is here, that The proscecutor goes in for the final wrap up. The clincher, you might say. " And you thought by these pictures that it was proper to charge the father with accessory to rape "
" Yes Ma'am " says Detective Jefferies with a pilfer- aging smugness you could practually eat with a fork. Before the act bamfs into the next scene ( the main story dealt with models being found murdered and all
suspicion pointing to a agency being run by Bebe Neuwirth ), it seems that there is a glow of triumph
on Detective Jefferies' face. It's too bad that we all
don't get to share in on the joke.
Was that supposed to be entertainment? Beats me- because throughout the rest of the hour, there is no more mention of the case. Mainly the episode dealt with getting actress, Bebe Nuewirth in handcuffs. It was a
smattering of an idea gone to waste that first winded
up on the cutting room floor and changed it's mind to
be reinserted in. No rhyme. No reason. No indication in last week's teaser that the theme of " dirty comic books " was going to be explored. If you were flipping through the channels and didn't know what was on NBC, it could have been easily mistaken for one of the those " the More You Know " spots that feature prime time cast members usually trying to smack us on the side of the head about the pratfalls of drug abuse, child abuse, or educating yourself in a public library. You would have thought Detective Jefferies was doing a community service warning us about the dangerous influence of manga. If it had been dragged out past the three or so minutes, I would have been interested to find out if the corpus delicti in question ( i.e, Rapeman comic books ) were responsible for any other crimes in the tri-state area.
Could be that some producers are harboring some sort of hidden agenda on comic books. Maybe because comic
books are becoming less and less of a disposble product that television execs are too busy shifting blame over the debacle concerning the Columbine High School mass- acre, that they've resorted to be taking potshots at what they may consider a " lower class of artform " If that being the case, then I suggest that they try to explain how super- heroics and rape have become synonmous with each other ? It sounds like a rejected idea of a pitched plot to the He-Man Woman's Hater's Club.
Or, the possibilty of mind control could exist in a New York state of mind- it could be a gesture of
apprecation for Mayor Rudolph Giuliani's no holds
barred approach conserative clean-up and crackdown on
the city's spotty activities such as the rebirth of Times Square and the Brooklyn Museum's exhibition of the Virgin Mary with dung all over her face. Maybe the producers are dropping hints or trying to help stear him in the next directional vendetta: cleaning up those filthy Marvel Comics. Either that, or Dick Wolk Films are planting subliminal messages in all the parents' heads, telling them to how to start chaperoning their children's buying habits.
Of course, in our realm of Marvel What Ifs and DC
Elseworlds scenerios- Rapeman could very well be a top
seller. A million plus sales to helm stem the tide
of the industry's self spiraling tailspins- in a world
where Danzig's Verotik Comics once ruled supreme ! But's it not, it is now a Pokemon friendly world and I implore anyone working on Law and Order: SVU to please somehow get in touch with me or this publication and explain what that tiny segment was all about. I just can't let something so insipid like this pass beneath my notice.
You realize if Frederic Wertham were alive today,
he'd be out on a wet soggy playing field, kicking around a soccer ball and then succeeding at his
damnest to scoring a goal. All I know is, that writers of episodic television's preconception of what comics books are better start shaping up ! Do some research ! If we're all going to be holding hands and be building a bridge to the next century ( because maybe Clinton has somehow managed to slip over the railing ? ), we're going to have to stop with these silly degenerate generalizations once and for all.