Captain America: Reimagined!

I have reimagined the character of Captain America.  Enjoy.

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In the middle of World War 2, Steve Rogers, a young, scrawny, army recruit was ordered to a secret military lab in Montauk, New York where he was reluctantly strapped into a strange, alien looking chair.  While immobilized, Rogers was injected with an experimental top secret “super soldier” serum.  The serum transformed Rogers’ meek body and endowed him with almost superhuman strength.  Unfortunately, A Nazi spy infiltrated the experiment, causing the fiery destruction of the lab.  Only Rogers survived.

The newly modified recruit was immediately commissioned and sent into battle, with an indestructable shield, as Captain America! During many morale boosting victories, Captain America blazed through the war… until he sacrificed his life to thwart a Nazi rocket attack… Or did he?

Time passes.  New wars replace old wars.  Enemies rotate in and out of the American cross-hairs. Society gets better.  Things get worse.  People change.  Human-influenced climate change kicks up the temperature and the arctic circle begins to melt at a steady clip… By the year 2050 people start reporting seeing something roaming the Alaskan wilderness, something human-like but carrying a familiar looking shield.

Rogers was last seen falling into the Atlantic.  Could the super-soldier serum in combination with the ocean’s cool temperature render Rogers into a state of suspended animation?  Could he slowly have been transforming into something… strange?

Radio Reporter Benjamin Grimmles, host of WFFF’s The Thing with Benjamin Grimmles, is used to telling people his rock hard opinions.  What he isn’t used to is waiting for his dopey college friend Reed Pritchard, his wife, and her hotshot brother.  So instead of hanging around hoping they show up for a decent night of Chinese, he takes off in his brand new, very pricey, space car.  The radio station had just given him a lead: a retired Park Ranger saw an “Abominable Snowman” wandering around the woods by his cabin, an Abominable Snowman with a Captain America shield!

Grimmles’ space car shoots into space as he circumvents the globe towards his next big story.  Unfortunately Grimmles’s expensive shortcut lands him right in the middle of a solar flare!  He is bombarded with cosmic rays!  The space car tumbles to Earth and Grimmles spills his coffee all over his lap.  Since starting radio, Grimmles had gone up to around ten cups a day. A real problem… that just landed in his lap!

As Grimmles lies in his wrecked space car, thankful for its Volvo inspired cage-like internal frame, he spews, angry, whispered curses.  But then he notices he doesn’t feel any pain from the spilled coffee on his lap.  He just fell from space and doesn’t feel any pain at all… For the cosmic rays had made Grimmles some brutish creature with rock-like skin. He is no longer human, he has become… some THING!

Filled with rage over his newfound monstrousity, Grimmles goes on a rampage in Alaska, but is stopped by a mysterious figure baring the Captain America shield.  The figure manages to strangely calm Grimmles before his rampage leads to murder but then disappears…

Meanwhile, Grimmles uses the last of his frequent flyer miles to get back to New York and scream at Reed Pritchard.  If Reed, his wife, and her hotshot brother had made it on time, he would have spent the night burping up some decent Lo Mein and not have become this… THING!

Grimmles’s new, unstoppable quest for this “Captain America Sasquatch” makes the WFFF station owners skeptical of his integrity.  Gradually his broadcast presence is reduced to a sixty second rundown of the headlines. Those poor stone lips can hardly move fast enough to say more than a sentence in a minute.  To save his job, he enlists the help of  David Bruce Bandato, a nuclear physicist specializing in gamma rays.

Bandato takes Grimmles to the Nevada Desert and drops a gamma ray bomb on the poor sap.  The objective of this mad science is to wash out the cosmic radiation and restore Grimmles’ genome.  The bomb drops.  The gamma rays mutate Grimmles further.  His skin is now rocky and GREEN!  The poor bastard is twice as hideous.  And Bandato?  He isn’t going to win any beauty pageants either.  He hadn’t shielded himself properly and got hit by the harsh gamma rays.  He turns into a large, hulking, green skinned monster.  With increased strength and size, Bandato’s genius falls victim to his insecurity about his appearance.  Seeing no place for someone of his ugliness on Earth, he leaves for Mars to become a migrant worker.  The new Martian infrastructure is a boom economy and employers don’t care what you look like, especially if you can bench a couple tons.

After Grimmles screams at Pritchard some more about that fateful night, he decides to finally file the insurance claim on his space car.  The space car insurance company sends an insurance adjuster to Alaska to document the claim.  This insurance adjuster is Peter Pacjenko, a starving newspaper photographer trying to earn his rent (in 2050 newspaper journalists are a step below struggling actors).  The photographs he captures of the space car’s last registered GPS coordinates show nothing but burn marks from a crash… and/or a take-off!

Grimmles has had it!  That car cost more than a few paychecks!  He demands to meet the young Pacjenko.  He isn’t going to let some wannabe rag-photographer keep him from his hard earned cash.  Pacjenko suggests they investigate the story further, he’s curious about these claims of an abominable snowman.  “It’s Captain America!” Grimmles’ gravely voice insists.

After seeing the pain in Grimmles’ eyes, locked behind mutant green pebbles, Pacjenko suggests a new health treatment he had photographed for the paper.  Apparently people were getting bitten by radioactive spiders and it was curing everything from psoriasis to depression.  “I got both of those!”  Grimmles squeaks and off they go.

Grimmles drops a wad of cash at a spooky looking lab by Columbia.  Then Pacjenko and Grimmles are ushered into a  strange sauna type room and told to allow spiders to crawl all over them. “I’ve paid for worse things to be done to me,” Grimmles jokes as the tiny arachnids do their work.

When Grimmles emerges he feels a definite change in mood.  He is happy again.  But he also mutates further developing the powers of a spider, which can hardly be expressed through his rock hard, green shell.

The young Peter Pacjenko also goes through some mysterious changes, the least of which is a cure to his life long problem with psoriasis.  At night the formerly shy Pacjenko jumps around the city, looking for trouble until one night he finds it on Staten Island! He stumbles across a dark figure carrying a shield in a Staten Island park.  A dark figure who keeps mumbling about protecting U.S. shores from Nazi subs!

Meanwhile, Pritchard, feeling vaguely responsible for Grimmles medical problems after showing up late for Chinese that fateful night puts Grimmles in contact with “Acupuncturist Supreme,” Stephen Strangelli.  Using this ancient medicine, over eight pricey weeks, Grimmles is cured… in a manner of speaking! For Dr. Strangelli has left but one capillary tube in Grimmles that if removed will revert him back to his mutated self!

After hearing about Pacjenko’s encounter on Staten Island, Grimmles vows to go back into radio full force.  But unfortunately due to events on Mars, Earth enters into a space recession.  WFFF goes out of business and Grimmles files for unemployment with the assistance of Peter Pacjenko who frequents the dole.

Grimmles turns to the cheap life of an avant garde print journalist to document the Captain America sightings.  But to make money he pursues the baking business where one night in a cooking class at the Yancey Street Community Center he meets Chef Chuck Xavier who’s discovered a strange, naturally occuring mutant strain of baking yeast at his school for gifted cooks.

One whiff of the mutant yeast sends a tremor of transformation through Grimmles but Dr. Strangelli’s capillary tube remains, fulfilling the ancient promise of acupuncture.  Grimmles writes of the strange yeast in the underground paper where he and Pacjenko now pursue their passion.

The article attracts the attention of the U.S. government who in 2050 relies heavily on regulating genetically modified foods to feed the entire population, causing Chef X to take his operation off the grid.

The article also attracts the attention of Doctor Duma, a mysterious man from overseas who claims to be a big fan of Grimmles work.  He would like to join Pacjenko and Grimmles on their quest for Captain America.  For Duma believes Captain America is the lost key to reconstructing the legendary Montauk Chair, a chair rumored to be the remains of an alien space craft.  Duma claims that Rogers was strapped into this chair when he was injected with the Super Soldier Serum.

Grimmles and Pacjenko have little trust of Doctor Duma, but they have even less of a choice, for Duma’s overseas cash is the only thing keeping them afloat in this time of economic collapse.

However Doctor Duma’s cash might soon be gone as the Galactus Corporation orchestrates machinations to purchase all of Earth’s assets as a means of reclaiming unpaid debt to satisfy its enormous hunger for profits.  The Galactus Corporation’s VP in Charge of Aquisitions, Norton Radd, the silver tongued surfer, might be having a change of heart.  But the Galactus Corporation is fiercely hungry for money.

Will Captain America emerge from Staten Island with the answer?  Will Ben Grimmles have to remove the capillary tube that stands between him and his life as a walking nightmare? What is the Montauk Chair?

Barack & Joe, “Self-Esteem”

Click on image for larger presentation.

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Comic Book Commentary: Superman and Lois

Secret Room

What’s the deal, Lois? I believe the sign on the door says “POSITIVELY NO ADMITTANCE.” And my friend Superman, a couple words of advice: 1) If you don’t want someone to enter a room, use a lock and 2) It might be healthier to display your affection using some other method besides idolatry. I think it sets up an unhealthy precedent for the relationship.

Obesity

Superman, come on, dude. Sure, Lois has gained some weight but don’t hide from her as if she’s some beast. You’re Superman. She’s already depressed and has a low self image (thanks to the ad copy on the comic book cover). Now, the toughest man on the planet, who fears nothing, is cowering around the corner because his girlfriend put on a few. How do you think that makes Lois feel? Probably like a monster. And she’s not, she’s the woman you love and she needs your support. Hasn’t she been by your side more than once? Come on.

Plug ugly
That’s the deal, my man. You got scared up above when Lois gained a little weight and now she’s dropped a couple sizes. Of course, she’s going to find a new boyfriend. And it sounds like maybe this fellow’s “plug ugliness” is supplemented with a supportive personality with an eye for true beauty. You had it, Superman, but now you are a victim of your own SUPERficial tastes. It’s a real shame.

Kisses

What the hell is going on here? Superman starts a fresh air fund and then Lois is kissing everyone to raise a little cash? And dear Justice League, I believe the sale of sexual acts is illegal in 49 states. Lois, you don’t have to do this for Superman. What about that nice wrestler? And back to the Justic League, what kind of friends are you? Couldn’t you have just given to the Fresh Air fund. You guys are loaded! Batman is millionaire, Green Arrow is a millionaire, and Aquaman is king of the damn sea! The warmth of charity isn’t good enough for your money, you need a couple cheap grabs with your pal’s girlfriend? Shame on all of you.

Comic Book Cover Commentary: Laugh It Up, Superman


OK, Superman. We all know that Jimmy Olsen can’t leap tall buildings in a single bound. But it looks like he’s in a spot of trouble. Obviously, he’s too modest to ask for help, so he’s attempting to be resourceful. We all know the suitcase full of Halloween Adventure beards and moustaches will fail miserably but cut the kid some slack, Superman. Don’t stand there with that “Get a load of this crap” expression scrunched on your face. Of course, you could do a better job. And after Jimmy treated you a couple Comic Book Cover Commentaries ago, it’s understandable that you’d look for any excuse to get a couple chuckles at his expense. But come on, he’s just a kid.

Comic Book Cover Commentary: Finally Superman Sticks Up for Himself


Superman, it’s a little harsh, but at least you’re sticking up for yourself and overcoming your fears about your secret identity.

Comic Book Cover Commentary: Reading List

Note to self: read Moby Dick, Robinson Crusoe, and Treasure Island.

Comic Book Commentary: Batman, Something Ain’t Right with That Boy

My Respects to the Batman Family, but something’s wrong with that kid.

I know everyone goes through an awkward phase. But I would think that the son of Batman would be little more… like his father. And a word to the wise Mr. Batman, I think you should leave him at home when you’re off fighting the good fight, especially if you’re like Superman and treasure your secret identity.

Look at this kid, he’s just wandering around a crime scene telling everyone Batman’s business. I kind of feel bad for those crooks, setting themselves up for that tumble. It leads me to believe they might be on some kind of medication which dulls the senses.

At least have your kid comb the locks, Batman.

Comic Book Cover Commentary: Superman Needs New Friends

This comic book cover really explodes the concept that Jimmy Olsen is Superman’s best friend. If they are friends, I fear Superman might have a codependency problem. Look at how Superman’s best friend is treating him. Right off the bat is Jimmy’s exposing Superman’s Identity with a big clunky camera. And check it out, he makes sure the flash is around 6 inches from poor Superman’s face. But that’s not enough for Superman’s pal, he’s got a full day of activities planned for his best friend. Next he turns Superman into a devil with the “helmet of hate.” Jimmy, why are you wearing the Helmet of Hate to begin with? Moving right along Jimmy puts the Helmet aside and launches an attack on Superman with some Giant Ants. Now, I enjoy practical jokes on my friends that give them a good scare. But come on, Jim. You’re using giant ants from the dude’s planet that blew up when he was baby. That’s a little much. And there’s more. After the all the fun with the ants, little Jimmy Olsen thinks it’d be fun to KO his best pal in a boxing match. And what does he do when he sees his pall laying on the floor unconscious, he lifts up his arm as if he has won something. Then I see how Jimmy Olsen has Superman helpless with the “Super-Brain of Jimmy Olsen.” I can only imagine what passive aggressive barbs young Mr. Olsen is capable of with his Super-Brain. I certainly hope Superman finds a new pal.

It looks like even Supergirl sees fit to stink up their friendship:

COME ON, Superman. Did your parents tell you that saying “I’ll never forgive you!” would get you out of a fight and hurt the feelings of bullies? I don’t think people who use their friends for personal gain with newspaper editors care about forgiveness.

Superman, let’s start taking care of ourselves and making friends with people we can trust to be good friends.

Comic Book Cover Commentary: Action Comics #345


The above image of Action Comics #345 always makes me laugh. Clark Kent is clearly interrupted as he’s changing into Superman. The CBS Camera is rolling as Allen Funt opens the door. So Superman is in a lot of trouble. What does Superman say to smooth things over and protect the most important secret in the world? “Great Krypton! Allen Funt’s caught me switching into my Superman uniform!” Superman! What are you doing? Don’t say it aloud! Now the world has photographic proof AND a taped confession. You have fallen right into Funt’s clutches, Superman.

You could have just closed the door super fast, Superman, instead of blurting everything out.

Superman, if you were robbing a bank  and the cops came on the scene would you stop and loudly say, “Oh my goodness the police have caught me, Superman, robbing a bank?”

And that tie. Come on, pal.

What I Wanted to Hear in Last Night’s Debate!

What I Wanted to Hear in Last Night's Debates

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