Mike Buzzelli

The brave, the bold and the really, really old

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On Thursday, I emceed a fundraiser for the ToonSeum, Pittsburgh’s museum of cartoon and comic book art. It was a joyous experience because I love the ToonSuem, cartoons and comic books. I love comic books.


I don’t know what it is about men and women in tight colorful costumes punching each other about the head and neck, but I have always loved their stories since I was a kid. Some of those guys have eye beams, and they can fly and stuff. It was always way past my normal willing suspension of disbelief, but comics have their own internal logic.


I like Marvel Comics more than D.C. Marvel heroes hang out in New York City, Los Angeles and San Francisco. D.C. Comics take place in Gotham City, Star City and Metropolis. I don’t know where those places are. That always bugged me as a kid. If Lois Lane got on an airplane from Gotham City to Metropolis, would there be a meal on that flight? A layover?


My cousin Jimmy (who is in his late 40s, but I still call him Jimmy like I did when we 7) asked me a question about Spider-Man. He said, “When Spider-Man goes webbing around the city, who cleans up all those webs?”


I immediately pictured a group of maids with really tall feather dusters marching down Park Avenue. I told Jimmy, “Spider-Man’s webs dissolve after one hour.” That explains why he’s always catching the same bad guys. He’s captured Dr. Octopus at least a hundred times by now.


The other question people ask is, “How old is Spider-Man?” While Peter Parker was a teenager in 1962, he’s still in his mid-twenties. He doesn’t even use Oil of Olay. Comic book characters and cartoon people age more slowly than the rest of us. If he aged in normal time, he’d be a grandpa swinging around the city wearing Depends under his costume. That’s not a good look.


Bruce Wayne was probably 30 years old in 1939. If he was still alive, he’d be living in the Bat-Retirement Home or an Assisted Living Cave.


Superman doesn’t count. He’s an alien, but his pals Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane would be really, really wrinkled by now, just like the cast of the '50s TV show.


The old “Superman” TV show bugged me, too. Superman would fold his arms and stand there while bad guys shot at him, but inevitably the bad guys’ gun would run out of bullets, and then they toss it at him, but Superman would always duck out of the way of the gun. If bullets didn’t hurt him, the gun shouldn’t have, either.


Also, why didn’t Olsen or Lane get hit by a ricochet every now and again? That always bugged me. Superman had no concern about ricocheting bullets. He should have been grabbing them out of the air and making sure no one else got hurt. If Superman was real, there would be a lot of lawsuits brought on by those ricochets.


And why were people exclaiming, “Look up in the sky … it’s a bird, it’s a plane … it’s Superman!” If they really thought it was a bird or a plane, why did they bother yelling about it?


Stop yelling about the birds and airplanes and get back to work.


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