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Saturday, April 15, 2006

Comics Again 

I complain about comics now because I so wanted to love them as a boy, and yet they were ridiculous. Here's one that I could never fathom: "The Incredible Hulk". Why "Incredible", by the way? When you're dealing with a universe full of misfits like Spiderman and the Fantastic Four, the Hulk is fairly credible, if pointless. It should have been called "The Irrelevant Hulk". It's about a bespectacled scientist who sometimes gets enraged and turns into a powerful green-skinned beast of a man, losing the ability to think or talk reasonably. When he's in this state he says things like "Hulk smash"; in other words, he can no longer use the pronoun "I" and he can no longer conjugate verbs correctly. I wonder whose idea it was that a mentally reduced individual would refer to himself in the third person? It's actually a bit of a jump to think of oneself in that way.

After one of these episodes, his clothes would be all torn up because the Hulk is huge. That's rather interesting. If I had to guess, I would say that the author of this story had some experience with a schizophrenic parent. I say this because the sense of aftermath, with the bewildered scientist wondering what has happened to him, and incapable of accounting for his activities, makes me think of schizophrenics I have known, while his enormous power over others is only dangerous in the case of a parent.

Anyway, this rage of his is patently a great affliction and the interest seems to lie in how he deals with it. This is true of many Marvel comics: how does Spiderman like being Spiderman? How is the Mr and Mrs Fantastic's marriage going? Is the Thing getting any action?

But when I was a boy I didn't want to read comics about people's personal Hell. I wanted exciting adventures and beautiful draughtmanship.


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Watching TV is a good way to tear yourself away from the computer.