Letter From The Editor - Issue 69 - June 2019

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Miracle Pictographs
    Graphic Novel Reviews by Spencer Ellsworth
December 2011
How The Shlub Retconned Christmas

Every Bam down in Powville liked comics a lot
But the Shlub, who lived just north of Powville, did not!
The Shlub hated comics. Oh, he bought a few
To fuel his outrage through the Internet tubes.
"Superman sucks without red underpants!"
Was one of a million deranged frothing rants.
They'd broken his childhood, these hip superheroes
These editor Hitlers, Napoleans, Neros!
The decompressed pace! The PC, slick stories,
Reminisced he of his favorite past glories
Of Spider-Man spouting a white virgin's pain;
(Resemblance: coincidence. So Shlub maintains)
A fevered nostalgia had burned up his brains.

I realize, you know, that the Shlub is no rarity,
Overweight man-child in need of much therapy
But I think that the most likely reason of all,
May have been that his tights were two sizes too small.

Whatever the reason,
His tights or no sex
He stood there on Christmas Eve, uniquely vexed.
Staring through blinds in his mom's musty basement
At Bams, all a-Twitter with new product placement
For each of the Bams down in Powville, he knew
Was busy now, praising the New 52.

"And they're booting up iPads!" he whined with a sigh,
"Digital copies? Why, Kirby would cry!"
Then he growled, Cheeto-stained fingers nervously drumming,
"I must find some way to stop Christmas from coming!"

For tomorrow, he knew, both Bams good and Bams crooked
Would wake bright and early, their stockings a-booked
Exchanging trade paperbacks like an infection,
Then give indie girlfriends the full Bone collection.

(Lest you think that's innuendo,
It was nothing I did intend-o.)

They'd do something he liked least of all
Every Bam down in Powville, the tall and the small
Would donate the comics they loved best that year
To libraries, shelters, and kids who need cheer
Potential collectibles, right down the drain,
Why, it burrowed like Ceti Eels into Shlub's brain.

And the more the Shlub thought of the Bam-Christmas-Cheer
The more the Shlub thought "The Bams' buck will stop here!
"Why, for thirty-three years I've watched comics go under.
"This Christmas is a continuity blunder!"

Then he got an idea.
A clichéd idea.
The Shlub got an awful, clichéd,
do-you-really-think-readers-will-buy-that-of-course-they'll-buy-anything idea!

"I know just what to do," the Shlub growled in his paunch,
"I will hash out details over Dew and some lunch."
Ham sandwich in hand, ignoring his chores
He yanked out his sacred old Fantastic Fours,
Perusing the pages, copying charts,
Absorbing the darkest of Doctor Doom's arts.

With Googling and welding and technical dullness
The Shlub soon constructed a Cannon of Nullness!
Based on the weapon that once beat Galactus,
The Shlub took it out to the yard just to practice.
He fired on the grass, he fired on the roses;
What happened then? I suppose your supposes
Are good as mine are. You see, NOTHING was there.
A big hole of NOTHING: no roses, no air!
The Shlub had undone what had once been the garden,
(You already know he won't ask his mom's pardon.)

Twas a quarter-past dawn. All the Bams, still a-bed
All the Bams, still a-snooze, when he went to his shed
He fired up his nasty old car, filled with wrappers
The ghosts of old fast food and beer from dry tappers
He lugged out the cannon, jammed it in the seat,
Displacing an archive of stale fries and meat.
The Bams were all dreaming of flying through air,
When he came to the first little house on the square.

The chimney was out. 'Twas not made for the Shlub,
The guy really needs to lay back on the grub,
So he Googled, picked locks, and got in through the door,
Looked up and saw stockings, ornaments, more.
And a heap of new comics, right there on the floor.

He giggled and squealed as he raised his fell cannon,
Destroying all things he considered un-canon,
"Die, Vaughan and A. Moore and my personal daemon,
"You slick hipster god, Mister Neil of the Gaiman!"
He un-Crisised Crises, he brought back the briefs,
The works of Art Spiegelman burned up like leaves,
He cleaned out the '90s as quick as the Flash,
Why the Shlub even took poor Grant Morrison's hash.

He did the same thing to other Bams' habitat,
Wiping out anti-heroes from Venom to Black Cat!

He finished! He tromped through the snow, out of breath.
When he heard a small sound like the footstep of death.
He turned and he looked and he saw a small Bam
Little Sammy Sam Bam, who could see through his sham

This perceptive young lad faced this slime of the slime mines
With his gift: he could see fifty-three different timelines
And knew that the Shlub, the sad sack of old grease,
Needed to go face the TimeCorps Police.

Adopting an innocent, whimpering air,
Sammy Sam Bam whispered softly, "Sir, where?"
"Where is our Christmas? Have you see it here?
"It just doesn't seem quite the same as last year."

Well, you know that old Shlub was so sour and unpleasant,
He just had to speak and reveal his mad present.
"I've fixed it all up," he exhaled with delight,
"I've put you poor hip indie souls on the right.
"Returned to whole world to the right continuity,
"Without all that futzing on moral ambiguity,
"Marvel's new history has no incongruity!"

Bams filtered out of the households with wonder.
The air was so still that each breath felt like thunder.
They'd lost all the magic of comics today,
Returned to an earlier, dark kind of day,
When sequential art was regarded as hack work,
All by the efforts of one child-man fat jerk.

The Shlub, oh he chortled and snorted a sneer,
"You're finding out now that no Christmas is here!
"Your imaginations have lost their fat purses
"All you Bams down in Powville will now cry out 'Curses!'"

But the Bams were not sad. Why the Bams were quite merry!
"This Christmas, your gift is the sundae's top cherry!"
The Mayor of Bams told the Shlub with delight,
"Why everything's new, snowed over and white!"
"We Bams could make comics whatever we wish!"
"You've given the power to us!" And he kissed,
The Shlub on his sour, crinkled chocolate-stained nose.
Bams started to draw, other Bams had to pose;
The writerly Bams began work on their tomes.
(Some of them sent me instructions on poems.
Insisting my meter's elicited groans.)

And the Shlub, Shlubby feet cold and round in the snow,
Stood there and whispered, "It cannot be so!
"It came without trades! It came without Macs!
"It came without reboots or big Skrull attacks!"

And he puzzled three hours, till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Shlub thought of something he hadn't before.
"Maybe comics," he thought "are not rooms, but a door,
"To YOUR dreams and YOUR wonders and everything YOUR!"

And what happened then?
Well, in Bamville, they say . . .

If you think his tights loosened, or that he cheered up,
If you think that his heart swelled, then he joined Bams to sup
If you think that at all he was less of a Gollum,
Buddy, you're reading the wrong Christmas column.

Sammy Sam-Bam slammed the Shlub on the head
Repeatedly, leaving him not-quite-near-dead.
Shaking his cold corrupt brains from their fittins,
(We don't call them "Bams" cuz they're gentle as kittens.)

Sam hauled off the Shlub to the TimeCorps for justice,
Suppose he's still there, shares a cell with Doc Faustus.
And if there is a lesson to learn from all of this mess,
It's here: Mess with comics, but don't mess with Christmas.

(Also, perhaps, you might stop to take joy,
In comics you loved as a girl or a boy,
And give them this Christmas, instead of a toy.)

(And complain a bit less on the Internet.)

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