Monday, February 01, 2010

Fantastic Four Klik Candy Dispensers

Here we go again.

Today A Comic A Day begins its third incarnation, as a study of comics' influence on every day life. Fortunately for me, the blundering blogger responsible for this mess, that direction is open interpretation, from the way comics shape pop culture, to the comics I'm reading on any given day, to the comics-inspired merchandise one might find just shopping at the 99 Cents Store -- like these Fantastic Four Klik candy dispensers. If you look hard enough, surely you can find a comic a day.


"Tall Tale" by Paul Pope, colored by Lee Loughridge, lettered by Clem Robins
originally published in Weird Western Tales #1, Vertigo/DC Comics

Keen comic book enthusiasts might appreciate my using the Fantastic Four (albeit in candy dispenser form) in a new year's inaugural post, since they're often dubbed the first family of funnybooks and in fact launched the brand we know today as Marvel Comics. Similarly, this weird western short by Paul Pope explores the origins of heroes as a whole, but in a genre we often underestimate as the beginning of such things. The first few panels in this eight-page yarn explain that tall tales about Paul Bunyon and John Henry were the first superhero stories, and their compilation in spaghetti western pulp magazines, the ancestor of the comic book.

Now, when a drunken sop decides to call out a homely bartender he believes to be Wild Bill Hickok . . .

He discovers that some tall tales have pretty short fuses.

Paul Pope's style befits a short, weird western tale like this, and his premise that folks in the Old West were just as mystified as these tales then as we are now is a great way to breach the proverbial fourth wall . . . and make a simple Bronze Age title relaunch amazingly relevant.

One can only hope it's as effective with a certain blog. Giddy up!

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