Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Un-P.C. Comics and Hiroshima/Nagasaki

I mentioned yesterday Spider-Man 4 being scuttled over the studio’s resistance to having the villain be John Malkovich as the Vulture. This means, in a way, that a conservative destroyed Spider-Man, since apparently John Malkovich is “so right-wing you have to wonder if he’s kidding” and once clarified his joking comments about wanting to kill two British leftists by saying, “I hate somebody who is supposed to be a Middle Eastern expert who thinks Jesus was born in Jerusalem. I hate what I consider his vile anti-semitism. This being said, I apologize to both Fisk and Galloway; they seem like good men but if they make such a heinous mistake again, I will not hesitate to murder them brutally by way of the gallows.”

If the villainous Malkovulture is not un-p.c. enough for you, though, check out these two items from the world of cartoons and comics:

•Scroll down to the final item in this list (compiled by Laura Hudson) of bad comics, a description of and pictures from a recent story arc of the newspaper strip Mark Trail in which Mark largely ignores the plight of a woman he knows who apologizes to her husband for befriending a deer, even after the husband beats her for it.

•For sheer un-p.c.-ness, though, I think it’s hard to beat Marvel’s character the Mandrill, the monkey-headed spawn of an accidental radioactive mingling of black and white human genes — who ends up with will-destroying power over the ladies and a desire to start his own nation in Africa. Aw, yeah (and I do not mean to diminish the important racism-promoting work of the villain Egg Fu, of course, nor Black Manta’s efforts to get black people to live in the ocean). I remember admiring the Mandrill’s army of go-go-boot-wearing henchwomen when I was a lad and was reminded of them upon seeing the Fembots in Austin Powers.

In the real world, of course, radiation does not always result in superhuman powers, and I notice that last week saw the passing at age ninety-three of the only man officially recognized as having survived both the Hiroshima and, three days later, Nagasaki explosions. Has anyone in history had more reason to think “This again? Man, this has not been my week.” On the bright side, the subsequent sixty-five years must have seemed like pretty smooth sailing.

I will think of him tonight while watching his countryman Akira Kurosawa’s film noir Stray Dog — about a cop shamed by the loss of his gun, which is being used in crimes — and will marvel at the fact the Japanese were imitating Western tropes a mere four years after the War.

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