Saturday, August 6, 2011

Giffen/ DeMatteis: The Name is Wayne...Bruce Wayne

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The name is Wayne...Bruce wayne...

That cover is all you need to spark the memory of a fan of the funny action Justice League International comic of the 1980s. And if you forgot Barj Warj, I'm telling!

Despite the occasional visual impossibilities you used to only see in comic books, much of this series would be quite filmable as a live action comedy for television.
When the creators found editorial mandate tied up most of the superheroes you would think of as DC's Justice League, Keith Giffen had to get creative. Good thing for us, that's his stock in trade! What I didn't foresee was him pairing with the psychological, highly dramatic work of J.M.DeMatteis to get unforgettable (unforgiveable?) comedy. It's not just relevant for a bit of comics history; I have friends, mercy save us, who still whiz these one-liners and punchlines out like a favorite fishing lure. We've even compared events in real life, in short hand, to the wacky ideas of these stories. Just ask Johann; comparing life to science fiction is his past time---as is indulging his old pal, of late, with some writing about this and other favorite stand-bys as we wrap up this unique summer.

It all started with the first store filled with DC comic books he ever laid eyes on, in a land far away...well, Sri Lanka, anyway.


I always have a little snicker when Batman has to pretend that hes is impersonating Bruce Wayne. But when Batman announced that he was going to Bialya as Bruce Wayne in JLI 16 (to bring down Rumaan Harjavt). I did not snicker I B- b B- Bwhaa HAA HAA ed. Why because his partners in this mission was none other than Blue Beetle Booster Gold Fire and Ice. Now I knew that this would be gold.

Initially Batman tells Max Lord that he will do it on his own (that would have just been a boring grim and gritty Batman adventure) if the league does not step in. Max says that the league will do it covertly while proclaiming that he is a genius thus proving that it's Rumanns ego that is the problem and not his.

The fun begins when we realize superheroes aren't necessarily brilliant field agents and spies. Jack Lemon and Tony Curtis had better luck in disguise than these guys. The fun comes with having at least one competent, dead serious straight man in Batman, who actually expects new teammates Fire and Ice to make a nice, unquestionable facade...and for Booster and Beetle to barely contain themselves.

When Batman announces to his selected team of Blewd Beetle, Booster Gold and Fire that the mission is in Bialya. Our Funny Duo cut up as always.

Bat man has to threaten them with kicking them off the team and one one occasion Batman says to Beetle "And stop calling me "Bats" Beetle," to which Beetle replies, "But you just called me 'Beetle'" To which Batman replies by threatening to call Beetle "Deadman!"

At the Bialyan airport; where Bruise Vain (Impersonated by Batman) comes out of Immigration to be met by a Bialyan state Department employee named " Abdul Abdulla Abdul"---a nick name that I would later in life assign to my good buddy Haitham Neuman Thaa Abdalla Salem...and to any Arab that hated Americans but loved American Dollars; like the Bialyans. Much to their chagrin.

The entire time, our outgoing Latina Fire is coming on to Batman, who has to keep turning down her advances claiming that he reall is damn ugly under his disguise as his alter ego (even though the reader is well aware that Bats is actually Bruce Wayne impersonating Bruce Wayne).

Lyron: "I assure you, underneath this mask I'm as ugly as sin," Wayne smiles. Of course, he's not really in disguise at all, but he's too cagey to share that with someone new.

Now we come to a part of the story I did not understand very well until I lived in America for more than a year.

We live in an age of "decompressed story telling." Let's carry it over to tomorrow's post! (Never mind I'm posting this the night after it went online!)


(Yes, you have to read another post to finish the story. Aw, don't roll your eyes like that!)

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