I was reminded of a scene from the old TV show, The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, where Maynard G. Krebs, Bob Denver's character, a prototypical beatnik of the late 50's and early 60's -- or, at least, what passed in Hollywood as a prototypical beatnik of the late 50's and 60's -- was watching a TV western movie with a baby on his lap. "Look, Baby," Maynard says, "someone's getting out of the train. If he looks at the clock he's a bad guy, but if he's wearing a white hat he's a good guy." The shot centered Maynard who sat in silence and looked at the TV nonplused. "Hmm," said Maynard trying to figure out what he had seen, "He looked at the clock and he's wearing a white hat. It must be one of those adult westerns."
And I thought I was aiming at a narrow demographic.
The column usually describes screw-ups that comics writers make when they write about legal matters. The ones going up on the site are from 1988 (Remember Action Comics Weekly? Don't worry, the creators are trying to forget, too), so you've got a piece for comics fans (a tiny market to begin with), about books that came out 14 years ago, making reference to a tv show from the '60s (although Nickelodeon might have created a new generation of fans). Yeah, that's gonna have widespread appeal. . .
Folks have been predicting the death of the comics industry for a while, and with distributors and publishers going under, it looks like the stopped clock effect might have finally kicked in. Plus, y'know, there are several million fans of both The Simpsons and Futurama. The overwhelming majority of them will never even know the crossover comic exists.
In the Bongo Comics Universe, and from the point of view of Matt Groening, Futurama is the real world while The Simpsons is just a comic book and TV show. "In the future they still rerun The Simpsons," says Terry Delegeane, Managing Editor of Bongo Comics. "In an episode of Futurama called The Day the Earth Stood Stupid an alien race, the Brain Spawn, were bent on taking over the universe. They came to Earth and tried to destroy it by draining everyone's brain, but for some reason, they had no effect on Fry."
The aliens zap their victims minds into literature and leave their bodies to die," continues the editor. "In this story, the Planet Express crew make a delivery to a living planet that collects comic books. The Brain Spawn are about to invade and discover Fry on the planet. Ultimately, he and the rest of the cast of Futurama are sent into an issue of Simpsons Comics.
The ones that do may not be near a comics shop, and won't be able to find the thing.
True, most books are crap superhero slugfests and many shops are frightening places with scary, scary people (Lileks can't-make-a-permalink ass was in Big Brain Comics recently, ferchrissakes), but there is good work out there. Shame so few people ever hear about it.
Note I am still avoiding politics. You don't want to read that sort of thing at the moment. In fact, your monitor would probably melt.