Monday, September 1, 2003

Looking To The Stars - Version 2.0

*fade in upon Sir Matthius Mauriceson sitting in a leather chair by a fireplace in a library, holding a brandy glass*

Sir Matt: Good morning. Or evening. Or afternoon as the case may be as you read this. Welcome to Looking To The Stars; a sophisticated journal dedicated to serious discussion of the whole of comicdom, current events and the synchronic harmonies between the two. Last week, we discussed the political ramifications of JLA #83. Of course the issue of political commentary and its’ place within the comic book is a wide and far-reaching subject with a long history; a history that must be examined in great detail in order to consider the context of a single book. That is why this week, on Looking To The Stars, I think it only fitting that we examine this history of the comic book as a political tool in the history of Western Civilization. It began in the days of the Protestant Reformation where Martin Luther used comic books to mock the corrupt officials of the Catholic Church. Consider his classic text, Der Gruin Kase-

*Suddenly, the wall behind Sir Matt collapses as a small bulldozer starts to plow away the small, dignified set. Behind it, comes Daron the Dark Overlord in black overalls*

Sir Matt: What is the meaning of this?!?!

Daron, The Dark Over Lord: *looking up from blueprints* Oh, hey Matt!

Sir Matt: Yes- Mr. Editor. What can I do for you?

Daron: Didn’t you get the memo? Today is the first day of The New Season!

Sir Matt: Yes. Well, I was told that wouldn’t pertain to me. I mean, I’m still coming on the same day…

Daron: Oh, you’re still in the same place on the schedule, sweetie baby! We wouldn’t dream of changing that. Why over 63% of our key demographics say that you lighten up their Monday mornings!

Sir Matt: What?! Really?

Daron: Yeah… but we’re going to still have to make a few changes to justify calling this a new season if we’re going to keep you around.

Sir Matt: What? But you just said I was popular!

Daron: Yes, but you’re not quite popular enough. And we need you to take a pay cut.

Sir Matt: But I’m not paid now!

Daron: Ah. Well, they you’ll have to start paying to write for us.

Sir Matt: What?!

Daron: Yes. Some of the other writers, who don’t have as big an audience as you do, are threatening to leave unless we start paying all of them more per week. Pulling the same act as that guy on “Everybody Loves Raymond”… why I let them have TV Guide in the writers lounge, I’ll never-

Sir Matt: But what about my set?!

Daron: *looks behind him* Oh! We’re destroying it.

Sir Matt: Why?

Daron: Look, I’d love to tell you but I’ve got a million things to do. Got to have the new hot tub installed in the editor’s lounge before noon. So I’ll leave it to Jodi in marketing to explain all the changes.

Sir Matt: Jodi…

*in bounces perky woman in a business suit. She looks not unlike Reese Witherspoon*

Jodi: You called?

Sir Matt: Uh-not really..

Jodi: Sir Matt…Starman… Stars, if I may? The reason we’re demolishing your library set is because we’re… concerned about the intellectual content of your writing.

Sir Matt: Indeed?

Jodi: Riiiiiiight. See, our research shows that while most of our audience likes it when you do crazy ramblings and satire, many of them are… let me read a few lines here… “confused and frightened”, “feel stupid” or “bored” when you write about comic book history.

Sir Matt: But I provide a vital service to the community! I inform people about stories they might have missed out on! Why, the Typhoid Mary article alone garnered responses from many people who had never HEARD of-

Jodi: Yes, and I applaud you for that. But it just doesn’t read well. So we’re just going to make a few changes. The set for example. When you talk comic history, this is how you picture yourself. Suave, David-Nivenish and sitting in some kind of study like you’re hosting Masterpiece Theater.

Sir Matt: Well… yes?

Jodi: We’ve got something new in mind. With a new wardrobe…

*Through the magic of editing, we are suddenly standing on the deck of a beach house. Sir Matt is now wearing khaki shorts and a loud Hawaiian shirt*

Sir Matt: Good lord!

Jodi: Welcome to the 411 Comics Beachhouse! Here, you can cut loose and chill and party while at the same time telling our key demographic about the way kewl comics that are coming out, as they watch all the hot studs and honeys shake their bodies to the hottest new industrial music. How does that sound?

Sir Matt: I feel like Peter Parker in Peter Parker: Spider-Man #42.

Jodi: Which brings up our next point. Issue quoting. Stop it.

Sir Matt: Stop quoting issues?

Jodi: Right. It makes people uncomfortable to hear references to things they don’t understand.

Sir Matt: But Jodi… I was hired for this magazine to share my vast knowledge of comic history and the thematic and dramatic elements of it-

Jodi: And you still can! Just tell them things they already know, but make it sound like they don’t know it!

Sir Matt: (confused) But if they don’t like to feel like they don’t-

Jodi: Skip it. Now we need you to read this. *hands him a sheet*

Sir Matt: “Next Up on 411: Daredevil- Briefs or Boxers?” And what’s this before that about a Mrs. Edna Fogerty celebrating her 100th birthday by bungee jumping?

Jodi: Oh! Our latest study shows that people like to read about local events.

Sir Matt: But we are a world-wide publication!

Jodi: So? There’s bound to be a few old women named Edna Fogerty turning 100 today? Statistics show that.

Sir Matt: *long pause* You’re insane, aren’t you?

Jodi: Not according to the latest studies. Now be quite- we have to show the trailer!

Sir Matt: Trailer? What trai-

"Every generation has a legend."

"Every journey has a first step."

"Every magazine has a smart ass writer.”

Narrator: In the year 2003, producer/director Ben Morse created 411 Comics

and changed the way we looked at hastily-assembled Internet fanzines.

Now, eight months later, using new spellchecking technology, Morse and his

creative teams at Morsefilms, DHX, Streetwalker Sound and Agricultural

Might and Logic have complete restored, enhanced and added onto this classic

Website to bring you 411 Comics: Version 2.0".

For the first series, Morse redid his classic column, Sir Matthius Mauriceson’s “Looking To The Stars” with new computer graphics and new scenes cut from the original release. Action-packed scenes like this…

*Daron the Dark Overlord, in his classic black armor appears, moving in on a wounded Sir Matt*

Daron: Old Ben Morse never told you the truth about your editor…

Sir Matt: He told me enough! He told me that you killed him!

Daron: No… I AM your editor!

Sir Matt: No! No, that’s not true! That’s impossible!

Daron: Search your e-mail! You know it to be true!


Jodi: So what do you think?

Sir Matt: Was that Ben Stiller playing me?

Jodi: Is that a problem?

Sir Matt: I always thought I was more of a Jason Lee role.

Jodi: Well, Stiller was cheaper. Oh and one more change… the “whiny loser like you” thing wins over the comic readers, but it’s a turn off to the teenage girl market we’re trying to attract.

Sir Matt: I am NOT whiny. And I must protest-

Jodi: Anyway, in order to improve your image, you and Jessica Simpson are going to start dating.

Sir Matt: Absolutely no- Jessica Simpson? Not Lisa or Marge?

Jodi: No. The singer. Not a cartoon.

Sir Matt: On the other hand, perhaps we can give this a shot…

Jodi: Super! Now all we need is to announce the contest.

Sir Matt: Contest?

That’s right kids! Want to win a really keen prize? Well, we don’t have one. But we can help you escape from a gruesome punishment! Yes, that’s right it’s the “Name That Obscure Reference” Contest. To win, e-mail Sir Matt with the meaning of the reference in this week’s Teaser Title. The first lucky winner will be the only person on Earth NOT to receive the dreaded nude pictures of Bea Arthur that are part of the computer virus that Daron The Dark Overlord will be releasing on Sunday, September 7th as part of the closing festivities of the first week of 411 Comics 2nd Season!

Tune in next week. Same Matt Time. Same Matt Website.

With a real column next time! Promise!

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