Monday, December 8, 2003

Here Come The Big People #1 - A Review

Written by: Trace Beaulieu
Penciled by: Amanda Conner
Inked by: Jimmy Palmiotti
Colored by: Atomic Paintbrush
Lettered by: Richard Starkings & Koja Fuchs
Editors: Laurie Bradach
Publisher: Event Comics

Now and forever, my favorite TV show of all time is Mystery Science Theater 3000. I first got hooked on the show at the ripe young age of 12 and it was about this same time that I was discovering my own burgeoning ability to get people to laugh and found that my biggest laughs came from making fun of stupidity. And though the show was totally free of subtext, which was the big lesson of the show. Yes, there are stupid, evil and just plain wrong things in this world but the best way to fight the darkness is with a smile on your face, a laugh in your throat and a quick wit. “The devil cannot abide being mocked,” after all.

Still, much as I did love the show… it never did seem the same after Trace Beaulieu left. Bealieu did double duty on the show, portraying both the brilliant, if severely limited by vision and competence, evil mad scientist Dr. Clayton Forrester and the wise-cracking, sarcastic aspiring-playwright Crow T. Robot. When Bealieu left after the end of show’s seventh season, it looked as if show was gone for good in the wake of impending cancellation by Comedy Central. The show was picked up at the last moment by the Sci-Fi channel, but Bealieu opted out of the show. A new actor was left to take on the voice of Crow and the evil-moving hosting duties were moved on to Dr. Forrester’s mother. It was in this time following his leaving the show, in the late-90’s just after the big Collectors Crash that sent the comics industry into an economic tailspin that we are still recovering from that Beaulieu wrote his first comic book.

“Here Come The Big People” has a sci-fi plot as outrageous as many of the clunkers that Bealieu’s alter-ego Crow merciless made fun of. The action centers on Austin Milcsop, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Steve Ditko’s Peter Parker. Milcsop has made gazillions off his greatest invention; an electronic personal assistant called “I’m Home” or “M.O.M.” for short. MOM is capable of cleaning a house, cooking dinner and running your bath after a long day at work… but it is somewhat lacking in personality. Hilarity ensues after Austin orders Patty, a programmer with a crush and a mad-on after being ignored for years, to give “MOM” a personality. As she works on a program, Austin’s “MOM” unit picks up on his desires and the two combine with a literal alien abduction to create a large-scale, living being capable of pampering a full-sized adult male. In short, “A Big Person.”

This is, in short, a silly story. Oh, we can try and be serious and talk about the Freudian subtext, Oedipal/Elektra complexes, arrested adolescence, the search for innocence and the desire to find child-like wonder in a harsh and cynical world where children grow-up far too fast and too many grown-ups are immature. But where is the fun in that when we can laugh at the image of businessmen being pushed around in strollers as they discuss a deal?

This image, along with a hundred other hilarious moments, is gloriously illustrated by Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti, who some of you just might have heard of. (I am, of course, joking and if you haven’t seen anything done by either of these artists, please click here and then e-mail me the address of the Internet-capable cave that you are living in; I’m in the market for a new apartment.) Conner’s cartoony style is perfect for displaying the sure unbridled ludicrousness of this situation and yet, makes it seem perfectly natural. Palimotti’s inks are subtler here than in many of his other works with Connor, particularly their gloriously dark Vampirella issues. Still, this fits the book perfectly as this is not a dark story by any means.

Sadly, this book is rather difficult to track down now, having a very small original print run and most of the few copies being snatched up either by dedicated MSTies or Conner/Palmiotti completeists. But fear not, gentles. Kindly old Uncle Stars has discovered that Mr. Beaulieu himself still has quite a few copies of the book and will gladly send you autographed copies of both covers for a nominal fee of $9.00. Just send a check made out to “Trace Beaulieu” to…

Trace Beaulieu
PO Box 931357
Los Angeles, CA 90093

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