The Funnies Ain't So Funny Anymore

By Omri

Issue #2 

      Hello everyone, and welcome back to “The Funnies Ain't So Funny Anymore.”  I feel the last column was a little short of what I wanted to make of it, so I promise this one will have some deeper discussions.  Still, trying to steer away from the oft-reviewed and over-discussed books such as Watchmen and DKR, I headed towards my single issue boxes.  So I have my books organized differently, so what?  Shoving my hand into the pile, I ended up holding “Adventure Comics 80 page giant.” Released in 1998, this is an anthology book of Golden and Silver age characters that used to appear in Adventure Comics thrust into modern continuity for one-shot stories.  I was just about to pass on this one when I noticed the last story featured Bizarro World.  That got me thinking: Bizarro does everything wrong, badly, or opposite to the way it should be done.  But in order for this wrongness to be defined, we first have to identify what ‘right’ and ‘correct’ are. So, if we were to take a hypothetical person who does everything the opposite of what Bizarro would do, who would we get?  Would it be your average Joe or a perfectly morally ideal person?  By describing Bizarro society, the writer has actually painted a picture of what he thinks of our world, so let’s go have a look at what Tom Peyer thinks about our puny little planet called Earth. 

      The story introduces us to Bizarro’s diary, where its infamous owner has chronicled a typical day in Bizarro World, only to be interrupted by the untimely appearance of Superman.  Throughout the tale (and mostly through the background art), we see several benchmarks of living: washing basins outside the house, family members insulting each other, toxic waste playgrounds, graffiti and vandalism everywhere, leaking fire hydrants, a dead tree museum, crumbling buildings and the list goes on and on.  By extension, does this means there is absolutely no graffiti and vandalism in our own cities?  Or that there are no children who play in filthy alleys and dumpsters because they have nowhere else to go?  Perhaps he means that all families on Earth, even behind close doors, are perfectly polite to each other?  I remember a water pipe next to my house bursting one hot summer day, and it wasn’t fixed till a whole month later, and this is NY I’m talking about.  Or how about those Bizarro highways that don’t take you anywhere? Have you ever driven in Mexico City, where every single road you take leads you back to where you started?  You know, maybe I’m overanalyzing this, but correct me if I’m wrong, we do raze down forests so we can put shopping malls there, don’t we?  So tell me please, because I really don’t get this: what about this planet is so “opposite” exactly?  In what place of the world does Peyer live in that none of these things exist so that he can draw parallels to? Please tell me so I can move there and forget about all these worries. 

      As to Bizarro himself, he is absent minded (like we don’t see that everyday), aggressive (no surprise there), a dirty pig who throws around garbage (this is getting tiresome), and full of ‘brilliant’ ideas.  Is any of this getting though?  Perhaps I’m being too sarcastic, or my view of humanity is too pessimistic at times, but give me a break, you want to tell me that these people don’t exist when they actually constitute a very large percentage of our population, if not even a majority?  Oh, and get this: he is also their venerated leader.  On the other hand, Superman, like the good Samaritan he is, goes on a “constructive rampage” upon his arrival, fixing things and distributing water around.  The lone crusader helping the hungry world… I still don’t see the difference between this and celebrities’ PR moves at aiding children in “Africa” (as if that general term is not derogative enough.)  But here finally comes the good part:  the local Bizarros see their way of life being assailed, and rise to oppose the aggressor. Oh wait, that’s not the opposite, that’s called guerilla warfare. Scratch that then, we are back to square one.  But, lo and behold! Bizarro has had a revelation - war is an earthly thing, so they should not carry it out!  Finally Peyer has struck a chord and correctly identified an element of our society instead of ignoring its existence… or has he? When Bizarro says “stop and don’t fight,” this translates from Bizarrospeak to English as “proceed to slaughter,” which would make us humans naturally pacifists, and defeats the whole point of what we started with.  Wait a minute, what did we start with?  Gah, my head hurts from too much Bizarro. 

      I could go on to how Bizarro used his ultimate super-weapon on Superman (a pin, for god’s sake), or how peace was forged when Superman the invader actually realized he was wrong all along (yeah right, like that will ever happen), but what would be the point?  Looks like I’m too cynical for this.  Peyer’s world view has depressed me enough already as it is.  I’ll only note that the final page of the story does have some redeeming value, reinforcing my view that such a puny living is no living at all, and despite it all, Bizarro’s final notes in the diary seem to agree with me. 

      See you next time,