Saturday Night Showcase: The Greatest American Hero

One of my favorite Halloween costumes was one my mom made me, and frankly it’s on the level with some of the costumes I see at conventions. That’s not bad considering it was a sweatshirt, sweatpants, a homemade cape, fake belt, and some iron-on fabric cut to resemble the alien symbol on the front. That’s because we were both fans of The Greatest American Hero, a superhero action comedy from the early 1980s airing on ABC from 1981-1983. We had the theme song on small record, and…there really wasn’t much else in the way of merchandise at the time beyond the usual lunchbox and maybe some coloring books. No action figures, no comic until a reboot in the 2000s, though it did get a bunch of home video releases in the DVD era.

Teacher Ralph Hinkley is chosen by aliens (that communicate through radios and corpses…in a family show) to use a pair of “magic pajamas” to save the world. FBI agent Bill Maxwell is chosen to find the missions that require a secret superhero. Caught in the middle is Ralph’s attorney girlfriend Pam Davidson. In the pilot episode we see how our team is formed together to stop a bunch of skinheads from killing the President. Funny when you remember that they supposedly changed Ralph’s name for a few episodes after someone did try to kill the president.

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“Yesterday’s” Comic> Street Fighter FCBD 2014

This year’s Street Fighter tournament couldn’t afford fireworks for the pre-game party.

FCBD 2014 Street Fighter #0

Udon Studios (May, 2014; as posted to comiXology)

LETTERER: Marshall Dillon (someone’s parents was a Gunsmoke fan)

“Hong Kong Hustle”

WRITER: Jim Zub

ARTIST: Hanzo Steinbech

“Your Enemies Closer”

WRITER: Ken Siu-Chiong

LINE ART: Takeshi Miyazawa

COLORIST: Espen Grundetjern

“Beyond The Hills”

WRITER: Chris Saraccini

PENCILER: Joe Ng

INKER: Rob Armstrong

COLORIST: Espen Grundetjern

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Examining The Banned Seuss

I stay out of the drama as best I can, especially the political drama. However, when it forces itself into my area of discussion (and there are those shoving politics into as many aspects of our lives–especially our entertainment choices–as possible) I’m dragged kicking into the discussion. Dr. Seuss is one such example.

The pen name of Theodore Geisel, Dr. Seuss is a huge part of our culture. His works have influenced others, been the subject of parody, and even had some really terrible movies made that were worse than the half-hour cartoons that better adapted the stories. His characters have had two TV series, the animated The Cat In The Hat Knows A Lot About That and the Henson Productions puppet series The Wubbulous World Of Dr. Seuss. And of course his books have been popular with kids and the parents who grew up with them as well.

On the internet, we can’t have nice things.

The credit (or blame depending on your perspective) for Dr. Seuss being removed from the “Read Across America Day” events and being ignored by President Joe Biden despite even Obama praising Seuss’s work on the event scheduled on his birthday and typically involving dressing up as the characters (my cousin’s kids did that this year) goes to an article stating that even The Sneeches isn’t anti-racism for daring to suggest race doesn’t matter and ignoring power struggle issues that will not only go over kids heads but wouldn’t matter if that structure was change by people ignoring or changing stupid rules so like the Sneeches we can all be one race. Personally I’m not into tattoos, stars or otherwise, anyway. The fallout has also led the Seuss estate to stop publishing six books that supposedly promote racism. Well, since I can find videos of some of these on YouTube being read for kids (obviously before the controversy so hopefully it’s still up when you read this) we can look at these together and find out if they’re really problematic and how easy it is to fix…considering I couldn’t find a lot of information as to WHY these six books were chosen. Prepare for some guesswork. Don’t worry, I’m not going to try to do this article in rhyme. You’re welcome.

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“Yesterday’s” Comic> Scooby-Doo Team-Up #13

Granted I’d be scared of the Spectre too.

Scooby-Doo Team-Up #13

DC Comics (January, 2016)

“Don’t Be A Stranger”

WRITER: Sholly Fisch

ARTIST: Dario Brizuela

COLORIST: Franco Riesco

LETTERER: Saida Temofonte

ASSISTANT EDITOR: David Piña

EDITOR: Kristy Quinn

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BW’s Daily Video: Let Me Explain’s Daycare Stories

Catch more Rebecca Parham and Let Me Explain Studios on her YouTube channel.

BW Filler Video: Can Mary Sues Have Flaws?

I got my first Covid shot yesterday so sorry for breaking out another Filler Video so soon after recovering from my previous medical issues.

The concept of the “Mary Sue” (and lesser known male counterpart “Gary Stu”) is forever a subject of debate among those who love storytelling, whether they’re fans or creators. I’ve discussed this one myself. Appearing in a short gag fanfic in The Menagerie in 1974, Paula Smith’s A Trekkie’s Tale is a short four paragraph story involving Lieutenant Mary Sue, the youngest LT in Starfleet, serving aboard the Enterprise despite not being old enough to drive a car, become the fascination of everyone until she eventually dies, her passing becoming a holiday aboard the ship. (I bet they even celebrate in on the Enterprise-E, the post TNG movie version of the ship.)

It’s universally agreed on that a Mary Sue, a character with no flaws, everyone loves unless they’re jerks or evil (and even then they may come around), and is the awesomest person ever in forever, is to be avoided. It’s the flaws, or at least the struggles, that invoke drama, even in comedies with dramatic elements. While nobody defends the Mary Sue as a character they will defend a beloved character by insisting they aren’t a Mary Sue because they indeed have flaws. However, it’s the type of flaws that The Literature Devil says still make that character a Mary Sue. And of course, being the Literature Devil, he uses Rey from the Star Wars Sequel trilogy as his example, but he and the Tutorial Demon (I hope God forgives me for promoting devils and demons in this one) do bring up other Mary Sues like Ensign Mariner there (named after the showrunner’s sister…explains a lot) as well as the story that coined the term. Don’t worry, he also discusses characters who actually get it right. I think he just likes picking on Rey as a prime example of a modern Mary Sue that isn’t our teenage lieutenant.

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“Yesterday’s” Comic> Robotech Masters #13

Our heroes accidentally find Supreme Commander Leonard’s favorite sunbathing spot.

Robotech Masters #13

Comico The Comic Company (January, 1987)

“Triumvirate”

ADAPTATION: Mike Baron

PENCILER: Neil D. Vokes

INKER: Tom Poston

COLORIST: Tom Vincent

LETTERER: Bob Pinaha

EDITOR: Diana Schutz

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