29 March 2006


When I got the Washington Post every day, I read all the comics, including stuff I would skip today like "Mark Trail" and "The Phantom" and "Rex Morgan, MD."

(The odd, howling sound you hear is Brett's anguish that anyone would skip "Mark Trail." Well, I would. I like the Partridge Family and I don't like Mark Trail, but it takes all kinds, doesn't it? I'll still probably be re-educated under the Brett Regime, but that was going to happen anyway, so we can add my lack of the proper understanding of Mark Trail to the list.)

But the one thing that made those comics worth the ink it took to print them were the odd little captions. My absolute, bar none, favorite is one from "Rex Morgan, MD," a strip more firmly rooted in a 1962-aesthetic than the Ford Fairlane. But in random attempts to be cutting edge and current - or just to provide me with a laugh - Rex and June would tackle some medical issues in the news, like, oh, say, drug abuse. So we have the black and while line drawing of a woman in a Chanel-style suit with pillbox hat sprawled on a tile floor with the caption "While snorting cocaine in the ladies' room, Claudia Bishop passes out!" (Soap Opera comics spend most of their production money on exclamation marks, which they purchase by the truckload.) Somehow the sight of the Jackie Kennedy stand-in and the 1980's PSA text hit me just right. I vowed never to snort cocaine in the ladies' room *and* and I laughed hugely, pointed to the strip, and repeated "While snorting cocaine in the ladies' room, Claudia Bishop passes out!" until I pulled myself together.

"The Phantom," however, is really just a fever-dream. I mean, really, I ask you, does that strip make sense to anyone? Not to mention that during the period when I spent the most time trying to figure out what the heck was going on, "The Phantom" made Tarzan look too PC by half.

So one day, Mr. Walker* had trounced some white devil bad guys and their non-caucasian, stereotype-laden henchmen, including a pretty scary dude named Mogg. And in the coming attractions box at the end of the strip - which, by the way, due to the completely non-linear storytelling of "The Phantom," never actually clued us in to the real coming attractions, but rather seemed to be just random enouragements to keep reading the strip, sort of a "d-r-i-n-k y-o-u-r O-v-a-l-t-i-n-e" for the print media set ....where was I? Oh, yeah -- in the coming attractings box it said "Coming Next - More Mogg!!" Which also made me laugh hugely, although this time I really couldn't explain why. I still have no idea. But I still find it funny.

Coming Next: The Countess of WATCH!!

* For the Ghost Who Walks


Maureen said...

Now I understand the significance of "more Mogg" in your last post. I should be able to sleep better now; thank you. ;)

aquazoo said...

The Phantom makes the world safe against evil synthesizers!

Or was that Moog?