A Mite More on ‘Mazing Man

 A Mite More on ‘Mazing Man

I wish that I had time to write a huge piece on ‘Mazing Man (yeah, well, maybe you would, Fiore, if you’d stop going bonkers in your own comment-threads!)… I re-iterate that I think it’s a wonderful series, and I will write about it someday (gotta get through Cerebus first though! Palnu Trilogy tomorrow–for sure!)

Right now, though–I just wanted to remark upon an interesting subplot, involving dog-faced comic book writer Denton’s proxy “Barker”, in the interpolated Zoot Sputnick tales (perfectly pencilled by puckish Fred Hembeck), which anticipates a lot of what Grant Morrison later did in Animal Man!  Of course, the heart of this series is elsewhere (in the ensemble-cast wonderment generated by ‘Maze, Denton, KP, Eddie, Brenda, and even good ol’ Guido)–and Morrison’s real achievement was to use this kind of whimsical fourth-wall breaking as a base of operations from which to stage a genuinely affective assault upon the reader’s emotions and mind… so I’m not really comparing the two…but still–you’ll see what I mean if you check out this page (drawn by Stephen DeStefano & scripted by Bob Rozakis):

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okay! schoolwork beckons!

Good Afternoon Friends!

Dave

4 comments

  1. Ah, ‘Mazing Man! I was quite absorbed with a couple of these I found at a flea market when I was a young’un. I think they may have been taken out a few years back when my parents divorced and couldn’t afford to ship my old comic collection down to me, and had to sell the lot.

    I loved Denton for the sure joy of an anthropomorphic dog in a world of human beings. I didn’t have enough of the comic to piece the logic together, if they ever bothered with it–

    Hey. In the middle of “Blue Velvet.” Thoughts?

    -Ben

  2. Denton is awesome!

    I really recommend that you track down the whole series Ben…there so much to love in those twelve issues…

    on Blue Velvet–you know, since seeing Mulholland Dr., I’ve fallen into a nastily telelogical mode of appraising Lynch’s work–i.e. I look at everything as a trial-run for the latest film… obviously, it’s a very good film in its own right, and it’s a notable example of Lynch’s preternatural ability to fuse American Optimism and Freudian darkness together without showing the seams… (it’s also the work that first made me think that Lynch may be the only living director that could possibly do justice to a Superman, or–even better, Superboy in Smallville–film)

    Dave

  3. I remember picking up ‘Mazing Man for quite a while back in the day…but I also remember that I dropped it after a while, for what reason I couldn’t say. That was many brain cells ago.

    What’s interesting to me is the attitude that is sent up in the exchange between Denton and Mr. Cornfeldt regarding continuity in comics stories. Denton, the sympathetic one, appears to be in favor of it and actively seeks to incorporate it into the stories he writes, like just about all the post-60’s comics writers of the day, but the stodgy and un-sympathetic Mr. C won’t have it. Interesting in light of how it now seems, years later, that continuity is regarded as more of an albatross in regards to comics stories and their growth.

    My, what a difference a decade or two makes!

    -Johnny B.

  4. it’s true Johnny–Denton’s whole point in trying to shoe-horn the continuity into these strips (which really are quite amusing!) is to put some “soul” into ’em… while the current battles over continuity centers upon the alienating properties of the device…

    of course, I’m as big a proponent of conitnuity as anyone, but I do see why some people are repulsed by the current redeployments of the past in superhero comics…again, it comes down to a “vitality” vs. “nostalgia” problem, and it’s not always easy to separate these two things… for me, the main question is: is this piece using the past stories, or is it–in some way–servicing them?

    that’s totally a judgment call, of course… I say Roy Thomas does startlingly original things with his “fill-in-the-gaps’ retcons, while Spider-Man: Blue utterly fails to do anything but remind you of how fun the late-sixties spideys are–and woe to anyone that comes to S-M B without any prior knowledge of the character’s history!–but others might disagree!

    the proof, as usual, must be in the pudding! All-Star Squadron turned a whole new generation of fans–who didn’t (and, in my case, still don’t) give a damn about Golden Age comics–on to the JSA (and Johns’ JSA–which I will try one day!–is clearly reaping the benefit of this)…did Spider-Man Blue generate any new interest in Pete, MJ, Gwen, et al?

    Dave

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