Friday, April 1, 2011

Adlai Stevenson

Look, this blog's had a good run, but more and more, I'm starting to feel that there's nothing more to say about duck comics, really. I feel like I've reached an artistic dead-end. There's no passion left. The more I think about it, the more I realize that if I want to keep going here, I'm going to need to make substantial changes. So: from now on, Duck Comics Revue is going to be Adlai Stevenson Comics Revue, focusing exclusively on comics about Illinois governor, two-time Presidential candidate, and UN ambassador Adlai Stevenson. I think the potential here should be fairly obvious. If you have a Japan request outstanding, don't worry--I'll find a comparable Adlai Stevenson comic to write about. Trust me--you'll love it. Naturally, such a radical change can't help but be a little scary; however, on the whole, I'm very excited about this. It seems like a natural fit, and I think I can even attract a bigger audience this way. And what better way to start than with Dell's seminal 1966 biography? After all, this, essentially, is where AS Comics (as Adlai-ists call them) started.


Inspirational indeed--and how!



We begin in media res, as this malformed child asks her similarly deformed mother about Stevenson. You may not know this, but back in 1964, sessions of the UN Security Council were essentially the place to be--the ultimate spectator sport, as it were, easily eclipsing baseball in popularity.



As you can see, Adlai had a troubling childhood--his mother suffered from some sort of neurological disorder such that, whenever her children would ask her for things, she would start spewing out irrelevant factoids, and it was almost impossible to get her to stop.



But for those of you who aren't so keen on the family stuff, there is--as you can see--plenty of white-knuckle, two-fisted action. Note that Adlai's hair turns blond in the second panel, indicating that he's about to become a Super Saiyan. The influence of this comic on Dragon Ball Z is massive, yet strangely little-acknowledged.



As Adlai grows up, we are treated to many revealing vignettes such as this, in which he is going to become a rancher, but then he doesn't. Fascinating stuff.



Finally, his education is finished! Unfortunately, he inherited his mother's disorder, which, in his case, manifested itself in some sort of really fucked-up thing with his eyes.



Adlai wants to go to Russia to see what's going on there--but he has trouble getting a visa. Recognizing the dramatic potential of this riveting bureaucratic tangle, the comic spends a page and a half on the topic.



Then he gets to Russia, but he doesn't accomplish anything whatsoever. But he certainly gets an inside look at Russia!



Yeah yeah married whatever. Wisely, the author of the book realizes that we the readers are totally uninterested in Adlai's personal life (all we need to know is that his wife is "attractive"--yowza!), and gives us what we really want: farm mortgages and urban bond issues! Kazing!



Then, we get this bit, where Adlai wants to write down a message, but then he doesn't write it down. Man alive! This book just crackles with energy! Note that I'm really only skimming the surface; there's a lot of grade-A material about Adlai delivering messages and riding on trains and stuff that I am, by necessity, skipping over. Let's fast-forward to his successful candidacy for Illinois governor.



As you can see, his election caused mad scientists to gesticulate wildly while bellowing out electoral facts. Also, people apparently tried to embrace one another, but this did not work out very well, as they were robots.



Divorce; whatever. Once again, kudos to the comic for skipping over those boring, personal elements that lend stories human interest--what we really care about is that Adlai isn't an expert on pipes, but he wants to be. Goddamn.



Adlai wins the presidential nomination, and bacchanalian hedonism reigns. This happens two times, and don't think the comic doesn't treat us to the both of them with all the minute attention that such things deserve!



But to cut a long story short: he dies. The author appears to have forgotten that the story was originally framed as a mother telling her horrible little girl Adlai's life-story, as this flashes ahead past that point. But really, now. Whatever. This is the Greatest Story Ever Told, and it would really be a bit much to ask the author to display basic competence while telling it.

I hope you've enjoyed this inaugural edition of Adlai Stevenson Comics Revue. You had better believe that there will be a lot more Adlai in the coming weeks, months, and years, so all I can say is, buckle up, sit back, and enjoy the ride!

15 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, at least it wasn't "Tod Holton, Super Green Beret."

SK

April 1, 2011 at 1:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nooooooo I'm sorry I'm gonna delete this bookmark then. Thanks for what you've done. I expected an article about Barks' duck story about April Fool's day.... Too bad. Bye! Good luck.

April 1, 2011 at 11:28 AM  
Blogger Faster, Harder, More Challenging GeoX said...

Oh, stick around. You might be surprised.

April 1, 2011 at 11:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gawsh. Oh, I won't. This stuff is boring. Come on. Haha! Anything is better than this! ;)

April 1, 2011 at 12:06 PM  
Blogger Faster, Harder, More Challenging GeoX said...

Guess that's just the way it goes! Good luck in your future endeavors!

April 1, 2011 at 12:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you read the first letter of every sentence in my previous comment, you know whether I will stick around or not!

April 1, 2011 at 1:40 PM  
Blogger Faster, Harder, More Challenging GeoX said...

You fiendish fiend!

April 1, 2011 at 1:44 PM  
Blogger Chris Barat said...

Geo,

I can hardly wait for your reviews of "Adlai Tells About Kites" and "Adlai and the Wheel." Not to mention all the superb adventure tales we were treated to in ADLAI STEVENSON ADVENTURES.

Chris

April 1, 2011 at 3:56 PM  
Blogger Faster, Harder, More Challenging GeoX said...

See, anonymous? SOME people recognize the potential here!

April 1, 2011 at 6:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you talking to me or the other Anonymous?

April 1, 2011 at 7:45 PM  
Blogger Faster, Harder, More Challenging GeoX said...

Yes.

April 1, 2011 at 8:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The biggest question I have is was it ever revealed where Adlai's nephews came from? I'd assume they were the children of his older sister, but that was never confirmed as far as I know.
And a question for you: do you prefer the more wacky, violent animated version of Adlai, or the more fleshed out comic book version?

April 2, 2011 at 3:18 AM  
Blogger Faster, Harder, More Challenging GeoX said...

Alas, until there's a Don Rosa of AS comics (and it's impossible to imagine that there isn't some hungry Young Turk waiting in the wings for his or her chance to shine), it's probably that his genealogy will remain a mystery. As far as comics vs. cartoons, you know I'm a purist. I like pie fights as much as the next man, but it's the deeper, comic-book version--with his obsession with increasing his pipe-expertise--that we've all come to know and love.

April 2, 2011 at 3:28 AM  
Blogger Shaun K said...

Holy balls, was this lettered by Todd Klein??

April 9, 2011 at 6:54 PM  
Blogger Faster, Harder, More Challenging GeoX said...

I had to look that name up. I doubt it, since per Wikipedia, he didn't get into the biz until the late seventies, and this thing was release in '66.

April 9, 2011 at 8:00 PM  

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