BIZARRO BREAK #1 (Bizarro World)
Writer – C.J. Duffy
Art – Scott Morse
Letters – Rob Leigh
Colors & Seps – Dave Stewart
Edits – Joey Cavalieri
Next Stop… Bizarro World?!
Welcome, friends, to our first BIZARRO BREAK… where we’re going to break up the monotony of our longer-form features, and take a breath of refreshingly bizarre air.
Now, being a “single-issue” dude who runs a “single issue” blog, it definitely isn’t my usual format to pull stories from a trade collection… but, we’re all about trying new things here at the Infinite Earths.
This here Bizarro World Hardcover was procured at a Half-Price Books Warehouse Sale. It was the final hours of the sale, when over the P.A., it was announced that, rather than charging per-book, from this point on, you could cram as many books into your cart as possible, and pay a flat $40 for the lot of ’em. Well, my wife already had most of a cart full with books for her classroom… and so, I more or less dropped this one into the cart for free.
This is a pretty long collection of stories… we’ve got thirty-five in total. That said, we might go on “Bizarro Binges” from time to time… and cover a few in a row. I think it’ll be a lot of fun though… we’re going to get the opportunity to discuss some writers and artists we probably wouldn’t get around to otherwise. Lots of underground and alternative creators took part in this.
As for Bizarro himself? Ehh, I feel like he’s kind of a meme of a character… but, thankfully, despite the title (and cover), there’s a lot more to this collection than just him!
If this is as fun as I think it might be… maybe we’ll cover that other Bizarro Comics collection down the line… ya know, the one with the Matt Groening cover…
Our first story opens on the last day of school… siblings, Emma and Connor have just gotten home, and can’t wait to do all of the Summer things that kids do… ya know, video games, TV, and of course… comics! They lament the fact that comics are predictable, but they love ’em all the same. Emma lists her favorite as Aquaman… because he, wait for it… oh, wow… they didn’t go the lazy “talks to fish” route?! This really must be a Bizarro story! She actually digs him the most because he “cares for the fish”.
This celebration of school-emancipation is interrupted by their parents calling from the garage. The car’s all packed… and, rather than staying at home rotting their brains, the family is headed off on a vacation to… Bizarro World! Hey, that’s the name of this book! And, ya know, that cubic world where Bizarro lives. On the overlong car-ride, the folks start talking in Bizarro-speak… which doesn’t quite sit well with Emma and Connor. Frankly, I’ve always found Bizarro-speak quite annoying myself, so I can relate.
After awhile, they finally arrive at the park. The man at the parking lot booth pays them with a giant penny to park there. The parking structure is actually a Bat-Cave, where we can see some fun little Easter Eggs.
The parents are gung-ho to have some fun at the park… but, the kids… they’re still not quite feelin’ it, ya know? They know something strange is afoot… but, can’t quite put their fingers on it. We get a great scene of Wonder Woman’s Lasso of Truth ride… where, kids are basically just tied up and forced to tell the truth. I tell ya what, the references here are a lot of fun.
The kids get hungry… and we are treated to some Darkseid Tacos. I only mention this because I wanted to include this panel.
The family loads into a ride on the “Origin Trail”… kind of like that other trail, only with less dysentery or peperony and chease. Also, this is Bizarro World… so, the origins are told in reverse! So, Bruce Wayne starts off as Batman… and, after his parents are unkilled… turns into a happy-go-lucky young boy!
Also, the Flash coughs up lightning and becomes slow… Hal Jordan gives his ring to a dead alien… and the Martian Manhunter gets to return to Mars! I guess one outta three ain’t bad.
Next stop, the “Why I Hate Krypton” ride. Probably a reference to Kyle Baker’s Why I Hate Saturn… anyhoo, here, Superman is kind of a dismissive and sarcastic creep.
Then… a sort of “It’s a Small World After All” trek through various bits and bobs of twisted DC history. Again, these panels are too much fun. I love Plastic Man telling a kid that “plastic doesn’t stretch”… because, ya know, it doesn’t!
The kids decide to break away from their folks and do some sightseeing on their own… which brings them to Aquaman’s Ocean Kingdom. If you recall, Aquaman is Emma’s favorite… because he cares for the fish. Well, here… Emma gets a front row seat to Aquaman chowing down on those same fish.
This is her “Aw, hell nah” moment… and so, she and Connor stomp out in search of whoever’s behind running this sham-show. After making their way to the main office, they are dropped down a hatch to speak to the man in charge… Bizarro himself.
In a fun bit, Bizarro doesn’t speak in “idiotic opposite talk”, but instead, is rather eloquent. He attempts to explain exactly what’s going on. He claims that their parents must’ve been fans of Bizarro’s legendary 1950’s television show… which, I… uh. Okay.
Connor and Emma complain that they don’t wanna deal with opposites and wackiness… they just want their regular ol’ superheroes. Bizarro responds that, he too once felt that way… until, this one day… he found one particular panel… in one particular coverless comic book… that changed his life forever. He shows that very same panel to the children… and the next we see them, they’re just as Bizarro’ed as their parents!
That panel? The revelation that Superman wore his underpants on the outside. Wonk wonk wonnnnnnnk?
The very definition of “tackled on the one-yard line”. Man, I was loving the heck out of this… and we close on an “underwear on the outside” gag? C’mon… this is the sort of “witty observation” I’d expect from an outsider… or, in John Byrne parlance, a “civilian”… but here? In an actual comic? Yeesh. Pretty weak “wonk wonk” ending.
But, let’s look at the journey rather than the destination… because, ignoring the ending, the overall “trip” was a ton of fun. So many awesome nods and references to DC’s history… so many weird cameos… I mean OMAC doing a ventriloquist act? Darkseid Tacos? A Green Lantern “Core”? I’m not much of a fan of “lol, random” comedy, but I gotta admit, so much of this made me smile! This whole piece was really just “candy”… the art was perfectly suited for this sort of story… and 99% of the Easter Eggs and allusions were wonderful. Also, big points for sidestepping the low-hanging fruit of “Aquaman talks to fish”!
This was probably the perfect way to kick off this collection… setting the tone for the craziness to follow. Had an absolute blast with this… and, call me a pedantic jerk for harping, but… if only it didn’t have the “underpants” ending, it would’ve been perfect!
Tomorrow: Our Second “Ongoing Feature” Revealed!
After That: The Dynamic-Bizarro Duo!