Wasteland #4 – Chapter 3

Wasteland #4 (Chapter Three)
“Celebrity Rights”
Writers – John Ostrander & Del Close
Art – Donald Simpson
Colors – Lovern Kindzierski
Edits – Mike Gold

Who’s ready for some “biting” satire?

Yeah, me neither…

Let’s go!

Court is in session… the honorable Ubu Wilkinson of the Ubansi Cultural Revival is presiding.  Today’s case, well… I hope you’re ready for this.  We got a fella who was interrupted while gazing into a piece of, uh, poop… who then got up and proceeded to beat the hell out of the woman who interrupted him.  Ya dig?  Cuz I sure don’t.  The lawyer for the Plaintiff (who looks like he’d fit in with the Mutants in Dark Knight Returns) questions our Dookie enthusiast, and we learn that he’s an “artist”… he, well… paints poop.  All sorts of colors, but usually brown… which, I dunno, seems redundant.  He claims to have beaten the woman up because she “invaded his privacy”.

The lawyer suggests that reg’lar guys and gals don’t actually have a Right to Privacy (after all, what do we got to hide?)… and the crowd (of reg’lar guys and gals) goes wild!  We turn things over to the lawyer for the defense… what appears to be a rather heavyset old woman, who is actually a fella named Alfred Lord Mason.  Not sure if that’s a reference to anyone in particular… Perry Mason, perhaps?  I dunno.  I’m sure this is “biting” satire… which isn’t usually the most “evergreen”.

Ol’ Fred stands up, and with a flourish begins pleading the case.  He suggests that we’re living in a stratified democracy, wherein celebrities have certain rights and privileges that poor shlubs like us aren’t privy to (well, can’t exactly argue that)… and, that’s because they’re better than us, ya see?

Alfred then admits that his client, the Poop-Painter, Mr. Pinn… did beat, cripple, and humiliate the woman… and states that was never in question.  Where the problem lay, is, Mr. Pinn… as a celebrity… has every right to “damage” this young lady to the “extent of his pleasure”.  Okay.

Alfred continues… claiming that Mr. Pinn is a “superstar”.  The judge cliks and claks that he’s never heard of him… to which, we learn that this very trial is what made him famous.  In fact, Roy-o-Mania is absolutely running wild!

Well, that’s the sort of logic not even a Judge can argue with… and so, he abides that Roy Pinn, the Poop Painter be raised two whole status notches… to Superstar!  We learn that when one goes up… the other goes down, and so, the Plaintiff drops two whole status notches… to Bum!

When she objects… the Judge decides to lower her yet another status notch… to Pig!  And, those of us who’ve read (or heard of) Lord of the Flies, knows what happens to Pigs.

The story ends with Roy Pinn finding representation… and the promise of fame and fortune.  He’s also advised not to kill anybody, because only Millionaires and Senators can get away with that.

What was it I said about that Shakespeare story the other day?  Oh yeah, this suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuucked.

Satire is hard… first, it’s timely, and so… doesn’t usually have a long shelf-life.  Second, it’s really easy for it to overstay its welcome.  This story could have more effectively been told as a four-panel strip.  Hell, all we actually needed was a single word balloon saying: “Celebrities, am I right?”…

Now that, is a tale as old as time.  Celebrities and societal “VIPs” are treated differently than we common rabble.  And yeah, that really sucks.  But, pointing that out in an overlong, and overblown “satirical” comic story… ehh, it just feels petulant (especially when one of our writers has a pretty lengthy IMDb page himself).  There’s a reason why most political and satirical cartoonists work with nothing more than a single image and a caption.

Now, I was just a child back when this came out.  I would’ve been 8-years old… so, I’m not entirely sure what this might be referring to.  If I were to guess, I’d figure that “Roy Pinn” might be a stand-in for Sean Penn?  Didn’t he beat up a photographer (and basically get away with it?) or something in the mid-late 80’s?  Maybe there’s some Ollie North mixed in here too?  A lot of the DC Bullpen seemed to have him in their cross hairs around this time.

Overall… I get the point, you get the point… I think we all got the point about a page and a half in… this was just too much.

Tomorrow, we’ll compile Wasteland #4 (for better or worse)… the next day, we’ll celebrate our FIFTEEN-HUNDREDTH Daily Discussion… which is sure to knock ya out!

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