Captain Tax Time #1
April 9, 2012
Protecting you from the demons who want to raise your taxes! ...Seriously.
(Linkara sits at his futon with a look of frustration on his face, surrounded by papers and trying to operate a calculator. An empty bottle of Gatorade sits on the end table next to the futon, while Boffo the Clown stands on the other side of the futon)
Linkara: Seriously, Boffo, how the hell do I owe $50 million when I never even made $100,000?!
(Boffo honks his horn in response)
Linkara: Well, I guess you're the accountant.
(Boffo nods and then looks into the camera, noticing that it's on)
Linkara: I'll start selling some body parts.
(Suddenly, he looks up as well and notices that he's on camera)
Linkara: (slightly startled) Oh! (Boffo waves to the camera) Hello, and welcome to Atop the Fourth Wall, where bad comics burn. It's tax time around here, which means we're all under pressure and feeling like crap.
(Shots of cartoon images involving taxes are shown)
Linkara (v/o): And yeah, we should feel bad, since the government's taking our money and is probably going to waste most of it. However, you can still feel proud that taxes are getting used for some useful purposes, like roads and schools and printer paper for government offices. Taxes are important for our nation to function. No matter who you feels pay too much or too little, taxes are unfortunately a necessary evil, and a greatly confusing one, because of how crappy and convoluted the tax system is to begin with.
Linkara: And that's why today we're digging into (holds up today's comic) "Captain Tax Time #1", a Canadian propaganda comic that states that politicians who want taxes are literally monsters. More on that after the theme song.
(AT4W title theme plays; title card has "Taxman" by The Beatles playing in the background. Cut to a closeup of the comic's cover)
Linkara (v/o): What I find so greatly amusing right away is the cover price, of all things. By 1990, cover prices for Marvel and DC Comics would probably average around... ooh, one to two dollars American, yet this comic was going for $3.50 American. Although, why someone would put a U.S. price on a comic that's talking about the evils of Canadian politicians escapes me at present...
(Cut to inside the cover, where an ad for Tax Time Tax Services)
Linkara (v/o): ...especially when you consider that this comic is also an advertisement for Tax Time Tax Services, a business that, according to its own advertisement, DOES NOT HAVE FRANCHISES IN THE U.S.A.
(Cut back to the cover)
Linkara (v/o): The cover is just... eh. It's not really all that bad: looming troll demon head taking up most of the space. But which of these two guys is supposed to be Captain Tax Time himself? Neither of the outfits on these guys exactly scream "I will protect you from taxes!" Or, hell, maybe the troll goblin thing is supposed to be Captain Tax Time. Also, what exactly are standing on? Is that what the roads look like in Canada?!
(The comic opens to the first page)
Linkara (v/o): We open to...
Narrator: ...the secret war room of our federal government...
Linkara: Not my federal government. If you want this to be strictly a Canadian thing, (scowls) don't offer it in a currency not used in your country!
Narrator: ...Prime Minister Byron Baloney, his cabinet ministers, and top Mandarins are hard at work on their favourite project...
Linkara: "His top Mandarins"? Just how useful is it to have oranges working for you?
Linkara (v/o): Okay, I asked about this on Twitter, and the best answer I got was that "Mandarin" is used in the United Kingdom to describe advisers who are around politicians.
Linkara: (massaging his forehead in frustration) So we have a U.K. slang in a word that originated from China in a Canadian comic that is available for purchase in the United States. This comic is very confused.
Linkara (v/o): So what is their favorite project, exactly?
Narrator: "Dreaming Up New Ways of Skinning the Taxpayer Cat."
Linkara: (as Prime Minister Baloney) Of course! We'll put tariffs on Meow Mix imports!
Baloney: Gentlemen, I think we deserve another raise.
Minister 1: We need more revenue.
Minister 2: What about a new tax?
Minister 3: What is left to tax?
Baloney: Ask Mikey, he'll tax anything.
Linkara: (imitating the old Life cereal commercial) He likes taxes! Mikey really likes them!
Linkara (v/o): We cut to "miles below the surface", where the Finance Minister of Canada stands, not sits, at his desk. There are several TV monitors behind him for no reason and obviously, he requires such an extensive, technologically-advanced office miles beneath the surface because... uh... finance? Here's a thought: maybe this guy loans out his secret underground bunkers to people. It'd explain where the hell the Jackal got his.
Finance Minister: Retired people are dangerous. They have time on their hands and nothing to do but lobby against my revenue raising schemes.
(Cut to a clip of an episode of The Simpsons)
Marge Simpson: Homer, would you please stop reading that Ross Perot pamphlet?
(Cut back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): Apparently, this guy has got a Gollum thing going on, since he's talking to himself and speaking in the third person about how he's taking away their pensions. He gets a phone call from the Prime Minister.
Finance Minister: Yes, Prime Minister. Consider them taxed.
(A dramatic sting is heard)
Linkara (v/o): Oh, but here's where we finally get to see the true insanity of this comic.
Narrator: As with all finance ministers before him, he begins his evil metamorphosis.
Linkara: (pointing to camera) That's right, my friends from the north, every finance minister you've ever had in your nation is actually some kind of SHAPE-SHIFTING MONSTER!! (beat) I mean, I guess we just assumed that of every politician, but not quite so literally.
Linkara (v/o): Oh, and it turns out he's talking to a lackey of his named Claw, though this is the first time we see him. Up until now, it seemed like the guy was talking to himself the whole time. As he continues his transformation, which is taking an awfully long time, I must say, he rants and rambles about how they'll take the taxes from the poor and middle classes.
Finance Minister: We'll stick it to the little guy and the middle guy. That guy God loves.
Linkara: (as Finance Minister) God hates poor and rich people! You are only the chosen of the Lord if you're middle class!
Finance Minister: I want him to pay. I'll call it the Good Samaritan Tax. (G.S.T.).
Linkara (v/o): Well, thanks for including the acronym there, Mr. Finance Minister. Did you whisper that under your breath for emphasis or something?
Finance Minister: The common man is a sucker for anything that sounds like it came from the Bible.
Linkara: And yet, nobody voted in favor of the Crucified-While-Wearing-a-Crown-of-Thorns Tax. Go figure.
Finance Minister: We'll tax everything! Goods! Services!! Even food!!!
Linkara: (as Finance Minister, pointing around the room) You get a tax! And you get a tax! (shakes fist) I am the Oprah of taxes!
Linkara (v/o): Claw voices some minor dissent on this idea.
Claw: Gee, Grabber, I don't know about food...
Linkara: His name is Finance Minister Grabber? From what province does the (makes a "finger quote") "Grabber Family" hail from?
Linkara (v/o): Grabber lives up to his name as he goes over to Claw and grabs him by the neck, lifting him up. Also, true fact: when you transform into a demon, your clothes magically disappear. After tossing around Claw for daring to speak out against the taxing food idea – this is gonna create such a hostile work environment; Grabber's not acting like a good manager – he leaves to have a press conference – while still looking like a demon. What was the point of transforming into that again? And wait, they only just now thought of making the tax! How the hell did they find the time to organize a press conference with what looks like hundreds of people so damn fast?!
Grabber: Fellow citizens, friends. I'm here today to carry out a very painful task. I regret I must introduce a new tax. But don't be misled. This is a good tax.
Linkara: (as someone in the crowd, raising hand) Uh, excuse me, if this is a good tax, why is it a painful task for you? Also, why do you look like an Orc? (looks around) Am I the only one who sees this?
Linkara (v/o): Grabber says that the new Good Samaritan Tax is going to reshuffle their taxes and make it simpler for people to pay it and that the existing taxes will just be folded into it and those people won't pay any more than they already do. Damn, this plan's foolproof! No one will ever actually double-check that to see if this statement is accurate! We cut to a restaurant where we see that nobody buys this for a second.
Person 1: They've gone too far. They're taxing us to death!
Linkara: (as this person) If only there were some way we could vote them out during elections. It's a pity we live in Canada, home of the goblin people. (shrugs sourly)
Person 2: (thinking) It's time...
Linkara: (as this person) Screw Canada, I'm going to invade Molossia!
Linkara (v/o): But enough of that scene of vague silhouettes and the backs of peoples' heads. We cut to...
Narrator: Somewhere in the Arctic, far from any known place...
(Cut to a clip of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 gang watching The Deadly Mantis, showing the personnel of Red Eagle One at their base in the North)
Tom Servo: Canada calls to ask, what are you guys doing up there?
(Back to the comic again)
Linkara (v/o): In the frozen wastes of the Arctic is a lone structure with oddly-perspective drawn corridors, unless this stairway is supposed to curve like this anyway. And we finally meet Captain Tax Time himself. He's apparently the guy from the cover who thinks that stripes equals taxes.
Narrator: Physicists say the universe began with a bang and T.S. Eliot said it ends with a whimper.
Linkara: (as narrator) "Southland Tales" said that it ends with a bang and would not shut up about it.
Narrator: But in our hero's case, it began with a whimper, millions of whimpers, from the overtaxed middle and low income earners. Our hero, like other heroes, is a product of the times; he arose because he was needed.
Linkara: (as narrator) The middle and low income earners said they needed a hero. They were holding out for a hero until the end of the night. He had to be strong and he had to be fast, and he had to be fresh from the fight.
Narrator: Who's speedier than a running Mandarin?
Linkara: Are bureaucrats usually known for running?
Linkara (v/o): "Mandarin" is also a language, an Iron Man villain, a type of dress, and various other things if you looked it up on Wikipedia, none of which really apply here.
Narrator: Who's as cunning as a politician?
Linkara: "Cunning" is how you would describe a politician on The West Wing, not in real life, sorry to say.
Narrator: Who can cut red tape with a single snip?
Linkara: (confused) So he's a friend to Internet ghosts?
Linkara (v/o): And while that's a neat little tagline there, how exactly do you cut red tape, AKA a bureaucratic delay, when your only claim to fame is being a vigilante? Also, Captain Tax Time's changing room is apparently a cramped boiler room, from the looks of things. Was he that hard up on space in his Arctic headquarters? Anyway, he decides to call up an ally for help: Sergeant Saver. Yeah, because one superhero focused on financial issues simply wasn't enough.
Captain Tax Time: (narrating) Just as I feared, the Finance Minister... has turned into a tax grabber.
Linkara: Is this a disease now? I thought, according to the comic, every finance minister was like this.
Captain Tax Time: (narrating) At the urging of Byron Baloney he has introduced a new and evil plan which will surely tear this country apart. And it's our job to find a way to stop him.
Linkara: Dude, it's just a new tax. If your country is in such a crappy state that (holds up index finger) one new tax will tear it apart, I think you've got bigger problems than that.
Linkara (v/o): Admittedly, I don't know about the parliamentary process of Canada, but I presume that any new tax is proposed probably would have to be approved by the governing body, and finance ministers can't just announce new taxes and are automatically approved. Perhaps it'd be wise to start lobbying Parliament, scheduling meetings, getting the word out about what it means, getting voters in to show how unpopular this is, and fighting through legitimate channels with the threat of the administration getting voted out and subsequently, the Finance Minister replaced. But let's see what the good Sergeant Saver's idea is as he teleports in.
Sgt. Saver: Wipe his slimey existence off the face of the Earth.
(Cut to a clip of an episode of Doctor Who, showing the Cyber Leader)
Cyber Leader: There is... logic in what he says.
(Back to the comic again)
Linkara (v/o): Captain Tax Time, however, is against such a thing, but not because of the whole, you know, murder thing.
Capt. Tax Time: No! That's only a temporary means to an end. Our solution must be a permanent one.
Linkara: If you're waiting for a government to come up with a permanent solution to any problem, you're going to become disappointed very quickly.
Capt. Tax Time: There must be some other way. Another way better than this criminal G.S.T. The government wants money. But how?
Linkara: (snaps fingers, as Capt. Tax Time) I've got it! A bake sale!
Sgt. Saver: What about the under ground [sic] economy? If we could stop the drug lords, crooked corporations and the criminal king pins [sic]... we would have all the money we need.
Linkara: (stunned) I... WHAT?!
Capt. Tax Time: That's right! We would have hundreds of millions from all their money laundering and tax dodges.
Linkara: Nnnnnoooo, you would have a lot of assets that, while seized by law enforcement, couldn't be used by the government until the criminals were put on trial and found guilty, which is a lengthy process that could stretch from months to years, and that's assuming the case isn't thrown out because of the involvement of COSTUMED VIGILANTES!!
Linkara (v/o): And even then, aren't you just giving the government what they want in the first place? The government is full of greedy demons who want more money, so you're just gonna take money from criminals, people that the government doesn't like to begin with, and handing the criminals' money over to the government! YOU ARE GIVING THEM EXACTLY WHAT THEY WANT: LESS CRIMINALS AND MORE MONEY!! And taxes aren't something that just disappear, guys! What do you do next year when tax season rolls around again?! This is like trying to stop the flu by putting on a Band-Aid, a Band-Aid that somehow caused more flu!
Capt. Tax Time: Now we have to get at them. We'll send them a little message by putting a dent in their business. If we hit their "employees" hard, the king pins [sic] will have to pool their resources to deal with the problem.
Sgt. Saver: Then, once they've gotten together, we'll be able to crush them with one final blow.
Linkara: I've said it before and I'll say it again: THAT'S A STUPID PLAN!
Linkara (v/o): Forgetting for a second how the hell they know who specifically is in organized crime and what their fronts are, how exactly do you plan on taking them all down at once? Do you plan on murdering them? Reporting them to the police? I assume if their identities are publicly known, the agencies are already working to bring them down. So what makes you two so damn special as to bring down all of crime forever?! Oh, and the best part? We don't get to see this plan enacted. We immediately cut to the slanting city... Seriously, what's with the perspective where all the buildings are curved? Or are buildings really like that in Canada? ...where a caption box on top informs us that the two succeeded?! All organized crime in Canada?! ALL OF IT?! REALLY?!?
Narrator: Swiftly and efficiently they brought their plan to reality, and in the weeks that followed, the drug lords began to feel the pinch. Along with them, numerous corrupt corporations began to fall apart...
Linkara: You know, come to think of it, why even bother taking out the leaders? If their efforts are proving so disastrous for the criminal and corrupt, why not keep up what they're doing?
Linkara (v/o): And naturally, the criminals are also associated with the Grabber, as they're in cahoots, meaning that they're fighting both the government and organized crime.
(Cut to a clip of Blake's 7)
Avon (Paul Darrow): Lawmakers, lawbreakers, let us fight them all. Why not?
(Cut back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): After all the crime bosses complain to the Grabber about their recent mishaps, he smashes his fist into the table and tells them all to shut up.
Grabber: Obviously the root of all our problems is these two meddlesome freaks. If we concentrate all our efforts instead of arguing like childish politicians we will be able to deal with this annoyance.
Linkara: You know, maybe I don't understand the complexities of the Canadian system, but as a minister, aren't you a politician? Are you calling yourself childish?
Linkara (v/o): Then again, you did feel the need to break something when something didn't go your way. Anyway, Captain Tax Time and Sergeant Saver teleport to a building and knock out some guards. And no, this is not the same building the crime lords are meeting at, since they're doing this in order to learn where they're meeting, so I don't even know what the hell they were doing beforehand.
Guard: Oh shshii...
(A punching sound is heard)
Capt. Tax Time: You mean sugar.
Linkara: This comic is a piece of sugar.
Linkara (v/o): Back to the criminals, the Grabber informs the criminals that no one could get in.
Grabber: And the billions you have brought here today will be safely stored in my adamantium vault.
Linkara: (deadpan) Wonderful, apparently, the good people at Tax Time Tax Services are not aware that adamantium is not a real metal. Either that, or they felt like ripping off Marvel.
Linkara (v/o): Also, why the hell do you have your money stored in a vault like Scrooge McDuck? Why the hell isn't it in a bank? Our two heroes crash through a window and tell him that the jig is up.
Grabber: Boys, remove them from my sight.
Linkara (v/o): Said "boys" are apparently nude, featureless minions. Maybe the Grabber was behind "Black Web #1". Captain Tax Time has the power to shoot energy beams from his hands, because lasers have a lot to do with taxes. After beating up several of them, they are confronted by... this guy.
Said guy: I may be last, but I'm the best!
Linkara (v/o): Dude, what the hell are you wearing? Is that thing around your neck supposed to be a necklace? Is it part of your shirt? Why does your shirt continue around your fingers? Why are nipples painted onto your shirt?! Anyway, they kick his ass just like everybody else, so I guess "best" means "exactly like all the rest", and Grabber tries to leave with some of the money from the adamantium vault. However, Captain Tax Time intercepts him.
Narrator: Unleashing his thermal radium blast, Captain Tax Time engulfs the Grabber and Claw in a heated typhoon of energy, one that would destroy normal men.
Linkara: Why even bother doing that? Weren't you the one earlier who said that killing them wouldn't solve anything?
Narrator: But as you can see, the Grabber is no normal man.
Linkara: Yeah, I kind of got that impression when he shapeshifted earlier. (sarcastically) Thanks for that new information, comic.
Linkara (v/o): Grabber and Claw escape.
Sgt. Saver: Son of a! Just when it was about to get good!! Well, this is one metal mother who's not gonna let that slime...
Linkara: (confused) Wait, you're metal? Sergeant Saver is made of metal?? Is he a robot? Perhaps it'd be nice if we ESTABLISHED things about who the hell our heroes are!
Linkara (v/o): Captain Tax Time says the Grabber is finished and they left behind $30 billion from all the combined crime bosses. Whatever.
Narrator: Shortly after on Parliament Hill... Sergeant Saver and Captain Tax Time hold a press conference.
Linkara: (as Capt. Tax Time) Hello, I'm Captain Tax Time, and I've got a sock on my head. And Sergeant Saver here is made of metal... I guess. And we just illegally attacked a group of crime bosses and a minister and stole $30 billion. You're welcome!
Linkara (v/o): Also, nice that almost half the caption box is empty. Good use of space there.
Narrator: Where they present the 30 billion dollars, "graciously donated by the criminal underworld."
Linkara: Yeah, I'm sure there were some starving children or AIDS victims who could have really used $30 billion, but whatever. You can have it, federal government that was trying to tax us just so you could get a raise.
Narrator: Providing the revenue to eliminate the deficit, thusly making the G.S.T. unnecessary.
Linkara: Oh, yeah, and governments never pass laws that are completely unnecessary, do they?
Linkara (v/o): And wait, this was about the deficit? The beginning of the comic said they were greedy and just wanted a raise! How does the donation fix that?! And so, our comic ends with the Grabber promising that he shall return, with, instead of "THE END", we have "THEE ENFORCER", which is probably the name of the guy in silhouette right there in all his generic-ness.
Linkara: (holding up comic) This comic sucks and I don't even know where to start.
Linkara (v/o): This is a propaganda piece that implies that all politicians are on the level of criminals and monsters, we have generic superheroes who we know nothing about, and all of this is an advertisement for a tax return service that also apparently teaches classes on tax returns. I don't even know about that since the back of the comic is pretty ambiguous about what the hell Tax Time Tax Services actually is or does, except that it will help you get lots of money back on your returns. I tried briefly to find out if this place was still around, but unfortunately, the name "Tax Time Tax Services" is so damn generic that it could be anybody. And really, after reading this, would you want to seek their help in preparing your taxes?
Linkara: All I can say is that this is a rough season on everybody, so make sure that when you finish your taxes, you kick back, relax, (holds up comic) and read something better than this! (throws down comic, gets up and leaves)
(End credits roll)
Tax Time Tax Services: We'll help you save money that you can then waste on overpriced comic books!
"G.S.T." is also apparently an acronym for the Canadian "Goods and Services Tax" that was being proposed around the same time, but then again I only know that because the back of the book spells it out for us.
As I was collecting panels again, I saw that I missed a panel where one of the goons was straight up tossed out a window to his death. Our heroes, everybody!
(Stinger: Linkara is doing his taxes as Boffo looks on)
Linkara: Wait a second! What's this $49 million accountant fee?! (Boffo honks his horn) Oh, right, right, right, yeah, gotcha. I'll write a check. (Boffo nods)