Channel Awesome
Comic Book Quickies

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June 3rd, 2013
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Love, genocide, and fruit pies! All the combinations for a fun time! And that's terrible.

Linkara: Hello, and welcome to Atop the Fourth Wall, where bad comics burn. So, almost a hundred episodes ago, I decided to do a special about comic book advertisements.

(Clips of the episode in question are shown)

Linkara (v/o): The opinion about the episode was split down the middle. Some thought it was an interesting idea, but wasn't really interesting enough for a full episode. Others absolutely loved it and wanted me to do more.

Linkara: However, one thing that everybody loved was the look at the Hostess Fruit Pie ads. I don't want to do an episode just on those, because, really, it's the same joke over and over again.

Linkara (v/o): However, I collected a lot of short stories and comics that aren't long enough to do on their own as an episode. As such, today, we're going to be doing a new segment on the show called "Comic Book Quickies", where we look at a mishmash of short stories, short comics, and other such things that aren't long enough for a full episode, but definitely need some looking at.

Linkara: So let's dig into a few quick comic book-related items, and see what we've got to work with.

(AT4W titles play; title card for this episode has "Light the Sky on Fire" by Jefferson Starship (from the Star Wars Holiday Special) playing; cut to the first quickie in this video: a Spider-Man comic from Hostess)

Linkara (v/o): And since the Hostess Fruit Pies were the popular ones, let's look at one of those first. Our story is "Spider-Man vs. the Human Computer!"

Linkara: Wait a second. Human computer? (becomes alarmed) MR. COMPUTER!! (screams and runs off)

Narrator: Mysteriously, all the computers in the city have gone haywire.

Linkara: (as narrator) Millions begin panicking when they're unable to access their porn.

Narrator: Worst of all, the fun has gone out of kids' electronic games.

Linkara: (as narrator) Although that didn't have anything to do with the computers going haywire; it's just the next lineup of popular game titles were all online only.

Narrator: Nobody can win against the "Human Computer".

(Cut to a clip of an IBM commercial with Avery Brooks)

Brooks: That's gonna take some serious software.

(Back to the Spider-Man comic)

Linkara (v/o): Spidey is swinging across the city and informs us of the situation that the above caption already did.

Spider-Man: There's a human computer on the loose-- an evil genius with an electronic brain. He's outsmarting everyone-- even the police.

Linkara: (as Spider-Man) But I'll be sure to catch him. After all, I've only made good decisions since I've put on (points to himself) this mask.

Linkara (v/o): And for some reason, Spidey assumes the dude is at an arcade. And he's right, of course, but then again, I'm wondering how the hell nobody noticed this thing until now. Is the Human Computer actually a Transformer, and he was disguised as a pinball machine?

Human Computer: Don't bug me, webhead. I've got your number...and everybody's number.

Linkara: (as Human Computer) Your number is six, by the way.

Spider-Man: (thinking) If I can trap this weirdo-- it'll be goodbye, Mr. Chip.

Linkara (v/o): Uh, is Chip his real name? Because otherwise, you're really going out of your way to make a reference to microchips.

Spider-Man: Some Hostess Cup Cakes and milk might do the trick.

Linkara: One of Spider-Man's lesser-known powers is the ability to summon confectioneries out of thin air.

Linkara (v/o): Seriously, where the hell did he get all those?! Did he honestly just summon them with the power of his mind?!

Human Computer: I am programmed to love this chocolaty cake... My circuits light for that fudgy icing.

Linkara: (as Human Computer) Oh, God, pouring milk on my exposed circuits... rubbing fudge into my motherboard... clogging up fan... Dr. Chandra, will I dream?

Linkara (v/o): And then Spidey pulls off his helmet, revealing an ordinary Tom Baker underneath it. So... he wasn't so much programmed to love Hostess Cup Cakes as much as he was just wearing a stupid cardboard box costume with circuits painted on?

Spider-Man: Just as I thought... a chip off the old block.

Linkara: Oh, come on, Spidey, that one's pushing it!

Spider-Man: Looks like your game is up. Time to cash in your chips.


Chip: I'm just a chip who loves chocolaty Hostess Cup Cakes!

Linkara: Was this originally an ad for potato chips?! WHAT THE HELL?!?

(Cut to black with classical music playing, then fade in on the following text, read by Linkara...)

Linkara (v/o): And now... An excerpt from "The Super Dictionary" with That Guy With The Hat: "Forty".

(Cut to The Guy With the Hat, reading from the Super Dictionary)

That Guy With the Hat: "When no one was looking, Lex Luthor took forty cakes. He took forty cakes. (looks up from book) That's as many as four tens. (takes off glasses) And that's terrible."

(Cut to a shot of the title for "Star Wars Tales")

Linkara (v/o): So, we haven't done very many Star Wars comics on the show, and that should be rectified. And what do you know? There's a nine-page story uniquely suited to this situation.

(Cut to a clip of Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, showing Anakin and Padme together on a castle balcony)

Linkara (v/o): Say, do you ever wonder why Jedi aren't allowed to fall in love? You could probably say, "Well, we don't want them being distracted or caring about one person over the greater good," but that would actually have some kind of sense behind it. Mind you, I would still argue in response, "Then why are they allowed to have friends?" But anyway, you get the point. You could make a good case why it would be a bad idea for Jedi to be in a romantic relationship.

Linkara: Hey, you wanna hear what the real reason is? (laughs) Want to bet it's really stupid?

(Cut to the "Star Wars Tales" comic where this is going to happen)

Linkara (v/o): This comes to us from "Star Wars Tales", an anthology series from Dark Horse that covered everything from new characters to humorous side stories to previously unexplored material and concepts. And of course, we have a story within a story to explain the stupid rule about not falling in love. A rule, by the way, that, in the expanded universe canon, Luke Skywalker did away with after he rebuilt the Jedi Order. We begin with a young Obi-Wan Kenobi being taught meditation by Qui-Gon Jinn.

Qui-Gon: I sense fear in you. What is it you fear?

Linkara: (as Obi-Wan, putting his hand to his forehead) I fear... clumsy Darth Vader symbolism.

Linkara (v/o): (a silhouette of Darth Vader, actually Qui-Gon, is in the background in the panel) Seriously, why the hell did they include the Darth Vader silhouette there? We see who it is three panels later on the same page!

Qui-Gon: Obi-Wan, a Jedi shall not know anger... or fear...

Linkara: (as Qui-Gon) You must not fear. Fear is the mind killer. Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration.

Qui-Gon: ...or hatred... or love.

Obi-Wan: Love?!

Qui-Gon: Let go of your feelings, or they will be your undoing.

Obi-Wan: But why...?

Qui-Gon: There is no why.

Linkara: (as Qui-Gon) Obey me blindly and never question our stupid practices, or I'll club you with my lightsaber!

Linkara (v/o): By the by, Qui-Gon Jinn is basically the worst Jedi ever. Dude looks over obvious alternate plans, continually assumes that he's always right no matter what the facts before him claim, and just takes unnecessary and enormous risks. And as we see here, Qui-Gon is basically an asshole who just said, "There isn't any reason why you do it, just do it, you little punk!" In fact, this is such bullcrap that Obi-Wan calls him out and says there has to be a reason why, much to Qui-Gon's absolute shock and surprise, as if he never even thought of that. And thus, Qui-Gon decides to tell the reason.

Qui-Gon: Call it a fable. A parable.

(Cut to a clip of the MST3K gang watching The Mole People)

Mike Nelson: It's a fabulous funny freakout.

(Cut back to the Star Wars comic)

Qui-Gon: Though some claim it may be a true story whose origins lie buried in the past.

Linkara: (as Qui-Gon) So basically, I'm making up a complete nonsense legend to try to explain why we're idiots.

Qui-Gon: Whichever it may or may not be, it is relevant to the Jedi Code.

Linkara: (as Obi-Wan) But Master Qui-Gon, if it isn't true, doesn't that just mean it's a huge contrivance that wouldn't actually happen in the real world? (as Qui-Gon) What did I just say about clubbing you with my lightsaber? (as Obi-Wan) I'll shut up!

Qui-Gon: (narrating) Many centuries ago, when the Jedi Order was in its infancy...

Linkara: Want to be a bit more specific about how many centuries ago? I mean, I could be wrong about this, but I'm pretty sure the Jedi had been around for more than a few centuries.

Linkara (v/o): In fact, from what I understand, "Knights of the Old Republic" is supposed to take place 4,000 years before the rise of the Empire, and Jedi were still around! At that point, you stop counting by centuries! Anyway, our story tells us of a Jedi Master who was searching the universe for "Force-sensitive beings".

Qui-Gon: (narrating) He had been searching the galaxy for some time and had not discovered any like beings. He searched with his eyes, ears and also reached out with the Force to no avail.

Linkara: (as Qui-Gon) His advertisements on Craigslist were met with no responses, either.

Linkara (v/o): However, he then discovered two powerful disturbances in the Force and sought them out, discovering a woman pregnant with twins. The twins don't wish to be separated, to the point where one grabs the other's arm... which somehow leaves a permanent scar. Did they have, like, acid on their hands or something? What? Also, they have 6s tattooed on their foreheads. Geez, and people complain about Star Trek's bumpy-foreheaded aliens.

Qui-Gon: (narrating) He would take them and raise them. The mother, unable to provide for the two, agreed.

Linkara: (as Qui-Gon) Bringing the mother with them wasn't an option because... (long, awkward pause) So anyway...

Linkara (v/o): The Jedi, named Shang-Troy, decided to teach the twins together. When together, the two Jedi were extremely powerful and shared not only a small telepathic bond, but also a precognitive one where they could predict the other's movements. Unfortunately, they had pretty much spent all their lives on an alien world without any knowledge of the universe. And while they loved Shang-Troy like a father, socialization was an issue. Shang-Troy brought them out into the universe to fight the forces of evil. Aaaand they met a woman who fell in love with the younger of the twins. The guy reciprocated, but unfortunately, the twins were so identical otherwise that the other grew jealous... Er, wait. They make a big point in the story about how the brothers are identical, save for the scar received at birth on the arm. So... why exactly does she fall in love with one and not the other? Anyway, yeah, Shang-Troy tried to comfort the kid, but he was young and horny and tried to trick the woman into sleeping with him. She sees the scar on the older brother and figures it out, and since the two had a telepathic link, the brother found out, too, and is naturally pissed off. They started yelling at each other over the whole thing, and Shang-Troy went to try to intervene as they began to openly start fighting one another. Finally, their battle went to lightsabers and even really terrible artwork, a bad combination of anime or manga-inspired appearances, coupled with generally bizarre anatomy. And they accidentally kill Shang-Troy. Naturally horrified about what had happened, that just fueled their aggression even further, the woman pleading with them to stop, but neither heard her. And finally, the sheer aggression and emotion created an explosion of the Force so powerful that the ENTIRE PLANET they were on BLEW UP. I AM COMPLETELY SERIOUS.

Qui-Gon: You see, Obi-Wan, their intense emotions overtook them, and that star will always remind us of that.


Linkara (v/o): What, you mean that one single little star that's kind of different from all the other ones that's actually smaller than the planet?! THAT IS NOT HOW STARS WORK!!

Linkara: (looking thoughtful) Although, you know that Jefferson Starship song that played in the Star Wars Christmas special, "Light the Sky on Fire"? Yeah, the lyrics make perfect sense now.

(Linkara is seen dressed as an Aussie and holding a bow and arrow)

Linkara: Push that cart! (looks to camera) We'll be right back. (walks off) The cart's movin' the wrong way, ya scallywagus!

(AT4W logo appears in corner as we go to commercial; upon return, there is a splattering sound and Linkara in Aussie form returns)

Linkara: Ha! Not so smart with your brains outside your head! (looks into camera) Oh, we're back now.

(Linkara laughs as he walks off, while AT4W logo appears in corner; cut back to the Star Wars comic)

Qui-Gon: Many in the Order still believe that is why a master may only have one Padawan, and that intense feelings of both anger and love are forbidden. Passion clouds an otherwise balanced mind, and it should be avoided.

(Cut to a clip of Scrubs, showing Dr. Cox)

Dr. Cox: Yeah, now, that's just a load of crap.

(Back to the Star Wars comic)

Linkara (v/o): Oh, how do I count the ways?! Passion can cloud the mind, but it can also focus the mind. Anger about injustice and wrongs is natural and can lead to positive outcomes. And of course, love and compassion for other living beings is what drives us to want to help them and be associated with them to begin with. And if you don't love the other Jedi in some capacity...

(Cut to footage of Qui-Gon's funeral pyre at the end of The Phantom Menace)

Linkara (v/o): ...why even bother holding a funeral where you burn their bodies out of respect and crap?! Without love, what the hell do you care about someone's corpse?!

Linkara: (holding up hand in defense) But, let's not get sidetracked in a philosophical argument about emotions, and instead point out why this story is utter nonsense!

Linkara (v/o): So, because some dumbass takes two twins and trains them on his own and never teaches them that fighting over a woman as if she's a possession is wrong, and this somehow results in the entire planet blowing up... THAT'S why Jedi aren't allowed to LOVE?! Because of an entirely unique situation and some idiot's crappy training regimen, THAT'S why dating is wrong?! Or do they seriously fear that if some teenage Padawan gets a boner, he's gonna go nuts and BLOW UP THE PLANET?! Really, the actual moral lessons of this are: one, have more than one person training Padawans; two, make sure the Padawans have plenty of socialization with the outside world; and three, teach the Padawans to respect the choices of others, especially in terms of their romantic partners! Seriously, this story is about a twin who got pissed off and killed millions, if not BILLIONS, of people, because he felt he got put in the friend zone! That's not a lesson about the dangers of falling in love, it's a story about how that guy was an asshole!

Linkara: But hey, that's just my opinion. Far be it from me to question the wisdom of Qui-Gon "Let's not sell our fancy-pants spaceship and get a smaller one that'll do the job just right and instead rest our hopes on a nine-year-old in a race with a hot rod he built in his garage in a sport he's never won in"... (beat) Jinn.

(Cut to black with classical music playing, then fade in on the following text, read by Linkara...)

Linkara (v/o): And now... An excerpt from "The Super Dictionary" with That Guy With The Hat: "Invisible".

(Cut to The Guy With the Hat, reading from the Super Dictionary)

That Guy With the Hat: "Conjura has made you an invisible person. She has made you a person who cannot be seen. (points to camera) LOOK IN THE MIRROR!"

(Cut to a Hulk comic, sponsored, like the one with Spider-Man, by Hostess)

Linkara (v/o): Let's check in with Hostess again. This time, it's "The Hulk vs. the Phoomie Goonies"...

Linkara: (dumbfounded) ...the hell?

Linkara (v/o): Anyway, we start off with Bruce Banner walking by a post office.

Banner: A mailman! What a great outdoors job to apply for! No enemies, except a yapping dog, or two!

Linkara: Oh, yeah, I mean, mailmen never have to deal with anything else stressful or problematic in their lives. No danger of Hulking out there! (shakes his head, then gives a disgusted look)

Banner: But mailmen are civil servants. There'll be questions--forms--tests!

Linkara: (as Banner) Oh, God, I didn't study! Feeling the pressure... HULK SMASH!!

Linkara (v/o): All of a sudden, two* guys wielding tommyguns and dressed in brown military gear storm in. (noticing that they're holding their guns with one hand) Also, I'm pretty sure that's not how you hold tommyguns.

  • NOTE: It's actually three guys, not two, and Linkara mentions so moments later.

Thug with tommygun: We are the Phoomie Goonies!

Linkara: (incredulously) Seriously, what the hell is that?! Are they, like, big fans of The Goonies, but they think (makes "air quotes") "Phoomie" is an adjective or something?!

Phoomie Goonie: You're all now hostages of the revolutionary government!

Linkara: (as Phoomie Goonie, holding up machine gun with one finger awkwardly) Yes, owning this one post office will guarantee us domination over this country's government!

Linkara (v/o): Really, though, this is the master plan? You people don't even know how to hold your guns and yet you expect to overthrow the government or something? Anyway, Banner actually seems unimpressed with the terrorists.

Banner: (thinking) What lousy timing!

Linkara: (as Banner) Ugh, a hostage situation? I am never gonna mail out this letter, am I?

Linkara (v/o): However, despite the disinterest, this apparently is enough to trigger the Hulk transformation. Subsequently, the Hulk grabs the three terrorists.

Hulk: You make Hulk angry! Hulk squeeze you into size of envelope--then mail you through "out-of-town" slot!

Linkara: (as Hulk) Then Hulk realize he not put proper postage, and it get returned to Hulk, and Hulk have to mail it out again, only mailman can't read Hulk's handwriting, and it get returned again anyway!

Linkara (v/o): However, despite being threatened with guns, one kid says the Hulk shouldn't hug them and squeeze them and call them George. No, instead, he should give them Hostess Fruit Pies.

Linkara: Why do you want to reward the terrorists?

Linkara (v/o): C'mon, kid, it's a bit early for Stockholm Syndrome.

Phoomie Goonie: We surrender for Fruit Pies!

Linkara: (as Hulk) Hulk not here to negotiate terms of surrender! Hulk leave that to hostage negotiator!

Linkara (v/o): Plus, who knew that small children are the best people to talk to the Hulk and convince him not to murder people? Later, after the Phoomie Goonies have been put behind bars, they still get to have their Fruit Pies. Man, terrorism was so much easier to deal with in 1981, apparently. And the story ends with Bruce Banner walking off.

Banner: I'll send the Phoomie Goonies a bill for the kid's Hostess Fruit Pies and for my new clothes!

Linkara: Bruce Banner is being unusually calm about the sheer number of people who have now seen him transform into the Hulk.

(Cut to black with classical music playing once again, then fade in on the following text, read by Linkara...)

Linkara (v/o): And now... An excerpt from "The Super Dictionary" with That Guy With The Hat: "Happiness".

(Cut to The Guy With the Hat, reading from the Super Dictionary)

That Guy With the Hat: "Jimmy Olsen's happiness showed on his face. His feelings of being glad showed on his face (suggestively) when Supergirl untied the ropes." (grins suggestively)

Linkara: And that's all we've got for today, my friends. Just remember what we've learned here: love ultimately leads to planetary annihilation, so just sit back and have a Fruit Pie, or Conjura will make you invisible.

(Credits roll)

In retrospect, that "6" on the twins' foreheads is probably actually hair, but the artwork is so bad I couldn't tell.

Also, yeah, three guys and not two stormed in, but because of the coloring and the size of the panel, it looked like only two of them were there.

(Stinger: The panel of the Hulk comic showing the Phoomie Goonies eating the Fruit Pies is shown again)

That Guy With the Hat (v/o): The Phoomie Goonies ate three Hostess Fruit Pies. The exchange rate for that is twelve cakes. And that's terrible.