Channel Awesome
Comic Book Quickies 6

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May 23rd, 2016
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From toothpaste to Transformers – it’s another Comic Book Quickies!

Linkara: Hello, and welcome to Atop the Fourth Wall, where bad comics burn. It's time for another edition of "Comic Book Quickies"!

("Comic Book Quickies" logo is shown)

Linkara: "Comic Book Quickies" is a segment where we take a look at some smaller comic material, from fruit pies to short stories to... more fruit pies.

(A montage of shots of past episodes of "Comic Book Quickies" is shown)

Linkara (v/o): Been a while since our last one, but rest assured, we've got a great one today! We're doing some celebrating and gazing into the depths of horror and intrigue. We've already got big shoes to fill, from Lex Luthor's Forty Cakes to the Flea-Market-Eating Flea to the Soggies to why Jedis can't fall in love. Will today's material live up to this legacy of insanity?

Linkara: Well, let's dig into some quick comic book material and see what new spore of madness awaits us!

(AT4W title theme plays, and the title card has Weird Al Yankovic's "Bohemian Polka" playing in the background. Cut to the title of a Spider-Man comic called "Break the Bank")

Linkara (v/o): As is our tradition, let's get things started with a Hostess comic. This one's not for Fruit Pies, but Cupcakes. And as we've seen, criminals go nuts for this stuff as long as it's Hostess anyway. (reads text) "SPIDER-MAN in 'BREAK THE BANK'".

Linkara: Turns out Doctor Octopus in Spider-Man 2 was looking for Fruit Pies.

Linkara (v/o): We start things off with a bank, with an angry crowd yelling at a teller.

Man 1: The computer's been making the same mistakes on my bank statements for months. I'm mad!

Linkara: (as teller) Oh, I'm sorry, that's Henry Bemis' fault. We'll get him up here in a minute to answer for that. He's eating his lunch in the vault. (the sound of a siren is heard) Do you hear an air raid siren?

Old Lady: ...They print the numbers so lightly on my passbook-- I don't know who owes whom!

Man 2: I work too hard for my money to put up with this. Today's the day I get even!

Linkara: Wow, a lot of people are pissed off at this bank. Just imagine what the next person who walks in is gonna do.

(Cut to a clip of They Live)

Nada (Roddy Piper): (toting a machine gun in a bank) I have come here to chew bubble gum and kick ass. And I'm all out of bubble gum.

(Cut back to the comic)

Linkara (v/o): The one responsible for all this is... Printout Man. Yyyeah.

Printout Man: Good! Get mad! Blame the bank! Pull out your money! Then I'll take over the bank!

(Cut to the obligatory clip of Patton)

General Patton (George C. Scott): (looking out through a pair of binoculars) You magnificent bastard, I read your BOOK!

(Back to the comic again)

Printout Man: Me-- "The Printout Man"-- the one who's jammed all the computers that the bank is being blamed for!

Linkara: (as Printout Man) It's a good thing nobody knows my plan! Just imagine if I was yelling this out or something!

Linkara (v/o): Fortunately, Peter Parker just happens to be in line at this bank, and Peter soon spots trouble. He sneaks off and changes into his costume.

Printout Man: Go! Go! Go! My mad computers. Whir away while I rob the bank, the customers, and this crazy insect who bugs me.

Linkara (v/o): Wait, does Spider-Man know that he uses this bank?

Spider-Man: I'll do more than bug you-- I'll bag you.

Linkara: (as Spider-Man, holding up both fists, one at a time) Did you want paper or plastic for your loot?

Printout Man: Error, Spider-Man, reprogram yourself.

(Cut to a clip of an IBM commercial)

Avery Brooks: It's a different kind of world. You need a different kind of software.

(Cut back to the comic)

Linkara (v/o): "Reprogram yourself"? What the hell does that even mean? And by the way, I didn't notice this until now, but "Prinout Man"? His outfit is a punch card. A PUNCH CARD! I made fun of the Calculator's outfit during "Blue-Skying", but at least he had some advanced technology at his disposal. Printout Man is being outclassed by the Tandy Computer Whiz Kids! When the guy from Time Chasers has more advanced computer tech than you, SEEK HELP! Hell, why is he even called "Printout Man" when nothing about him is a printout?! Anyway, he flees to the bank vault, but inside is in fact... a pile of Hostess Cupcakes.

Spider-Man: You selfish creature! Stealing people's money is bad enough but this-- is. Unforgivable!!

Linkara: (as Spider-Man, pointing at camera) You diseased maniac! No jury will convict me after I'm done with you!

Printout Man: What good is superwealth if I can't have the great Hostess Cup Cakes [sic] in the city under my private lock and key?

Linkara: Look, Printout Man, is this just a bid for attention? Are you an ex-con who just can't handle it on the outside? Talk to me, man! Because this... this is just sad.

Linkara (v/o): So, yeah, he gets hauled away, and Spidey starts distributing Cupcakes for some reason.

Spider-Man: This should wake everybody up. And deprogram Printout Man forever.

Linkara (v/o): "Wake everybody up"?! They were perfectly awake! They were yelling at the bank teller!

People: Hooray, Hostess Cupcakes! Better than money in the bank.

Linkara: Which is why I'm sure Hostess just gives this stuff away for free.

(Cut to black as Vivaldi's "Four Seasons (Spring)" plays, then fade in on the following text, read by Linkara...)

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

That Guy With The Hat (v/o): "Million".

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

That Guy With the Hat: "Catwoman wants a million dollars. She wants 1,000,000 dollars. That's a lot of money, Catwoman!"

(Cut to the cover of "Star Trek: The Next Generation #3")

Linkara (v/o): I said last week that we were gonna celebrate another franchise's twentieth anniversary. Turns out a lot of nerd franchises have a big milestone this year. But unfortunately, I can't devote a lot of time to all of them, especially when some are closer to my heart than others.

(Cut to a clip of an episode of Beast Wars)

Linkara (v/o): Still, I'd be remiss if I didn't do something related to Beast Wars and its twentieth anniversary. If you're unfamiliar with Beast Wars, following on from last week, you can think of it as "Transformers: The Next Generation". I'd say it takes place in the far future, just like Star Trek: TNG, but that's not entirely accurate. A group of Maximals and Predicons, descendants of the Autobots and Decepticons, have traveled through time and are now stuck on prehistoric Earth and fighting each other for dominance, eventually even getting into conflict over the ship housing the Autobots and Decepticons, as they slumber for millions of years, waiting for their eventual awakening in the original cartoon. The CGI is, of course, dated by today's standards, but its greatest strength was in its writing, with epic plots, character development, and of course, the greatest Megatron ever.

(A clip of the show is shown, featuring this version of Megatron, a purple Tyrannosaurus Rex)

Megatron: Yes...

Linkara: So naturally, the very first Beast Wars comic has nothing at all to do with that. (holds up comic) It's a six-page mini-comic that was included along with the original toys for Optimus Primal and Megatron, who are in completely different forms than in the TV series.

(Cut to a closeup of the comic's cover)

Linkara (v/o): For a tiny little comic, the cover is okay. Nothing spectacular, but Optimus and Megatron facing off against each other, and Megatron proving he's a lousy shot, even at point-blank range. I've read that this version, having been made before the animated series, seems to imply that these are the original Optimus Prime and Megatron, just in new forms. But none of the actual info in the comic or in the bios really backs that up all that much. I don't know, maybe it's more something you read between the lines or some other promotional material I haven't seen.

(The comic opens to the first page)

Linkara (v/o): Anyway, we open in a jungle.

Narrator: A silent shadow rises...

Linkara (v/o): (confused) Aren't shadows usually silent? What does a loud shadow sound like?

Narrator: Gliding above the darkened jungle floor...

(Cut to a clip of Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas)

Raoul Duke (Johnny Depp): We can't stop here. This is bat country.

(Back to the comic again)

Narrator: A bat so massive it threatens to eclipse the moon!

(Cut to a clip of Batman, showing the bat logo rising into the sky and silhouetting against the moon before falling back to Earth again. Then cut back to the comic)

Linkara (v/o): I gotta say, guys, Pokémon Sun and Moon look really damn awesome. Following behind the bat is a cheetah. And a wild boar.

Narrator: The wild boar, one of the most feared of jungle predators...

Linkara: Actually, from the brief research I did, wild boars are apparently omnivores, and their animal prey doesn't get much bigger than snakes, fish and rodents. Although, I suppose this is just the marketing department trying to sell us Pumbaa as an action star.

Linkara (v/o): Optimus uses sensors to detect a large structure in the jungle and writes off the alligator swimming near it, which soon attacks him with its tail.

Megatron: You may have located our genetics lab... but you'll never survive to see its secrets inside!

Linkara: (as Megatron) Yes, KISS players will be a reality, Primal! (clenches fist) Nothing can stop it!

Linkara (v/o): The Maximals maximize and the Predacons terrorize, revealing both groups in their robot forms, including the boar, of course. Although, with the echo lines for these guys to simulate transformation, the boar actually looks like a centaur in this art. Anyway, Optimus Primal exposits...

Optimus Primal: Our bio-genetic morphing process has allowed us to create the perfect fusion of organic musculature and Transformers technology!

Linkara: (as Optimus Primal) This is in spite of the fact that the mechanical stuff is stronger and longer lasting than the organic bits! (beat) Why did we do this again?

Megatron: As have we-- but my genetically-altered Predacon robots were created with the DNA from Earth's most vicious LIFE FORMS!

Linkara: Well, by this comic's logic, doesn't that mean that the Predacons should have the wild boar?

Linkara (v/o): Also, Cheetor and Waspinator are apparently shooting energy blasts at one another that explode behind Optimus and Megatron.

Linkara: Well, that's how we really know that is out of continuity: Waspinator doesn't get blown up once in this thing.

Linkara (v/o): And despite the fact that the battle just started, Optimus has already declared that the Predacons are weakening.

Megatron: Perhaps... but your Maximals will never make it into our lab!

Linkara (v/o): Aaand I guess Megatron blows up his own lab?

Linkara: Uh, you know, Megatron, if you have the power to do that, maybe you could have let the Maximals go into the lab and then blown it up?

Megatron: You may have won this battle, but the Beast Wars have just begun! We'll be back in any form, at any time!

Linkara: (as Megatron) We could fuse (holds up two fingers) two animals together, or suddenly have trans-metallic vehicle modes or something! (looks up in thought and strokes chin) I could have roller skates... Yyyes...

Megatron: So when you least expect it... expect the PREDACONS!

Linkara: (as Megatron) Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to sharpen my two very large teeth. (beat) Why do I even have these?

(Cut to black as Vivaldi's "Four Seasons (Spring)" plays again, then fade in on the following text, read by Linkara...)

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

That Guy With The Hat (v/o): "Care".

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

That Guy With the Hat: "Aquaman and his young friends care for the fish. They look after the fish. When Aquaman went away, his friends cared for the fish. Aquaman's friends care for Aquaman. They like him."

(Cut to a shot of a comic themed to Spiromania)

Linkara (v/o): Next up, instead of another Fruit Pie comic, we have a little advertisement comic. A freakish one!


(Cut to Bone Button for SGW (SpiroGraph Wrestling))

Bone Button: (holds up index finger) SPIROMANIA IS RUNNING WILD!

(Cut to the first page of the comic, showing a kid whose eyes have been replaced with Spirograph swirls)

Linkara (v/o): It begins with– GOOD GOD, THAT KID'S EYES!!! You know, we focus so much on Youngblood's Disease that we forget that there are other illnesses out there, like Spiromania, which replaces your eyes with multicolored circular patterns! And geez, they even go outside the boundaries of his head! I'm not unconvinced that his eyes are just gone and the Spirographs are floating in front of where his eyes would be!

Girl: WOW! Look at Billy!

Boy: Yeah, it happens every time he starts to draw with his Spirograph!

Linkara: (as this boy) The doctors haven't been able to figure it out! His family goes to sleep every night in tears!

Boy: Look at that great design!

Girl: And he draws so fast!

Linkara: See, the part that's even creepier is that he didn't use a Spirograph to draw that.

Linkara (v/o): And the two say in unison...

Boy and girl: Boy, I wish we could...

Linkara (v/o): And... lightning zaps them?!

Linkara: My God! It's the wizard Shazam! He's responsible for this!

Linkara (v/o): This does take on the makings of a Captain Marvel comic if you assume that the three here are Captain Marvel, Mary Marvel, and Captain Marvel, Jr. See the Marvel family take on Dr. Sivana and his plan to conquer the world with Spirographs! But yes, with that lightning strike, the two other kids are now infected with this horror.

Boy and girl: (with circular patterns in place of their eyes) We want to draw like you, Billy!

(Cut to a clip of The Shining)

Twin girls: Come play with us, Danny...

(Back to the comic again)

Linkara (v/o): After an explanation of how a Spirograph works, Billy informs us he even something new to show them: Super Spirograph!

Billy: Super Spirograph that makes bigger and even more beautiful designs!

Boy and girl: Golly!

Linkara: (as Billy) Now go out and spread my dark vision, guys!

Linkara (v/o): Later, all three have fully succumbed and are working with the Spirographs.

Kids: Gee, you just can't leave Spirograph alone!

(Cut to a clip of an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation)

Borg: Strength is irrelevant. Resistance is futile.

(Cut back to the comic)

Linkara (v/o): Okay, we need to ground ourselves a bit after that insanity, and I don't think Fruit Pies are really the answer.

(Instead, cut to another comic ad, which Linkara explains...)

Linkara (v/o): Okay, how about this? It's another ad comic.

Narrator: In the never-ending battle against children's tooth decay, two heroes stand out above all others as the guardians of good dental hygiene...

(Cut to a clip of an episode of Whose Line Is It Anyway?)

Ryan Stiles: Oh, Captain Blood Loss!

(Back to the comic again)

Linkara (v/o): No, of course it's Colgate Junior and... Captain America... Yeah, the Captain is well-known for his... dental hygiene? We'll get to Colgate Junior in a moment. But yes, their true enemy, whom we sadly do not see in this comic, is Count Plaqula.

Linkara: But of course, we all know that it's not Captain America, nor even Colgate Junior, who is the arch nemesis of Count Plaqula. It's Dr. Crest

(Cut to Dr. Crest (played by Obscurus Lupa))

Dr. Crest: I'm not a real character!

(Cut back to the comic)

Linkara (v/o): So yeah, let's take a look at Colgate Junior and... Good Lord! Well, he's not quite as bit as insane as the Kool-Aid Man since he seems to have a proper body, but why the hell is there toothpaste coming out of his head? Is that supposed to be his hair? And what's with his star dandruff? And check out his eyes. This is the end result of Spiromania, guys! How does Captain America even know this guy? Did Nick Fury invite him to join the Avengers, too? Anyway, they're with a bunch of kids, and they're on a field trip to the "Dental Museum on Molar III".

Linkara: (confused) They're inside someone's mouth??

Girl: Hey, this museum guide says you're the first star-shaped toothpaste with sparkles!

Linkara (v/o): Wait, Colgate Junior is a museum exhibit?!

(Cut to a clip of Suburban Knights)

Cinema Snob: (dressed like Indiana Jones) You belong in a museum!

Linkara: (looking quite disturbed) I don't know where I am right now...

Captain America: Let's head over to the space ship for one final check!

Linkara: (massaging his forehead) Oh, oh, they're– they're– no, no, of course, they're– they're in space. Oh, how silly of me. (laughs, then realizes something) Actually, you know what? I'm not even mad, because we finally have one of life's greatest mysteries solved: How did Jell-O Man get into space?! He hitched a ride with these guys. (makes a lifting motion with his hands) A great weight has been lifted from my mind.

Linkara (v/o): However, a danger warning soon goes off about the dental museum being under attack by Count Plaqula. Wait, they're not on Molar III? Where'd they get the museum guide, then? But yeah, they take off, and we can see Colgate Junior in full. Apparently, he moves like a slug. Behold, Colgate the Hutt. And thus, it ends with a "to be continued" in another ad comic: "A DATE WITH THE COUNT!"

Linkara: Well, I'm sure Count Plaqula will take you to a nice movie on your date and buy you candy at least.

Colgate Junior: Cap! Activate the star-shaped power gel!

Linkara (v/o): You know, every week, I do this show and I think I've seen everything... and then we have a spaceship powered by toothpaste.

Linkara: So, (claps hands together) what have we learned this week? We've learned that punch cards want a million dollars, but they have a lot with Megatron for their stupid plans, and that they should really just fuel up on toothpaste, or else they'll catch Spiromania. (beat) And they like him. Next week is the 400th episode... and I've got a feeling it's gonna be even crazier than this. (gets up and leaves)

(End credits roll)

Yes, I am aware of why they have beast modes in the show. The comic and toy bios don't explain why they do in THIS story.

It'd probably be more accurate to say the Beast Wars comic is 8 pages, since two sections are two-page spreads, but every other thing I read about it said it was 6.

(Stinger: The final page of the Colgate Junior ad comic is shown)

Colgate Junior: Cap! Activate the star-shaped power gel!

(Cut to a clip of the Ultimate Warrior)


(Another stinger: Lupa as Dr. Crest is shown again)

Dr. Crest: Dr. Crest? Well, on the movie night set, well, that doesn't make any sense.

(Another stinger: Erin is about to sit in a chair when she suddenly disappears. She reappears in Linkara's living room. She is confused. Her robot Seris is there, too)

Seris: What the hell?

Erin: Seris, what are we doing in Linkara's apartment?

Linkara: (standing before them) Because I teleported you here. (Erin and Seris stare) Oh, don't stop on my account. I'll wait until you're finished. (Erin continues to stare silently) You really don't handle surprises well, do you?

Erin: Your face doesn't handle surprises well.

Linkara: ...Uh-huh. Your name is Erin, yes?

Erin: Well, my full name is.

Linkara: (turning to Seris) I'm sorry, you are...

Seris: Pissed off!

Erin: She's Seris. How did you know what my name is?

Linkara: I know people in the government. I kid, though. I didn't have to escalate it that far. No, I got your name, thanks to your business card you left with us. (makes "air quotes") "Erin's Antiques". You're an Internet reviewer.

Erin: Guilty as charged. Although, not a very successful one. It seems people like comic books more than hearing about... strange artifacts.

Linkara: I would argue with you about how popular... (under his breath) or rather, not popular my show is, but that's neither here nor there. What is of interest to me, though, is the "artifacts" thing. Artifacts that, as far as I can tell, you steal.

Erin: (exasperatedly) Borrow! I always return them afterwards. Speaking of, I recorded the one on your coin, and I drained out the excess magic, so it should be safe for another few years.

Linkara: Thank you. You know, you saved my bacon last Halloween.

Erin: Purely by accident, but thanks.

Linkara: You're welcome. From what I've seen of your show, you seem to know a lot about the pieces you ("air quotes") "borrow".

Erin: I like a good story, and our world has so many of them: ancient monsters, interdimensional incursions, wizards, warlocks... (gets to her feet) Hell, fictional characters will sometimes pop out of nowhere and attack people.

Linkara: Yeah, I don't pretend to understand that either.

Erin: Rumor has it, we live in a Plot Hole.

Linkara: May you live in interesting times.

Erin: I could give a lecture on that phrase, but my time's precious. So here's my question: what do you want?

Linkara: I want to hire you.

Erin: You could have just called!

Linkara: I could have, buuut considering you broke into my place (holds up two fingers) twice with the intent to steal from me, I thought I would show off what I can do. Interested in a job?

Erin: I'm... not exactly that skilled a video editor, but... (shrugs) I could give it a shot.

Linkara: (waves dismissively) No, no, no, no, I want to employ you as a historian of the strange and mythical.

Erin: I think that could be arranged, but... why now?

Linkara: After you left, I had... an encounter. Maybe it was just a linger hallucination, maybe it was something else. But knowing my luck, it was probably a new enemy. And considering the Magic Coin may be tied into this, I think I need some knowledge and expertise not normally available to me. (glances toward chessboard on his table) Someone or... something is playing a larger game, and I think it's time I took it seriously.

Erin: All righty, I'll be in touch. You can beam us back now.

Linkara: (takes a piece of paper off the shelf) Before you go... (gives it to Erin) your first assignment.

Erin: (looks at paper quizzically) What's this? Some code?

Linkara: We think so. It's a copy of a message we received a few years ago. I figured, with your knowledge of ancient lore and codes, you might be able to figure out something that we haven't.

Erin: I'll give it a shot. But first, I've got a video to record.

Seris: So does this mean we're actually going to get a paycheck for once?

Erin: (grabbing Seris) Hush, you!

Seris: I'm just saying, I really want to accessorize my look a bit, and clothes in my size aren't cheap.

(Erin and Seris disappear. Linkara turns to his chessboard and moves a pawn piece one square)