Superman and the TRS-80 Whiz Kids: The Computers that Saved Metropolis!
September 19, 2011
Once again watch as the Man of Steel wastes his time shilling outdated computers!
(Open on Linkara sitting on his futon as he uses a Sonic Scanner to make a mobile emitter work, but it doesn't seem to be working)
Linkara: Come on... (tries some more) Come on!
(However, it still doesn't seem to be working, so he throws down the emitter in disgust and looks up, sighing)
Linkara: Hello, and welcome to Atop the Fourth Wall, where bad comics burn. You know, computer technology has advanced considerably in the last several decades, going leaps and bounds in a single lifetime.
(Cut to a shot of the computer game Gods by the Bitmap Brothers)
Linkara (v/o): Hell, I can still remember being a little kid in the early '90s and playing Gods and...
(Cut to a shot of the title for another Bitmap Brothers title...)
Linkara (v/o): ...Magic Pockets on an old Amiga computer.
(Cut to a shot of Magic Pockets itself)
Linkara (v/o): Admittedly, Magic Pockets has not aged well at all...
(Cut to a shot of Gods on Sega Genesis)
Linkara (v/o): ...but Gods on the Sega Genesis is still good. Hell, I actually prefer the music on the Genesis version to the original Amiga's and...
Linkara: And I'm getting really off track here. The point is that nobody could have anticipated where we are at this moment in time: computers with amazingly fast processing speeds, graphic interfaces in every conceivable color, and storage capacities that have jumped in every generation. (looks up in thought) How did Avery Brooks put it in those IBM commercials?
(Cut to a clip of an IBM commercial featuring Brooks)
Brooks: Long ago, information was measured only in kilobytes. Then came megabytes and gigabytes, then terabytes, petabytes, and exabytes. Today, with all this information flying back and forth on the web, we will soon arrive at ultabytes. How big is that? Ten to the 24th power: 1,000 billion trillion bytes.
Linkara: Hell, even watching a video online, like you're doing right now, was considered laughably impossible back in the day.
(Cut to a shot of a Wikipedia article on "WAV")
Linkara (v/o): Another story from my childhood about how old I feel: when I was a little kid, I scoured the Internet for sound clips from stuff like Doctor Who, Star Trek, and Mystery Science Theater 3000.
(Cut to a message reading: "Not Pictured: Early video formats that no one has anymore because, well, we have better tech these days and nobody kept the old junk. Still, back in the day, I did indeed use RealPlayer and crap like that.")
Linkara (v/o): Video files were a distant dream. You couldn't compress video well enough, and even the clips that looked decent couldn't last for more than thirty seconds without taking up half a hard drive...
(Cut to a shot of a timeline of the evolution of hard drives through the years)
Linkara (v/o): ...which, in those days, was a few hundred megabytes for me and only the one drive.
Linkara: The point I'm trying to make with all of this, other than boring you all with tales of how I spent my free time when I was six, is that it's easy to look back at the Tandy Computer Whiz Kids comics and laugh.
(Cut to footage of an old commercial for the TRS-80 computer (circa Christmas, given the decorations in the house), showing a family using it like it's the greatest thing in the world)
Linkara (v/o): And hell, I've done it myself. Stuff like the TRS-80 was probably top-of-the-line when it came out, but the way they hype it up is just so laughable, compared to modern technology. Hell, my friggin' DS probably has more power behind it than that thing. I admit a certain level of nostalgia for these older times...
(Cut to shots of the old computer game Galactic Conquest)
Linkara (v/o): ...like when I played Galactic Conquest on a Commodore 64, which didn't even have graphics of spaceships, just numbers*, and it was the most exciting thing to behold.
- NOTE: There were both numbers and letters, not just numbers.
Linkara: But then again, that's why I have a Commodore 64 emulator. Anyway, what I'm getting at here is it's that time again: time to make fun of the TRS-80 Whiz Kids in (holds up today's comic...) "The Computers That Saved Metropolis!"
(AT4W opening titles play; title card has audio from a TRS-80 computer commercial playing)
Commercial Announcer: The TRS-80 color computer at $100 off.
Man (v/o): Instant loading program packs turn our color TV into a game arcade.
Woman (v/o): The color computer is also an education center.
(Cut to a closeup of the comic's cover)
Linkara (v/o): Like our last outing with the Whiz Kids, today's kindling actually is a Superman comic, what with the Superman logo slapped across the top and the Whiz Kids getting shoved down at the bottom, despite the fact that it says right there that it's starring them.
Linkara: What's that? You want me to recap the other two "Whiz Kids" reviews? Well, of course! I made this handy-dandy film that explains it succinctly.
(Cut to an old-timey screen with a message reading: "Watch the other two reviews. This is a long comic and it's not like the other two videos are hard to find." Old-timey organ music plays throughout)
Linkara: (smiling smugly) There, wasn't that fun?
(Cut back to the comic's cover again)
Linkara (v/o): Anyway, our cover features the villain, Major Disaster... And yes, that is a real supervillain in comics and later reformed as a hero and then died in "Infinite Crisis"... working to kill Superman, who's carrying around some people in a green car that are falling out of it. (as Superman) Sorry, citizens, I just have a compulsion to destroy green cars whenever I see them! It's been like this (the cover of "Action Comics #1" (showing Superman lifting up a green car) is displayed briefly) since I started. (normal again) It's not all that bad a cover, though as an attention-getter, I'm not sure how many readers Major Disaster brings in.
Major Disaster: This is Superman's last heroic act! After he blows away the tornado, he won't be able to think straight!
Linkara: (as Superman) Damn tornadoes! Where's the Quik Bunny when you need him?
Linkara (v/o): We open on a prologue. Of course we do, because a thirty-page comic advertising Radio Shack product really needs a prologue. Furthermore, it's not really a prologue, because the events it shows happen later in the comic! It depicts Superman going for a jumbo jet, and the TRS-80 Whiz Kids playing on their computers.
Narrator: A cry for help... a rush of wind... and the world's greatest super-hero hurtles into action once more...
Linkara: Considering the definition of "hurtles" is to "move at a great speed, typically in a wild, uncontrolled manner", I'm beginning to think that the "world's greatest superhero" is actually drunk.
Narrator: ...while, miles below, in Metropolis, two young heroes sit at their TRS-80 computers, their fingers flying urgently across the keyboards.
Linkara: (as one of the Whiz Kids, pretending to type on a computer) I will beat my high score at Number Munchers, dang it!
Narrator: What is the astonishing connection between these two events?
Linkara: (sotto voce) The kids are the ones causing the plane to crash. Astonishing, isn't it?
Linkara (v/o): We truly open on Major Disaster monologuing to himself.
Major Disaster: 8:50 A.M.-- Only thirteen minutes to go before my crowning catastrophe strikes Metropolis!
Linkara: (as Major Disaster) My 9AM "Morning Zoo Crew" radio show will leave (holds up fist) devastation in its wake!
Linkara (v/o): Meanwhile, Superman is doing a morning patrol around the city and realizes he needs to hurry to make his own 9AM appointment. Oddly enough, the opening narration actually sounds more in line with The Twilight Zone than last week's "Twilight Zone" comic.
Narration: For your observation--two dynamic men of action! One, a paragon of peril-- the insidious master of villainy known to the world as Major Disaster! The other, a caped champion-- the mighty Man of Steel who fights a never-ending battle for truth, justice, and the American Way!
Linkara: (Rod Serling-type voice) Together, they'll find themselves in a crossover event comic that takes place in... the Twilight Zone.
Linkara (v/o): We cut to the Whiz Kids' classroom, where we see that the teacher, Ms. Wilson, once again looks completely different from the last two times we saw her.
(As he says the above, comparison shots of Ms. Wilson in "Fit to Win" and the comic with Superman and Wonder Woman are shown briefly, then disappear as he continues to speak below)
Linkara (v/o): I'm beginning to think that the woman hails from Gallifrey.
Ms. Wilson: I trust many* of you won't be disappointed when I announce your oral book reports will be postponed until tomorrow!
- NOTE: Ms. Wilson says "...too many of you...", not just "...many of you...".
Student 1: I'm not! I could use another day to practice it!
Student 2: Well, I've been ready to deliver my report for a week!
Linkara: (as this student) Damn it! At this rate, I'm never gonna give my book report on "Mein Kampf"!
Linkara (v/o): Ms. Wilson says that next year, they'll be taking the school's introductory computer course.
Alec: YAWWWNNN. Just what we've all been waiting for, Ms. Wilson-- a boring talk on computers! I can't think of anything I'd rather hear about... except maybe the history of Brussels sprouts.
Linkara: Oh, yeah, I should probably point out that this takes place before "The Computer Masters of Metropolis", so Alec hasn't yet had his brain assimilated by the TRS-80.
Linkara (v/o): By the way, I just noticed this about the Whiz Kids comics: this school has the worst discipline record ever. The kids are constantly interrupting the teacher. Nobody raises their hand or lets the teacher finish talking before giving their own commentary. Anyway, she explains that their special guest has not only international reputation, but an interplanetary one as well.
Ms. Wilson: Let's see now... My friend said he'd be here at 9 o'clock sharp! So we can count on it! According to my digital watch-- the time is precisely 8:59:55!
Linkara: Did she just seriously try to shill a friggin' digital watch right there, as if that's something to be impressed by? Then again, digital watches are one of the great questions, aren't they?
(Cut to a clip of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy)
Narrator: Why are people born? Why do they die? And why do they spend so much of the intervening wearing digital watches?
(Cut back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): Anyway, Superman arrives in the class with two black cases. Naturally, the kids are stunned.
Student: Will the rest of the school be jealous!
Linkara (v/o): And like the last comic, I have to wonder why the hell Superman only cares about this one class at this one school. If friggin' Superman is here, then they should gather all the students in the auditorium. This is just bizarre. Shanna asks Superman what's in the cases.
Superman: It would be hard to believe, Shanna... without giving you some background information first!
Linkara: You ever read that short story about the box that'll kill someone you don't know if you press the button inside it? (smiles creepily)
Shanna: Y-You called me Shanna?! But how did you know my name?
Another student: Simple! I bet Superman used his X-ray vision to read Ms. Wilson's seating chart!
Linkara: (as Superman, laughs and waves dismissively) Nothing that simple, kids. (voice turns menacing) I'm just watching you all the time.
Linkara (v/o): Superman says he'll start with a history of the modern computer, but Alec will have none of this.
Alec: Someone wake me up when he's finished! History and computers are boring enough by themselves-- but together? Good night!
Linkara: (laughs) Enjoy detention, ya loudmouth little crap-head! (scowls)
Linkara (v/o): Seriously, it's friggin' Superman, dude! You may not pay attention to what the hell he's saying, but if Superman showed up at my classroom, I'd at least stay awake! I mean, for crying out loud, this was published in 1980. It's not like you're at the point where video games and television have desensitized you yet to ignore the most powerful friggin' superhero on the planet! Superman says he's sorry to hear he's nodding off.
Superman: I guess that means you'll be too tired to step outside with the rest of us!
Linkara: Uh-oh, he's gonna go Superman II on their asses!
Linkara (v/o): Meanwhile, a tornado rips through the streets, causing people to run in terror. Back at the school, everyone has gathered on the roof. Superman starts with a lecture about the beginnings of modern computers, but as commenters have shown in the past, I suck at trying to analyze this stuff, so I'm going to ignore it and his statements about the world's first all-electronic computers being in 1945 and being built in America. As has been pointed out in previous videos and comments, that is wrong, though they probably didn't know about Colossus in 1980, or the Z1 in Germany, or any of the other computers in Europe and across the world that were electronic or only partially electronic or the like that I just don't care about anymore! The point is that computers used to be really, really big, and that is all Superman is trying to point out with his dumbass history lesson.
Superman: (narrating) The insides of this huge 30-ton "super brain" contained 18,000 vacuum tubes, 70,000 resistors, 10,000 capacitors, and 6,000 switches.
Linkara: (as Superman) It took at least four computers of this type to create three frames for an animated GIF in those days.
Linkara (v/o): Superman says he brought them up to the roof to demonstrate that computers back then filled up rooms as big as the entire roof, which actually looks like a pretty small roof to me. Also, why are there only ten kids in this class?
Shanna: Gol-lee! I don't even see how you could get something that big into a room!
Alec: They probably built the computer first--then built the room around it, dodo!
Linkara: (annoyed) Oh, for crying out loud, you're sixth-graders, and yet you're dumb enough to not realize they probably assembled the computers from smaller parts!
Superman: (narrating) And please be reminded...a computer is more than a calculator. Computers can also organize and remember words, analyze information, and make comparisons... all this in seconds.
Linkara: (as Superman) A computer can also aid in identity theft, watch a YouTube video remix of "It's over 9000", and download pornography. All this in seconds!
Superman: (narrating) In fact, its capabilities are almost unlimited.
Linkara: (as one of the students) Can a computer stop my parents from getting divorced? (as Superman, nervously) Uh, gotta go, kids! (turns to run off)
Superman: (narrating) Today's microcomputer (the old-time "big computers" squeezed down to the size of a small TV-set attached to a typewriter-like keyboard) can teach math, English, other languages and history... It can play games, perform household tasks...
Linkara: What the hell kind of household tasks can a computer from 1980 perform? (pretends to type on a keyboard; speaks mockingly) All right, Commodore VIC-20, vacuum my living room! (stops and waits) I'm waiting!
Linkara (v/o): And no, you are not allowed to ruin my joke by pointing out that it can do calculations and taxes and crap. If they meant that, they should have said that.
Superman: Then, of course, there's the space-program! Without the vital role played by computers, our astronauts would never have made it to the moon and back!
Linkara: (as Superman) Except for Apollo 18. Damn moon spiders!
Linkara (v/o): Anyway, blah, blah, blah, transistors, circuits, and other history lessons.
Narrator: As the Action Ace ushers the students back into the classroom...
Linkara: Wait, "Action Ace"? That wasn't seriously one of Superman's nicknames, was it? Or are they referring to this black kid right here, (a shot of an earlier panel showing the same black kid) who we saw earlier, who had a rockin' 'fro? Anyway, back in the classroom, it seems the black cases actually contained TRS-80s with "user manuals and twelve-inch video displays".
Superman: It used to be that a computer able to do these things would have cost a fortune... but today you can buy a microcomputer for the price of a good camera or a TV set!
Linkara: (as Superman) Though you will get infinitely less enjoyment out of it than those items.
Superman: (narrating) Solid-state circuitry, electronic chips, and modern assembly line production methods are bringing the cost of microcomputers within reach of millions of people... for schools as learning aids... and small businesses.
Linkara: (as Ms. Wilson) Look, Superman, we already bought the damn things; you don't have to keep trying to sell them to us.
Linkara (v/o): After Superman gives some more information about computers, including the awesome computer language known as "basic", he gets the class working and then disappears, hearing something in the distance, but not wanting to warn, or be polite enough to even say, "Sorry, kids, I have to go deal with a disaster" or the like. After rescuing some people from some rubble, he sees the tornado ripping through the streets.
Superman: (thinking) Question one-- What's a tornado doing tearing through Metropolis in the off-season... when weather conditions indicate fair skies? And question two-- What do I do to solve the answer to question one?
Linkara: (as Superman) Readers, (points to camera) you will be tested on this later.
(The next panel shows a man and a woman inside a green car (presumably the same one as on the cover) inside the tornado)
Woman: We've stopped spinning around--and are shooting out of the tornado-funnel!
Man: We must've been flung off... by centrifugal force!
Linkara: (as this man) Let's exposit about the way we're about to die horribly!
Linkara (v/o): Superman saves them and takes on the tornado by using his super-breath to knock the tornado away – and into a building, by the looks of the debris. Thanks, Superman, you've defeated the tornado by no doubt killing the innocent people in that building or just by causing more property damage. Our hero, everyone! Meanwhile, back at the scene that does not include superheroes fighting tornadoes...
Shanna: Oh wow, Ms. Wilson... writing programs on the TRS-80 is as easy as using a typewriter!
Ms. Wilson: That's right, Shanna! Always remember to hit the "enter" button--it tells the computer to take a look at what you've typed... and act accordingly!
Linkara: Huh. (makes typing motions) 10 Print: "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." 20 goto 10.
Linkara (v/o): Superman returns, since of course it's not like he'd want to stick around and do damage control with the people injured or who have lost their homes in the tornado or anything.
Student: Superman... What you said before about giant computers of years ago that used to weigh 30 tons-- Can something as small as a TRS-80 do everything those giant computers did?
Superman: Everything and more, William!
Linkara: (as William, pretending to type on a computer) Yeah, I just found the games folder!
Computer voice (from War Games): Shall we play a game?
Linkara: (still as William, pretending to type) "Global Thermonuclear War..."
Linkara (v/o): Get this: they decide to hold a test to see who's faster, the TRS-80 or Superman. They have the two convert 65 degrees Fahrenheit to Celsius, and wouldn't you know it? They do so at the same speed.
Shanna: Gee... The TRS-80 really does think as fast as Superman!
Linkara: (exaggeratedly) Wow! That's incredible! (beat, then becomes infuriated) A TORNADO JUST SPONTANEOUSLY APPEARED IN METROPOLIS, AND YOU'RE PLAYING ON A FRIGGIN' COMPUTER!!
Linkara (v/o): Anyway, Alec decides to try the test with Superman with a different problem, but Supes suddenly develops a headache and his mental processes are slowed, allowing the computer to figure out the answer faster. Alec, being a complete dickhead, laughs at how Superman isn't as super after all, and obviously, because he inputted the program, he has the superior brain. (laughs, then becomes annoyed) Yeah, laugh it up, kid. Keep that attitude and you'll find that TRS-80 crammed right up your ass. Ms. Wilson excuses Superman from anything else with the class, having noticed the look on his face. Meanwhile, Major Disaster watches Superman on his oddly-shaped screen. Why, of course he has a massive screen that can observe superheroes, despite having no camera equipment in any logical location to get the angles he's viewing from. Those kinds of things just come standard with villain lairs. He monologues to himself about how the true purpose of the tornado was to release millions of microscopic Kryptonite crystals into the air, which he breathed in when preparing his super-breath.
Major Disaster: Crystals I synthesized not to weaken his super-powers... No, that would be far too simple and obvious!
Linkara: (as Major Disaster) I mean, who cares about actually weakening and killing Superman? That's too obvious! (shakes head, speaks normally and annoyed) Wow, man, you set a new standard for dumb villain plans. You know the correct thing to do, but you don't want to do it, because it's "too obvious". Kryptonite is POISON! You could have killed him or, as you said, robbed him of his powers! (points to camera) Your new name is "Major Dumbass"!
Linkara (v/o): So, Major Dumbass says that instead, they're designed to attack the nerve cells of his brain, basically screwing up his ability to send signals throughout his body and therefore make it difficult for him to fly and think straight. Superman manages to crash through the floor of his apartment and stops himself.
Superman: (thinking) It's lucky the tenant is always out this time of day! I should be able to manage my superpowers enough to repair the damage before he comes home!
Linkara: That night, the tenant returned home to discover carpeting on his ceiling.
Linkara (v/o): Major Dumbass makes an announcement that he wants... something, I don't know, and that to prove that he can do what he says, he'll use his powers to cause three potential disasters. Not real disasters, mind you, but potential ones. There's a threat for ya. What're you gonna do, leave a lit cigarette unattended on a couch? It's not an actual disaster, just a potential one. Back in the classroom, after they overhear this announcement from Major Dumbass, we learn this...
Radio announcer: ...And also in this morning's news is the simultaneous breakdown of computers which have crippled every major computer system throughout the area!
Linkara: Fortunately, most people were not affected by this breakdown, though there was one unhappy individual.
(Cut to a clip of an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000, in which Crow T. Robot is impatiently trying to get access to the Internet on a computer, while Mike and Tom Servo look on)
Crow: (pounding on computer keyboard) LET ME ON THE INFORMATION SUPERHIGHWAY!!
Crow: I WANT ON THE INFORMATION SUPERHIGHWAY!
Mike: (looking into camera) We'll be right back– (to Crow) Careful with that! There's no reason to–
(Crow continues to yell and scream as he bangs on the keyboard. Mike reaches out and grabs the computer mouse away from Crow and puts it in his mouth)
Mike: Calm down! Calm down!
(Back to the comic again)
Ms. Wilson: Let's discuss the effect this computer breakdown could have on our everyday lives... and review the many ways computers have been faithfully serving us!
Linkara: (incredulously) How about a book, Ms. Wilson?! You ever read books in your classroom? Are computers the only thing that occupy your lesson plan?!
Linkara (v/o): Superman crashes up from the floor, saying he had to come in from the underground because it was too dangerous to fly around the city. Oh, sure, that makes sense, except for all the electrical and pipe damage you no doubt caused by flying in through the floor. Superman explains that the computer breakdown is also the result of Major Dumbass.
Superman: Major Disaster was smart enough to know I could have rigged up a microwave relay with one of those computer systems--
Shanna: Oh, I see... the computers could do the instant computations and calculations your brain would normally do, so you could still use your super-powers!
(Cut briefly to a shot of the Hitler Clones from "Superman At Earth's End")
Hitler Clone: Of course. Don't you know anything about science?
(Cut back to the current Superman comic)
Linkara (v/o): Okay, this is stupid! Yes, a brain is similar to a computer, but really, only in a metaphorical sense. The problem is not that his brain can't make frigging computations and calculations; it's that the nerves connecting his brain to the rest of his body have numbed to the point where he can't control himself and he can't think clearly. Being able to do math is not the problem here! Anyway, his brilliant plan is to use the TRS-80s in the class, which weren't affected by the breakdown, to do his computations for him, and the kids will operate the computers and relay the information to him. Sure, why not? Because having two sixth-graders who only just learned how to use the damn things yesterday is really the plan you want to implement here! He uses his telescopic vision to find the first disaster: a lightning bolt that strikes a jetliner and sends it into a nosedive.
(Cut to a clip of a video featuring the Ultimate Warrior)
Ultimate Warrior: SHIP THAT CONTROLLED INTO A NOSEDIVE, HULK HOGAN!
(Back to the comic again)
Linkara (v/o): Superman flies towards it and then gives calculations about the incline that's going, the gravitational pull, the wind variance– (becomes exasperated) Oh, for the love of crap, Superman is not a robot! Fly fast, get in front of the plane, and level it off so it doesn't crash into the ground! You do not need complex mathematics to figure out something as simple as DON'T LET THE PLANE CRASH! But no, instead, they need to calculate how fast he needs to fly to compensate for the wind and still reach the jetliner before it crashes into the ground. Just flying towards it and going faster is not enough. No, no, no, he needs to real numbers here, people. Oh, and naturally, we don't even see that number; they just apparently give it to Superman off-panel, and he's able to save the jetliner. Fantabulous. Next up, Major Dumbass has ruptured a water reservoir, and the city is flooding. He needs to know how many gallons of water have overflowed so he can then determine the amount of heat vision he needs to rain down to evaporate the water. He says if he beams down too much heat vision...
Superman: There'd be a mass meltdown!
Linkara: (frustrated) A mass meltdown of what?! This isn't a nuclear reactor here, it's a water reservoir! It's okay if a car or the road gets damaged a little if it means no more flooding!
Linkara (v/o): Ignoring the idea that evaporating that much water will probably create new problems, how difficult is it to just use enough heat vision to evaporate the water and then STOP when the water is gone? So yeah, they pull it off again, also making me wonder how they knew how much water was in the reservoir to begin with, and Superman is able to evaporate the water "without harming the neighborhood". Except, of course, for the damage the water already caused. And of course, the worst is last: Major Dumbass punctured a leak in a nuclear reactor, causing radioactive gases into the air. I'm sure that punching a hole in a nuclear reactor would do a hell of a lot more than just radioactive gases, but whatever. This one actually kind of requires the computers. They need to know how fast he needs to fly at precisely the correct spinning circumferences to siphon the gases up into space – forgetting that the leak is still there, so it's just going to keep sending out gas, so he's going to need to keep doing this for a while and even faster and faster since he needs to maintain this little cylinder for a few hundred kilometers past the atmosphere, and far into space so there's no fallout! Let's also shut off our brains on the fact that Superman isn't immune to radiation himself. Hell, Kryptonite is dangerous to him because it's radioactive. They don't say if he plugged the leak or not, or how many people died from the nuclear accident, but instead, we cut to an epilogue where Major Dumbass... And really, trying to cause a nuclear incident in the city you are in?! My nickname for is so damn accurate! ...is taken by Superman to the police. He talks to the reporters there and explains how he tracked Major Dumbass, using the energy he used in his disasters, and then says that the effects of the Kryptonite crystals have worn off.
Superman: Ms. Lang, I couldn't have done it without the help of the very latest computer technology, and two very special young friends! But why don't we let them do the rest of the talking...
Linkara (v/o): And so, our comic ends with the scene shifting over to Shanna and Alec showing off the TRS-80 computer.
Alec: We're going to demonstrate how any of you people watching at home can think as super-fas as a superman-- with a TRS-80 microcomputer!
Linkara: (as Alec, menacing voice) But only if you declare us the computer masters of Metropolis! (laughs evilly, then closes comic and holds it up) This comic sucks.
Linkara (v/o): The villain, despite having a lot of power and resources at his command, wastes them and almost kills himself in the process. Superman needing to use that stupid computer to accomplish tasks that don't require any actual calculations is just moronic, and he cares more about educating sixth-graders on a computer instead of trying to help people HARMED BY A TORNADO!!
Linkara: And yes, there are more of these Whiz Kids comics, though I think there's only one more that features superheroes. But I don't own that one or any of the other Whiz Kids comics. If you have some that you'd like to donate, send me an email, (waves dismissively) but don't expect me to look at these things again for a while. (throws down comic, gets up and leaves)
(End credits roll, with a Radio Shack commercial playing in the background. At times, however, the screen distorts and fills with static, while the phrase "i am beautiful" appears briefly)
Announcer: Let the Radio Shack TRS-80 put the world of color computing into your home. Instant loading packs turn any color TV into an exciting game arcade. There's more: the color computer is an educational aid, a home management tool, and up-to-the-minute electronic information service. The programmable, expandable TRS-80 color from $399, only at Radio Shack, the biggest name in little computers.
(The commercial ends and a new one on Radio Shack begins)
Announcer: You've heard or read about low-cost personal computers. Today, you can see and buy the price leader: Radio Shack's famous under-$600 system. Learn how computing can benefit your business profession, record-keeping, and your education. Come into your nearby Radio Shack today. You will be convinced. The TRS-80 personal computer system, only $599. Built-in service by Radio Shack, a Tandy company.
If I mispronounced "centrifugal," please cut me some slack – it's a word I don't say very often.
It's fascinating to watch a slow of Alec as he goes from slacker in school to eventually spending his entire summer thinking about starting the "Fit to Win" club and demanding total adherence to the state and the gospel of the TRS-80.
(Stinger: Linkara is seated on his futon again, looking confused about something)
Linkara: So here's my question: Did the TRS-80 Whiz Kids get rebooted in the DC relaunch, too?