Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Week 42: Doing Donuts on Free Lunch Drive

Never underestimate the 52 team. It turns out the business with the Anselmo gun actually is a reference to an old Elongated Man story--one in which the word "Anselmo" doesn't appear, and which appeared in one of the most obscure DC comics ever published, if "published" is the right word. An industry veteran who wishes to remain anonymous forwarded along a .cbr file of it, along with an explanation of how that particular comic came to be. He's asked me not to quote him, but says I can paraphrase his information. So here's the gist of it:

At some point in late 1966, Daisy--the company whose ads for BB guns appeared in decades' worth of comics--decided they wanted to publish a full-on licensed comic book series to promote their products to boys and girls. They approached DC to put together a very odd title, to be called Daisy Comics. The lead feature, "Daisy," would be a sort of Western/humor/romance hybrid about a young woman sharpshooter, a kind of cross between A Date With Judy and Annie Oakley, apparently suggested by the then-popular Broadway revival of Annie Get Your Gun. (The one story ever produced was drawn in a sort of Leave It to Binky-like style by the late, great Bob Oksner, who passed away last week.) The backup story was intended to be a rotating feature with various DC superhero characters in stories involving guns and firearms--the idea was evidently to cast guns in a more favorable light than usual for comics.

To make a long story short, things didn't go quite as planned. The first issue of Daisy Comics ran seriously late in production, and as it was on its way to the printing plant, DC got legal notification from Disney that they'd heard about the forthcoming comic, and that it had better not share its name with one of their more famous duck characters. There wasn't time to redesign the cover before it went to press, and whoever was tasked with fixing the problem took the shortest route: putting a big white bar over the word "Daisy" on the cover (and blanking out "Daisy" on the indicia for good measure). And so the first and only issue of Comics was printed. As you can imagine, that title makes it a little bit hard to Google.

Naturally, when Daisy saw the printed comic with their company's name removed, they went... well, "ballistic" probably is the right word. When DC brass saw the cover with the ugly white bar, they started to get cold feet too; then somebody read the comic itself. The "Daisy" story is nothing particularly notable--but then there's the Elongated Man story. The 10-page story, "The Secret of the Sorcerous Six-Shooters!," is uncredited--it sure doesn't look or read like a Gardner Fox/Carmine Infantino story, although they were handling Ralph's solo adventures in Detective Comics at the time. The plot's a little on the incoherent side, but it involves Ralph investigating a string of mysterious robberies in Boston committed by a gang run by someone identified only as "Big Tony" (no "Anselmo"--apparently that is a Moonlighting reference after all), who's got a small armory full of guns he claims are enchanted (although we never see any evidence one way or the other, as this issue of 52 suggests). The climax features Ralph playing a round of Russian roulette with Big Tony.

Understandably, DC freaked. Since the sponsor was now out of the picture, the entire print run of Comics #1 was pulped. Only a few of the initial copies that went to the DC and Daisy offices survived, and it's not even listed in Overstreet. But somehow the 52 crew must have gotten hold of a copy...

Actually, no. I just made all of that up. As far as I know, there is no precedent for a "wishing gun" in any Elongated Man story. There is no precedent for a "wishing gun" in the DC canon. There is no precedent for a "wishing gun" in any fiction of which I'm aware. And that's a problem--as emotionally satisfying as the conclusion to Ralph's mystery plot here is (assuming it is the conclusion, since there's obviously some loose ends to be tied up at the very least), it's intellectually unsatisfying.

To explain why, I'm going to have to quote a little bit from vintage detective-fiction theory. This page by Michael Grost is a pretty interesting summing-up of the "realist" and "intuitionist" schools of detective fiction, especially starting about 3/4 of the way down the page. "Realist" fictional detectives solve crimes as police tend to, by methodical, scientific examinations of evidence; "intuitionists" solve them by leaps of perception. (The "intuitionist" label is Grost's own, although the division reminds me a bit of Colson Whitehead's novel The Intuitionist, in which elevator inspectors are divided into "intuitionists" and "empiricists."

A.A. Milne--yes, that one--was also a mystery novelist, and his 1928 introduction to his novel The Red House Mystery created (or made explicit) that particular schism in detective fiction. To quote Grost's essay: "Milne claims that it is almost impossible for a typical reader to anticipate the ideas of a detective who has scientific means at his disposal to solve stories. He feels that such stories are therefore unfair to readers. He prefers stories in which the detective solves the mystery through pure intellect, reasoning upon facts which are known to the reader. Such an emphasis on pure human reason is the core of the intuitionist approach."

As Waid suggested in his origin for the Elongated Man, Ralph is an intuitionist all the way: his specialty is eccentric but brilliant bounds of logic. (Even the bit with dusting the helmet for prints is a great, contrarian bit of intuition: faced with something he knows is in the realm of the uncanny, he thinks about it in purely physical terms.) But the flaw of the Anselmo gun as a mystery-plot device was outlined by both the realists and the "intuitionists." In 1924, R. Austin Freeman (one of the realists) wrote in "The Art of the Detective Story" that "the author should be scrupulously fair in his conduct of the game. Each card as it is played should be set down squarely, face upwards, in full view of the reader... The production of a leading fact near the end of the book is unfair to the reader."

Then, in 1928, the mystery writer S.S. Van Dine (an intuitionist) published his "Twenty Rules for Writing Detective Stories." The first one is that "the reader must have equal opportunity with the detective for solving the mystery. All clues must be plainly stated and described." Then there's rule #8: " The problem of the crime must be solved by strictly naturalistic means. Such methods for learning the truth as slate-writing, ouija-boards, mind-reading, spiritualistic séances, crystal-gazing, and the like, are taboo. A reader has a chance when matching his wits with a rationalistic detective, but if he must compete with the world of spirits and go chasing about the fourth dimension of metaphysics, he is defeated ab initio."

Slightly later, in 1929, Ronald Knox, one of the founders of the Detection Club, wrote his "Ten Commandments for Detective Novelists", one of which is that "all supernatural or preternatural agencies are ruled out as a matter of course." (Admittedly, some of the others are not terribly useful, and one is outright terrible: "No Chinaman must figure in the story." So much for the Perfect Physician--!)

All of which is to say that if we see Ralph sticking the barrel of an ordinary-looking pistol in his mouth while crying, it's a fair assumption that he intends to kill himself by firing a bullet through his brain; it's a dodgier but still reasonably fair proposition if the solution to the Anselmo-gun mystery relies on it being, I don't know, some kind of water pistol; it's not particularly fair at all if it turns out to be a wish-granting machine that just happens to be shaped like an ordinary-looking pistol, especially if its context--not just the storyline of 52, but the entire fictional universe in which it's set--has made no previous mention of a pistol-shaped wish-granting device.

Now, the Ralph plot has been running up against the "world of spirits" conundrum from the beginning: it's a detective story that takes place in that very world. But we've also been told that in the Tenth Age, magic has new rules, and that one of them is TANSTAAFL--a "fair play" rule worthy of Mr. Terrific. (Yet somehow the Anselmo gun, from the Ninth Age, still works fine--!) As far as the "mystery" here is "who's behind what's been happening to Ralph," the answer is Faust, and 52 has been playing fair with us--obviously, since even I was able to figure it out. But the Magical Wishing Gun is just ridiculous. Not even the loopiest intuitionist in the audience would have been able to guess that one. (It does make a few earlier bits of Ralph's story make more sense, though. In his scene with Rama Kushna, note that she said "You wished to be with her again"--not "wish" but "wished." Perhaps what she showed him was how to defeat Faust, as he'd predestined by making his bullet-wish back at the Ambassador?)

While we're at it, the Magical Wishing Gun--in contrast even to the Green Lantern ring, which is limited by force of will and the user's specific conception--is a very, very, very dangerous artifact to have lying around as a souvenir in one's house, or even in the Flash Museum. It's potentially as powerful as the Miracle Machine; why wouldn't Ralph have turned it over to, say, Zatanna, or tried using it before to reverse all kinds of bad things that have happened?

Of course, all these objections may well be rendered moot by something we haven't seen yet, since Neron and Faust aren't going to stay put forever. We also know from Justice League of America that Felix Faust is back on Earth, which means that somebody figured out how to bring Ralph back to life and made it worth his while to break the circle. And I do like the traditional device of the circle that can only be broken by the person who drew it--as the Seven Soldiers Zatanna puts it, one of the rules of magic is "don't bring it up if you can't keep it down." Plus there are other yet-unanswered questions about this plot: who was the friend who pulled Ralph through after the wicker-doll thing, and who is the unidentified person that Wizard told us Ralph was going to hook up with at some point? Would one or both of them be Bea?

Like the Red Tornado cover, this issue's cover was done very early on, according to the J.G. Jones blog. Like the Red Tornado cover, it's a lovely piece of work. And like the Red Tornado cover, it's not actually a scene that happens in the story itself--even symbolically, this time. As Jones notes, the random tentacles are the sign of a Cthulhu-like horror, and F. Faust doesn't represent any kind of profound too-much-for-senses-to-bear unknown--he's ultimately just a jerk with a tall hat and (as this issue points out) a thing about fingers. (But speaking of rubbery stretchy things: wouldn't Ralph's finger & chest just stretch instead of being severed/punctured?)

Oh yes: the Montoya plot! Well, we all knew she was going to say "good question" at some point, but this was a crisp little scene anyway. It even connects thematically with the Ralph material, in a way. Montoya and Ralph are the two characters in 52 for which identity is really important: Ralph has been losing himself and falling to pieces (since he defined himself by his relationship with Sue), and Montoya has essentially been blank for a while, as everyone makes sure to keep reminding her (to ask "what would Montoya do?" may be to not get an answer). But I'm intrigued by the idea of her somehow turning her blankness into her strength: does her facelessness make her a Woman Without Qualities? An Unknown Soldier? A Human Target? A Proxy? A Yankee Doodle? As one wag on the DC boards put it: Next Question.

No page-by-page notes this week, since there's really not a lot to point out other than that Ralph drinks with his right hand but shoots with his left, and that Green Arrow looks like he's got his eyes crossed in that last panel. Also: if you're at New York Comic-Con this weekend, I'll be around; I'm moderating the CEO 2007 Outlook panel on Friday morning (during the industry-only part of the Con) and the How To Draw Heartache panel on Saturday morning at 11 AM.

54 Comments:

At 8:16 PM, Blogger Thomas L. Strickland said...

But you have to admit ... until Neron shows up, the Ralph/Faust fight is so incredibly satisfying.

"Because Faust ... I'm a detective." That's a keeper.

But I was really hoping that the "Anselmo Case" reference had actual roots. Dang.

 
At 8:34 PM, Blogger Rick Jones, really said...

You know, I've been. . . all right with all the death and destruction since IDENTITY CRISIS. Really. But this ending just stinks. It makes no sense. If Ralph wanted to get back together with Sue, and thought the only way to do that was through suicide, why even bother with a wishing gun? Why not just kill himself? Then he's with Sue.

Leaving that little logic hole aside, the actual action -- right up to Ralph committing suicide by Neron -- was actually sort of satisfying. At least we got to see Ralph back at the top of his game once again. If only for a -- maybe -- last time.

 
At 9:44 PM, Blogger Derek said...

Okay, I know you made it up, but I really, really want to read that Comic #1.

 
At 9:50 PM, Blogger Tom Foss said...

I don't think Ralph's story is quite over. As Mr. Wolk said, Felix Faust is out and about OYL, so it looks like the devil might have to make a deal with the detective. After all, Ralph said that he "changed the wish," and I didn't catch any reference to what he changed it to. I wouldn't be surprised if it were "I want to be with Sue, alive, and with no strings attached."

Had he made a deal with Neron before the death, he would have been indebted to Neron, but now the demon needs something from Ralph, and the control is in Ralph's hands.

As far as puncturing the rubber-man, this is magic, after all.

 
At 12:13 AM, Blogger Rob S. said...

I thought using his severed finger as a rubber band to shoot the ring through him was really clever. Not sure if it would work... but cool nonetheless.

 
At 12:14 AM, Blogger Brian said...

Is anyone else finding the delights of this comic when it was all mysteries and a thickening sense of possibilities fading when things are actually brought to a conclusion? I've found the wrapups of both Steel and Ralph's stories deeply unsatisfying--as if there were no way they could live up to all the interesting things we could have amused ourselves guessing about how everything might fall together, or be switched up in compelling ways.

 
At 12:19 AM, Blogger MC said...

I really dug this conclusion, even though the others left something to be desired. I feel like everything (except the Anselmo Case gun) was, in fact, right there, and that always makes the conclusion to a mystery satisfying. The Booster Gold thing, on the other hand, was in some ways the opposite. The Phantom Zone Projector wasn't ever mentioned anywhere in 52, and so it was really out of left field. There's also the problem of there being no revelation on Booster's ancestor. Did he die? Did Rip/Booster save him? And just who IS Skeets, anyway?!

Too many questions unanswered. But with the exception of his death, Ralph's conclusion was very well-done, I thought.

 
At 2:20 AM, Anonymous andy g said...

Anyone catch the promo illustration for DC's new weekly "Countdown"?

Standard group shot running towards the reader, featuring a pretty comprehensive roll call of DC's current continuity.

Amongst the group?

Steel
Adam Strange
Black Adam
Starfire

So they'll be fine, then. Cheers DC.

 
At 3:54 AM, Blogger Filby said...

I think that the Anselmo bit would've felt like less of a cop-out if they'd actually printed the "I wish I was with Sue again" line back in Week 1. Greg Rucka should know better.

Re: Severed finger, Neron's a low-level cosmic entity, he can do what he wants, physics be damned.

I'm a little perplexed about Ralph's reason for dying. His whole plan was to die so he could trap Neron in Fate's Tower? I dun get it.

 
At 3:57 AM, Blogger Filby said...

Oh, also (and I'm sorry for the double post), I have to say that despite the unsatisfying ending, that "Gotcha!" panel gave me goosebumps.

 
At 5:37 AM, Blogger James said...

Well, in a Christian mythological structure, Suicide is a ticket to Hell, and presumably, Sue is in Heaven. So, to get there, Ralph needs someone else to end his life.

This was touched on in Morrison's JLA arc when Zauriel had to return to Heaven.

 
At 6:16 AM, Blogger ZC said...

What's interesting about this issue is that the ending was radically changed at some point between the scripts I have and the final issue. I have to go back and read it tos ee what was changed (eventually I'll post the old script on my blog or send it to Douglas or something), but I remember distinctly that Ralph's death was different (he certainly wasn't killed by his wedding ring), I don't think Neron/Faust getting trapped in the tower was even on the table, and there was some big to-do about that a polaroid he's holding in one panel (that originally we wouldn't be able to see and we wouldn't actually see until issue 52).

So yeah I'll get back with that.

 
At 7:32 AM, Anonymous Zombie said...

Maybe the Anselmo case gun is one of those anomalies from the multi-verse. It never existed and was never suppose to exist, but it exists so the multi-verse is back!

 
At 8:13 AM, Blogger Emmet Matheson said...

I just want to say how much I enjoyed the art this issue. I think there's been a definite effort to keep the art sorta bland, for consistency's sake, throughout the run. So even though RALPH NOOOOOO!, still style, WHEEEE!

And yeah, like Idenity Crisis, the answer will pale in comparison to the question. Oh, see what I've done there?

 
At 9:03 AM, Anonymous Mario Di Giacomo said...

Guys, guys... I can't believe you missed this.

If Ralph is dead, and neither Neron nor Faust can leave the Tower...

How did his ring get onto Sue's tombstone?

 
At 9:48 AM, Blogger Squashua said...

The climax features Ralph playing a round of Russian roulette with Big Tony.

OH GOD I WET MYSELF LAUGHING.

Actually, no. I just made all of that up.

YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! D:
That was such an awesome visual.
Bastard.

 
At 10:15 AM, Blogger Garret said...

I have seen a street cartoon around my neighborhood in San Francisco, "Got Epiphany." If anyone wants a copy of the picture, happy to send.

 
At 10:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Guys, guys... I can't believe you missed this.

If Ralph is dead, and neither Neron nor Faust can leave the Tower...

How did his ring get onto Sue's tombstone?


Glib answer #1: It's a mystery!
Glib answer #2: It's magic!

It's a nice touch either way.

 
At 11:37 AM, Blogger Eric said...

Or the wedding ring that killed him wasn't actually his? The mystery deepens....

Well, not really. I agree with Brian. The journey has been more fun than the conclusion thus far.

I really wish that you'd said "Ash Wednesday Fools!" after your false opening. I also wish, like Squashua, that you'd create that comic.

 
At 12:24 PM, Anonymous will said...

We saw Booster die - and then get better.
We saw Animal Man die - then get better.
Why assume Ralph's death is anymore permanent?

Sure the Question kicked the bucket, but he doesn't have 47 years of DC publishing history, wasn't a member of 3 incarnations of the Justice League, etc.

Ralph's story is not over methinks.

 
At 1:21 PM, Blogger Emmet Matheson said...

Didn't Batman, in one of those embarrassing looking at photos of superfolks scenes in the current JLA run, say that Ralph was "hrm, unavailable"?

("hrm" added)

speaking of "hrm", more Watchmen riffage in the Montoya scene with all the gaze into the abyss Nietzche bizz.

 
At 2:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ookla the Mok here-
I don't think Ralph's plan has played out yet. If all he wanted to do was go to heaven, there are far less complex ways to do it than this, not involving suicide. Pick a fight with Metallo, Doomsday, or whoever's available, open a hot dog stand in Baghdad, steal from a loan shark, etc. Again, I don't think this story's done yet, it was just a good editorial spot to stop telling it for this episode. To escape, Neron must resurrect him, and as someone pointed out, Ralph holds the cards, so maybe he'll ask for the wife back too or something. Obviously he has given his scheme a lot of thought, and I think there are some twists still ahead. If Neron has the power to ressurect Sue as part of a bargain with Ralph (interesting if she's in Heaven and not hell, or is she?), then he could bring back Ralph too, and it looks like he'll have to. At least Ralph shaved off that stupid beard, so the various artists can make him look a little more like the character we remember, not "desparate bearded street crazy guy".

 
At 3:03 PM, Blogger Keith said...

we all saw it coming, but that panel with the elongated surprise punch was priceless

 
At 3:39 PM, Blogger Josh said...

Not much to say this week. Certainly not the worst way to wrap up the story, but as others have pointed out that there is probably a bit more story regarding Felix/Ralph to tell.

If there isn't then the new Dr. Fate (whoever they are) is going to be really surprised to find the corpse of an ex-Justice Leaguer in his tower, not to mention Neron. Talk about a housewarming gift.

Animal Man next week! Animal Man next week!

 
At 4:16 PM, Anonymous Don said...

I think the thing that bothers me most is last week's interview with one of the creators, who unequivocably stated that Ralph wasn't using gingold....

Or did I miss that explanation somewhere?

 
At 4:51 PM, Blogger Don said...

Actually, there IS a precedent for a "wishing gun" in comics, and pretty recently too - the "God Gun" that Mr. Glum used last year in Savage Dragon to take over the world.

Strange place to crib from, but...

 
At 8:26 PM, Blogger Squashua said...

...bothers me most is last week's interview with one of the creators, who ... stated that Ralph wasn't using gingold....

Are you serious?

Really.

Do you really think that Stephen King writes a novel and then goes around telling his readers the ending? Why do you think there's so much secrecy around the Harry Potter books?

It's because at least for most people, maybe not yourself, confirming suspicions regarding a long-built-up plot-point before a book is out is equivalent to spoiling the storyline. If you know everything about a storyline before going in, a MYSTERY storyline to be precise, what would be the attraction?

Hence, of course they're not going just reveal/confirm a major plot point to Joe-interviewer.

 
At 8:34 PM, Blogger Tom Foss said...

I think the thing that bothers me most is last week's interview with one of the creators, who unequivocably stated that Ralph wasn't using gingold....

Or did I miss that explanation somewhere?

Misdirection? Misleading? It's kind of like how they told us half a dozen different dates for the big Supernova reveal, then said "nope, here it is." Or how they said "Booster is dead. D-E-A-D." Don't trust the interviews.

 
At 10:27 PM, Blogger Eric said...

Then maybe the thing is, you know, don't have the interviews where you promise to answer questions.

52 is set up as a mystery in many aspects, and the creators not playing fair with the at-home audience throws off part of that fun.

 
At 2:06 AM, Anonymous andy g said...

As far as the gingold denial goes, nothing wrong with a bit of misdirection, all part of the fun. But play fair.

When it was confirmed that Booster was dead, the reveal confirmed that technically he was. Not so with the gingold, just a straight lie, which along with the deus ex machina wishing gun feels a bit of a cheat.

I certainly didn't get that "ah, of course" feeling I got with the Booster reveal. More of a "eh?".

 
At 6:24 AM, Blogger Squashua said...

IIRC, when consumed directly, Gingold is toxic. That's why all the rubbermen drank it diluted in soda. I'm pretty sure Ralph can't drink it like others consume Iocane powder.

Insert Doogie-esque link to a Princess Bride reference.

 
At 6:26 AM, Blogger Squashua said...

My point vanished. My point being: Gingold == toxic. Alcohol is technically toxic to the body (killin' those brain cells). Therefore Gingold can be likened to alcohol or was maybe (at times) diluted with alcohol.

Like drinking vodka with a Red Bull chaser.

 
At 8:58 AM, Blogger James said...

Dibny's powers were (at least initially) activated by concentrated extract of Gingold. His metagene allows him to tolerate the substance in a higher dose than the contortionists who inspired him.

 
At 9:58 AM, Anonymous Don said...

What Andy G said.

 
At 10:06 AM, Anonymous randy meyer said...

So DC creators have been lying when they said Ralph has not been drinking Gingold? Good. If they had been saying that he had been, it would have lost that element of coolness I thought this issue had when Ralph stretched for the first time since, what, issue 1 of Identity Crisis?

I thought this past issue was great. Definitely one of my favorites of the series. And the fact that Darick Robertson drew the issue was an added bonus for me too. And I've been enjoying the series immensely so far.

I also loved the Supernova/Booster revelation issue and the Steel vs. Luthor battle. The 'slow pacing' has not bothered me one bit. I will miss this series once its over, but I look forward to adding Countdown to my pull-list.

 
At 10:29 AM, Blogger Squashua said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 10:31 AM, Blogger Squashua said...

Doug Moderates a Major Marvel Announcement

 
At 10:42 AM, Blogger MC said...

Just a clarification: gingo is toxic. Gingold contains gingo extract. Ralph would likely HAVE to drink Gingold like a fish in order to gain powers from it, since, IIRC, he uses a more concentrated gingo extract to gain his powers.

 
At 11:23 AM, Blogger Emmet Matheson said...

Wow, is that the first time one of the big two companies has even acknowledged cbrs?

 
At 11:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought Ralph traded his wedding ring for a link in that one sea-monster's chain a few issues back. How'd it show up here? What am I missing?

 
At 1:47 PM, Blogger MC said...

He traded that wicker ring-or-whatever-it-was. This is the ring stolen, we thought, by Devem and his crew.

 
At 6:09 AM, Blogger Mark said...

With the Ralph not drinking gingold thing - it never needs to be gingold until this very issue, since he doesn't need to stretch. So last week it's whisky/water/whatever; this week, since his plan is kicking in, he switches to his power juice.

 
At 10:20 AM, Blogger E said...

Did Ralph wish the multiverse back into existence so that he could be with Sue?

 
At 2:29 PM, Anonymous Don said...

Nah, he wished to be with Sue. Just like those stories where you wish for something, but you don't get it the way you thought, Ralph got his wish; it was just a convoluted journey.

Mark had a good explanation above. If his explanation is the correct one, then I stand corrected: The creators did not lie, they actually did misdirect.

 
At 9:04 AM, Blogger Rich D said...

Sorry to see that you were joking about the DAISY COMICS thing because as I was reading myt mind was already reeling with what a Batman story that puts a positive light on guns would be about!


By the way, is the S. S. Van Dine that you quoted the smae guy who became a director for MGM, directing the first tthree THIN MAN movies?

 
At 7:08 PM, Blogger Douglas Wolk said...

In the Dept. of Pure Comedy Gold: It turns out there actually was a "Daisy Comics."

 
At 6:58 AM, Blogger Squashua said...

Oot. I just figured out the joke.

For those playing at home, say "Daisy" aloud with emphasis on separating the two syllables. For best results, it might help to speak in a harsh "Southern" or "Midwest Farmer" accent.

Clever, Doug.

 
At 8:16 AM, Blogger Douglas Wolk said...

Not an intentional joke--!

 
At 9:10 AM, Blogger Squashua said...

Scary. Almost SOBEK == 52 scary.

 
At 10:27 AM, Blogger jgd3 said...

Wow, you really had me with the Daisy Comics thing. I really do trust these writers so much that as I was reading this issue I just assumed that there was an Anselmo Case back in the mists of the Silver Age, and that Waid or Morrison had once again turned their comics OCD conditions to good story use.

Seeing now that the wishing gun was just pulled out of one of their asses as a deus ex machina...well that just isn't fair.

But then again, maybe the Ralph's whole story about the gun is apocryphal (like your crafty Daisy Comics story) in order to serve some plan we haven't uncovered yet. After all, as far as we've seen Ralph didn't fire the gun in Week One. How then did Ralph make a wish with out pulling the trigger? While the gun certainly pinned Helmet-Faust to the wall, was that the result of a wish, or something else?

I'm not sure we have the whole story yet....

 
At 10:39 AM, Blogger Squashua said...

Week 43: Anyone else hungry?

 
At 12:23 PM, Blogger Matthew E said...

(Admittedly, some of the others are not terribly useful, and one is outright terrible: "No Chinaman must figure in the story." So much for the Perfect Physician--!)

Actually this was because there were too many pulp-mystery stories of the time using Chinese people as villains for no better reason than, you know, Chinese people are like that. The rule was there to discourage this lazy and unenlightened practice.

 
At 5:28 PM, Blogger Freudian Slip said...

The ending was the best part!
Matt

 
At 12:08 PM, Blogger MC said...

Turns out, the Anselmo Case was a reference to The Life Story of the Flash, where Barry Allen briefly mentions working on said case. This easily explains why it ended up in the Flash Museum, as well.

 

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