Sure, comic books might be seen as low-rent amusement for subliterates and children, but that doesn't mean they can't tackle the big questions from time to time. Questions like, what is beauty, or is there such a thing as free will, or if there's life after death. And since the vast majority of comic books *are* actually low-rent amusment for subliterates and children, comic books fail spectacularly at even coming to grips with these questions. That's what's happening here in this week's installment of Stupid Comics, culled from a 1962 issue of "Forbidden Worlds."
Thalvin Okbar! Scientist, visionary, suntan enthusiast! Does HIS strange ray hold the secret to eternal virtue and goodness? Or is it just a long-term sales pitch for Ray-Ban sunglasses?
"I wonder, could I create a ray that makes people pure evil? Why not? What's the worst that could happen? Also, watch me drink this!"
Hipster Grandpa throws on his shades and gets ready to blast his faithful servants with the new "Evil Ray," even though they have no idea what's happening. I suppose informed consent isn't a thing that happens on Planet Mandro.
IMMEDIATELY our subjects are filled with pure hate, obvious from the giant hair and the furious eyebrows! Sadly it's all too much for Thalvin Okbar, who promptly exits our story, probably headed out to cosplay as "Master Roshi" from "Dragonball".
Mandro becomes a total disaster area after about five or ten minutes of Malin & Ogra Evil - explosions! Cattle mutilations! More explosions! Kinda makes me think that maybe giving people exposure to a little evil on a regular basis might have been a good idea.
I don't know what it's like on their planet, but here on Earth all Malin & Ogra would have to do is show up in (name of city) and tell everybody (name of city's sports team) won. Instant chaos!
So that evil couple was out leading revolts and destroying the world, and they still managed to carve out a little gettin' busy time! Good for them.
Can evil be inherited, like eye color or freckles or Beatlemania? Or are we taught to be evil by the environment in which we're raised, an environment perhaps filled with crime, with vice, with the Beatles? That's the question this terrible comic story seeks to answer. But first, let's find a planet for little whatsisname to grow up on.
Look, are you guys going to actually check out other planets, or are you just going to wander around the Natural History Museum all day? Come on!
Wait a minute, there's a "leave a child, take a child" policy here? I've been doing this ALL WRONG
We're closing in on the dramatic climax of our little story here, and that means that we need to get every final piece into place. That means we need another reminder that there's no possible way that that baby we dropped off on Earth could possibly be evil. And that we have a machine that we could use to check up on that baby who's now all grown up. And we track the DNA of everyone born on our planet, and we can spy on them at any time with atomic oculars, which is frankly kind of creepy, and would be a real setup for an ACTUAL science fiction story, not this warmed-over hackwork here.
Are you ready? Are you prepared to see how this kid turned out? In a few seconds you'll see him on the screen! I'm sure he's terrific! Evil can't be inherited and we're going to keep reminding you of that! Now who do you think this child will turn out to have grown up to be? Hopefully not an English teacher because that last sentence will drive him crazy. Is it Elvis? I think it's Elvis.
LOOK AT THAT! That innocent little bald space alien child turned out to be HITLER! Yes, we Earthlings bear NO RESPONSIBILITY for the horrors of Naziism, it was all the fault of Thalvin Okbar and his Evil Ray. What a relief.
So, in conclusion, yes, comic books CAN tackle big philosophical questions such as what is the nature of humanity. It's just that they shouldn't.
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