0. Stupid Comics

IN OUR LAST EPISODE... we thrilled to the black and white 1978 exploits of Cobalt Blue, the mysterious super soldier from the future who arrived in our time to do a little posing and some zapping with his ski-goggle mounted blasters. And as is the case with most black and white small-press also-ran super-people, Cobalt Blue never had an issue #2 and soon faded into the back issue bins of history. Surely that would be the last we'd see of this cyan crusader, this cerulean combatant? Yes?

No! No sir! A mere eleven years later Cobalt Blue would return, blasting through what appears to be a solar system with a serious case of orbital dysfunction, his super goggles and tight blue outfit as scintillating as always, ready to do whatever it is Cobalt Blue does best! Maybe the back cover will tell us what's going on.

Oh good, we get to travel back to the Old West and see a grizzled prospector as he watches Cobalt Blue, the Last Venturion, rise from his hibernation chamber in the lost city of Spelendor! Rumor has it that this is the startling space saga of the most colorful space traveller of all. As long as you define "most colorful" as "blue."

Worried your readers won't quite get the full importance of your tagline? Just print it LOUDER

The real startling part is the $6.95 cover price, that's what's startling me. Back in MY day Cobalt Blue comic books were seventy-five cents! Anyway, let's get on with our story, which as you'll recall, is set in the Old West.

And by "the Old West," we mean the kind that has Ford Explorers, Jeeps, and trucker caps. Anyway. Moving on.

Grow a crazy beard, whack a bunch of rocks, talk to your mule; it's easy to see why so many young people went into prospecting.

(Moe Szyslak) What an eyesore!

Nothing like finding an enormous underground city filled with dead people in tubes- this is why Jed Wiley got into prospecting in the first place. Historically, the dead people in tubes price per ounce has never been higher!

When all you have is a pick, every problem looks like... something you can smash with a pick.

Cobalt Blue's space visor adjusts to auto-translate all languages, even "prospector." (that can of Coke that's been jostling around in Jed's saddlebag all day as he wanders through the 100+ degree heat of the desert sounds pretty tempting, don't it?)

Cobalt Blue's space visor also can be used to start and stop complicated electronic equipment like this master life-support monitor. Why tap a button with a finger when you can use your space visor?

One thing is certain - the Venturion supply of Zip-a-Tone(tm) has not been affected!

Golden Rod, Red Wood, Brown James, Scarlett Johannsen, Goldblum Jeff - they're all tragically gone.

The Venturion Code does not allow for tears, old man! Also, the Venturion Visor means that even *if* he was bawling like a baby, no one could tell.

But hark! Thirty miles away, another super city rises from the depths of the Earth with a RUMBLE and a KE-THRACK and a THORM. Yes, a THORM.

Looks like the two cities had a thriving dead people tube thing going on! Say, imagine having the dead people tube concession for that part of the state. Pure profit!

And wouldn't you know it, there's a last one of these guys still alive, and his name is Grawn, which is a combination of "grin" and "yawn," which is also the reaction your typical comic book fan had when told they were bringing back "Cobalt Blue," after it was explained to this comic book fan exactly what "Cobalt Blue" was in the first place.

Meanwhile back in the other now risen buried city, Cobalt Blue uses his visor to start the Exposition Machine and explain the backstory that Cobalt Blue's creators have spent the last ten years rewriting. You know how you come up with a character in high school and you keep trying to make that character work even though nobody else is really that interested in it? You know how you keep reworking the story and tweaking the concept and playing around with it? Every creator has that early character they always want to make happen. And usually it's not going to happen, and you can't make it happen. Maybe Cobalt Blue's visor will activate the "get a clue" switch.

Those poor Spelendorians thought they could lead a peaceful happy life on prehistoric Earth with their dinosaur pals. But no. The Gruels had to ruin the party. In fact their very name can ruin any party. Try it sometime. "Hey, who's up for some Gruel?" Watch the fun vanish!

And so in its defense Spelendor developed a first class sugar subsitute great for baking or any other sweetening purpose. They also genetically engineered an army of super soldiers in a wide array of two designer colors - Painfully White and Three Token Black Guys.

The zapping went on for days and days! Just a lot of buff guys beating the holy hell out of each other! It was AWESOME!

By the way, if you are wondering if there are any women appearing anywhere in this comic, the answer is NO

So what do you do when the punching isn't enough, why, you hydraulically lower your cities into the "protective bowels" of the Earth, and then you blow the entire surface of the planet to hell with atomic bombs. Really, you have no other choice.

Two ultra-scientific alien civilizations with super weapons capable of sterilizing the entire Earth, brought to the surface by one old prospector randomly whacking something with his pick. Who says the elderly have nothing to contribute?

By the way it turns out "Thorm" is the name of the Gruel city, and not a sound effect. Well, it could be both, I guess.

Uh oh, looks like there's one Gruel left and his giant fighting robot is on the way! How did they know that they'd wake up in the 1980s, when giant fighting robots were all the rage? That's foresight.

Friend Jed, it is best that you stay here. Because... you're an elderly man and we are in giant fighting robots that can crush you like a bug.

Two behemoths, from beyond the imagining of man, firing energy beams and missles, and sometimes missiles too. Pew! Pew pew pew!

Oh come on Jed, why are you interrupting their zapping and blasting? Things were just getting good. You didn't like that town much anyway!

Like all of the greatest, most startling space sagas, this one is also going to climax with two dudes punching it out in the street. Because science fiction, that's why!

I imagine old Jed here has waited his whole life to finally fulfill his lifelong dream of being the grizzled sidekick to a two-fisted hero. Consarn it look out for that dagnab yella-bellied sidewinder by cracky!

And since this is, of course, an American super-people comic book, their fist fights are filled with words, everybody talking a mile a minute as they punch and punch.

Talk talk talk, all about how someone will pay and how someone will destroy all of you and how someone will do that only over someone's dead body. Maybe concentrate on the fighting instead, we might bring this in under 48 pages? Huh? No? No.

And when all looks lost, suddenly Cobalt Blue remembers he has the super space ski goggles zapping-visor, which he uses to zap Grawn's head clean off. Why didn't you do this six pages ago, you Karl Lagerfeld-looking doofus?

Honestly it looks like Grawn is kind of enjoying this.

With the last of the Gruels defeated, all that's left is for our hero to blast off to his home planet. But if we ever need Cobalt Blue again, he'll return! Maybe with an even more astounding backstory!

So long, you blue-hued goofball! Have fun blasting through outer space to the graveyard of abandoned super-hero characters, and don't come back until you can whip up an origin story that involves at least four solar systems, two alternate dimensions, and at least one female speaking part!

(Thanks and a tip of the Mr Kitty hat to Jeffrey Weinstein for the Karl Lagerfeld reference!)

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