With a Jolt, My Mind Awakens…Chapter Five: Godzilla Coffee and Doomsday Sandwich

Sports fans, “Sudden Death” is not just a Jean Claude Van Damme Masterpiece…

Two days ago, WPIX Channel 11 was replaced by a “free preview” of the Style Channel. Tribune Broadcasting and Cablevision (My God, Cablevision has gone from face-to-heel-to-face-to-heel so dang often, the cyclone of transformations would send Lex Luger right into sainthood!) have entered the Octagon over, WHODATHUNKIT, dollars and cents. To the readers outside of the Tri-State area, this disappearance holds little, if any, significance, but WPIX Channel 11 has the same regional iconic status as Philly 57 and WGN in Chicago…

Yeah, these stations took the checks from Warner Bros. to become syndicated hoodlum gangs for the WB Network/CW Network, but its previous incarnation was everything you could greedily desire in the Pop Culture Universe. I fondly remember eagerly awaiting “Shock-tober”, the month-long marathon of horror movies aired by Channel 11, limited to those movies that barely blipped on the cinematic radar, movies that reached “cult” status without collecting worthwhile revenue, and movies that probably should not have been made or were produced via a weekend-long binge of Pabst Blue Ribbon and Twinkies: NIGHT OF THE CREEPS! HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH! THE BLOB! KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE! DEADLY FRIEND! RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD, PART TWO! PROM NIGHT! FRIDAY THE 13TH PART III! PHANTASM! My favorite:

WPIX Channel 11 was my place for Scooby-Doo and Superfriends re-runs! 6 A.M. with the Little Rascals! The half-hour allotment for the 20-minute Little Rascals/Our Gang shorts was filled by Courageous Cat & Minute Mouse cartoons! The Great Space Coaster! Voltron! Godzilla movies every Saturday at noon! Tales from the Darkside every Saturday night! Hazy incomplete inksplatters of memory of the Sid & Marty Krofft shows, like H.R. Punfstuf, Sigmund & the Sea Monsters, and Far-Out Space Nuts (Bob Denver accidentally launched into space with one jumpsuit and 1000 alien encounters ahead of him??!?! THE MATH DEMANDS UNBRIDLED SUCCESS!) THE GORGEOUS LADIES OF WRESTLING!!!!! HEY! I was That Kid in the Neighborhood who was raised without Cable Television Entertainment – my sole exposure to any professional wrestling other than the WWF was Joe Pedicino & Gordon Solie every Saturday morning on “Pro Wrestling USA”!

You perceive my diminished spirits. Bad Karma Train’s Comin’ for Ya, Cablevision. Set ‘er straight with Tribune before November – If you tell 23 million residents of the Tri-State Area that there will be NO “March of the Wooden Soldiers” on Thanksgiving Day, FOLLOWED by the “The Odd Couple” marathon…. oh, the carnage will re-write the textbooks.

Ah, the vein in my brain is going BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP KAPOW — I shall close this entry into the Pseudo-Scientific Scrutiny of the Domain of Pop Culture by reminding the Reasonable Public of a More Relaxing (translation: Exuberantly Homicidal) Reality: We may be ready to discard Robin Williams. We are not willing to forgive “RV”, “Father’s Day”, “Man of the Year”, and “Old Dogs”. We can hoist his hairy petard via crane over the jaws of the Sharktopus. I present my recommendation; catch episode 200 of “Law and Order: SVU”, entitled “Authority”, watch the two movies below featured, and re-consider.

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With a Jolt, My Mind Awakens…Chapter One: If You Don’t Shut Your Vomitspout while the Avengers are Talking, I’m Gonna Ultimately Nullify You.

ARE YOU AWARE …. that Barnes & Noble is Charybdis!? The redoubtable suck-ya-under-to-Hades Greek Whirlpool has its webbed feet (how does a whirlpool grew webbed feet? Do like Zevon say – roll with the punches!) firmly implanted in your Upper Middle Class! “No, we don’t HAAAAVVVVEEE ‘The October Country’ by Ray Bradbury in the store, but we can *INSERT MEGALOMANIACAL LAUGHTER HERE* ORRRDDERRRRR it for you! MWAHHAHAHAHAHAHA — Just sign your name with this here smokin’ pencil…” By the by, True Believers, never inquire about the potential in-store habitation of Rabelais’ “Gargantua and Pantagruel” and Vern’s “Seagalogy: The Ass-Kicking Films of Steven Seagal” in the same exhalation; you’ll devote the next several minutes cleansing chunks of Exploded Barnes & Noble Bookseller from your Tapout hoodie and Jackass cap…

Good fortune doth shine upon us, tho’, like the highbeams from the Ford Thunderbird adorned with the two (2!) 311 stickers that threatened my existence on the GSP a mite earlier today — Good fortune, good reading, appears in the form of “The Avengers Assemble: An Oral History of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” by Brian Michael Bendis, collecting the ancillary features of Avengers 2010 #1-12 & New Avengers 2010 #1-11. Your favorite heroes are given the extemporaneous sit-down-and-chat treatment ala “I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution” (a delectable misfire) and “Live From New York: An Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live” (self-indulgent indigestion that, naturally, held my attention from Chevy, Dan, and ‘Lushi all the way down to the cast I refer to as Ferrell and Friends). Bendis’ interpretation (yeah, they’re ALL interpretations – This ain’t your momma’s Avengers) demands applause for its creative ambition, if you will kindly excuse the (to me) Thoroughly Bizarre Notion that Captain America, the Vision, and Hawkeye utilize the same grammatical sensibilities in the interview format!?!? Your favorite (and not-so-favorite) heroes are included in this volume, each with his/her memories to share about Kang, the Space Phantom, the Kree/Skrull War, Captain Mar-Vell, and yes, even, Those Damn Hippies, The Uncanny X-Men!!!

I know this book was released earlier this year, so I apologize if the review is not exactly timely. Please comprehend, as comics go, I am still living in the years 1960-1990, before Todd MacFarlane, Rob Liefeld, and Jim Lee surgically excised the Fun outta Superhero Comix! Therefore, this book is a neato bit of candy for a guy who clenched this book in the BRAINSTABBINGLY LAMENTABLE WASTELAND OF THE GRAPHIC NOVELS SECTION OF THE LOCAL B&N and audibly whispered to No One Who Was Listening (a deity like the Watcher, but with Mitch Hedberg’s hairstyle and demeanor), “Please leave the Living Lightning outta this..” Wish Be Granted! The book terminates abruptly in the ret-conned (or is it? what is straight and narrow in Midgard nowadays, anyways!?!?! Keep John Byrne on Speed-Dial!) early 1980s, so you will not read about Starfox, the West Coast Avengers, Captain Marvel (Monica Rambeau), Quasar, the “face turn” of the Sandman, Acts of Vengeance, and even the Beyonder, among other noteworthy character/timelines/events that kept DC Comics huffin’-and-a-puffin’. Perhaps I am, like Sgt. Murtaugh, too old for this @$%&*!, but this sudden Draw of Curtain, End of Story, Final-Look-Around-the-Empty-House-Before-You-Shut-the-Door-on-the-Final-Episode-of-Your-Sitcom is delightfully OK with me.

The Wasp is dizzy, Captain America is occasionally aloof, and, of course, this is really Tony Stark’s book. Enjoy, kids, enjoy…then hit the back issues and swim in the Stuff it All Came From.

GRADE: A-