Another Rejected Coatney Classic editorial submitted to the Comics Buyers’ Guide that’s always fun to revisit from the 1999 or 2000 era around the time when I had my first couple of Deposit Man books out. (By the way I plugging my first Deposit Man book- indications are that this is definitely something I wrote in 2000) I’m posting a few oldies to adjust to a more timely schedule of posting all new blogs on this site- roughly about two a month on a bi-weekly schedule. After this posting, I probably won’t be posting the next all new one until February 29th to focus on the wonderful bevy of comic book based shows on network and cable television and how they’re performing ratings wise.
Hey, remember some time ago when I was venting some hostility towards the media and their misconstrued theories of how we should all point the blame of those horrible Littleton massacres on the all the violent movies, video games, television, and comic books in the Oh So (?) column a few months back ? Remember how I warned you all that we could be in for a bumpy ride ? Well, something I caught recently on a new fall TV show, although totally fictionalized, could possibly set those wheels in motion, or get us jammed once again in the proverbial pothole.
Throughout my personal 35 year history in the powers of comic book reading observation, I have come to the conclusion that the combination of the television written drama and the comic book culture are as synonymous as oil and water. A wet feather to a fan. A bowl of freshly chocolate dipped Bavarian pretzels after washed down with a bottle of Perrier and a handful of amphetamines. Or, better still, whatever malodorous effort Chris Carter has put into Harsh Realm to ruin all our future Friday nights. If you want the combination of respect in both mediums watch Batman Beyond. Animation is our only salvation.
Now that I have finished dipping my chocolate into your peanut butter with these asinine metaphoric comparisons, I will now state my reason of ire. In fact, allow me a few seconds to rewind for you the tape of this episode of a new fall show, a spin-off, if you will of the hit rated and somewhat provocative, if not sometimes anal retentive format, Law & Order– aptly titled; Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Both series are produced by Dick Wolf films and are first run on NBC. The episode we’ll be discussing about will also have a second run on the USA Network in two weeks from whence I write this.
We cue to a courtroom scene and I do apologize that I am no Bob Ingersoll, so my mechanics on courtroom procedures or legal terms may be a little on the untechnical side. (Bob Ingersoll used to have a weekly column in Comic Buyer’s Guide called the Law is An Ass in which he would compare comic book court room scenes with real life courtroom scenarios.)
(Look, it was the 1990’s. You just had to be there, ok?)
A young black female, a Detective Jefferies testifies before a jury on a rape case. The lawyer for the defense states in her argument that the detective has sufficient evidence to charge a father with rape under the parental responsibility code, even though his thirteen year old son committed the crime while the father, who has never met the victim, was at work.
The detective stresses that evidence found through a warrant served at the residence showed that the child was raised in an atmosphere which condoned rape.
The lawyer continues mockingly to inquire further about what the warrant turned up: Did they find Playboy ? Did they find Penthouse ? Any sort of X-rated video tape ? No, none of the above. What was really found at the residence were some comic books. Comic books. Can you believe that ? Please allow your gasp of surprise, right at this moment, for there are none to waste.
The prosecutor then rises to cross-examine the detective; holds up a copy of said perpetuating manga style periodical and asks if detective Jefferies recognizes the book that was seized at defendant’s home.
‘Yes, she responds, ‘it is called Rapeman.’
“And what kind of stories are you likely to read in Rapeman?” inquires the prosecutor.
The detective goes on with her assumption that “it is about the adventures of a high school boy who by night becomes a masked superhero he settles old scores with women by raping them” ( So far, I see it as a hit potential as an Image comic).
“But, it’s in Japanese.” remarks the prosecutor, making an odd revelation, since she is of Asian ethnicity herself. (And why they employ an Asian actress to utter such a line with such mindless naiveté is beyond me.)
“It’s pretty clear by the imagery what’s going on there. The stories all end with women being beaten and raped by the hero” rattles the detective. (However, please note that famed British comic book writer Alan Moore had already beaten these manga posers in the pages of Watchmen a decade or so before with the Comedian– yes, that is a name of a superhero – having his way with Silk Spectre bent over on a pool table pulling her leotards down around to her ankles to have his way with her poopy hole before getting a few good smacks in to the face.)
And it is here, that The prosecutor goes in for the final wrap up; the clincher, you might say: “And you thought by these pictures that it was proper to charge the father with accessory to rape”
“Yes Ma’am” says Detective Jefferies with a pilfering smugness you could practically eat with a fork. Before the act bamfs into the next scene (the main story dealt with models being found murdered and all
suspicion pointing to an agency being run by Bebe Neuwirth), it seems that there is a glow of triumph on Detective Jefferies’ face. It’s too bad that we all don’t get to share in on the joke.
Was that supposed to be entertainment? Beats me because throughout the rest of the hour, there is no more mention of the case. Mainly the episode dealt with getting actress, Bebe Neuwirth in handcuffs. It was a smattering of an idea gone to waste that first winded up on the cutting room floor and changed its mind to be reinserted in. No rhyme. No reason. No indication in last week’s teaser that the theme of ” dirty comic books ” was going to be explored. If you were flipping through the channels and didn’t know what was on NBC, it could have been easily mistaken for one of the those ” the More You Know ” spots that feature prime time cast members usually trying to smack us on the side of the head about the pitfalls of drug abuse, child abuse, or educating yourself in a public library. You would have thought Detective Jefferies was doing a community service warning us about the dangerous influence of manga. If it had been dragged out past the three or so minutes, I would have been interested to find out if the corpus delicti in question ( i.e, Rapeman comic books ) were responsible for any other crimes in the tri-state area.
Could be that some producers are harboring some sort of hidden agenda on comic books. Maybe because comic books are becoming less and less of a disposable product that television execs are too busy shifting blame over the debacle concerning the Columbine High School massacre, that they’ve resorted to be taking potshots at what they may consider a ” lower class of art form ” If that being the case, then I suggest that they try to explain how super heroics and rape have become synonymous with each other? It sounds like a rejected idea of a pitched plot to the He-Man Woman’s Hater’s Club.
Or, the possibility of mind control could exist in a New York state of mind it could be a gesture of appreciation for Mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s no holds barred approach conservative clean-up and crackdown on the city’s spotty activities such as the rebirth of Times Square and the Brooklyn Museum’s exhibition of the Virgin Mary with dung all over her face. Maybe the producers are dropping hints or trying to help steer him in the next directional vendetta: cleaning up those filthy Marvel Comics. Either that, or Dick Wolk Films are planting subliminal messages in all the parents’ heads, telling them to how to start chaperoning their children’s buying habits.
Of course, in our realm of Marvel What Ifs and DCElseworlds scenarios Rapeman could very well be a top seller. A million plus sales to helm stem the tide of the industry’s self spiraling tailspin in a world where Danzig’s Verotik Comics once ruled supreme ! But’s it not, it is now a Pokemon friendly world and I implore anyone working on Law and Order: SVU to please somehow get in touch with me or this publication and explain what that tiny segment was all about. I just can’t let something so insipid like this pass beneath my notice.
You realize if Frederic Wertham were alive today, he’d be out on a wet soggy playing field, kicking around a soccer ball and then succeeding at his damnest to scoring a goal. All I know is, that writers of episodic television’s preconception of what comics books are better start shaping up ! Do some research ! If we’re all going to be holding hands and be building a bridge to the next century ( because maybe Clinton has somehow managed to slip over the railing ? ), we’re going to have to stop with these silly degenerate generalizations once and for all.
(Lock your windows and doors ! Cary Coatney’s Deposit Man Kaleidoscopic Medicine Freak Show will be heading your way someday soon!!)
To whom it may concern: Maggie, Brent, Or John Miller: I’m trying to pitch this as an editorial.