KC: Okay, I've finally got this recorder working, so if you would both just introduce yourselves for our readers.
EM: How you doin'? I'm Edwin I. Mainway, editor of Johnny Comics.
Buzzi: (giggles) Hi! Oh, I already know you, Eddie!
EM: (sighs) Yes. Yes, you do, Buzzi. He wants you to tell everybody your name.
Buzzi: (noticing KC for the first time) Oh, hiiii! I'm Edwina! Edwina Miller.
KC: Hello. Nice to meet you. Um, why did he call you Buzzi?
Buzzi: Because that's what everybody calls me! Silly!
KC: Okay, Buzzi. Why does everybody call you Buzzi?
Buzzi: (pouts) I dunno. (to Edwin) Do I like bees?
EM: Yes. You like bees. Let's go with that.
Buzzi: (beaming) Oh, good! I like bees!
EM: (aside) It's because of her father. His name was Buzz. It's kind of a family joke.
KC: I can't help but notice that your name is Edwin and hers is Edwina...
EM: We're cousins. Another family joke. (sarcastic) Our dad's were pretty funny guys.
KC: Oookay... So Buzzi, what is your position at Johnny Comics?
Buzzi: (wrapping her gum around her finger) Oh, I like first base!
EM: (slaps his face) Um, no. She's the publisher.
Buzzi: I am?
EM: Yes. I explained that to you last week.
Buzzi: Kewl. (snaps gum) Is that like that Vice President lady?
Buzzi: Do I get to play with mooses? Meeces? Those antlerly things?
KC: (indicating Edwin) Perhaps I should talk to you.
EM: Good idea. Shoot.
Buzzi: NO! Don't shoot the Moosies!
EM: (gives Buzzi a mirror) Here. Play with this for awhile.
Buzzi: Oooo! Shiny!
KC: Anyway... So, Edwin, tell our readers how Johnny Comics will be different than the hundreds of other publishers trying to gain a foothold in the comic book marketplace.
EM: Well, first of all we'll be gong for the BIG BLAST! This initial moment when you pick up the comic and you go "YEAH! I want that! I gotta have that RIGHT NOW!"
KC: But doesn't every publisher want that?
EM: Yeah, but we're gonna be the first one to actually do that! Here's what I'm talkin' about. Johnny Human Torch #1. It about a guy who's made out of flame. That's hot, right!
KC: Well, literally.
EM: Yeah, you egghead types. But look at this. Doesn't everybody want to be a guy made out of fire?
KC: I'm not so sure. Seems kinda dangerous.
EM: Wuss. So, take a look at this!
KC: It looks like a copy of Johnny Human Torch #1, sealed in a plastic bag. So, what? Everybody does bagged comics.
EM: Not like this! (puts on Nomex gloves and protective mask. Then proceeds to rip the comic out of its protective bag, causing it to erupt in to a giant fireball)
Buzzi: Wheee! Pretty!
EM: (still holding the flaming mass) As you can see, it really makes a first impression!
KC: ARE YOU CRAZY?! You could kill people with that!
Buzzi: (sliding the straps of her dress off her shoulders) Tan time!
EM: As I said, incredible first impression!
KC: And probably their last!
EM: Eh, you guys and your numbers. First. Last. Who cares! It's all about more bang for the buck! Check out this one! Johnny Razorhead #1! (holds up copy with a pair of tongs)
KC: What's so special about this one?
EM: Watch this! (He shakes the tongs a little and the comic starts to wobble, making metal sounds)
KC: Okay, so it's made of metal.
EM: Not just any metal, my friend! (He tosses the comic across the room, slicing completely through a vase full of flowers and embedding itself six inches deep in the opposite wall.)
EM: It's printed on .02 mil stainless steel, superheated and sharpened to 10 times the sharpness of ordinary razor blades!
Buzzi: We also publish Suzi Razorface #1 for girls. It's pink and has a daisy on it!
EM: And we're also working on a super-team with Jacques Razorface #1 and Puff Trigger Razorface #1. They come bundled together for an even sharper experience!
KC: Okaaaay. I just have one question.
EM: Riddle me!
KC: How do you hold the comic to read it, without slicing your hands off?
EM: Pfffffft. Who reads 'em anyway?
Buzzi: Word. (giggle)
(A assistant rolls out a six foot tall wooden box on a hand cart.)
KC: And what's this?
EM: That's the incentive for Johnny Zombie #1. It's-
KC: Oh, don't tell me! Let the anticipation build!
EM: They're guaranteed fresh! We go find new ones every night!
Buzzi: They're really quite nice. They like to play Fluxx.
EM: And that whole "eating brains" thing - just bad press. They actually make lovely house pets.
KC: Unless they eat your house pets.
EM: Zombie bigot.
KC: What else you got?
EM: Let's see...( flipping through books) Johnny Asbestos #1, Johnny Revolver #1, Johnny Broken Glass #1, Johnny Sea-Monkey #1...
KC: Johnny Sea-Monkey #1? What's dangerous about that?
EM: Oh, that's part of our "kids line." We like to get the little ones used to disappointment at a young age. Kind of primes the pump for our regular line. Johnny X-Ray Spex #1 is another big seller. But the absolute top of the kids line is Johnny Clothing Bag #1.
KC: And it comes with--
EM: Two of 'em, actually. So brother or sis can join the fun.
KC: You're really despicable! That's awful! How can you--
EM: Save it. I've heard it all before from you bleeding hearts.... Hmmm... Johnny Bleeding Heart #1 - just in time for Valentine's Day. A great start for a new horror line! Buzzi, make a note.
Buzzi: How about a G-flat major? Eeeeeeeeeeeeeee...
KC: You two are horrible! How can you possibly believe that these terrible books will sell - to anybody!
EM: Are you kidding me? Are you not watching what's going on in comics right now? Zombie books in their 7th printing! Hundreds of books about the dark underside of life. Captain America, the symbol of America in the Marvel Universe has been dead for two years! And Darkseid's some kind of pimp gangster.
KC: But that's the way it's always been! Horror stories have been a staple of fictional storytelling for hundreds of years. And bad ideas are nothing new to comics - wait a couple of months and there'll be a new Mega-series to fix them! It's one thing to scare people - but your comics are designed to kill people!
EM: And your point is...?
KC: My point is that you're a moron! If you keep killing your audience, who will buy your books?
EM: It's not about that! It's all about the BIG BLAST! Make a big impression! Get in and get out! Can't you see that? Can't you see?
KC: I can see you're a raving loony!
EM: And they laughed at Jack Benny! And Peter Sellers! And John Cleese!
EM: And they laughed at Dan Aykroyd! Can you believe it?!?
KC: Why, yes! He's a funny guy!
EM: YOU'RE MISSING MY POINT! Look at this! Look at my work! Johnny Guillotine #1. Johnny Elevator Shaft #1. Johnny Melanoma #1. And my masterpiece - freakin' Johnny Anthrax #1!! All for naught! All my life - wasted!
KC: Not to mention all your artists and writers...
EM: WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?!? There were no artists and writers! I stole the covers off the internet! The rest was just house ads for more Johnny Comics!
KC: But who would read this--?
EM: YOU FOOL! THAT'S MY POINT! NO ONE READS THESE -*
(And then Edwin I. Mainway exploded - flash-fried into a roaring fireball for a split second - and then nothing but a small pile of ash.)
Buzzi: Ooooooooo... Sparkly!
KC: He... he spontaneously human combusted! Like Krook, in Bleak House.
Buzzi: Like Stacey Cornbread.
KC: Like Mick Shrimpton.
Buzzi: Like Johnny Human Torch.
KC: Yes. Exactly like Johnny Human Torch.
R.I.P. Johnny Comics. November 2008.
"Hi! KC Carlson here. You may remember me from such educational filmstrips like "Our Brain: A Ticking Time Bomb." I just wanted to remind everybody that we were just having a little fun here today, and that no sleazebags were actually harmed in the making of this column. Enjoy your comics!"
"And remember, Wikipedia is for entertainment purposes only. Don't forget to tip your Webmasters! And don't bug Mary looking for any of these comic books! First warning!"
Got comments or questions about this column? You can contact KC at AuntieKC@WestfieldComics.com
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