I, Geek

By R. D. Flavin


     After weeks of foreign and overseas reviews and record-breaking ticket sales, MARVEL's Iron Man 3 opens in U.S. theaters today and I feel our world is a wicked better place because of its American general release.  Yeah, I just typed a take-away that comic books and the movies based on their characters are a positive addition to Mom Terra and the Problem Planet.  [Note to Self: Alternative Rock band name?]  There's another PKD movie in the can (Radio Free Albemuth), but unreleased, with a promise of a forthcoming version of VALIS (or VALIS 2, if RFA is renamed VALIS before it's officially released).  And, I'm still giddy about The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the first part of Jackson's The Hobbit three-picture film adaptation!  Ditto, the Disney-produced third Star Wars trilogy (Episodes VII, VIII, and IX)...  It's a grand time for geekdom!

     Actually (read: personally), it's been good for geeks since the meaning of the word resumed some of its original English and Low German (as geck) definition of “fool.”  Now, for some, geck and geek have always meant 'fool' or a person acting foolish, though in the middle to late 1800s and early to the mid-1900s, many American traveling circus and carnivals had a “geek” act where a guy would bite the head of a live chicken (as in 1990's Luther the Geek starring the legendary smoking-hot and red-haired actress of the big and little screens, Stacy Haiduk).  When I was coming up, geek meant shy and bookish with 'nerd' having the exceptional definition of someone who “farts in the bathtub and pops the bubble with their nose.”  With the rise of the personal computer (along with possessing the abilities to manage remote television controls and change the time on VCRs), geek and nerd became generally interchangeable, though I, Geek, won't deny being somewhat tech-savy and bookish, indeed I'm proud of such.  At seventeen I attended a Star Trek convention in Detroit and went home with an older woman of 30-something and relished my geekness (and, as it happened, enjoyed having my geekness relished).  To say that at fifty-five I still go to conventions seeking to leave with a younger woman of 30-something would be incorrect, as 30-something would be too young for me...  Now, if I left with two 30-something young women than that would be sorta-kinda like being with an 'older'...  Okay, I'm going to go in a different direction, now...

     Being born and raised an Army-brat helped, of course.  Comics were a huge hit during WWII, my Dad read comic books as a kid and also when he was a young telephone-pole climber in the U.S. Army Signal Corps during the Korean War, and comics are most assuredly still popular in today's military.  When I was in second and third grade in Munich, I'd take a small stack of comics and walk from apartment building to apartment building (or family housing “quarters”), knock on doors and when answered I'd smile and say one word, “Trade!”  Usually a drunk G.I. with a scantly clad German junge Frau hanging off of him would answer the door, shake his head and throw a bunch of comic books in the hallway, saying something like “Take what you want, just leave replacements,” and slam the door closed.  It was what it was.  Comics had just made the jump from ten to twelve cents, there were some annuals and special series and issues that cost a quarter, and my Dad was not at ease with the quarter comics out of principle.  He'd often hold out a quarter and remind me that I could get two twelve cent books.  We were vacationing at the resort lake of Chiemsee in southern Bavaria (Germany) and I noticed Fantasy Masterpieces #4 on-sale at the hotel gift-store with three reprints of way wicked early Capt. America stories.  Yeah, I got the quarter by appealing to ...history.  And, it's just one of those things that I got fifty cents from my Dad when I was in fifth grade in New Jersey and purchased my first paperback book at a drugstore – it was a copy of Ted White's The Great Gold Steal featuring Capt. America.  To be clear, my Dad read comic books when he was a kid and as a young soldier, but when my Dad was my Dad, his reading genre of choice was science fiction and he enjoyed Star Trek on television, as well.

     And, with one more Dad-and-comics story, there's an Iron Man tale in the bygones...  My Dad was getting a promotion and being assigned to the Canal Zone in Panama, but he needed special training on a new telephone exchange and so he had to take a class at Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, Texas before going to his assignment.  I had recently acquired a coverless (but tight) copy of Avengers #2 which featured Iron Man in his “Golden Avenger” MKII suit and the Avengers battling the Space Phantom, who impersonates the Hulk, which subsequently causes the Hulk to quit the Avengers).  One Sunday afternoon, as was my Dad's custom no matter where we lived, he decided to take me and Mom for a drive in the out-there-somewhere country (i.e. driving 50 miles in one direction and turning around), yelled attendance, and I dashed from my bedroom to the car ...a little too quickly and not thinking things through.  We went, we took in a drive, we returned, and I heard Sam yelling as soon as we opened the front door.  I'd slammed my bedroom door and locked my sister-feline, Samantha the Siamese cat, in my bedroom for a couple of hours.  Kitty was not happy...  As Sam ran by me, I looked in my bedroom and saw shreds of paper everywhere and I became ...not happy.  Sam had ripped up my copy of Avengers #2 with the gold Iron Man...  Accepting error, I took my Mom's sewing scissors and cut away the torn parts of the comic preserving the top third held together by one staple.  I still had several panels that featured the bulky, yellow suit.  I kept that trimmed, coverless third for some years after that.  I never asked Sam to apologize as it was mostly my fault.  Mostly...

     Returning, at last, to MARVEL's Iron Man 3, I'm not going to see the movie today, as ...I saw it last Sunday morning.  Ah, an associate of mine who is good at acquiring certain things, managed to procure an English language copy of the movie (there'd been copies in Hungarian, Japanese, and Spanish available over the last two weeks).  The sound was bad for the first couple of minutes, but improved and the picture was decent enough for a movie ...that hadn't even been released yet (England got it April 17th).  Actually, the copy was good enough to share, so I burned a couple of disks and strolled to my local comic book store.  Once there, I announced, “The new Iron Man movie comes out Friday the Third, but I'm not going to buy a ticket because ...I've already seen it.  And, now you can too..,” and placed a disk on the comic book store counter.  Then I placed a second disk and remarked that I originally wanted the store to give the disk to the next customer who knew Tony Stark's mother's maiden name, but as I could only remember it was Maria Collins something-like-Carroll, I suggested that they just give away the second disk to the next person who buys an Iron Man comic book.  The cashier (with an unsettling shade of bright aquamarine hair) shook her head slowly as if in disbelief, and muttered something about, “You know Tony Stark's mother's name?”  I didn't, not really, so it wouldn't have been fair.  BTW, thanks be to The Google, it's Maria Collins Carbonell Stark!  The associate has since provided a few improved copies with better audio and video ...and I got the after-credit scene from somewhere ...online and out there.  The film's not bad, I've complaints, but overall it's great to visit the MARVEL Universe!  The upcoming Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Soldier (with Robert Redford as an old SHIELD agent), and, of course, Avengers 2 in 2015 are all ...dear friends I've not yet met.

     In the Haters Gonna Hate Department, the recent choice of Gwyneth Paltrow as People Magazine's 2013 Most Beautiful Woman in the World seems to have disappointed a large percentage of anonymous fan-boys who took to online forums and spewed much digital disappointment at the selection.  I was surprised that People Magazine mattered to the advocates of Lucifer, yet Corpro Diem is to be expected from the crappy unknowns.  IMO, Gwyneth is certainly 'one' of the world's most beautiful women and as “Pepper Potts” in the Iron Man movies, she's supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!  Her mom was naked in Ken Russell's 1980 Altered States, some years back I was able to put on 1998's Shakespeare in Love and absent mindlessly fast-forward the film to Gwyneth's nude scenes, and she appears to remain happy in her celebrity marriage to the dude from Coldplay.  Okay, sometimes she might get annoying with her “I'm cool because I eat bean sprouts” comments, but that's a small ticket price to pay for admission.  Now, if it was Time Magazine I might feel differently but I can easily overlook what People Magazine thinks.

     I could mention the new spire atop the One World Trade Center building making it the tallest structure in the Western hemisphere and should discuss the Pope Emeritus, Benny XVI, avoiding the possibility of an International Arrest Warrant on charges of obstruction concerning the Catholic Sex Abuse Scandal by moving back to the Vatican, but there was just the London premiere of Star Trek: Into Darkness and I've got to check out the Red Carpet pics of Nyota Uhura...  Klaatu barada whatever...

Ad for Joe Simon's 1968 DC character, The Geek.

Baggin' my back issues,


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