Thursday, June 25, 2015


Out of all the superheroes who could change from mild-mannered schlub to atomic-powered alter ego, there’s only one who owes his magically-acquired tremendous might to corporate fiat.

Captain Milksop was, in his fumbling mortal guise, the much-put-upon Mortimer X.Mortimer. Employed as a lowly clerk at a pottery store despite his innate clumsiness – or perhaps because of it, since his boss kept a running tally of Mortimer’s dropped vases and their retail value which he could subtract from the poor fella’s wages – Mortimer one day finds himself abducted by vase-thieves! And they’re the worst kind of vase thieves, they’re the kind who uses a fake baby to help them steal things! I’m sure you’ve read about such criminal masterminds in the Time-Life book, Legends of the Fake Baby Vase Thieves.

"Why did we even invite this guy?"
Trapped in the bad guys’ hideout, Mortimer muses on his predicament and finds himself wishing for the powers of the famous Red Band Comics lineup, like … hold on, I have to look this up. “Why can’t I be like Bogey Man,” he mutters with his head clasped firmly in his hands, “or Sgt.Strong … Or the Sorcerer!” While Mortimer struggles to think of any other character ever published by Red Band, he fails to notice that a Red Band Comic has fluttered in through the window, and moreso that tiny characters are stepping out of it! Except Sgt.Strong, I guess he had somewhere else to be.

Having been granted “special permission of our copyright owners” explains Red Band’s tiny incarnation of its Sorcerer character to equally tiny versions of its Bogey Man and villainous Satanas, the characters are allowed to grant a fraction of their own powers to Mortimer providing he merely say the magic words “Red Band Comics”  … while rubbing a copy of Red Band Comics on his head. Product placement is everything in superheroics, I suppose.

It lacks the dignity of “SHAZAM,” to be sure, but it’s still slightly better than yelling “SPLIT” and having your limbs fall off. Dignity isn’t Milksop’s forte, of course, not with a name like that and a costume reminiscent of a sleepy elf. Still, he manages to provide well for himself, smashing up the vase thieves and later putting down a revolt of zoo animals led by a hypnosis-adept chimp.

Captain Milksop was routinely given cash rewards for his hard work, which was immediately spent at the vase shop to make up for his civilian identity’s clumsiness. The more things change …

No one gave him the power of dignity.

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