Thursday, September 7, 2017


Enough of this guy ...

What exactly is Mister In-Between meant to be between? A rock and a hard place? The Devil and the deep blue sea? Meals? Jobs? Relationships? No, not according to his introductory caption -- he stands in-between the law and the underworld! I guess he's Alt-Center.

What Mr.In-Between means by standing between the two extremes of society is that he's a private investigator and he will take money to beat up crooks. Sounds to me like he's actually a garden-variety capitalist and, by that reckoning, he has picked a side between law-and-order and criminality: He's picked both.

Our real hero.
Carter Mason, a.k.a. Mister In-Between, is a tough-guy detective much in the vein of Vernon Henkel's catalog of creative work. He boasts no super-powers except deduction and the lucky ability to dodge bullets, and a willingness to slug crooks or tell off the cops.

In fact, Mr.I-B isn't nearly the most interesting character in this singular strip -- that honor falls to Phineas P.Bizzy, a weird dude in a bowler who is, to all appearances, the wacky sidekick of the story. He is, however, ten times better prepared for trouble than Mr.In-Between and has a better backstory.

Bizzy joins the fray whilst eavesdropping on a crook who's calling in to his superior, blithely acquitting the widow of the murder of which she'd been accused. It's a bit of luck on Bizzy's lunchbreak, but he makes pretty good opportunity out of it. Specifically, he hucks a smoke bomb at a bunch of cops who're hauling the suspect away, punching a couple of patrolmen and absconding with the girl AND "our hero." Seems like maybe Mr.In-Between is actually in-between usefulness and sidekickery.

The origin of Phineas P.Bizzy is that he's an adventurous sort of fellow who's trapped in a dead-end pickle business. Successful but bored, he goes around solving crimes and getting into trouble in his spare time. Two other things you should know about Phineas: He hangs out in dive bars and is well-acquainted with the seamy side of the city, such as the nightclub called The Red Door which has *gasp* belly-dancing inside!

As catchphrases go ... this owns.
The other thing you need to know about Phineas P.Bizzy is that he always carries a pickle with him. Imagine saying that to someone in a very serious voice. Imagine saying that to Vinnie Jones or someone like that, some action star, just before your whole paramilitary crew deploys. "One thing you got to remember about Bizzy ... he always carries a pickle with him." Then they all basejump into a volcano.

While Mr.In-Between does all the grunt work -- dodging bullets, shooting crooks, breaking into offices -- Bizzy bides his time and catches the bad guys (the DA was responsible, for some reason I don't care about) while announcing his colorful catchphrase: "Pardon me! Have a pickle?" It's a good character. I could turn that into a twelve issue series with a heart-breaking third act in a story called, like, "Revelations" or "You Can't Go Home Again" or "Quite a Pickle" or something like that...


James W. Fry 3.0 said...

Bing Crosby was apparently not a fan of MR. IN-BETWEEN, as he encouraged Americans on numerous occasions not to mess with the character. I've been trying to latch on to THE AFFIRMATIVE, but I can't find the issues he appeared in. Was he created by Jack Cole or Klaus Nordling?

Jonathan Morris said...

*slow clap*

James W. Fry 3.0 said...

Dammit, man! SOMEBODY HAD TO!!!

Ted Craig said...

Pickles and other salty snacks were mainstays in saloons as a way to get people to drink more.

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