In the Words of St. Justin the Penitent, Is It Too Late to Say I’m Sorry?

25 Deeply Heartfelt Apologies for the Terrible, Unforgivable and Not Very Nice Things I’ve Said On This Site 

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Picked up the ol’ mailbag the other day and I found this terse note from someone who took issue with my irreverent list of examples of how Barry Allen was a bit of a jerk back in the day:

“Here, take a look at 12 cherry-picked moments from Barry Allen’s first 3 years of publication as a character (out of almost 60), back when his characterization wasn’t solidified yet!”

Yeah, that toootally shows the character we’ve seen all the decades after that isn’t really like he was for all these decades.

Not to mention, obviously, all of those are from Earth-One, a previous continuity that was erased by the Crisis. Why don’t we mention Wally West’s xenophobia and distaste for superheroics, while we’re at it? It comes from the same continuity.

Naturally, this threw me into a deep existential crisis. Was it somehow not clear that I was merely having a bit of silly fun with the inherent goofiness of Silver Age tropes?

Was I not showing enough respect for our costumed heroes and by extension those who take their extraordinary exploits extremely seriously?

Was my attempt to find some innocent fun at the expense of totally fictional characters in fact corrupting our youth, soiling our national honour and keeping us from winning the war?

Was my whole life nothing more than a stinkin’ lie?

I won’t lie; it wasn’t fun wrestling with these questions. But I believe I’ve become a better person because of it.

And in the spirit of that becoming-a-better-person-ness, I hereby deeply apologize to Barry Allen, the Central City Police Department, the good people of Central City and Keystone City, the ghosts of John Broome and Carmine Infantino, and everyone who was even slightly offended by any insinuation I may have made about the rock-solid and unimpeachable moral rectitude of our very real and not-at-all-litigious Mr. Allen.

Whew. Man, it felt good getting that off my chest. In fact, it felt so good I think I should just keep on keeping on with the apologies:

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In my 12 Reasons Why It’s Time to Retire This “Aquaman is the Justice League’s Weak-Kneed Waterboy” Nonsense Once and For All, I used “waterboy” as a reference to Aquaman’s ocean-based powers, but thanks to my newfound empathy I can see now how waterboys for professional sports teams would be deeply offended by my use of that word in that particular context. I deeply apologize to the nation’s vitally important waterboys and watergirls (sexism: boo!), to the National Football League and to Adam Sandler if he can find it in his heart to issue his own apology for whatever the hell that accent in The Waterboy was supposed to be.

In Wild Things, You Make Our Hearts Sing, a list of comic covers in which we are told various comic book characters are going wild, I was not in fact implying these characters were mentally ill, nor did I mean to malign those victims of mental illness who, to use an inappropriate term, “go wild.” I deeply apologize to all victims of mental illness, the Wild Wings chicken chain, Will Smith of Wild Wild West fame, Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom and all others offended by my poor choice of words.

In a list titled “I Believed the System Could Reform Cons. But Then I Saw the Truth…”, I presented a number of comic-book wardens who were frankly terrible at their chosen profession. It was not my intention to malign the many decent and hard-working prison wardens here in the real world keeping our communities safe. I deeply apologize for suggesting anyone engaged in this noble profession is in any way inadequate in their chosen career.

Similarly, when I posted a list of comic-book mayors who behaved badly, I meant only to highlight the questionable and/or outright despicable actions of fictitious mayors of various fictional cities. I would never dream of suggesting all real-life mayors are, say, capable of dressing up as homicidal vigilantes during their down time, and I deeply apologize for being insensitive to the pressures that all honest and hard-working mayors face every day, from property damage caused by alien invasions to accusations of being soft on crime every time a masked psychotic tampers with the city’s water supply.

A confession: when I put together a list of reasons why Dr. Henry “Ant-Man” Pym was a huge jerk in his early years, I did not make any mention of the numerous humanitarian awards, citations and credits for brilliant scientific breakthroughs that Dr. Pym has received since those early youthful indiscretions. I deeply apologize for the sloppiness of my research and I sincerely hope the thoroughly non-fictional Dr. Pym, as well as all members of the family Formicidae, will find it in their hearts to forgive me for daring to suggest he harbours any fascistic fantasies.

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In a post titled “Only One of Us Is Walking Out of Here With Our Dignity Intact… And It Won’t Be Me,” I highlighted 11 embarrassing moments in Captain America’s long career, including the time he and a male colleague dressed in drag to infiltrate an all-female gathering of super-villains. I see now how my playful jibes could be interpreted as an attack on all our fighting forces, especially those who engage in the completely none-of-my-business act of cross-dressing for their own purposes, and I deeply apologize for making light of the efforts of our fighting men and women (and fighting men dressed as women)(or fighting women dressed as men).

When I put together a wish list of guest-star villains and the actors I would hired to play them on a hypothetical fourth season of the Batman TV show, it was not my intention to disparage the intellect and hard work of theoretical physicists who maintain that time travel is still not yet possible. I deeply apologize to anyone who was insulted by my immature and cavalier attitude towards the space-time continuum.

In my review of characters who appeared in Vol. 5 of DC’s Who’s Who series, I started the article with the line “Saturday! What a day! Groovin’ all week with you!” — an obvious plagiarism of the theme song for television’s Happy Days. I deeply apologize to the theme song’s writers, Charles Fox and Norman Gimbel; Happy Days creator Garry Marshall; and the entire cast of Happy Days (excluding Scott Baio — he knows why) for not properly acknowledging my source and for allowing those not familiar with the iconic show to think that phrase was my own composition.

In a list I compiled of Manly Mustaches and the Manly Men Manly Enough to Wear Them, I featured images of 26 comic-book characters who set the standard for mustachioed manliness. I deeply apologize for concentrating that much manliness in one place — thereby placing great strains on our nation’s strategic manliness reserves — and for not sufficiently acknowledging the manliness of men who sport muttonchops, goatees, soul patches and Van Dykes (which, oddly enough, was never sported by the mustachioed Dick Van Dyke… and now I must apologize for making people think I thought Van Dyke beards were named after Dick Van Dyke in the service of a weak joke).

She’s Fantastic, Made of Plastic, and Back to Kick Your Ass was one of my favorite posts because it allowed me to indulge in a bit of ’80s television nostalgia. Riffing on the team-up concept behind Alan Moore’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, I ventured some guesses about who would be on a modern-day superhero team if Moore had decided to choose characters from 1980s television shows instead of Victorian-era novels. In retrospect, though, my obvious species-ism led me to purposely leave ALF off the list — an especially horrendous error given the huge advantage his alien knowledge and sweet spaceship ride would confer on the team. I deeply apologize to ALF, his fans and all his fellow Melmackians for my egregious oversight.

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For No, Seriously. How Does Batman Go to the Bathroom Wearing That?, I listed — with humorous intent — various common features of superhero costumes and the logistical difficulties that can arise from fighting crime whilst wearing a hood, cape, domino mask, pair of high heels, etc. I deeply apologize for slighting the hard work of all the tailors, cobblers and costume designers who work tirelessly to keep all our heroes looking chic and unique.

In a similar vein to the work I did detailing the low-lights of Barry Allen’s early career, “The World’s Greatest Comic Magazine!” (Most of the Time) lists 21 weird, wild and WTF moments from the first 12 issues of the first Fantastic Four series. Even though I made it quite clear these moment happened in the team’s first 12 issues, I can see now how someone might think I was being less than respectful of the team’s 55-year history of world-saving heroics. I deeply apologize for making light of the early adventures of this quartet of adventurers, who were all created perfect and un-mockable right from the moment they first appeared.

“THE BEES! SAVE ME FROM THE GIANT BEES!” was my ill-advised attempt to make light of 13 examples of less-than-successful bee-themed characters, from Bee-Man to Bee-Boy to Queen Bee to The Red Bee. In doing so, I may have given the impression that I believe bees are inherently silly and inappropriate as inspiration for a superhero motif. I deeply apologize to everyone who advocates on behalf of the bees and appreciates the many benefits we humans derive from our bee friends — up to and including some of the most entertaining moments of Nicolas Cage’s film career — and I apologize for making light of our bee friends when they have already suffered so much tragedy and hardship at the hands of humans. (I mean, that Bee Movie alone…)

And Then Big Bird Beat the Snot Out of Him with a Box of Twinkies is a list of yellow-tinted people, places and things that nearly killed Hal “Green Lantern” Jordan in his early Silver Age adventures. I wrote that headline to suggest in a cheeky fashion the absurdity of a giant Muppet bird armed with a box of popular snack cakes beating Hal Jordan in a fight simply because of its hue. I deeply apologize to Mr. Jordan and all his fans for making light of what must have been a very debilitating handicap in the early stages of his career, and I also deeply apologize to parents everywhere for subjecting their children to the grisly image of a beloved Sesame Street character using snack cakes in such a violent fashion.

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While detailing a list of Superman’s cameo appearances in non-DC comics, I may have insinuated the Last Son of Krypton makes so many appearances in other publishers’ books because he is an attention whore. That was grossly insensitive of me, and I deeply apologize to all whores with or without hearts of gold, as well as Superman, DC Entertainment, Warner Bros., Time-Warner, Ma Kent, Pa Kent, Krypto, Streaky, Comet, Beppo and all current and future residents of the Phantom Zone.

In a post titled Fifty Bucks and All the Twinkies I Can Eat? You Bet I’ll Take the Job!, I listed 14 established super-villains who moonlighted as villains in various Hostess ads alongside such luminaries as The Chairman, The Phoomie Goonies, The Bureauc-Rat and the Ding-a-Ling Family. I deeply apologize to these villains for making light of what in retrospect must have been a difficult career decision for them to make, especially in these precarious economic times.

For a post in which I listed 12 career options for people who wanted to be part of the superhero or super-villain scene without being heroes or villains themselves, I may have waxed eloquently about such career options as henchman, tech support, costume tailor and death-trap contractor. I deeply apologize if my effusive words have in any way encouraged young people to go down a dark path of measuring the inseams of fashion-conscious world conquerors.

For a collection of comic covers showing Donald Duck and other famous fictional fowls frying eggs, stealing eggs, coloring eggs and breaking eggs, I may have insinuated these beloved icons were cannibals and infanticidal maniacs because of their actions. Of course, I now realize those eggs were obviously props intended for simple sight gags, and not the unborn denizens of Duckburg, and I deeply apologize to all Duckburg residents for my gross insensitivity.

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So many reasons I have to apologize for Face It, People — Some Old Bags Just Don’t Know When to Fold, a collection of scenes from early Spider-Man comics that suggest Aunt May’s frail health was used a little too often to generate drama. Obviously, I deeply apologize to May Parker for calling her an old bag, as well as to America’s proud bag producers for associating their fine products with doddering decrepitude. But more importantly I deeply apologize to America’s senior citizens for perpetuating stereotypes about their general uselessness. Oh, and I’m especially sorry for not also noting all the times Aunt May saved the day, like that one time Galactus turned her into a herald named “Golden Oldie.”

You may not know this, but I hail from the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, a beautiful chunk of real estate on Canada’s east coast that’s a bit off the beaten path, which is why it’s always a treat to find American comic stories that mention Newfoundland and Labrador. In listing some of these stories, I of course did not give equal time to the other provinces and territories in Canada. I deeply apologize to the people of Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Nunavut, the Yukon and the Northwest Territories for failing to give them their equal due. I doubly apologize to the people of our three northern territories for sticking them at the end of the list I just wrote, instead of including them alphabetically.

In Marching to the Beat of an Evil Drummer, I highlighted some of the malodorous malcontents making mischief with a musical motif. I deeply apologize to all musicians everywhere for suggesting there’s anything remotely malevolent about musicians, who are all decent, God-fearing folk who only exist to spread joy and happiness with their wholesome, upbeat music. I also deeply apologize to all my English teachers for my atrocious attempts at alliteration.

In an early list I posted about the harsh realities of living in a world where Marvel characters really exist,  I may have made a few comic fans uncomfortable — and even a little bit sad — by employing the time-honored comedic device of inserting a note of reality into what’s clearly a world where you have to suspend your disbelief a little bit for the whole thing to work. I deeply apologize to all those fans whose dreams of living in a world where death by killer robots or inter-dimensional aliens is a real possibility have been shattered by my cruel, cruel words.

The “PhD” Stands for “Pillage, Hurt, Destroy” is a piece I put together as a way of poking fun at the fact that so many college professors in the comic books are vengeful, obsessive, power-hungry and maybe just a little bit nuts. I deeply apologize to the academic community for perpetuating these negative stereotypes, to all female academics for not attempting a more equitable gender balance in my list of mad professors, and to the good people at Planters for continuing to associate their food products with mental illness. Oh, and I also apologize to sufferers of peanut allergies for making them feel sad about how they can’t enjoy the taste of those delicious, delicious Planters products.

For This is Pretty Much Why I Didn’t Tell People in the ’90s I Read Comic Books, I deeply apologize for… well, for everything you’re going to see if you decide to click on that link. Really, I beg you, you can’t unsee this kind of stuff once you’ve seen it. “Hi, I’m Wonder Man, and I’d like to introduce you to my giant purple snake.” Ew. EW. EWWWWWW. 

 

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2 responses to “In the Words of St. Justin the Penitent, Is It Too Late to Say I’m Sorry?

  1. I think you should apologize for using your list of apologies to shamelessly post links to so many of your past blog entries. Have you no sense of decency?!? 😛

  2. I deeply apologize for my lack of shame, as well as my lack of decency, forethought, remorse and personal hygiene.

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