Saturday, November 19, 2005

Sky Ape

Script by Philip D. Amara and Tim McCarney, art by Richard Jenkins
Published by ait-planetlar; $12.95 US
Collects Sky Ape: Les Adventures #1-#4, published by Slave Labor

While Kirk Madge’s resumé includes such titles as millionaire, scientist, and crimefighter; he knows nothing of his past, particularly of how he came to be a big, intelligent gorilla with a jet pack. When mousy Peyton Fenway arrives uninvited at Madge’s mansion - interrupting a perfectly good game of Risk between Kirk and his team of bizarre sidekicks like Paper Bob and Pirate Steve – he comes with a goal that may be the answer to Madge’s memory lapse: the legendary Suspense Jacket that lends its bearer knowledge of the past and future! In order get their dirty little hands on the thing, Madge and his compatriots will have to battle endless hordes of robots, cook endless stacks of pancakes, and learn how to prepare dishes like “Instant Donald Sutherland” in the first volume of Sky Ape.

I remember getting excited about the film Planes, Trains and Automobiles when I was younger, and was eventually disappointed when I found that the scene every commercial and trailer had aired – Steve Martin and John Candy wake up in the same bed, to find that Candy has inadvertently shoved his hand in-between Martin’s ass-cheeks – was the single funniest scene in the film, made a lot less funny by the fact that I’d seen it a few dozen times before buying a theater ticket.

I was worried that reviewing Sky Ape held the same danger the marketing team for Planes . . . faced; that my review would be nothing more than “this part was so funny, dude, Sky Ape, like, has curlers in his hair and he yells at Pirate Steve and, like, Steve is, like, dressed up as a chick and shit, and oh snap!” and that my precise descriptions of the funniest parts of the trade would serve only to spoil it for new readers. But after re-reading it, I realized that the trade is too relentless in its hilarity to ruin it by mentioning a few of the funnier moments. Amara and McCarney go with it full blast and keep you laughing your ass off as Sky Ape sighs, “Time for Count Chocula!” after a fierce battle, or wins entry to the hut of a secluded African seer with a bottle of Dr. Pepper. The absurdity of it all will remind readers of Seaguy, with a lot more laughs and few less “wtf?” And unlike a lot of humorous superhero-y comics, Jenkins’s art is absolutely beautiful and his action sequences stand up to be counted amongst any more “serious” superhero action/adventure stuff. You will believe a man can drink milk with his ass.

Did anyone else notice that the same music from Planes, Trains and Automobiles - a slow, twangy guitar usually played during wide shots of airports, train stations, etc. – was also used liberally throughout another cross-country buddy flick: Midnight Run (I checked, different directors and original scores)? And on another sidenote, Planes, Trains and Automobiles is always a good flick to remember during games of “Six Degrees of Separation”. Everyone forgets Kevin Bacon was in it briefly, as a guy racing Steve Martin for the only available cab on a busy NYC street. I have often been faced by unworthy opponents who ask me to connect John Candy to Kevin Bacon, who are thoroughly humbled by the Planes . . . revelation (and also forget that both appear in JFK). And for Sidenote Part the Third, a good movie trivia question to stump people with is as follows: “Val Kilmer has played two dead rock stars in his career. Who were the dead rock stars, and what movies did he play them in?” Everyone knows he was Jim Morrison in The Doors, but usually forget – because his face is never shown clearly in the film – that he played the ghost of Elvis in True Romance (a film featuring Dennis Hopper, Val Kilmer, Samuel Jackson, Gary Oldman, Brad Pitt, and James Gandolfini; yet somehow Christian Slater got the principal role, go figure – and Slater was in Murder in the First with Bacon, so don’t let any motherfuckers get you on Slater/Bacon either, not to mention that I think one could make a strong argument that Gleaming the Cube and Quicksilver are essentially the same movie anyway).

Which reminds me; this morning after thoroughly enjoying some hibbity-jibbity with my girlfriend, we cuddled in post-coital bliss and I talked about how I can’t watch sitcoms anymore. I’m too used to DVD collections covering entire seasons of good shows like Buffy and West Wing to handle half-hour shots of near-wit. We differ on a few shows, particularly Dharma & Greg. I fucking hate Dharma. Despite her hippy upbringing vs. Greg’s silver-spoon background, Greg is the victim of his hippy wife’s lies and manipulation. I recall an episode in which Greg wants to move to Scotland in order to become a golf pro, Dharma doesn’t want to go and sees Greg’s lack of talent more clearly than he does, and rather than opening her fucking hippy mouth and talking to the stranger she calls “husband” she hires a little girl trained by expert golfers to play Greg and thoroughly trounce him so she can crush his dreams without marring her own goddamn foot. Dharma is a dishonest shit with the maturity of a toddler.

Speaking of Scotland, does anyone know if King Missile ever actually went there? They said they wanted to on The Way to Salvation in a song cleverly titled “Scotland”, but I don’t know if they ever actually toured there. You’d imagine they’d get the chance with the success of “Detachable Penis.” I was always surprised when I bought their albums to find they kept trying to do legitimate songs instead of their spoken word stuff. Their songs sucked. “Jesus Was Way Cool” rules.

Oh yeah, and the other night I was watching Law and Order: Special Victims Unit and the killer was a guy who looked like a smaller, wimpier version of Mark Hammill (yeah, I know). The cops are talking about whether or not the guy ditched his weapon and B.D. Wong says something like, “That knife represents his penis. It is not disposable.” And I was like, “WHOA! He must’ve heard the song! He’s all intellectual and F.B.I. and shit and he heard the song! Woo hoo! King Missile! Take stuff from work!”

Speaking of Scotland, I disagree with my history professor on the subject of Braveheart. I mean yeah Mel Gibson is bugfucking crazy and the movie is homophobic and everything but it wasn’t meant to be historically accurate. It was meant to be inspiring and violent and make D&D fans spooge their pants, and it fucking succeeded. I was surprised that the Scottish actually did win that battle at the end (where they all charge and Mel Gibson’s voice over is like, “they fought like warrior-poets, they fought like rabid fucking androids, they fought like Scotsman, and won their freedom.” I thought he was speaking metaphorically about “freedom,” and that the Scots lost, because you know, the last time he says “freedom” before the voice-over is when he’s getting carved up like an extra in Jurassic Park.

Speaking of which, I have to pat myself on the back a little. Last semester we had to write a response to a review of a film, and I chose a negative review of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. The reviewer bashed it based mainly on the “body-switching” theme he claimed was apparent through all of Charlie Kaufman’s work, and went on to bash all Eternal . . . pretty much because he didn’t like Kaufman’s other work, so it inspired me to write a great fucking line in my response. I wrote that it was like, “writing a negative review of Schindler’s List because of all the ‘big, stupid dinosaurs.’” I fucking rule.

Yeah so Braveheart was a lot less historically accurate than I realized. I mean, I know that the first battle – the Battle of Stirling – was fought at a bridge in real life and the Scot’s strategy was much different, but the final battle – the Battle of Bannockburn – was totally misrepresented in the flick. The Scots didn’t, as they do in the movie, originally show up to pledge loyalty to the king and decide “what the hell, let’s kill stuff” at the last minute. Edward II sent his armies up there specifically to squash the Scots and the Scots showed up specifically to say no to squash, and the English got caught between two marshes so they couldn’t effectively use either their cavalry or archers, so even though the Scottish had pretty much nothing but spears, they got all Zulu Dawn on the fuckers.

Oh yeah. Speaking of Scotland, does anyone else think Denzel Washington would make a great Macbeth? I know, he doesn’t look particularly Scottish, but he’s really good at looking like he’s got Joy Division on repeat on the Ipod. Did you know there’s a superstition among a lot of theater people that you’re not supposed to say “Macbeth” in a theater during any kind of production (unless, of course, it’s a production of Macbeth)? If they talk about it, they refer to it as “The Scottish Play,” and if you say it you’re supposed to turn around three times and throw salt over your shoulder or something. Actors are dumb.

Sky Ape rocks. Get it now.

And watch yourself. Evil’s a fucker.


Mimi said...

"Hello, hydrant!" "FUCK YOU!" is what made Larry publish the collection.

My husband has an idiosyncratic sense of humor... shared by the Sky Ape guys, I think. :)

Mick Martin said...

You know, that doesn't surprise me. It's such a hilarious moment, it probably would've been what convinced me, too.