Friday, May 16, 2008

China and Iron Man: My Summer 2008

There's an old saying that the art of writing is applying the seat of your pants to the seat of your chair. I realize that I've been remiss lately, with infrequent and brief (read: lazy) blog posts. I'm reminded of that old saying, and think that that's one of the reasons I haven't blogged that much. I haven't tried. Also I dislike wearing pants.

So I figure I'll just ramble here until a subject strikes my fancy. Things that have been happening in and around me include: running in preparation for the Boilermaker 2008, a visit from Mr and Mrs Rev, and getting ready to go to China for ten days. Ooh, that has potential.

That's right folks, I'm planning a one-man invasion of Red China, looking to promote democracy, avoid typhoid, and pick up some sweet name brand clothing at the real factory outlet stores.

I bet no one would have a problem if they were called Schvitz Shops.

That reminds me of Iron Man. Bear with me.

I'm not talking about Iron Man the movie, which is awesome, and by the way you should go see it now. Like, right now. I'll wait.

Gwyneth Paltrow is hot again. Hooray!

Welcome back. Wasn't that cool? If you didn't wait until after the credits, you missed out, but we've wasted enough time already, you can go see it again after we're done here. For those of you who haven't seen the movie but kept reading anyway, how am I supposed to help you if you don't listen to me?

But I shan't spoil any of the film. I'm talking Marvel Comics old school Iron Man. Anthony Edward Stark. Back before talented artists and writers figured out how to make the character look cool and act cooler (actually, he's kind of a dick), and before director John Favreau hired Robert Downey Jr. to channel his fictional soul onto the big screen. I'm talking about this guy:

"Hey, how do I draw armor?"
"I don't know, just draw a guy in tights and we'll say it's armor"
"But... isn't that stupid?"
"You're fired."

Now before all you purists jump down my throat, yes, I know Jack Kirby is ten times the man I'll ever be. just let it go, ok?

Now we get back to my original point. Rember? I was talking about sweat shops and going to China? Well, Iron Man hates Communists. Like me.


Like me, he hates Communists.

Not he hates Communists like me.

But he has pretty good reasons. He was nearly killed and then imprisoned during the Vietnam War by blatantly racist caricatures:

Caricatures who speak in the third person.

Of course, he uses his American Genius to murder his way free, and returns to the states to be the head of a massive corporation. Capitalism rules. Just ask Ayn Rand.

Filthy commies keep sending (inferior) bad guys after him. Titanium Man and the Crimson Dynamo are two really good examples. They would use brute force and ignorance against Iron Man, and ultimately fail, presumably because they don't have any claim to the products of their labor.

The Crimson Dynamo isn't kidding about his color scheme.

Interestingly, Tony Stark fought all of these threats even as his Defense Contracting company was making billions of dollars from the Cold War Arms Race. Throw in an attempted seduction by the Russian supersexy superspy the Black Widow, and Tony's got a whole bunch of conflicts of interest going on.

Attempted seduction? Does that mean she failed? What the Hell, Tony?

We can forgive all of that, though. In international and corporate espionage, things get complicated and confusing.

And, as we all know, the line between love and hate can get pretty blurry at times.

But anyway, the Soviets were always laughable, because they said nothing but "comrade" all the time, drank vodka and looked like bears (except the black widow). We don't even have to worry about them because I'm not going to be visiting the USSR anytime soon. I'm going to China. Don't worry, Iron Man fights with them too. In fact, right behind Alcohol, Tony Stark's arch nemesis is Chinese.

So without further ado, allow me to introduce the Marvel Universe's take on China:

The Mandarin.

Did I mention before how far comic book artwork/character design has come? Because at some point in the past, this was acceptable. Let's let him slip into something more comfortable:

That's... better?

See, I'm not really sure if they're going for Yellow Peril or Gay Panic. Either way, I am terrified of the Mandarin.

Also, the Mandarin gets his powers from his super-bling:

10 rings that he found in a crashed alien spaceship, naturally. No dirty Communist could have built anything that would be a challenge for Iron Man. He had to steal his tricks from other cultures. See what they did there?

Of course the Department of Revisionist History now tells us that the Mandarin is a genius of the highest order, and a superhumanly powerful martial artist. He is definitely NOT a Fu Manchu ripoff.

He, Ming the Merciless and Dr. No get together at least once a month to hang out, gossip about arch-nemeses and exchange tips about caring for their facial hair.

So, there you have it. An entire blog post and I've discussed virtually no details of my China trip, save that it exists, and I hope to stay far, far away from certain fictional super-villains (Mandarin), and get very, very close to others (Black Widow). And at the end of the day, that's really all you can hope to learn from this blog.

Catch you cats later,


1 comment:

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