Comic: "Teen Titans #13"
Published by: DC Comics
Written by: Bob Haney
Artist: Nick Cardy
Reviewer: Max Burbank
Plot: Junkyard proprietor Ebenezer Scrounge pays his assistant Bob Rachet so poorly the man can’t afford a new wheelchair for his handicapped son, Tiny Tom. Turns out Scrounge isn’t just mean, he’s... smuggling. Sort of. See he’s invented this machine that transforms old used junk into new working stuff, and that’s... bad, I guess, ‘cause people think they’re buying new stuff, and the gangsters Scrounge works for are call these transactions snuggling... so... whatever, I guess. Tiny Tom calls in the Teen Titans, who decide to crack the case by reenacting Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol” on account of the how much the names of the people involved seem like they’re from that book. Hilarity ensues, justice is served, Scrounge has a change of heart and Tiny Tom gets a new Wheelchair.
Review: You think I make this shit up, but I don’t. Bob Haney did, one of THE most insane writers ever to grace the DC bullpen in the 60’s. I’ve written at some length about his mind warping ‘Sons of Superman and Batman’ saga in my ‘Hey Dork’ column, so you know I worship at the altar of his ear for dialogue. He so doesn’t care about plot construction it’s amazing he even bothers to have a story, and this one makes even less sense than most of his stuff. Why do the major players in this crime have names that sound like the Mad Parody of “A Christmas Carol”? Who knows? But Robin is pretty sure that dressing up Kid Flash, Aqualad and Wondergirl as the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future will lead Scrounge to a change of heart and thus restore justice. Don’t ask how that would work, it totally doesn’t matter. You might as well ask why turning old junk into working products is a crime. Story, art, even characters, they’re all just hooks for Haney to hang his poetry from. He couldn’t care less, and there’s no reason he should. Haney writes bad sixties hipster dialogue better than anybody except whoever wrote scripts for ‘Dragnet’. I could try to explain the marvelous awfulness of his work, but true art can’t be deconstructed. The best thing I can do is just gift you with actual lines from this book, which I owned as a child and did not for a minute find odd or uncomfortable.
"Okay, team, let's make like junk,"
"Howling wolfish, what a wacko twist!"
"Best wishes to all -- for a swinging and groovy new year... and bless us, everyone!"
“Hey, Robin-o, how could anyone have as Marv a Christmas as we are?”
And my personal favorite, yelled by Aqualad as Wondergirl gets dragged into a car crusher;
"Suffering sticklebacks! They're yankin' Miss Ponytail out of our ever-lovin' hands!"
THAT is some damn fine writin’ there.
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)
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