Monday, May 25, 2020

Ceci n'est pas Wizardo

Okay, I simply cannot STAND it any longer, and if no one else cares, I STILL DO:

THIS




IS NOT WIZARDO.


I understand, deeply, the wish for the Atom to have a more robust Rogues Gallery.  But continuing to perpetuate the falsehood that this figure is Wizardo and that Wizardo is a foe of the Atom is simply shoddy scholarship and must be stopped.  

Let us look at the story where Wizardo -- the real Wizardo -- appears (as well as this guy in the astronaut suit): "The Riddle of the Two-Faced Astronaut" (The Atom #6, May 1963).


Just to prove I didn't make that title up.

That  "two-faced astronaut"? THAT is the guy in the astronaut suit.  His name is Peter Venner...


OR IS IT...?!?!?

See the guy with the characteristic ugly drawn-by-Gil-Kane mug, in the bowtie? THAT, people, that is Wizardo.  He is a stage magician.  

Peter Venner is his assistant; he's not a real astronaut.  It's just the theme of the magic trick.  Remember, this is 1963 and space exploration and astronauts are delightfully new for the public. 

Venner is just there for an astronaut-themed version of the old disappearing act by Wizardo, who is not a foe of the Atom but an old friend of Ray Palmer.


Jean Loring's "How EASY it can be to make someone disappear!" face.

Silver Age heroes were a lot like Jessica Fletcher; they had hordes of unmentioned Old Friends who would pop up at a moment's notice to spark a plot, never to be heard from again. Except unlike Jessica's friends, they didn't die.  I cannot imagine the circumstance under which a young physics student became friends with an older stage magician, but I'm sure there's slash fic about it somewhere.

The plot thickens when magician's assistant Peter Venner is accused of robbing a nearby bank.  It's actually a company with a cash payroll, but that's gibberish to any modern reader, so I'll just call it a bank for ease of comprehension.


That's Chief Baxter of Ivy Town. He's a moron.
It must be MAGIC, Chief Baxter. Moron.

Chief Baxter manages to use his words enough to explain what appeared to have happened.


If "in a glen plaid suit" didn't make you laugh, why are you even reading this blog?


So, painfully obviously, nobody actually saw Peter Venner do anything. They saw a guy in an astronaut suit, and, as I can tell you from my days hanging out at space bars, all guys in astronaut suits tend to look alike.


Except for Val Kilmer, because BATMAN LIPS.

Wizardo  (who is Ray's FRIEND not his ENEMY, I reiterate) explains how the "disappearing act" works to show that suspecting Venner is moronic, CHIEF BAXTER.


So, what do you imagine Wizardo DID during that deadtime on stage?
Ten minutes is a LONG time for the audience to just stare in silence at a big globe.
  

If Venner IS the bank robber, then he's a moron, because he's wearing the most identifiable outfit imaginable: an astronaut suit and a fake ray gun. This is the Atom's Ivy Town, not Martian Manhunter's Apex City (which actually is a center for space exploration on the Florida coast, where one might reasonably see an occasional man in an astronaut suit).  If you REALLY wanted to go about unnoticed in Silver Age Ivy Town, you should probably wear something common that would blend in with everyone else.  Like an orange glen plaid suit.

Regardless of whether Venner is a moron, Chief Baxter IS a moron, and so:


Criminal attorney Jean Loring knows: gloves leave no fingerprints. 
Especially on flamethrowers.

Always desperate for attention, Jean Loring never met a case so stupid she wouldn't take it (like the time she defended a swan in court as her client). And so, the show must go on:


Wha-hat?! ANOTHER man in an astronaut suit?!
To quote Tom Kalmaku, "What goes on? What goes on?"

So there is the real robber, who, you might notice, is ALSO a moron.  If he'd simply taken the night off from astro-robbery, there would be no evidence to suspect anybody BUT Venner and our fake fake-astronaut would be in the clear.  Moron; he's the perfect nemesis for Chief Baxter.

Naturally, Ray shows up and atomizes this guy.


This is just like that Twilight Zone episode with Agnes Moorhead. Except in reverse.

Sigh. Cuz you need nature's most awesome source of energy and the power of The Atom to defeat a guy lumbering around in a fake astronaut suit.  You're six foot, 180 lbs, Ray; just walk up and punch him in his moronic astroface.  This story, by the way, perfectly illustrates why the Atom never really took off as a character: too many of his stories don't really require him to be the Atom at all. This is a "Roy Raymond, TV Detective" story, and not a very good one at that.

As it turns out, when they pull his mask off it's Old Man Withers, the caretaker at the amusement park.  


Or Howard Crane, the Stage Manager.
Something like that.

The guy does have a super-power, though: FASHION.


Not enough super-seamsters in comics, nowadays, that's what wrong with 'em.

So, I'm going to skip the part where Stage Manager and Super-Seamster Howard Crane manages to escape the Atom and tries to rob the post office, where he mailed the loot to himself, because it's just too painful. Instead, let's skip right to the gratuitously sexist wrap-up, where Jean Loring decides to change out of her circus aerialist costume into something less ridiculous.


JEAN LORING KNOWS YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT HER AND IS NOT OKAY WITH IT.

Note again: that's Wizardo (no real name given).  He's not an enemy of the Atom, he's a friend of Ray's.  His assistant, Peter Venner, the guy in the normal fake astronaut suit, is not an enemy of the Atom.  His stage manager, Howard Crane, the guy in the reversible orange glen plain astronaut suit, isn't really an enemy of the Atom, either; he's just a moronic super-seamster who made the mistake of working for an old friend of Ray Palmer.  The Atom has (nearly) nothing to do with it.

So, Comic Vine and Fandom database, et al., stop blindly parroting one another without actually doing the most basic original research. 

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for doing the due diligence on this!

Also, the Atom is more fun if you imagine everything he says sounding like Michael Jackson.

Scipio said...

Oh, no; all I can hear is the voice of Pat Harrington Jr.

Anonymous said...

I had to look that up; completely forgot about Schneider. Now all I can imagine is him hanging around the JLA Watchtower and being kind of creepy to Zatanna.

Scipio said...

Pat Harrington Jr. was the voice of The Atom in the Filmation cartoons of the late '60s.

John C said...

To be fair, since Frasier's debut, it's been really hard for people named Crane to use their full names as criminal code-names (see also Robert Crane/Robotman, Jonathan Crane/Scarecrow, Jack "Not Jonathan" Crane/Savage Skull, et al), and if you're willing to rob cash payrolls on the street, trademark law probably isn't a huge priority...

How(iz)ard(o), by the way, does seem to have some power that makes him hard to remember (or he's just good at disguising himself). The Eberle flashback with the Glen Plaid Bandit shows someone who is very clearly not Martin Crane's brother. Though, I guess maybe the helmet is also reversible and turns into an Ebeneezer Scrooge mask.

Actually...thinking about the trick, Wizardo is totally in on the scam. His "trick" is that a lovely (well, I'm assuming Peter is nice) assistant gets into the single most obvious "unescapable globe" possible, and then he vamps for ten minutes making shadow puppets or telling stories about his last prostate exam or whatever while his stage manager stinks up local businesses. Jean's probably in cahoots with them, too. Because she's Jean.

Unknown said...

Super-seamster powers aren't even unusual in the DC Universe -- remember Paul Gambi? This ain't Marvel, where Peter Parker cobbles together his own suit -- there are probably chains of super-seamsters in the DC Universe.

Bryan L said...

Oh, that last comment was me.

Scipio said...

HOWIZARDO!!!!!!!!!

Marcos said...

I missed the stories that prompted this, but thank you for setting the record straight nonetheless. As it is, though, talking about someone named Wizardo just reminded me that the Golden Age villain The Wizard, leader of the Injustice Society and recent appearer on Stargirl, has a real name of William Zard. And I really didn't need to remember that. :)

Anonymous said...

"William Zard"

Just imagine his career as the Lizard, if he'd gone by "Liam".

Or the Bi-Zard, if he'd gone by "Bill". Not even sure what that would entail. Maybe two guys joined together. Maybe a guy with two stacked heads like Marvel's Bi-Beast.

Scipio said...

William I. Zard.
The middle initial was VERY important.

obodubu said...

Do You Need A Powerful Africa Native Doctor? I Mean A Spiritual Herbalist
With Great Spirit Connected To Ancestors. Call or WhatsApp +2349058774809 Dr Obodubu Monday Is A High Voodoo Priest Master. He is a Spell Caster, Native
Doctor, Spiritual Herbalist, Powerful Sickle cell Healer, Spiritual
Astrologer, Psychic Reader, Multi Guru, Witch Doctor, Priest Of Africa
Money Ritual.
Have You Been To Native Doctor to Native Doctor Without Any Solution To
Your Problems Or Rather Add To it? Have You Been To Place To Place In View
Of A Powerful Native Doctor That Can Solve All Your Predicament, You Must
Understand That There Is A Native Doctor That Supersede All Native Doctor
Among All Native Doctor, If You Are In Search Of A Powerful Native Doctor
With Great Spiritual Powers, Then You Must Be In Search Of A Native Doctor
That Derives Power From The Marine World. That Is The Spirituality Of The
Greatest Africa Native Doctor Obodubu.
Dr Obodubu Is Recognized All Over The World Of Marine Kingdom, As One
Of The Top Fortunate And Most Powerful Native Doctor Of Charms Casts From
The Beginning Of His Ancestors ship Until Now Dr who lives Strong
Among All Other Native Doctors, There Have Never Been Any Form Of
Impossibility Beyond The Control Of Dr Obodubu. It Doesn't Matter The
Distance Of The Person With The Problems Or Situation, All You Have To Do
Is Believe
In The Native Obodubu charms Casts That Works, He Always
Warns Never To Get His Charms Casts If You Do Not Believe Or Unable To
Follow His Instruction.
It Is The Assignment Of The Native Doctor Obodubu To Offer
Services To Those In Need Of Spiritual Assistance Not Minding The Gravity
Of Your Situations Or Distance As Long As Water, Sea, Ocean, Lake, River
Sand etc. Are Near You, Then Your Problems Of Life Would Be Controlled
Under Your Foot.
If You Need Any Spiritual Help On Any of These:
Get Your Lover Back
Fruit Of The Womb
Fibroid
Business Boom
Financial Breakthrough
Get Rich Without Ritual WhatsApp +2349058774809
Do As I Say
Bad Dream
Promise And Fail
Epilepsy
Spiritual Attack
Land/Court Case
Mental Disorder
Political Appointment
Visa Approval
Cancer
Examination Success
Spend And Get Back
Good Luck
Natural Health
Hypertension
Diabesity (Diabetic+Obesity
Stroke
Sickle Cell
Impotency
Win Court Case
Promotion At Work
Commanding Tone
Protection Ring
Marriage Success
Love Ring
Favour Ring
Recover Lost Glory
Spiritual Power For Men Of God
Travel Success Ring
Job Success
Lotto/Pool Win And Many More.
Make Haste To Call or WhatsApp Dr Obodubu Monday +2349058774809. Or Mail Him to
babadoctorobodubuspiritualhome@gmail.com For Spiritual Problem Today And
You Will Surely
Get Solution To All Your Predicament.
Email: babadoctorobodubuspiritualhome@gmail.com

Redforce said...

Another thing I love about this blog - how Scipio puts in references to classic TV shows like The Twilight Zone or The Munsters.