Friday, June 18, 2021

Doll Man versus a Box of Candy, Part 1

Doll Man and his sidekick, Death, hide themselves in a box of candy!  This story has no proper title so we get to pick our own: I'm leaning toward "Bon Bon Voyage" or "A Box of Bomb Bombs!"

Maybe it's not Death.  Maybe (the) Doll Man is just throwing one of his 'flesh-optional' parties.

Doll Man's gal pal received an unsolicited parcel: a box of CHOCOLATES!

"It could be a BOMB! Let's stand way back here against the wall, just in case!"

If the mailman made a mistake, as Martha asserts below, the package must have the correct address on it, and it would be a simple matter to take it there or hand it back to the mailman the next day.  But Golden Age stories are not premised on simple matters.  And so...

Being the crazy person who drank an untested shrink formula that strains the brain, Doll Man starts EATING the chocolate, even though the chocolates belong to someone else AND could actually be BOMBS. You'd think he'd know that, living in a comic book as he does.

Actually, Martha, if you were he, you obviously WOULD eat it.

Of course, opening (and eating) a package not addressed to you is a federal crime, but that's not the kind of thing that stops a man who regularly finds any excuse to shrink to six inches and run around in his underwear and pick on people 1728 times his size.

Naturally because this is Doll Man,  the very piece of candy he so daintily begins to consume in multiple bites turns out to contain a sabotage plot.

"I'd better investigate!" 
Doll Man is kind of guy who says, "But I digress...!"

So, I ask you to think about how you safely and undetectably insert a sabotage plot inside a bon bon, which, unlike a fortune cookie, is full of messy goo.  Don't tell me; just think about it. THEN think about WHY you would do that; no pressure, since there is no answer.

As Gal Pal Martha steadies herself against the idiosyncratic perspective of the room, Doll Man ponders an uncharacteristically sane approach, from which she quickly dissuades him through the persuasive power of transquartomuralism.

One of the challenges of Doll Man stories is that you can never tell whether Doll Man is changing size or its just the idiosyncratic perspective.

Like any Golden Age hero, Doll Man is eager to horribly complicate the situation with a simple plan.

"You can start by helping me escape this Ames Room, which is causing the illusion that I'm 8-10 foot tall."

Doll Man's simple plan has Martha return the apparently unopened box of candy to the world's loneliest Post Office, which is the normal decent thing they should have done in the first place.

In Doll Man's city, forced perspective = foreshadowing.

I'm not really sure how the "Post Office" works, because, like you, I live in the future, where we use teleportation and 3D printing instead.  I guess the package has no return address, but the P.O. keeps records that say "Mr. Roberts, 555-1323; box of edible sabotage plans, contact if undeliverable"?  Sure, Golden Age, why not?

Oh, wait, did Mr. Roberts send the package or was he its intended recipient"I better investigate!"  

Here's where this simple plan gets complicated.  Mr. Roberts brings the candy back to a Mr. Gruber's office, which is, apparently, in the Ukiyo-e building for exporters of Japanese perspective, where everyone within must cling to furniture to keep from being hurtled off-panel by sudden shifts in viewpoint.

Has the yellow-suited man been poisoned with Doll Man's shrinking pill? Why is he standing on a banker's box?  Is the blue-suited man actually that much taller or is he a victim of forced perspective?  Why does he order everyone else to take a piece of candy but then winds up getting the sabotage piece himself? All the really good mysteries in Doll Man stories remain unexplored.

So,  it seems the box of candy isn't a means for conveying crime plans, so much as a means for deciding who does the crime. Suddenly the Octo-Alphabet Board and the Planetary Chance Machine don't seem so stupid, do they?

Yeah; no, they still do.

Next time you play a boardgame, don't roll to see who goes first. Wouldn't it be more exciting to pull out a Whitman's Sampler and say, "The first-player token is in ONE of these chocolates; start eating."

But I digress! As the yellow-suited man continues to shrink and the brown-suited man eats all the rest of the chocolate (because crime is a high-calorie undertaking), they discover the amazing figure of The Doll Man hidden in the box of candy (which I have to assume had some airholes punched in it).

I think the Square-Cube Law means that Doll Man only weights about 2 ounces so Adolf has a very finely calibrated sense of what chocolate boxes weigh.

And that's when the Doll Man–style whupping begins.

For a guy who stands on banker's boxes in order to come up to the shoulders of his colleagues, yellow-suit has a lot of stones to sass a guy who's lifting a table the relative size of a White Castle.

So, after they are all unconscious, Doll Man does the sensible thing and, having incapacitated the would-be saboteurs, calls the authorities.

LOL, you didn't fall for that, did you? This is the Golden Age; this is The Doll Man, whose brain is chemically unbalanced! Naturally, while he has the opportunity, he does the least sane thing and crawls INSIDE THEIR BOMB.

"Hm. A tiny man with super-strength jumped out of a box of chocolates and pummeled us senseless. But now he's gone so, I'm going to pretend there was an earthquake and just proceed as planned!"

After all, what could possibly go wrong...?


Bryan L said...

So Doll Man and/or Martha was able to restore the sabotage note into another piece of candy? So that Gruber (is the giant Gruber or is Gruber the yellow man?) can bite into it?

I mean, I have lots of other questions but really, I'm kinda stuck on getting the note into the candy. Maybe the candies are hollow like chocolate Easter bunnies? But then you'd need to bore a hole into one and roll up the note really small, and even then there would be a hole unless you patched it with melted chocolate ...

No. This way madness lies. The candy is merely the process by which the criminals determine who will commit the crimes because they've never heard of drawing straws ... And why would only one individual be chosen ...

Doll Man stories are a matryoshka of crazy.

John C said...

The Quality Universe version of not-Wizardo is probably just some guy with a glen plaid suit. He doesn't wear it, though, because Darrel keeps nibbling on the sleeves whenever he goes out.

Anyway, my assumption is that Roberts showed up at the Post Office asking for the package that he was expecting just after Martha dropped it off. Y'know, because the Post Office is well known for sacrificing reliable service across the country in favor of precisely-timed delivery of boxes of Fortune Candy, rather than the other way around. Also, by the hat, it looks like Roberts drove to what seems to be the Central City Post Office (based on the width of the street and the size of the interior wall) to stand at the window. Which is weird, on take-your-yellow-suited-child-to-work day.

As for Martha's suggestion that Darrel leave, given the "heroes don't do that" revelations from this past week, it's tough to imagine her not turning away to shout that out of sarcastic frustration, rather than because she believes that a man who "can change his size to that of a dynamic little doll" would be of any use in fixing the mail. "Yes, Darrel, you go down and watch the boat." The story goes a long way to explaining Iris West, too.

Scipio said...

"This way madness lies."

cybrid said...

We're not really expected to understand the Planetary Chance Machine. How much of our society would someone from the eleventh century understand? Same dif. :-)