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CSBG Archive

Intentional or Unintentional? for 6/26

To refresh you on the game, the gist is that I show you an instance of something in comics I found humorous, and you tell me if the humor was intentional or unintentional!

Today’s instance is from the first issue of Mark Waid and Mike Wieringo’s Fantastic Four run.

The issue is sort of a “day in the life” issue, and at one point, the Thing, Invisible Woman and FranklinValeria come across a group of rappers who rap about the Thing.

Fantastic Four v3 060 (18)_edited.jpg

Copy of Fantastic Four v3 060 (18)_edited.jpg

It is very difficult to write a rap song in ANY literary work and not have it come off as hilariously, helplessly dorky.

Like many before him, Waid’s rap is hilarious in how dorky it is.

The question then is – do you think he understood that practically no matter what he did, the rap was going to be hilariously dorky, or do you think the scene was meant to be read straight?

43 Comments

FunkyGreenJerusalem

June 26, 2007 at 6:16 am

Hilariously dorky – the scene is comedy gold.
The Thing is so desperate for love that he can’t get enough of it!

(That said, it never crossed my mind that it wasn’t meant to be funny/dorky. I figured being rap it had to be a parody off itself – that’s the genre it was written in).

If you can explain how later in the run The Human Torch could see how well Sue was doing covering a building with an invisible force field, I’ll be impressed.
(A cool point if you can explain why it was coloured with light reflections on it)!

It was embarassingly bad, not even funny-bad, just bad. I find Waid’s style works better at DC, where the books are almost expected to be slightly unhip.and one-step behind pop culture. The actual hip-hop generation is overwhelmingly pro-Marvel, so I think a scene butchering hip-hop comes off much worse in a Marvel book.

SanctumSanctorumComix

June 26, 2007 at 6:45 am

I’m not a fan of rap, but I am quite good with rhythm and music (old musicians never die, especially if we’re drummers. We just tap on everything and drive our spouses NUTS).

Anyway, while it LOOKS hokey (c’mon, those are the WHITEST (read: dorkiest) Afro-American looking rappers I’ve ever seen, even “D.J. Angryface Cornrows” – perhaps because of ‘Ringo’s clean, friendly style or that they’re just really “good kids”) if you read the rap with an authentic beat, it doesn’t come off any lamer than other “real” rap songs.

Sure, the lyrics are less violent and sexist, but Waid might have been trying his hand at “clean” rap.

The whole SCENE comes off as intentionally funny.
I don’t doubt THAT was intentional, but the rap itself, might have been Waid’s magnum opus of rap.
(ok. Not really)

————

As for the Johnny tells Sue she’s doing great with the whole “surround the building with invisible stuff” thing…

He’s her brother and is being supportive.
He doesn’t HAVE to SEE what she’s doing to know that she’s doing her best (and saying so would make her try harder).

Oh, and whatever the reason the building was being protected by a force-field, he probably could SEE that there were no effects of the outside force/danger/event being displayed upon the building.
(If they were INSIDE the field too, then he could FEEL that the air around them was unchanged by pressure or heat or outside influence that would otherwise have done so WITHOUT her field.)

As for the colorization of the invisible field, perhaps in her haste to erect the shield, moisture in the air molecules became trapped (like flies in amber) in the solid field and allowed sunlight to reflect/refract upon it, like a rainbow or semi transparent section of waterfall.

BUT, perhaps, it was just the colorist having fun visualizing the effect.
Heck, DOCTOR STRANGE’s mystic zaps are invisible to the naked eye most of the time, but THEY are colored quite vividly.

Just sayin’.

SO…uh… Cool Point worthy?

;-)

~P~
P-TOR

Rap doesn’t belong in comics. That whole scene wasn’t funny or cool and it was a waste of time. But sadly I think that Waid made it seriously and to appeal to a younger crowd but he ultimately failed.

Anyone else taking issue with how the Thing is barely taller than those kids?

Also, someone needs to knock this one out of the park:

“Tomko, give me a beat.”

I don’t know good rap from bad, so I can’t answer your question.

But I did love that scene, just for how, later on, Ben is listening to the album by himself.

While, yes, this was an unintentionally hilarious failure, the statement “Rap doesn’t belong in comics” is just weird and vaguely xenophobic.

It’s kinda has a back-in-the-day with Jazzy Jeff Will Smith as Fresh Prince vibe to it. Like a missing track from their early CD’s. A track about how cool Ben Grimm is would have fit right in with Parent’s Just Don’t Understand and Nightmare on My Street. Which is still very dorky but it can work BECAUSE it’s dorky. To my knowledge Frash Prince never really pretended to be hardcore anything.

..and if they’re not rappin about people getting shot and sellin crack on Yancy Street then maybe that’s a good Thing. (yes the cap was intentional).

I would say it’s intentional because of Ben’s reaction. Which is funny both because Ben probably doesn’t get rap and because the rap in question is so very silly.

Urban Legend! I remember someone mentioning at the time that Waid didn’t write the rap – that he got some rapper to write it for him, specifically because he recognized that, as an old white guy, he had no business trying to write a Thing rap.

(and I think that’s Val, not Franklin in Sue’s arms)

I thought he said he asked Devin Grayson to write it.

Rap doesn’t belong in comics. That whole scene wasn’t funny or cool and it was a waste of time. But sadly I think that Waid made it seriously and to appeal to a younger crowd but he ultimately failed.

Uh, rap has been around for a good 35 years now. I think your stereotyping falls short.

As far as intent/unintent… I think Waid might’ve known how corny this could come off, but he did a fine job anyway. It’s more Skee-lo than, uh, anybody, but it works.

Alot of people here are saying that they don’t really know rap well enough to be able to tell, and that’s fine, everyone’s into what they’re into. But as a long time fan of rap music I’m gonna come out here and say that this scene is terrible.

Definitely unintentional–because even if it was meant to be funny, it’s just too bad and too painful to read. I mean, I certainly hope that no writer would makes his work intentionally unreadable; I seriously had trouble forcing this page on myself.

And yeah, Thing is waaaaaay too short here.

(Not sure what “I figured being rap it had to be a parody off itself – that’s the genre it was written in” is supposed to mean, though.)

To be fair, have you tried reading the lyrics to any Billboard hot 100 rap song? They almost never come off well when read off the page.

Being that by and large the Waid/Wieringo FF run was an all-ages style of book, the rapping reflects this. So no, it’s not good. But what all-ages rap is?

As far as rap “not belonging” in comics, I’m going to assume that to mean that it’s very difficult to present cadence, inflection, or performance through a static image and a word-balloon. Most scenes of musical performance just don’t translate very well in comics.

Though it might be fun to get a list together of comics that do present it well. Starting with Scott Pilgrim.

SanctumSanctorumComix

June 26, 2007 at 9:40 am

Re: The Thing’s HEIGHT:

The Thing started out as being drawn SHORTER than REED.
Somewhere over the years they made him a friggin’ GIANT.

Just giving the history.

~P~
P-TOR

I say it was supposed to be intentionally funny.

It looks like the latest instalment of the long comic book tradition of not-quite-right references to popular music in superhero stories. I like Waid’s stuff for the most part, but this looks like an attempt at intentional humour that still doesn’t work out.

Interesting that T tells us “the actual hip-hop generation is overwhelmingly pro-Marvel”. Apart from wondering what the hip hop generation is (there were rap hits when I was still at the UK equivalent of high school, and I’m Waid’s age), you’d think that given the preponderance of sexist crap at both Marvel and DC they’d be spoilt for choice.

I’m loathe to use the term “hip-hop generation,” (my uncle grew up listening to rap and I did, too, so that’s two generations right there) but a number of big name rappers aren’t shy about making Marvel references. For Wu-Tang Clan, their second (or third) biggest influence is Marvel. The RZA has said his favorite character is Silver Surfer and half the Wu have rap alter egos. Method Man and Ghostface didn’t come up with Johnny Blaze and Tony Starks on their own. David Banner, a rapper/producer out of Mississippi, took his name from the Hulk TV show.

There’s also a DJ Green Lantern out there, based out of NYC (I think), but that’s DC so he doesn’t count.

Fun fact: Denys Cowan did the album art for The GZA’s Liquid Swords album. The RZA’s Bobby Digital record had art by Bill Sienkiewicz.

Pharaohe Monch’s latest release features a Matt Murdock joke, if you want something more recent.

you’d think that given the preponderance of sexist crap at both Marvel and DC they’d be spoilt for choice.

Yes, because all rap is sexist and the only possible reason you could like rap is because it is sexist. C’mon, man.

MF Doom or Del tha Funky Homosapian could write a sweet rap about Thing. In fact, I haven’t listened to all their stuff, but I’d bet dollars to donuts they’ve both made references to him somewhere(I’m durn near positive Del throws out “it’s clobberin time!” on Deltron3000, but that’s neither here nor there…)

Rap is just like every other genre of music, there’s more to it than what’s on the Top 100 lists or MTV. And the stuff that are on those lists are pretty embarrassing to the genre as a whole.

Like I said, get MF Doom in here and he’d rap the most beautiful thing(haha) about Ben Grimm we ever heard.

Anyway, that scene’s pretty ridiculous, but being that it’s Mark Waid it’s pretty tough to gauge the sincerity. I wouldn’t put it past him to write that seriously, but I also think it might be a little tongue in cheek. Sort of a, “so what if it’s not a great rap, it’s a silly little scene to begin with” mentality. At least, that’s how I read it.

Well, this doesn’t qualify as a Ben Grimm rap, but the final track on MF Doom’s 1999 CD “Operation: Doomsaday” finds everybody’s fave tyrant monologuing about his plan to turn the FF into statues and, of course, raze to the ground every major city on the globe UNLESS the leaders of the free world vote him in as the absolute ruler of the planet. When the generous offer is surprisingly declined, Doom starts a portentous countdown — “5, 4, 3, 2…” But wait! Suddenly, there’s a crashing sound and Doom shouts “Griiiiiimmmmmmm!!!”

No rap, but more than good enough for me.

One can argue that MF (Metal Face) Doom, AKA Victor Vaughn, might perhaps slightly and imperceptibly be influenced by Fantastic Four comics.

Given that CBR is featuring a hip-hop/rap artist on the front page of the site, I think rap and comics are very tied together for the fans and creators of both artforms.

And I also agree that the world of rap is much more than what is pushed by MTV, or BET, etc. Most of the gansta rap music is bought by white people, according to a report I saw on POV (a PBS show).

It’s intentional because it’s kinda funny, etc.

I loved that issue– the nine-center, right? Maybe the best single issue of any of the mainstream books that year. Hooked me into buying Waid’s entire run as it came out.

Jurassic 5 did a Thing song for the Fantastic Four video game called “Clobberin’ Time.” Perhaps that is where the lyrics are from?

Agreed on hip-hop being multigenerational, maybe “Hip Hop Generation” is not a good phrase anymore. Let’s say “hip-hop nation” instead. As someone who grew up as part of the hip-hop nation, which I’ll define as people whose fashions, friendships, worldviews, hobbies and overall lifestyles are pretty much all filtered through the prism of hip-hop (as opposed to someone who just has a casual interest in hip-hop as a music fan rather than a lifestyle), I can tell you that the hip-hop world is overwhelmingly pro-Marvel. Someone already pointed out the Marvel influences and shout-outs in hip-hop. I even recall a popular rapper using the lyric “My style’s so Marvel, yours is DC comics” as a diss. Growing up I never even knew anyone that liked DC comics, except for a few isolated cases like Frank Miller’s DKR and Byrne’s Man of Steel, and that’s only because they were being done “Marvel style” by “Marvel guys.” DC was just known as the “corny” company, and Marvel as the cool one. That’s why I think such a scene hurts a Marvel comic more than a DC one, because they’re the company more likely to have fans from the hip-hop lifestyle.

Also, Lauren, your stat about whites and hip-hop is popular but misleading one used to prove that gangsta rap is not a “black thing”. But remember, blacks are only 13% of the US population and whites over 72%, so any major mainstream music HAS to be predominately white to be that profitable. However blacks make up a DISPROPORTIONATE amount of the gangsta rap fanbase if you consider how much of the overall US population they comprise. In addition, although mostly whites listen to gangsta rap, which is natural based on US population stats, I’m willing to bet a much higher ratio of blacks listen to gangsta rap across all income levels than to other “conscious” backpack rappers. Additionally, based on anecodatal evidence I admit, white fans are much more likely to have gangsta rap as just one of many music choices, while black fans quite often have the gangsta rap as a primary or exclusive music choice, as well as a lifestyle manual and creed.

Did anyone really expect lyrical and compositional complexity from Waid? It seems like he had fun with it and that’s all it’s there for really.

Sanctum-If you think all real Hip-Hop is as lame as the Thing rap then you obviously haven’t heard a real rap song in a very long time.

Definitely hokey as hell. I give Waid some credit for trying to modern even though he’s a square white guy. Its like when the white comic writers in the 70s were trying to represent black comic characters with the colorful language.

Good effort, but even back then I laughed. Nice to bring it back for a chuckle, BeeCee.

( But wait! Suddenly, there’s a crashing sound and Doom shouts “Griiiiiimmmmmmm!!!” )

thats kinda funny considering MF Doom’s former rhyming partner was MF Grimm. I never even thought of Grimm as being Ben Grimm influenced until now. Doom, for sure, doesn’t shy away from his Dr Doom love, with his mask, use of the 60′s cartoon or his other alias Victor Vaughn ( like Victor Von Doom).

To me this scene was “cute”. Of course, Waid’s no song writer. He just made a fun scene in his comic. Its not laugh out loud funny in the least but its not ridiculously corny either.

And yeah, hip-hop is definitely pro Marvel. Judging from my junior high years in Harlem up to my hip-hop heavy high school days, Marvel books were always the ones available and the ones that got love. I used to think it had something to do with New Yorkers automatically loving Marvel but it wasn’t so. COmics got me into hip-hop, and its kind of funny that hip-hop is what eventually got me back into comics when I was in college. I love them both and don’t see whats so bad about a rap reference in comics.

Actually Punch, if you go by a lot of the down South junk I mean crunk rap currently out there, Mark Waid is like Jay-Z, Biggie and Canibus all rolled up into one by comparison.

Awww, T, speaking as a native of GA, we’re gonna have to fight now :(

Lil Flip and Young Jeezy may suck (hard), but Luda and the Dungeon Family are as good as anybody out there!

Yeah, but Luda and Dungeon aren’t considered crunk rap, are they? (I thought down south crunk was the jeezy/yung joc/lil flip stuff?) I like Luda and Dungeon. Ironically, the only dungeon group I really don’t care for too much is Outkast, the most popular members. Actually I like Andre, but only when he’s singing and not rapping.

Hm, right. I think my problem is that I don’t necessarily think of it as crunk music if it’s from GA, barring obvious ones like Lil Jon. I don’t see much difference between Young Jeezy and Luda on the production side, for example.

I tend to associate Lil Flip with screw music, though.

Ha, it’s kind of funny. I remember booty bass (Tag Team, 69 Boyz, Luke) being chased (metaphorically) out of the south by the Dungeon and UGK and so on, and yet nowadays we’ve got Andre 3000 putting down ridiculously good verses on songs like Throw Some D’s from objectively wack rappers. It’s crazy.

“MF Doom or Del tha Funky Homosapian could write a sweet rap about Thing. In fact, I haven’t listened to all their stuff, but I’d bet dollars to donuts they’ve both made references to him somewhere(I’m durn near positive Del throws out “it’s clobberin time!” on Deltron3000, but that’s neither here nor there…)”

He definitely says “Flame on” at one time or another on Deltron 3030. And I think there’s an Invisible Woman reference on the album too.

“Terrorize the jam like troops in Pakistan
Swingin through your town like your neighborhood Spiderman”
Inspectah Deck on Wu-Tang’s first single Protect Ya Neck. Then there’s Ghostface’s sampling of the Iron Man cartoon and theme song on his Supreme Clientele album, his adapting of the name Tony Starks, and his solo debut was named Iron Man. There’s tons of Marvel references from Wu-Tang.

“Reading you the news cause I’m Country Mike
Use a microphone like Shazam uses tights”
Mike D on the Beatie Boys’ Sounds of Science.
The Beastie Boys and the other hand seem to have a thing for Captain Marvel, especially Mike D. He dressed up like him in a video (for Alive, I think it was) and their album To The Five Boroughs features a song called Shazam!

MF Doom, well, where to begin? He constantly samples old Spidey and FF cartoons, wears a mask like Doom and on his album Mmm… Food he’s in full Doom get-up eating a bowl of cereal with the FF floating in it (look closely). He used Jack Kirby panels with Doom as album covers earkier in his career but can’t do that anymore because Marvel either sued or threatened to sue him.

There’s even a crossover coming out later this year. MF Doom and Ghostface (Dr. Doom & Tony Starks) recorded an album together so expect the Marvel references to go all out on that one.

Doom’s former rhyme partner Grimm on the other hand has written an autobiographical graphic novel called Sentences coming out in September, published by Vertigo. It’s drawn by Ronald Wimberly (who did the Hellblazer: Papa Midnite covers) and it looks very promising, Previews had a couple preview pages last month.

So comics and hiphop? You could make a recurring theme out of it, easy. I’d say the joke from Waid is intentional, and I don’t see how it’s offensive to see a different side of hiphop portrayed in the media, even if the rap is a bit dorky, it’s a fun scene that’s meant to be fun.
There used to be room enough for humor and fun in hiphop even though that’s not always evident nowadays. Another parallel with comics perhaps?

SanctumSanctorumComix

June 27, 2007 at 6:33 am

Hmmmm…. now I need to ask, if a lot of hip-hop is Marvel-centric, does anyone know if any songs feature Doctor Strange?
If so, I’ll have to hunt it down.

Please LMK if there are any songs that feature/mention the “Master of the Mystic Arts” & “Sorcerer Supreme”; Dr. Strange.

(Heck…or Man-Thing.)

;-)

ThanX!

~P~
P-TOR

SSC–

Dr Strange got a couple bars long mention in Last Emperor’s Secret Wars.

Round two, new fight, word to life, you gotta see this
Locked in mortal combat is Dr. Strange and The Genius
Here son, he’s no match, let that grafted wizard have it
‘My Liquid Sword slashes straight through Dr. Strange’s Magic’
Another hero down, and now the score is two to zero

The song is made at least in part because Last Emp does some sick impressions of the rappers.

He’s got Secret Wars Part One (copy/paste to avoid a hotlinking script): http://www.ohhla.com/anonymous/last_emp/mm_and_m/wars_one.emp.txt
and Secret Wars Part Two:
http://www.ohhla.com/anonymous/last_emp/mm_and_m/wars_two.emp.txt

The latter of which is a seven minute epic!

Emp is clever, so he manages to pull this off without being too corny. I mean, the rappers all win, but hey, win some, lose some!

T- I really hate to generalize, but I have to agree with you. I respect some Southern artists but just can’t listen to crunk.

Sanctum- I’m pretty sure there was a rapper named Dr. Strange that was down with RZA at some point.

Jay-Z named his last album and was inspired by Kingdom Come. The title song mentions several characters, Marvel and DC
Let’s not forget the mother of all superhero/rapper crossovers-The Last Emperor’s Secret Wars 1 and 2.

Unintentionally embarrassing and awful.

And rap and comics go together like steak and more steak. DELISCIOUS. Kirby comics in particular seem to really fuse with hip-hop culture.

I’m betting he thought it would be funny to have a scene where some kids performed a rap about the Thing for him. The rap, itself, though? I don’t think that was supposed to be funny.

I think Apodaca’s right, and how could I forget to mention Kingdom Come?

“take off the blazer, loosen up the tie
Step inside the booth, Superman is alive”

“The Bruce Wayne of the game have no fear
When you need me just throw your ROC signs in the air, yeah!”

Rza was just recently interviewed on Fanboy Radio about his work on the Afro-Samurai series.

And I think it needs to be made clear that the album J to the AAP mentioned Ghostface’s Supreme Clientele, that samples heavily from the Iron Man cartoon, is one of the best Hip Hop albums ever.

Ghostface’s Guns ‘N Razors, produced by MF Doom, samples a “villain theme” from the old Spider-Man cartoon.

Dan (other Dan)

June 29, 2007 at 1:54 pm

Del’s “Phoney Phranchise” off Both Sides of the Brain includes the lyric “Hotter than coals tread and your feet’ll melt/Like plastic I castrate contenders/With a crew that got more power than the West Coast Avengers/Sit and let your ears swim in the splendor”
Also notable for the line “I’m sicker than a beef recall”

I’m not a fan of rap but not against it.

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