Oh, The Insecurity…

So last night someone said my hair was going thin on top.

I’m not down with this. Not at all. I’m a big hairy dude. I can’t be going bald. If I go bald, I’ll look like a Bond villain. And not one of the cool Bond villains, or Smallville era Lex Luthor, not one of those guys who has money and power and beautiful women throwing themselves at them. Oh no. I’ll look like a freaky Bond villain, probably played by Donald Pleasence. Or Dr. Evil.

Okay, I might be over-reacting. There’s genetic precendence for me losing my hair though. And, while, say, Patrick Stewart can carry off the bald thing, I don’t think I could. I’m going to die, bald and lonely, in a house full of comic books and cats.

And news like this (and here and here, the idea that the London Planetarium should be shut down in favour of a show about celebrities, will just make what hair I have left fall out even quicker, so fate is working against me. Can we dumb down much further? It’s like the whole world’s going crazy; some branches of religion hate science, science is made to take a back seat to celebrity ‘culture’, the arts are shunted in favour of reality TV, and faith, science and the arts all lose out in the process because a) the world’s getting smarter but simultaneously dumber, which is quite a trick, and b) because the three can’t somehow work together to illuminate the full range of human experience. Weirdly enough, this article at Relevant seems to have something to say about all this, even though I’m acutely aware I keep touching the top of my head while I’m reading it. This hair-loss thing can become an obsession. Maybe it’s time to buy a hat and visit the Planetarium…

So that’s been the last 24 hours – baldness, impending lonely death, no more star-gazing, and a headache brewing. Whoopie-doo!

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17 thoughts on “Oh, The Insecurity…

    1. matthewhyde Post author

      Oh great, I hadn’t thought of that. Captain Boomerang, and probably the later era Captain Boomerang, the one who was doing lame-o jobs for the Calculator and had a seriously receeding hairline.
      Still, I’ll be okay as long as I don’t go to visit anyone called Drake…

      Reply
      1. novak

        Hell, marry a Drake: it would be carrying and using the exotic paraphernalia that would get me worrying about the accuracy of this parallel-dimension theory….

      2. matthewhyde Post author

        See, this is what I love about the Silver Age – “We’ve got a hero who can run faster than the speed of sound. You know, he should fight a guy who throws boomerangs.” I mean, it’s GENIUS, in an insane sort of way.
        The current fad of razor-blade boomerangs seems to be indicative of one of DC’s problems though – it wants to emulate the status-quo of the Silver Age by bringing it ‘up-to-date’ in a grittier world, rather than doing the Morrison thing of being true to the spirit of the age and coming up with about a hundred ideas per story. Don’t give me a new Captain Boomerang who uses razor boomerangs. Give me a new villain who has rocket-powered rollerblades, or a guy who mind controls people through cellphones, or SOMETHING original and deranged. To me, that’s more of a tribute to the Silver Age than bring back Hal Jordan…

      3. novak

        Rocket-powered rollerblades!
        I have to enjoy really bad ideas like that–and I’m sorry, Matthew: even in the world of superheroes, that’s a really bad idea!–as I just saw in Robin #145. With Bludhaven running amok with costumes trying to win the bounty for a hit on Robin, new, badly-conceived villains were even crawling out of the woodwork. My favourite of these was “Wicker Man,” who wisely conceded defeat when faced with a character with a lighter….

      4. matthewhyde Post author

        Wicker Man should have quit with Edward Woodward, while he was ahead…
        I love the idea that the DC universe is full of people with really useless powers who exist off the radar of the main heroes and villains. I mean, someone had to sit down and think about the Wicker Man, even if he was just a gag villain – better that weeny bit of creativity than another epic where the bad guy says something like “Haha! I have you where I want you, Superman! For I’m am the second cousin twice removed of Brainiac’s uncle! Quake before my POWER!”
        What version of General Zod are we on now? 🙂

      5. novak

        You know, on the ‘serious,’ sci-fi aspect of the DC Universe, I really like that, too. I loved that feeling of “wholeness,” or “completeness” to the vision, if I can call it that, when Max Lord correct Blue Beetle’s supposition that there were a few thousand meta-humans on the planet with the information that there were 1.3 million, from those with the Superman-level powers, “to the little old lady in Topeka who keeps hitting the PowerBall.” (An multi-state American lottery, if you didn’t know.) That made some sense to me, as a universe-description. And thus of course there were 1.3 million OMACs to clean house….
        What I’d like to see more of are metas who have no inclination to be heroes or villains, but who go into business with their abilities–that seems to me a much more likely outlet for avarice than villainy, and something that would have real story-potential. I really think it was Kingdom Come that really highlighted how disruptive to humanity the existence of thousands of these people would be. It’s one thing to have one Superman on the scene, as in the movies; it’s another to have a subset of the race that has taken such a dramatic evolutionary step ahead…..

      6. matthewhyde Post author

        Yeah, I’d’ve liked to have seen more of that in The OMAC Project – Brother Eye going after the spoonbenders and the lottery winners with the heroes trying desperately to stop them.
        The ordinary people who just happen to have powers would perhaps have just as much impact on the world as, say, Superman. Superman isn’t competing for a job, or asking people to the school prom. He’s not running for office or competing in professional sports. That line of thought can take you down two routes – either the X-Men situation, where there’s growing resentment between metas and non-metas, or a completely changed world, where powers are so commonplace that ‘normal’ things become more invested with meaning and importance while the superhuman exploits become routine.
        And then there’s the opposite take on things – the people who become heroes and villains and who wear costumes and have property-destroying slugfests in major cities – but who reject any idea of highmindedness or power or superiority or over-the-top-ness. A member of a super-team who takes bribes from a local mob boss. A guy who can destroy mountains with a thought who for some reason just wants to break into houses when people are out because he’s afraid he’s going to get shot. The guy who goes around saving kittens from trees because wearing a cape and lycra is easier than getting a real job.
        I think DC’s doing an interesting job of character building at the moment. I guess the next step is to look at world- and society-building…

      7. novak

        Yes, of everything, it was The OMAC Project that has consistently been the most under-developed ov everything: I look forward to the Special–I was pleased with the way that The Rann-Thanagar War Special just fleshed out the glimpse we had in the mind-blowing and utterly-tragic Infinite Crisis #4. It has helped how many OMAC Project crossovers that there has been, but the dynamic you describe is an interesting one: shall we assume by the number of lower-levels we have seen “cleaned out” by the OMACs, and by the rigorous “no more resurrections!” insistance of another wing of the story that all the lower-level metas have been eliminated, to the effect of a great “back-to-basics” of the DC Universe?
        Damn! We should be posting these at DC!

      8. matthewhyde Post author

        I used to be quite a regular on the DC boards, but have been slacking off over the last few months. Not entirely sure why either…
        While I’m down with a Back to Basics approach by DC, I wouldn’t like to think it was the result of a metahuman holocaust, especially not if it remains under-developed. My one MAJOR problem with the OMAC Project is that it pretty much did away with the JLI, and that left a bad taste in my mouth. Sure, these events are going to have casualties, but this seemed a bit too agenda-driven for my liking. It’s all very well saying that IC will lead to a less grim, more hope-filled DCU, but it’s hard to take that seriously when a good bunch of the characters who are well placed to drive that transition have been shot in the head.
        Then again, Superboy’s rampage in the last issue of IC was devastating. Horrific in a lot of ways, and I really, really hope that Bart isn’t dead…

      9. novak

        Absolutely horrific. I really liked the kid back in ’85, too, but if anyone could go nuts, I can understand why he might have. The sheer, awful power he displayed and which many metas have, reinforced just the day-to-day restraint, heroism, or humanity many of the heroes show in wielding their abilities humanely and responsibly. (Yes, I’d had to lose Wally and Bart in one go like that, although I wonder at the implications of the “everyone-gets-struck-by-Flash-lightning” scene with Linda and babies Barry and Iris.) As Superboy-Prime was forced into the Speed Force (and a sensible, desperate tactic that was for dealing with a Kryptonian of “Silver Age” power), it was really a moment of pathos to hear him crying out that he was going to grow up to be Superman. As a fan of the original Crisis, I hate to see him and Alex come to this, but it has been good writing, I have to admit. I’ll be curious to see what Master Marv does in narrating that transition in the Infinite Crisis Secret Files.

      10. matthewhyde Post author

        The “I’m going to be Superman when I grow up!” line was both heartbreaking and desperately creepy. Although I guess the question is why, when half the DCU came to help Conner, Superman wasn’t with them…I think it’s significant that NO-ONE who wears an \S/ has been much use. The whole of IC is shaping up to be about Superman’s redemption (in several forms), which is perhaps why Wally and Bart getting zapped seemed a little rushed.
        Then again, it’s not over yet. Probably 100% wrong on all my theories!

      11. novak

        Your description of the Superboy-Prime line is absolutely perfect. And it was utterly riveting: rarely do I read a comic story that has me wide-eyed and muttering such theological phrases as “Holy Shit!” to myself in the way that Infinite Crisis #4 did. I’ll be curious to see if it was the trauma of his parents/planet/universe dying that did this to young Clark Kent of Earth-Prime, and/or being locked away in a dimension not unlike the Phantom Zone, or if Alex pulled a Luthor and did something to him that put him so far over the edge. The absence of Superman didn’t stand out to me: he’s not so all-powerful as the old Earth-1 version was, and so I just accept it easily that he won’t be present at every crisis, although I’ll look at his magazines curiously these weeks to see just what in fact he was doing at the time.
        I do think that these stories are indicative of showing how much the original Crisis powered him “down” from the Silver Age excesses. That whole idea of moving planets, for example: when I saw what Superboy-Prime had been up to, I couldn’t help but wonder what that would look like: how one would exert such force without simply tunnelling through a planet–apparently looking like you’re doing a handstand, up close. I’m glad they looked more closely during the Rann-Thanagar Special, but the Willing Suspension of Disbelief came into play even with the answer being given to me: ah, a compacted crater and handprints.

      12. matthewhyde Post author

        I didn’t miss Superman in the sense that I felt he needed to be there to rectify everything (although I did think it was strange that someone could be causing chaos in Smallville without Clark responding; more in the sense that Infinite Crisis, if it has any aim at all, is to restore Superman to his role as chief go-to guy in the DCU. I suspect he’s going to make a huge entrance in the next couple of issues.
        I liked the handprints; totally goofy and bizarre, but what else would it look like? 🙂 When we’re looking at power levels like SBP’s, a suspension of disbelief is essential. But then, I always figure that it’s not so much Superman’s power that makes a difference, rather his character. We should get the idea that he’d be out there saving people even if he was simply a powerless Clark Kent. DC can keep him powered down if they like, as long as they come up with a cool way for him to win; he’s Superman, it’s what he does!

      13. novak

        Agreed. Clark represents an idea of middle-American virtue in a way that goes beyond the politics of the Cold War necessity of describing him with the “Truth, Justice and the American Way” tagline. I can’t help but notice the differences in trying to convey this between Elliot S! Maggin’s wonderful early-80s, Earth-1 Superman novels, where Clark is reared in standard small town, American Protestantism (Martha makes sure there’s plenty of Bible in his reading, among others), and the current upbringing in Smallville, where Clark notably reads Nietzsche (whee-hee! “Man or Superman!” Get it?! Hilarious!) [Just in case it doesn’t come across, I am being ironic in my commentary about the writers’ wit.] and the Kents never go to church other than for funerals. Pretty positivistic.

      14. matthewhyde Post author

        Yeah, the Man and Superman thing was just a little forced! The problem with Smallville, other than the interminable Clark/Lana blandness, is that Clark is destined to be Superman and that’s it. There’s very little sign of him growing towards being the greatest superhero of them all, apart from references to the costumes and his future relationships. There are a few moments when I can see Superman, but most of the time he’s generic superhero, and that’s not enough. I think a large part of that is due to what you suggest – they’re going for irony rather than substance. Chloe’s the only one who really gets it, I think, while the whole powers/alien thing is being set up as something that needs to be fought AGAINST. That would be fine and appropriate if this was season one or two, but the show’s going to have to do a LOT of convincing in a short space of time if it’s going to convince us that Clark’s not just a superhero but THE superhero. Just because Superman’s the genre archetype, doesn’t mean his writers can get away with generic…

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