Filing Cabinet of the Damned

Friday, December 23, 2005

Post 101

Filing Cabinet of the Damned is just shy of a year old and has reached, with this very post, one hundred and one entries.

In honor of a hundred and one posts and a year of existence, I present a random smattering of stuff.


Jack Kirby and Body Dysmorphia: a retrospective offered without commentary.

I'm torn between finding it all cooler than words and finding it creepy.


Moby-Dick: Or, the Whale. A cornerstone of American literature. A masterpiece. A brilliant collection of images, characters, whale facts, and fart jokes. Yep.

An excerpt: “Finally, I always go to sea as a sailor, because of the wholesome exercise and pure air of the forecastle deck. For as in this world, head winds are far more prevalent than winds from astern (that is, if you never violate the Pythagorean maxim)….”

Pythagoras had a strict rule against the eating of beans, y’see.* Winds from astern? Beans? HAW!

Okay, it’s not all that funny, but come on. Name another nineteenth century novel of high reputation with any references to tooting at all, much less a joke.

The path to great literature is clear to me now. Whaling and fart jokes. Cool.

I don’t know why I was thinking about Herm and the beans today. But I was, and so there you go.


Batman never sings anymore. It’d be sweet if they changed that policy.

Right in the middle of the big Infinite Crisis hoot-n-holler, as the universe is fracturing around him, he should break out a little Cole Porter:

“I understand the reason why
The OMACs are killing with Brother Eye.
It’s destructive,
it’s degrading,
it’s de-lovely”

The man needs some song and dance in his violent, obsessive life, dammit.


DC Comics’ “One Year Later” has the potential to be brilliant. It’ll probably be a letdown, a hiccup that will be all but forgotten in a few months.

Regardless, I think we should start a betting pool. Early odds:

10:1 – Wonder Woman is replaced by Donna Troy

23:1 – The new Earth-2 is populated entirely by the left-handed

37:1 – The current Robin becomes the new Nightwing. The current Nightwing becomes the new Batman. And the current Batman retires to become host of a popular Food Network show called “Batarang Buffet.”

62:1 – The new Justice League of America will require all new members to wear raccoon coats for their first year.

100:1 – Four simple words: “Sword of ‘Mazing Man.”

If anyone from DC reads this, you should know that SoMM would be a top seller. No doubt.

I'm just sayin'.

* Warning: Obnoxious pedantry follows. Sorry, can't help myself.

The reason for Pythagoras’s rule against beans is unclear. Aristotle had a couple of guesses why, such as a connection between beans and Hades. Other ancients thought it was tied in with ideas of reincarnation. Or that it was simply a way to prevent toots during meditation.

Another school of thought believes the maxim “abstain from beans” was a warning about politics. According to these fellows, one voted by dropping a black or white bean in a jar. Thus the warning was against political involvement.

Another theory is that the beans Pythagoras warned against were European vetches (Vicia faba) rather than the beans eaten today, and therefore some people with an inherited blood abnormality could develop a serious disorder called favism if they eat these beans or even inhale their pollen. So he was just keeping his buds out of harm's way. (I don't happen to think this is the case, but hey.)

Regardless, Melville made a Farrelly Brothers-level joke, in his mid-nineteenth century way, in a novel about evil, obsession, and whaling. Boo-yah!


  • "Regardless, Melville made a Farrelly Brothers-level joke, in his mid-nineteenth century way..."

    And subsequently accused the creators of South Park of ripping him off.

    This is the second post in a row where I've had issues with a comment you've made about Jack Kirby. In this case, I'm not sure if your use of the word "creepy" here is meant to suggest that there was something inherently creepy about Kirby himself for designing so many characters with distorted and/or rearranged bodies...or simply that these characters were creepy, as they were meant to be. Kirby understood that distorting the body was one way to evoke an immediate, visceral response of horror in the audience, and in each of the cases above -- here shown totally out of context -- that was precisely the reaction he was trying to achieve. Each of those images was supposed to be disturbing and unsettling. Unfortunately, they succeeded so well that some people remember them more vividly than anything else in Kirby's work. This skewed recollection has contributed to a very lopsided and, may I say, unfair perception of Kirby as solely a "freakshow" artist who did nothing but wildly twisted and bizarre characters. Even a passing familiarity with his work will show that he did so much more than that. He was an artist capable of great beauty and harmony as well. Just for balance, I'd like to see more people celebrating that side as well.

    Finally, your betting pool leaves out my personal choice: that if this is anything other than a momentary hiccup, within five years there'll be another company-wide event called "The One Where We Fix All The Problems Caused By One Year Later And Do It Right, And This Time We Mean It!"

    By Anonymous RAB, at 8:53 PM  

  • Kirby was a man who liked to stretch his imagination. This led to experiments in all sorts of directions. The grotesqueries and strange body distortions are the most obvious of these. Not many comic artists pushed in this direction nearly as far as Kirby did. Which is a pity.

    The images themselves are creepy, and they're supposed to be. Kirby's imagination was too wide-ranging and fecund to be tarred with that simple label.

    The man created a lot of powerfully weird shit. And not many others followed in that vein. Thus, it's the kind of thing that draws one's attention. His dynamism is widely imitated (or at least, people try to). Stuff like Arnim Zola? Not so much.

    I'm picking the low-hanging fruit of Kirbyana. There's a lot of wonderous tasty stuff I'm not addressing. Yup.

    By Blogger Harvey Jerkwater, at 11:14 PM  

  • When you put it like that, I can't disagree!

    And kudos to you for the phrase "low-hanging fruit of Kirbyana."

    By Anonymous RAB, at 2:59 PM  

  • By Blogger dfadf, at 7:55 PM  

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