META/REVIEW: Immediate Pleasure (a review of Superfreaks # 19-21)

Martin Phipps martinphipps2 at
Wed Jan 10 02:15:32 PST 2007

Tom Russell wrote:
> Now, Martin doesn't _exactly_ retell the story of IKWYDLS in
> Superfreaks.  In the original, if I recall correctly, a group of stupid
> insipid selfish kids kill a man and throw the body off a cliff.  The
> man isn't really dead and sets about cleansing them from the gene pool.
> In Martin's version, it's one of the stupid insipid selfish kids who is
> the killer.  It turns out that she is the daughter of the man they
> killed.  The thing about this twist is that I didn't believe it.  It
> felt like Martin was putting it there merely to say, hey, I wasn't
> following the plot exactly!  It's a pastiche, it's synthesis.

Ah but there was a sequel to IKWYDLS called "I Still Know What You Did
Last Summer".  I'll say no more because I don't want to give away who
the killer in the sequel was. :)

> But the motivation is so out of left-field that it's not really
> satisfying to this reader.  A more interesting motivation might be that
> she really wasn't that insipid-- maybe she's motivated by the guilt of
> what they had done, maybe she couldn't take it and externalized it to
> the others to absolve herself of guilt, and now she has to kill them
> all because it's all their fault anyway, they made her do it...
> And maybe Martin would have thought of that, or maybe that's more a
> Tom Russell type of twist, I dunno.  But I think that he was so
> enjoying writing the story that the first twist that popped into his
> head, he decided to use, without weighing his options or wondering if
> that was the best way to do it.

Actually, the stories are almost completely written in my head before I
start typing and I do think of different possibilities.  I go with the
one that makes me laugh.

> Like the original Omen, the thrill of those terrible Final Destination
> movies is watching how fate conspires to kill our insipid heroes.  One
> little thing affects another until the desired result is met.  That is,
> really, the whole point of the movie.
> And since Martin is so good at coming up with unusual deaths (like the
> force of super-sperm ejaculation ripping a girl apart from the inside),
> I was hoping he'd give us some of the same.

I know but unless you have knives lying around in your kitchen or a
radio suspended over your bathtub, the whole death-by-weird-accident
theme is hard to pull off. :)

> For example, I don't think Martin enjoys coming up with names.  Which
> is why we get characters like Britney Hilton and Justin Federline and
> Christian Lohan.  This is also why Extreme's [father's] real name is My-Kel and
> the Dr. Strange analogue is named Professor Stomper.

Ha.  Ha.  Ha ha ha.  No?

> In this story, many of the suspects have the names of LNH characters,
> or names very similar.  The one I noticed right away was Bryce Banner.
> And, frankly, that's because I created Bryce Banner.  I don't remember
> giving Martin permission to use him, but that's because I don't
> remember Martin asking to use him.  And the character isn't exactly in
> the public domain.
> Now, I would have certainly given permission to Martin had he asked,
> but--
> Oh, wait, what's that, you say?  It's not the same Bryce Banner?  Just
> another character with the same name?  Kind of like the Omega
> characters in Flame Wars IV who weren't really Omega characters?
> I'm sorry, Martin, but that doesn't quite cut it. :-)
> Now, I'm not mad about it, not even miffed.  HE didn't kill him off and
>  write him out of character. :-)
> It's just another thing that I notice about Superfreaks: it is very
> much a work of synthesis, like the films of Quentin Tarantino.  And, as
> a wiser man than me once said, synthesis is a perfectly valid form of
> creation.

Did you notice there was a character named Martin Mylar in Superfreaks
#16?  And Langeto's lawyer in Lagneto 2017 was... Leroy Laurel.

> You know what I'd really like to do, and I'm serious, here-- I'd like
> everyone to contribute nine or ten regular civilian character names for
> Martin.  No Tuckerizations or famous names, nothing that will stick
> out.  Just everyday names that he can use for victims, killers,
> suspects, and witnesses.  Because if I have to look at another Britney
> Hilton or Bryce Banner...

Britney Hilton!  Ha!  Ha!  Ha ha ha!  No?

> And since I'd like to end this review on a high note, with some
> encouragement, let me just say that I'm really digging the character
> work that Martin is doing with Edward.
> Edward typifies certain male character traits so well and so accurately
> that it's uncanny.  Notice I say male character traits and not
> masculine.  He's not exactly masculine or a man.  He's more of a boy.
> He has a boy's enthusiasm for sex but lacks a man's understanding of
> it.  He gets extremely agitated at the mere mention of sex by some kids
> in a classroom, which indicates that he's got his share of hang-ups
> about it.
> He often answers things with a joke, and avoids them.  He doesn't seem
> to be as deep a thinker as Mary is.
> He wants to have the pleasures of a man (sex, a "wife") without the
> responsibilities it may entail (children).  Sexually, he is aggressive
> when there are breasts in his sight line, but he prefers to be told
> what to do-- like a little boy, a child.  The breast fixation (okay, so
> it was in just one scene, but I still say it was there) might not mean
> anything more to him than it does in any other man-- but, at the same
> time, it could be Martin's subtle hint that Edward is looking for a
> mother as much as he's looking for a wife.
> And here's the thing: Martin is _comparatively_ subtle when it comes to
> characterizing Edward.  All the information he lets us in on might not
> click on the first reading.  It's only after a few issues that it gels.
> It is, then, a culminative pleasure.  I'm not sure if it was planned.
> It doesn't feel planned.  But it doesn't feel willy-nilly, either.
> It feels organic.  Edward feels organic, he feels real, he feels like
> flesh.  It's damn good characterization and it all comes together:
> synthesis.

Edward, Mary, John, Alan and Michael seem more real than LNH characters
because I have actors in mind when I write them.  That's it.


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