Futura – Chapter 16

If the previous installment of the Futura Saga recommended safety glasses when reading then full-body armor is required for this one!

In the earlier chapter that introduced the Space Pirate Queen Yrina, I maintained that Futura and the pirate are not all that different and may have easily followed different paths in their respective struggles to survive in the wild and woolly space lanes. Planet Comics #58 (January 1949) is a good example of Futura making the kind of decision that would realistically land her on a Most Wanted Criminal list for a reason other than the current case of mistaken identity.

On the run and trapped within the black market arms bazaar Futura offers as a distraction to her pursuers the kind of destruction one would expect from the criminal Yrina and not a displaced executive secretary. In the 1994 film Clerks some of the characters discussed the film Star Wars. They posited the idea that it was doubtful that everyone who was killed on the Death Star was an enemy combatant and that thousands of poor, working schmoes also met their deaths when the ship exploded. A lot of the staff that died were just contracted techs and pump-jockeys who just wanted jobs and to feed their families.

A similar sitation occurs in Chapter 16 of the Futura Saga. In her desperation to escape from the bazaar Futura purposely razes the market to the ground and causes massive chaos on both the ground and in the sky. Her actions undoubtedly caused the death of scores of people, some of whom being slaves and captives like herself, were not evil death-merchants and undeservedly perished. Futura is no stranger to wide-scale annihilation though. In a bid for freedom she destroyed a planet and the native population upon it on a previous occasion. When the people of Pan-Cosmos were wiped out she was at best acting with good intentions that went awry. At worst Futura was using the rebellion for her own selfish means, sacrificing two races of sentient beings just to gain access to a space ship. It is interesting that the events leading up to her escape from Pan-Cosmos and the bazaar reaped similar results and that two of the most evil characters in the strip, Omma and Yrina, have in common enough traits with Futura that they all chose the same path for escape.

Futura may have crossed a moral line in this installment but this kind of characterization is a positive one and gives Futura more depth and motivation, something that was sorely missing in all but a few early comic book serials. Futura’s decisions make her a bit less two-dimensional and far more interesting as her character evolves from the simple kidnapped secretary she once was into a person of resolute means. If Futura still has designs on returning home to Earth then they are undeclared and she may have changed too much to ever go back to being the sexily-clad girl in the Compu-Steno pool. A career in spaceship piracy seems ever more likely for Futura.

Click to…Look out! Run!

Visiting the Land of the Lost

Michael May’s Adventureblog has just finished the third part of an unflinching three-part review of season one of the classic 70’s show The Land of the Lost. I’m too biased towards the spirit of the show to ever give a fair review but he did a good job of it.

AAAAAAHHHHHHH!

Enter the portal to be whisked off to the Adventureblog!

UBER CHICLE

In the post Bibimbap is the shizznit a while back I posted about the unfortunate practice of ‘affinity scams’, where a member (or pretends to be) of an ethnic, religious or professional group takes advantage of perceived and expected trusts to defraud a member of the same group.

On a recent visit to one of the local Asian markets in San Diego I picked up one of the fliers for a particularly heinous scam that targets the Asian community using the social and cultural pressures inherent to an affinity scam. In this post is a real advertisement for a ridiculously expensive miracle rubber that the seller claims will cure whatever ails you. I changed the name of the product, the logos and removed the inventory numbers because I don’t want some poor fool looking this quack garbage up and buying it through any leads I might provide.

“Uber Chicle” (as I call it) is basically the rubber of the kind you would find in any wetsuit. In fact, the seller even admits that a wetsuit manufacturer supplies their materials. From the samples I’ve seen the rubber is clearly mass-produced and bears the typical quality control issues one would find in long sheets of this material such as smeared cement on the edges, seams and frayed threads. While I find the rubber indistinguishable in any way from similar wetsuit material stock the seller claims the Uber Chicle is special in some way. The advertising materials make the usual unsubstantiated nonsense text-salad claims that the special rubber (made from rocks) enriches human cells and recycles the magnetic waves the human body emits (mostly in the infra-red range) all to enable the body to retain the natural biological rhythm. Whatever that means.

This is an example of a woo-woo claim that is clearly immoral if not criminal. These pieces of rubber are sold at high prices using questionable claims of efficacy and healing powers or functions that are nothing short of magical. I worry that people with real illnesses are spending money on this junk believing and hoping it will help cure them of their afflictions. This is a very real concern as sales tactics vary depending on the customer. I have experienced this first-hand. Sales reps will variously ignore, treat with hostility or suspicion or deflect any inquiries I have based on what I presume is my race and a few other factors. Without missing a beat the very same salesperson will pounce upon my wife with spiels about miracle cures and awesome magical properties of whatever device is being sold. Often, it happens while I am standing right beside her.

Keep in mind that the average price for neoprene sheeting is about $25 dollars a yard. There is no shortage of the gullible and desperate. If I was evil, I’d be rich.

Click the picture to mark up 1000%

Sadly, it is very difficult to shut predatory scams of this nature down. This a little fish kind of problem in a very big pond and often the most that would happen is that false advertising charges would be levied, a small fine would be paid and business as usual would continue even if under a different name. Caveat Emptor rules the marketplace. Administrations that should protect consumers often look the other way or are toothless in the face of huge profits and influential dollars flowing into political coffers. The few victims that realize they are scammed are reluctant to file complaints or eagerly go on to the next quack-cure convinced that the next one or the next or the next will work as promised. Attempts by private individuals and Governments to educate the public is a slow process and feels despairingly futile sometimes. Unfortunately for every rational warning there are 500 attention-whoring celebrities praising the magic healing power of a pill, book or magnetic shoe insert.

The fact is, if any of this crap worked as advertised the world if not our marketplace would not be recognizable as it is now. This special knowledge and technology, if it was real, could not be contained or controlled by a select, special or powerful few. As most of the advertising claims the knowledge is everywhere, part of everyone and can be manipulated and touched. It is natural and miraculous and cures all ills. There would be no need for specialists or sales reps as every person on Earth would be at their ultimate potential of health just by common everyday exposure to these natural fantastic elements. Medical science, Doctors and hospitals would exist only so far as to ensure each individual died without pain and with dignity, though a comfortable hospice with a bucket of crystals in each room would conceivably replace the function of the physician in regards to the transitioning soul also. Keeping what is claimed to be so reportedly fundamental out of the hands of the average layman would be like trying to control the secret of making fire 10,000 years after the first bonfire was built and used to cook Mammoth steaks.

Please. If you are sick, visit a Doctor. A real one.

Take it home, Glen

As expected, I lost several subscribers in the hours after I posted my little opinion of Pat Robertson and his twisted, sick, hate-filled, bigoted and insane Cult of Suffering yesterday. I have no real idea who routinely drops in or when they stop doing so beyond the limited amount of tracking I do for the site, but I usually lose a number of the registered ‘Followers’ whenever I stray too far from the subject of comic books.

So?