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undead parrot refuses to participate – evil genius comics

November 26, 2013

New comic from The Oatmeal: “I have firsthand experience with an undead parrot” is a two part comic about a grumpy cannibalistic undead bird. In part one he is just a crazy pet, and in part two becomes undead during burial.

Grump Bartholomew Inman, the parrot, the pet, the monster and misanthrope, curmudgeon and cannibal … beautiful, perfect horror.

The bird’s refusal to participate is strikingly similar to Melville’s Bartleby. Also note that the bird is portrayed as exceedingly smart “one of the smartest breeds of birds on the planet” could “mimic just about anything he heard” but an attitude that :

Life [and death] is a farcical pile of bullshit. I refuse to participate.

Consider the similarity to Griffin Wilson, the character in Chuck Palahniuk’s new zombie story in Playboy. And consider the overlap of evil genius and zombie metaphors. Dr. Frankenstein’s monster is a classic early example of that crossover and the Haitian zombie always implied some shaman-like witch-doctor wizardry (see Bela Lugosi‘s character in “White Zombie”)

My book collection of “Mad Scientist in the Federal Courts” is available. Included in that book is a case about Superman copyrights which explains an early prototype version of the Superman character. See Siegel v. Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
542 F. Supp. 2d 1098 (Dist. Court, CD California, 2008)
, explaining the original Superman was created by a mad scientist:

In 1932, Jerome Siegel and Joseph Shuster were teenagers at Glenville High School in Cleveland, Ohio. Siegel was an aspiring writer and Shuster an aspiring artist; what Siegel later did with his typewriter and Shuster with his pen would transform the comic book industry. The two met while working on their high school’s newspaper where they discovered their shared passion for science fiction and comics, the beginning of a remarkable and fruitful relationship.

One of their first collaborations was publishing a mail-order fanzine titled “Science Fiction: The Advance Guard of Future Civilization.” In the January, 1933, issue, Siegel and Shuster’s first superman character appeared in the short story “The Reign of the Superman,” but in the form of a villain not a hero. The story told of a “mad scientist’s experiment with a deprived man from the breadlines” that transformed “the man into a mental giant who then uses his new powers — the ability to read and control minds — to steal a fortune and attempt to dominate the world.” This initial superman character in villain trappings was drawn by Shuster as a bald-headed mad man.

A couple of months later it occurred to Siegel that re-writing the character as a hero, bearing little resemblance to his villainous namesake, “might make a great comic strip character.” Much of Siegel’s desire to shift the role of his protagonist from villain to hero arose from Siegel’s exposure to despair and hope: Despair created by the dark days of the Depression and hope through exposure to the “gallant, crusading heros” in popular literature and the movies. The theme of hope amidst despair struck the young Siegel as an apt subject for his comic strip: “Superman was the answer — Superman aiding the downtrodden and oppressed.”

Thereafter, Siegel sat down to create a comic book version of his new character. While he labored over the script, Shuster began the task of drawing the panels visualizing that script. Titling it “The Superman,” “[t]heir first rendition of the man of steel was a hulking strongman who wore a T-shirt and pants rather than a cape and tights.” And he was not yet able to hurdle skyscrapers, nor was he from a far away planet; instead, he was simply a strong (but not extraordinarily so) human, in the mold of Flash Gordon or Tarzan, who combated crime. Siegel and Shuster sent their material to a publisher of comic books — Detective Dan — and were informed that it had been accepted for publication. Their success, however, was short-lived; the publisher later rescinded its offer to publish their submission. Crestfallen, Shuster threw into the fireplace all the art for the story except the cover, which Siegel rescued from the flames.

Undaunted, Siegel continued to tinker with his character, but decided to try a different publication format, a newspaper comic strip.

[references removed]

See also, ZombieLaw posts on other angry birds.

And recall: “Undead in the Federal Courts”

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