Ethan Vansciver: Your Time is Now Mine (Flash Peek!)

Ethan Van Sciver: Your Time Is Now Mine

There's only two types of guys out there. Ones that can hang with me and ones that are scared. Welcome to Your Time Is Now Mine #4. Once again, it's my privilege and honor to reach out a hand of kindness to you, the infidels, through in the hopes that we can all come to some various understandings. I think that by the end of this column you'll find that I am, if nothing else, a Unifier. You should know that I am now in compliance with Matt Brady, who is the Wizard Behind the Curtain of this website, since he suggested that I write less about "poop", especially in the same column as a mention of an Egg McMuffin. Although I didn't make the connection between the two ITEMS then, (Matt actually literally covered one with the other in his helpful guidelines for future topics) I do now, and I am not one to make waves. It would be tyrannical of me to suggest that when I said I'd write about "whatever crap I wanted", they should have taken me literally.

Editor’s note – the actual comment was that, since the audience seems to respond more the crazier he gets, that does not necessarily give Ethan carte blanche to talk about poop McMuffins, but his explanation was close enough…but as always, if there is demand, we can do nothing less than cater to our audience’s demands, and there may be a special column focusing on poop McMuffins in the future.

I can't believe I wrote "poop McMuffins" twice. Back to Ethan.

Weightier topics ahead. Hold on to your hearts.

ITEM: Last week's column contained some unkind words about filthy hippies and stoners, and a fellow named "Masterdebator" was quick to call me a "douche" and remind me that a good percentage of my readership are likely filthy hippies and stoners. To this, I can do nothing but gasp. I didn't take that into consideration at all when I wrote at length about deceptive fast food dollar menu commercials. It was insensitive, but I am a guy who believes that Easy Rider and Jaws both ended on exactly the same note, and I recognize my prejudice. If you are a stoner, or would describe yourself as a "filthy hippie", my most sincere apologies. I will donate $1.07 to whatever charity deemed best suited.

ITEM: I watched some old Sesame Street Christmas special with my 9 year old son, and was alarmed at how filthy the street they all lived on was. I remember, vaguely, the opening sequence and the theme song, where children without visible guardians or clean clothing rolled about in the dirt and drank from old bottles. But I had forgotten just how unkempt Sesame Street actually was. There was, apparently, a garbage strike so lasting and severe that a horrible monster could set up permanent residence in a can on a huge pile of trash and crates. Mr. Hooper's store was a miserable, grimy establishment full of soot-coated objects of no retail value and non-functioning soda fountains and beer taps. "David" ran the only other business on the block, which was a repair shop that "fixed" ancient manual typewriters. I mean, I'm glad they're all learning the alphabet, but how do they earn a living? It's like a tiny Soviet Union, cold and bleak, with little money earned and nothing to spend it on anyhow.

I talked to Hunter about it, and together we wondered if those puppets had inherent civil rights. I would place them something like Grover somewhere between animal and man, so I don't think the answer is so immediately obvious. The questions of Big Bird and Kermit the Frog are much clearer. They talk, but they are manifestly animals. Nowhere in the Constitution will you find mention of Snufaluphagus. Our Founding Fathers didn't plan for these aberrations, so it's up to us to decide where they fit into society. I recommended that either they be enslaved in some sort of profitable circus or bred, butchered and eaten, if found to be tasty. Something like Big Bird, if allowed to breed and multiply, could be a delicacy that could feed thousands, if not millions, of hungry people. Instead, they let this feeble-minded yellow mockery sit on the roof all night waiting for Santa Claus, while Sesame Street remains a depressing ghetto instead of a trendy Rodeo Drive like it has the potential to become. They have only themselves to blame.

ITEM: Despite producing an utterly ass-kicking four pages of penciled and inked artwork this past week, I still managed to get out of the house and do a little Christmas shopping with the family. This is important. Many comic book artists balance their days with soccer or social get-togethers, but I am not this animal. I am involved, thoroughly, with my work. The script I am working on haunts my every thought, and I rarely leave my office when I am so engaged. If my pen is not moving, I am lying on the floor, looking up at the light on the ceiling, and talking to myself. Gradually, the years have seen me grow from a lanky, energetic lad, to an egg-shaped and colored, obsessive-compulsive bastard who sings little jingles about the cat to himself and his family as a way of letting off steam. I call Geoff Johns now and then to excitedly rant about some new visual trick I figured out and plan to install into Flash, and he politely pretends to know what I'm talking about. I am caffeinated, distant, bizarre and hard to know. Not in a sexy way. And I'm assuring you, it'll get worse as time goes on.

Having watched some Cable TV news over the past month, I've become aware that people believe, or are pretending to believe, that we're on the verge of another Great Depression. I'm not sure what to think about this. Surely, I'm aware of the recession, and I'm prepared for the consequences of job loss and tightened belts, working as I do in a very tiny corner of the entertainment world. But are we truly about to tip over into another 1930's? Because let me be the first to say, I don't want to! But I am not in control of all things, and sometimes I can only observe and suffer with the rest of humanity.

As I mentioned previously, I did get out of the house and do some errands, milling about with the peasants and bromides. And it was very odd. My peripheral vision kept registering moments of human desperation. It was like the first fifteen minutes of Shaun of the Dead. I was Simon Pegg, going about my routine, and sort-of-almost-noticing some very alarming and sad things. He was seeing zombies. I was seeing breadlines. My first stop was the bank, where I needed to cash a paycheck. As the bank teller shamelessly flirted with me, handsome as I was in my Graphitti Designs Alex Ross Wonder Woman t-shirt, I became aware of the customers at the window next to me. Just sort of aware, I wasn't really paying much attention. But they seemed nervous...upset. I gave them approximately 28% of my attention.

She was a mid-40's, prosperous looking woman with a 10 year old daughter in pink winter coat. She was asking, stuttering, to close out her account. The bank teller asked why she'd like to close the account, and she replied that she was moving. But it sounded untrue. She was told that she had 58 dollars and some change in the account, and told she could have it in cash. She whispered, head down, "yes, please."

Coulda been nuthin', but it made me feel uneasy and worried for her.

This didn't stop me from driving to Wendy's to have a cheeseburger, though, where I saw a guy in the back of the restaurant picking through the dumpster. This is a suburb of Charlotte, North Carolina. When I lived near Camden, New Jersey, this was a common sight. People around my new neighborhood are fairly upper-middle class, or at least, are able to appear to be. This was enough to make me do a double take. Then again, it coulda been nuthin'. Maybe he dropped his watch.

Sharis is planning on doing some baking for the neighbors this year, so we stopped off at a Wal-Mart to get baking ingredients. There I half-noticed another fairly well-to-do looking gentleman doing some price comparisons on Ramen instant noodles. Once again, coulda been nuthin'. Ramen noodles are tasty, if utterly devoid of nutritional value, and bargain shopping is always a good thing.

But I think it's time to prepare yourself. We've been living in a very strange period of time, where our 24 hour Cable news culture has cried wolf so many times about impending doom, whether it's terrorism or environmental catastrophe, it's hard to know whether to bring an umbrella anymore. But you can trust me. I don't exaggerate one bit, because I only have to fill a single page with crap information once a week. I am not burdened by an obligation to blather scary nonsense all day, seven days a week. And I am telling you all to start digging bomb shelters again. I'm working on mine now. Stock them with generators, dvds and dvd players. Dried fruits, canned soups, cookies, bottled water, Britney Spears' new CD entitled Circus. Whatever you'll need to get through for the next eight years. Because we've been here before, folks. First comes eating out of garbage cans, then comes Communism and National Socialism followed by war, then comes It's A Wonderful Life, which is good, and then comes the Atomic Bomb.

I'll be ready. Will you be?

A familiar face from Flash: Rebirth

ITEM: As promised in last week's column, here's a sneaky sneak peek at Flash: Rebirth #1. I took a quick digital photo of the corner of one of the pages. Shhh...don't tell Dan Didio! It ships April of 2009, so don't say we didn't warn you!

Thanks for everything, including making last week's column the number one recommended item at Newsarama! We got close to 150 recommends, easily beating the number two item, which scored something close to 13 recommends. This time, let's try to get on the charts for most responses. So if you read this, enjoyed it or hated it, please type out a quick reply below! I appreciate it, and I'll see you next week!

With a song in my heart,

Ethan Van Sciver

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