XV. Interstate 95

Next, Antoine and Steve shared a heartfelt talk
About the attraction of comic books.
"Let us not bundle DC and Marvel,
The former's characters were just awful."
"But their heroes have been most iconic:
"Superman, Batman--" "Simply ironic,
Loads of ability without the stress
Of a human identity crisis."
"In more recent years, DC got better
Showing angst in its costumed go-getters."
"Superman as a hero is risible:
Did they not know what means 'invincible'?
Hello! Superman can't be defeated:
Where's the plot when the drama's deleted?"

"Give them credit for inventing powers
Hitherto unknown in human hours,
The satisfaction of having a brand,
The thematic envy of mortal man,
Whose real life seems devoid of meaning,
A core to congeal the haze of seeming."
"You're right about that: what I wouldn't give
To have a fixed identity and live,
Plaqueman, Dustman, Stinkman, Squirrel-Man, even."
I'd settle for Tofu-Man," said Steven,
"So long as life had a sense of purpose
Distinctive from the typical bumpus,
It wouldn't matter if my super trait
Was always getting in five-minutes late."

"Do you remember how thrilled you were when
Television started airing Batman ,
The overwhelming pride and elation
Of a comic book before the nation,
Almost as if geeky kid-dom mattered,
The Bat-signal high o'er primetime splattered,
And not for one night a week, but double,
Airing the same Bat-time, same Bat-channel?
I half-way realized the show was camp,
Adam West's Sunday school tone without pants;
Self-mocking asides didn't dull one bit
The spark in my eight-year-old eyes it lit."
"The same for that other of which we're fond:
I remember my very first James Bond."

"From Russia With Love,  twenty years ago,
The theater marquee, I still see it glow.
Bond was this suavely unflappable dude,
Who quickly put female spies in the mood;
Besides an idiosyncratic gun,
He had an array of gadgets for fun,
And each made a for-the-plot appearance,
Plus one other when "Q" gave it clearance;
Forget the Cold War, for Bond we must root:
He's the only bloke who hits what he shoots,
A Houdini escaping deadly snares,
His captors leave instead of waiting there
To be certain he falls dead on his back.
Can you name who's singing the title track?"

Tony Lately performing "The Other Spy" on Hollywood Hootenany (1964). Below, the midget camera, frequently advertised in mid-60s comic books and greatly responsible for making dutiful consumers out of a generation of young readers, and a July 1977 National Lampoon satire of second-tier heroes who appeared in comic book titles by publishers like Charlton or Quality.