DC Comics Presents: A Flash Team Up! (Return to the Rodeo)

This was such a chore, but well worth it at the end.

This was such a chore, but well worth it at the end.

I’ll start talking about a technical issue with the art. I knew I wanted the Alien Duke Boy Heads, like an old 1970’s DC comic featuring guest stars. For ages, I wanted a longer, more Dukes of Hazard “Balladeer” narrative in the text box though. Something along the lines of, “Aw shucks. Them Duke Boys done got abducted by aliens. Looks like we better get down to the Reverse Rodeo, ya hear?” That’s a hole lot of text though, for something that you can possibly figure out from the illustration.

Even if you can’t figure it out…that was the point of those kinds of old covers. You say to yourself, “Why are the Duke Boys Aliens? Aren’t the protagonist and the Flash both faster than the General Lee? How is that a race? Why were they racing in the first place, in Georgia?” All those incoherent questions led you to the conclusion that you NEEDED that comic book to live, so that the questions burning your brain could just be answered already, often in a story that had little to do with the cover anyway.

Really, this came about from an offhand comment in the staff room yesterday. We were talking about the time of departure, which on testing days is earlier. One teacher asked, “Are we really able to leave at one o’clock?” My quick reply was, “Have you ever seen the Dukes of Hazard? Because that’s how fast I’ll be peeling out of the parking lot at one.” I then felt, as a discussion of the trope ridden show ensued, that I was almost morally obligated to depict the General in motion.

The Reverse Rodeo, as a concept, fits well enough. The Dukes live on a farm in Georgia, and the whole Reverse Rodeo idea (alien cows riding people) worked well to describe my school because the concept is both backwards, wrongheaded, and stupid all at once. This week, we did that kind of thing.

All the students had iPads, to take a test. Over half of them wouldn’t do it, due to software problems. The decision was made to swap those iPads for laptops, which wouldn’t have that compatibility problem…except all of the laptops had a DIFFERENT issue that still prevented testing. The testing is important, so we use device that are incapable of taking the important test. Worse…the devices became more important than the kids. That says Reverse Rodeo all over it.

Students were supposed to stay in class, for the entire testing session. As a result, all of the most challenging students, who were testing together, were allowed to play basketball right outside the building, loudly. I’ll point out…those students were removed from testing with their classes, because they were too disruptive. I don’t know about you, but I think I would be just as disrupted taking a hard, summative test, by the sounds of other kids playing basketball and having a good time. Reverse Rodeo.

It got to the point, that like the protagonist above, I could only sigh.

Unrelated notes…the Flash is still a very watchable and enjoyable show…which is why I wanted to make some mention of it here. Not that it needs help in the ratings, I’m told it is doing well. Still, I’m also told that opinions that float around the Blogosphere matter, so I’m saying it again. The Flash is good. Television that does its job, in entertaining me without depressing me. Since I was writing about leaving the Reverse Rodeo FAST, the Flash seemed useful.

Note the paradox, True Believers. I was drawing about leaving the Reverse Rodeo, and fast…but the plotline implied by the cover suggests that the Flash and our hero will be chasing the General Lee toward the Reverse Rodeo. I think that came about because I know, incontrovertibly, that there are still three weeks left of school, and the Rodeo will only continue.

It just dawned on me, some readers might not know what the #$%@ the General is. The General Lee is the car, Gentle Readers. It is known for its signature horn, its police chases, stunts — especially its long jumps — and for having its doors welded shut, leaving the Dukes to climb in and out through the windows. The car appears in every episode but one. The idea for the General Lee was developed from the bootlegger Jerry Rushing’s car, which was named for Lee’s favorite horse, Traveller.

Although the estimated number of General Lees used varies from different sources, according to Ben Jones (“Cooter” in the show), as well as builders involved with the show, 320 General Lees were used to film the series. Others claim about 255 were used in the series. How is there such a big disparity in numbers…can’t you just look it up in the show’s records? Still…approximately 17 still exist in various states of repair. On average, more than one General Lee was used up per show. When filming a jump, the cars were pretty much obliterated, with the car that drives away in the next shot being a car never used for jumps. Stunt drivers report enjoying the flights but hating the landings.

If you wanted to leave a place fast, I can’t think of a more appropriate vehicle than the General. Maybe the Millenium Falcon, if you wanted to fly. Even that has it’s share of bad landings.

Here’s the logo free art, since a number of you have expressed interest in the process, as well as the end product.

The spaces left for trade dress are fairly obvious.  I'm getting better at that.

The spaces left for trade dress are fairly obvious. I’m getting better at that.

Weirdly, in the middle of the week I had a bizarre emotional crisis about not being a comics creator. I’m pretty sure I’m through with that nonsense, but it was both weird and unsettling. I’m fairly certain that it was really what psychologists call “transference.” You have a problem in one place, that you have zero control over…so you transfer the problem to a place that you do.

See? This is an educational web comic.

Still…thanks for the comments and e-mails this week, since that stuff put that kind of craziness to bed.

Next Issue: Giant Baby Attack!

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