Comic Book: Elvis Shrugged
"Is Elvis alive?"
"The most shocking epic ever!"Atlas Shrugged WITH GUITARS!
Patrick McCray's 1993 three-part comic Elvis Shrugged
is, of course, an Affectionate Parody
of Ayn Rand
's epic Atlas Shrugged.
The story targets the music industry and MTV
, with the premise that the Elvis Presley
had died in 1977 was actually a clone created by Presley's manager Col. Tom Parker, and that the real
Elvis had gone into hiding and had convinced many other musicians to join him. Because so many quality musicians have disappeared, the recording industry, which has become a conglomerate called Time-Warner-Sony, has largely collapsed.
"'Is Elvis alive?' Yes, and so are these tropes":
- Actor Allusion: George Kennedy shows up and talks about how he has a history of salvaging disasters.
- Affectionate Parody
- All-Star Cast: Elvis, Frank Sinatra, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Prince, Sinéad O'Connor, Stephen Sondheim, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Roy Orbison, John Lennon, Frank Zappa, Elvis Costello, Mojo Nixon, Sammy Davis Jr, Axl Rose, Spike Lee, Paul Schaffer, Regis Philbin, James Brown, Paul Simon, Jodie Foster, Sean Penn, Mary Hart and John Tesh, Sean Young, Bryant Gumbel and Katie Couric..... And the disembodied, animate heads of Cole Porter and Col. Tom Parker.
- Alternate History
- Antiquated Linguistics: Sinatra says that the "L-7"note Parker "had it coming." (See Oracular Heads below.)
- Badass Grandpa: Frank Sinatra. He's bionic now.
- Bald of Evil: The Mad Scientist.
- Bald Woman: Sinéad O'Connor, of course, though she dons a blonde wig after her accidental Heel-Face Turn. See below under Hollywood Science.
- Beard of Evil: Parker, Jon Peters and Peter Guber.
- The Big Bad: Col. Parker, who back in the 1970s was trying to keep Elvis from abandoning his status as "the King of Rock N Roll" in order to perform in Sondheim's Company, and, when he couldn't keep Elvis under his control, created a clone from skin samples.
- Black Best Friend: Sammy Davis Jr., naturally.
- Celebrity Is Overrated: Another reason why Elvis chose to disappear.
- Character Filibuster: Frank Zappa and Stephen Sondheim each gets one, though the big one, of course, goes to Elvis. Being a comic book and not an epic novel, Elvis' only takes two pages.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Sinéad, again after the face turn.
- Cool Shades: Elvis, Sinatra, Roy Orbison...It is about musicians, after all.
- Do Not Adjust Your Set: Elvis says, "Do not adjust your televisions and radios."
- Elvis Lives
- Evil Brit: Andrew Lloyd Webber
- Faking the Dead: Elvis and John Lennon
- Fight Scene: Two, in fact.
- Sondheim vs. Lloyd Webber in the Reactor Room.
- Elvis vs. Col. Tom. See Powered Armor below.
- Finishing Each Other's Sentences: Peters and Guber do this.
- Genre-Busting: In-Universe: While apprenticing under Porter, Elvis develops a new style of music, which he calls "Elvisia".
- Also, Parker sets up for New Year's Eve a performance of a new musical titled Madame SuperFly.
- The Good Guys Win/Happy Ending: James Brown conducts the double-wedding ceremony for Elvis/Madonna and Sinatra/Sinéad. Sinatra says that he has some friends in the construction business who have been hired to rebuild the Statue of Liberty (see below under Take That), and they are cutting Sinatra and co. a "sweet check for the opportunity," with Madonna pointing out how that's enough to buy up 100% of Time-Warner-Sony, now that they're just about bankrupt. Elvis talks about how he had been waiting for the right time to return to the world and had never really considered the responsibility he had. Madonna says that they've stuck with him this long, and they aren't going to let him down now.
ELVIS PRESLEY: "Madonna, I just can't help falling in love with you. The airwaves are free. We are going back to work."
- Green-Eyed Monster: Sinatra, after Madonna chooses Elvis over him, until Sinéad shows up and Sinatra completes his Heel-Face Turn.
- Irony: One of Sinatra's nicknames was "Ol' Blue Eyes."
- Groin Attack: Sinatra, to Zappa, who has come to recruit him, after Zappa asks, "Why is that the toughest son of a bitch in showbiz is indulging in more self-pity than I've seen, outside of a Henry Jaglom film festival?"
- Heel-Face Turn: Sinatra, Sinéad.
- The Hero/Big Good: Elvis, of course.
- The Lancer: Stephen Sondheim and Mojo Nixon both take this role, until Parker abducts Elvis and he, through a video message, names Sinatra as his second-in-command.
- The Obi-Wan: Cole Porter
- The Chick: Madonna (She and Sinéad are the only really significant female characters.)
- Hollywood Science: So, so much.
- The Mad Scientist designs a chair for Brainwashing Sinatra to make him want to "rock." Instead Sinéad gets caught in it, and finds herself singing Sinatra's "Come Fly with Me."
- The disembodied, animate heads.
- The "Reactor Room.": "Potential Definition: where uncontrollable forces of matter and anti-matter clash." See above under Fight Scene.
- Sinatra is now bionic.
- How We Got Here: After Madonna lands at Blue Hawaii and sees Elvis, he tells her the whole story of why he disappeared and how he went about the business of recruiting other musicians to join him.
- Improbable Weapon User: For the big fight scene in the Reactor Room, Sondheim produces a switchblade while Lloyd Webber grabs a Garden Weasel.
- Lost World: "Blue Hawaii"
- Mad Scientist: Dr. Hilarious Pants.
- May-December Romance: First Sinatra and Madonna, then Madonna and Elvis, and Sinatra and Sinéad.
- Megaton Punch: Sinatra destroys Peters and Guber's jet with one.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: For the most part. Porter, Parker, Peters and Guber do all die.
- CNN's Wolf Blitzer is rendered as a Wolfman named Wolf Blitzen.
- Noodle Incident: There is a page of Elvis' adventures while in hiding, which apparently included fighting space aliens, suggesting that at some point Elvis had in fact left the planet.
- Opening a Can of Clones: Along with the 1970s one of Elvis, we later see that the Mad Scientist has created several mini Elvis clones called "Elvii".
- Oracular Heads: Madonna tells Sinatra that, in 1996, Col. Tom and a psychic had predicted Elvis would return to Graceland on July 4, 1996. That day, Parker brought out "Elvis" at Graceland and everything seemed OK until a freak rainstorm started and "Elvis" was struck by lightning, revealing it to be merely a robot. This sparked a fan riot that saw Parker get his head chopped off as punishment.
- Powered Armor: Col. Parker's "remote control battle module," which is a big robot with Parker's Oracular Head on top. Elvis defeats it by kicking Parker's jar and pulling the Fire Extinguisher lever.
- Put on a Bus: Sinéad essentially disappears from the story after her accidental face turn, which is explained 18 pages later by CBS News' Connie Chung announcing that she had escaped from her mental asylum.
- Reality Subtext: Sinatra's hostility to Elvis, since, in 1956, he said, "His kind of music is deplorable, a rancid, smelling aphrodisiac." In a case of Dead Artists Are Better, after Elvis' death in 1977, Sinatra said, "There have been many accolades uttered about Elvis' talent and performances through the years, all of which I agree with wholeheartedly."
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Sinatra smashes the wall of his dressing room after Zappa had convinced him to join the cause. Sinead, of all people, tries to stop him, but he pushes her aside, causing her to land in the brainwashing chair.
- Shout-Out: Aside from the obvious...
- Sinead accuses Frank Zappa of pushing "Soma".
- Col. Tom and co. travel around in a The Man From U.N.C.L.E. promotional blimp.
- During the Sondheim-Lloyd Webber battle in the Reactor Room, with Lloyd Webber on the verge of victory, Sondheim says, "Face it Webber. This isn't Richenbach Falls and you're far from being my Moriarty."
- After Elvis's helicopter the Lisa Marie is shot down, George Kennedy asks Sinatra if he has jets on his boots, which Sinatra confirms. Kennedy whispers his plan to Elvis, who says "Sounds crazy but it just might work." Top of the next page, we see that Elvis and co. are airborne on...the Bullwinkle balloon from the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
- (For the fifth one, see the bottom of this article.)
- Sitcom: When Frank Zappa asks Elvis why he can't drop out too since he feels the same way Elvis does, Elvis says that he's going to need outside help, and suggests that Zappa "star in a sitcom or somethin'...That'll lull folks into a false sense of security toward you." He does, called Who Invited the Nazis?
- Take That: To the music industry, which has combined into one Mega Corp., Time-Warner-Sony, and to MTV, who has transformed the Statue of Liberty into the "Statue of Equality."
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Rendered by Elvis in a song called "Rock No More."
- Twenty Minutes into the Future: Set in 1997.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight/Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: None of the villains (Col. Tom, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Peters/Guber, etc.) seem to find anything odd about the Mad Scientist being named Dr. Hilarious Pants.
- Viewers Are Morons/Dumb Is Good: In-Universe: Col. Parker preaches this on TV, before Elvis interrupts. The setting is a Crapsack World where all libraries are closed.
- Weak Willed: The guards in front of the Reactor Room who Sondheim hypnotizes using techniques he learned from Elvis.
- Would Hit a Girl: Sinatra, who punches Sinéad, sending her through a fishtank.
- Xtreme Kool Letterz: There is a poster that has Sinatra's name as "Sinatraxx".
"Sinéad? Sinéad honey? U going 2 B OK?"