Comicbook: Reid Fleming, World's Toughest Milkman
"I'm not bald! I get my hair cut this way!" — Reid Fleming
An underground, self-published comic from 1978, the story follows the adventures of the anti-hero, Reid Fleming. He is surly, quick to violence, and chugs coffee and cigarettes like there's no tomorrow.
A truly Jerkass Anti-Hero
, Reid characterization fits in with the moral ambiguities present in many of the underground comics
of the 60's and 70's.
Shannon Wheeler, creator of Too Much Coffee Man
, cited the comic as an influence on his own work.
This work provides examples of:
- Art Evolution: As noted by the Comics Buyer's Guide, the first comic—being an anthology of an earlier newspaper run that spanned a year—experiences this within the issue. This trend continues as the publishing schedule of Reid Fleming is sporadic at best.
- All a Part of the Job: An comical inversion, in that in no way should any of the predicaments Reid finds himself in be routine for a milk man. Yet somehow, in his case, they are.
- Bad Boss: Reid's arch-enemy, Mr. Crabbe, the supervisor. He's petty and vindictive, and totally hates Reid. Not without justification, it must be admitted, but when he starts trying to shoot Reid simply because Reid has persuaded the company president not to punish him for wrecking yet another milk-truck, you begin to sense that Crabbe may not be entirely rational about the matter.
- Benevolent Boss: Mr. O'Clock, the owner of the dairy, seems amazingly willing to overlook the way Reid regularly destroys milktrucks, flakes off, and generally wreaks havoc. Though Reid can be a persuasive bastard when he puts his mind to it.
- Bizarre and Improbable Golf Game: On a golfing date with Lena, Reid manages to make one ball fly across town, hitting several buildings and an airplane on the way, and finally smashing into Mr. Crabbe's office in the dairy. Later, he lands in a water trap, and Lena insists that he play it where it lies, using his water wedge. Finally, after 37 shots, he gets the ball in the hole.
Reid: Now that I'm warmed up, perhaps you'd care to place a small wager on the outcome of the second hole...
Lena: I never golf after sunset.
- Cross Over: With Flaming Carrot.
- In Medias Res: the extended story arc, "Rogue to Riches", starts with Reid in his milk-truck, flying through the air over the dairy, on his way to apparent death. (He lands in a swimming pool.)
- Lying Finger Cross: Reid tells Mr. O'Clock, "us bald guys gotta stick together". When Crabbe notices he has his fingers crossed behind his back and accuses him of lying, Reid admits that he's not actually bald. "I get my hair cut this way." Mr. O'Clock finds that very flattering.
- Mundane Made Awesome: High-speed chases with milk trucks! Milk trucks flying through the air! Reid himself, for that matter.
- Must Have Caffeine: Reid is not a morning person, and his need for coffee is great.
- New Year Has Come: One of the early strips has Reid and the gang attending a New Years Eve party. Reid meets a bore, smokes some dope, and shouts out "Big Deal" at the stroke of midnight.
- Not a Morning Person: Reid has a whole wastebasket full of alarm clocks he's destroyed in his fury at been waken.
- Pajama Clad Hero: Reid, who is decidedly Not a Morning Person, decides one Monday morning that he simply doesn't care, and is going to go to work in his PJs. This also turns out to be the morning when he meets future love interest Lena.
- Ray Gun: Reid receives a ray gun as a Christmas present from his mother. When he also receives a prank gift from Mr. Crabbe, Reid decides to try out his new ray gun on Crabbe's roof.
- Ring... Ring... CRUNCH: Reid begins a Monday morning by hurling his alarm clock at the wall. When that fails to silence it, he leaps on it, cursing, throws it into the toilet, and then urinates on it.
- Schoolyard Bully All Grown Up: A special case where the author based Reid on a schoolyard bully from his childhood, reimagined as an adult.
- Show Within a Show: Two examples:
- Reid is often depicted watching his favorite program, Dangers Of Ivan—which gets renamed to Horrors of Ivan after Ivan dies.
- Commander Bob and Betty is a locally produced kids show starring Lena (the love interest) as Betty.
- Sleepyhead: Reid's best friend Cooper (aka Captain Coffee) is found sleeping at almost every opportunity—during roll-call, before lunch, after lunch, or pretty much whenever he can.
- Soft Water: When Reid is flying through the air in his truck, headed to apparent death, he is saved by landing in a swimming pool.
- Speak Ill of the Dead: Reid pretends to have been stabbed in the back on the doorstep of a couple of his customers, to freak them out. Not only are they overjoyed that he's (apparently) dead, but when the mailman happens by and sees the body, he congratulates the couple, and runs off to tell others the good news!
- Super Strength: Although it's never suggested that Reid is anything more than an unusually strong man, he routinely performs impossible tasks, like lifting cars and milktrucks completely off the ground. Mostly justified by Rule of Funny.
- Tradesnark™: At a New Years Eve party, Reid gets trapped by a droning bore who starts explaining that he lives by thirty different principles. "They help me define my Head Space™".
- Team Pet: Algy the dog. He lives at the dairy, and all the milkman get upset if Mr. Crabbe doesn't include him in roll call, which Crabbe finds infuriating.
- Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Most of the people who interact with Reid, including almost all of the people on his route, are absolutely terrified of him. The only concessions towards making him sympathetic are: A) he's particularly vile to other jerkasses, like his supervisor, Mr. Crabbe, B) Rule of Cool, C) Rule of Funny, and D) he's the World's. Toughest. Milkman!
- Vehicular Sabotage: After Mr. O'Clocke finally agrees to fire Reid if he wrecks one more milk truck, Crabbe decides to hurry the process along by cutting Reid's brake lines.