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Comic Book / Elvis Shrugged

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"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 everyone thought 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.
  • Antiquated Linguistics: In response to Madonna explaining how Parker was reduced to an animated head by an angry crowd of fans for using a robot duplicate of Elvis Presley, Sinatra says that the "L-7"note  Parker "had it coming."
  • Awful Wedded Life: Here, John Lennon and Yoko Ono are married with kids, but their marriage is deteriorating. John is also "artistically restless". Notably, when Elvis convinces him to join the resistance (which involves Faking the Dead apparently) and warns him not to tell Yoko about it, Lennon readily accepts the offer.
  • Beard of Evil: Parker, Jon Peters and Peter Guber.
  • 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.
  • Celebrity Is Overrated: Another reason why Elvis chose to disappear.
  • Character Filibuster: Frank Zappa and Stephen Sondheim each get 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.
  • Creator Backlash: In-Universe. Elvis is tired of rock and roll and wants to follow his own muse.
  • Cyborg: Frank Sinatra is bionic now.
  • Do Not Adjust Your Set: Elvis says, "Do not adjust your televisions and radios."
  • Elvis Lives: The premise of this parody is that the real Elvis is alive and only his clone died when he historically died in real life. The trope is spoken word for word by Parker when Elvis shows up on the screen to interrupt his New Year's Eve broadcast.
  • 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.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Sinatra, after Madonna chooses Elvis over him, until Sinéad shows up and Sinatra completes his Heel–Face Turn. The irony is that 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?"
  • Happily Ever After: 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."
  • Hero of Another Story: There's a page where Elvis recounts his past adventures before this one, including an underwater fight with a shark, rescuing a Native American woman from some Western thugs, and shooting down some alien invaders.
  • 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.
  • Letters 2 Numbers: Prince, of course, to Sinéad after she accidentally gets converted to a Sinatra fan:
    Prince: Sinéad? Sinéad honey? U going 2 B OK?
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Invoked; Elvis approaches John Lennon with an offer to join him, but warns Lennon not to tell Yoko Ono because he doesn't trust her. With his marriage to Yoko having deteriorated greatly by this point, Lennon agrees to it wholeheartedly. Elvis does let him tell his kids, though.
  • Mooks: Michael Jackson and Prince work for Parker, but they are just there and don't actually do anything.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: 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.
  • Number Two: 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.
  • 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 Head: 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. Somehow, he's still alive after that.
  • 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.
  • The Protagonist: Elvis Presley, of course. His name is even in the title.
  • Put on a Bus: Sinéad essentially disappears from the story after her accidental face turn. This is explained 18 pages later in-universe by CBS News' Connie Chung announcing that she had escaped from her mental asylum.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Sinatra smashes the wall of his dressing room after Zappa had convinced him to join the cause. Sinéad, 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?
  • The Smurfette Principle: Madonna is one for the heroes' side, until Sinéad makes her Heel–Face Turn. She and Sinéad are the only really significant female characters.
  • Take That!:
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: 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: 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".
  • Yoko Oh No: Played for Laughs, as Elvis tells John Lennon specifically not to tell Yoko that he was going to fake his own death and disappear (though he does allow Lennon to tell his kids about it).