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Literature / Simply Weird

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Simply Weird: The (fake) History of Weird Comics Incorporated, A (fake) Comic Book Company is author William Robert Webb III’s love letter to comics. It’s about the varied history of WCI or Weird Comics Incorporated, a comic book company that Webb made up. It chronicles the lives of the Winecrest family who run the company from its inception during the Golden Age of Comics until the end of the company in 2007. The book covers several pivotal events in comic book history and has shown how those events affect the company (and the lives of those who work there). Overall it’s a humorous look at comics through its various ages. Compare it to Steve Aylett’s book Lint, a satirical mock biography of a fictional Science Fiction writer. Webb has cited Lint as an influence on Simply Weird along with The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay and several nonfiction books detailing various aspects of the history of comics.

Simply Weird is currently available here and as an ebook here. It is also available at Barnes and Noble in Paperback and Hardcover. Also available on in Paperback and Hardcover.

Simply Weird: The (fake) History of Weird Comics Incorporated, A (fake) Comic Book Company contains examples of:

  • Ascended Fanboy: Jim Von Bakerson and Barry Thurston are artists who both grew up reading comics published by WCI. They of course both end up working as artists on their favorite characters Jason Jonze and the Crimson Protector respectively.
  • The Cameo: Fredrick Wertham is mentioned several times in the book and even is mentioned to have been punched in the face by Dicky Winecrest at a Comic Book Convention in the 70’s.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Dicky and Sally knew each other since they were kids. They marry each other when they grow up. Though Dicky is hesitant at first.
  • Colon Cancer: Just look at the title.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: WCI publishes a book called The Double Duo.
  • Epistolary Novel: Not the entire book but there are several chapters that are nothing but correspondence between Webb and a fictional literary critic.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: It’s a book about a fake comic book company called Weird Comics Incorporated.
  • Expy: Some of the characters published by WCI are Expies of other comic book characters. This includes Dr. Mapleleaf (aka Byrnes Johnson) who is an expy of both Doctor Doom and comic book artist John Byrne. Tommy Tedson is an expy of Archie Andrews. The Grey Apparition is an expy for Will Eisner’s The Spirit and his later stories printed by WCI is intended as Webb’s parody of Frank Miller’s movie version of the character.
    • There are several other examples but there are too many to cite.
  • Footnote Fever: There are 47 in total. There is even one in one of the correspondence chapters.
  • Historical Domain Character: Fredrick Wertham among others.
  • Improbable Age: Dicky Winecrest takes over as head Writer and Editor of WCI at the age of twelve.
  • In Which a Trope Is Described: Several chapter titles.
  • Mockumentary: Well it is about the history of a comic book company that never existed.
  • Most Writers Are Writers: Most of the people detailed in the book are writers or writer/artists. Only a few mentioned in the book are solely artists.
  • One-Paragraph Chapter: There are several of these including one that is a single word.
  • Shout-Out: The cover is a tribute to Issue number 21 of Justice League of America. It was the first issue in which the Justice League teamed up with the Justice Society.
  • Shown Their Work: Some of the information present about Fredrick Wertham would count. Facts such as Wetham not being a fan of the comic book code (he wanted a ratings system for comics instead) and that Wertham testified in defense of Albert Fish along with mention of Wertham's early support of the Civil Rights Movement are mentioned in the book. The inclusion of these facts in the book would indicate some research into Wertham was done. While these are not exactly obscure facts they are still not widely known by everyone either. It shows that some serious research was done despite the fact the book doesn’t take itself too seriously.
  • Sliding Scale of Silliness vs. Seriousness: The book is mostly humorous and then you hear about some of the deaths (including one by lung cancer) of creators and car accidents. On top of that some of the comics described can range from humorous to extremely dark and twisted.
  • Stylistic Suck: Some of the rough designs shown in the book that were drawn by the writers of the various comics published by WCI fit this. It is especially true of the drawings of Alvina the Robot and Captain Saltire. Really the only exception is the cover done by Ian Campbell which is of professional quality even when not compared to the interior illustrations.
  • This Is a Work of Fiction: There is a disclaimer to this effect at the beginning of the book. Its basically meant to be a joke as the title already says the history present in the book is fake.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: The book makes it pretty obvious that Richard Winecrest dosen’t like his son Waldo. The animosity dates back to the eccentricities Waldo exhibited as a child among other things. In the book Waldo tries everything to get his Father’s approval. It seems he would have gotten it if Richard hadn’t died in a car accident right before he was going to make Waldo head of Industrial Pulps on account of how well Waldo ran WCI.