Monday, January 19, 2015

Number 1685: Bulletman and the suspension of disbelief

Bulletman, who is police scientist Jim Barr, teamed up with Susan Kent, who became Bulletgirl. But that pairing came after this entry into Bulletman’s history, where Susan does not know Bulletman’s identity. Since this story ends in a cliffhanger and I don’t have the followup issue, we can assume that the unseen story is when Susan discovers Jim is Bulletman. Here is where the suspension of disbelief comes in. Besides the normal superhero stuff, flying, special powers, etc., we are asked to disregard the fact that Susan does not know who Bulletman is despite him wearing nothing to disguise himself. He just wears a bullet-shaped helmet. Maybe Susan has eye problems, but if not I’d think she would know who Bulletman is.

[SPOILER] I notice a lack of concern for Jim when Susan approaches his unconscious body in the final panel. She is not thinking “Is he dead? Is he badly injured?” No, the first thing out of her mouth is, “At last I can see who Bulletman really is!” Her lack of empathy is as bad as her powers of recognition. [END OF SPOILER]

From Master Comics #12 (1941). The Grand Comics Database guesses the art is by Al Carreno.


Ryan Anthony said...

He's the "Robin Hood of Crime?" Isn't that an oxymoron? And wouldn't that make Bulletman a crook?

I hate it when people in comics can hear each other across great distances, especially when there would be noise between them. This story is doubly guilty--when Theron can hear the driver of the money car and when he can hear Bulletman from within his plane. That Triple Threat has got some ears!

Yep, in the next story, Susan discovers that Jim Barr is Bulletman. They return to his lab, and he gives her his origin story. She's irritated that he kept the secret from her for so long, because she believes she could've helped him. He gives her the Golden Age mantra, "This isn't work for a girl." Then he flies off to deal with the plot of the tale.

Pappy said...

Ryan, I may not have the greatest hearing, but I could hear you grinding your teeth when you read the panels about the Triple Threat hearing each other over great distances.

I guess maybe the people who made these comics didn't think about stuff like that. Well, it's obvious they didn't. Maybe to them the distance was really only the inch or so between objects, even drawn far away, as they appear in the panels, or even across the panel borders, for that matter.

Thanks for telling me what happens in the next issue. Saves me the trouble, and based on this story, I think I could have guessed what was going to happen.

Pappy said...

J D, Daniel...

For some reason both of your well thought out comments were deleted rather than published. This could be my fault or the fault of Blogger. I will step up and take the blame. The "delete" button is a tad close to the "publish" button...and I suspect I hit the wrong one.

If either one of you want to restate what you said please go ahead. I'll be more careful, I promise.

Anonymous said...

"Is his face red?" the "dynamic type... wouldn't know how to plug along like you." Some amusing dialog here and there.
I can't fault the costume —that bullet-shaped helmet is endsville, baby!
Reckon that no jumped-up modern superior hero comic book will ever be able to revert to the wackiness of yore, so we'll keep dropping by Pappy's blog to see how comics could be done up —if ONLY… No, it's no use; it will never happen. Just have to read the old stuff and be satisfied. =smile=

Daniel [] said...

[I'm not sure that everyone here would agree that my comments were well thought out.]

I think that you've a good case that Susan was both mind-blind and face-blind. But, as to the latter, I note that Theron is drawn as a relatively good-looking man in 1:2&3, but as rather ugly in 2:4&5, 6:5, and 7:1, and his face otherwise seems to change quite a lot. In a world in which faces are wildly inconstant, there isn't much use in developing facial recognition.

In any event, whatever we may say about Susan's failings here, she plainly moves like a bat out of H_ll! She is incapacitated by a drug an lying on an upper-story floor in 7:2, but has at least made it to street level by 9:2. If the battle between Bulletman and Theron has not been brief, then it has covered some distance, yet she is right below it. From the lack of development at the crash site, the battle seems in fact to have concluded beyond the city limits, yet Susan seems to arrive just moments later!

Pappy said...

Daniel, thanks for writing again.

The inconsistencies in the face could be attributed to the artist or artists (the GCD guessed at the artist). I believe Bulletman was one of those characters drawn by the Jack Binder shop, so more than one artist probably had a hand in.

As for the distances covered instantly, I have no explanation for it except it is just one of those bouts of dumbness in the planning of the story. If there was any planning, that is. I have gotten the notion from such stories that the character was supposed to get from point A to point B in a certain number of pages, and whatever happened in between wasn't really figured out.

Pappy said...

7f7, in other words, they just don't write 'em like that anymore! Thanks for the comment.

Alicia American said...

OMG Pappity ur RITE! Tha next issue IS tha premeere of Bullet Girl, shes evan on tha covar-- its scanned frm fiche ovar hear: