382 – A Better Question

Discussion (50) ¬

  1. praetor1983

    The strip? is gonna hit the windmill – to classify (and make appropriate) the adage. I (kinda) saw this coming, but, still hoped for better out of both Cap and Spy Gal. But, a good story seldom gives us what we want, instead it gives us what we need and – to borrow from Jane Austen – ‘not all vice may leads to bad ends, nor virtue to good.’

    • Brock Heasley
      Brock Heasley

      That’s a great quote and, unfortunately, very true at times.

  2. Tyler Heasley

    Hey Spy Gal, why don’t you take a look at that belt buckle and maybe see if it opens or something? Hey Spy Gal, why don’t you ask Jerry what his last name is? Hey Spy Gal, don’t you think it’s kinda strange that Jerry tried to convince you he’s way better than the Cap right before all of this went down? Hey Spy Gal, what’s wrong with you?

    • Brock Heasley
      Brock Heasley

      Tyler, if Spy Gal starts talking back, please let me know.

  3. Tyler Heasley

    Hey Jerry…why didn’t Dictator Tot kill you?

  4. krheasley

    Doctor Who?

    • Tyler Heasley

      THAT is a great question. Come on, Jerry, out with it!

  5. Javier

    I really don’t know what to say exactly. I love the story and everything, but this is just disappointing. I’m really rooting for CS, and yet this is happening. Like praetor said, a good story seldom gives us what we want, but man can it get frustrating.

  6. Bryan

    Uh oh…

  7. mkinyon

    Yay, Jerry! Success! I’ll be disappointed when his evil schemes finally unravel, but for now: WOOOO! (Supervillain fans represent!)

  8. Sam

    Jerry enjoy this moment cuz it not going to last long.

  9. SUTBEric

    Hey Jerry maybe let’s not go for the home run right now yeah? Let’s be happy with what we got and let’s not do what I think you’re going to do by asking her to marry you on Wednesday.

    And for folks who support the Cap/Gal man. Captain Spectacular…isn’t that great. I dunno it says something to Jerry’s commitment that he’s willing to make all these convoluted plans to get one girl. Not to say it says anything good about his morality mind you…but I dunno Cap doesn’t seem to have that same mentality. If Cap wants another girl, he’ll go find one but Jerry is sold out for one girl. I think that’s commendable after a fashion.

    • Javier

      The problem is that CS seems to have become 2 characters. Back when he proposed to her, he seemed genuinely better. Then a couple chapters later, CS just changed. Ironically this came right when Marc took over art duties. I’m not trying to say anything about Marc, though. But if you look closely, the last strip Brock did was of CS and Doctor Rocket hugging (a good moment.) The next time CS appeared was when everyone came back from their “therapies.” He proceeded to tell SG that she basically smelled like crud and she didn’t like that (bad sign.) That was a big character change. Sure, he didn’t do anything when Tangerine hit her. But now his attitude changed even more. It seems he has embraced a retired person’s lifestyle so he just wants to be “happy” on his own terms.

      And I think you are mistaken when saying Jerry is committed to SG. He is OBSESSED with her and that makes a huge difference. In reality it’s his fault he was always thought little of. After all it was all a big plan and part of it was to cast suspicion away from him. So of course he acted like that. Tell me now, had he not been fixated on SG, and developed normally, is there a chance he could have become an even bigger hero than CS? And maybe score a hot wife, ironically SG maybe?

      • Brock Heasley
        Brock Heasley

        I’ve thought a lot about how things might have gone differently for Jerry given a different set of circumstances. I decided that there is something that would have changed everything, but I’m saving that little nugget. Might use it one day.

      • CartoonistWill

        I feel the same about CS. I don’t think it was Marc, but I really don’t know what happened to CS. Brock reassures me that he isn’t out of character, so I’ll trust that everything will eventually be explained and make sense in comic.

      • SUTBEric

        Obsessed. Committed. Paint how you want the point is Spy Gal ranks higher in Jerry’s mind than she does in the Cap’s mind.

  10. Devilflamejr

    HEY! Long time reader, first time commenter (I think) : I’ve got to admit, I’m kind of rooting for Jerry. He’s been down-trodden all his life ( even though he has an, in my opinion, awesome superpower), and now he finally gets a chance to shine! Okay, maybe his methods are questionable, but if you had been forced to live, hiding a large part of yourself ( that is both his power and his love for spygal), and when you show the world that side of yourself, you suffer only ridicule, I’d say that merits a little payback! Also, it doesn’t help that I’ve loathed Captain Spectacular since day one… Not because he is badly written, mind you, but because he, in my eyes, is a terrible person :P So, good luck Jerry, I’ll be rooting for you, even when your entire house of cards comes rumbling down!

    • Brock Heasley
      Brock Heasley

      Hey! Good to know you!

      I’ve got you down for Jerry. Be sure and come back on Wednesday. Would love to know what you think!

  11. gnrrrg

    OK, there was a box of brain leeches in that building Spy Gal got knocked into and her head fell into it. It’s the only logical explanation.

    • Brock Heasley
      Brock Heasley

      Are you kidding me!? Have you seen Jerry’s muscles??

      • gnrrrg

        You just answered your own surprise stated down below. I’ve seen it a thousand times, some women fall in love with a guy who’s a jerk because he has big muscles. Even when their friends warn them that the guy is a jerk. Spy Gal’s doing it too, so, yes, we have a right to be hard on her.

        • Brock Heasley
          Brock Heasley

          I was actually just kidding about the muscles, but I’m sure they play their part.

      • Gaurav

        Looks cool, but I’d like to see someone stop it at high speed. Do they just turn the wheles perpendicular to the direction of travel and then grind to a stop with the wheles. And how much is the cost of replacing the wheles.

  12. Scott

    Actually, I’m more with the one reporter — how long HAS that been going on, SpyGal? Seriously, is this just anger at CS or have you had Jerry in the “#2″ spot for awhile now?

    As to people diss’n SpyGal (actually I’m not allowed to say “diss’n” so don’t let my wife know) it’s not her fault. CS has been a complete failure; never took off her power dampener, never stopped Tangerine, didn’t even try to do any detective work with the Third Man, and just sat on his butt in a crumbling casino ignoring everyone around him because “I’m retired”. Not only is he weak, but he’s selfish. So compare all that to Jerry who has never given up (and let’s be honest — he hasn’t) and now he’s the big hero who publicly still tried to cover for CS (that one time with Herman not withstanding). Cut her some slack, she’s had a rough time of things.

    If Jerry wasn’t going about things in such a manipulative, downright creepy way I’d be rooting for him to win… but I know there’s no way he can. Still, I think David Xanatos would be patting him on the back right now.

    • Javier

      I just want to reiterate that Jerry did that to himself, the whole “I’m a lowly sidekick” thing. Sure people at first didn’t like him. But there’s things one has to remember. The only reason that Swifty didn’t like Jerry was because his future version influenced him to not like him. So him not liking Jerry is not dependent on how Jerry acted lowly. Second, never is it really shown that Jerry is hated that much. In fact only his fake family really hated him. There were squabbles sure with other characters, but come on, everyone had squabbles in this story.
      Like I said before, he had complete control over his destiny and yet chose to remain in the shadows so he could take SG.

      That isn’t to say CS is great. In fact the reason I root for him is because out him and Jerry, CS has actually grown as a character, albeit with negative qualities as much as some positives. It’s just that in this last chapter, that’s all been wiped away. Which sucks. I really want to see where CS’s story goes. Jerry on the other hand hasn’t grown at all. All we did was peel back the layers that he hid. It’s like the opposite of character growth. Which isn’t bad, but it’s part of the reason I don’t like him. He’s still the same creep he was decades earlier when he began to plot. BTW creep does not equal an evil person. Jerry is not evil. Yet…maybe….

      • Scott

        @Javier — Actually it is pretty well shown that Jerry’s been the SuperFogey buttmonkey for a long time. The “fake family” did include a blood relation. Also you’re dead wrong about Jerry’s growth. Peeling back the layers is NOT the opposite of character growth, it’s showing how much the character has changed over time. Certain core elements about a character can’t change without losing the character. For example, we find out that the 60′s era super-positive role model “Robin” persona is truly ingrained in his character, but over time it became more and more twisted as Jerry was dissatisfied with his lot in life.

        And for that matter, CS hasn’t “grown” at all either, it’s the same deal — the story just peels back the layers and shows exactly how useless he’s really become. If you look at the past flash-backs, CS fails quite a lot. This is partially to blame on the fact that he was kept in isolation for so long, but let’s face it — CS is weak-willed, lazy and slow on the draw. He’s always been like that, we’re just seeing to what extent now.

        These characters have already lived most of their lives, so it’s less a matter of “growth” and more a matter of seeing who they really are.

        • CartoonistWill

          I’m pretty sure Jerry’s “fake family,” as it has been put, isn’t comprised of even one blood relation, but actually his “adopted brother” by, like, one month, which is how long he lived with that “adopted brother” and his parents before being placed into a different living arrangement by social services. I think this may have been where he lived before he went to or back to the orphanage. I could be wrong, but it seems like he stayed at the orphanage until he turned 18. I can’t remember what the SF canon has revealed about that right now. Which one did you think was a blood relative? I could always be wrong.

        • Javier

          You got it right, Will. His “family” has no blood relations.

          @Scott- That’s why I said I don’t praise CS. Problem is the way he’s been portrayed isn’t consistent. He was getting better at one point, but then it dropped. So I don’t know what’s going on there. He might be lazy now, but he wasn’t like that either. In fact, he told his younger self to relax when it came to Dr. Rocket. Hopefully we get some satisfying developments with him (which I’m pretty sure will happen.)

          The other thing is, yeah, Jerry was the buttmonkey, but only Tangerine, Swifty, and what? Who else really treated him with a lot of disrespect. Unfortunately it’s all muddled. He wanted to be seen like that. The only people we can be sure that hate him are Swifty (and he doesn’t count because he was influenced by his future self), Tangerine (but that’s Tangerine), and his fake family. Who else really hated him? Maybe not tolerated, but even Spy Gal told him she sees him as a man, not a boy anymore.

          Another thing, peeling back layers is not growth. Yeah, sure we see how the character has changed, but in Jerry’s case it’s different. He hasn’t changed much at all. Instead the peeling back is shown to show who he really is. The real Jerry inside the fake Jerry. That’s not growth. That’s just a character reveal. The real growth will come at the end, when we see who wins and how Jerry will react to it.

    • Brock Heasley
      Brock Heasley

      Like Scott, I’m a little surprised by how hard everyone is on Spy Gal. I honestly didn’t expect that.

      Javier, I love reading your insightful comments. Unfortunately, your comments are the kind I have a hard time responding to just because it’s hard to do so without imposing my own thoughts and viewpoint. We’re at a point in the story now where direct commentary from me can only ruin the experience.

      HOWEVER, I am scheduled to do a podcast on Thursday. We’ll be discussing this chapter as a whole and I hope to say a lot of the things I’ve been holding back. I’ll of course give you guys a heads up when it posts.

      • Javier

        Hehe, thanks and don’t worry about it. I have to say I haven’t commented like this on here in a while. Been busy. Hearing your podcast would be great.

  13. tmcelmurry

    I’m just not buying this so quickly from her. I know she feels the Captain really let her down,but seriously, this quickly into the arms of another. I know she’s had some feelings for Jerry since he was “shot”, but her feelings for Captain weren’t of the “he’s the only one around” kind; she seemed to actually love him. So I’m just not really feeling it with this quick move on her part, but it does make for some really good future tension.

    • Brock Heasley
      Brock Heasley

      I’m wondering if you’d feel the same way if you had a chance to read the SF saga in book form, Todd.

      But it is a quick turn, I’ll give you that.

  14. JE Draft

    “The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them.”
    -Thomas Merton

    • Brock Heasley
      Brock Heasley

      That’s awesome. And well put.

      • JE Draft

        Yep. And there is only one character who is willing to do that. It certainly isn’t Jerry.

  15. mkinyon

    In re Cap, at the risk of probably repeating myself: Although he obviously doesn’t know that Jerry orchestrated events, I still think that when the robot attack started, he sat back not only because it is his nature to think that things work out for themselves, but also to give Jerry a chance and give Spy Gal an opportunity to be with the kind of guy she thinks she wants. In short, he deliberately set her free under the guise of indifference because he really cares about her.

    Prediction: when Jerry and SG fly off into the dawn, and Cap looks up from his slot machine and sees them, his reaction will be a whispered “good job, little buddy” or something like that.

    • Brock Heasley
      Brock Heasley

      That’s an amazing theory.

  16. CartoonistWill

    I really like Mkinyon’s theory. Except the part where I don’t understand why Cap would just do that. Ask her to marry him just to break her heart and send her into the arms of Jerry? I dunno.

    But I’m in agreement with everyone who thinks it odd Spy Gal is going bonkers over Jerry so soon and so quickly. Yes, like others, I too thought it was to make the Cap jealous because she is mad at him. But today I realized something much more cunning could be happening here. Remember, Spy Gal saw through Dr. Klein’s scheme enough to know he was behind it, even though she had no details figured out really. Could it be that she is PLAYING into Jerry’s arms because she is on to him and is looking to learn the truth and possibly expose him? She is a “spy,” after all. Did anyone remember that? Spies are good at deception. And spying. She is by nature a spy.

    • CartoonistWill

      OH MY GOODNESS!!! New Theory: Captain Spectacular is IN on it! Spy Gal and CS are double teaming Jerry to undercover the truth! Jerry only thinks his plan has worked, but Cap is acting too.

      My mind! She has been blown. Boom.

      • Brock Heasley
        Brock Heasley

        Plans within plans within plans. You guys give Cap and Spy Gal a lot of credit. We’ll see soon enough if you’re right.

  17. CartoonistWill

    By the way, Brock. I’d be really happy for Jerry right now if it wasn’t for the fact that he is kind of a creepy stalker villain or something. And I just realized. It’s hard to root for either Jerry or Cap. Both are very fallible characters. Guess I’m rooting for Spy Gal and Swifty now. lol

    • Brock Heasley
      Brock Heasley

      So you can only root for perfect characters?

      • Bryan

        I think most of us could root for Cap because his imperfections are acceptable. Difference is, deep down, I think Cap’s a good guy, but Jerry is not. Jerry has done what most consider immoral, while Cap has merely been “selfish”. We are disappointed by Cap, but repulsed by Jerry.

        Make sense?

        • CartoonistWill

          I guess that’s how I feel too. I feel though that Jerry is a good guy down deep too, but has allowed himself to be corrupted. He’s given in to the dark side. Actually, Jerry is selfish too and that’s what has lead him here to this point. He hasn’t been thinking about Spy Gal’s interests and desires and wants and needs, but his own. He wants – needs, he thinks – Spy Gal and he’s willing to do whatever to make her HIS. It’s not wrong to want to be with someone, but perhaps a big portion of Jerry’s motives have had selfishness behind them. He’s putting himself and his own desires perhaps above Spy Gal’s.

          Anyway, Bryan is right though, I think. The Captain has chosen to make some pretty bad decisions. He let his marriage with Tom’s mother collapse because he was out drinking with Tangerine. I think that Cap’s words when Jerry brought that up showed that Cap knew what he did was wrong and his guilt/grief for it, is maybe even truly sorry for it. Maybe he never visits his ex-wife’s “statue” out of guilt because deep down inside he blames himself for her death, and had already blamed himself for years for their failed marriage, and him not going to see her now stone visage is in actuality him not being to face up to himself and what he’s done, the decisions he’s made, and the guilt that overwhelms him. Maybe he even let Spy Gal go because he’s afraid that every wife he marries ends up dead or divorcing him and he’s too afraid that something bad will happen to Spy Gal, yet again blaming himself. Captain Spectacular means well but is a coward and is very self-centered. But Jerry?

          Jerry also thinks about himself. At the same time thought it seems like he truly cares about and loves Spy Gal. It’s because of the underhanded way he’s gone about trying to make her “his” (his thoughts about “making her mine” seem possessive to me) that we are repulsed by Jerry. The worst things being, although one was out of an act of mercy supposedly, that he set up the death of Herman and also was behind the fake death of Tom. But he was against it and only pretended to kill Tom. He still has some of his moral compass left, I suppose. I suppose that, when you get down to the hearts of the characters, both really are good guys but have made bad decisions. Both have good intentions, but the end does not justify the means. The difference is that Cap did not mean to make those mistakes and he truly regrets them and is sorry for them. His guilt may have lead to deep depression. A depression that may still be attacking him from time to time in the present day. But Jerry meant to make those decisions and, so far, he’s not sorry for them. He started to seem sorry when Spy Gal was hit by the robot, but that’s seemed to have dissipated now with the last few strips revealing Jerry’s super star status and his life-long goal of having Spy Gal realized / starting to be realized. To him, the ends do justify the means. To Cap, he never meant to hurt his ex-wife or be a bad father. His given in to selfish desires too often and has paid the price and is sorry. We can have sympathy for the Captain because of this but still be disappointed by his continued giving in. His continued making of mistakes. But Jerry has planned and plotted out his mistakes well in advance. He’s doing them on purpose. He’s not sorry. He doesn’t see them as wrong. And he’s going to get what he wants. Which, honestly, truth be told, sounds like the mentality of a lot of comic villains, doesn’t it? They purposely plan these things for their own selfish gain, they don’t see themselves as villains or doing anything “wrong” according to their corrupted moral compass, and they are going to get or take what they want – by force if necessary. Heroes – or good, selfless people – put others before themselves. Villains – or simply imperfect, selfish people – put themselves first. What makes a character a hero or a villain is simply how far they choose to go in their selflessness or selfishness. A boy that won’t share his toys isn’t a villain, but a third-world country’s dictator that takes what he wants from his citizens and allows them to die of starvation while he becomes fat and has those who disagree with him in that matter killed or imprisoned – this kind of man may be considered a villain. Lex Luthor or General Zod are definitely villains; they put themselves first and even consider others to be inferior to them and not worth caring for. Likewise, a boy who shares isn’t necessarily a hero, but one could consider a police officer or fire fighter – or Jesus – that puts the lives of others before his own, to be a hero.

          Jerry and Cap… Have either consistently done this? Sure. They’re both heroes. They saved people’s lives. But, I mean, right now? I could be wrong. But I think I’m seeing both of them are selfish. But not both of them are villains. It’s weird actually. Jerry is more likable and easier for me to root for, but more villainous. Captain is easier to dislike and blame because of his mistakes, but simply makes bad decisions that he has paid for and is sorry for. Jerry could have had everything, but never chose to grasp it and is now risking losing everything by being underhanded and forsaking the moral compass of his youth. Cap had everything but lost it all and hurt those he loved because he didn’t guard his heart or his character. In many ways, the Captain should be a warning to Jerry that he should guard his heart and character from moral decay. Somehow he didn’t see that. Soon he too will lose everything like the Captain. And when he does, will he be sorry for his mistakes? Or simply sorry that it didn’t go as he had planned?

          I rambled endlessly and got off topic… But I hope the above somehow shows what I was thinking when I said it was hard for me to get behind either character 100%. It’s like that politician you really like until the skeletons in his closet are revealed. You’re then thinking, “Maybe I should vote for that other guy…” But he’s not looking all that great either. In the end you’re faced with the task of voting for a bunch of men you don’t particularly like because of their moral failures. And you have to ask yourself, “Who’s the lesser evil?” Or is it better not to vote at all?

          I suppose I’m rooting for both Cap and Jerry, now that I think about it. In many ways, I’m rooting for all of the SuperFogeys characters. I’m awaiting to see what choices Jerry and Cap will make in the future. Waiting to see if they will “redeem” themselves. Waiting to see where Future Swifty will wind up next. Waiting to see what Swifty present will do concerning Star Maiden. Man, waiting to see if we even see her again in this present story line. Watching Soviet Sam with great anticipation (he’s sadly more selfless than most of the main characters). Rooting definitely for Captain Spectacular and Dr. Rocket’s attempts to become friends again. And waiting to see if Spy Gal comes to her senses or not, lol.

      • CartoonistWill

        No. I guess I’m just not used to rooting for characters grounded more in reality than in fiction. In fiction the good guys are perfect – they never make bad decisions or a mess of their lives or give in to alcoholism or etc. Well, they didn’t used to, anyway. Long time ago Ironman never had a booze problem and Batman wasn’t so dark and so on and so on and so on. The old good guys used to be like Superman: flawless. But we live in a much different world. In reality, apart from Jesus Christ, people aren’t perfect. If anyone knew the mistakes I’ve made in the past they probably would lose respect for me too. And there’s sadly plenty of time for future mistakes. Cap and Jerry are two examples of characters that are flawed and imperfect. They are human; they are sinners; and they are imperfect.

        I was just thinking out loud is all. Sharing a thought. Usually most superheroes don’t show their flaws nearly as badly as these two. We can usually root for Spiderman or Ironman. Every now and then Spidey makes a mistake and pushes his girl away (or makes a deal with Mephisto) or something. Ironman … well, he’s made some pretty big mistakes too, albeit no deals with the devil. He’s a womanizer, he’s screwed up some marriages, and he’s acquired an alcohol problem, as stated earlier. But most of the time we don’t see this side of these characters. Not everyone can be Captain America or Superman or Shazam (or is that Captain Marvel?).

        But I think I do root for Jerry. I think he’s gone about things in a wrong way for a very long time, but there’s a certain bit of like-ability and compassion/pity I have for the character. Perhaps some understanding or relative ability. Although basically a villain to me, he is not your average Saturday morning cartoon villain. He has feelings, wants and desires and needs, and good intentions; sadly his way of going about it has been flawed, hence the villain labeling. I did root for Cap. I also rooted for Jerry back then. But when we discovered Jerry was the Thirdman, a part of my like for Jerry died. I guess it came back and is actually stronger as I see Jerry as a three-dimensional character now instead of a Robin-parody stereotype or, in other words, just a weak and spoofed sidekick character. But, sadly, the Cap I root for less now as I don’t like his current state of mind and decisions/actions as of late. His personality I thought changed, but maybe that’s an affect of the artist change. Or perhaps it has something to do with recently losing his son or etc. Or it’s all in my head. But what is true is that I definitely don’t like who that character’s been lately. I’m hoping to like the Captain a bit more once again someday.

        I’m personally rooting for Spy Gal most of all.

  18. Infamous Nefarious
    Infamous Nefarious

    Correct me if I’m wrong….. But it’s the element that the crystal power source is comprised of actually the Captains one weakness?

    I see CS getting pissed and going after Jerry….. And Jerry ‘accidentally’ stabbing CS with it in the ensuing struggle.

    Or perhaps it’s the presence of the crystals radiation (harmless to normal humans) that’s causing the dramatic change from being Captain Spectacular to Captain Stuffy-pants?

    • CartoonistWill

      It’s true. An early guest comic did have a crystal just like that that Dr. Rocket pulled out to reminisce with “his dear Captain” about. It caused Cap to fart. He had better control of that when he was younger. Zelonite, I think. I LOVED that guest comic strip.

  19. Chris Watkins

    Just wanted to say, Brock, I’ve been quietly sitting back here, enjoying this whole chapter, and I love all the places it’s going. I don’t think “the question” is going to be “wanna go get a burger and a malt.” And I can’t wait to see what happens to Star! Kudos!

    • Brock Heasley
      Brock Heasley

      Thanks, Chris! Always good to know you’re out there! And you’re right, the question is not about burgers and malts. It’s about burgers and MILKSHAKES. Cuz those are better.

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