Tandy Computer Whiz Kids: Fit to Win
June 7, 2010
This comic really has nothing to do with Tandy computers... nor does it have any whiz kids... and the "Fit to Win" thing has nothing to do with the plot... so what was the point again?
(Open on Dr. Linksano in a dark room, looking at a box labeled "World's Greatest Villain")
Dr. Linksano: Ha! World's Greatest Villain, you are indeed the card game for me! (cackles) Ah, and it's just what I needed after getting stomped in the face by a bunch of nerds. Still, I think I'm starting to like this dimension. Insano's far too busy taking care of that genetic accident he calls a son to be a true science villain, so I guess that task falls onto me! (cackles again)
(Suddenly, he gets cut off by the sound of a beeping. He takes out a phone and examines it, stopping the beeping. He becomes nervous)
Dr. Linksano: Oh, no... He's coming. He's coming!
(We then cut to the title sequence and theme music. After that, we are shown the title for this video "Tandy Computer Whiz Kids: Fit to Win", while Paul Stanley's "Live to Win" plays in the background)
Linkara: Hello, and welcome to Atop the Fourth Wall, where bad comics burn. You know, I honestly hate doing it twice in the same review period, but... yeah, we're not doing "Q-Unit" this week. Like "Siphons", was it actually decent? Hell no! It was just boring!
(Cut to a cover for a "Q-Unit" comic)
Linkara (v/o): I couldn't make this thing funny. It was so bland and uninteresting that you would've been as bored as I was as I desperately clamped down onto anything to make a joke about. However, because there is one bit that I was happy with, and I wanted to include it because of its relevance in today's kindling, let's talk about the cover in a bit I like to call "Your Cover Is Lame and I'm Smarter Than You".
(Cut to a shot of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel)
Linkara (v/o): Consider some of the most famous and elaborate works of art: the Sistine Chapel...
(Cut to a shot of the sculpture...)
Linkara (v/o): ...La Pieta...
(Cut to a shot of the famous painting...)
Linkara (v/o): ...The Last Supper. There are various reasons why famous artwork keeps getting remade and homaged, not just that they're famous, but because they have real power to the imagery they invoke...
(Cut back to the Pieta sculpture)
Linkara (v/o): ...the Pieta in particular. Holding the dead body like that was made probably most famous...
(Cut to a shot of the cover of "Crisis On Infinite Earths", which shows Superman similarly holding the dead body of Supergirl)
Linkara (v/o): ...in "Crisis On Infinite Earths #7". This is one of the most duplicated and homaged covers in existence.
(Cut to a shot of a wall of shelves full of comic books)
Linkara (v/o): Most comic book stores have their new comics arranged in various rows for people to go through and pick out what they want to buy. All of these comics are competing against each other to get picked up, and since comic companies keep inexplicably raising prices, it makes it all the more difficult for someone to trying something new. As such, your cover needs to look good. It needs to be instantly eye-catching and impressive.
(Cut to a shot of a cover of a Marvel comic book showing the Hulk holding up a whole mountain by himself)
Linkara (v/o): The image of the Hulk holding up an entire mountain single-handedly? That is awesome! You win!
(Cut to a D.C. comic cover showing Wonder Woman holding up a sword dramatically, surrounded by Batman and Superman, while looming in the background are images of various other characters; it resembles a movie poster)
Linkara (v/o): A cover structured very much like a movie poster, with recognizable heroes and villains looming overhead! Not quite as eye-catching because of the cramped style, but at the same time, very striking, especially with Wonder Woman gripping a sword and looking badass. You win!
(Cut to another comic, this one showing seven fists raised in the air while holding up various weapons, all in red, while jagged lines appear in the background)
Linkara (v/o): Seven fists held into the air while holding various weapons, a symbol of triumph, unity, and diversity of heroic styles. The jagged lines in the background evoke lightning bolts and a classic retro heroic style. And the red colors for the fists and arms are striking and bring in the idea that these seven are the same; i.e., united as a team. You win!
(Cut back to the "Q-Unit" cover from earlier; its colors are mostly dark, save for guy in goggles who is wearing yellow pants, the only real standout color on the cover)
Linkara (v/o): Four no-name characters standing in a vague unknown surrounding without any kind of purpose or structure to their placement, with dark, subdued colors that easily blend into each other, the most striking thing about the cover being this guy's pants, being where our eyes are drawn to because it's surrounded on all sides by darker colors. There's a tagline at the bottom, tucked away as if it was forgotten. YOU FAIL!
(The word "Fail" appears in big red letters to a buzzer sound)
Linkara: This is not a cover that says, "We care about what we're writing." This is a cover that says, "We slapped this together yesterday over lunch and figured somebody might buy it."
(Cut to a montage of several comic covers showing things that Linkara disapproves of...)
Linkara (v/o): Someone's face? It's stupid and they couldn't be bothered to draw the whole character. Standard group shot? There are plenty of ways to make a group shot interesting. Just having them stand there isn't one of them. Covers are vitally important to making a comic stand out. If you're not gonna bother with it, then why the hell should I, as a customer, bother with it?
(Cut back to the "Q-Unit" cover from before, zeroing in on the tagline near the bottom)
Linkara (v/o): (reading) "Cover to cover action!"
Linkara: (holding up the comic) In that they mean that all of the action is on the front and back cover.
Linkara (v/o): (reading comic cover again) "Layered reality cybercard inside!"
Linkara: One, what the heck is a cybercard? Two, what the heck is "layered reality"? Three, does it have Mr. T on it? No? Then why should I care?
Linkara (v/o): Just imagine this kind of utter blandness and uninteresting characters and confusing plot situations jumping around everywhere with no rhyme or reason and crammed into "32 full pages", and you've got "Q-Uni" in a nutshell. I couldn't take it. It was so boring. So instead I decided to bring you something truly special.
Linkara: As such, we're digging into (holds up the comic of review) the "Tandy Computer Whiz Kids". No number on this one; the "Tandy Computer Whiz Kids" comics weren't numbered, simply given one-shot status on each of their stories and their titles.
(Cut to shots of covers of Tandy Computer Whiz Kids comics, which originated from the company Radio Shack)
Linkara (v/o): A lot of you are probably too young to remember this, but once upon a time, Radio Shack's parent company was called Tandy Computers, and it was one of the companies that started mass production of personal computers in the '70s and '80s. Eventually, the company was just renamed to Radio Shack, but when it was Tandy Computers, well, it produced quite a few products. Subsequently, they also produced free comics to be distributed at Radio Shacks. One of them was even a crossover with Superman and we'll probably get to that one somewhere down the road.
(Cut to the cover of the Tandy Computers Whiz Kids comic to reviewed: "Fit to Win")
Linkara (v/o): In the meantime, though, enjoy this exciting tale of Radio Shack products: "Fit to Win". This cover is why I kept in that long diatribe about how covers are supposed to work. This is the most schizophrenic, haphazard cover I've ever seen. You'd think a book about these purported "whiz kids" would feature them prominently, but nooo. Enjoy their disembodied heads, as if they were little kid versions of Holly from Red Dwarf.
(Cut to a clip of Red Dwarf)
Holly: And the moral of the story is, appreciate what you've got, because I'm fantastic.
(Cut back to the Whiz Kids cover)
Linkara (v/o): Okay, there is a submarine in the book, but why the periscope view of an empty ocean? Oh, and let's not forget the title shoved down at the bottom with a bunch of random kids who aren't the Tandy Computer Whiz Kids that actually have bodies. And I'm sorry, but when I think fitness, I don't think a carnival.
(Cut to an ad for Radio Shack's Tandy Color Computer 3)
Linkara (v/o): As if I haven't held off talking about the comic itself long enough, let's take a look at the awesome computer power of Tandy, shall we? Why, here's an ad for the Tandy Color Computer 3! Wow, for $220, you can get 128K color and a wide selection of educational software designed to improve math, history, spelling, vocabulary and typing skills.
Linkara: There's just no stopping kids when the siren call of educational software is made!
Linkara (v/o): We open to a submarine in the gulf waters.
Sub Crewman #1: (looking through periscope) Nothing yet, sir!
Sub Crewman #2: Very well! Keep scanning!
Linkara: (as Sub Crewman #2) We'll find that island where Gilligan shipwrecked eventually!
Linkara (v/o): They eventually spot a ship on the horizon where three criminals are talking.
Criminal: Hey, Fritz! That was a slick idea to have a pleasure boat rendezvous with us off the coast at night... to transfer "the goods" to our boat!
Linkara: (as this criminal) Yes, our plainly-obvious idea for how to transport illicit goods is genius! (raises fist in the air)
Linkara (v/o): They also spot something on the horizon... but enough with the intrigue with potential drug dealers, gunrunners, thieves or whatnot; it's time to go to school!
Teacher: Good morning! How was vacation time?
Students: (in unison) GREAT, MS. WILSON!
Linkara (v/o): Oh, dear God, have we entered the School of the Damned here? Why are they all speaking in unison? And what's with their eyes? Ms. Wilson asks the students what they did during their summer and Alec volunteers this...
Alec: Well, a group of us kids got together to talk about some of the things we would like in everyday life when we get to be adults – what we hope our country will be like then!
Linkara: So... that's what you did all summer, huh?
Linkara (v/o): By the way, what kid talks like that? "A group of us kids got together to talk about some of the things we would like in everyday life when we get to be adults"? That dialogue couldn't be more forced if it was attached to a battering ram.
Ms. Wilson: My, what a profound thought, Alec!
Linkara (v/o): Um, no, it isn't.
Ms. Wilson: Tell us more about it!
Alec: We thought about it a lot and decided... that here we are in elementary school... and the way time passes so fast... we'll be out of high school... and, if our grades are good, we'll be in college!
Linkara: (perplexed) Really, kid? This is what you and your friends did? You didn't want to play outside or some Atari 2600 or something? Uh, hang out at arcades? Ride your bicycles? Wait for Nickelodeon to finally get invented?
Alec: We talked about what we would like to do for a career that would help to keep our country's leadership in science and business... a career that would help to build an even better way of life for all of our people!
Ms. Wilson: So, what did you all decide?
Linkara: (as Alec, excitedly) PROSTITUTION!
Linkara (v/o): Seriously, this kid is a plant. They're paying him off somehow, because there's no way that this kid came up with all of that. Really? Career-minded elementary school students? You would have to be a cube to be more square than this kid.
Alec: We decided that we are preparing for the future right now--and that someday we'll have to be the leaders in our country!
Ms. Wilson: Then what?
Linkara: Well, isn't that enough?
Alec: Well, we decided that we must study hard... learn all we can, and take care of our health and physical fitness–to be ready when it comes our turn to be the leaders of our country!
Linkara: So... what happens if you end up taking up a career in refrigeration?
Alec: So, we formed a club that we called: FIT TO WIN!
Linkara: (as Alec) We've already got, like, a bazillion Facebook friends!
Asian-looking kid: What does FIT TO WIN mean, Alec?
Linkara: No! Don't encourage his monologuing!
Alec: FIT... means our goal to learn... avoid things that could harm our mind and body... to exercise a lot!
Linkara (v/o): Anyone else notice the absurd amount of ellipses this kid uses? Is he the Ultimate Warrior as a kid?
Alec: TO WIN... means the success we can have in helping to build an even better America!
Linkara: Man, what remedial class are we in where they need to be explained what (makes a "finger quote") "to win" means? And they still got it wrong?
Students: YEAHHH, ALEC! WOW... THAT'S COOL!
Linkara: Alec was later beat up at recess by the same children in the room.
Ms. Wilson: Alec, I've got one word for that vacation activity: it's SUPER!
Linkara: That was two words!
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