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Friday, February 22, 2008

Fiction
Magneto, Master of Magnetism, Holds Open Tryouts for the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants

Mike Richardson-Bryan

Name: The Baffler Superpower: Super panache

Hard to get a read on this one. Applicant spent the entire interview spouting gibberish in iambic pentameter, then flung a bunch of poker chips into the air and danced out the door. He was certainly baffling, but can he take a punch?

Callback: Yes


Name: The Glass Jaw
Superpower: Partial invulnerability

Applicant is invulnerable to all forms of physical attack. Except, that is, for his jaw, which is so fragile that the slightest contact reduces him to a whimpering heap. I suggested applicant might want to consider a different name, one that draws attention away from the jaw area, but he’s a strict Mormon and insists on full and frank honesty at all times. So, he’s A-O.K. with my plan to contaminate the world’s Snapple supply with mutagenic serum, but he flatly refuses to “bear false witness.” Who the hell talks like that anymore?

Callback: No


Name: The Whelk
Superpower: Animal mimicry

Applicant seemed uncomfortable with the interview process. When questioned about his/her origins, applicant retreated into his/her shell and refused to come out. The written portion of the assessment was no better. Unsure how to proceed, I had the interns place applicant in the aquatics lab. If all else fails, the Scarlet Witch makes a kickass seafood chowder.

Callback: No


Name: Beshemoth
Superpower: Super size

Applicant can grow to colossal size. Unfortunately, she can only do so at a certain time of the month, and the worst possible time of the month for any woman to be fifty feet tall and able to punch holes through buildings. But I can’t pass her over without a better reason than that, not unless I want another “visit” from the equity officer.

Callback: Yes


Name: The Maulbearer
Superpower: Animal summoning

Applicant can summon living, breathing bears out of thin air. There are only three problems: (1) he can only summon bears in increments of 1,000; (2) he has no control over the bears once they’ve been summoned; and (3) applicant himself is acutely afraid of bears. Not thinking, I asked for a demonstration right there in the gymnasium. Big mistake! Several other applicants were mauled in the ensuing carnage, but thankfully only one was killed (some guy called “Spawnus, the Man-Salmon”).

Callback: Yes


Name: Eyeclops
Superpower: Eyebeam

Applicant is a large eye in a jar. That’s it. Communication was difficult, at least until we realized that applicant is also completely blind, whereupon it became impossible. Applicant’s many physical limitations would present almost insuperable challenges to field operations. Still, I just can’t say no to an eyebeam.

Callback: Yes


Name: Heck-Cat
Superpower: Animal mimicry

Applicant has all the “powers” of a three-week-old kitten. In other words, she has a permanent expression of wide-eyed wonder, a general lack of physical coordination, and a tendency to be distracted by shadows, loose threads, and specks of dust. It’s hard to imagine applicant making any meaningful contribution to our bitter struggle against the Homo sapiens. On the other hand, she’s so damned cute, and I’ve been so lonely since Mr. Boots succumbed to feline leukemia.

Callback: Yes


Name: Bi-Furious
Superpower: Spontaneous sex reassignment

Applicant involuntarily switches from one sex to the other and back again whenever angry. The transition is unpleasant to observe, and there’s a point, midway through, where he/she bears a disturbing resemblance to Ann Coulter. That could come in handy when trying to strike fear into the hearts of liberals and small children, but there’s no way I’m installing another washroom in the lair.

Callback: No


Name: Blur-de-lis
Superpower: Super speed

Applicant is a French-Canadian speedster and is very fast indeed. Unfortunately, he’s also a chain smoker, and he smokes as fast as he runs (during the interview, applicant went through fifteen packs of unfiltered Pall Malls and then started bumming butts off the interns). Do I really want this guy on the health plan?

Callback: No


Name: Double Whammy
Superpower: Self-replication

Applicant can split himself into two copies (or “Whammies”) and merge them back into one. The Whammies are identical in every way, except that each has only half the I.Q. of the original, and the original isn’t that bright to begin with. Less than a minute into the demonstration, the Whammies began arguing over who “rocked” harder, Good Charlotte or Bowling for Soup. Fisticuffs followed.

Callback: No


Mike Richardson-Bryan used to be a lawyer, but he's all better now. No, really. His work has also appeared on McSweeney's Internet Tendency, in the pages of Cracked, Stitches, and The Wittenburg Door, and recently appeared in The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2007. He lives in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada with one wife and two dogs.