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Like many Chicagoans, I grew up watching Bozo's Circus on television, which wasn't quite the same but it wasn't far off either. Hence I grew up with no fear of clowns. Givne the proliferation of variety shows on TV at the time, I saw many similar acts as well.

I won't tell you it was incredibly enjoyable, but it wasn't bad. Certainly circuses and circus acts were a large part of society.

Luke Blanchard said:

Did any of you enjoy circuses as a kid? We went to one once, but I was too young to follow the acts. I remember they had a trapeze act and clowns, but almost nothing beyond that.

I ask because I was just reading about Avengers #60, one of Marvel's Silver Age Ringmaster and co. stories. The month before they debuted in The Incredible Hulk #3 a story titled "The Circus of Crime" appeared in Kid Colt Outlaw #106. A Golden Age Ringmaster appeared in Captain America Comics #5.

I went to the circus a couple of times, but don't recall enjoying much. It seemed archaic and borderline cruel (animal acts, freak shows) to this city boy, even in the '60s and '70s. Like ventriloquist acts, I think the time that a circus is mass entertainment is over.

They played Bozo here for a short time. It was okay but I've seen just enough of it recently to know that it will not be a show I'll ever be buying on dvd. Now Tom Hattan's Popeye and Friends, that I'd like to get copies of.

Thanks, everyone.

I watched a motorcycle act with some family members a few years ago. It may have been at the Royal Melbourne Show. I think that kind of act is arguably a modern equivalent of trapeze acts and horse acts. They did dangerous stuff.

Like Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, circuses started in the 19th Century. This was before movies, let alone television, and people were seeing things they either had never seen or had only seen in still pictures. The novelty wore off.

When I was in basic training in Kentucky there was a freak show. I had no interest in seeing people who were either severely damaged or were fakes.


Captain Comics said:

I went to the circus a couple of times, but don't recall enjoying much. It seemed archaic and borderline cruel (animal acts, freak shows) to this city boy, even in the '60s and '70s. Like ventriloquist acts, I think the time that a circus is mass entertainment is over.

Yeah, I remember going to the circus and thinking it was okay. Now, Cirque du Soleil I liked, but it's an entirely reconceptualized circus, with no animals in sight to treat cruelly. Whether the alleged availability of drugs, at least during the early days, amounts to some kind of performer cruelty, I do not know.

While I've seen the Cirque twice, I never got to see Archaos when they were a thing. I do recall an interview with a report, though, something like:

Reporter: The message I seem to be getting from this show is, sex, death, and machines.

Archaos rep: But life is sex, death, and machines.



Captain Comics said:

I went to the circus a couple of times, but don't recall enjoying much. It seemed archaic and

From Martin O'Hearn's blog: Star Spangled War Stories-Star Trek Crossover.

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!

Cyclops to remain dead. For now anyway.

Thanks, Richard, JD.

Spoilers warning: Justice League of America #139, Adventure Comics #341, Fantastic Four #37, #40 #50, #104, #106, #270, Fantastic Four Annual #3,

I read "the Ice Age Cometh!" from Justice League of America #139 as a kid. (The title is a play on The Iceman Cometh.) The story has a deus ex machina ending: the Phantom Stranger suddenly shows up, and captures the villain. What strikes me about this is I didn't have a problem with this ending at all.

I can't remember if I'd encountered the Stranger previously. It's possible I'd already read #156, and it seemed natural to me that he should turn up in a JLA story.

Some hero-whips-up-a-device or -whips-out-a-device endings are less deus ex machina-ish than others:

-In Adventure Comics #341 there's a sequence leading up to the discovery of the needed device. Also, the Bizarro-Computo sequence separates Brainiac's activation of the device from his discovery of it. The bit where the solution threatens to get out of control also helps to disguise the deus ex machina element in the ending.

-The Stimulator in Fantastic Four #40 had played a similar role in #37. I accepted its sudden production as a kid, although I hadn't read the earlier story. I guess that was because there's a footnote.

-The plot strand that results in Reed's sudden acquisition of the problem-solver in Fantastic Four #50 started the previous issue.

-In Fantastic Four Annual #3 Reed's acquisition of the problem-solver stems from the Watcher's appearance, which isn't arbitrary on the meta-level as just about every other major Marvel character had already turned up. (Except the Hulk and the Sub-Mariner, and they'd been mentioned.) "You must understand, Reed Richards, that I cannot interfere! Just look around, see if you can use anything."

-In Fantastic Four #104 Reed just whips a device up, and the surprise is what it does. (Why aren't those things used against Magneto all the time?) In #106 he's represented as deducing the device he needs must exist. My recollection is a later issue had a letter criticising the title's use of this kind of ending.

-John Byrne used this kind of ending in Fantastic Four #270. What bugged me about that one was not the way Reed produced the device, but that it seemed too powerful for its size.

Do any of you guys have favourite deus ex machina endings?

Luke Blanchard said:

Do any of you guys have favourite deus ex machina endings?

I can't think of a specific instance, but I remember that Mort Weisinger's Superman family of titles would often introduce something in the beginning of a story that turned out to be the solution to the problem.

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