Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Just for the Hell of it Review - Street Poet Ray #1

This is a very special Just For The Hell Of It Review as it is by Chris from Chris is on Infinite Earths. Chris is a friend of the site and whether he likes it or not, is now a member of the Weird Science Get Fresh Crew. Check out his great review here and then go over to his awesome site!

Street Poet Ray #1 (1990)
"The Word From the Street"
Writer/Creator - Michael Redmond
Illustrator/Translator - Junko Hosizawa
Executive Producer - Douglas Foxworthy
Asst. to Mr. Redmond - Laura Gallina
Editor in Chief - Tom DeFalco
Cover Price: $2.95

Word Up!

Let’s say you’re a kid in ye old 1990.  You’re dumb to all the evils of the world… all you care about is whether or not you can talk your parents into shelling out $50 for Super Mario Bros. 3.
You live your white bread existence, ignorance is bliss, and all’s well in the world.  Where would a kid like you get the real skinny about the doomed orb we inhabit?  I’ll tell ya where… don’t tell your momma, you’re gettin’ that info from the streets!

Street-Poet Ray was the creation of Michael Redmond and Blackthorne Publishing, later published by Marvel Comics… likely a play on the term “street poetry”, Redmond’s mangafied Keith Hernandez avatar lives in an unjust world where the atrocities of everyday life are begging to be pointed out.  Ray offers us no solutions, mind… he just wants to rap about the issues, maaan.

Manga-Keith Hernandez has seen some shit
Sometimes it’s “the man” who’s to blame, sometimes it’s just human stubbornness… times where we just need to hash things out, ya dig?

Ray is a self-described "victim of the emotions that rage within him".  It should stand to reason that we are about to have some knowledge bombs dropped on us in the name of assuaging his hostility.  You may think that, however, we observe that our late 1980's Jack Kerouac can "ride fences" with the best of the desperadoes.  Ray's "poetry" is rife with social and political issues, wherein the reader's takeaway is basically "Good is good and bad is bad".  In any potentially controversial issues, such as his abortion masterpiece, Ray refuses to take a side... instead dismissing the subject entirely by saying both sides are wrong.

We also learn that AID's won't just kill you, it will watch you have sex.

A true hero of the downtrodden, and voice of the voiceless... Ray does feel rather strongly about one thing in particular.  In this world of injustice and pain, the most damning poem Ray raps is directed to the undying evil that is... dentists.

Ray's the original anti-dentite
Where do they get off trying to fix people's teeth?
Wake up, America!
Well, dentists and the overweight... Ray is not a fan of the overweight...

In a shocking display of empathy, Ray feels for his follicly-challenged brethren.  Looking at Ray's kickin' hairstyle, with lines shaved into his sideburns, you'd think the plight of the bald was the last thing on his mind.  If you think that way, you don't know Ray (try rapping this line).

Words hurt, maaan.
There is not a whole lot about this crazy cat online.   Doing a bit of research, all I have encountered so far is an eBay auction or two.  In this post 9/11 world we currently inhabit, we may need Ray more now than ever.  One must ponder... Was Ray frantically rapping into his notebook in the days following the attacks?  What does Ray think of the Affordable Care Act?  We know from this volume he is not a fan of the medical establishment...

I'd like to think that Ray is stomping around town rapping into a phone that has no wireless service.  Just rapping furiously while holding his left hand like a side-turned firearm, letting out his rage while parents shield their children's eye away from the rampaging Keith Hernandez lookalike.  I doubt this is the case, however... I believe I have come into possession of his latest masterpiece (Ray apologizes in advance for his sub-par MS Paint skills).

On the inside back cover of this volume, there is an advertisement for the Street Poet Ray HOTLINE.  For the price of $2.00 for the first minute and $1.00 for each additional minute, one can listen to Ray rap about one of the strips in this book.  Adjusting for inflation, we're looking at $3.63 for that first minute.  People complain about reading current comic books in mere minutes, who in their right mind would pay to listen to a "Ray-Rap"?

Okay, maybe I'm being unfair.  There is an option on the Ray-line where callers can leave their own rap for the man.  That, in fact, may be worth my four bucks...

The most disappointing thing I was able to find during my "research" for this piece is that there are THREE more issues of Street Poet Ray floating around out there.  Sadly, I do not have them, worse yet... I really want them.

Thanks for reading...Chris

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