Friday, February 13, 2009

Witness Protection: Entertainment's Best New Story-Telling Device

Witness relocation is no loner just for Larry the Cable Guy vehicles and Sopranos fan fiction anymore.

Exhibit A is Incognito, the new comic book from writer Ed Brubaker and creator Sean Phillips. The Brubaker/Phillips creative team previously collaborated on a pair of outstanding comic series, Sleeper and Criminal. At first, Incognito seemed like a bit of a retread of the former, which wasn't entirely a bad thing since Sleeper was one of those rare superhero comics I would recommend without reluctance even to those who aren't fans of the genre. The premise is rather similar: a superpowered, morally-ambiguous protagonist entrenched in an environment were he can't reveal his true identity or purpose. Plus, there's the "femme fatale" that seems to be every one of Brubaker's stories. However, the second issue, just released this past Wednesday, really brought the story into its own. Incognito's reformed supervillian protagonist is now faced with a situation where his urge to do good can only result in bad things happening to him. Besides that, this urge is less a penance for his former crimes than a way of satiating of his bloodlust. It's a original and gripping take on superhero mythology. Plus, Brubaker introduces a new antagonist who, to put it in the simplest terms possible, is scary as fuck. I'm putting Incognito on my increasingly short list of "floppies" I pick up on monthly basis and you probably should as well. A preview of the first issue can be found here.

Exhibit B is Delocated, the new non-animated Adult Swim series from Late Night with Conan O'Brien writer and top shelf funny guy Jon Glaser, which premiered Thursday night. The concept is that a family is simultaneously put into witness protection and starring in their own reality show. If that doesn't sound all that hilarious, I'm just not doing Delocated justice because the 15-minute pilot had me laughing just as much as either episode of The Office or 30 Rock broadcast the same night. Below is a very brief clip from an upcoming episode:

You can find the show's official Adult Swim page here. There's not much content there now but one would have to assume videos of full episodes will be up soon. Now if only I could get a video of Glaser's complete "Johnny Ding-Dong" performance he did for the Comedians of Comedy. "This guy's a dick! Ding-dong!"

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