What Power Is…


“Bump In the Night” AllStars

“Pet Cemetery” The Ramones

“Dead Man’s Party” Oingo Boingo

“Halloween” Siouxsie and the Banshees

Anyone who knows me knows that Halloween is kind of my jam.  In college I threw Halloween parties in the Oneida Hall 4 A-L lounge that were the social event of the season.  Now that I’m a grown-ass lady, I use Halloween as a chance to win prizes and internet fame (We’re #10 and #2).  Hell, last year, my fiance proposed to me in the middle of our town’s Halloween parade.  

goon-franky1This year, Ian and I are going as The Goon and Franky from Eric Powell’s awesome comic The Goon, because we have a very unique concept of the “couple’s costume.”  It was my idea, because I wanted something easy, something I could move/dance in, and something that cool people (like Trace Beaulieu!!!) would recognize, but wouldn’t get us swamped with requests for photos, like with our Maitlands and Alien costumes.  Also, I have a deep, possibly unhealthy affection for Franky (it’s a natural progression of my love for Shane Vendrell) but what can I say? I’ve got a soft spot for the sidekick.

Not pictured: The frantic beating of my nerdy heart

Not pictured: The frantic beating of my nerdy heart

But when I put on that costume, something weird happens….

FrankyBy nature, I am a pretty likable person.  I’m funny and I’m cheerful and I don’t like conflict and don’t go out of my way to be an asshole. But when I put on that hat, my Id, the razor blade under the tongue of my soul, takes over. I move differently.  I make faces different from my normal range of emotional expression.  And suddenly, I feel like I can do whatever I want.  It’s a fantastic and terrible power, this costume.

And it then becomes this fight between Libby and Franky to not, say, stab a Ghostbuster who was being a broseph to my friend Corey at a horror film convention. (Ian made me a “switchblade” with silver tape and a comb).  At her most badass, Libby might throw some shade in Ghostbro’s direction when he’s looking at her so that he knows she doesn’t think he’s so hot, in fact, he’s kind of dumb looking and takes his stupid hobby to idiotic extremes.  (Libby won that round…for now)

But Franky? Well, Franky’s a different story.  Franky’s unhinged.  Franky is going to get a beer instead of a Dr. Pepper and then Franky is going to compliment how good the waist-cincher on your pirate costume makes your boobs look, because Franky has no filter or decorum.  Franky is not going to tolerate it when drunk skanks try to hit on The Goon and may resort to violence*.  Franky would love to play Cards Against Humanity, but you’d better bring your A-Game; Franky isn’t going to tolerate your faux-edgy Dane Cook bullshit and will be happy to grin and tell you that your cards are neither funny nor clever, because Franky plays dark and mean and you should too.

...so then Charlie Noodles -- he's good people -- he plays the "dead babies" card, and I beat him to death with a crowbar! That's what makes it so funny!

…so then Charlie Noodles — he’s good people — he plays the “dead babies” card, and I beat him to death with a crowbar! That’s what makes it so funny!

Franky throws her clothes on the floor instead of the hamper. Franky doesn’t do the dishes before bed.  Franky doesn’t wake up at 7 a.m. to work on her novel, and Franky doesn’t think twice about making breakfast out of three tacos, Cuban espresso and the last fun-sized Milky Way that The Goon hid in the the back of the cupboard.

When Halloween/convention season is over, I’m going to really miss being Franky…but somehow, I don’t think anyone else will.

...Especially Not the Slackjaws!

…Especially Not the Slackjaws!

*Ripley-Libby did once resorted to physical threats; I slapped a drunk Slutty Cop’s hand away when she grabbed Ian’s Alien costume (DO NOT EVER DO THIS, EVER), and I screamed, in character, Get your hands off him, you bitch!   She quickly realized I was probably crazy and took off with the rest of her horde.  It was one of my prouder moments.


goon_damesI’m kind of obsessed with Eric Powell’s The Goon these days — Ian got back into it and I got tired of hearing him snicker from the couch and not being in on the joke, sort of how he felt when I was reading Hyperbole and a Half and got laughing so hard I couldn’t breathe or explain why I was laughing.  The Goon hits all the right notes for me; neo-noir, paranormal, voodoo and old-skool zombies, violence and humor and hyper-stylized, Depression-era settings.  Plus I have a weird little crush on Franky that I can’t quite explain.

…But I just finished reading Chinatown and Holy Cats, I haven’t read a comic that awesome since The Hard Goodbye (also: I don’t read comics very often).  I actually cried at the end, when Franky’s sitting there at The Goon’s hospital bed after taking page after page of beatings while The Goon is out kicking it with Isabella.  It hit home, in a strange way.

Most people want to be the hero of their own stories.  Me, I tend to be the Sam_&_Maxsidekick because I’m high strung and excitable and I generally need someone to keep me leveled out.   I’m the Max to Ian’s Sam, the Shane Vendrell to Matthew’s Vic Mackey.  I’m good in a fight and quick with a quip, I’m smart and I think fast and I’m good on my feet.   Great skills to have as a reporter, good skills to have when you’re trying to say, gaslight someone and weedle your way into their empire.  The downside, especially with someone like Matthew, is that damn it, sometimes you need to go in with shotguns blasting and not take so damn long to put all the chess pieces in place.

The problem with being a sidekick, however, is that sometimes, well, you get pushed off to the side.  I once got left the edge of a dance floor because Matthew got wrapped up in talking to a girl he didn’t even like, a girl we called The Jawa.

And that’s where Chinatown hit so damn hard for me.  Because when you’ve got male friends, sometimes dames get in the way.  Sometimes those dames are great, like my friend Bridget, who married my friend Eeon.  Sometimes those dames are no good, and the worst part about a no-good dame is that no one wants to hear their dame is no good.  And when you’re a dame yourself, they’ve always got that “you’re just jealous” card to play.  And sometimes I was jealous, because I was young and stupid.   But I’ve lost more than one friendship over no-good dames, and though I’ve manage to recover all of them, there were a lotta years of heartbreak in between.

So when The Goon’s mummy’d up in bandages and Franky sits down by his bedside and says “Dames come and go, but pals stick together,” I just started bawling.  Like, mascara-down-the-cheeks kinda crying.  Partially because the characters feel so real, not just bullshit neo-noir stock types like every Sin City comic after The Hard Goodbye, but mostly because it reminded me of all the times I stupidly let a dame — or anything, really — get in between me and a friend.