Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Kid Stuff: Squirrel Lady and the Rest of the Green Lantern Corps
DC Comics fans will be interested to learn that Planet Oa has been relocated, to some prime real estate due north of Gotham City.
Parker applied the bulk of his kindergarten graduation money to a Fisher-Price Imaginext Planet Oa playset, which occupies a place of honor next to his Imaginext Batcave. This is sort of a big deal, because generally our focus is on Batman.
ALL Batman. ALL the time.
Not that we didn't like Green Lantern before, but until they rolled out the publicity for the Ryan Reynolds live-action film, our interest in the Green Lantern Corps was limited to John Stewart, the main Green Lantern in the Justice League cartoon series, and that Green Lantern was only interesting because he hung out with Batman. Also a source of interest: Kilowog, the sort-of pig-looking GL who shows up in a couple of episodes, hangs out with Flash, speaks in a Brad Gilbert-ish voice and calls Flash "Poozer." (Fun facts: 1) Kilowog was actually voiced by Dennis Haysbert, who does an excellent Brad Gilbert impression when he's not shilling for Allstate. 2) The real Brad Gilbert was the voice of another superhero, Lobo. 3) When you have two male children, valuable real estate in your cranium gets devoted to useless information like the fact that Dennis Haysbert was the voice of Kilowog and Brad Gilbert was the voice of Lobo. 4) Our dorgi's nickname is Poozer - because it wasn't enough that we named him Ace the Batdog. 5) When you have two male children, not only do you consent to your dog being named after Batman's pet, but you may inexplicably find yourself calling him Poozer, after hearing Kilowog call Flash that EIGHT HUNDRED TIMES during multiple repetitive viewings of "In Blackest Night" and "Hearts and Minds," thus unintentionally saddling the poor pooch with his second DC Comics-related name. 6) When you have two male children, the knowledge that the two Justice League episodes in which Kilowog calls Flash Poozer are "In Blackest Night" and "Hearts and Minds" occupies the brain cells immediately adjacent to the stuff about Dennis Haysbert and Brad Gilbert.)
So, pre-spring 2011, we knew that there was a Hal Jordan before there was a John Stewart (also a Kyle Rayner - each of Hal and Kyle has a cameo in a JL episode), but we didn't care about Hal. Now we do - sort of. We're warming to him. It's interesting to watch: as Parker shows me the various features of his Imaginext Planet Oa playset, there's almost a tinge of embarrassment to his demonstration, like he's uncomfortable even considering liking a character who isn't Batman. After a few minutes, he runs off to retrieve the other toy that he bought with kindergarten graduation money - a Fisher-Price TRIO building set featuring Batman's sidekick Robin - and commences to babble about Batman stuff, with the palpable relief of one who has been out of his element and is returning to what he knows.
But I think that, if pressed, he would tell you that his Planet Oa playset is pretty cool. There's a light-up lantern that can be attached to the structure and made to rotate like the beacon in a lighthouse. And there is a Kilowog figure, to go along with the Hal Jordan figure.
There is also a third figure - Squirrel Lady. Squirrel Lady is not actually a lady; his real name is B'dg (pronounced - I had to look it up - like "Badge"). However, "Squirrel Lady" is how the character was identified to me, first by Connor as we were sitting down to dinner out:
"Mom, I have Parker's Green Lanterns in my backpack. Well, two of them - he didn't want to bring the third one."
[Me, feigning interest] "Oh, I didn't realize that the playset came with three figures. What's the third one?"
"Not sure. Looks like a squirrel, sort of. Parker said that he didn't want to play with that one, because he thought that it might be a girl."
HUH? Since when did my sweet baby boy become a misogynist? When we got home, Parker wanted to demonstrate how the little elevator thingy worked and said, "Here, I'll just show you with Squirrel Lady."
[Me] "Squirrel Lady"?"
"Yeah, Squirrel Lady."
"Is that her actual name?"
"No - I mean, I don't know. But LOOK at her, Mom. She's obviously a GIRL. A girl who is a SQUIRREL."
Okay, in my suddenly misogynistic younger child's defense, the B'dg figure is petite in stature, and what I think is his tail looks more like a ponytail than an actual tail. But, still, don't judge a book by its cover, you know? And are your saying that short girls with bushy ponytails don't cut the mustard with you? Because I fit that description, and I would be a totally kick-butt Green Lantern. Just sayin'.
Parker was incredulous (and, I think, irked) when I informed him that Squirrel Lady was, actually, Squirrel Guy - and not really a squirrel. Everything I know about B'dg, I learned through DC Wiki. Including this little chestnut, which I kept from Parker, lest he write off poor Squirrel Boy forever for having a lame superpower: B'dg's "ability" is (drumroll, please) a heightened sense of smell. Really. That's it. When he sniffs out intergalactic crime, HE REALLY SNIFFS OUT INTERGALACTIC CRIME.
Thanks. I'll be here all week. And, no doubt, by week's end my cranium will be full of all sorts of additional useless knowledge, about Oa, power rings - and Squirrel Boy.