We open with Travis Bickle Jr at the comic book store, eyeing the beautifully gory display, before wandering over to the display case featuring the first issue of Tales of the Undead starring Ferrus the Invincible, signed by the creator “Jay Star”. While talking with Canadian Comic Book Guy, we learn that Travis Jr “would kill” for a comic like that, a phrase which shouldn’t really give anyone pause when uttered by a nerd these days, no. Then Ryan comes in to buy his weekly stash, and we find out that Ryan is one of those jackasses who charges full guide price for recent comics in antique stores. But Ryan sticks around long enough to see Travis do a smash-and-grab on the display case, and when Canadian Comic Book Guy tries to stop him, transform into the iron-clad Ferrus through rather dodgy “comic book panel” animations, and kill poor CCBG.

Back at Curious Goods, Ryan tells Mickey of what happened (Jack being conveniently absent), and Mickey refuses to believe that Ryan saw a comic book character come to life. Because that is less plausible than mulchers that turn people into money. Ryan points out that the events in the store mirror the origin of Ferrus, who is apparently Not Canada’s version of Captain Marvel (the good one). A check of the manifest reveals that Lewis bought “a magazine” from Jacob Staretzski, the real name of “Jay Star”, who got cheated out of his creation by the publisher, so no, it’s not meant to be Jack Kirby at all. Ryan goes to check it out, and finds Jay (played by Ray Walston in full curmudgeon mood), a recluse living under the thumb of his dominating nurse/housekeeper. Ryan tells Jay about Ferrus coming to life, and the old man merely laughs in that Ray Walston way. As soon as Ryan leaves, Jay tracks down Travis Jr through the power of plot contrivance, and tries to take back the comic. When Travis transforms, Jay stabs him with his Not Eisner award, killing Ferrus and leaving with the comic.

At Curious goods, Ryan laments that no one believes him, before extolling the virtues of super-heroes as juvenile revenge/power fantasies, but is distracted by coming across the obituary for Travis Jr. He and Mickey search his house and find that he was trying to contact the publisher who owns Ferrus. When they go to see him they learn that Jay was fired for trying to write an issue where Ferrus was killed to try and nullify the contract in which he signed over the rights, but the pages were never published. They leave just in time to miss Jay showing up and turning into Ferrus and killing Not Stan Lee, after noticing that original art that was supposed to be in his basement was in the office. Our intrepid antique dealers do come back just in time to see Ferrus standing over the body and getting into an encounter with the police. Ryan, a bit slow on the uptake, decides that their next step should be to meet with Jay and try to find out how to kill Ferrus.

Unsurprisingly, the talk doesn’t go well, other than Ryan letting Jay know that he’s a witness who hasn’t spoken to the police. Rather than do the sensible thing and kill Ryan, Jay goes into the basement to look for his original artwork, learns that his maid/nurse has been selling his work, and kills her instead. Mickey and Ryan manage to track down the person who bought the “Ferrus dies” pages, and although arriving too late to stop Ferrus killing the man, Ryan does notice one of Jay’s heart pills at the scene, thus finally gaining a clue. They race back to Jay’s house and catch him in the act of burning the pages. They confront him, he turns into Ferrus, Ryan stabs him with the Not Eisner, which Jay, knowing it was the one thing that could kill Ferrus, kept around for some reason.

This is one of those “let the guest star do their thing” episodes, with Ray Walston getting to play a sinister old man in a plot that, by the show’s standards, is pretty straightforward. The attempts at showing the transformation via comic book style art was a nice idea, but doesn’t really get pulled off well. We do get some nice moments for John LeMay to give Ryan some character and personality besides “wiseass” and despite the antique being pretty generic in its curse mechanism the episode ends up not bad at all.

A Very Robey 80s


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