Adam West of Batman fame just recently died, and I instantly thought of my first exposure to the man. Since I never saw any of the original episodes and they weren't captioned, I felt no attraction to the show. And the parts that were aired were only in French, and annoyingly enough to me, always ended on a cliffhanger, leaving me with no way of knowing how they resolved themselves, because I wasn't invested enough to find out in the first place.
This wasn't the only instance that MAD had a former iteration of a cartoon character knock off their more popular knock-off. However, while going through these endings, I noticed a certain difference. In these live-action adaptations, it was the cartoon character who wound up being responsible for the execution of these half-hearted adaptations, which failed to capture the essence of the originals. The only exception was the cheesy live-action role, compared to the Animated Bruce Timm Batman, who ironically enough, would be the definitive Batman for a later generation.
Incidentally, this post's title is a reference to an ambitious Fanfic I had where three beloved comic characters who were replaced by lesser versions of themselves were mysteriously gathered together. The three included Dream, who was replaced by Daniel...
L, who was replaced by Near...
And Farley, who was replaced by Edgar. Interestingly enough, there are hardly any drawings of Edgar all by himself.
In which a gathering of three beloved individuals indulge in small talk (of which they are sorely inexperienced in) and are accosted by a menacing figure who eventually reveals the reason they've been summoned in its presenceFor years, I had this scenario set up, but never had the proper focus to put all three of them in a proper dialogue, despite the comedic potential. Recent events have made this scenario redundant, and near the end of these incomplete drafts, you'll see why.
Some notes to explain the following pacing of the intended speech patterns,
Lord Morpheus talks in a slow dramatic voice.(A pale mist surrounds a sparse grey field. A shadowy figure steps from the fog into the clearing where a young man is crouched in an awkward sitting position)
L talks in a serious deadpan.
And Farley is... Farley.
You have summoned me, and I have reluctantly come.
I summoned you?? I thought YOU called me. I've been waiting this whole time.
Not possible. I have no knowledge of needing your services.
Well, if it wasn't you, and it wasn't me, then who WAS it?
(Farley happily walks upon the scene)
Unless that animal is our mysterious gatherer, I doubt we'll be getting any answers soon.
In that case, we should ask a few questions, see if there's any common links between the three of us.
Very well. The session of Pale Originals is now in session.
We’re the original models that was later copied unsuccessfully in our unfinished stories. The ones left in our place are Pale Imitations, hence the title. I was replaced by Daniel. You were replaced by Near. (Conjures picture) And Farley was replaced with this dog.
My God. Farley’s replacement looks white as a ghost!
That’s Dixie, Edgar's son. Edgar is over here.
You're doubtlessly the lord and master of the dream world, and the representation of Dream itself.
That's a... surprisingly specific way of describing my role. I'm curious as to how you arrived at that conclusion.
You're nothing more than a hallucination brought about from the bad cupcake I had last night, and manifested yourself as the Ghost of Christmas Future, skipping straight ahead to my worst-case scenario, so you can tell me how I've made some bad decisions in my life.
You don't seem very surprised to see me.
Please. I've seen a literal God of Death. After a monstrosity like that, you're practically easy on the eyes.
I must confess, you’re one of the few creatures who rarely entered my realm.
(Sips cup of coffee) It's not like I NEED to sleep. Like Kafka's Hunger Artist, I'd do more of it if I enjoyed it.
(Farley looks questioningly at L’s hind quarters)
Yes, I do have chocolate in my pants, and no, you can’t have any.
(Farley looks crestfallen, and keeps staring intensely)
Isn’t it uncomfortable keeping sweets in that position?
Better in my pockets than out in the open where what little remains is instantly slobbered up. Why don’t you conjure some up from within that mystical cape of yours?
I have no desire to consume such product.
Even better. (Rips open a sugar packet, & pours small contents on the floor, which Farley greedily slobbers up) You like that huh? Well, Lord Morpheus over there is made of sugar. (Tosses sugar at Dream) Sic him boy!
(Reeling, throwing turkeys, salami & other assorted meats in his direction) Back, foul creature!
I’m curious... what do you look like through Farley’s eyes?
That noble beast has spent far too much time among humans. What you see before you is how he sees himself.
Well, minus the wagging tongue & fluffy cheeks, but I have no desire to show you that.
(Through Farley's eyes, Dream looks like his human self with Farley's Head on his shoulders)
(Farley looks at thrown ball thrown from Dream go over an arc, then bounce to the ground multiple times until it comes to a stop)
Do you not grasp the concept of 'fetch', little creature? An object is thrown, you expend all your energies chasing after it, leaving me alone for a brief moment of time until you return, at which point I repeat the procedure until you collapse out of sheer exertion or exhaustion, whichever comes first.
Forget it. I've been trying to teach him mathemathical logic for ages. If you want him to go away, you're going to have to magic up some food and send it flying. And if possible, save some in my general direction. I'll catch.
You are both beginning to wear on my patience, but it'll remove the beast's affections from my premises, I'll oblige.
My sister was quite enamored by your exploits. I confess, I’ve rarely seen her portrayed in such a comical manner.
Your sis - then that Shinigami was female??
Yes, but that wasn’t my sister - I mean - she wasn’t - It is difficult to explain.
Then, the mysterious figure would make its presence known:I have summoned you here for the sole purpose of observing you. Just carry on like I'm not here.
This is preposterous. I have far more important things to deal with.
Like what?? You're retired now.
Well... I have to brood around a bit! And those garbage pails aren't going to empty themselves!
Dude, they've been sitting there for a week now.
I was waiting until I felt like it!
Then, it'd be revealed that the mysterious figure that'd summoned them turned out to be a Pale Original himself:Back! Back! Don't pull back that curtain -
Farley doesn't listen, and keeps tugging away at the cloak of the intimidating figure. The cloak falls away, revealing an elaborate structure underneath, consisted of a system of pulleys and puppet strings being manipulated by a black & white figure at the very top:
Then, he'd reveal his motivation:Opus: Of all the Pale Originals, I’m probably the only one who’s been reused by the same creator - three times! And each time I was brought back, there were complaints I wasn’t as good as I used to be. Confidently speaking, I suspect it was because my nose size increased each time.
Opus: I figured that if I got all three of you together, I could figure out some kind of magical formula that made you guys so popular in the first place. So far, I've been stymied and stumped. Stumped and stymied. That sounds like a good band name.
Opus: As far as I can see, it's basically acting aloof to your surroundings, while also being aware of everything going on, yet being absolutely clueless. I'm not so sure about the first two, but I'm a master at the last one. I think.
Opus: Farley looks kind of lonely. Could you show him a little affection?
Opus: Well, his owner used to speak to him in baby-talk, calling him Farley-poo, is he a little Wuzzer? Yes he is!
(L reluctantly brushes a single finger over his fur while monotonically praising him with baby names, while Lord Morpheus simply stands idly by) Is Farley a lint-ball? Is Farley a smelly dust-rag? Is Farley a nonsensical-sounding word? Yes, he is. Aren’t you going to do anything?
I glanced at him without invoking the ire of 15 Gods, 10 demons and 5 lawyers. That’s affectionate enough for me.
(Bonus cameo: Death meets Ryuk)
Ryuk: Huh. You look pretty important.