The Conventional Mr. Mindkarp, Part I


You may recall my discovery of an old journal in a box of my cousins’ Uncanny X-Men and G.I. Joe comics. It contained the writings of a certain eccentric called Matthew Meriwether Mindcarp (in other passages ‘Mindkarp’), self proclaimed grand comicologist, the first comics commentator of the modern age in futurespect. Using a device he called ‘the tomorrow goggles’ he was able to read and study comics decades, even centuries, in advance of their original publication. Mindkarp loved the cosmic stuff in particular. He was a man before his time, perhaps doomed to enjoy his hobby alone out of fear that the technology he utilized for fancy might be manipulated for darker purposes. So seemingly fearful was Mindkarp that he wrote his journal in code (all b’s replaced with q’s). 

I’ve recently translated another passage and was astonished with new details about Mindkarp’s technology and his ultimate goals. I am pleased to share my findings with you, faithful readers.    

 

 

Ω Ω Ω Ω Ω Ω Ω

 

Though I have enjoyed comics for some years now, I have done so passively. Sitting alone in my study or communing with the birds in the garden trellis, I read tomorrow’s magazines of frivolity… no… bravado alone. It has always been alone. If I close my eyes I might picture myself as my beloved Miranda has spied me. “Sitting there, head titled from the weight of that absurd apparatus, mouth agape, staring off into nothing and marveling at it, ogling like a tavern lech.” I can’t claim that she misunderstands my amusement, as she has never agreed to don the goggles herself and look forth into eternity, or even the chapters between. It is perhaps her upbringing. Her father was indeed a vicar of some renown. He did despise me, referring to me upon our first meeting as “the shaggy-haired beekeeper with the mismatched shoes.” He was not, to say, a pleasant man and instilled a fear of the unknown in his twelve children. This drove many of them, out of spite, to the sea, and Miranda, the youngest daughter, to my arms. 

Whether her affections for me are derived out of some measure to punish the grey, old puritan, I do not care. One is not to look a gift horse in the mouth. Not to say she is in any way equine. She is, however, stubborn and retains some investment in her father’s fire and brimstone sensibilities (if you’ll allow). She has suggested on more than one occasion that my peculiar sport is an escape only the devil himself tends to provide, as if tomorrow’s literature is akin to some fleshy trap set for sailors and drunkards. Temptation. Damnation. These are all just words to me. And I suspect they are also mere trifling words to my beloved. For she has held the goggles before her (with no small glimmer of longing), assessed their weight, and expressed concern at the stability of her own neck, frail as she has been in recent years. I wonder on some nights as to how I might lighten the contraption, not in an effort to produce more. Not many more. But if I could create just one more, engineered to her delicate frame, I hazard to believe she might join me. That we might sit in the parlor on some distant Sunday and peruse, together, the pages of a comic hewn from a tree not yet planted. With her I intend to share all the days of my life, and if fate allows, so many more. 

Yours in Time,
M.M.M.

14 June, 1837

Ω Ω Ω Ω Ω Ω Ω

 

I was pleased, today, to take part in a magnificent gathering of yet-born peers! 

After months of tinkering in the workshop, I have constructed an additional apparatus so that I might venture, actively into the realms of Tomorrow. Deemed “The Unmentionables of Next September” by my beloved Miranda, they are, in actuality, a tethered pair of workman’s gloves, stableman’s boots, and a kind of men’s hosiery modeled after those worn by such figures as Superman and the young Dick Grayson. Coupled with the Tomorrow Goggles, I am able to venture into the future by means of my own “Chronos current” and take part in events I was once only permitted to observe passively. During the first test I was able to venture into the year 1994 to visit a small comic shop in New Jersey. To Miranda, I appeared to be wandering around our sitting room rather aimlessly, knocking over furniture and picking up table lamps and jars of peppermint candies, then setting them down again, all the while shouting obscenities. But to me, I was traipsing about the future and holding real comics, arguing with speculators and shop custodians about the happenings of that time. Oh, that marvelous time! Before the system ran dry of Chronos current, a man asked me if I was planning to attend the local comic convention. I was about to take the gentleman aside and question him about the gathering when I awoke under the dining room table, smoke pouring from the Unmentionables of Next September, scalded in my most provocative regions.   

It was a week before I was able to repair the apparatus, and another week further before the tenderness left my loins and I was able to don the trunks comfortably again. Which brings us to this very morning. Having instructed Miranda on the proper operation of the Chronos current generator (I would need a constant supply for this next adventure), I dressed in my very best, slipped into the Unmentionables of Next September, uncorked a new bottle of absinthe and was off to my very first comic convention. It was, dare I say, frakking incredible.

The sheer number of people gathered together was a sight to behold. People in garish costume with their big yellow bags. Unearthly creatures, waddling about. Hulking, furry beasts like the surly creatures of Roanoke. Women and men with bosoms ‘a dangle. And such familiarity! Strangers approached, smiles on their faces and asked for pictures. When I explained that I had neglected to bring any etchings they brandished a small device which flashed at me. Something designed, no doubt, to befuddle intruders. Invention still exists in the realms of Tomorrow! There is still much to be discovered! But then an argument!

“No he isn’t. Ask him.”

The pair accosted me. “Are you the seventh or the eighth Doctor?” the first said, smelling very much of coffee. 

“I have no letters,” I responded. “I am self taught. A bookkeeper by trade.” 

“You’ve got to count backwards from Tenant. Tenant’s ten. The guy in G.I. Joe is nine. Eight was the TV movie one with the hair. He’s the Eighth.” 

“You’re right,” the first one conceded. “Let’s see what the Dollhouse line looks like.” 

He held up his own intruder beffudler and gave me a flash before they sauntered off. 

I spent much of the day in a large man-made cavern of shirts from which there was seemingly no exit. After an hour, people began to ask if I could help them find garments in their own size, mistaking me for one of the vendors. Miranda would later tell me that I’d been dutifully picking up our cat Eloise repeatedly and holding her up for the inspection of invisible customers. Eloise is old and seemed not to mind being folded over and tucked into the bookshelves.

When I finally made my escape from the dark tower of shirts (having, myself procured a hooded Green Lantern jumper), I was witness to a panel where men took questions but opted not to answer them. I met a young woman who was very displeased with the cancellation of Blue Beetle. I struggled with the decision of whether or not to tell her about the 80 issue run of the character which was to begin two years later, but the matter was resolved for me when the Chronos current suddenly gave out and I found myself sitting with Eloise in the bathtub. A neighbor had apparently come to call, and panicked with the threat of discovery and the ensuing embarrassment, Miranda had guided me into the bathroom and set the small mobile generator on the floor, locking me in. 

“I must go back, Eloise.” I whispered to the puss.  

But there was something about the way the old mouser stared back at me, apathetically. Or the sound of the dying Chronos generator, my boots squeaking against the sides of the tub.    

“Or I must bring it to 1837!” 


Yours in Time,
M.M.M.
21 November, 1837

 

To be continued…

 


Paul Montgomery is a master code-breaker. Contact him at paul@ifanboy.com. You can also find him on Twitter.

 

Comments

  1. BRILLIANT!!!!  Sorry, people, I like you all, but this was the BEST piece I’ve read on IFanboy in a long time. Mr.Mindcarp (or Mindkarp), you have certainly raised the bar.

  2. This needs to be  a comic, a true serial adventure. If, Mr. Mandicarp is reading this, I just hope that the Chronos mechanisms allow you to join us one day.

  3. These tales are fantastic and help us exploe Comic Book anthropology! As teachers and the History channel remind us, we must know our predecessors if we are to understand ourselves. Hope for more translations soon.

  4. The which doctor is he thing was funny.  To think he was the the New York comic con this year.

  5. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    @yamiangie – Good sleuthing!  The Dollhouse reference certainly does place him at NYCC ’09.  I could have walked right past him!  

  6. At the very least, Matthew’s adventures seem like a webcomic waiting to happen. If you only you could find a talented artist, perhaps in the mirror.

  7. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    @Jimski – I can’t draw straight lines!  

  8. This, I Love.

  9. This is very well written entertaining and hilarious. Great going Paul.

  10. Wow, a great read! That was awesome! Maybe someone from the past can help me make sense of Final Crisis…lol

  11. HAHA Youre awesome dude.  Great work. 

  12. "It was a week before I was able to repair the apparatus, and another week further before the tenderness left my loins and I was able to don the trunks comfortably again."

    I LOL’d. 

  13. Great insight into the two years in which Sherlock Holmes was missing from the public eye. He found love but the tale does not end nicely I guess because he returned to England. Maybe this is why he weaned off drugs eventually. I doubt Holmes would be so stupid to creat such a poor encryption – that was probably Watson who could not let go of the letters and copied them to a notebook before burning the letters.

    I guess part of those two years were learning to use the apparatus or building it – maybe it was stolen from Professor Moriarty after he supposedly died after falling to the water, and that is what made Holmes return to England. Maybe killing his companion or deranging her.

    Mentioning he’s a beekeeper wasn’t wise… The dates are a bit off but maybe Watson or Holmes changed them and the MMM is a code like in "The Five Orange Pips".

    Nice article which reminds me of the short story in the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen TP #1 which was also a travel through time 🙂 

  14. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    Right, but Sherlock Holmes isn’t real.  

  15. But I don’t want to read Dr. Bell’s biography in Wikipedia 🙂

  16. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    He’s not Bell either!  He isn’t even a doctor!  

  17. Maybe not in title, but I bet he bruised many corpses when he was a wee lad.

  18. Another amazing article!!!

  19. Wonderful article indeed. Loved the Doctor bit…

  20. Qrilliant!

    I have to say that in recent weeks the writing on this site has just been fantastic.