The Siegfried and Roy show in Las Vegas is apparently history now.
For those of you who never saw it, trust me: It was odd. There was a certain
self-adoration about it that I found excessive, especially considering how
little Siegfried and Roy themselves did in the show. When you get to that scale
of magic — huge effects that can be seen from the back row — the illusions are
primarily performed by the folks who designed and built the equipment, and those
who operate them backstage. Making the elephant appear is mostly a matter of the
magician pointing at the prop. As I recall, the most impressive thing in the
show was in Roy's handling of the big cats.
And there was one other moment I will not forget because it was
worth every penny of the $100+ ticket price — or would have been, had I not
been in on a comp. At one point in the show, a huge robotic dragon came out and
lifted Siegfried (or what was allegedly Siegfried) in one hand and an apparent
Roy in the other and held them high over its head. As I sat there, I could only
think: "My God! It's a Jack Kirby cover, come to life!"
Actually, a lot of comic book artists over the years have drawn
covers on which a huge monster holds the heroes aloft but Jack probably drew
more than anyone. The classic example would be the cover of Fantastic Four
#1 at left. (The reference books usually credit the artwork on that cover to
"Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers" or "Jack Kirby and Christopher Rule." It definitely
isn't Ayers and I don't think it's Rule, either. I think the inking was by
longtime DC and Marvel inker George Klein. And Sol Brodsky designed the title
logo, executed by Artie Simek.) It's a great cover and like many, the more you
look at it, the more you see. I've known that cover since just after it first
came out, which I believe occurred on August 8, 1961. Until the other day when I
chanced to be reading an Internet message board, I never realized something very
silly about it.
You may not be able to see it well in the cover repro above but at the
bottom right, Reed "Mr. Fantastic" Richards is using his newly-acquired
stretching powers to slither out of his bonds. He's saying, "It'll take more
than ropes to keep Mr. Fantastic out of action!" And of course, he's right but
this does raise an interesting question...
Here's the question: Who tied him up?
Nowhere in the story does anyone tie the man up. The monster
depicted is an unlikely candidate to have done it. In fact, the only bad guy in
the whole issue who has fingers is the Mole Man, who lives underground and is
unable to see in daylight, and he just doesn't look the type. One might also
ponder: If someone did tie up Mr. Fantastic, why did our hero wait until a
monster had burst through the asphalt and grabbed his girl friend before he
started getting out of those bonds? Reed is supposed to be a pretty smart guy.
Like I said, this never occurred to me before. But the other day,
I read this message thread over on the
discussion board for Comic Book
Resources, and a fellow who goes by the name of Cei-U pointed it out. Next
time I run into Stan Lee, I'm going to ask him about this. I will report back to
you on the puzzled look on his face and the polite way in which he tells me that
he doesn't remember and doesn't know (a) who tied up Mr. Fantastic or
(b) why any of us care.