Merciful Mendel! “The Cape and the Cod” Indie Comic Book

This has nothing to do with the show, and yet, it has valuable lessons to teach us all!

Lance R. Shinkle is a professional artist from Falmouth, MA whose works range from stunning paintings (as seen here), to amazing full-scale carved merry-go-round horses. He is a member of the American Society of Portrait Artists. He also is the artist for The Cape and the Cod.

It was 1988 (ignore the “Cape Cod Comics 1990” logo, I’ll explain later), and Mr. Shinkle and performer Allan Moniz (who now teaches at the Cape Cod Conservatory) decided to put out their own indie black-and-white comic, as was the style at the time. The idea – co-developed with Dennis F. Rogers – was to promote Cape Cod (Falmouth specifically) with a superhero comic.

Let’s see where it began to go wrong.

For those of you who didn’t grow up on Cape Cod, I need to explain something. First, our hero is named “Dr. Brewster Jones” because Brewster is a town on the Cape.

I probably need to do some more explaining – I keep forgetting that you all weren’t born on the Cape… The Boston Celtics are a basketball team native to Massachusetts. Garbage collectors are often known for their disrespectful treatment of the very expensive cans we leave out for them. Taxi drivers are helpful and attractive!

Now the biggie – Dr. Jones works at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (or WHOI), which is an internationally-known research organization and The Official Smartest Thing in Falmouth, Nay, The Entire Cape. They brought you ALVIN and Bob Ballard, who found the Titanic for James Cameron. They research all forms of marine life, including soopah-fish.

Note that there is no Woods Hole lab in Brewster – Brewster has a lab in Woods Hole!

Now, pertaining to the Evil Toxic Waste Dumpers. Where I come from, Cape Cod, we call them Otis Air Force Base. It seems that dumping oil, jet fuel and explosives in the ground for several decades has created a massive toxic plume which filters into the ground water. Residents of Sandwich and Mashpee have been warned.

Get it? The Latin name for cod is Gadus morhua! But as David Bowie would say, you’ve got to get ready for the Gadus superior!

As for the name of the mini-sub SIGY – I don’t get it. It’s clearly the sub ALVIN. Mr. Moniz or Mr. Shinkle, if you’re reading this, you can email me at readalicia [at} gmail {dot] com to explain this joke.

Oh yeah, SoopahCod… gonna get it o-o-onnnnn……

But no! They bred and they bred and they bred the Gadus superior and they still couldn’t keep it from getting caught in a net with holes large enough for it to swim out of. I think Dr. Jones just likes to watch cod do… private things.

I would have had Dr. Jones say, “Oh, spermaceti,” but that’s just me.

Yup.

Was it good for you, too?

Houston, we have a catchphrase.

If hurricanes won’t stop windsurfers from surfing the waters off Cape Cod, toxic waste won’t either.

IMMINENT!

Dr. Jones is truly the Master of Disaster after getting into an unnatural embrace with a cod.

And now the thrilling, we-ran-out-of-pages conclusion:

Mr. Moniz, I see what you did there with that “Fin?”

Also, note that the copyright is 1988 at the end – such is the way of publishing.

So there you have it – “The Cape and the Cod” indie comic! The only one of its kind. If you check the side of the above page, you will see exactly who to blame for this:

This publication is supported, in part, by the Massachusetts Art Lottery, as administered by the Falmouth Arts Lottery Council.

Yep. Funded by the state lottery.  “To stimulate awareness of the lottery and help ensure its ultimate success, arts councils and potential recipients of Arts Lottery funds are encouraged to support the Arts Lottery in all appropriate ways.” You can read more about the Arts Lottery here (PDF).

While there never was a sequel, Mr. Moniz and Mr. Shinkle did pen another comic called “The Knife”, about a man who becomes two-dimensional and is able to slip through cracks and cut things with his sharp edges. I didn’t pick it up at the time. Sorry guys!

Alicia E. Goranson, show author

Comments: Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply