I’m working on a piece about Alan Moore for TCJ and it’s driving me crazy. I finally backed away from the keyboard this evening and turned on the tv. A sitcom was going. I saw a bunch of spindly guys in a pretty realistic-looking comic book store (longboxes). Up at the counter a cute chick was asking what to get her 13-year-old nephew.

“How about Hellblazer?” the counter guy said. “It’s about a morally ambiguous confidence man who has cancer and traffics with the undead and the supernatural.” Or pretty much. He rattled the words off to get the pseudo-offhand effect sitcom characters strive for when voicing the elaborate and outrageous.

The woman, very perky, said something like “Sure, that’s bound to make me his favorite aunt.”

1) Pretty amazing odds: I’m done with Alan Moore for the day, and there’s one of his characters being described on CBS.

2) The joke seems more like it’s for the writers than the audience. “Confidence man” and “cancer” don’t resonate as absurd, over-the-top comic book qualities that you, as a civilian, will be floored with when you venture into a comic book store. The audience wouldn’t be thinking, “Yeah, typical crazy comic-book shit.” Whereas people who actually know about John Constantine would find it kind of amusing to think of him as gift material for a 13-year-old when his salient qualities were highlighted that way.

I looked the show up in the listings and it’s called The Big Bang Theory.

update But he isn’t really a confidence man, is he? More of a ghostbuster dressed like a private detective, or at least that’s my memory. It’s been a while.