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For Belch Dimension's golden-anniversary issue, the series travels light-years beyond. Ladies of the evening are vanishing without a trace from the city streets, and Jon suspects visitors from another world have landed--er, again! Now he's trying to convince the authorities to look to the skies. But is it extraterrestrials that are responsible for hooking these hookers, or is the explanation more down-to-earth than our hero supposes? And who's the old duffer who looks like Marlon Brando, and what's he have to do with a story about aliens?
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Episode #: 502

Issue #: 50

Release Date: May 31, 2009
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Title: "The Case of the Shanghaied Streetwalkers"

Story (out of 72 pages): 72 p.

Writer: J. M. Sweet, Jack Staten Monahew, and Mencken H. Watts

Pencils: J. M. Sweet, M. Jane Watson

Letters: Noah Jewett

Summary:
The story opens with the disappearance of prostitute named Anastasia in a brilliant flash of white light.

The Jigaboo Junction Police Department looks into a strange circle burned into the pavement. This is exactly what they've seen in over forty cases over the past several weeks. Jon and Josh and offer their help in the investigation, but are turned away. However, Jon finds--and pockets--a business card the missing woman presumably dropped.

Jon tells Josh he secretly suspects the disappearances may be the work of extraterrestrials. The burn mark, and reports of strange lights seen nightly over the area, fit the usual UFO lore.

The name on the card Jon found is B.J. Gold's, a gentleman's club reputed to be the front for a prostitution and gambling ring. Anastasia performed there as an exotic dancer. Jon and Josh pay a visit to Michael Cornpone, local importer, manufacturer, and philanthropist, as well as part owner and supplier of BJG. They gain admittance to his suite by pretending to be reporters for the campus paper.

Cornpone knows nothing about about the missing hookers, but reminisces of his boyhood in Sicily, tells how he made his fortune by patenting a new type of olive press, and expresses his sympathies. Certain that an old man like Cornpone isn't behind the abductions, but finding themselves back at square one, Josh and Jon decide to go on a stakeout.

While crossing Strohler Park late one night, Marcie sees strange bright lights hovering overhead. She tries to run....

Jon finds his sister's car abandoned near the gates and her purse next to a burn mark in the grass, and assumes the worst. He looks over old case files and peruses Internet postings about himself. This, as well as his failure to save Marcie, cause him to to doubt his worth as a superhero and wonder if he should just quit....

Flunger has a disturbing vision that his wife and soon-to-be-born child are in terrible danger and need him immediately. He remembers well the last days of his world and what dark times there were before the planet was annihalated. Jon, feeling a renewed sense of duty, wonders if the upheaval on New Flung could be connected to their mystery on Earth....

Using Hiss Hole's temporal portal generator, Jon, Josh, and Flunger open a wormhole that is able to transport them through light-years of time and space in seconds. Leaving Angela behind to monitor the equipment, the boys step through the portal and find themselves on the settlement of New Flung.

This new planet, they fast find, is a beautiful but treacherous place, ruled over by the cruel dictator Omabo Merdre. Flunger and his human friends soon are approached by uniformed guards. During a fight with Merdre's men Josh is seperated from the others. He tries to escape in a stolen police cruiser, but he soon crashes it, creating a terrific explosion. Presuming him dead, the guards take Jon and Flunger to the imperial palace, where they will hold court with the mad Lord Merdre....

Notes
page 6. SOWS is a clear parody of the National Organization for Women, right down to their name and logo.

page 7. Don Cornpone's look is based on The Godfather's Don Vito Corleone, though his name is taken from son Michael Corleone, who takes over his father's business and factors prominently in the two Godfather sequels. In particular both men have founded an olive oil factory, which they employ as a cover for their less-than-reputable dealings. "Cornpone" is a type of flat pan-fried bread praised as an inexpensive but tasty food synonymous with the South.

page 8. Jon and Josh's fake names when pretending to be newspapermen are based on famous journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, who uncovered the Watergate scandal and took down President Richard Nixon.

page 9. "Picture it..." is a nod to Sophia Petrillo (played by the late Estelle Getty) of The Golden Girls, another famous fictional Italian seasoned citizen, who begins all her stories thusly.

Merdre takes his name from the opening line of the late nineteenth-century play Ubu Roy by Alfred Jarry. The word is a deliberate corruption of the French word merde, meaning "shit".

Many of the chapter titles are puns on film titles, most concerning extraterrestrials and space travel:

  • 2: Brown Harvest
  • 4: Earth Girls Are Skeezy
  • 5: Rebel Without A Claw (or Fur, or a Snout)

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