Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Case Study No. 1801: Muriel Lektor, Titus Andronicus, and Staff of the Crystal Ballroom

Librarians in Comic Books... Muriel Lektor!
From: Nexus (1987) #34
Tags: librarians comic books nexus mike baron titus andronicus readers are bleeders libraries are cemeteries
Added: 9 months ago
From: ComixLibrary
Views: 12

[the first panel shows Horatio's ship docking with a gigantic rainbow-colored space station]
ASSISTANT LIBRARIAN: [from off camera] Greetings, Horatio V. Hellpop. You are cleared for docking at the blue port.
[the second panel shows Horatio's ship entering the Crystal Ballroom's "parking garage"]
[the third panel shows Horatio and his female companion entering a large ballroom, where a robed figure is sitting in the middle of the room]
HORATIO: Greetings, I am Nexus. I come in peace. This is Sundra Peale.
ASSISTANT LIBRARIAN: On behalf of the head librarian, welcome.
[the fourth panel shows the robed figure standing up and handing Horatio a red card]
ASSISTANT LIBRARIAN: A card has been issued.
HORATIO: Can you get Sundra a card?
ASSISTANT LIBRARIAN: That can be arranged.
[the fifth panel shows the robed figure lowering his hood, revealing a blue-skinned humanoid with a bald head and white bushy eyebrows]
ASSISTANT LIBRARIAN: Please feel free to wander. If you need help, ask any assistant librarian. You will know us by our robes.
[the sixth panel shows Horatio and Sundra walking around a crystalline room filled with alien beings doing research while robed assistant librarians offer their help]
SUNDRA: This place is so big, it's ridiculous.
HORATIO: Where do we start?
[the seventh panel shows an overhead view of the two, as Horatio turns his head to look at someone shouting off camera]
SUNDRA: All these books make me feel ignorant.
HORATIO: Afraid.
TITUS: [translated] Horatio!
[the eighth panel shows a bearded man in ancient Roman robes and carrying a walking stick, as he walks up to Horatio]
HORATIO: [translated] Titus Andronicus!
TITUS: [translated] We both haunt the same libraries!
[the ninth panel shows the two embracing]
HORATIO: [translated] How come you here?
TITUS: [translated] The Caesar did not like my dissertation on municipal land use, and I was to be served up to the lions in the Coliseum ...
[the tenth panel shows Titus giving an animated description of his predicament, while Horatio and Sundra watch]
TITUS: [translated] Minutes before my command performance, a gleaming cylinder appeared before me!
SUNDRA: Is it Greek?
[the eleventh panel shows Horatio smiling and speaking with Titus, while Sundra turns to look at something off camera]
HORATIO: [translated] Well, we had to make our own way. The library has powers we do not know ...
OBLIVOID SLAVE: [from off camera] Readers!
[the twelfth panel shows Horatio and Sundra looking up at a shadowy figure standing on one of the structures high above the room]
OBLIVOID SLAVE: Readers! Are bleeders! Libraries are cemeteries!
[the thirteenth panel shows a closeup of the alien creature (simian in appearance with a duck-billed face) holding a ray gun]
OBLIVOID SLAVE: The Oblivoids are coming! The Oblivoids are almost here--
[the fourteenth panel shows the creature firing his ray gun at one of the tables below, causing the patrons to scatter while the books burst into flames]
[the fifteenth panel shows more patrons running in panic, as the creature jumps from his perch]
[the sixteenth panel shows the creature continuing his freefall]
[the seventeenth panel shows the creature just as he's about to reach the ground, pointing his gun at something off camera]
[the eighteenth panel shows Horatio reaching his hand into the shot and effortlessly zapping the creature with an energy beam from his fingers]
HORATIO: [from off camera] Who gave him a library card?
[the nineteenth panel shows the creature suspended in mid-air (as Titus pokes the energy field emanating form Horatio's hand with his finger), while assistant librarians rush to the scene]
ASSISTANT LIBRARIAN: We will take him. You must go to the head librarian.
HORATIO: Is there a crisis?
[the twentieth panel shows two members of the library staff standing on either side of the creature, as one injects a syringe into his neck]
ASSISTANT LIBRARIAN: The Oblivoids are upon us.
HORATIO: Who are they?
[the twenty first panel shows a closeup of the assistant librarian's face]
ASSISTANT LIBRARIAN: A mindless race ... a race that uses technology to destroy knowledge. They have tracked us for 500 Earth years. They will use the library to build weapons ... then destroy the library.
[the twenty second panel shows the creature being dragged away, as the assistant librarian pulls up his hood and beckons for Horatio to follow him in the opposite direction]
OBLIVOID SLAVE: Readers are bleeders ... Learning is burning!
HORATIO: Lead on.
[the twenty third panel shows the three talking]
HORATIO: What is your source of energy?
ASSISTANT LIBRARIAN: Cosmic rays. The entire library is a receptor.
[the twenty fourth panel shows the three walking up a large flight of stairs]
HORATIO: Do you live here?
ASSISTANT LIBRARIAN: Yes. We spend our lives in learning. The head librarian is chosen by lot every twenty years.
[the twenty fifth panel shows the assistant librarian opening the door to a large room, where inside a female human (grey hair in a bun, glasses, long Victorian-style red dress) is dusting some figurines on a shelf]
ASSISTANT LIBRARIAN: Miss Lektor, Nexus is here.
[the twenty sixth panel shows that the librarian is standing on a ladder, dusting more knick knacks on the top shelf of a large book case]
MURIEL: Welcome, Horatio V. Hellpop. I am Muriel Lektor, head librarian.
[the twenty seventh panel shows Horatio holding out his hand to help the librarian down the ladder]
HORATIO: Then my coming is not a coincidence?
MURIEL: Yes, but it is also a matter of faith. When you gather knowledge, you stretch invisible lifelines throughout the universe ... We did not expect the Oblivoids to find us.
[the twenty eighth panel shows an expanded view of the room]
MURIEL: We will need your help to survive. The Voids are many times stronger than the last time we met.
HORATIO: The crazy person?
[the twenty ninth panel shows the librarian removing her glasses and rubbing her eyes]
MURIEL: The Voids radiate a sort of malicious despair ... it is a form of radiation we do not yet understand. The weak feel it first ... They have already begun their assault. Will you help us?
[the thirtieth panel shows an exterior shot of the Crystal Ballroom floating in space]
HORATIO: [from off camera] As long as I breathe, they will not harm this library.
[the thirty first panel shows the room suddenly shake violently, with a loud "Boom!" emanating from outside]
MURIEL: They are here!
[the thirty second panel shows Horatio putting on his mask]
HORATIO: Be careful. Stay with Titus.
SUNDRA: I'll be fine.
[the thirty third panel shows Horatio flying out of the room]
SUNDRA: Miss Lektor, may I see the original plans to the library?
MURIEL: The original plans?! If we can find them ...
[the thirty fourth panel shows an overhead view of Sundra and the librarian running down a hallway]
MURIEL: We must travel to another part of the library. What do you have in mind?
SUNDRA: I believe this library is not as defenseless as you believe ...
[the thirty fifth panel shows the two in a darkened hallway]
SUNDRA: Have the Voids been chasing you long?
MURIEL: They are as old as the library itself.
[the thirty sixth panel shows Sundra standing over a computer panel]
SUNDRA: Darn! I thought I had it! Aren't your systems all compatible?
MURIEL: No, there have been so many additions and moves over the years, it's a filing nightmare!
[the thirty seventh panel shows Horatio flying through space towards the fleet of Oblivoid ships approaching]
HORATIO: [to himself] What am I doing here? I don't ... I can't be in another war!
[the thirty eighth panel shows a closeup of Horatio flying towards the ships]
[the fortieth panel shows a closeup of Horatio's face]
HORATIO: [to himself] What if something happens to Sundra? To Ylum?
[the forty first panel shows a red energy beam striking Horatio and knocking him backwards]
[the forty second panel shows Horatio holding his head in pain]
HORATIO: [to himself] Psychological attack ... Malicious radiation. Horrible.
[the forty third panel shows Horatio regaining his composure]
[the forty fourth panel shows Horatio firing a beam of energy from his hand towards the ships]
[the forty fifth panel shows the energy beam striking one of the Oblivoid ships, shattering its hull to pieces]
[the forty sixth panel shows Horatio flying into the damaged ship]
HORATIO: [to himself] Shells within shells, like Chinese boxes ... but where are the people? This craft is huge.
[the forty seventh panel shows Horatio sorting through the debris]
HORATIO: [to himself] Another door. Figures.
[the forty eighth panel shows an exterior view of the ship, as Horatio uses more energy beams to penetrate deeper within]
HORATIO: [to himself] This is taking too much time ... This has got to be the final capsule!
[the forty ninth panel shows Horatio blasting his way into the core of the ship, where a creature obscured by shadows is waiting]
[the fiftieth panel shows a closeup of the insect-like creature (one yellow eye, green skin, four arms, tusks)]
OBLIVOID: Hsssss ...
[the fifty first panel shows the Oblivoid point its ray gun at Horatio, who nonchalantly sticks his finger into the barrel]
HORATIO: I feel no empathy for you ... Adios.
[the fifty second panel shows the Oblivoid's lifeless carcass smoldering on the floor, as Horatio flies back out of the ship]
[the fifty third panel shows Horatio emerging from the ship, back into space]
[the fifty fourth panel shows Horatio staring out into the inky blackness]
HORATIO: [to himself] The library is gone! The Voids are gone!
[the fifty fifth panel shows a closeup of Horatio's face]
HORATIO: [to himself] I can detect it nowhere ... The Voids have weapons beyond imagination. The universe is so vast, and I am so insignificant ...
[the fifty sixth panel shows Horatio floating helplessly in space]
HORATIO: [to himself] I have deluded myself, thinking I could strike a deal with Satan ...
[the fifty seventh panel shows Horatio's limp body as he floats farther and farther away from the camera]
HORATIO: [to himself] He tricked me, but I was so willing to be tricked ...
[the fifty eighth panel shows Horatio as almost an unrecognizable speck]
HORATIO: [to himself] Best if I do not return ... Best if I just stay here ...
[the fifty ninth panel shows Sundra and Muriel back in the library]
NARRATOR: Deep in the Crystal Ballroom ...
MURIEL: Oh dear ... The Voids have added the stasis fold to their arsenal. They have surrounded the library and removed it from the time stream.
SUNDRA: Miss Lektor, where else could the blueprints be?
[the sixtieth panel shows Sundra and the librarian in silhouette]
MURIEL: You know, they could be in the keystone room, but we'll have to move some files. No one's been down there in ages.
SUNDRA: Let's go. Those things are getting closer, can't you feel it?
[the sixty first panel shows the librarian wagging her finger at Sundra, with an angry look on her face]
MURIEL: Don't get snippy with me, young lady! I've been head librarian here since before you were born!
[the sixty second panel shows an overhead view of the two (as the librarian buries her face in her hands)]
SUNDRA: The radiation is affecting you, Miss Lektor ... Please, the keystone room. Will you take me there?
MURIEL: Well, I ... Yes. Follow me.
[the sixty third panel shows the two standing in another room, as Sundra looks at a large computer screen on the wall]
NARRATOR: Long moments later ...
MURIEL: Oh my, this room is filthy! It hasn't been cleaned in thousands of years ... Any luck, dear?
[the sixty fourth panel shows Sundra with an intense look on her face]
SUNDRA: Yes! The original prints! The ballroom's defense is controlled from the tower! Where is that?
[the sixty fifth panel shows a closeup of the "scheme scan" on the computer screen]
MURIEL: The tower? Oh, no one's been there--
SUNDRA: I know! I know! No one's been there in ages!
[the sixty sixth panel shows a closeup of Sundra's finger as she pushes a button on the control panel in front of the computer screen (while the librarian can be seen cowering in the background)]
SUNDRA: The blueprints say that the keystone room leads directly to the tower.
MURIEL: Wait! Don't push that button!
[the sixty seventh panel shows an exterior shot of the keystone room, as it shoots up a transparent tube]
MURIEL: [from off camera] We're moving!
SUNDRA: [from off camera] Yes! The keystone room is an elevator.
[the sixty eighth panel shows the two emerging from the elevator into another room under a glass dome, filled with musical instruments (along with several Oblivoids clinging to the glass and trying to break inside)]
MURIEL: This is the tower. What have you learned?
SUNDRA: The Crystal Ballroom absorbs cosmic rays ... Its defenses are sonic- and light-based.
MURIEL: Look! Look! They're crawling all over the library!
[the sixty ninth panel shows the librarian cowering in fear as she looks up at one of the Oblivoids making cracks in the glass, while Sundra stands over what appears to be an extraterrestrial xylophone]
SUNDRA: The sonic defense should shatter the stasis field ... Cover your ears, Miss Lektor!
[the seventieth panel shows Sundra bring down the mallets hard upon the xylophone, producing a loud "Boonnggg!"]
[the seventy first panel shows the Oblivoids recoiling from the noise, letting go of the glass dome and falling backwards into space]
[the seventy second panel shows Sundra continuing to play the xylophone, singing along as the Oblivoids continue to retreat]
SUNDRA: Love is like a heatwave!
[the seventy third panel shows the librarian covering her ears in pain, while Sundra (now wearing eighties-style sunglasses) moves onto the "piano" in the middle of the room]
MURIEL: This is a library! Stop! Stop!
SUNDRA: The stasis is cracking! Cover your eyes! I'm going to the lights!
[the seventy fourth panel shows Sundra bringing her fingers down hard upon the keys, producing a loud "Binggg!"]
[the seventy fifth panel shows an exterior shot of the Crystal Ballroom "exploding" in bright light, as the Oblivoids and their ships are flung back out into space]
[the seventy sixth panel shows Horatio still floating in space, as the light from the "explosion" reaches him]
[the seventy seventh panel shows a closeup of Horatio's face]
[the seventy eighth panel shows Horatio suddenly snap out of his funk and look towards the source of the light]
[the seventy ninth panel shows Horatio flying towards the source of the light]
HORATIO: [to himself] I've been asleep.
[the eightieth panel shows Horatio flying towards the Crystal Ballroom, just as the Oblivoid fleet is flying away]
HORATIO: [to himself] The Voids are fleeing! This light is deadly to them!
[the eighty first panel shows Horatio getting closer to the Crystal Ballroom]
HORATIO: [to himself] But it washes me in warmth and generosity, for it is the sweet light of reason]
[the eighty second panel shows Horatio inside the keystone room, as he applauds Sundra (slumped over the piano in relief) while the librarian lays unconscious in the corner]
[the eighty third panel shows the three sitting at a table in another part of the library]
HORATIO: How could this knowledge have become lost in the first place?
MURIEL: Poor administration. It had been so long since their last attack. There have been so many head librarians since then ... Obviously, it is time for me to step down.
[the eighty fourth panel shows a closeup of Horatio and Sundra]
MURIEL: [from off camera] Now, Sundra, you might make an excellent head librarian ...
SUNDRA: No thank you, Miss Lektor. But I do know how to use a library, I admit.
MURIEL: [from off camera] Would either of you consider joining us permanently? Or even temporarily?
HORATIO: No, we must return. But we'll be back.
[the eighty fifth panel shows a closeup of the librarian's hand, as she hands Sundra a yellow card]
MURIEL: Sundra, here is your card. Use it wisely.
[the eighty sixth panel shows Sundra staring at her reflection in the card's surface]
SUNDRA: This card is blank. It's like a mirror.
[the eighty seventh panel shows the librarian standing up from the table]
MURIEL: Use it wisely.
[the eighty eighth panel shows the librarian disappear with a "Ping!" before their eyes]
[the eighty ninth panel shows Titus entering the scene with a big smile on his face]
TITUS: [translated] Hello, my friends!
TITUS: [translated] They have just asked me to become head librarian!


From wordpress.com:

Baron, Mike. "The Crystal Ballroom" Nexus #34 July 1987.
A library-space station, the "Crystal Ballroom," is threatened by the Oblivoids, who want to use the library to build weapons, and then destroy the library. When one of the citizens is asked if he lives there, he replies "Yes. We spend our lives in learning. The head librarian is chosen by lot every twenty years." The current head librarian is an elderly woman with her hair in a bun. The Oblivoids end up being defeated through the use of sonics - i.e., noise. This predictably provokes a "This is a library! Stop! Stop!" reaction from the head librarian.

No comments:

Post a Comment