A long time ago, when the Justice League and Superfriends were hot-hot-hot, Power Records released “Songs and Stories of the Justice League.” In addition to songs about Wonder Woman and The Flesh, the record bizarrely included a song for Metamorpho, the Element Man (this despite the fact that Metamorpho had refused induction in said social club). Leaving aside questions of Metamorpho’s standing, the Metamorpho number is the standout track on an otherwise worthless album. The song has a quasi-religious feel, having been constructed to sound like an upbeat version of that old spiritual, “Go Down Moses.” Here’s a lyrical example (mp3 here):

This is the story of the element man [Metamorpho, Metamorpho]

Starts out in old Egypt land [Metamorpho, Metamorpho]

Rex mason was his real name [Metamorpho, Metamorpho]

A soldier of fortune didn’t care about fame [Metamorpho, Metamorpho]

It occurred to me the other day, rewatching Field of Dreams with Nate, the Earl of Enemclaw, that Ray Liotta would have made a good Metamorpho. He’s a semi-tragic figure, never quite as appreciated as he perhaps should have been; a terrific performer when handled by the right creators, yet someone who just seems like he’s mailing it in the rest of the time. Feel free to apply that sentence to Liotta, or Metamorpho.

The truth is Ray Liotta bckcft2ot7g.jpgprobably never had a chance as a serious leading man in Hollywood. As a young man there was something magically grizzled about him. He was handsome and terrifying at the same time. His Shoeless Joe was a scarred figure. Unlike D. B. Sweeney’s Shoeless Joe in Eight Men Out, Liotta’s Joe understands the magnitude of what he’s done. The rest of the characters white-wash Joe’s actions, but Liotta’s portrayal belies this simple rereading of history. Joe may have played well in the World Series, but he took the money. Liotta’s Joe doesn’t shy away from what has happened; he has come to the enormity of his actions. Perhaps he’s had his Nick Carroway moment.

The idea staggered me. I remembered of course that the World’s Series had been fixed in 1919 but if I had thought of it at all I would have thought of it as a thing that merely HAPPENED, the end of some inevitable chain. It never occurred to me that one man could start to play with the faith of fifty million people–with the single-mindedness of a burglar blowing a safe.” Read the rest of this entry »