Sunday, February 22, 2009

Is Kilowog a Potty-Mouth?

None of my real-life friends are Green Lantern fans.

Most of the people I know don't read comics at all, but put up with my obsession good-naturedly enough (after all, they have their vices, too -- many of which also involve fictional buttocks, so they can't throw stones). The few I do know who read comics read only Marvel, with the exception of a single guy who is a total Batman fanatic. Which, since everyone probably knows how I feel about Bats, is interesting when we get together. Incidentally, he is also my polar opposite on most political and social issues, too. The only thing we agree on are music (classic rock) and cats (awesome)!

But in the past year or two, given the way Green Lantern has become popular again, I've been getting asked a lot of questions that I'm usually only all too happy to answer. Lately, it's a lot of "So what's up with the Blackest Night thing?" from people who are starting to hear the buzz. Sometimes, it's "What happened to that kid?" meaning Kyle, who was probably the star of GL the last time they browsed an issue years back. I lent my copy of Secret Origin to a friend who's now getting interested, and I've gotten tons of good questions from him, including one that didn't really occur to me because I'm reading from a different perspective: "I thought Sinestro was a bad guy. Now I'm confused." (Okay, so that wasn't a question, but it got a lot of answers out of me anyway!)

But the one question I should have thought about before but hadn't really was this: "So... what's a 'poozer', anyway?"


What is a poozer? Kilowog seems to use the word in a lot of different contexts.

Manly-man friendship: "Sit down and have a drink, poozer."
Drill sergeant mode: "Awright, poozers, line up!"
Calling out the enemy: "You poozers are toast!"

Sometimes it's not even a noun: "Get the poozin' ball!"

I'll be honest. I can only think of one word in the English language that can be twisted into use in so many different ways. And it's not a nice one. While I'm sure that the more likely explanation is that "poozer" doesn't really mean anything at all, or just plain doesn't have an equivalent in our silly backwater Earth languages, it's more fun to think that Kilowog is cursing like a sailor at every opportunity, isn't it?

The day he says "Pooze you!" to someone is the day I start using it, too.


Shana Jean Hausman said...

Well, I already use "grife," "frag," "bastich," and "sprock." Might as well add poozer to the mix!

I love fictional swearwords. I recently read Secret Origins, and I loved how whenever Hal swore, the ring claimed it was "unable to translate."

Duskdog said...

I've used frag a couple of times, but I do use bastich a lot. It has a nice ring to it.

I have to admit to being a little annoyed with Secret Origin when it was actually being published, but when I got the hardcover and read the whole thing in one sitting, I loved it! Strange. I think I just had (and still have) a problem with spending half a year of a comic's life on one giant flashback instead of in the "here-and-now". The story was excellent, though, and I should have appreciated it more before now.

Shana Jean Hausman said...

They could have put out a "Year One" miniseries. It's a little strange that every other origin story is being told in this "Year One" format, but we get half a year of "Secret Origins" for Hal. Oh well.

SallyP said...

Poozer is such a lovely word. It just SOUNDS cool. I've always believed that Kilowog uses it more or less the way that the Smurfs used...well...smurf.

Sometimes it is used affectionately, sometimes not, but you always know who is saying it, and somehow, you know what it means in that particular context.

Duskdog said...

Like smurf! That's even better!

"Have a poozin' day!"
"That song is just poozy."
"Guy, if you don't shut up I'm gonna beat the pooze outta you."
"Holy pooze! It's Gargamel -- I mean, Sinestro!"

The one letter wonder said...

I agree with sallyp, that poozer is a very neat word. Which is probably why even John has started using it. As to Shana Jean, they did a year one type deal for Hal about 20 years ago. That's probably why they went with secret origins instead of a year one :)

Sea_of_Green said...

I always assumed "Poozer" was Kilowog's version of the f-word, simply because the usage is similar. Writer Bill Bryson once said the f-word is actually the most versatile word in the English language. Who's to say extraterrestrials don't have equally versatile, albiet rude, words in THEIR languages? ;-)

I remember Arisia also had a swear word she used all the time, at least in the 1980s: "Frim!" It seemed to be her version of "damn."