The Million Dollar Racist?
Whether it was The Ultimate Warrior murdering The Undertaker, or Sgt. Slaughter hatching an act of terrorism against said Warrior, WWF's BattleMania comic book was always interesting. But this issue sunk to a new low....
This particular comic, which came out around 1990, details a conflict between "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase and his bodyguard Virgil, who had dutifully been in DiBiase's corner for several years now.
We open "Every Man Has His Price" on the set of a talk show called Affaire Du Courante, which must be the WWF lawyers having fun at A Current Affair's expense, no? Heck, I'll be the station's call letters KAGK was some sort of inside rib on someone - that's just how McMahon worked back then (and now).
Anyhoo.... the talk show host is interviewing DiBiase's accountant "Harold Wimply", who has an envelope full of incriminating evidence on The Million Dollar Man.
But first..... Wimply has procured a behind-the-scenes, hidden camera video of what really goes on at the DiBiase mansion. A few quick questions:
1) How would a hidden camera get such clear, up close shots of DiBiase and Virgil inside the mansion's kitchen?
2) Why would DiBiase say a phrase like "Ah, I do like the sophisticated life!" as part of his normal, every day routine?
3) Where is Ted DiBiase Jr., who would have been, like, 8 years old at the time?
Later, the hidden cameras pick up an exchange in DiBiase's home gym, where a gaggle of trainers are waiting on him hand and foot. But "The Million Dollar Man" is distracted when he sees his bodyguard Virgil using (gasp) his gym equipment! How dare he!
How is Virgil expected to maintain his physique without working out? How's he supposed to look impressive while sitting at an empty table not selling any autographs?
DiBiase responds to this injustice in a perfectly calm, rational and racially sensitive way when he begins beating the ever-loving shit out of Virgil.
Virgil responds in a not-at-all stereotypical way, begging off his employer (owner?) and using verbiage like "Mr. DiBiase - I don't want to fight!".
The Million Dollar rebuts by continually ramming his bodyguard's head into the ground.
Distraught by the fact that Virgil upset his master (hey - I'm not the one writing this!), the bodyguard finds DiBiase's tailor and decides to bring The Million Dollar Man his brand-new 100-dollar bill lined tuxedo jacket.
DiBiase doesn't see the gesture for what it is, flips out and demands that his minions "GET THAT CUR!". Oh, and in case you're wondering:
noun \ˈkər\ a dog that is a mix of different breeds : a low, bad, or disliked dog
So.... after DiBiase calls his black bodyguard "a low, bad, or disliked dog", he leaps off of his ask and attacks the guy.
You might be thinking at this point, "Hey, isn't this 1990-era WWF? Wasn't everything all family friendly and crap back then?". You would be correct - which makes this particular comic book aimed at children all that more disturbing.
The billionaire-bodyguard battle takes place in rooms all over the house, such as DiBiase's office (where public relations flacks were earlier advising their boss that recent actions could tarnish his public image. GEE, YA THINK?!?).
They also took their grudge through the kitchen, with DiBiase pouring a pot full of caviar on his employee, and one of the chefs cowering in the corner, as though this type of thing doesn't happen all that often. Again, I have to ask.... how does a hidden camera pick up all of this, and why DiBiase agree to let his racist battles be aired on television?
They also brawl through the library, with the door flying off its hinges and books and furniture being overturned in the process. Incensed, DiBiase taunts Virgil by saying "You should've gotten an education!"
You know, this is almost like the time at the 1987 Slammy Awards where "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan and "King" Harley Race brawled through every room backstage and made a huge mess along the way. Or at least it would be just like that if either guy was portrayed as being horribly racist.
Frustrated because he had spend part of his day disciplining his bodyguard, DiBiase tells another minion that he needs an hour to himself, and then dives into his personal vault. I have no idea where I've ever seen anything like that before....
Shortly thereafter, Scrooge McDiBiase's alone time in the vault is interrupted by Virgil who doesn't want to fight his racist boss again, but he will if it means getting to the bottom of things.
Eventually, DiBiase and Virgil battle on the balcony, where The Million Dollar Slave Owner blows a wad of cash in Virgil's face and forces him to topple backwards and.... plunge to his death???
Geez, BattleMania sure was a violent comic book for something aimed at children years before The Attitude Era!
It turns out that despite the 50-foot fall, hidden cameras captured Virgil taking a refreshing plunge into the pool on the ground below. The future "Vincent" is remarkably unscathed by the fall and he now expects to be fired by DiBiase. But no, DiBiase wants to keep Virgil around because he appreciates the game challenge he received from his bodyguard -- so long as Virgil scrubs the pool clean. Because racism.
Back to Le Current Affaire, or whatever the hell Vinnie Mac called it. The sniveling accountant Harold Wimply has suddenly decided to recant all of his testimony. Turns out everything we just saw happen on camera was all a lie. And apparently the Holocaust never happened, either.
Wimply asks the show's producer for a lighter (which I'm sure the producer would have been only too happy to provide) and promptly burns the envelope on camera.
Heading off stage and apparently to Acapulco, it's revealed that DiBiase somehow slipped Wimply a sackful of cash in order for his silence. I guess everyone DOES have a price, which is a great lesson for kids.
But here's my question: After seeing the damning evidence on video.... what could have possibly be in that envelope?!?