What’s Going On In Rex Morgan, M.D.? Why did Street Sweeper splash that guy with something? April – July 2022


The Street Sweeper, Glenwood’s own little superhero, took a brick to his shoulder when a drunk didn’t like having his keys dropped down the sewer. This was his second shoulder injury. A torn rotator cuff first brought him to Rex Morgan’s, and Rex Morgan M.D.’s, attention. So he needed to do something to carry on his patrols of the mean-ish-esque streets of downtown Glenwood while impaired. His solution: some mixture of soap solution that would slick up the sidewalk. Enough that someone chasing him is unsure on his feet, at least. It’s only good for a few seconds, but in a fight, a few seconds counts for a lot. He used this against Snake and Manfred, a would-be car-robber and his partner. Also against the undercover cops come to knock off this superhero vigilante nonsense.

I don’t know what this is made of, or how slippery you could make a sidewalk with a quick splash of something. But, eh, guy is a janitor, probably knows his soaps and waxes and all. And it only needs to be a surprise and distracting for a couple seconds. Or confusing, which it was, yeah.

So this should catch you up to the start of July 2022 in Terry Beatty’s Rex Morgan, M.D.. If you’re reading this after about September 2022, or news about the comic breaks, I should have an essay here. Otherwise, let’s enjoy a bit of crimefighting from our favorite fandom-themed story strip.

Rex Morgan, M.D..

17 April – 2 July 2022.

There was a new superhero in town, when I last checked in. Firstname Clayton, by day a janitor, patrols downtown Glenwood at night as … The Street Sweeper. He gets a lot of that giggling, yes. But he backs it up, whacking Snake, a would-be car robber, with a push broom. Or dropping a drunk guy’s car keys down the sewer, lest the guy drive home impaired. It’s the sort of stunt that’s kind of cool when you are the hero of the story. If you, like the would-be drunk driver, figure you’re the hero of your own story, you maybe throw a brick at The Street Sweeper’s shoulder. Or if you’re a pair of undercover cops, you get the assignment to bring this guy in before he does something both stupid and dangerous.

Manfred, talking with Snake, while unseen to them The Street Sweeper watches from a darkened alley: 'A superhero fightin' crime with a *broom* seems weird. I'd use a shovel. That's *hurt* more when you hit somebody.' Snake: 'I'm glad it wasn't you, then, 'cause I don't wanna get hit with no shovel.' Manfred: '*Nobody* would. That's my whole point.' Snake: 'Remind me again why we're friends?'
Terry Beatty’s Rex Morgan, M.D. for the 28th of April, 2022. I understand people annoyed by the, you know, Kevin-Smith-movieness of this. It does feel to me like a realistic sort of dumb conversation people have, especially when one person is way more into the task they’re on than the other is.

So that’s the wind-up. The Street Sweeper is carrying on his business, using a bottle of some pretty slippery liquid to compensate for his shoulder injuries. Snake, with his pal Manfred, are out looking to smack Sweeper silly. And a pair of cops, rolling their eyes and talking 1960s sitcoms, are looking for Sweeper. Snake figures that the Ghost Who Sweeps will find him, just as soon as he smashes this car window. Despite the car alarm, The Street Sweeper comes by to check things out. The cops mosey on over to the scene too. They reason The Street Sweeper is the sort of person who doesn’t understand that a car alarm is only there to annoy your neighbors while your battery dies because a tree branch is brushing your hood.

The cops are happy to take Snake into custody. The Sweeper is not happy to give him up, though, and drags him off to his apartment, turning a merry bit of nonsense into a hostage drama. It’s a bit grim, but I like this twist. It’s got that moment where a character runs past the limits of their competence yet the situation is still going on. It’s too much to expect a Dog Day Afternoon from the comics. Beatty doesn’t write a comic that emotionally messy. But I love that blend of the situation being serious and absurd. (It also makes me think of that moment where Freakazoid yells at the villain for going and being like that when we were having a good time here.)

[ The Street Sweeper attempts to leave with his prisoner. ] Sweeper, holding Snake with a baseball bat and Snake's gun: 'Don't try to follow me!' Cops: 'halt!' [ And the officers fail to notice the slick soap the Sweeper poured on the sidewalk. ] They slip and fall on their rear ends.
Terry Beatty’s Rex Morgan, M.D. for the 28th of May, 2022. So I understand that it’s dark, and the cops are looking at the person taking a hostage rather than the puddle at their feet, and that the illustration — and coloring — are making sure the reader can’t miss the puddle and how it relates to the cops’ falling over. Still, it’s hard not to feel like the strip was maybe adding a smirk to the mention of “two of Glenwood’s finest”.
The Street Sweeper agrees to talk to someone, and chooses the honorable doctor who treated his torn rotator cuff. The cops get Rex Morgan on the phone, who’s baffled by why he’s been pulled into the comic strip all of a sudden. But, what the heck, he doesn’t have to go downtown or anything, just talk over the phone. The Sweeper has one question for Rex: can he surgically remove the part of the brain that makes people criminals? Rex Morgan has any idea what Sweeper’s talking about. One of the nearly 400 billion points of super-hyper-ultra inventive competence that pulp superhero Doc Savage managed was anti-crime brain surgery. Or, as Rex confusingly puts it, those books about “The Crime College”. I don’t know why he doesn’t say Doc Savage. Sorry.

Rex Morgan, on the phone: 'Why would you choose to speak with me?' The Street Sweeper: 'I can *tell* who's good or not. You're on the *good* side. And only a *doctor* can answer my question.' Morgan: 'What question would that be?' Sweeper: 'There's an old Pulp Hero who operated on his villains to remove their criminal tendencies. Is that a *real* thing?'
Terry Beatty’s Rex Morgan, M.D. for the 8th of June, 2022. Of course in the situation you want to let the guy down easy. But I’d like to see the Socratic dialogue where Rex Morgan found out whether Sweeper believes there could be a physically alterable thing in the brain which might cause someone to wish to open an establishment that sells spirits only 490 feet away from the main entrance of a school?

Heartbroken to learn he doesn’t live in the fictional world he thought he did, The Street Sweeper agrees to give up to the cops. Snake, not happy about the thought of surprise brain surgery, conks Sweeper’s shoulder, retrieves his gun, and runs out back into the cops’ hands. So, the status quo gets restored and Doc Morgan is just … glad he could help, he guesses? Anyway I hope we’ll see more of The Street Sweeper, even if it seems unlikely he’d do more vigilante stuff. I like his goofy self-important vibe.


With the 26th of June the new and current story begins. It’s about June’s vaguely-related Aunt Tildy, reconciled with her husband Andrzej “Count Crushinski” Bobrowski. The former wrestling star sneaks off to the hospital so he can have his heart attack looked at. It turns out to be heartburn. He feels foolish about that, but, you know, you don’t want to ignore heart attack symptoms, not when having them looked at will only induce $140,000 in medical debt. And that’s where we are to start off July.

Next Week!

A blind pitcher, a guy who’s totally not in the Witness Protection Program so stop asking nosey questions, and a sports-trivia-obsessed teen! How do they fit together? They’re important to the last three months of Neal Rubin and Rod Whigham’s Gil Thorp, which I’ll recap next week. The trivia teen doesn’t really matter much. I’ll explain next week if all goes well.

Author: Joseph Nebus

I was born 198 years to the day after Johnny Appleseed. The differences between us do not end there. He/him.

One thought on “What’s Going On In Rex Morgan, M.D.? Why did Street Sweeper splash that guy with something? April – July 2022”

Please Write Something Funnier Than I Thought To

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: