Sunday, December 18, 2005

Full Motto Jacket: Mister Terrific

What's his deal:
Terry Sloane was a child genius who entered college at age twelve and graduated within a year. In addition to his intellectual acumen, he was a top athlete, specializing in the martial arts. By his twenties, he had parlayed his talents into the business world and become ridiculously wealthy. But success bored him. Yeah, that's the kind of problem you want to have. Spiriling into a deep depression, Terry decided that since he was so good at everything that there were no challenges left to overcome, and so he vowed to take his own life. Just then he saw a woman hurl herself off a bridge. He dove in after her and rescued her from drowning. The distraught lass told Terry that her kid brother had joined a gang -- and not the cute, beanie-wearing, wagon-pulling, opera-singing "Our Gang" type of a gang, either. No, this was an honest-to-goodness criminal enterprise that was recruiting disadvantaged kids and turning them to a life of crime. Terry's solution was to whip together an awfully square-looking super-hero costume and give the gang leaders what-for, so as to impress the little tykes. It worked, and the youngsters dubbed their tights-wearing savior, "Mister Terrific." Terry went on to create the Fair Play Club, a youth center along the lines of your contemporary Boys & Girls Club of America. He joined the Justice Society of America and also had a long-standing romance with the lady he saved from drowning. Doubtless her kid brother was thrilled about that. ("Wow, my own sister is getting boned by the Mister Terrific!")

Mister Terrific died a chump's death, unfortunately, at the hands of a D-list villain named the Spirit King, who had possessed one of Terry's super-hero friends. No fair! First appearance: Sensation Comics #1 (DC, January 1942.)

Terrific 1Terrific 2
Crimes against fashion:
The color scheme, for one, which was apparently inspired by Mexican stoplight candy. There's the dainty pixie boots, which look oppressively precious even on actual pixies. But the worst part is the jacket. The "multi-colored leather jacket with crap drawn all over it" look wouldn't come into fashion until circa 1990 (even Chuck Woolery had one!) and even then it was only popular for about a week.

Our meeting:
I was visiting Gateway City in the summer of 1943. After a long day of searching for just the perfect homburg hat, my stomach was growling. The smell of chicken a la king led me to a banquet hall. I spied through one of the windows a massive charity dinner for the Fair Play Club. At the far end of the room was a long, elevated table with an assortment of super-heroes... and a few empty chairs. So naturally, I slipped into one of my super-hero outfits, busted into the joint through the service entrance, and sidled up to the table like I belonged there. Well, I had only gotten a few bites of food down my gullet when Mister Terrific showed up and asked just what the hell I was doing in his seat. (The biggest chair, by the way, and right in the center... I mean, which one would you have chosen?)

He was pretty upset, but I managed to calm him down with a big cash donation to the Fair Play Club and a suggestion I do some costume designs for him. "After all," I said, "you may be the Man of a Thousand Talents," but you're no fashion designer!" He agreed -- a bit sadly, I thought. We agreed to meet again a few days later.

My presentation:
Mister Terrific 1
For your first option, I tried as best I could to retain your current color scheme. But I just couldn't make it work. So, I replaced the green with a deep battleship gray. It makes the red and yellow really pop. Plus, the combination of all three colors is reminiscent of fighter planes and machinery -- it's really masculine. I kept the shape of your "Fair Play" logo but removed the words. Honestly, I don't think you need them.

Mister Terrific 2
The second option is specifically designed to make you look more like a lug -- a palooka, if you will. You're doing great right now but I figure you can lure even more kids onto the path of righteousness if you look like somebody from their neighborhood -- like one of those big, brawny types who delivers ice or who hauls around sides of beef. See, you can wow 'em with the biceps and the tough guy tattoo, and then bust out the old "don't be a fool; stay in school" speech by demonstrating your genius I.Q.

Terry's response:
Terry wasn't too keen on the tattoo (darn it!) but he really liked the first design. He gave me a hefty cash advance and told me to get to work. The next day I received a telegram from him, cancelling the order. I tried to get him on the phone. No luck. So that very same night I marched into his brownstone and asked him what the deal was. He was suprised I knew his secret identity, until I explained I was from the future, and also since he didn't wear gloves his fingerprints were all over the place.

Terry said I'd inspired him to try his hand at fashion design. He showed me piles of drawings, all of which -- and I'm loathe to admit this -- looked way better than anything I could do. I asked him if he was going to wear one of the great new costumes he'd designed for himself. He said no, because he'd decided his original costume was too closely associated with the Fair Play Club for him to change it at this point. And besides, he added, he wanted to concentrate more on women's wear. In fact, just a few hours previous, he had started his own clothing line, which was already turning a three hundred percent profit and was going to be cover-featured in the next month's "Mademoiselle." And, he said, he had me to thank for it!

I have to admit I didn't take this very well. I hurled as many invectives as I could think of at him, including 30th century ones like "sprocking." Terry calmly put his hand on my shoulder. Then he pressed down on a certain nerve cluster and I collapsed like a pile of rotten tomatoes. Terry snapped his fingers and two beefy footmen appeared. They carried my paralyzed body out the back door and into the back of a waiting taxi, which unceremoniously deposited me at the entrance to a garbage dump on the outskirts of town.


Bleak and White and Dead All Over

So, according to the latest issue of JSA, my kick-ass mountain cabin is actually located in Hell. Well, that explains why the Red Bee was there. And the T.G.I. Fridays. I'm going to send my real estate agent a strongly-worded letter. Or better yet, I could use my time bubble to ensure he's never born! Yeah, definitely that second thing.