Monday, May 15, 2006
Blackened Catfish, With Ants
I think we've all been there. You've had your eye on a certain special someone. You want to impress him, so you get yourself all duded up, above and beyond what you usually do -- it's practically a makeover! -- and then, at the very last minute...
...you get ants in your pants and flee the scene. (Panels from "Marvel Two-In-One" #96, February 1983.)
Such is the life of Shellshock, who appeared in only two comics before this and one afterwards. That last one being "Captain America" #319, in which he was killed by Scourge. I can't say it was much of a loss, costume-wise. And yet, I think if he'd had a better costume, he might have been used more often and therefore escaped his editorially-mandated death. And when I say "mandated," I mean the conversation probably went something like this:
Writer: Hey, you mind if I kill off Shellshock?
Editor: Who? Yeah, sure... whatever. Knock yourself out.
Seriously, look at the guy. There is absolutely nothing of interest in that costume -- except for that mask, which is merely odd and which bears no relation whatsoever to his codename or powers. It makes him resemble a blackened catfish, or maybe the lovechild of Daredevil and Doctor Doom. It's ridiculous.
If I had designed Shellshock's costume, I would have made him look less like the Golden Age Sandman and more like a policeman in riot gear, with a bulkier outfit and helmet. Maybe some shoulderpads! (Shoulderpads! Squee!) And I'd at least try to think of a villainous emblem for his chest or sumpin'. Maybe something with a grenade, or concentric rings. I dunno. The main point is, if Shellshock had gone to me for advice, he'd still be alive today and smack-dab in the middle of that Civil War crossover mess that's going on in his universe. Really, I'd like to think I could have deprived Scourge of all his victims. I can just see Scourge lurking around a corner, with the Basilisk in his gun sight, his hand trembling, thinking, "I must rid the world of his evil, and yet... he's just so damned handsome!"
And then he'd toss the gun to the floor, and run away, weeping hysterically.