Monday, May 01, 2006

The Country Louse And The City Louse

"Ghost Riders Crossroads" #1 (of one, thank God -- November, 1995) pits the wheelie-poppin' duo against a pair of lame 90's style bad guys. Here's the first one:


Who knew the inner monologue of a serial killer with a potato sack on his head could be so boring? Not to mention, cloyingly cute? And precisely how "moist" can wet metal be, anyway? And which credited writer can I track down and punch in the nads over this? Howard Mackie for "story" or Ivan Velez, Jr. for "script"?

Ah, but I'm supposed to be talking about fashion! The Scarecrow's costume has one "hook" for me, and that's the jack o'lantern mouth on the cowl. It's fairly unique and I'd even go so far as to say it's the one iconic thing about him. The rope around the neck? Boring and impractical. Why walk around wearing something that could be used to instantly kill you? He might as well wear a huge guillotine that he has to drag around everywhere. Or a poncho made of a drift net entangled with jellyfish and medical waste. Hey, Scarecrow, I've designed some shoes where your toes fit between sharp spikes that have been coated with cobra venom; maybe you'd like to wear those.

The rest of his outfit? Instantly forgettable. The color scheme is ugly and bland. It could have been perked up by some patches in a brighter color or a more interesting pattern, but nope. Failing that, the costume could have been saved by making the overall silhouette more eye-catching. Again, no. Hell, at least Jonathan Crane had the good sense to wear a hat.

Here's some dialog from the next page: "His voice... like ground glass against tender skin... making me afraid. No. That's not right. He should be the frightened one. I'm the Scarecrow. I eat fear."

No, you suck balls.

The other villain in "Ghost Riders Crossroads" is Mephisto's son, Blackheart. (And boy, does he ever get some ripe Kelsey Grammaresque dialog! It's like the baby from "Family Guy" minus the intentional stabs at humor.)


Lookin' good, Blackheart! Been workin' out? It suits you! It helps to make up for the fact that you barely have a face to speak of, are completely lacking genitalia, and have a long, prehensile tail. (Like a lot of the guys I meet at the gym!) Still, I wonder what you'd look like with a makeover. Trim up the spines a little bit, get you in a tailored suit with some nice Italian shoes...


Oh, for--! That's a twelve hundred dollar Baroni Uomo suit and you just put your quills right through it! Didn't we talk about getting those things waxed? And where is the tie I bought you? And your hair--! That is not the length I requested. What do you mean, "second thoughts?" You know what? Forget you. I don't need this. You don't want to take my advice? Fine. You look like a licorice Johnny Depp. Congratulations.


Um. Heh. Kidding! You know me and my wacky sense of humor! You look great, honest!

Please, don't kill me.


Anonymous said...

Just as an FYI, the Scarecrow has been around since the 1960's. Believe it or not, he tangled with both Iron Man and the Original X-men.

Anonymous said...

Nice job, BB. You are putting on a master clinic for us on the proper use of neckwear.

Re: Scarecrow, I applaud you for trying to get the message out. Unless you are a golden-age DC character, or have Thor/Shazam power levels, do not wear dangly things around your neck when you fight! Superpeople, go google Isadora Duncan if you don't believe me.

On the other side of the spectrum there's Blackheart. Here a tie would have been a big help. It says 'business.' I suppose he learned it from his dad (a noted scarlet bodystocking and cape enthusiast). He just looks like some nouveau riche kid who wants to be a player, but still wants to maintain his cool, rebellious self-image. Very immature.

Steven said...

Hey now, go easy on Blackheart. He went from naked and hairy wildman to "licorice Johnny Depp" in under an issue. That's much better progress than those Queer Eye guys ever make.

I'm sure if the series continued, he'd be waxed and cropped exactly as you'd like, and...

um, where did his tail go? Is it crammed in his pants? That looks... uncomfortable.

Anonymous said...

Yep, nooses are never a good idea, even moreso than the earring/nosering connecting chain(or "pull here to mug" handle).

Although I disagree about it being boring. I always thought it a nifty look in the right circumstances, (Hooded Justice, New Frontier's John Henry) but nonetheless, terribly stupid unless it's carefully sewn into the body of the costume (thus mitigating it's devil-may-care, nothing-to-live-for flair) or you're a cosmic mystical being like Astro City's Hanged Man--maybe these guys are hoping to get throttled into a new existence as an eerie battler of supernatural threats...

Doubly agreed on the jack-o-lantern mouthhole. It's about the only thing that truly stands out.

Anonymous said...

I actually bought Scarecrows first Ghost Rider appearence. #7 of the second series (unless he appeared later in the first series which is possible).

His dialouge in the beginning is genuienly freaky.

Completely agree with you on the costume though.

Jeremy Rizza said...

Randy Jackson: Yup, he's an old-timer. I should have been more clear in my post. I wrote "90's style" because his main gimmick in the Iron Man story was his ability as a contortionist. I presume the serial-killer *yawn* thing was a purely 90's addition.

Constantine: Thank you, and also, HAW! Ol' Blackheart is the AJ Soprano of the Netherworld!

Steven: I think Blackheart is like those lizards whose tails drop off when they're anxious. I'm sure it'll grow back.

Chawunky: I agree with your other examples of noose-wearing guys. I guess I just thought the Scarecrow's noose was boring since I'd seen it so many times before -- and on him it barely even makes sense. I guess it implies he was cut down from the wooden stick he'd been attached to. Or sumpin'.

Mallet: I'm sure you're right about which the Scarecrow appearing in the second Ghost Rider series and not the first. I did some internet research on the Scarecrow before I wrote the post and that sounds about right to me. Also, I used to have an X-Men index circa 1983 or so which had full descriptions of all the X-Men comics published up 'til then, and because they still had plenty of room(!) they went ahead and included listings for the Champions and the first Ghost Rider series.

Marc Burkhardt said...

I don't care how psychotic you are. Nobody should talk about wetting their trusty rusty.

Marvel also had a "supernatural" hero called the Scarecrow who used to jump out of a painting! He even teamed up with Benjamin J. Grimm.

Unknown said...

Blocked boy is so cool. I want to read the story with my baroni suit on so I would look tougher.