Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Rescue Me: Shellshock

old shellshock

Here's the second beneficiary of my new plan to redesign the costumes of anyone Scouge has ever killed, or tried to kill: Shellshock! Okay, maybe "beneficiary" is overstating things, since Shellshock is dead. And rotting!

Did you know... Shellshock was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby? I shit you not. I read it on the internet; therefore it must be true. It turns out he first appeared in "Fantastic Four Annual" #5, back in 1967. He was one of Psycho-Man's henchmen! Only he didn't have this particular costume. In fact, he looked a lot like the Mad Thinker, only in red instead of in green. And his gun was much cooler. Because it was designed by Jack Kirby. Anyway, Shellshock showed up in the above panels from "Marvel Two-In-One" all gussied up for the very first time in a boring new costume and a mask that had no discernable connection to his theme and wielding a convoluted new weapon that looked like a very uncomfortable fusion of a sex toy and a gardening implement. ("The Ass Weasel! By Ronco!") And in his next appearance, Scourge killed him.

Here's the deal: I think Shellshock could have worked as a bad guy. His codename is catchy. And his basic concept is workable: criminal strategist and electronics genius. I think all he was missing was a great costume! With a snappy costume, you're a supervillain that readers want to see again. Without it, you're a supervillain that editors want to see dead. So here's what I would have done:

Shellshock uses a concussive weapon that can blast through walls. So I based Shellshock's outfit on riot gear, since it's meant to resist flying rubble. There's a lot of bulk to it. In addition to the padding on the shoulders and the chest, the costume features thick gloves and protection for the knees and shins, plus a great number of sweatsocks in the crotch (kidding). I kept the color scheme the same as his most recent costume. Navy and yellow is a striking, masculine combination. In place of that stupid catfish mask or whatever the hell it was supposed to be, I gave Shellshock a close-fitting helmet. The shape of the tinted visor is based on the silhouette of the old mask. It's an interesting shape, but by flattening it and making it smaller, I lessen its visual signifigance. On the old costume, it was the first thing a person's eyes went to, and it made no sense whatsoever. Now it's part of an ensemble. In case you're wondering, the strap on Shellshock's left thigh is part of the holster for his gun. See, I don't just throw around straps for no reason, Rob Liefeld. I decided to simplify the gun itself and just give it a "tuning fork" theme. It's still red, for contrast. And I put a matching spot of red on Shellshock's chest with the grenade symbol. This keeps the color of the gun from looking so random.

Any more Scourge victims you'd like me to redesign? I'm makin' a list!


Anonymous said...

I agree with you that Shellshock coulda been a contender, but he fell into the snazzy-in-theory-but-lacking-in-execution trap so common in Marvel villainy. Nifty name and nifty costume (I actually thought the "catfish mask" was distinctive) aside, he was handled badly; case in point, why give him the Ronco gun when he just screamed rocket launchers, mines, and assorted grenades? And why have him go up against Ant-Man, fer chrissakes, instead of a more-appropriate Luke Cage or Iron Man?

You've already gotten my request for Birdman, but howsabout the Ringer and the oh-so-fancy Hellrazor?

Oh, another thing--do you think it's possible to improve on the nigh-perfect outfits of the Melter (is there anything better than orange and green pinstripes?) and Steeplejack?

Anonymous said...

I like the redesign, but I don't think poor Shellshock's career would have advanced a great deal further with it. It'd make him an excellent fit for a group of villains (specifically, as a silent enforcer type), but his solo appeal would be limited. Unless he didn't speak, and he got to hang around in dark shadows a lot and look menacing.

Alternatively, he could recruit a horde of nearly-identical minions, without the red in their costumes; that would be a pretty cool effect.

Anonymous said...

Me is like it.

I also think The Thing That Walks has a point that Shellshock should consider diversifying into gimmicky explosive devices. Perhaps the snazzy little logo you designed will help inch him towards that realization.

naladahc said...

Hmmm. Wolverine's first costume looks like a descendant of this one.

Anonymous said...

Death Adder, Basilisk, Mindwave, Wraith, and Ringer had nifty costumes, too. I'd be curious to see what you'd do with them, Blockade Boy.

My list:
Hammer and Anvil
Commander Kraken
The original Titania
Blue Streak

Anonymous said...

I don't get the mask either. My initial reaction was that they were going for a gas mask-like contraption, but the horns are just bizarre and incongruous. What purpose could they serve? This looks more like some cuckoo cosmic character than a run of the mill terrestial baddie.