Friday, September 01, 2006
Marvel Super Hero Uncomfortable Cocktail Party Of Champions, Part Five
June, 1982! Before the days of the company-wide crossover series, the closest you could get to that kind of encyclopedic grandeur was "Marvel Super Hero Contest Of Champions." That's the one where every Marvel hero (and I!) was crammed into a floating, cosmic soccer stadium (or whatever) and... stood around, chatting. Yeah, they hadn't really gotten all the kinks worked out yet. Also, the Marvel heroes turned out to be stuck-up bitches who wouldn't pay me no nevermind, so my only option was to walk around by myself, gathering top-notch gossip material. For you!
Additional dialog by Dwight Schrute! "Somebody put us here! But who? And to what purpose?" Really, the dialog here is very Silver Age DC, where heroes would dutifully line up and take turns speaking aloud various segments of a single train of thought. (See also: Donald Duck's nephews.) The spoil sport here is Wolverine, but of course, who's just aching to go buckwild in the most Comics Code-straining manner imaginable. Cyclops laughably attempts to assert some authority, little realizing that back in their own comic he was soon to be written as the Daffy Duck to Wolverine's Bugs Bunny.
So, left-to-right, kind of, we start with Iron Fist. Fun fact: the thing on his chest is the gay cousin of the thing on Doctor Strange's tunic. They only see each other when their family gathers for pagan holidays. Things were a bit tense when Iron Fist's tattoo first "came out" but the thing on Doctor Strange's tunic has finally come around and it's just like old times!
As a great woman of your era once said, "Romper stomper bomper boo!" I see Iron Man, who could be flying around, doing recon, but is too wasted and ridden with STD's to keep from crashing into shit. I see Hawkeye, who smells like grape Robitussin twenty-four hours a day and whose costume I've always thought was stupid (and I always will). I see Power Man, who won a bar bet back in '72 by twisting a hunk of steel around his head and now he can't get the damn thing off but figures what the hell. I see the Black Panther, who is secretly plotting your downfall even as we speak and looks great doing it. I can only see the back of the Falcon's head, which makes him the Nichelle Nichols of Marvel. I see Talisman, who in later years would get sick of people asking if he was "Gateway" from the X-Men comic. I see Brother Voodoo, who was already sick of people helpfully pointing out that he "seems to have something on [his] forehead." I see Sunfire, who is indulging one of his weird Japanese fetishes by sniffing the Beast's underpants. I see Black Bolt the Boring, who has a kick-ass costume but a blah personality, and who is wondering how he can get in on some of that Beast's-underpants-sniffing action. I see Hercules, the ultimate drinking buddy, about to express his moral outrage over Sunfire's behavior, and who is also miffed at the severe dearth of scantily-clad young women and/or bare-chested, hairless young men in the arena. (Leaves me out!) I see Werewolf-By-Night, who -- I shit you not -- was once popular enough to star in forty-three issues of his own comic! I know, I can't believe it either. He's just so damned boring! Especially visually! I mean, get yourself some extensions or some highlights or sumpin'. ...Hang on. Jeremy's jabbing me in the ribs. What now, kid? Oh, Jeremy says that in the 80's, Werewolf-By-Night would sometimes get more wolf-like, with a big wolf-head and everything. Well, let's see it! Oh, he's scurried off to get some of his old "West Coast Avengers" comics. *hums selections from "Wonderful Town" while I'm waiting* Okay, he's back. Huh. I dunno, he still looks pretty dorky to me. He's no Man-Wolf, that's for sure. Okay, where were we? Oh, yes. I see Doc Samson, whose costume was pretty cool, except it didn't go with that lime green mop of his at all. Would it have killed you to change up the color scheme to something more pleasing? Like yellow, black, and green? Or failing that, to dye your hair? (Red's a good choice. I mean, just for an example.) I see Wolverine, looking oddly Munchkin-faced here. Heh. He's like the world's deadliest Campbell's Soup Kid. I see Nighthawk, whose costume I kind of liked, except for the big, stiff wings with the air nozzles or whatever on them. Carter Hall never would have settled for that nonsense. I see Cyclops, whose costume is so boring it defies all attempts at embellishment. Even when you slap a stupendously enormous wraparound "X" on it, it still looks boring. I think he needs to start over from square one. In fact, I think I ought to come up with some costume designs for him! Only not right now. Maybe in a week or two. Daddy's tired.
Shanna the She-Devil? Well, there's someone for Hercules to ogle! She's turned away from you right now because you're a gross nerd and she wants nothing to do with you, and also somebody from PETA has just sloshed red paint all over her. Let's see, I've covered everybody else in this panel before, except... Mockingbird! She was way cuter with the longer hair, wasn't she? And without the "rat tail." Fun fact: in your year of 2006, the Thoroughly Eighties "rat tail" can still be seen, on rednecks and lesbians. Another fun fact: it only looks good on actual rats. Mockingbird's costume hasn't aged well. Especially the huge, weapon-concealing sleeves. Although they do impart an avian flair to the ensemble. My biggest problem is the wide stripe of white, which ends just below her bosom. Mockingbird is tall and well-proportioned, but it makes her look like she has a stumpy torso and ridiculously long legs. Like Judy Garland. And MGM's costume designers struggled with ways to make Garland's waist look like it was sitting a good fifteen inches lower on her body -- y'know, like on a normal person. They finally found a solution, but it involved a quantum math that opened a portal to a nightmarish Lovecraftian dimension. Drove half the department stark raving bonkers. The other half vanished without a trace. There were reports of cannibalism. And you don't even want to know what Hair and Makeup went through!
Nothing much to say about that final panel, except... "What awesome power is this at work??" Jeebus, Doctor Strange, you're the freaking Sorceror Supreme! Why don't you tell us? Actually from what I hear, that's all he's good for, lately. Explaining things.
Next week: even more Contest of Champions crap!