Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Rescue Me Bonus: Son of the Annihilator

I'd like to start out with a belated tip of the cap to Sleestak for suggesting yesterday's post! Thanks, pal! Now, let's get down to business.

The main story in "Action Comics" #356 (November 1967) starts out on a bizarre note, as the Annihilator, a doughy Eurotrash doofus in an absurd costume, orders Superman to leave the Earth within forty-eight hours... and Superman agrees! Because the Annihilator is a dangerous individual. And he's obviously, unpredictably bat-shit crazy... a man who would willingly dress like that is capable of anything!

But the proceedings take an even freakier turn when the Annihilator decides to do what any publicly-loathed celebrity does to improve his image: adopt a kid who can show up in a few newspaper photos before he's handed over to the nanny for the rest of his natural life! His new son? A smart-mouthed teenage delinquent. Because, really, isn't that the obvious choice? Let's take a look at the irrepressible little scamp, starting with the cover.


What's wrong with this picture? (And no, the Annihilator's "Nostril Libre" mask doesn't count.) Here's a hint: it was published in 19-freaking-67. And yet the Son of the Annihilator is dressed like Marlon Brando in "The Wild One" (a film from 1953!). It's yet more proof of how DC was getting thoroughly drubbed in the Coolness Wars by Marvel Comics. Sure, Stan Lee was a middle-aged crypto-fascist conservative, but at least he could pretend to get his grooviness on! DC wore their John Birchian squareness right on their covers where every hippie could see it. But wait! It gets worse! Thanks to the cover artist (I'm guessing Neal Adams?) the Son of the Annihilator appears to be a darkly handsome "bad boy" whom any teenage girl (and more than a few teenage boys) would swoon for. So far, not bad. But let's see how interior artist (Wayne Boring, I think) depicts him!


Yipes. Kinda homely. (And he stole all his insults from old "Dead End Kids" films.) Well, maybe he looks better when he smiles.


Gah! He's hideous! Who's his biological father? The Prankster? Criminy! I can forgive a lot in a guy (evidenced by my continuing relationship with Weight Wizard) but a deficient personality and an ugly mug? Good night male nurse!

All that aside, I must say that "Action Comics" #356 had an intriguing undercurrent. Leather-loving outsider "caught... with the meat in his mouth" approached by a brawny, elaborately-moustachioed older gentleman who wants to be called "Dad"? (Haw! Your father's mustache, Pocketbook Pete!) I dunno. It just really resonates with me for some unknown reason.

Anyway, like a lot of father-son relationships, Annihilator and Son hit a rocky patch when hijo ingests some contraband substances.


"All right, son! I'm glad to share my super-power with you." Which of course the Annihilator is going to say, since his own super-power has worn off, and the smirking little shit he calls "son" would punch his goofy noggin off his fat neck if he so much as looked at him funny. ("Daddy-o." Aw, for chrissakes, DC Comics of 1967--!) You know what I would have liked to have seen in "Infinite Crisis"? Son of the Annihilator and Superboy Prime going all "Rock'em Sock'em Robots" on each other. Just get rid of both of those annoying dillweeds at the same time.

So. The Son of the Annihilator is a lot of things, but one thing he's not is cool. He needs one of my patented Blockade Boy makeovers, pronto!


Ah, that's better. The Son of the Annihilator... wait, he needs a name that's not so clunky... I believe I'll dub him "Kid Annihilator" or KA for short... anyway, Kid Annihilator has a shagadelic rawk 'n' roll haircut now, complete with muttonchops. He doesn't bother to cover up his facial hair with a mask like the Annihilator does because he doesn't care about protecting a secret identity. He has the Annihilator's logo on his chest, but it's bordered by three orange shapes that hark back to the radioactivity symbol. That relates to the glow of his powerful fists. His boots are fringed because it's current and groovy and youthful (for 1967) and also because I like the contrast between supercostumes and street clothing. (When it's not overpowering or overdone, I should add. Like trenchcoats... ugh!) In my sketches he had a fringed vest to match, but I decided it covered up too much of my design. And the color scheme is all secondary colors because it compliments the Annihilator's primary scheme and it's more far-out, maaaannnn! Now this guy would look at home battling the Teen Titans... who are as hip, sadly, as 1967 DC ever would get. In my head I can see a dynamic Nick Cardy cover with Kid Annihilator smashing his way through the Titans in front of the words "Make War, Not Love!"

What else do I see in my head? Oh, you don't wanna know. You couldn't handle it! What? You're sure? Okay, I'll share one more thing: I can see Weight Wizard's face after I disrobed in the Conjugal Visit Pod at the addiction treatment center. I take it he'd never seen a robotic dingus before. And he'd especially never seen one with my self-designed Robot Hand with Pimp-Slapping Action attachment! Oh, I'm sorry. I'm sharing too much. Suffice it to say Weight Wizard learned his lesson. For now! And inbetween visits, he can think of me while he tries to scub off the huge motor oil stain I left on his back. Er, I'm sharing too much again, aren't I? See you next Monday!


Anonymous said...

That's a pretty good cover, and Adams' (?) realism really highlights just how terribly shitty the Annihilator's costume is. Anyway, great redesign. Those frayed boots shouldn't work but by God do they ever.

Steven said...

Leather-loving outsider "caught... with the meat in his mouth" approached by a brawny, elaborately-moustachioed older gentleman who wants to be called "Dad"?

And who convinces the boy to come back to his "pad" by stripping in front of him before giving him to the power of "super-fist"? Ye gods, the homometer is off the charts on this one.

Scipio said...

Utterly mind-boggling.

Thanks for this.

Oh, and it's true; the last time someone said "yer father's mustache" before this was in 1937.

Anonymous said...

Ah, that's better. The Son of the Annihilator... wait, he needs a name that's not so clunky...

How about the Juvinnihlator?

Jeremy Rizza said...

Tyler: Thanks, man! That's the tough part with the supercostume/street clothes thing: finding the proper balance. Although now I want to give him some love beads.

Steven: Haw! Yup, the homometer's needle is at the far end of the pink zone and is threatening to snap off completely!

Scipio: I aims to please!

David: Heh. Fun fact: I almost called him "Annihilateen."

Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator said...

Maybe the artist was trying to make Jr's face look kind of like James Cagney. It doesn't work so well because cagney is the kind of guy who will stuff a guy in the trunk of a car and then shoot it or shove a grapefruit in some dame's face or tap dance down a long staircase.

Anonymous said...

Kid Annihilator sort of looks like an evil Don Knotts crossed with an evil Don Rickles--wait a sec--I just mean Don Rickles.

Brandon Bragg said...

The mustachioed dude is definitely sporting some Boring-chin there.

Michael said...

BB - you've got to read the latest "Paul and John Review". They think you're dead!

Jeremy Rizza said...

Jon and Justin: I'm pretty sure Son of the Annihilator showed up in your dimension as "Michael Adams" on the Bravo show "Top Design." And he almost got away with it, too!

Brandon: Well spotted! It's no Sprang chin but it can hold its own in a scrap.

Michael: Thanks for the tip! Wotta tribute! I'm touched!

Anonymous said...

Hey, nice work. Do you have any images of when the son of the Annihilator is turned back into a baby?