Tuesday, October 16, 2007


You may recall this fine bit of imitation Stan Lee dialog from my final "Invincible Iron Man #41" post.


I'd repurposed it as criticism for Young Gerry Conway, but who was Fly Man (formerly and later known as "the Fly") actually talking to?


Some portly old German gal with a lace doily on her head? For shame, Fly (Man)! You know how old folks like to ramble when they meet a younger person! The poor dear is probably stuck inside her dilapidated Victorian Gothic mansion most of the day, with no one but her twenty-seven cats to keep her company, and sure, sometimes the Senior Center Activity Bus will stop for her so she can visit the mall, and purchase more quilting supplies, and then she meets you, the famous Fly (Man), and you just look so much like her grandson, Mortimer, so would it kill you to just shut your yapper and humor her? I mean, for Pete's sake, Fly (Man), can't you let this sweet old lady have her say for a couple of minutes, and HOLY SHIT IT'S A DUDE.


Ladies and Gentlemen, meet "the Spider", from "Fly Man" #31 (Archie Comics, May, 1965). This story is written by Jerry "I'm Helping to Mess Up the WB's Legion of Super-Heroes Cartoon from Beyond the Grave" Siegel in his idea of the Marvel Method, which results in the characters blabbing on and on, for pages at a time, saying the same thing twice in a row, only phrased differently, with loads of bombast and fancy vocabulary words (like "bombast"). So, while Jerry Siegel tries for "Stan Lee", he winds up with something more along the lines of Chris Claremont, which is especially astounding considering that "Alien"-obsessed Limey masochist wouldn't get anything published for another ten years, at least. Which is my own blathering way of saying that yes, the Spider tends to run off at the mouth, but then, so does Fly Man, not to mention every single character in the gol-dang book.

But forget this imitation Mighty Marvel dialog for a minute. I'm marveling, mightily, at the Spider's costume. He's a "mastermind" type, with mirror-maze deathtraps, and jet-powered flying metal claw robots, and henchmen, and what's essentially a "dirty bomb" if you can believe it, so he really shouldn't have to even bother venturing out in public. Or if he does, he should consider wearing a well-tailored business suit, or at the very least, Shiwan Khan's windbreaker. Because he doesn't have the shape for a supervillain costume. I'm sorry to be so blunt, but there it is. I mean, as ass like that, and he's wearing pantaloons? It's madness! And that floppy, size XXL beanie hat has got to go. You know what might have worked for this guy? Exchanging the tights for a robe -- I know, he's still pudgy, and chubby guys in robes look godawful, but bear with me for a second -- and ditching the micro-snood doily hat for a hood, the kind that drapes completely over the head with just a couple of eye holes cut out. Just cover the bastard up from head-to-toe. That way, he can lounge all day long in a souped-up La-Z-Boy recliner (with metal spider legs or sumpin' sticking out of it) and issue his threats via television, in between scarfing down entire cans of Pringles.

There's a lot of fun to be mined from "Fly Man" #31, and while I won't be giving it the Gravity Girl Treatment, I will be delving more deeply into it for a couple of weeks. For instance, how would you like a dramatic reading of the Spider's unmuffled monologue, complete with fight scene sound effects?

Yup, I thought so!


Anonymous said...

Something of a tangent, but I was just getting into comics when DC launched its Impact line and revamped all of these silly, old Archie Comics heroes. Man, what a disaster that was. Like an idiot, I wound up buying the first issue of almost all of them...because they were Number 1s, and when I was a kid, I thought that was worth something. The only one I actually liked was the revamped Fly. Still, I don't think I ever bought issue 2.

Unknown said...

"Holy Shit it's a dude!"

Thanks for a good laugh!

Bill S. said...

It's still better than Conway. (But, so far, not as good as Gravity Girl.)

Jeremy Rizza said...

Justin: I never actually bought any, but I skimmed them at the store now and then. I kind of liked how they retconned the Comet's origin when low sales forced them into apocolypse mode and they had to cancel a ton of books. ("You were experimented on by evil aliens! No, wait, you're an evil alien yourself who only thought he was a human experimented on by evil aliens!")

Fortress Keeper: Thanks! I know the quality of my posts have been kinda "off" lately, but I'm glad to know I'm still getting some decent yucks in there.

Bill S.: Nothing's better than Gravity Girl. Heck, Grant Morrison is Frank Tieri compared to the majesty of Gravity Girl!

Anonymous said...

Are those even pantaloons? It looks like he's wearing a trash bag with a sash and tights! Gah!

Which is to say, heck yeah, we wanna see more!

Bill S. said...

Grant Morrison's "Gravity Girl: Year One".

That thought made me smile.