Friday, February 24, 2006

Savagery In Pinstripes: The Future Mrs. Atomic Skull

The Skulls

The list of super-villain couples isn't very long. There's the Joker and Harley Quinn, the Sportsmaster and the Huntress, Punch and Jewellee, the Absorbing Man and Titania, and... and, um... there's probably more, but I plead ignorance. I also plead "devastating good looks." (Guilty!) Anyway, for a brief moment back in 1981, in the pages of "DC Comics Presents" #35, there was also the Atomic Skull and Felicia. Felicia was a woman mutated from a panther, which was not at all a rip-off of Barbara Carrera's character in "The Island of Doctor Moreau."

Let's turn things over to Superman for a minute, as he summarizes Dr. Albert "the Atomic Skull" Michaels' diary to guest-star Man-Bat -- all the while giggling like a schoolgirl, no doubt: "Dr. Michaels had developed an evolutionary ray for Heaven knows what evil purpose... and the creature he called Felicia was originally a test animal -- a lab specimen! His ray succeeded in transforming the female panther into a woman! Evidently she was so beautiful... so alluring... that, against all reason, Michaels fell in love with her!"

Oh, Superman, you sweet, naive moron. Here's how I see things going down: Dr. Michaels had a case of atomic blue balls because nobody wants to make love to a guy has a skull for a face (the actor who played "Gareth" in the original version of "The Office" being the sole exception to that rule). Knowing that what he planned to do might still be considered bestiality (and getting a sick thrill from that notion), Michaels invented an evolutionary ray for the express purpose of creating a girlfriend. And since he could keep her penned up on his skull-shaped hovercraft, she might never meet another human male and would therefore have no idea that the typical guy has skin on his face. She might get a glimpse of Harrison Ford on the TV -- before the Skull hastily switched it off -- and remark, "So who's the puffy freak?"

And here's the beauty part: he sewed a coordinating super-villain costume for her. He went to a lot of trouble and thought, considering what alterations a mutated panther woman would want from his own costume. More room in the hip and jug areas, that's a given. The sassy thigh-high boots were keepers, natch. Ditto the fun lemon-yellow helmet. But he added completely unnecessary pinstripes to the main part of the costume, and a fat, candy-stripe motif to the collar (making it look like her head is protruding from a small awning or perhaps from a really tiny circus tent). There's also the green, skull-adorned dickey and the crotch-riding gunbelt. The upshot: he took a somewhat girly, somewhat homely costume design and made it a pinch girlier and profoundly homelier.

Quick personal anecdote: I was at Footlocker a few months ago, returning some running shoes. The guy at the register said he'd have to clear it with his manager. When the manager showed up, she was dressed just like Felicia.

I wound up keeping the shoes.


Scipio said...

This woman MUST get a come-back, outfit and all.

Jeremy Rizza said...

I'm sure Grant Morrison will get around to her eventually. Or hell, maybe even Geoff Johns. She already looks like she's wearing one of those godawful Scott Kolins costume designs.