What the F@*K?
(Or, Seriously, What the F@*k?)
Just in time for the scariest night of the year (yes, itís Christmas eve Ė I swear those elves are getting closer!) comes something that I just knew I had to have the moment I set eyes upon it at a not too recent Comic Show.† Ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, I present the single greatest bit of comic book publishing Marvel comics has ever done!
Yes, from April 1984 (and no, this is not an April Foolís Joke) comes the first ever Generic Comic Book!† Now I ask you, how could you peruse the local comics rack and pass up this gem?† Doesnít it just beg to be open and read?† Well, no, it doesnít, but that didnít stop me!
Now you may be wondering, just who is this Superhero (or is that Super-Hero?).† Well, according to the story, we donít know.† In fact, hardly anyone actually gets a name.† But thatís okay, because what you will soon discover as you read this hefty tome, is that this guy is THE Super-Hero!† Thatís all anyone calls him, so that must be his name.† Now whenever people talk about a Super-Heroes, you can tell them to take a hike because you know THE Super-Hero!† Superman, Spider-Man, Batman and all the rest are just posers, this guyís the real deal!† Just whip out the above image and let them tremble at your greatness (or stuff you upside-down in a trashcan, whatever works better for you).
So, what possessed the Marvel brain trust to put out this, uhm, work of art?† Letís have a look at the small print shall weÖ
You know, Iím not the first (not by a long margin) to dig up this beast.† There are varying opinions on the matter as to why this issue came into being, ranging from Ďin houseí joke at Marvel (a satire of how low cost, recycled comic stories were at the time), to a guide as to how to do comics the Marvel way.† I donít know, it seems ridiculous to me that a company would actually waste resources on such a thing.† And if this was a guide, then I suppose it would explain that brush with bankruptcy Marvel had in the 1990s.
Best I can figure, this whole endeavor was about copyright.† Look closely and youíll note that Marvel has trademarked Super-Hero and Super-Villain, two fairly common lexicons of the comic book industry.† Speaking of which, looking closely at the cover, you could argue that Comic Book has been trademarked as well as little white boxes (the horror!).† Back before the information superhighway age, this was one way you could get the word out that Marvel and DC ruled the comic roost and small publishers should beware.† And hey, it was probably cheaper than hiring a bunch of lawyers to scour the country for copyright infringement cases.
Okay, now Iím feeling paranoid.† Letís just carry on with this thrilling tale!
Insert one generic red head (just call her the clone of Mary Jane) girlfriend.† Promptly have her depart.† Add guilt.
Insert little brother in hospital.† Add more guilt.
Next insert prompt withdrawal of funds.† Add anger.
Add prolonged exposure to GLOW IN THE DARK SOUVENIERS!† Okay, now this is just freaking ridiculous.† I guess I could insert a joke about Made In China toy recalls hear, but letís not and say I did.
For those of you who are actually reading this, please note that Iíve skipped a few pages here and there because, Iím sorry, I just canít go through this thing again.† Not without suffering massive psychology bills in the future.† Trust me, youíre not missing anything.† Okay, letís continue (whereís my Jack Daniels?)Ö
His hair turned white.† And heís suddenly got a physique.† That, children, is the very definition of FREAK!!!† Thank God Iím just a normal fat ass, imagine the teasing Iíd get if I actually was a muscular body builder with white hair.
Okay, those are two of the most oblivious parents Iíve ever seen.† And hey, hereís some fun with small text.† Doesnít the kettle look like it has the word ASS written on the side.† Also, the cereal is called COCO CRUD (our heroís favorite apparently).† A quick look at the ingredient label sees that 2 key components are zits and clams.† Clams?
You know, letís skip a few pages and see what our Super-Villain is up to (yes, thatís his name in this issue, Super-Villain)Ö
That is the creepiest costume fitter Iíve ever seen this side of Liberace.† Iíd be careful where he puts that tape measure Hero, if you catch my drift.† And hey, doesnít the villain look a lot like a certain Simmons?
No, thatís not right, I think itís the other SimmonsÖ
Yeah, there you go.† Remarkable likeness isnít it?† Itís kind of funny, but the Super-Villainís gimmick is that heís able to use his hypnotic helmet to drain people of their confidence and strength of will, sort of like heís the Anti-Richard Simmons.† Maybe heís the Richard Simmons of Counter-Earth?
Okay, letís continue (damn it, where is that Jack Daniels?)Ö
So, after vanquishing a band of goons, our hero is beaten by a gimmick the Ringmaster made lame over 20 years ago.† How will he recover?† And hey, wouldnít the goons, I donít know, want revenge on the man in white for the beating he just handed to them or something?† Isnít that why theyíre called thugs?† Maybe theyíre freaked out because it looked like Super-Villainís fist went right through our Heroís chest in the 3rd to last panel.† I know thatíd freak me out.
ďThis is a coincidence which practically defies belief!Ē† Heh.
Iíve just got 3 questions:† How come Spider-Man never wears a football helmet?† And where can I find a Skin Jobs jacket cheap?
And why does our Heroís all white hair suddenly have streaks of black during the subway ride and helmet spraying?
One conveniently short fight laterÖ
A walkman.† The poor, misguided Super-Villain fool thought his weapon was perfect, only to be outdone by Sonyís trademarked device.† Wait a second, when our Hero removes Villainís helmet we note that Villain is wearing a mask underneath (how freaking redundant is that?) and that our red-headed nemesis has switched places with a lacky!† How else do you explain the change from fiery red-head to ho-hum brown?† The colorist screwed up?† You would blame the colorist you heartlessÖ ahemÖ okay, sorry, got carried away there.
I wonder if our Counter-Richard Simmons took the place of the real Richard Simmons after this humbling defeat in 1984?† Any of Richardís close friends note a change in his character around this time?
Yay, itís over!† Hallelujah!!!
You know what the scariest part of all is?† Marvel actually featured this book on their hype list in April 1984.† Yeah, if this horrible thing was a joke, it certainly was on us and the poor retailers stuck with this turd.† Heck, it was so bad that thereís no mention of a writer, penciler, inker, or any credits at allÖ.
Maybe elves arenít so bad after all.† Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!† Make sure you share the Coco Crud with that special someone this festive season!