House of Mystery #148

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House of Mystery has long been associated with horror but it actually featured superhero stories from #143- #173. Martian Manhunter aka J’onn J’onzz was the main attraction for the majority of that span. He’s always confused me a little. Not the character overall but rather his popularity. The dude is a straight up heavy hitter in the DC Universe and when he comes up in conversation among fans there is genuine affection there.

So why can’t J’onn hold on to a solo title like the other big guns? He’s an original member of the Justice League who has appeared in video games, animation and live action TV. He’s also been in so many titles, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him DNA tested on Maury.

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” Grant Morrison is a HO!”

I suppose it’s fitting to follow up a paternity test anecdote with Martian Manhunter battling a race of prophylactics. Wait, don’t tell me you don’t recall the Clash with the Condoms back in ’65? All good, that’s what I’m here for. Let’s take a peek at House of Mystery #148 “The Beings in the Color Rings” ( I preferred my title too) by Dave Wood and Joe Certa.

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Before we examine the story, I have to be honest with you. I don’t care for sidekicks. Some have a place. Marvel’s Rick Jones or DC’s Robin for example, had important roles in comic book history. Mention the likes of D-Man or say, any animal in a cape to me and prepare for a look that will melt your face off. J’onn may have had one of the worst of the bunch in Zook. He’s cute, resembles a teddy bear, speaks like a child and every time he appears on panel, I want to punt the little bastard into next week.

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“I’m gonna bring you home and flush you like a turd.”

The issue begins with Bedford City being attacked by a strange creature from the sky. J’onn hears the radio bulletin while chilling in his mountain lair and deducts it must be a manifestation of “The Idol Head of Diabolu”. Other than having a name that rolls off the tongue, Diabolu was an artifact from Mars that granted ordinary folks powers. If his suspicion of it’s involvement is true, we can add giving baby toys sentience to it’s resume.

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“Let your kid play with these at your own peril pal…”

So what form of evil is this thing capable of? Basically, it tosses rings around that suck up items of corresponding colors only to spit them back out sans pigment. Yellow ring picks up a yellow taxi and voila, it’s white. Before you head to the rooftops and start yelling “Cheeseballs!” at the heavens let me remind you this was the sensational Silver Age. An era chock full of random plot points, so there is one cool thing it can do… summon an electrified two headed octopus!

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      “J’onn please. Don’t be rude. It’s name is Larry and he has a Massage License.”

This proves to be a let down. The wannabe Wacky Wall Crawler is merely a mirage. Something that does please me however, was back in the day heroes had powers to suit any pickle. Kids nowadays with their search engines will never understand the importance of  “Super Memory”. That’s right, us old timers used to walk to school during blizzards and had to use our alien brains to access the Encyclopedia Britannica. The struggle was real. Oh before I forget, the Earth is about to be enslaved by ringworm hungry for paint.

hom1487“The Rainbow Paint Factory appears to be constructed from a crossword puzzle.”

Rather than fight any more imaginary beasts, J’onn has a plan. It’s terribly stupid but hey, if you haven’t noticed already, this isn’t the finest work of fiction. He decides the ringworm is absorbing colors and sending them somewhere. If he can become bait maybe the source will be revealed. Showing exemplary carpeting skills, he rolls up giant piece of turf to call attention to green. The trick works and he’s whisked away to another dimension. May I remind you he’s already the correct hue so the sod sushi is a bit unnecessary.

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“Little known fact: Martian Manhunter taught Bob Marley how to twist a spliff.”

At the start, I referred to this yarn as the Clash with the Condoms. Well I’ll be damned if the “disk people” he encounters are not related to rubbers. Seriously. They seem harmless at first. “Color gives us power” and all that jazz but their real intent is to oppress Earthlings and coat the world in latex. Just kidding, I made that last part up but it’s actually an improvement to the plot.

PicMonkey Collage“This Halloween, tell your friends it’s a Disk Person costume.”

Now that our hero has found himself at the mercy of sinister love gloves, how does he save the day? Surprise…he doesn’t. J’onn actually gets his Martian mutton roasted by the baddies. All seems lost until, and I’d rather swallow nails than say this but Zook comes to the rescue. A character I can’t stand shows up, yanks him out of out of trouble and this issue wraps up with J’onn remarking he owes the city a patch of grass.

This book was ghostwritten and I completely understand the creators not wanting to be associated with it. Rancid from start to finish, I had zero enthusiasm to check out the back up feature “The Man who Hated his Powers”. The story was one of the worst I’ve ever read. That’s saying something. I can usually justify the existence of a comic by relating to the time period it was released but in this case, the defense rests.

If your a hardcore Martian Manhunter fan or just someone interested in learning more about him, this is not for you. On the other hand, if you’re eager to get your Zook on, He’s the true protagonist in this drivel. Read away and prepare for a robust slap to be delivered by yours truly.

David Schultz is the Creator/Co-Host of the Parlipod Podcast. Give it a listen on Soundcloud or via the GWW Radio Network. If you have a comic you would like to see reviewed on Two Staple Gold or just want to harass Dave, follow @lavahog on Twitter.

 

 

 

*All images/video clips are rights of their respective owners. Links to external sites are used solely for informational purposes.

 

 

Marvel Two in One #96

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Who doesn’t have a soft spot for Marvel’s hero made of rock? I’m talking of course about the Thing. Since 1961, Ben Grimm has been one of the cornerstones at the House of Ideas as a member of the Fantastic Four. Personally, in my younger years I was enthralled with him. Throw downs with the heaviest hitters were always a big draw. Any issue trading punches with the Hulk were an absolute event.

Marvel recognized his popularity and gave him a team up book in 1974. Thanks to the Two in One series, I get to wax nostalgic here on Two Staple Gold and it’s Clobbering Time… all the time.

Here’s the best part though, If your like me you may have lost track of the “Ever Lovin’ Blue Eyed” Thing over the years. No biggie. He’s like a friend that remained unchanged and will always be there for you. Revisiting his adventures is always a comforting experience. Or so I liked to believe.

Time to take our meds and see if this ish makes us sick or cures our blues. I present Marvel Two in One #96 “Visiting Hours” cover dated February 1983. Written by Tom DeFalco and penciled by Ron Wilson.

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lineHere’s a tough pill to swallow, the Thing got his ass whooped. Boxing with the Champion is generally a bad idea and he’s landed in the local Hospital. Reed Richards has decided that is the best place for him citing the Baxter Building’s lack of “medical facilities to asses the true extent of his injuries”. This is the first of many odd decisions to fit the narrative, considering Mr.Fantastic discovered the Negative Zone but can’t handle some boo boo’s. Even worse, Reed acknowledges Ben is a sitting duck if his enemies decided to strike. Most intelligent man on earth my ass, more like world’s biggest dick.

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“Well, you could have tried other options Nurse but Yancy Street is one way only.”

Like Richards, the Mad Thinker  is a prognosticator. The classic FF foe seems to believe he has Orange Hides obituary ready for print. He has no intention of doing it himself but who can blame him? I would never leave my lair with a lousy haircut like that. It’s cool though, as we are about to find out the rest of the Marvel Universe will pick up his slack.

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“Villainy 101: Get pissed and throw shit.”

Spider-Man is on his way to visit his pal Benjy when he encounters the first nefarious nasty to crawl out of the woodwork…MECHO-MARAUDER! Never heard of him? Then your life is short on finger blasts. The dude is a straight up joke and Spidey makes quick work of him. It’s worth noting this battle is the start of instances with sexual innuendo that litter this issue. I’m sure if I asked Tom DeFalco if my suspicions of sneaking in some naughty dialogue were on purpose, he would probably punch me in the face. I wouldn’t fault the guy though, who didn’t get a little randy watching Valerie Bertinelli on One Day at a Time back in the 80’s? Sexy sweaters Tom! Who can resist?

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“Didn’t Aunt May warn you about palm tapping? You could go blind Pete!”

I’m going to skip over a few guest appearances during my summary. There’s just way too many. One that can’t be ignored is the debut of Nurse Hasslebutt. Aptly named and tough as nails, she takes no gump. The Web Slinger and Mr.Fantastic are no match for her mouth while she kicks everyone out of the Thing’s room despite their pleas to stay. Hard to find characters in comics that command such consternation. I imagine her origin includes a bite from a radioactive Amanda Waller.

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“She’s gotta be Hydra…or hungry.”

Crash… Boom…Bang! Loud noises are another foil to this script. Everyone needs to make a grand entrance and how better to do that than smashing through a concrete wall. That’s all fine and dandy, problem is the Thing never notices. Actually, NONE of the Hospital staff notices. Time for a full scale evacuation maybe? Seriously, check out Mole Man here just rolling up in an underground death tank. Is this a Healthcare facility or a drug den where everyone is so doped up on morphine they pay no attention subterranean slime balls?

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“I’m not having my blood work done here, those needles are outrageous!”

Why let the men have all the fun? The Grapplers, a team of female wrestlers led by the miserably monikered Poundcakes, have a bone to pick with the Thing. Unlike some of the other interlopers, they can’t manage to break in thanks to Captain America standing watch. This battle is boring as all get out but I really just needed an excuse to include this panel in the article. “Dirty DeFalco” strikes again or should I seek professional help?

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“Last time I answered to Poundcakes was back in Prison sweetheart”

What of Marvel’s malevolent dictator Dr.Doom? He’s aware of his  adversaries recent ailments courtesy of the Daily Bugle. That’s quite a haul, New York to Latveria, hope he tips the paper boy. Surely, he of all people would love to take advantage of this situation. Nah, he’d rather go flirt with an oil can or something.

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“Villainy 102: Stay pissed and continue to throw shit. Congrats, you graduated”

Back to those so called “Jackals”. Looks like they brought Secret Wars to the streets. There is one criminal who has a more sensible plan. The Sandman is one sneaky dude. Slithering through the shafts, he has found success where all others have failed and enters our preferred patients room. What’s he going to do? Smother him with a pillow, fill his cracks with granules of gloom until he snaps? Heck no! Sandy has shown up to pound some brews and smoke some stogies. You see, unlike the other barbarians at the gate, Sandman doesn’t have a grudge but rather gratitude towards the Thing for turning his life around.

 

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“You guys go ahead and duke it out, I’ll be dry humping a vent”

That’s how this comes to a close. Sandy and Ben enjoying some cigars while chaos reigns in the parking lot. I hate being the person to bring this up but If the bad guys really wanted to send Ben Grimm to the graveyard, they should have reached across company lines and hired the Joker to do the job. Experience matters.

 

“Somebody get Nurse Hasslebutt a Snickers!”

The Verdict? The Doctor is out. Overall, It’s ok. The humor is alright but far from Bwah Ha Ha funny. The art is decent enough for the time period. If your not a completist there really is no reason to seek this out. To be fair, if you can find it in a dollar bin, there are worse ways to spend a buck. Consider this baby Rated Meh.

 

David Schultz is the Creator/Co-Host of the Parlipod Podcast. Give it a listen on Soundcloud or via the GWW Radio Network. If you have a comic you would like to see reviewed on Two Staple Gold or just want to harass Dave, follow @lavahog on Twitter. The last caption was the 250,000th time a Snickers gag was used on the internet. Balloons fell from my ceiling as I wrote it. Yay me.

 

 

*All images/video clips are rights of their respective owners. Links to external sites  are used solely for informational purposes.

 

 

 

 

 

Metamorpho #4

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While it doesn’t happen often, sometimes a cover grabs me. It’s so enticing that I can’t resist getting a little giddy to see what’s inside. Metamorpho #4 dated Jan-Feb. 1966 is exactly what the Doctor ordered. It’s colorful, action packed and takes you on an adventure prior to page one. Pure silver aged goodness.

Now that the front of the book has amused my avacados, let’s open it up and find out if the carpet matches the drapes. First off, here are the creators that brought us Metamorpho’s Mexican migration titled “The Awesome Escapades of the Abominable Playboy”.

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I’ve written about the scripter Bob Haney before in Two Staple Gold. Be sure to give that column a look see. Shameless self promotion is my middle name. Sorry Bob…

The renowned Ramona Fradon penciled this groovy little gordita.  She is truly a living legend. Besides being the co-creator of Metamorpho, her Aquaman work is considered some of the most iconic in the history of the character. Spending the majority of her career at DC, Ramona also drew the Brenda Starr newspaper strip from 1980 until her retirement as an illustrator in 1995.

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Something you need to know about Rex Tillerson aka Metamorpho. He may be one butt ugly dude but deep down he’s a romantic. ‘Morpho was created by mad scientist Simon Stagg and he’s in love with Simon’s daughter Sapphire. Sure, her dad is nuttier than a bag of bolts, has a creepy cro-magnon as an assistant and her name is suitable for a stripper but what a looker! From a readers perspective, this makes for an interesting supporting cast to say the least.

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“That’s funny. ‘El Bonehead Stupendo’ was my nickname in college. Small world.”

Problem is, Sapphire is one fickle female. She has feelings for Rex but wants more attention. How does one garner extra affection from DC’s resident Elemental Man? Easy, he may be able turn his limbs to steel but isn’t impervious to a taste of jealousy. That bitter nectar can make the most steadfast superhero a little loco.

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“Could’ve started Operation: Honesty but the story would’ve ended next panel.”

She selects “Cha-Cha” Chavez, an over the top latin lover as the tool for her spite campaign. A Mexican millionaire who’s wealth is a mystery. In an impressive initial act, he showers Sapphire’s home with flowers. So much so that Team ‘Morpho must escape to the roof. He then displays his redesign of Mt.Rushmore featuring Sapphire’s likeness. Ridiculous? Absolutely, but her dad is sold.

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“Wonder when ‘Bring her Hot Fudge’ makes it’s debut on Urban Dictionary.”

Metamorpho isn’t pleased Cha-Cha is moving Heaven and Earth to woo is gal but has no say in the matter when the entire clan is invited to board his yacht for a trip to his homeland. Setting sail steaming mad, he notices something odd while stewing on the starboard side. A submarine has launched a torpedo at their boat. Rex quickly transforms into a Manganese Paravane (hell if I knew what that was) and destroys the missile.

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“Technically, if there were no time a paperclip would have been a logical choice.”

In the process, Metamorpho managed to also blow himself to bits. His limbs conveniently land on board the yacht. Speaking of opportune situations, there happens to be a lab below deck that Stagg uses to piece his monster back together. He better hurry, an attack plane has started spraying​ bullets at everyone topside. Returning in time to save the day, our hero smells something fishy. Accusing Cha-Cha​ of foul play,  it’s explained as a Mexican way of saying howdy. Nice excuse buddy. What’s next, your Chihuahua ate your homework?

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“OK Chavez enough malarkey…wait, that dog is friggin’ HUGE!”

 

Settling in at Cha-Cha’s mansion proves to be no picnic either. The source of his money is indeed based in criminal activity. He’s an arms dealer and angry rebels have stormed the compound. In a blaze of gunfire, they kidnap Simon Stagg and his lackey Java. Well, take a wild guess who has to go off and save everyone’s guacamole again. This time however, rather than transform into some wacky device, he rolls like a native. Hi-Ho Silver away! Bad ass to the max dude.

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” Sir…that cigar WILL BE AVENGED!”

The hostages have been put before a firing squad for their affiliation with Chavez. Simon, who in the beginning would have covered himself in chicken feathers for the man now renounces him to no avail. As the guns go off, Metamorpho rides in and turns his arm into what he calls an “iron mitt”. To me it looks like a giant ladle but I suppose that’s a tough feature to sell when marketing your powers. “What can you do?” they ask. “Me, I turn into an indestructible spoon!”. Yeah, iron mitt it is.

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“The DCU Ping Pong Champion of 1966”

The rebellion realizes they stand no chance versus a superhuman, so rather than fight they make their case to Metamorpho. They inform him that Cha-Cha Chavez is a dictator that goes by the name “El Lupo” and is one cutthroat bastard. The weapons he procures are used against his own countrymen. ‘Morpho is having none of that. Sapphire is still in the grubby grasp of that sinister señor. He rallies the troops and rides back to the hacienda only to discover Cha-Cha​ escaping via helicopter with his lady.

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“At that height, I think I’d just jump out of the damned thing.”

They’ve fled to the Capital where Metamorpho goes incognito mosquito in a nifty sombrero, following their tracks to a bull fight. The nation’s insurgents has taken to him, spray painting propaganda throughout the city in his name. Beats having your phone number scrawled in bathroom stall by comparison.

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“For a good time call Geoff Johns.”

After entering the arena, Metamorpho discovers that the bull has been fitted with a booby trap. The tip of it’s horns are actually bomb detonators. One tap and the stadium gets blown to smithereens. Well, say no more. This looks like a job for Meta-Matrador, Ole! Yeah, I just made that nickname up but I kind of dig it. The crowd, unaware of their lives being in danger are wowed by Meta-Matrador’s skills. He proceeds to reshape into various forms, avoiding a perilous poke. ‘Morpho snaps off the pesky prick, saving the lives of the onlookers but leaving the Bull with a case of antler envy.

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“Isn’t that illegal? Shouldn’t he get a yellow card or something?”

 

 

 

Defeated, Cha-Cha tries to make off with Sapphire. Java the caveman jumps to the rescue  but you just knew somebody was gonna get jabbed in the ass, or as I lovingly refer to it as a “toro tickled”. With Java down for the count, Metamorpho turns himself into gelatin glue and stops our bad guy in his tracks. That’s right, a scoundrel undone by a snack! Shouldn’t be surprised though as Jello sure did a number on Bill Cosby and Lindsay Lohan. Talk about getting yourself into sticky situations! Ahem…

“J-E-L-L-Oh hell NO!”

Full disclosure, I left a couple of plot points out of my recap. Why? I really want you to go check this out. It’s campy as you imagine but the book is crazier than a pinata filled with firecrackers. I love the ever livin’ crap out of it. Props to me for not fully spoiling a fifty one year old comic. Gotta take my pats on the back where I can get them people.

Here’s a novel idea. Some of you may be familiar with the Justice League Action cartoon. It’s actually pretty rad and my kid really enjoys it. Why not take some silver age yarns like this one and adapt them to animation? It can’t be faithfully reproduced as some of the subject matter isn’t suitable for kids these days but it’s the whole enchilada when it comes to silly entertainment. See that, I’m an idea man. Show me the dinero.

Pick this one up. It’s a classic.

David Schultz is the Creator/Co-Host of the Parlipod Podcast. Give it a listen on Soundcloud or via the GWW Radio Network. If you have a comic you would like to see reviewed on Two Staple Gold or just want to harass Dave, follow @lavahog on Twitter. For the record, “El Lupo” has no meaning in Mexican Spanish, so feel free to toss that nugget around. Your Welcome.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Metamorpho #4 images rights of DC Comics. All other pictures and videos rights of their respective owners.

 

Justice League of America #70

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There’s just something about the Creeper I like. I can’t quite put my finger on it. Maybe it’s the colors and offbeat costume or my affection for those on the B-List. What I can say for certain, there’s not too many great Creeper stories out there. I’ve enjoyed some of the original Ditko material but if someone were to ask me “what’s the greatest Creeper story ever told?”, I would reply it’s yet to be written.

When Justice League of America #70 (cover dated March 1969) landed on my desk, I was excited. Here it is, this could be the one! Not only is this book written by a legend in the field, just look at this cover. He toys with the League in all of his gaudy greatness.

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The answer sadly is… no. This is not the book that breaks the mold for the Creeper. All is not lost though as this is the debut of a character that will change the DC Universe forever! Are you excited for the big reveal? No? Understandable as who I’m about to introduce would be lucky to get a kazoo serenade. Ladies and Germs, this is the first appearance of… Mind Grabber Kid!

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“One thing is for sure, Dishpan hands need not apply”

Mind Grabber Kid gives the Creeper a run for his money in the tacky garments department but as we will come to find out, lacked the staying power. I’ll get more into that later. First, I mentioned a true luminary scripted this jazzy jaunt, so let’s talk the talents who put this together.

It was written by Denny O’Neil. Whew. I mean, c’mon. The man left classics at every turn of his career. His runs on Green Lantern/Green Arrow and Batman with Neal Adams are  considered some of the most iconic books of their era. He also edited a Daredevil run by some guy called Frank Miller. GREATNESS.

Art chores were handled by Dick Dillin and Sid Greene. Dillin started drawing for Quality Comics, most notably on the Blackhawk series. He later moved on to DC and spent 12 years as the penciller on Justice League. Greene inked for many publishers for over 30 years but his true claim to fame was helping to define the look of DC’s Silver Age characters.

As promised, back to Mind Grabber Kid. I’ll affectionately refer to him as “Grabby” even though, unlike others in a position of power, he sticks with brainwaves only. He’s hitting the scene for the first time and busts up a robbery right out of the gate. Not too shabby. The onlookers however aren’t as impressed with his heroics as they are with the exploits of the J.L.A. being broadcast on TV in a nearby shop.

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“We just got our asses kicked by…Forbush man???”

This fills Grabby with jealousy. So much so that when Shrek like Extra Terrestrials who love oven mitts send a transmission to Earth, he intercepts it with his mind and delivers a terrible reply. In a nutshell, he claims the League are just prick bastards that must be destroyed.

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“All of our controls are hot…VERY HOT!”

Where is the Justice League of America while all this is going down? They’re terribly bored actually. Watching a baseball game is a option but leave it to Batman keep their biscuits busy. Well, provided he doesn’t have to do any of the work himself.

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“Green Lantern speaks with his eyes and Batman’s getting the what’s up”

Investigate the Creeper it is then. Our mean yellow-green laughing machine is on a case of his own. He’s out to get the mob and finds out their next move is to rob an atomic power plant. Why? Honestly, we never find out but whatever it’s the groovy 60’s man. Pass the triple dipped white blotter and hop in the van, we have a wild three way to get to.

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“Even further below, at the Earth’s core, nothing happens… but I had to keep it going”

The Creeper acts first, beating up mobsters with ease but the Atom jumps in and pulls a shit for brains move. Distracted, the Creeper gets K.O.’ed and Atom socks the bad guy. That’s all the proof the aliens needed that the JLA are bad for business. Screwed up sense of reasoning there but any excuse to don a Meta-Cap makes it worthwhile.

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“Don’t forget your jackets! It’s chilly out there”

So what the heck is a meta-cap you say? Pretty dope gadgets actually. They can mimic and counteract the League’s powers. Disposing of them one by one, the aliens encounter a serious problem: Superman’s abilities. There’s just too much to try and imitate. I was actually surprised by the “super-suction”. I can only imagine when that comes in handy.

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“Jeez G.L., that sucks..err..blows..umm…”

Don’t forget about our little buddy Mind Grabber Kid. He’s just kicking it at home and hears a news report on the radio about the ruckus. Time to throw the long johns back on baby! It’s also fairly rad that he could care less what his parents think. They just assume he’s taking part in a school play…or sniffing glue.

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“Could have something to do with that Kooky crack pipe”

By the time Grabby arrives at the scene, the aliens had used some atomic junk to simulate a red sun, neutralizing Superman. These guys are legit! Oh wait, one problem. The Creeper registers as a normal human to all of their instruments and when it comes to fisticuffs, those oven mitts don’t cut the mustard.

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“Yeah you have something in common, your both color blind ya knucklehead”

The Mobsters prove to be the dumbest criminals alive. Rather than taking the opportunity to high tail it out of there, they see this as a chance to whack the League. Grabby realizes his spite was misguided and it’s up to him to save the League. Using his telekinesis, he pulls Superman’s hand away from the red sun’s rays.

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“Wurg? Must be the sound one makes while crapping their pants”

Superman bounces back and takes down the overzealous law breakers. He then plays the role of sneaky weasel and tells the Creeper to scoot. Grabby apologizes for lying to an entire race. Oddly, they just say whatevs and hit the road. Mind Grabber Kid learned a lesson on humility, finding inspiration in the Creeper. This kind of annoyed me. The whole book, Grabby keeps stating he is a regular Joe. The dude has some serious powers and is lucky he didn’t get his ass meta-capped into next week. Quite the whiny little bastard if you ask me. We end with everyone happy and the action wrapped up in time to finish watching the ball game.

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“Nobody says liar, liar, pant’s on fire in outer space”

The word I would choose to sum this story up is goofy. That’s not a bad thing. It was so zany however, I was kinda expecting Brother Power the Geek to pop up out of nowhere. This is where it gets his entertainment value from as it’s truly a campy outing. Let’s not forget this dandy dropped in 1969, so the narrative was loyal to the whimsical comics kids enjoyed.

Earlier, I touched upon how this was not a Creeper classic and Mind Grabber Kid’s inability to go mainstream. They both still have merits. For the Creeper, his quality as an anti-hero is on full display. In many ways, he could be perceived as a Joker/Spider-Man amalgam. A misunderstood hero who cracks wise and opts to maniacally laugh when faced with danger. What’s not to love about a wildcard who’s intentions can be difficult to navigate as a tightrope.

Grabby…oh Grabby. At the conclusion of this issue, readers are urged to write in asking for his return. America’s youngsters must have forgotten to lick the stamps as he wasn’t seen again until 1992. Leave it to Grant Morrison to dust him off as “Mind Grabber Man” during his Seven Soldiers project roughly 12 years ago but to love him entitles you crazy cat lady status in comic book fandom.

Not the best story to ever see print, it still has a little bit of something for everybody and is worthy of your attention. Dig in on some early Denny O’Neill and enjoy the trip.

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David Schultz is the Creator/Co-Host of the Parlipod Podcast. Give it a listen on Soundcloud or via the GWW Radio Network. If you have a comic you would like to see reviewed on Two Staple Gold or just want to harass Dave, follow @lavahog on Twitter.

 

 

 

 

Images rights of DC Comics

 

Brave and the Bold #137

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Just about every comic book fan has heard of DC’s Brave and the Bold. The first volume  ran for 28 years and 200 issues. Thanks to the popularity of his TV series the title exclusively featured Batman team ups with #74 and struck a chord with fans. Other versions have come and gone since the original run ended in ’83 but it also inspired a successful animated series that aired from 2008-2011. So it may be fair to assume you have a favorite story that stemmed from the series.

Could it be the one where fighting  sorcerers gave Jason Blood a hankering for Chinese food? Didn’t think so. How about the time Batman was bested by a bottle. Must have slipped through the cracks. No worries, I’m here to fill you in on this mess known as Brave and the Bold 137 “House of the Serpent” starring Batman and the Demon. Cover dated October 1977.

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Before I tell you about the creative team on this book, I need you to feel my pain. Some of these older stories just plum stink. The talents behind them however have resumes that could make you blush. No exception here. So while I enjoy finding the humor in clunkers and wonder “what the hell were they thinking?”, I respect the work put into a book. Before you say I’m just a punk, keep that in mind.

The writer was Bob Haney. A WWII veteran that co-created DC’s Teen Titans, Metamorpho, the Enchantress and Eclipso among others. So yeah, tip your cap.

John Calnan handled the art chores. John started his career doing Westerns and created Lucius Fox with Len Wein. He worked as an art director in advertising and a Television producer for agencies calling comics “work on the side”.

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming…

Welcome to Gotham’s Chinatown. The streets are empty sans one-man. Who would take a leisurely stroll through this part of the city at this hour? Batman is who and he’s strutting down the sidewalk like he owns the joint because nobody does a foot patrol better than the Dark Knight. Cue lightning…or just a creepy lantern.

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“Did you wander around aimlessly then as well?”

I’m going to get this out of the way, the Batmobile never appeared in this issue. Oddly he never references or uses it once despite the need to travel across town. I’ll get more into that later on but for now I’ll just assume he’s trying to log miles on his Fitbit.

In the count your blessings department: If ever tossed out of a building, consider yourself a lottery winner when Batty just happens to be outside and saves you with an awning. This guy just avoided a broken neck and for the dudes that chucked him, you not only have the worst luck in the history of mankind, but Batman is going to pound your last brain cell out of your earhole. Next time, look before you litter! Dummies.

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“Always give complimentary sack shots after a save.”

Turns out the place is a gambling den operated by a flock of teenagers called the “Dragon Gang”. They should find whoever came up with that name and introduce them to an unlocked window pronto.

Batman displays his incredible fighting prowess. Naw, just kidding. He flexes his ass cheeks, touts his suits deflection ability then gets knocked out with an empty bottle. Should’ve stayed downstairs there hotshot. I suppose using a thug to demonstrate your baseball swing earns points BUT only if you call your shot first.

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“For my next amazing feat, I will…OUCH!”

Jim Gordon and the police arrive. It’s revealed these hooligans are looking to take over the local turf. Rather than bring that empty bottle of MD 20/20 to the cave for display next to the giant penny, he vows to protect Chinese New Year. Yes, he swore an oath to a holiday. Batman is better than all of us.

He is back hoofing it on the sidewalk and just happens to bump into Jason Blood and his fiance who just finished grubbing on duck. After hearing Bats account of what went down with the Dragons, he decides it’s best if his alter ego, The Demon, joins the case. Telling his babe to mind her own beeswax, they’re off to pound some pavement and delinquent derriere.

bb1375.1“And a misogynistic asshole problem.”

Thanks to some random dude shouting “Batman come quickly!!” they are led to what looks to be a relic shop. There they find an old man dead with a petrified look on his face. Batman takes a quick look and determines that this was a natural death. Hold on there Mr.Worlds Greatest Detective, a woman comes busting out the back screaming. She claims the deceased was frightened by the evil wizard Shahn-Zi and she’s got some soggy weeds in her hand to prove it! This is no run of the mill sticky icky. Batman knows his greens. This only comes from one place in the world, China’s Yellow River and is the calling card for none other than, you guessed it, Shahn-Zi! He’s got the good stuff baby.

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“Or maybe this issue bored him to death?”

After filling Blood in on Shahn-Zi’s backstory, it’s decided that they will split up and comb Chinatown for the sorcerer. You take the mysterious fog on the right, I’ll take the alley shrouded in darkness. Can I get a chest bump? Go Team!

The Foggy route was the short end of the stick as Jason Blood immediately runs into the Z-man and gets his Brundlefly on. No fisticuffs, just a quick incantation that makes him bug out.

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“When transforming into an insect, pants are optional.”

On a nearby rooftop the Caped Crusader also finds Shahn-Zi but by simply wielding a knife, it’s a tip off that this is an imposter. It’s actually the leader of the dragons, Willy Chang. He’s still into hurling humans from heights but Batman gives him some sweet chin music and avoids becoming a gravel cake.

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“No truer words have ever been spoken.”

Blood retained his thoughts despite being in fly form. He’s lost the ability to speak but has an idea. If he can write out the incantation to summon the Demon on a scummy window pane, maybe just maybe, it will have the same effect .He does just that and wouldn’t you know it, the spell is broken. Astral energy starts flying… along with fish hooks. I guess when your power is magical you just summon up the most random shit that comes to mind.

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“Kinda kinky if you ask me.”

Shahn-zi whips out a door of illusion and hightails out of the fray. Again with the spur of the moment magic malarkey. Batman had hauled Willy down to the Police Station. Only thing that did though was make Jim Gordon all sweaty. So despite having him on charges of attempted murder and impersonating a Warlock (The latter should be a crime, write your congressman people.) he is set free. Batty uses this as a perfect opportunity to follow him back to his lair. He prowls the rooftops and even rides atop a gondola while in pursuit.

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“Never on Sundays Willy…Na Na a boo boo”

Shahn-Zi is waiting at the hideout, presumably pissed someone is running round in a knock off of his knickers. Willy goes after him with his blade. When is this friggin’ guy going to cut it out with the knife stuff? The answer is the next panel as he is tripped and stabs himself in the chest. The remaining Dragons are in shock  and we get the greatest statement ever said in unison.

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“Seriously, that had to be planned.”

Batman goes all gung ho after Shahn-Zi  but the teaser from the cover finally occurs. He is quickly transformed into a real Bat. Like Jason Blood, he keeps the ability to think but has a hankering for jugular juice. Meanwhile, the Demon is enjoying a siesta in the sewer. He has a little telepathic chat with Merlin who instructs him on how to defeat a fellow practitioner of hoodoo.

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“Looks pretty damn comfy to me.”

Shahn-Zi told Batman that his change becomes permanent at midnight. Why is it never 11:45. Has to be stroke of 12 every damn time. Anyways, our hero starts flying around in absolute panic. The New Year celebration has begun with a parade. The Dragons are concealed within a large paper snake that’s part of the procession. They are completely under the control of Shahn who, in fact, is the paper snake. You ready to try some of that Yellow River weed yet? Puff puff pass, enter the Demon and some serious fists of fury.

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“So that’s where Erik Larsen got the idea from!”

The trick Merlin passed along to the Demon while in Gotham’s turd tunnels was Mongoose beats Snake. All of that ancient wisdom could have been had watching  15 minutes worth of Animal Planet. Naturally, the Demon morphs into a little fur ball and defeats Shahn-Zi with a good old bite to the neck. The baddie dissipates into the air and we are free from his lousy super villainy for now.

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“Do I have a mongoose in my pocket or is that snake just happy to see me?”

So what of our boy Batman? He was flapping around trying to attack innocent bystanders. Karma is great. Just as he saved the guy at the start of the story, Demon’s victory chomp occurred as the clock ticked to the witching hour. He proved to be of no use in saving the day but screw it, let’s have some soup!

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“That doesn’t sound even remotely appetizing wiseguy”

This issue was nothing short of terrible. I’ve read a fair amount of junk in my day and this was up there. It contained moments that were racist towards Asian people and the argument that it was released during a different era has no merit, this is trash.

Story is boring, Art is flimsy and there’s no substance or fun to be had. I would use the term “cover to cover crapfest” to relate the pure loathing I feel for this but the cover was the one thing I did enjoy. Colorful and inviting, if nothing more than to sucker a kid into buying this off the rack.

So what would compel one to own this book? A Brave and the Bold completist perhaps? Other than that, issue #137 meet my furnace.

Well, this mag was a complete bust but I’m a silver lining type of person, 1977 was a great year to get crabs. I’m serious…

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David Schultz is the Creator/Co-Host of the Parlipod Podcast. Give it a listen on Soundcloud or via the GWW Radio Network. If you have a comic you would like to see reviewed on Two Staple Gold or just want to harass Dave, follow @lavahog on Twitter.

Thor #391

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Confession time, I don’t like Thor. In comics or in the films, I’ve never been a fan. I’ll even go as far to say he’s one of my least favorite Marvel characters period. I picked up some random issues as a kid because it beat doing my homework while waiting for the bus but I just can’t get into a character that rocks a silver salad bowl on his head.

So, imagine my surprise as the first Thor Ragnarok trailer dropped and my jaw followed suit. It doesn’t hurt they are adapting bits of Planet Hulk in the flick but still, this is the first time the God of Thunder moved the needle for me. so to celebrate this shocking situation, I’ve decided to give Goldilocks a second chance. Join me as I recap Thor #391 “The Madness of Mongoose” cover dated May 1988.

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“Just don’t call him during dinner.”

I suppose it’s fitting that this book has Spidey as a guest star considering how I jazzed I am for ‘ol Jade Jaws in Ragnarok. But as the arrow on the cover says, “It had to happen” so who am I to argue with the blurb department. Coincidence can go screw.

Before we get fitted for tiger striped boots, it’s a Two Staple Gold tradition to give credit to the creative team that made steel beam battles big in ’88, Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz. These dudes are legends in the biz. I don’t want to sound like a snob, but if your not aware of these gents, minimize this screen and get over to Google for an education.

Our story opens with Spider-Man swinging over the streets of Manhattan in a snowstorm. Typical stuff except this time either he’s eager to get mounted by M.J. or he likes to wear bikinis. Hope Aunt May never discovers the latter.

thor3912.2“Your secret is safe with me Pete.”

Meanwhile, in a secluded hotel room our villain gives us the standard “spewing his evil intentions” routine. He’s in some serious need of dental work but I guess it fits with the whole feasting on living flesh thing. I get it, a Mongoose has fangs but dang, he must floss with jumper cables.

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“Hey buddy, can a Cellsmograph target a dentist?”

We finally get to the star of the book, Thor. He’s returned to Earth in his Siguard Jarlson guise. This look may only be second to Clark Kent in the shameful secret identity department. Seriously, he just threw some glasses on. Snappy as they may be, you would think he might have opted to go more incognito mosquito. He could just wear a cap that reads “I’m not Thor” to the same effect.

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“That’s more like it.”

Asgard’s favorite son is happy to mix with the locals but discovers the apartment he was renting had been demolished in his absence. Baby, It’s cold outside and where will he rest that glorious head of hair? Looks like our hero needs a jobby job.

Luckily for Odinson, he has a buddy eager to hire a 6’6″ Norse God to work construction. This issue is significant to hard core Thor followers as the introduction of Eric Masterson, who later becomes fan favorite Thunderstrike. That’s all fine and dandy but for my money, It’s the debut of Aloysius R. Jamesly. One happening cat who emotes like a champ. Unlike Masterson he was never given a hammer. Probably would have dropped it on his foot while soliloquizing.

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“Did loudmouth here bring the donuts?”

No sooner than Sig starts his new gig, the Mongoose pops out ready to rumble. The battle is on! Well, that is until Thor gets his ass promptly knocked off the roof. He’s without Mjolner. I thought he could summon that thing at will but maybe there was some jealousy at play. Replace me with a nail gun? Enjoy the flight…jerk.

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“Just whip that ponytail around like propeller big guy”

Fret not, Spidey wasn’t just zipping around the city in tight pajamas for nothing. Timing tends to be perfect in comics and is no exception here as Web Head swoops in to save Thor’s giblets. He still has ladies swimwear on the brain though, failing to recognize the large dude he just saved who looks EXACTLY like his buddy Thor is the genuine article. He also forgets that he has faced Mongoose before but he doesn’t have the benefit of editors notes like we do. Mulligan granted, thanks Ralf.

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“That bag has a dope hair cut”

Thor grabs his trusty mallet from his duffle bag that doubles as a bean bag chair and is back to form as a dashing deity. Both brave warriors join forces to kick some bad guy booty and all is going according to superhero 101 until the hammer gets laid down…on the 34th floor. Smooth move Blondie. Should’ve kept the glasses, they made you LOOK smarter at least.

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“The only thing that blows is your decision making”

I already noted our Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man has been flakey thus far. It gets much worse. First, he believes that wrapping your legs around a bad guy smothering him with your noodle nest is the best course of action. Next time you need a Mohel just check the yellow pages Parker.

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“Or just put some razor sharp chompers in your crotch”

Then, after Mongoose damages the foundation and flees the scene, Spider-Man would rather haul ass than help Thor hold the building up. I thought that was his forte. Instead we get, “Saving lives is for suckers! Been there done that…Uncle Who? I’m Skedaddle Man!”

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“I left the Refrigerator running, gotta bounce!”

The Wall Crawler sticks around, erecting girders to reinforce the collapsing structure. Pretty easy solution honestly. Everyone is saved, Thor rushes Eric Masterson to the local hospital and Spidey’s pissed he lost out on a day’s pay.

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“J.J.J. would’ve paid extra for those pics of you wussing out”

 

Down to the nitty gritty, I actually enjoyed this issue. Only took about 29 years for me to warm up to it. My inner child is frowning somewhere but it’s actually, dare I say, a fun read.

Should I give this run another chance? Absolutely. DeFalco and Frenz sure know how to put together a good old fashioned adventure. Am I even the slightest bit more interested in Thor? Not one iota. Sorry, it will take a whole lot more than this to get me skipping across the Rainbow bridge whistling dixie.

Sometimes you need a comic to escape your worries or reality for a while. Nothing too deep or thought provoking. It’s a much healthier alternative than cocaine and hookers. Or so I’ve heard. Give this one a shot.

David Schultz is the Creator/Co-Host of the Parlipod Podcast. Give it a listen on Soundcloud or via the GWW Radio Network. To harass him on Twitter follow @lavahog

BONUS: Impress your friends with Aloysius R. Jamesly TRIVIA! Christopher Priest believes he was the inspiration behind the character: “After I left staff, there were issues of THOR that featured a guy named a Aloysuis P. Jamesly, who was blatantly and litigiously me. A mean-spirited Tuckerization that, even I have to admit, was really funny in an insider kind of way. Fans might not find Jamesly that funny, but it was a wicked rip at me, and largely deserved, so I didn’t make a big deal about it.”

Quote from Marvel Wikia

All Thor images are rights of Marvel Comics.

 

 

 

 

 

U.S. 1 #3

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A LOOK BACK AT THE WONDERS THAT ONCE OCCUPIED THE SPINNER RACKS

Comic Book companies have always been keen on publishing anything to keep up with fads and tie-ins with toy lines. Here, The House of Ideas had the best of both worlds. Marvel was mocked for this more notably than anyone back in the day due in large part to books like the one I’m about to write about, U.S.1 Issue #3.

Apparently, trucking made a pit stop in popular culture back in the 80’s. Enough so that toy manufacturer Tyco had a “U.S. 1  Electric Racing Set” to perfectly pair with a licensed comic. I must have missed the hoopla as a kid although I was hip enough with the times to rock a painters cap.

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“Sure beats tinfoil to keep the voices away and ladies at bay”

Before I get into this wreck of a comic, let me get you up to speed on America’s  fascination with asphalt. Films like Smokey and the Bandit, Coast to Coast, and Convoy among others, prompted viewers to imagine free spirited life on the open road. I mean, I get it. I couldn’t tell you how may times I’ve wanted to trade in my troubles for a Trans-Am with Dom DeLuise riding shotgun. But, I suppose, like any far fetched fantasy it’s more than what it’s cracked up to be. Hell, it lead Robert Blake, star of  the aforementioned Coast to Coast, to the sauce….and ahem, murder.

U.S.1 has made the rounds as a property to point a finger and enjoy a good chuckle at over the years. What may surprise you is, the book lasted twelve issues. Oh yes, a story about a trucker with a cybernetic brain, “C.B.” for short, had enough gas to survive an entire year. I can’t say if it was cancelled in ’84 because trucking gave way to Karate Kid, the toy was made with lead paint or Marvel discovered it’s dignity. I’ll take my chances and blame Ralph Macchio for this one.

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“These are the cold eyes of a genre killer! Aww shit, he’s got sunglasses on.”

Now that I’ve examined the nations desire to hop into a flat bed with an industry associated with gnarly beards and overalls, let’s hit the road with U.S.1 #3 “Rhyme of the Ancient Highwayman”!

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“The Waze app really porked me this time”

The cover is actually pretty cool and implies a serious adventure awaits the reader. A big rig skidding off a molten cliff in Hades! But forget that, focus on the corner box. The image of our titular character looking more like a hitch hiker that lost a contact lens is the true indicator on what to expect here.

This book was written by comic legend Al Milgrom. There’s rarely a long box out there without some form of his work in it. I can only chalk up his involvement with this as “just a gig” or blackmail inspired his decision to jump aboard.

The pencils were handled by accomplished artist Frank Springer. This guy did it all. A veteran who drew “pictures, charts…that sort of thing” for the Army in the 50’s, his career spanned decades. Working in comics, animation and newspaper strips. Like Milgrom, you can only assume the electricity bill was due, so U.S. 1 it is.

We open with our hero Ulysses S. Archer, aka U.S. of A ( go grab a flag and a cold one, I’ll wait…)  barreling through hell in his tractor trailer pursued by the heinous Highwayman. Hey, the story is like the cover after all, groovy! Nope. This only lasted for the first page as appearing out of nowhere is a woman wielding a “Hypno-Whip”. She proceeds to beat the ever living snot out of him, to the extent his brain gets exposed. No better time to introduce newcomers to what makes him so damned special, that C.B. skull. The narration box gets a little randy here and made me question if this script is safe for work.

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“Louder, Harder, Throbbing…gotta get me one of those Hypno-Whips!”

This whole scenario proves to be a wet dream disguised as a nightmare. I had planned on skipping ahead in the plot but something made me take pause. How 80’s action hero is it to sleep with your headband on? It’s equally grody as throughout the issue he NEVER takes it off. Hey buddy, no shirt, no shoes, no service..wait…that headband is proof you can kill a man with your bare hands. C’mon in!

It’s also worth mentioning, if you are a first time reader of this title like I was, it’s fair to wonder who the stogie chomper is at his bedside, tossing bad Eskimo puns around. Even worse, who the heck is he calling “Wideload”? Seems dickish but we’ll get to that in a little bit.

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“The gun show is open 24/7 baby”

Nothing cures rattled nerves better than caffeine, so U.S. decides to get a cup of coffee at a diner that also serves as his base of operations named the Short Stop. Because his problems are more important than you enjoying a breakfast omelette, he loudly recalls his origin for all the customers to hear. The Highwayman caused the crash that crushed his melon and is responsible for the disappearance of his brother Jeff, which was a given as he couldn’t be bothered to wear a bandana.

An old man in a booth decides to get his Large Marge on, piping in that he knew a tale of how the Highwayman came to be. In the early days of hauling, there was a man who could “drive long and hard with the best of ’em”. Yeah, let’s revisit that safe for work thing.

No one can escape Father Time and this wagoner had whippersnappers hot on his tracks. Unlike most people with performance issues he opted to skip Canadian mail order supplements and look for a solution within the dark arts.

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“Dude…I don’t even wear pants”

Spurned by every creep with a candelabra, he finally finds a willing trade partner. A demon grants his request for the small asking price of his soul AND spending eternity in  servitude snagging spirits on the Interstate. Good deal dingus!

The stranger displays some giddy up by finishing his yarn and bolting out the door. U.S. stands stunned then makes chase, but finds he was pretty spry for an old guy and is long gone. Returning to his java, our hero pines to hear more and wishes aloud (thought balloons need not apply) to hear more about the Highwayman.

Hopefully someone has been oiling the hinges because the door swings open again and someone proclaims “Why not hire a private detective?”. At the entrance stands a living embodiment of a Bad News Bears bowl cut named Retread. He’s new on the scene and remember the whole Wideload thing from earlier? It’s introduction time!

Here comes some marvelous monikers! The owner of the diner is Ed “Poppa Wheelie” Wheeler, his wife is Wideload Annie and it sucks to be the waitress as her name is Mary McGrill. That must be Scottish for living off tips.

Retread explains he once worked for a P.I. firm but completely sucked at his job. This is all U.S. needs to hear and a sidekick is born. They hit the road in his based on a toy signature Semi.

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“Whats your name sweetheart…Lot Lizard?”

Despite only meeting U.S. nine panels ago, Retread is the only character allowed private thoughts by the writer. Good thing as he’s man crushing on his new best bud. He aspires to be like U.S. and believes “this is the beginning of a long lasting friendship” Good god, I can’t wait until this guy bites it.

They quickly come upon a convoy led by a Mack in Black… The Highwayman! Put on your Yee-Haw helmets and leave caution on the curb, here comes the action. Gunfire, twisted metal and Blimps dropping bombs. That’s right, a blimp. don’t believe me? The radar scope never lies.

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“Too bad this thing doesn’t have a logic lever”

They fake their own demise with the aid of a smokescreen. A plan is devised to sneak up on the goons who are just chilling in a canyon. Don’t ask me, I didn’t write it. While surveilling the situation, U.S. notices the man from the diner standing in the middle of the crowd. Sweet baby biscuits! Even though they are standing around like brain dead baboons, they must want to kill the old bastard for sharing the secret of the Highwayman! Who needs a private eye with those dazzling deduction skills?

Retread is given a flare gun and told to create diversion once U.S. takes the low ground. This numbskull with something flammable? Sweet, he’s finally going to blow his own ass up! Well, not quite. He does manage to play the role of clumsy cohort tumbling down the ridge but only burns his britches. Worse part is those warm wranglers also prevent him from getting whacked.

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“Witness the invention of FLARE-FU”

Outnumbered, U.S. pulls his “Lucky Silver Dollar” out of his pocket. This is no common currency. It serves as a remote for his 18 wheeler and sends it speeding into the brawl making everyone scatter. Here’s what bugs the ever living crap out of me. Recall that snappy C.B. cerebrum he has? WHAT DOES IT DO? The guy has every doohickey you can think of in his cab but why can’t he just use that circuit board attached to his noggin? What’s that you say? Ahh yes, it’s there for sound effects while he gets punched. Makes all the sense in the world now.

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“Let’s see what sound effect his chin makes…OOPS!”

There is a tug of war for the old man and faster than you can say ZOINKS, his wrinkled skin peels off to reveal he is the Highwayman. Surprise, surprise. U.S. is left holding some geriatric goop and the reader is promptly opening a garbage can.

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“If the Highwayman had a headband his face wouldn’t have peeled off. Just saying.”

Back to reality. This was a banal turd. I’m not going to leave you empty handed though, that’s not the type of guy I am. Get ready for a take hotter than Retreads tighty whities.

They need to relaunch this series.

Before you pump the breaks on me here, no… I’m not hopped up on glue. This concept was so utterly ridiculous, imagine a writer like Garth Ennis in the drivers seat. He could flesh out that supporting cast and navigate it into so many wild directions. It would be balls out fun. Not your cup of nitrous? Alright here’s another one for you. How about Jason Aaron and some of his Southern Bastards grit taking a ride on the rumble strips. Admit it, that would be fucking amazing. If you’ve read comics for as many years as I have, you realize anything can work with the right creative team.

Marvel should be all over this. They love to roll out #1’s on covers. So much so, they even slapped them on just to announce the beginning of a new story arc. Now you have a title that ALWAYS has a one front and center. Makes it easier to trick the kids into believing they have a collectors item.

So while I recommend avoiding the original series like the plague, I urge you to petition Marvel for a revival. Tyco can bring it’s little toy too.

David Schultz is the Creator/Co-Host of the Parlipod Podcast. Give it a listen on Soundcloud or via the GWW Radio Network. To harass him on Twitter follow @lavahog

All U.S.1 images are rights of Marvel. All others images/video clips are rights of their respective owners. No Junk Buzzards were harmed during the writing of this column.

Special Thanks to my friend Jeromy Gordon for the editing assist and reminding me Johnny from Cobra Kai ripped off U.S.’s look. Eat shit Macchio.

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