Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Only A Mother Could Love: A Man In A Nice Sweater...

My previous couple of 'Only A Mother Could Love' posts have demonstrated that the beauty of Marvel's classic Alpha Flight series was in its insistence on using character concepts that are utterly absurd on paper but totally awesome in practise. Puck, Snowbird and Sasquatch are just the tip of the ice-berg. This is a series that boasts the angtsy, teenage, chick version of pigmentally challenged, mind-controlling Daredevil villain the Purple Man and a dude whose super-power is the ability to summon up a primordial blob, a caveman and a lanky nerd from the future.

But the issue we're going to talk about today, #31, shows that this absurb/awesome dichotomy extends beyond the Alphans themselves and into their rogues gallery as well.

Let me tell you Alpha Flight has one hell of a rogues gallery. From teeny-weeny, evil, super-genius Smart Alec to flesh puppeteer Scramble the Mixed-Up Man to the immortal, balding, decay-spewing Pestilence (who happens to be Snowbird's baby son possessed by the evil ghost of dead pirate).

As kickass as some of those guys may be, all of them pale in comparison beside the dude in the cosy sweater and metalhead armbands on that cover.

His name is Deadly Earnest.

Hell no I'm not kidding - his name is Deadly....Frickin....Earnest.

As if his name alone didn't blow your tiny minds, it's nothing compared to the snazzy sweater clad madness that lurks beyond that killer Mike Mignola cover.

It all begins, as so many classic stories do, with a big fat naked guy mugging a street punk for his clothes.

At Last The Origin Of Deadly Earnest's awesome sweater...

Once the naked sweater stealing is done it's revealed to us that when Deadly Earnest shows up in your story he doesn't just bring his 'touch of death' and keen fashion sense with him ...he brings his own friggin' mythos.

Dude is an ancient force of nature that can only be stopped by a magical sword which is weilded by his undying, snazzy red jumpsuit wearing Nemesis is cursed to walk the Earth forever wacking poor old Deadly E. everytime he ressurects himself and mugs some poor schmo for their threads.

Obviously all that death poking and thread stealing in downtown Montreal draws the attention of not just Nemesis but of Alpha Flight as well. Before you can say 'Canadian Super-Heroes Do It Better' the whole lot of them are fighting it up in a underground subway station.

Not My Arm! *

As you can see things begin to go downhill for poor Earnest pretty quickly when bouncy midget Puck gets his hands on the mystical Earnest-killing blade. Luckily for all of us Deadly...Frickin'...Earnest fans in the house that's not enough to put our boy down.

Is That All You Got You Pansy?

Not even chopping off his head can stop him. He takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin'. Not only that but his severed head hits you with some smack-talk while his mutilated body wanders around hoping to stumble across you so it can pound your hairy midget ass into the ground.


That's the kind of commitment we like to see in our super-bad-guys....that and quality knitwear of course.

Unfortunately in the end mighty Deadly...Frickin'...Earnest is finally brought low when he gets a little bit...hit by a train.

Phew - I tell you people Bill Mantlo + Alpha Flight = good crazy.

If Fred Van Lente and Greg Pak's new upcoming Alpha Flight series captures even half of the brain-tingling madness that made these classic Alpha stories so great it'll be well worth a coupla bucks every month. **

* A sneaky little tip o' the hat to all the 'Freddy versus Jason' fans in our audience.....anybody? No? Just me then, okay - - moooving on

** I've got high hopes for the new AF series in this regard. After all it is being that it's co-written by the dude who came up with Pokerface!

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Low Self Esteem?

Could be worse, you could be forced to hang out with Zarathos for all eternity...

That dude's just mean.

(Today's positive affirmation was brought to you by Ghost Rider v1 #46 wherein Johnny Blaze loses his position as Stunt Rider Champion of the world to smack-talking, dandy Fargo Flagg while dressed in a particularly silly red leather outfit with a big J.B. embroidered onto the can kinda see old Zarry's point on this one).

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Helping Your Death Cult To Succeed...

As every death cult founder knows one of the most important things when it comes to recruitment is your mantra. The folks you recruit are going to have to chant it over and over and you don't want them getting bored or missing the point.

So rule number one when putting together your death cult's mantra is that it should be as informative as it is catchy. Observe:
Gimme a D, Gimme an E...

See, you're going to have that sucker stuck in your head all the live long day.

(Today's nod to death worshipping yuppies comes to you all the way from Ghost Rider v1 #38 by Michael Fleisher and the ultra-talented Don Perlin. In this issue suicidal, flame-thrower-touting bikers make a senator's daughter walk the plank because her father is drafting a senate resolution to outlaw the worship of death. It's like the West Wing...if Martin Sheen were a death-worshipping pirate biker.)

Friday, 4 March 2011

Even The Losers...

Brace yourselves loyal YouAreComic readers, I'm about to use two phrases that you never thought you'd hear used in a single sentence - 'Old Dazzler Villans' and 'awesome'.

Believe it or not our awesome comic-book moment for today comes from Avengers:The Initiative #27 which features the tragic (yet awesome) story of dodgy old Dazzler villans Johnny Guitar and Doctor Sax.

What do you mean am I serious? Of course I'm serious?

Is that really their names? Of course that's really their names, you think I could make up something that great?

Check them out:

Okay so before we even start these guys have two strikes against them. One, they're music-based super-villans which always instantly makes you lame unless you're the Hypno-Hustler. Two, they can't even take Dazzler even though she was still in her roller-skating Disco phase.

However what they have going for them is a guitar that shoots steel shattering sonic blasts, a brain scrambling sax and a loyal, true friendship that keeps on ticking through musical obscurity, small-time crook-dom, Dazzler-delivered beatdowns and finally a place in Taskmaster and Constrictor's Shadow Initiative.

Unfortunately this Shadow Initiative deal turns out to be a just another dead-end that Johnny has convinced poor old Doc Sax to follow him into. First he talks Doc into leaving his kids to join a crappy rock band. Then he leads him into a life of small potatoes crime. Then he convinces him musical-themed super-crime isn't lame. Now he's got Sax and him a spot on a team that Initiative bigwigs Taskmaster and Constrictor plan to use as cannon fodder when storming the Negative Zone prison which has been over-run by the Fantastic Four's most awesome mane-sporting villan Blaastar the The Living Bomb-Burst!!

This is the the moment that a story about hoary old Dazzler villans goes form 'eh?' to 'awesome'. Johnny doesn't want his oldest friend to get killed in some alien dimension because of him. However he knows that Doc won't leave him to go it alone. So:

It's a pretty incredible moment. Up until this point Johnny Guitar has been nothing but a user trying to get ahead by cutting every corner and making every easy choice, dragging his unfortunate, protective friend into one scrape after another. Here we see that despite his questionable actions in the past Johnny and Doc's friendship goes both ways.

Rather than see Doc die, rather than deprive Doc's children of their father any more than he already has, he picks a fight. He leaves his friend thinking he's the selfish jerk he has always save his life.

Sadly Johnny dies almost the instant he sets foot in that alien dimension. But despite the less than stellar life he led, the less than impressive prowess he showed on the battlefield, the less than perfect cover he used to do of Skynyrd's Freebird....Johnny Guitar died...a hero.

I'll have to sign off now because I'm kinda welling up he - -er - -I mean there' in my eye. You guys run along to your local comic-book shop and buy this book.

Godspeed Johnny Guitar, wherever you are, say hello to Jim Morrison for me.