it's Tuesday and that means another superhero movie is hitting the theaters, the latest in a long line of comic character movies that will inspire us to argue about casting choices, dissect the trailers of, use as a cudgel in whatever culture war is currently waging, make fan edits of, and later throw onto the pile of DVDs you paid $16 each for and are now taking to the Goodwill because somebody got that Marie Kondo book for Christmas. And sure, we might actually watch the thing too, but that's almost beside the point these days.
The latest picture? Why, it's Captain Marvel, a character everybody knows and loves. No, not that other Captain Marvel, his movie comes out next month. No, not that other other Captain Marvel, he died of cancer, and then he got better. And no, not THIS Captain Marvel, either.
The mid 1960s saw superhero fever gripping the nation in the form of the Batman TV series and the concomitant running leap onto the super character bandwagon that everybody with access to a printing press and a brother in law in the distribution business made. Many of these publishers weren't quite willing to make the committment to creating their own original characters, and instead went down to the neighborhood secondhand store, bought a giant stack of tattered old 1940s comics for five or ten cents each, gave a dismissive laugh at the idea that these stupid old comics would one day be worth hundreds of dollars, and then got to work swiping.
Hence "Captain Marvel." The original Fawcett character had been sued out of existence by DC years before, wiped from the national scene as if Dr. Sivana had used one of his dreadful death rays. In '66 the name was floating in legal limbo, freely available for any publisher to just take and do whatever they wanted with it, to the extent of printing their own GIANT ACTION ISSUES. (see our previous Captain "Split" Marvel coverage way back at Stupid Comics 247)
I realize saying "whatever they want" implies that this comic was the product of careful consideration and thoughtful planning. It was not.
As long as you're swiping the names of Golden Age comic characters, why not get Golden Age artist Carl Burgos - creator of the Human Torch - to lend his name to this endeavor and give artist "Francho" - perhaps Argentine artist Arnoldo Franchioni - something to draw? Why not give us a splash page of a confused man holding his head in his hands next to a picture of him holding his smiling head in his hands? Are they telling us decapitation is the only way to get rid of these migraines?
Making a puzzled man sit up is a great day for science? Science is setting the bar kind of low.
"I'm a robot? And a captain? And a marvel? AND a human? So many confusing and contradictory things to live up to!"
We were promised a GIANT ACTION ISSUE and so far a way-out robot man reaching for a book in a "library room" is all we get.
And it's CAPTAIN MARVEL SPLIT ACTION as we see Captain Marvel do what he's famous for, holler SPLIT and watch his limbs fly off and holler XAM and watch those limbs come flying back. Also he hollers YEOW, but that doesn't make his limbs do anything.
After sending his head on a tour of the city Captain Marvel learns he's the creation of a civilization destroyed by war and doomed to destruction. But don't worry about that now, get back to making those feet run by themselves. Hilarious!
all the thrilling super hero excitement of a one-man Three Stooges short, here in this GIANT ACTION ISSUE
I don't want to read too much into a super hero whose powers grow to maximum by rubbing a part of his body, but then again, maybe I do.
"In seconds I was airborne, re-creating the origin story of Superman. Now all I need to do is find a window and make a bat fly through it!"
the first of many medallion-rubbing scenes to come. You've been warned.
This is also how I introduce myself to people, by stating my first name and my country of origin.
"We met right here in the United States of America, which is also where I'm from! And sure, everybody talks like this here in this nation, which is the United States!"
And suddenly he remembers how he flew through space for ten or fifteen minutes, and then he came across the Earth, and experienced the searing heat of re-entry, and scared Billy with his giant boots.
Never explained in this GIANT ACTION ISSUE is how Captain Marvel was able to land a job on Tuesday and close on a suburban home on Wednesday. Now this is what I call real far-out fantasy! So, all your questions have been answered. We've established Captain Marvel, detailed his mighty powers, given him a teenage ward to explain things to, and gone into boring detail about his career and his home ownership, and now it's time for some exciting super hero adventure. So buckle up, and if you need to rub your medallion for energy, do it now.
I know you were all wondering where the famous performing act The Blue Man Group comes from. Well, it's Venus. You're welcome.
Here's a helpful comic book tip - if your dialog won't fit in the word balloon, just let the text curve around Captain Marvel's head as it shrinks away into nothing.
Nothing says GIANT ACTION ISSUE like a caption explaining that time is passing and people are talking and things are really, really boring.
Using his extraordinary powers, Captain Marvel - whom we will remember is a magic split robot from space who has travelled thousands of light years through the void and clearly does not need to breathe ever - Captain Marvel amazes the Venusians by basically doing nothing. Easily amazed, these Blue Men.
Look, Captain Marvel Comics, it's one thing to swipe super hero names, but when you start cribbing from the Declaration of Independence, that's where I draw the line! And that's a truth I hold to be self-evident!
YES! As promised on the cover, it's Swipey Super Story Hero #2, Plastic-Man! No, not the famous Jack Cole character who later starred in a TV cartoon with "Fangface" and "Rickety Rocket," but an incredible simulation, who is the most dangerous man from the planet of the Blue Men, which is Venus, why not just say Venus.
Hey, I'm a magical robot from space that can separate all my arms and legs and body parts - and Fake Plastic-Man has me in his vise-like grip, why not...release a "brief thermal wave?" I think the caption is trying to gently tell us Captain Marvel cut one.
"OUR planet, Earth?" Listen Split-man, your robot ass just got here. Dial the ownership thing back a few notches.
Nobody tell Oppenheimer that his nuclear tests are vibrating the entire galaxy, it'll make him insufferable for weeks!
Well, hey, maybe the Gronk's parents were killed by a Gurk! Didja ever think of that?
Getting a real "Legion Of Super Heroes" Bouncing Boy vibe from this scene, which, considering the plagiarism going on around here, is not exactly surprising.
Man, Captain Marvel's planet was destroyed by war, Venus is at war with the Plastic-Men, seems like nobody in the universe can get along, but these dudes wanna come to Earth and tell US to cool it down? Check your privilege, Blue Men!
Billy! Warn the townsfolk to be on the lookout for Plastic-Man! First explain who he is! And probably explain how he got here, and what the Venusians are doing here! And that you aren't tripping balls! Might want to start with that!
How can you resist that friendly grin? Gowan, Captain Marvel, let him fight you, it'll make him so happy.
Stunned at the perfectly coordinated splitting! I guess this is why Captain Marvel didn't split before, he wanted to split when there was enough room to really do it right and impress everybody.
There's only one thing to do when confronted with completing an entire 52 page comic book about a magical space robot with a borrowed name, and that's stall for time. Hence the ultra-slow pacing of this GIANT ACTION ISSUE where the GIANT ACTION is just arms and legs flying around.
You're a murderous plastic horror at war with the planet Venus, but darn it, you're not a thief. Well, you actually are one now. Your INTENTION is to not be a thief, but that doesn't make the theft any less thievy.
Even Gronks feel better in a snappy suit and tie! But is Plastic-Man as dangerous as they claim? He sure was to this comic book's publishers, because when they brought him back they changed his name to "Elastic Man" and "Captain Marvel here would have exciting fun in six whole comics, and publisher M.F. Enterprises would crank out a Western and seven issues of Henry Brewster (see Stupid Comics 12 - http://misterkitty.org/extras/stupidcovers/stupidcomics12.html) before thankfully abandoning four-color comics forever, leaving us with poorly drawn, incoherent junk that, nevertheless, will inspire at least one annoying fanboy to complain about the lack of magic medallion-rubbing space robots hollering SPLIT during upcoming screenings of certain feature films.
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