“Did they REALLY just do that?!”
“He’s dead? Wait, he’s alive! Ah no, he’s dead.”
“Thats stupid, but I LOVE it!”
Just some of the phrases I have personally heard in comic book stores and on convention floors describing some of the most infamous moments in comic book history. We love them, we hate them; but we do love to poke fun while doing it! Over the coming weeks I will be delving into the annals of comic book lore to find you the very best (or worst) WTF moments in comics!
From the good and the bad to the totally ridiculous… Here at ComicBooked.com we present to you, “This Was a Thing That Happened… No, Really!”
For our very first edition, I thought I would draw inspiration from the world around us. A juggernaut of a movie hit theaters this past month, and it has been very difficult to move anywhere this spring without images of The Avengers hitting you in the face! And how glad we are that we finally get to see Earth’s Mightiest Heroes on the big screen for the first time? If you stayed during the credits and happened to come across the now traditional Marvel teaser scene, then you will have been introduced to the Marvel movie verse take on the legendary Avengers villain, Thanos. Which leads us nicely into this forgotten gem of “What on EARTH were they thinking?” comic book history.
Thanos of Titan, the eternal mutant and constant thorn in the side of Captain America and friends is one of the most powerful and conniving beings in the known universe. Commanding the power of the Infinity Gauntlet on several occasions, most recently in newest run of The Avengers written by Brian Michael Bendis. However, in the 1970’s Marvel writers took it upon themselves to introduce Thanos The Mad Titan into a book aimed at younger readers, “Spidey Super Stories”. The one issue story follows Spider-Man and friends as they try to keep the Cosmic Cube away from Thanos.
But Thanos has other ideas! He jumps into his ever trusty “Thanos Copter” (Yes, that’s right, dear readers. I said Thanos COPTER!) and sets off on an adventure across New York City that can only be described as the corniest way to portray a being of immense power, ever!
Whomever thought an intergalactic being who can transport himself across the cosmos with nary a thought would need a helicopter to traverse the skyline of New York City was a literary genius! (I don’t mind going on record saying that, either). This is one of my favourite “guilty pleasure” issues.
I personally LOVE this issue and find myself laughing out loud, especially at the “Saturday Morning Cartoon” vibe that this issue radiates. But this is the 70’s we are talking about. Corn-ball, campy comic villains is the 1970’s comic book writers bread and butter. Personally I think the Marvel Adventures line of books should start producing stories like this again; they would be guaranteed money makers– and that’s just from my purchases!
Last and certainly not least is another entry into my top “Guilty Pleasures” issues List. Completely unnecessary and not relevant to anything in the world, ever. But still, brilliant in every way! Ladies and Gents, I present to you…Pirate Batman!
Not only has Batman been a pirate one time, but Batman has been a pirate THREE TIMES! This first iteration however, comes from Detective Comics Annual #7 (1994) and is possibly the most ridiculous as the two outings as Bat-pirate were used as story devices and not one shot craziness. This one is a DC Elseworlds story which takes place on the Earth of Universe 494. Here is a short synopsis of the story:
The privateer Captain Leatherwing and his trusty first mate Alfredo board a Spanish ship known as the Santa Corazon. Leatherwing captures the crew and rescues the island slave girl Princess Quext’chala. Sailing back towards the Cayman Islands, Leatherwing‘s vessel the Flying Fox stops at Kingston Harbor. A street urchin known as Robin Redblade stows away on Leatherwing’s ship.
Meanwhile, a rival pirate captain known as the Laughing Man attempts to find Leatherwing’s hidden harbor, Vespertilio Cay, also known as the Bat’s Cay. The Laughing Man scuttles a ship and interrogates its captain as to the Bat Cay’s location.
Sound familiar? Of course it does, it takes inspiration from several Batman stories from around the time but putting that good old Elseworlds spin on things, basically throwing things into a big pot and drawing out aspects at random. At least to me anyway.
Drawing inspiration from stories like “A Death in the Family” and “Batman: Inferno” The story of Captain Leatherwing plays out in traditional Batman fashion. Its like this is an established universe with a dedicated reader and fan base the way it is presented. When reading it feels like I was thrown into a story arc in progress. Believe me, I’m no fan of Bat-pirate, I wasn’t a fan of it when Grant Morrison brought it back in “Bruce Wayne: The Road Home” either but as a one shot goes I think it can be acceptable as a playful take on the character. Interest is added with the supporting cast of the issue. Alfredo retains the wit and charm of his British counterpart. The same with the other character such as Robin Redblade, who is a delightful mash up of Tim Drake and Jason Todd. The laughing Man however, has to be my favourite part of this issue. As with almost every incarnation of Mr J, there are laughs aplenty to be had and fun for all. That is if your ambition is to discover the true identity of the Bat and find his secret hideout!
That’s it for this week’s “This Was a Thing That Happened… No, Really!” There are more amazing, weird and wonderful WTF moments coming you way in the coming weeks. Be sure to journey back to ComicBooked.com to check them out! In the meantime you can tweet me your favourite moments @thesimonpeter