In last week’s Busted Knuckles we talked a little about why so many comic book writers seem to enjoy the company of bad dialogue when writing villains as well as good guys.
That topic brought a hell of a lot of email my way. It also got some sub topics going. One of em’ that was brought up by some of my readers was the topic of mainstream super heroes and their background.
We all know the origin of Captain America, The Absorbing Man, Green Arrow, Aquaman and many others, but do we really know their background?
Did they go to school and if so did they go to the prom? Do they have any brothers, sisters, uncles and aunts or are they all only children and orphans?
Granted, there are some characters like Daredevil, Superman and Batman that we pretty much know everything about, but for every three that we know about there are over hundred that we don’t. It’s something that the readers obviously want in a mainstream super hero because they have supported those kind of story lines for many years.
You’ve got well-educated characters like Magneto, Doctor Fate, Diablo, (yeah I know, he’s a psycho, but he knows his science) The Mole Man, The Atom and many more, but where did they go to school? Were they the guys with pocket protectors and carried a briefcase to class?
Somehow I imagine Marvel bad guy The Owl as the fat kid that was always asking ya if you were gonna finish that last slice of pizza in the school cafeteria. You know that The Wrecker had to be the playground bully that took your lunch money.
I remember reading some of the classic issues of the Sub-Mariner by his creator Bill Everett from the 40s and 50s. Back then Namor didn’t talk like a second rate Thor. He was a smart-ass and was quite the ladies man. The guy always had the babes fallin’ all over him. When he did roam around on land he was always dressed for success in the best suits. Hell, he started the whole “No Socks” look long before Don Johnson did it on Miami Vice. If ya remember, when he came back in the 60s one of the first things Namor did was try to snake Sue Storm from ol’ nerdy Reed Richards. Believe it or not, the Sub-Mariner used to be a real man and not that sissy, Nancy-Boy that Marvel has tended to show him as in the last few years.
I’m not sayin’ that we need to turn mainstream super-heroes into carnal capes and testicles in tights, but these characters have to date or try and relate with the opposite sex sometime don’t they? If beatin’ down on Solomon Grundy is the only way these guys can sport wood then I think there might be a problem. One I don’t really wanna know about.
Think about it, you’re on a team with Wonder Woman, Power Girl or Black Canary? even the purest of heart is gonna think about askin’ em’ out at some point.
I’m sure at some point there’s been a super heroine that was bent enough to even find uptight, nut bag Batman attractive, and we all know that guy has more emotional issues than a Oprah marathon.
Maybe the reason we don’t see this kinda sub-plot stuff enough is because the writers don’t know how to write it. Maybe the editors are too wrapped up in “That’s not the way it is” mentality. Maybe readers do enjoy seein’ the JLA fight yet another galactic or supernatural menace every friggin’ issue.
I could be wrong. I was once, maybe twice before, a long time ago.
I know I need more out of these characters than just they usual stuff that seems to be on the menu. Stan, Jack and the gang gave us more in the 60s. Why can’t we have it again? It’s called character background and personality. It ain’t that hard to figure out.
Do me a favor, as readers, think about the little things. Is there a law that says a super hero can’t come from a big family? When was the last time you heard a hero or bad guy mention that they had to buy their mom a birthday present?
I’m not sayin’ I wrote the book on it, but when I did my two year run on Guy Gardner I made sure I introduced his mom, he had dates, he lusted after Wonder Woman, he played football with Steel in college and he had friends, not just supporting characters made of cardboard.
If I can do it anyone can, maybe not as good, but they should at least try.
What do you think? Do you wanna know more through sub-plots and gradual character build ups? Are you interested in knowing more about the guys that can bend steel with their bare hands and pound railroad spikes with their hammer from Asgard?
Let the rest of us know. We’d love to hear your thoughts.
Manly Comic Book Cover Of The Week
Battle Cry #1 – Stanmor Publications, 1952
Last week we got to see how a bunch of American minded teenagers handled the threat of the Red Menace, this week we get to see how the U.S. Army dealt with the commies—with a flame thrower! In this issue of Battle Cry, the grunt Carson explains to the readers how revenge is fed to the enemies of America in the 50’s.
For all you PC lovers of today, be warned, the stories in this comic will pull your liberal loving panties into a wad with the way the characters talk about the enemy. The names they call em’ wouldn’t float in your boat today.
These aren’t just head bustin’ stories of testosterone either. The stories in this comic are filled with as much heart as any Sgt. Rock story you may have read.
Next convention I wanna see you bent over a long box and lookin’ for something other than some Spider-Man comic where all they do is talk, talk and talk some more.
It’s Almost Halloween. I’ve Got Eye Candy For You Early!
The other day I got a really nice surprise. Flint Henry, the artist known for his wonderful work on Grimjack, Man-Bat, and Aliens, sent me this wonderful artwork that he did to help me promote the two upcoming trade paperbacks of my testosterone filled series-Parts Unknown.
He did two versions. One with pencils and ink and the other with brush and his own artistic shading and lettering. I love em’ both. For you artists out there please take the time to notice the incredible detail and brush work. Flint’s work on faces and proportions are great and really show why he is the cover artist for the hit Image book Iron Ghost.
Lap it up, y’all. Just don’t get ink on your tongues.
Next Week?Busted Knuckles #100?100% All Man!!
That’s right. Next week is episode #100 of Busted Knuckles. It’s hard to believe that we’ve been hangin’ out that long. Even more surprising that ya haven’t kicked me out yet.
Make sure you check it out because just like when comics used to celebrate big events with an annual, I’m gonna do something special that I think all of ya will enjoy.
Tell your friends. Mark it down. Bring beer. You’re all invited to Busted Knuckles #100!
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