Slightly Misplaced Comic Book Heroes Case File #59: Slapstick

Not the guy to call if you are afraid of clowns.
Not the guy to call if you are afraid of clowns.

The comedic superhero is a time-honored tradition.  Sometimes its just a hero like Spider-Man who cracks wise during any given fight.  Other times you get a hero like Plastic Man, who may or may not be the straight man in his own adventures but has goofy powers and kooky adventures to compensate.

Then there’s Slapstick.  He didn’t fight crime.  He played cruel jokes on it.

The high school student that gains superpowers is an old Marvel standby.  Most of the time its either a rather ordinary kid, maybe an outcast, or maybe the school nerd, who has lots of brains but not much else.  What made Steve Harmon different was he was none of those things.  He was the class clown and a practical jokester.

While visiting a carnival, Steve followed what turned out to be alien clowns from another dimension.  The trip did something to his molecules, turning him into, essentially, a living cartoon character.

The other dimension was called, of course, Dimension X.

After defeating the Killer Clowns from Dimension X, Steve returned to Earth.  He had with him a pair of gloves.  One allowed him to return to human form.  The other allowed him to pull things from another dimension, or to, you know, make it appear as if  he was pulling things out of thin air.

As it was, being an indestructible clown-thing that could pull anything he needed from thin air didn’t make him a model citizen.

As seen here when he traumatizes children.
As seen here when he traumatizes children.

Slapstick’s initial four-issue miniseries depicted him fighting, shall we say, very appropriate villains, like a child mad scientist with a robotic teddy bear monster.  His final villain was the Neutron Bum.  That was a homeless guy who got explosion powers. He just wanted a cup of coffee.  The more he was denied this, the more he blew things up.  Slapstick alone listened to the guy, got him the coffee, then knocked the guy out as he was drinking it.  The various Marvel heroes assembled there decided that wasn’t sporting, hitting a guy when his back was turned.

Wait, there were other Marvel heroes there?  Why didn’t they help out?

Well, mostly because Slapstick was so abrasive in personality, that none of them really listened to the guy, or even liked the guy.  He irritated everybody.

Like Daredevil.
Like Daredevil.

I mean, everybody.

Here he is trying to extinguish Ghost Rider's head.  In fairness, he thought he was helping this time.
Here he is trying to extinguish Ghost Rider’s head. In fairness, he thought he was helping this time.

As a reward for saving the day while being an obnoxious punk, Slapstick got punted away by an irritated Ben Grimm.

That might have been the end of things, but Slapstick actually came back.  First, he appeared in a Marvel Comics Presents where he teamed up with the New Warriors.  Warrior Speedball, another indestructible guy, became a friend of his.

Slapstick apparently joined the Warriors off-page sometime after that, because he was treated as a Warrior when he joined the Initiative after the Civil War storyline, and despite being a big goofball, showed a sign of being more than that when he beat a drill sergeant known for Warrior bashing within an inch of the man’s life.

When last seen, Steve had been Slapstick for so long, he wasn’t sure he could change back…but he rather liked it that way.  That’s, well, creepy.

Seen here:  the face of a guy who doesn't mind his fate in the slightest.
Seen here: the face of a guy who doesn’t mind his fate in the slightest.

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