Gabbing Geek Jenny has, in the past, stated her belief in Madam Xanadu as an iconic character. I tried one before to to suggest that maybe Phantom Lady had a better claim to that title under her criteria (does not have a male version, has not cameoed in a movie or TV show, has an origin story older than the mid-90s, and has been read by Jenny). Jenny said Phantom Lady’s costume sucked (which, to be fair, it does), but maybe for my weekly “This one died!” column we can try a different character with a better claim than Madam Xanadu.
Let’s talk about Elasti-Girl. And I do not mean the one in The Incredibles. Pixar actually asked DC for permission to use the name, and it was granted so long as the name was never used in the marketing. If you get that action figure from The Incredibles line, her name will be listed as “Mrs. Incredible”.
I am approaching this particular case file with a bit of trepidation. Every other character I’ve used for this ongoing column has been owned by DC or Marvel. Some were misguided, some were inconsistent, some of them sucked, and some of them were used really well at some point and then just forgotten about.
Today’s entry is about a character that I only know about secondhand, but I’m feeling philosophical about the whole thing, so here we are. Today’s character is creator owned by Spider-Man co-creator Steve Ditko and has appeared only a handful of times over the years. His name is Mr. A.
There are two types of people in this world: those who understand the multi-layered joke onion that is the Stan Lee Cameo School movie and those that I need to educate. Which are you? Check out the movie after the break.
Comic book universes often look to the future for more superhero adventures. Some timelines are rather popular and some last a good long time, like the Legion of Superheroes for DC and the original Guardians of the Galaxy for Marvel. Marvel tried another future in 1992 with its 2099 series. This series of titles was actually somewhat successful with four initial titles, three of which showed revamped, futuristic versions of Marvel characters: Spider-Man, Doom, and the Punisher. The X-Men were added later, but among the original four was a single original hero without an existing Marvel hero to base himself off.
That hero was Ravage, a character who morphed multiple times into something new only to be shot off into space and never heard from again.
Most big comics crossovers and story lines generally promise a death. Most of the time, the death is someone nobody really cares about. The death could be someone who rejoined the group after a sufficiently long absence, or some minor character, or someone no one really got around to liking anyway. Sometimes readers can even eliminate a few contenders by looking to see which characters have solo books that aren’t being canceled anytime soon. And sometimes the death is something even readers know won’t last very long, since the story itself seems to have set up a return somewhere along the line.
Then, occasionally, there’s a death that seems to come out of nowhere to a character people largely love, and in a way that just seems really cheap, with no clear path to return the character to the land of the living. One such death would be when Colossus was killed off in the pages of Uncanny X-Men.
The entire geek portion of the Internet was united recently by the death of Leonard Nimoy. It was enough to get a lot of stupid talk about a dress off my Facebook feed, so even if it wasn’t enough Nimoy was one of the people who led me to science fiction, he has my gratitude for that one final favor.
And while I am a little saddened by the death of a man who I honestly never met, I am also not as shocked as I was by some past deaths. Nimoy’s health has been rather bad for a while now. There’s a reason even when he did some acting work, that it was done to keep his actual appearance to a bare minimum. But there’s something else to consider: Nimoy was 83 years old. As timeless as performances captured on camera can be, Spock got old, and he died. He wasn’t the first, he won’t be the last, and its something we will all do ourselves. What do we do when people we have never met, but have touched us in some way as we became the adults we are, die?
One of the most momentous moments in Spider-Man’s history was the night the Green Goblin tossed Gwen Stacy off the George Washington Bridge and she died. This moment infused countless Spider-Man stories ever since.
For me, that’s a problem. The issue in question came out in the summer of 1973. I was born in the fall of 1974. Gwen Stacy has been dead longer than I’ve been alive, but then it seems like every Spider-Man writer at a certain point had to to the “poor Gwen Stacy story”. I really hated those.
The X-Men were created for two primary reasons. One was because Stan Lee needed another superhero team and was feeling kind of lazy, so he threw up his hands and said, “You know what? They were just born that way!” The other was as a at-times heavy-handed anti-racism allegory. The year was 1963, and the Civil Rights Movement was heating things up across the country. Younger readers of comic books could be taught a lesson on tolerance, and comics were a good medium for that, so here were the X-Men, mutants who were feared and hated by non-mutants for the crime of being born different. But the X-Men were good and defended regular folks against the evil mutants of the world, in an attempt to prove that not all mutants were evil.
Even given the sliding scale of Marvel time, where everything outside Captain America and the Invaders’ exploits during World War II depicted in a Marvel Comic (barring the upcoming Secret Wars) has taken place over a roughly 12 year time period, the X-Men really suck at their task of promoting tolerance.
If you’re anything like me – pictures say a thousand words. Well….words also say a thousand words, but pictures are better because: PRETTY! And again, if you’re anything like me (which let’s face it, everyone is totally like me) then keeping up with all the Marvel movie rights will make your head explode. But never fear! Thanks to The Geek Twins, your handy-dandy Marvel guide is here!
For a more detailed overview – head over to The Geek Twins and see their wonderful work.