"The size gives great fear."

§ July 4th, 2005 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on "The size gives great fear."

Happy Fourth of July, where applicable.

If there’s anything more indicative of the Punisher’s selling power from his late-80s/early-90s heyday, it’s the fact that Marvel was able to publish ten whole issues of Punisher Armory. Essentially, it’s page after page of illustrations of various weapons and equipment used by the Punisher in his war against crime:

Those caption boxes you see in that scan there are the Punisher’s narration, describing the weapon, how he uses it, where he got it (usually off the body of some dead punk), random events in his day to day life…it’s like reading the Punisher’s weblog:

“Micro Chip was riding me the other day about how shabby my lifestyle is. […] I said, Micro, I like my mess just fine.”

Yeah, like that. Here’s the first caption box from the page I have scanned above:

“I like the solidity of the old Army M-1. I trained with one alongside the M-14 and M-16. The barrel length gives great accuracy and with a little bit of work the size gives great fear. Psychology can play a big part in dealing with people who want to kill you. Often they are in the weaker position.”

Imagine that being read to you in the Punisher’s (presumably) gravelly, psychotic voice. Now imagine it being read to you homoerotically by a real live gay man. Really, we need to get Dorian to audioblog that.

So there I was, poking through a copy of Avengers #10 (Nov 1963) by Stan Lee, Don Heck, and Dick Ayers, when I came across the following panels:

Okay, so Immortus, the time-traveling super-villain, has, as part of his master scheme, placed a full-page ad on the back of newly-released comic books with the sole purpose of luring Rick Jones into his clutches.

1. Why go through the trouble of placing an ad? Why didn’t he just use his time-traveling powers to, oh, I don’t know, grab Jones when he was at his most off-guard…like when he was asleep or something?

And who designed that ad for him? Did Immortus paste it up himself? Did he kidnap some poor advertising company employee and force him to assemble it? “Immortus commands you, Mr. Bob Smith of American Ad Designs, Inc., to create a full-page advertisement…of doom! Ah HA HA HA!”

2. So was Immortus sitting behind that desk all day, waiting for Jones to show up? And did Immortus have to turn away all the other kids who decided to answer the ad in person? “Hi! I’m here for my super-pow….” “You’re not Jones! Go away!” “But….” “Go away!”

Then again, Immortus might have used his time-traveling powers to determine at what exact time Jones would have arrived, and only had his “office” (or lair, or whatever) open for just that brief window of time. But if Immortus had his act together to that extent, surely he would have also seen that this plan, like all his others, would have ended with his ass being handed to him by the good guys, and he wouldn’t have even bothered in the first place.

Of course, had Jones decided to fill out and mail the coupon instead, that would have put a slight delay into Immortus’ plans, I’d imagine.

Also from Avengers #10…since Immortus, in his own words, “never profanes his own hands in physical combat,” he draws from the wellspring of history and brings forth warriors to fight for him. Real, historical figures from Earth’s past, such as…Paul Bunyan:

Not some figure of the past who may have inspired the legends of Paul Bunyan, but an actual giant Paul Bunyan. Then again, maybe in the Marvel Universe, Paul Bunyan was a real person who, perhaps as a result of the type of mutation that seems to run rampant in said Marvel U., towered over his more normal sized brethren. Kinda like Giant-Man, only without the ability to alter his size.

Other characters that Immortus drags into the present include Merlin (maybe the same as Marvel Comics’ other Merlin) and Hercules (presumably not the same as the other Hercules who would later join the Avengers).

(EDIT: It’s been noted in the comments that these “mythical” characters’ appearances have been explained by Kurt Busiek or Roger Stern or someone in later comics, retconned as Space Phantoms or something similar. Too bad…I like my “Paul Bunyan as mutant” theory. And on the Paul Bunyan theme…Dave relates Captain America’s meeting with the world’s largest lumberjack.)

Also, in the final battle, Immortus apparently makes Thor’s leggings disappear:

That’s just plain disturbing.

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