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“Don’t read it in bed – unless nightmares turn you on.”

§ March 21st, 2011 § Filed under giant-size man-thing § 10 Comments

So a couple of years back, I mentioned that, in the Classic Marvel Figurine Collection: Man-Thing Special, I learned that Stan Lee himself came up with the name “Man-Thing,” a bit of trivia I hadn’t known before. Well, either I’d forgotten that I had read this before, or I just skipped over the text pages in the mag containing Manny’s debut, Savage Tales #1 (May 1971), but, well:

…that Stan Lee factoid was no secret. Ah, well, can’t remember everything, I guess. I am intrigued that Lee and Rascally Roy Thomas had discussed several possible origins for the creature, which I wonder have actually been revealed anywhere in any articles or interviews. Of course, given my track record, I probably have read something about them and simply forgot. Again. Also, after reading the above text box, I need never see any variation on the phrase “turned on” ever again.

In the origin story from this issue of Savage Tales, by Thomas, Gerry Conway, and Gray Morrow, there is another very rare example of the Man-Thing vocalizing:

A while back I noted another early Man-Thing appearance where they had him grunting and gesturing, which has since been established as not being within Man-Thing’s skill set, and I said at the time this was likely a result of Man-Thing’s particular characteristics still getting nailed down. Looking at this chronological list of Man-Thing’s appearances, the stories from those Astonishing Tales appear to be the character’s first appearances after the debut, so I can’t really fault them for following the first story’s lead in giving Man-Thing a voice, of sorts.

Tomorrow: More Man-Thing? Probably!

“At hand.” Get it?

§ March 20th, 2011 § Filed under giant-size man-thing § 11 Comments

Reader Googum left a comment the other day about remembering a bit in a Man-Thing story where Manny was on the verge of becoming human, but didn’t have the intelligence to realize that his cure was at hand. I believe this may be the sequence in question, from the end of Marvel Two-in-One #43 (September 1978) by Ralph Macchio, John Byrne, “and friends,” it says in the credits:

Frankly, that’s kind of a creepy image, Man-Thing with a human hand at the end of his swampy arm, right?

Also, and I just spent a few minutes down in the Vast Mikester Comic Archives looking for this, I have my own vague memory that the next time we see Man-Thing, he still has that human hand. I’m probably just remembering incorrectly, but I can swear I recall some story opening with Man-Thing lumbering through the swamp, and the surprise reveal is that he still has a normal hand (though it eventually reverts, as indicated in the final caption above). The next chronological appearance of the character is in Micronauts #7, and it’s not there, so I suspect I’m just imagining it. But darned if I don’t feel like it’s something I’ve read! Maybe one of you folks out there can help out your pal Mike, who’s clearly reached the “mind’s the next to go” part of the aging process.

EDIT: Okay, disregard that, as I finally did the smart thing and did a little Googling (“man-thing with a human hand” if you must know) which turned up this article, and apparently what I’m remembering is from Man-Thing #7-#8 (July-August 1974) by Steve Gerber and Mike Ploog:

…in which, at the end of #7, Man-Thing is exposed to the waters of the Fountain of Youth, and one of his hands reverts to human form. And of course, the next issue picks up with more exciting one-human-hand Man-Thing action, which is why I’m recalling that particular plot twist continuing over multiple issues. ANOTHER IMPORTANT MYSTERY SOLVED.

• • •

By the way, all this Man-Thing talk has finally got me wanting to pick up this short-run 1990s series by J.M. DeMatteis and Liam Sharp…and wouldn’t you know it, we’re missing the last issue at the shop. Ah, well…that’s why God gave us the eBay, so I’ll get the missing ish that way. And besides, this series contains, if I recall correctly, the only in-universe “Giant-Size Man-Thing” gag (made by Howard the Duck, no less), and surely no Man-Thing collection is complete without that.

Sluggo Saturday #98.

§ March 19th, 2011 § Filed under sluggo saturday § 7 Comments



from Nancy and Sluggo #123 (June 1955)

“Where am I? My mind…dulled….”

§ March 18th, 2011 § Filed under giant-size man-thing § 12 Comments

So the main difference between DC’s Swamp Thing and Marvel’s Man-Thing is that Swampy retained his intelligence during his transition from Alec Holland to monster, while Manny’s alter-ego Ted Sallis wasn’t quite so lucky. Man-Thing was a mindless beast (though admittedly the level of “mindlessness” varied depending on the needs of the plot), leaving Sallis unaware of his tragic fate. Except, of course, for the occasional mystical hoohar allowing Sallis to revert to human form or otherwise “resurface” from the depths of his monstrous prison.

This sequence, from Adventure into Fear #13 (April 1973), by Steve Gerber, Val Mayerik and Frank Bolle, is, I believe, the first time Sallis temporarily regains his humanity. Trapped in a chaotic interdimensional realm, Man-Thing finds himself in a room of mirrors:

In short order, Sallis, quickly realizing that the monster in the mirror is what he has become, is given the choice by Thog (remember him?) to either kill his friends to keep his humanity, or once again become a monster, and I’m pretty sure you can guess what Sallis chose.

There are further instances of the mind of Sallis reemerging from Man-Thing, such as this issue of Marvel Fanfare, but usually mystically transformed from his bestial form, or on some kind of spiritual plane. Only on a couple of occasions have we had the mind of Sallis directly functioning, kinda sorta, within the body of Man-Thing, such as during the early issues of the second Man-Thing series where Manny started receiving treatments to reform Sallis’s mind. In that storyline, the treatments were only just beginning to work when everything falls apart, the guy trying to treat Man-Thing gets killed, and Sallis’s mind dissipates again. But, in this What If continuation of the story, we do finally get full-on thought balloons bubbling out of Man-Thing’s head, and…frankly, it feels a bit strange getting insight on Man-Thing’s motivations from something other than second-person perspective captions.

By the way, I haven’t read a whole lot of Man-Thing from the last couple of decades. My primary sources on the character remain the Gerber material, so if there were instances of Sallis returning to human form or regaining his mind within the monster in more recent comics, I don’t know about them.

This is a very odd thing to be writing about, I realize.

So apparently this is going to be “Man-Thing Week.”

§ March 17th, 2011 § Filed under giant-size man-thing § 16 Comments

From Adventure into Fear #12, a nice sequence of panels drawn by Jim Starlin and Rich Buckler, script by Steve Gerber:

Don’t feel bad for that guy. He had it comin’.

Also, I’m so accustomed to associating Jim Starlin with “cosmic” or space opera comics, like Warlock and Dreadstar, that I forget about his horror work. Though I guess Starlin’s ‘Breed (third series coming soon!) falls within the “horror” category. And the Dreadstar-related graphic novel The Price straddles the line between sci-fi and horror. And he wrote Batman: The Cult, which kinda fits in that genre, and would you call Punisher: P.O.V. a horror comic? I don’t know. Having Bernie Wrightson as artist on two two latter titles kinda makes me lean in the direction of the “horror” description.

Anyway, back to the above comic excerpt: do artists still do the “skulls in the eyes indicating an impending death” thing anymore? I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen it, though I’m sure it’s popped up in some comic or another in recent months. It’s just one of those incredibly basic artistic storytelling shorthands that even if I saw it in one of this week’s comics, I probably wouldn’t have remembered. It’d be like asking “did any comic I recently read have a thought balloon in it?” and I’d be sure that there must have been, but wouldn’t be able to come up with a specific example off the top of my head without going back to look.

Finally…the guy could’ve just ran, honestly. It’s not like Man-Thing is known for his ability to sprint.

“Beat it — batter it — thresh it — flail it”

§ March 16th, 2011 § Filed under giant-size man-thing § 8 Comments

So all that Man-Thing talk from yesterday had me going through some of my older Man-Thing comics, and I thought I’d share this bit of business. It’s Manny beatin’ the crap out of his recurring devilish nemesis Thog, from Adventure into Fear #11 (Dec 1972) — the first Man-Thing story written by the writer who would be most associated with the character, Steve Gerber.

The art’s by Rich Buckler and Jim Mooney, and I don’t know who decided to put in that last panel with the “reaction shot” up there, but it amuses me for no good reason I can name. It’s like he’s just about to whip on his sunglasses and is on the verge of laying a David Caruso-esque one-liner on us. “This demon…couldn’t take the heat.” “YEEEAAAAAAAAAH!!!!”

Anyway…Man-Thing. Enjoy.

So I bought myself a comic book for my birthday.

§ March 15th, 2011 § Filed under giant-size man-thing, video games § 7 Comments

“What!? A comic book? The devil you say!” The devil I do say, and the comic I picked up was this one:

Even though I dropped Thunderbolts years ago after the Kurt Busiek/Fabian Nicieza storythreads pretty much petered out, I found myself intrigued when I saw that Jeff Parker introduced Man-Thing onto the team during his recent run. But, for whatever reason, I didn’t start reading the series again, though once this issue popped up in our weekly shipment, I had a hard time resisting that great Art Adams cover. Took me a couple of weeks, but I finally relented and picked the darned thing up.

The story inside is Man-Thing-focused, which was an added bonus (since in these modern days of funnybooks, the character featured on the cover may not necessarily be the character starring inside). For those of you who’ve been reading Thunderbolts this whole time…are there other issues of this series of late that are Man-Thing heavy?

• • •

For my birthday, the girlfriend gifted me with a couple of Xbox games, one of which being the Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 fightin’ game all you kids are into. Now, I don’t know any of the Capcom characters, really…well, Chun-Li I recognize, I suppose, from Street Fighter covers and those splayed-leg PVC statues from the back of the Previews catalogue. And I’m not entirely sure I understand the game just yet, as it’s a bit more complicated than the last video fighting game I played and so far, my play strategy has been “mash the buttons in a panic” over “ah, I have my opponent at a disadvantage, so I shall use this two button and joystick special combo-move to defeat him.”

My initial three-player team was Thor, Wolverine, and She-Hulk, and I managed to direct them successfully through several matches (on the easy level, of course), until I reached the battle versus Galactus and promptly had all three virtual butts handed to me. But, it was fun, and I imagine I’ll catch on to the subtleties of the game in short order.

There is the nice touch of having situation-appropriate dialogue when certain characters oppose each other (such as She-Hulk mentioning something about a family reunion when encountering her cousin, the Hulk). And apparently there’s a (non-playable cutscene, darnit) cameo for Man-Thing at some point, just to bring it back to the original topic of this post.

The other video game I was given was Soulcalibur IV, another fighting game, but this one has, somewhat inexplicably (despite some awkwardly-written in-game backstory attempting to explain), Yoda from the Star Wars series. So, apparently, at some point Yoda will be fighting this one gal with the thong swimsuit and a whip, which is, um, a bit weird, I guess. “MmmMMMmmm, catch a cold from a draft, you will!”

Due to circumstances beyond my control…

§ March 14th, 2011 § Filed under I have no idea how to tag this § 5 Comments

…I have to be up early Monday morning to take care of some stuff, so my Sunday evening blogging time is…well, non-existent, really. So, let me leave you with this:

1. Thank you for your kind birthday wishes yesterday. And also happy birthday yesterday to my birthday-brother, Andrew!

2. Please wish my sister Jeanne happy birthday, as it is today. Well, the 14th, which it isn’t yet as I’m writing this.

3. Reader Brian unleashes this image in honor of my and Andrew’s birthday.

4. As promised a couple of days ago, when I was plugging our book Write More Good: here is one full chapter for you to read and enjoy. And I certainly hope you do.


§ March 13th, 2011 § Filed under old § 22 Comments

from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy #3 (1993) by Douglas Adams
adapted by John Carnell & Steve Leialoha

Sluggo Saturday #97.

§ March 12th, 2011 § Filed under sluggo saturday § 5 Comments



reprinted in Nemo #30 (April 1989) – thanks to pal Andres for the loaner

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