Thursday, August 03, 2006

Rob Liefeld jokes are timeless

There is seriously nothing unawesome about that cover. Grunge, Fone Bone, Stupid Stupid Rat Creatures, Image logo containing the Cheshire Cat-like visage of Jim Lee - it's a bonanza.

The story's part two of Gen13's thirteenth-issue extravaganza. At the time, the book was so freakin' profitable that splitting one issue into three issues and charging a buck-thirty for each third was actually an alright idea; I think it ended up being thirty-three pages for three-ninety, which is only a minor-league screw job, really. Probably sold like hotcakes to kids with poor math skills. (I had decent math skills. I only own one-third of this thing. I didn't even know the set-up for the ridiculous plot until Chris Sims brought it up today, so this is all his fault. Blame him.)

Anyway, Grunge, a character whose name makes no sense to anyone born after, say, 1994, spends this anniversary issue hallucinating his way through meetings with various and sundry comic book characters with ties to Image. In 13B, he runs into the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the beans from Beanworld, Spawn, Madman and Jim Lee in full-on Igor mode (he gives Grunge an x-shaped talisman that he'd gotten from "one of his old gigs" that helped make him the "man [he] [is] today").

After springing Fone Bone from the Stupid Stupid Rat Creatures, who had the poor little guy tied to a spit over a fire, Grunge makes his way out of Freelance Forest and into Image Town. Each Image studio is represented by a different building - Eric Larsen's Highbrow is a bar, where the Savage Dragon is bouncing Wonder Woman and the Hulk because they lack the necessary sense of humor to hang; Wildstorm is a castle; Top Cow is a deserted barn flooding the ground around it with spilled milk. If that doesn't make sense, remember that this is 1996.1996 was a golden age of brotherhood at Image Comics. Marc Silvestri and Rob Liefeld were having a spat with the end result being Top Cow buggering out of Image for a while. Liefeld then, depending on who you believe, either left of his own free will or was chased off by the other Image boys with torches and rake things. Once Rob was gone, Marc came back, but this issue was published at the point where the Top Cow/Image relationship was up in the air and Rob's future with the company wasn't looking particularly Awesome, if you catch my drift. Brandon Choi, you sly dog. Continuing on this incredibly subtle plot thread, Grunge runs into his next set of guest stars:That, my friends, is Goddamned beautiful. Look at their tiny little feet! Their clenched teeth! Their incredibly massive weapons! I know it's passé and clichéd other French words with weird little accents that I have to hit Alt and some numbers to type to make fun of Rob Liefeld, but come on - Black Frag? That's gold.

But, yeah, Roy Thomas used anniversary issues to have every character to ever be called an Avenger fight a Titan of Myth that had previously beaten the Gods of Olympus, Chris Claremont used them to shamelessly retcon Magneto into a vaguely likable character and/or have Magneto kill a submarine, Brandon Choi used them to write cheap shots at Rob Liefeld. And for that alone, there will always be a soft spot in my heart for Brandon Choi.

Finally, fun with the letter column:
Wow, way to answer the question. I guess anyone would crack after getting a million letters asking about Fairchild's rack or whether or not they could be the one to turn Rainmaker straight with their Cheeto-stained masculinity. How the Hell will Tammy Belka find out if anyone makes Wallace and Gromit t-shirts now?

1 comment:

The Fortress Keeper said...

I thought Black Frag was funny back then, and its funny now.