Monday, August 20, 2007

Maybe he's also a werewolf!

I'll get you up to speed - the Thing's been in a bit of a rough patch for a little while, here: the Fantastic Four have broken up and he just got arrested for wrecking up a big chunk of a city street as part of an elaborate plot on the Thinker's part to kidnap the Vision (only to get his ass kicked monstrously by Yellowjacket, Daredevil and Thing). When he bounced from the Big House towards Thinker's hideout, a juvenile delinquent followed him, providing one of those damned "x-factors" that always screw over Thinker's otherwise perfectly-calculated criminal masterpieces, so Ben took responsibility for the kid and brought him to school the next day.

Said school is where Black Panther teaches African Studies under his dashiki-clad guise of Luke Charles, as Marvel Two-in-One would be about nine pages long were it not for ridiculous coincidences. All set? Rad, let's ride.

Meet Calvin Lloyd Wadsworth. He plays that thing Helen played on Wings. A giant crotch-violin. Or, you know, a cello.

Anyway, our intrepid cellist is on a list of the Ten Most Successful Blacks in the City, as written by J Jonah Jameson . Which isn't a particularly good thing, as somebody's kidnapping everybody on the damn list - one imagines because it's a bitch to write a multiple kidnapping plot where the heroes don't know who the victims are in advance. Since this is a Marvel book published in the late 1970s, the only characters that would ever pay attention to high-profile kidnappings of black folks would be, say, Blacks Panther and Goliath, the Falcon or Luke Cage. Since Thing ran into Luke Cage like thirty issues ago, Black Goliath about ten issues after that (they fought giant monsters and giant tanks, respectively) and Falcon was subheadlining Captain America's book at the time, it's down to Panther to save the remaining Most Successful Blacks in the City (As Chosen By J Jonah Jameson), and, man, did they ever luck out that Thing happened by, because T'Challa doesn't do too well on this outing.

But back to Calvin. He finishes up his impromptu concert for like a half-dozen stock characters only to have a giant bat swoop down at him mid-bow. Which you very rarely see coming.And you see that happen even less. Luckily, Black Panther happened to be chilling on a thematically-appropriate catwalk above the stage, and he swings down on the curtain lines to boot the vampire in the face. Unimpressed, the vampire then beats the crap out of Panther for a couple pages while the Thing waits for a train.

Seriously. Because Thing doesn't have Fantasticars or Pogoplanes at the moment.

Just as the shambling undead locks in a modified Cobra Clutch, Ben bursts in from the back of the house and wings a row of seats towards the vampire, who trades blows with Thing for a few minutes before deciding to turn to mist and once again pick on the Panther.

Seeing the almost grotesque ineptitude of the superheroes, Calvin decides to man the Hell up and commence to stabbin'.Ever wondered what sound a bow being staked through the heart of a vampire makes?It's "kump." Just so you know.

Figuring the threat's at an end, Ben, T'Challa and Calvin Wadsworth: VAMPIRE SLAYER dust themselves off and head home, leaving the vampire corpse behind, center stage, presumably for the janitorial staff to clean up.

Except he doesn't stay down. No, this vampire has a secret.Yeah, that's right. He's a vampire who is also a zombie. Stakes through the heart are mere annoyances to his really, really extra-undead nature. There's a period in Marvel history where they were so damned excited that they could get away with references to zombies and voodoo without having the Comics Code Authority rip their faces off and spray lemon juice at the resulting open wounds that they started tossing zombies every which way but loose, with a giddiness not even approached until the utterly baffling non-stop zombie craze of, well, right Goddamn now.

This is pretty well reflected by the fact that Thing's partner next issue is none other than Brother Voodoo, a man whose entire background is "hah hah, take that, CCA." The pair head to Uganda and take on Idi Amin.See, I wasn't kidding.


ABS said...

I was going to say that a cello bow can barely stab through paper, much less flesh. Then I noticed that the bow was "an implement meant to destroy a vampire."

Which means that for years, Calvin Lloyd Wadsworth has been waiting for a vampire to attack him while he was playing cello.

Which is too awesome.

Jon Hex said...

Damn, how did a comic artist in the 70's know Forest Whitaker would play Idi?

Scipio said...

I would totally read Calvin the Famous Black Cellist/Vampire-Zuvembie Slayer.

Zuvembie? Sounds more like a hip musical style. A cello-heavy hip musical styel.

The Mutt said...

Zuvembie. Maggia. Man, Marvel was weeny in those days.