Sunday, March 18, 2012

Adventures Into Fear

Last week saw a bit of good news for fans of Bronze Age Muck Monsters with the revelation that Marvel was going to publish a lost Steve Gerber Man-thing script.

From Marvel's Website:

INFERNAL MAN-THING, a three-issue limited series beginning in June, will present the final Steve Gerber Man-Thing tale, a previously-unknown story that until recently remained only a wishful thought in the hearts and minds of his devotees. To illustrate such a landmark series, Marvel has brought in the equally-acclaimed Kevin Nowlan.

I've always been a big fan of Man-thing, but over the years, he's never had the same success as his spiritual brother Swamp Thing. I think part of that has been that Man-thing, as a concept, doesn't play quite as well in Marvel's superhero filled universe as DC's version. There are only so many stories you can tell where Spider-man teams up with a character who doesn't say anything and burns the villain in the end. Swamp Thing, on the other hand, isn't mindless and has the advantage of being able to talk from time to time.

Also, much of Swamp Thing's longevity is no doubt due in part to the drastic shot in the arm Alan Moore gave the franchise. That coupled with his two movies,  television series and cartoon give DC's bog beast stronger roots in readers minds.

Regardless of the reason, the various attempts to bring back Man-thing have been less than successful. Like the 90's version:

On the flip side, Jeff Parker has been using the character in some interesting ways in Thunderbolts, proving once again that in the hands of a good writer, even characters with some limitations can prove compelling.

Thinking on the news, I wondered if we might finally see an Adventures Into Fear Marvel Masterwork? There are two Man-thing Essentials, but I think the old stories deserve to be collected in color. Here's my mockup of such an edition.

Keeping in the theme of Muck Monsters, here is today's appropriate Free Comic. Airboy Comics 9, with the first appearance of The Heap!

- Jim

1 comment:

MattComix said...

I think part of it to is that they both have an inherently and intentional grotesque quality to their visuals, but I think with Man Thing it's a bit more severe.

Plus, Man Thing's design makes expression limited. Not saying this as any kind of knock on Man Thing, more it's just my idea of would could be the reason he's never enjoyed the success that Swamp Thing has.

I admit I mostly know the character from Marvel Team-Up. ^^;


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