"Welcome to the First Printing, Chromium cover edition of Gone and Forgotten, February edition, signed and numbered by me, Michael Flagherty..."
"Face front, true believers! Nuff Said! Ha Ha! I'm the good-looking, self-assured 'buddy' character from the truly awful comic The Amazing Wahoo - which you'll definitely see here in the next month or two. Although I look just like the All-American boy, I AM a mid-eighties comic book geek ... so as soon as I'm done here, I'll be off to masturbate to the pictures of She-Hulk in the Marvel Universe handbook. You can also bet your bottom dollar that I cried like a little girl when John Byrne killed off Vindicator in Alpha Flight."
"Enough about me, here's a really cool comic! I bought twelve copies of the first issue, both variant covers, and the signed and numbered copy through Dynamic Forces. It's Awesome! Excelsior!
When Captain America throws his mighty shieeeeeeeeld!
All those who chose to oppose his shield must yieeeeeeeld!
And they fight with the white and red or blue
with the blue has the through to the blue on you
When Captain America throo-oows his mi-ghty shieeeeeeld!
Those aren't the real lyrics.
Yes, well, you knew I would get around to it ONE day ... and today is that day! Couple years back Marvel Comics - at the time the market leader in comic book sales - decided to inject some life into properties which they feared were threatening to lose their competitive edge in the face of more 'modern' (and almost by definition, more cruel and less heroic) superheroes being published by such novice companies as Image Comics.
So Marvel lured Jim Lee and Rob Liefeld back to their company (They had left to form the very Image comics company that was giving Marvel the heebie-jeebies).
Keep in mind that it was an experiment. Marvel is a major entertainment company these days, with its multitudinous mitts dipping into television, motion pictures, interactive media, cards, CCGs, toys and action figures, as well as apparel, collectibles, art prints, and ... my personal favorite ... theme restaurants. They have subsidiary companies to handle all of these interests - except for comic books! Comic books are still written and drawn right in the Marvel offices. It's really their only tangible output not managed by a satellite company.
So Marvel wanted to test the waters. They put a handful of their traditional properties (Along with Cap, thus went the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, the Avengers, and a dozen or so auxiliary characters) in a "pocket universe" and left it entirely to the devices of the Lee and Liefeld's respective studios.
The stories were poorly-received, and even the large body of fans who stated that they liked the work had to qualify it as not being the best either creator had produced. But it DID bring new readers to the titles while taking the busy day-to-day management of the books' publishing out of Marvel's otherwise-occupied hands. In those terms, Marvel was thrilled with the results
and has again begun farming out some of its titles.
Ah, but onto the stories. I wish I could spend some time on Avengers, as well as Cap, since Avengers was ALSO under Liefeld's purview - but of the two, Cap is the greatest tragedy. Even before it got out of the gate, in fact ...
Liefeld was committed to drawing the story - Lord knows why - so previous artist Ron Garney had to go. Writer Mark Waid, recently wooed away from DC Comics, has no love lost for Liefeld and 'his ilk,' and so declined an offer to continue scripting the title. Other folks offered a spot on the title included Chuck Dixon and George Perez - both of whom reconsidered and passed on the offer. Reportedly, Avengers re-scripter Jim Valentino was offered to go on after eventual writer Jeph Loeb left the title, but ran into some money disputes with Liefeld's Extreme Studio.
THEN the first issue came out! Wow!
The story, in brief - dreary, fey factory worker Steve Rogers is plagued by dreams, dreams in which he bucks wild on what might be Nazi soldiers, only we can't really tell because their uniforms were so poorly researched. Meanwhile, some damn kid worries about her brother who loves Nazism and has a really stupid hairstyle. Then a size-changing black man gives Steve a "Ford in '72" button, and everybody breaks into a riveting post-apocalyptic dance routine while Steve's wife removes her face to reveal that she is --- Maskatron! Action Figure villain from the Six Million Dollar Man toy line.
And supposedly we're supposed to be freaked out by the tired villainy of an Aryan Superman named MasterMan, and his legions of malnourished idiots.
Right, that's it for the story! Let's check out this "Arte" (A trademark of Extreme Studios, not to be confused with 'Art,' an industry-wide standard of quality not subscribed to by Extreme Studios and its management). Here, one of my favorite scenes, the soon-to-be Bucky (Designed to look a heck of a lot like Carrie from Frank Miller's Dark Knight Returns) confronts her brother and his friend, a tremendously-huge freak ... and no one seems to think this is weird. Check it out, looking at where 'John's' feet would most likely end, his pal is probably buried about three feet in the sidewalk. Not to mention that his gargantuan arms would easily scrape pavement were they ever in a relaxed position. AND on top of all of this, the stoop on which Bucky sits appears to go up about one story, officially making it the largest stoop I've ever seen ... and if that IS the entrance to their building, then having the stairs go up to the second floor kind of defeats the purpose of having first-floor apartments.
Here's another scene where MasterMan works his "crowd" into a furor. Notice, however, that not only did the artist choose to represent the crowd - a crowd numbering, as a whole, about fifty, maybe sixty people - in silhouette only, but he reused the silhouettes ... yes, folks, he just photostatted the same three or four silhouettes and repeated them among the page. That's laziness on an Olympic level.
Here's the best part, though. Captain America's shield, integral to the character's look, is apparently made of silly putty; from panel to panel, the shield changes size in proportion to its assorted wielders - I'm guessing Liefeld's compass is broken on one setting.
So, check this out: In the hands of Steve Trevor's ... no, wait, Steve Roger's dimunitive black stalker, the shield isn't much bigger than a record album, but WAIT! After enduring a surprise attack, Steve's shield fits comfortably in the space between shoulder and forearm, maybe 15 inches in diameter. Steve gloriously swings into high and starts hurting people, and notice that his shield is now as wide as the distance from the knuckles
of his hand to his shoulder - about 2-and-a-half feet in diameter, or so. Then Steve lets fly at some enemy agents, and his shield has ballooned to an impressive FOUR or FIVE feet wide - almost as tall as the guys it's knocking over. But if Steve was worried about somehow storing his gargantuan shield when he gets home - no worries .... It's just as big as a small pizza! Personal Pan Shield!
There's so much more crap in this comic, but I can't go on. Stories differ as to the exact reason why Liefeld's run on this book was ended prematurely, but it all comes down to a messed up product that was an embarassment overall for a number of people involved ... and even moreso for those who shelled out cash money for the product.
- "Can't talk now, honey, I have to balance carefully on the invisible tightrope in the middle of our kitchen"
- Steve Rogers eats lunch like a real American - with a SPOON in EACH HAND!
- Steve throws all limbs akimbo whenever his son's right leg inexplicably vanishes into his pelvis. It's family fun!
- What the hell is up with these two?
- 1st Spectacular Issue!!