Monday, February 23, 2009

Hostess Heroes: Captain Marvel Part 2

Oh Marv, when will you learn?
In "Captain Marvel Meets The Dreadnought" (full title "Captain Marvel Meets the Dreadnought By Way Of Flying Up Behind It, Grabbing It By The Cocyx, and Flinging It The Fuck Off Into Another Galaxy, WTF") , we actually get to see a little of the philosopher side of Marv, which helped define his cosmos-spanning adventures in his own comics. Here, upon freeing the strange and possibly retarded crew of roller derby fashion victims aboard the supply ship to begin unabashedly consuming their own cargo, Marv flies off with a heady maxim, "It is not right for Evil to rule men's destiny." This is hell of true, friend Captain Mar-Vell, and I've never seen a more appropriate time to mention it.

In the fourth and fifth panels, there's something so sympathetically awkward in Marv's posture, as though he just was not expecting this crew of sugar-hungry spastics to come pouring out of their padded breakroom at him. I don't know that I would be able to manage much more than a plastic smile and standing with my arms flat at my side if I were in a similar situation. Honestly, Marv looks like he's afraid they'll bite off a finger if he gets his hands too close to their mouths

This is also Marv at his most passive-aggressive, as he rockets off, noting that they didn't offer him any fruit pies. "It is not right for Evil to rule men's destiny" is the Kree equivalent of "Nice manners, jerks."

Marv accurately notes here, in "Captain Marvel vs Professor Sneer," that what we often think of a bullies and thugs are often just people who've had a hard row to hoe in their lives. Professor Sneer, for instance, has clearly had a long life of small, but bitter failures, of seemingly irrelevant cowardices that have failed his resolve, of pointless denials and self-fulfilling prophecies. I suppose, looking back, perhaps the fault lies with the parents, perhaps it is circumstance, perhaps it's a cold and heartless God, or worse yet a universe without God which has driven him to these extremes. Still, you have to imagine it wasn't the most dedicated of lifelong hatreds which drove him to design a ray made to kill the sun, considering all it took to bring him around was a Thermos full of fatty sugars. Sounds more like he's just hypoglycemic

If there's anything to really hate about this particular strip, it's that it puts the lie to the word "Vs." Versus, nothing, Cap's pussyfooting around this old twat. Surely Cap has laser beam hands or something, doesn't he? If the only thing preventing Captain Marvel from disabling the sun killer ray was that he didn't get the old guy's permission first, I'm not sure I want this guy protecting the universe.

There are Earth Chiefs of Staff? Who hired those guys?

"Captain Marvel Defends The Earth!" is "The Blue and The Grey" for Kree people, it is their saga of brother against brother and a land divided. Captain Mar-Vell is their Abraham Lincoln. Cancer is their John Wilkes Booth. I pray that I have gone a long way towards explaining the Kree mentality to you.

Guys. Guys. "My fists must protect the safety of the Earth children." Guys. Can we get an amendment to the Constitution or get a Papal Bull or maybe a City Ordinance passed that, like, could right away make this line the pivotal portion of the Pledge of Allegiance? In fact, this whole thing reads like an amazing new Pledge from the emotional apogee of awesomeness. Here's what I propose to replace that hoary old Pledge of Allegiance:

"It will be good to see the blue skies and green fields of Earth after the dull monotony of the outer galaxy.
My cosmic awareness warns me there is danger below.
My fists must protect the safety of the Earth children.
I will pulverize the rocks into sand.
[congregation] You changed the rocks into sand
It all happened so fast I never stopped eating this delicious golden sponge cake.
I was so busy enjoying the creamed filling I forgot to be afraid.
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory.
With forever and ever for all.

I trust I can count on you to all sign my petition.

Carrying on the tradition of brainwashed children innocuously filling space from "Captain Marvel Returns to Earth," "Captain Marvel (!) and the Energy Crisis" apparently manages to uncover Fletcher Hanks from the tides of obscurity to draw an episode. Either that or Henry Darger. The Story of the Hostess Girls, in What is Known as the Realms of the Unhealthy Snack, of the Twinkiean-Cupcakian War Storm Caused by the Purposeful Denial of Delicious Fruit Pies.
Actually, now I'm totally distracted by the idea of Fletcher Hanks illustrating Hostess Fruit Pie ads, Stardust the Super Wizard all getting his hands to turn giant and flaming-hot and cooking the bad guys up in fruit pie shells. I'm distracted by this largely because I recently read that Fletcher Hanks collection, and also because these Hostess Ads are so fuckin' awful that I'm utterly driven to distraction reading 'em. Anyway, see the panel where Captain Marvel beats the shit out of a skinny, old man? That's sugary treats for you right there, man, Marv's all acting up. I bet somebody needs a nap.


jlroberson said...

Oh, my sides. More of this please.

That last one, I'm sad to say--I think I know, and later they were pretty good, and they'd be very embarrassed. I think that's very early Akin & Garvey, the team that later made ROM actually moody and dramatic-looking for a while. (they came in when the meaner, brain-sucking Wraiths appeared)

Hal Shipman said...

Hmm, I'd always wondered why Mar-Vell was so damned popular for a hero that really didn't have that many appearances, when you really think about it.

Seeing all of these in one place, I'm beginning to think that these Hostess ads appearing line-wide really upped his Q-rating out of proportion to his actual appearances.

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