Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Cock-Blocked by the Shocker's Rockin' Dockers!

Long-time Spider-Man fans are plenty familiar with The Shocker, one of comicdom's most insulated villains. Mind you, The Shocker doesn't necessarily actually shock you, except the bumper-car sense of the word - "shock" usually implies getting suddenly surprised, or receiving a blast of electricity, while the Shocker's power is vibration-based. He hits you with "shock-waves", you see, thus the name.

Still, you know, there was a long period in the Marvel Universe where Stan Lee was involved in naming every character. Writers would come to Stan and say "We've got this guy, he's this guy who's lost his mind and he goes after jaywalkers and litterers with a high-powered rifle. See, he's out there to punish criminals..." and Stan will interrupt and go "Call him .. The Punisher!" And the writers probably simultaneously winced and dropped their jaws in awe, because make fun as you will, the insight it takes to "call 'em as you see 'em" is pretty refined. We could have been spared every godawful, deliberately mispelled (or so I assume), picked-from-a-random-page-in-the-dictionary character name in the 90s, had Stan still been at the helm.

I assume the editorial meeting for this guy must have been pretty great. "So, Johnny," says Stan, "What have we got here, who's this jazzy personage in the padded pajamas?"
"Well, Stan, we don't have a name for him yet. Uh, he has these power gloves that, uh, they vibrate? They shoot vibrations at you?"
"Easy-peasy, Johnny-boy, we call him ... The Vibrator!"
(Roy laughs, continues making coffee)
"Uh, well, Stan, you see, there's a ... there's a sexual connotation to 'Vibrator' that we don't want to use, you know, you don't really want to associate a Marvel villain with something as vulgar as that ..."
"Okay, Johnny, let me hit you with this: The SHOCKER!"
(Roy laughs, continues polishing shoes)
"Uh..."
"It's got verve, it's got punch! Now get out there and make it happen, you crazy kids!"
"Stan, the thing is ... the Shocker? It's also a kind of ..."
"I have spoken, Excelsior!"
"Stan..."
"Nuff said!"

What was great about The Shocker was that whenever he did appear in the comic, he'd get that rhyming or alliterative descriptor. And, sure, most Marvel villains got this treatment - "Rumbled by The Rhino!" or "The Vulture - Victorious!" ... but The Shocker always got ones that sounded like totally shredding rock songs.

Oh yeah! Rocked by the Shocker! Woooooo!



Fuck yeah! Shattered by the Shocker! Wooooo!


Woo, yeah, shock follows shock when Spidey ... confronts ... the ... You know what? This one actually sucks pretty bad.

I'm shocked.

4 comments:

I, Warren said...

I always hated The Shocker's costume. The yellow & brown combo pretty much summed him up. Piss & shite.

Should've called him Depends the Devil Diaper

BillyWitchDoctor said...

Let's be fair. The Shocker's been around a lot longer than the sexual reference has been common knowledge. However, someone (I think it was Will O'The Wisp?) let him in on the joke in the semi-famous "Bar With No Name/Funeral Of The Stilt-Man" story in Punisher War Journal #4; even Dragon-Man thought that was hilarious.

james said...

Dude! You know that old saying about many a truth being spoken in jest? You don't? Well, screw you. Anyway, the funniest thing about your hypothetical account of how the Shocker got his name is---it's true!!! I workead as one of John Romita Senior's assistants back in the day (middle eighties) before launching my own glorious freelance career (coughcough). Well, John liked to talk about the old days, and being proper geeks, us assistant-types loved to hear stories about what really went on at Marvel back when we were just kids. Byfar, John's funniest story was about the day he had to explain to Stan why they couldn't call their new character "the Vibrator". Frankly, except for the attendance of Roy Thomas, YOU NAILED IT PERFECTLY. Spooky as hell, mah brotha!

They Call Me Calamity said...

At this moment, I have never been prouder, and I promise to only ever use my gifts for good.

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