Thursday, March 20, 2014


This is like one of those two-page origin spread Alex Ross does, but with a head injury.
Another one-shot oddity from Otto Binder, mad king of the Silver Age! The Man from SRAM (That’s “Mars” spelled backwards, and you’ll probably want to get used to inverted words from here on out) clocks in at one whole backup adventure in the pages of Jigsaw #2, part of the Harvey Thriller line of titles, drawn by Carl Pfeufer.

You know what they say - when life gives
you lemons with human faces on them,
squeeze until you get lemonade?
The tongue-in-cheek adventure involves the secret Martian agent seeking out agents of an insidious organization – FINK – on Earth. FINK, which stands for “Fiendish Interplanetary Nasty Killers” (we never learn what, if anything, SRAM stands for except that it’s “Mars” spelled backwards for no apparent reason) stages a plan to destroy the Earth on the set of a big-budget Hollywood sci-fi movie (“big budget”, being the Sixties, means “about forty clams”).

The shape-changing Man from SRAM possesses a number of other amazing powers, including the ability to transmute matter, walk through walls, and reverse words constantly – wait, that might just be a neurological condition. Over the course of the story, we’re introduced to such inverted phonetic treats as Knif, Knits, Kook (well, there’s a gimme), Doog and Yllis, all for no apparent reason, as well as OFU which represents the Man from SRAM’s mode of transport, the Object Flying Upside Down (Later, there’s also an Unbeatable Flying Oriental Rug, or UFOR).

Apparently a nod towards DC’s recently introduced Martian Manhunter - who was also a tremendously powered Martian lawman disguised as a trenchcoated human – the daffy plotline made a lot of sense as a comedy, while the value and appeal of the inverted words gag remains, at best, a little gnilffab.

And I have Popeye arms.

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