Wednesday, January 13, 2016


There are some folks who suggest that superheroes outlived their relevancy by the end of World War II, when the blatant evil of fascism was effectively wiped from Europe and the colorful, practically-made-for-fiction evil of the Nazis was no longer a viable source of villainy. Well, those folks are wrong on two levels: Superheroes were always irrelevant and they never stopped fighting Nazis anyway.

And a third reason is because they also went on to fight allergens!

" don't have a home anymore. You belong in the
streets, with the rest of the filth."
Captain America twice faced off against Daniel Tyler, The Asthma Monster, in a pair of asthma-awareness comics released by Marvel in conjunction with Glaxo Inc, manufacturers of (::pause as I look at a list of medications produced by GlaxoSmithKline, recognizing none of them and unable to pronounce most of them::) drugs.

Asthma Monster's m.o. is to shoot cat dander directly into the open mouths of everyone on the planet Earth, crippling them with asthma attacks and allowing him to conquer the world. Why dress like a monster to do this? Good question, and also a tough call, and also I don't really know except kids hate monsters like with their whole literal brains, so he's a good villain for a kids' comic about why you shouldn't make fun of the guy who brings his inhaler to the kickball field.

When the Asthma Monster makes his return to bedevil the innocent town of Midville -- and to revenge himself upon not just Captain America, but also meddling kids and asthma sufferers John and Ruth who aided the Star-Spangled Avenger in defeating the Asthma Monster the first time around - he doesn't come alone. Accompanying the baddie and his sole weapon, the Aller-Gun (which sounds ominously Wagnerian, if you say it out loud), is a parade of tiny, hairy, dusty Gremlins ... with attitude!

Well, you're never going to be able
to hear anything at the movies
ever again.
With John's and/or Ruth's parents (I don't know and I don't care) kidnapped and their house empty, Cap does the responsible thing and leads the kids inside with him. If you think this sounds like a great set-up for the Asthma Monster to pop out of nowhere and fire a blast of pure churro farts into the faces of our assembled heroes, you're right! But unless you also predicted that the Asthma Monster's introductory line would be "Inhale these allergens, you patriotic fool!" then you fail to win our big prize. In the meantime, I finally found just the right words to use when I propose to my girlfriend.

The Asthma Monster's primary powers are hucking cigar ash up your nose with a Nerf bazooka and teleportation, so he fucks off out of the fight as soon as it begins. Taking his place is his platoon of asthma-causing assistants, a crew of twisted little gnomes and weirdos who resemble what might happen if the Smurfs fucked a bunch of Ugnaughts.

Leading the crew is Rugburn, the monster who does it doggy style in front of the couch, I guess. Decked out in gold shorts, orange suspenders and roller skates, he chews "Super Smokin' Cigars" and is dispatched with a hand-held vacuum cleaner, which is a summary of the type of dream you get after a dinner of pulled pork and straight gin.

Avengers -- Inhale!
Supporting Rugburn is Dust Dragon, a hissing pain-in-the-ass who hides in vents and can be taken out by getting slammed super-hard in the face by something like, oh, let's say an adamantium shield. Feather Boa, a feathery snake monster and symbol for sexual insecurity makes up the third member of the crew, while the high-bouncing, hair-shedding Furball joins the fray just long enough for Captain America to kick him to death. There's also The Mold Patrol -- now in color!

As a personal aside, I suffered from asthma when I was a kid, growing up in the wildly unsafe-to-inhale state of California during a period when its air pollution was world-famous for literally murdering people. I ended up spending a few non-consecutive weeks in an air tent just to keep alive. If only my doctors had informed me that I could have merely beaten the tar out of filthy mogwais, I'd've reclaimed a lot of my childhood.

Anyway, the conclusion of the battle involves the apparent final defeat of the Asthma Monster, the return of John's or Ruth's parents -- whoever -- and also one kid in school who had asthma is inspired to go get treatment for it, which is good news for him because that keeps the Asthma Monster away. Victories all around!

Simpsons fans might enjoy the actual coda, though, where a reformed Asthma Monster -- himself an asthma sufferer who merely tried to give everyone asthma just so he'd feel like less of an outsider -- is granted parole and returns to a normal, healthy life as a coach for a high school swim team. In fact, it's the high school swim team on which John, the kid he'd been trying to kill earlier, is the star athlete. If he starts assisting with Ruth's meetings for Job's Daughters International, then both of those kids'll have something more than swollen bronchial passages to be afraid of.

Check out this dumb tool just imitating Captain America behind his back.

No comments:

Popular Posts