Thursday, September 22, 2016


Oh, he loves to laugh.

He’s got the name of a Siegel and Shuster creation (but he’s not theirs)  and the look of a Steve Ditko drawing (but he’s not his, either), and the morals of a water rat. He’s Funnyman, the chief torturer of the Nazi regime and the star of a gruesome story from the thematically misaligned Cisco Kid Comics. This is supposed to be a Western comic, guys. Let’s leave off the mutilated Nazi sadists, may we?

Well, they're only human.
The leering figure of Funnyman has his origins in Nazi Germany where he was not only chief torturer for the Axis regime but also a man obsessed with making his victims larf. “There is one spot on the ribs where a whip will bring on paroxysms of laughter” he insists in one panel. Later, he gasses an entire town with his own fatal brand of laughing gas. He also tickles one dude’s feet … and then puts rats on him. That last one is conceptual.

The grisly good looks which define Funnyman are the result of a civilian uprising and a quick application of a Glasgow smile. See, you might think this guy was a ripoff of The Joker but, in actuality, he anticipated Heath Ledger’s interpretation several decades earlier! (PS Please ignore The Man Who Laughs for the purposes of the aforementioned statement).

This is one weird Career Day.
Funnyman’s reign of terror seems to be centered primarily on one small town, the social hub of which is the barber shop off of main street. If there’s any particular cause for this, it’s because the local law enforcement has basically abandoned their responsibilities and handed it off to the town barber, “Deadpan.” I think, under the Patriot Act, this is how we fight crime now.

I mean, as an aside, but the instructions the Feds give Deadpan when they tell him to keep on the lookout for Funnyman is, literally, “keep an eye out for a man you never see.” I…sure, I’ll do that. Is this a Voight-Kampff test?

Funnyman and Deadpan end up in a climactic battle over raging rapids which, again, seems like we should call the cops instead of leaving it to a barber. The end result is the apparent death of Funnyman but, it’s learned by the end of the story, the mad torturer survived and took Deadpan’s place. This explains the unprompted downturn in haircut quality on the block, and the subsequent rise in deaths-by-torture at the shampoo station.

Funnyman’s return is promised in the final panel, but a second adventure never materializes. Maybe he already worked through his best material …

"We do the work ... so you don't haaaave tooooo...."

1 comment:

Cheryl Spoehr said...

Whoa! Thanks for finding this,I never would have! This is one weird,sick story! I love the Seigel and Shuster Funnyman,and am glad to know there is another...but this is just so wrong on so many levels....

Popular Posts