Thursday, September 29, 2016


I don't usually like to cover any character if I don't have access to their full catalog of original appearances. But, with Little Giant from O.K.Comics, I'd like to make an exception. This is in part because there are only two appearances, and I've at least got half of the full catalog. Also, because it's disturbing, delightful and a little bit insane.

To begin with, the story begins in media res, and in complete disarray. The opening panel of the series introduces the Little Giant -- a "little orphan newsboy" who's not entitled to a real name ("Rusty") until he's proven his value in a fight, evidently -- tearing the fuck out of the in-home laboratory of the kiddie-luring scientist Professor Abner Rednow. Seems that Professor Rednow, after checking his driver's license in a mirror just to make sure the name thing worked, enticed the apparently shirtless child into his house in order to experiment on him. Many episodes of Law and Order;SVU start the same way, dongk dongk.

He's gonna start poppin' and lockin'
Bellowing in pain, Little Giant wrecks shit like he gets paid for it. Luckily, this is the one trait most desirable in a golden age superhero.

Having been the recipient of the Professor's "Liquid Impurvogen" -- which is a secret superpower formula and not a euphemism for bodily emissions which would send any sane individual leaping in front of a train -- "Giant" now possess the strength of twelve strong men! Likewise, he probably possesses the strength of twenty-four moderately strong men, and as many as four dozen weaklings. He's like the Charmin toilet rolls of superherodom -- you need a slide rule to figure out how many "Regular Rolls" go into a "Giant Roll," you know?

Giant also gets a liberal brushing of the boss' liquid Impurvogen (Consult with your doctor before taking Impurvogen. Ask your pharmacist for more information before asking about Impurvogen. Impurvogen is a sedative. Do not lift two-hundred pounds tanks over your head with one arm while using Impurvogen. If your erection lasts more than four hours, call the newspaper and tell them "I've had a boner for one-sixth of the day, whoopee!" They will put your photo on the front page of the Lifestyles section and declare you "King For The Day." Impurvogen may cause diarrhea, loggorhea, Rhea Perlman, Ron Perlman and sleep gambling. Do not take Impurvogen). What a quick dousing with a housepainting brush accomplishes is to make Little Giant as invulnerable as he is strong! Therefore, he's as invulnerable as twelve invulnerable men!

Having run out of good names for his inventions, Professor Rednow gives Little Giant a suit of anti-gravity fabric. His array of scientific improvements allow the tyke to leap around like a little maniac, lifting full grown men above his head and getting knocked in the in the back of his coconut with whole literal chairs.

::slowly tips over and falls flat on floor::

The whole "child superhero" gimmick is an intriguing one, to me, because it's simultaneously ecstatic and odious. The idea of sending a child into a battle with gun-toting criminals ought to turn any responsible human being's stomach. Luckily, these are comic books we're talking about and there are no responsible human beings around to wreck things for the rest of us.

But, on the other hand, the comic superhero genre is one where ideas trump execution. And the idea of a kid superhero is one which resonates with deep-seated and long-forgotten feelings of juvenile helplessness and pre-adolescent energy and enthusiasm, for most folks.

"But first, turn your bodycams off..."
Little Giant captures that last sentiment dramatically (even if it begins with the former -- after all, having been lured into a stranger's house and experimented upon -- and it hurt! -- without his foreknowledge is pretty much the definition of the dynamic between child and adult power). With the Professor having adopted his guinea pig, the Little Giant finds himself thrown into action when "notorious gangster" Butch uses him for a human shield in a subway shootout with the fuzz.

Rusty's bona fides are proven even more dramatically when he and his pop visit an old friend, the local Police Commissioner. In order to prove his value as a potential special deputy to the gendarmes, Rusty beats the tar out of a bunch of cops and shames them by showing off his superior physical prowess. I guess Rusty's been watching the news.

Whatever happens in the second issue is anyone's guess ... well, some people own O.K.Comics No.2 so I guess they know. What I DO know is that I appreciate Rusty's zeal and his blase reaction to things like having furniture smashed directly in his face. With his and his adoptive pop's newly minted status as special deputies to the police department, I expect we'll see a lot more grown men carried like dinner trays being hefted by cartoon waiters.

"...and kind of looks like an idiot while doing it."

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