Thursday, November 3, 2016


"Oy vey"

The Menace is one of those poor bastards who simply never had a chance to make it. Appearing in three different titles for a single appearance only, it was impossible to create any sort of fan-following or – for that matter – to even know where to find the guy in the first place.

Besides distribution and consistency, the other problem plaguing the Menace was one of consistency. There’s a lot of telling rather than showing going on in the scant three tales which comprise the Menace Trilogy (part of the Not-Shared-With-Anyone Cinematic Universe), and the stories they tell are all a little different.

"...I think so, anyway, I can't see shit out of this mask."
David Temple, the alternate identity of the Menace, is billed as a horror-film star, known the wide-world over … as himself and his own secret identity. “Better known to millions of movie goers as The Menace,” explains one caption, “[Temple] uses his gruesome movie disguises to track down the denizens of the underworld!”

Thing is, he doesn’t really do that. Rather, the Menace is unceremoniously dragged into every one of his adventures, including his origin tale in which he … is not better known to millions of moviegoers as anything. In fact, he’s a hard-drinking fiction writer employed by a major newspaper to contribute to their Fiction section. I didn’t realize newspapers used to have fiction sections, because we’ve always called them “Politics sections” wokka wokka wokka hey folks ::confetti cannon fired directly into my head at point blank range::

The career path is laid out like this: Temple was a fiction writer, wrote something so good that it sent Nazis off hunting sunken treasure, then they didn’t find it and he got a job as a horror star. Checking my notes, I can see that the math is perfectly correct, let’s move on.

“His other self,” as it’s referred to on one occasion, is apparently meant to be Temple in one of his famous movie disguises, a terrifying face that sends shivers down the spine. It is, to be more direct about it, a bandana with a skull face printed on it. Dudes wore those at Slipknot concerts. Why not just wear a bowtie that looks like a bat, it’s about as terrifying.

Despite having not much in the way of skills or abilities or a tailor, the Menace still finds himself roped into adventures, including one with the FBI to beat the tar out of Axis spies slipping across the Mexican border. THAT’S WHY WE MUST BUILD A WALL! Other than that, there was that thing where he made some Nazis hunt for fictional gold and another time when his dumb fiancĂ©e got in a rocket ship with a bunch of strangers and got held for ransom on the Moon (fake moon, but still).

The Menace also doesn’t boast any particular powers, even including makeup skills derived from his horror career. To be blunt about it, I have no idea why he’s even a movie actor, as it only plays into the character in the fashion that all of the cast and crew with which he works hates his guts. See, if I were writing this, I would have just made it a strip about the gaffer pissing in Temple’s coffee between takes.

Sometimes I approach these articles with the question of whether a character seems to call for a revival or not, and with the Menace it is difficult to say. There’s nothing inherently intriguing about him past a unique color palette – sky blue and lemon yellow aren’t your traditional crime-fighting togs – but, with that in mind, there’s all the room in the world to give the guy some relevant background. I say a buncha creators should pick him up and try to do something of value with him, what the hey, let’s pass the Menace around and see who can make him work.

And now, to proofread this article to make sure I didn’t call him “Dennis”…

Because you barely have any adventures as it is.


Calamity Jon said...

Dangit, I accidentally deleted BillyWitchDoctor's comment while trying to approve it. It went:

"Iron Lady (a woman who meted out justice by crushing throats in the vise-like grip of a pair of 'clockwork gloves') faced the same publishing problem, popping up very sporadically in Clue Comics and one random issue of Airboy. "

And then I would have gotten to say "I AIN'T A PIKER, BILLY:"

BillyWitchDoctor said...

Wow, I even commented on that article. Why didn't I check first? The ol' gray matter ain't what it used to be, ain't what it used to be, ain't what it used to be...Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer, do...

Calamity Jon said...

We're getting on in years, old fella ...

BEMaven said...

Could you list the titles and issues of the comics featuring the Menace, so I could check them out at DigitalComicMuseum?

I'm a glutton for punishment.

Calamity Jon said...

Sure, and that's not a bad idea going forward with these! Will do!

Menace was a Gerona Pub. character, and appeared in three of their titles (all single issues):
Top Spot Comics
KO Comics
Triple Threat Comics

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