Friday, February 24, 2017


Last year, I had the pleasure of having my first book, The League of Regrettable Superheroes, published by the fine folks over at Quirk Books in Philadelphia, PA. Although the cat has been out of the bag for a little while, I'm nonetheless proud to announce that the logical sequel -- The Legion of Regrettable Super-Villains -- is slated to debut on March 28th! You can now pre-order the book over on AmazonBarnes&Noble, and probably on the weird superhero book black market. It does thriving business!

To whet your appetite for the new book, every Friday leading up to the release date, I'll be providing brief snapshots of just some of the 108 (!) historically effed-up bad guys covered in the book (and that's not even counting the sidebars).

If there's anything ickier than a bug, then you can keep it. Alternatively, if there's anything ickier than a big, you can put it in a mask and give it the idea to start snuffing people and stealing shit. Evidently, they're all pretty good at it, which accounts for the numbers. Still, you can defeat most of them with a shoe or by turning the kitchen lights on in the middle of the night.

Created by: Otto Binder and Kurt Schaffenberger
Debuted in: Whiz Comics #89 (Fawcett Comics, September 1947)

Lose the hyphen and get with the program. Years before Peter Parker had the world's most extreme allergic reaction to a spider-bite, this fur-festooned fiend was crawling around America's industrial centers, hijacking planes and stealing gold and all that good, old-timey supervillain stuff. 

Spider Man's primary weapon, just as it is with his superheroic successor, is his web-like fluid. Unlike the Spectacular Spider-Man, though, this Spider Man carries his web fluid around in what appears to be some sort of weaponized bagpipe, and squeezes it out in huge, milky clumps to capture and detain his foes. It looks super pornographic, in case you were wondering. 

Created by: Joe Gill and Bill Fraccio
Debuted in: Blue Beetle # 4 (Charlton Comics, January 1965)

You begin to get the feeling that they were running out of bug-related super-villain names when they got all the way to "Praying Mantis Man," given the relative mouthful of the appellation. I mean, "Blue Beetle" rolls right off the tongue, while "Praying Mantis Man" sounds either like one of those things you're supposed to try to spell with your tongue during cunnilingus or the name of a 90s college alt-rock band.

A scientist with a yen for chlorophyll (I guess he had bad breath or something), Praying Mantis Man makes himself green and gives himself the powers of insect control for the purposes of ... the usual purposes, I guess. I have vague memories of his second appearance, but something is telling me that he married an ant. I dunno. These things start to blur together. Buy the book for the whole story!

THE ROACH WRANGLERCreated by: Mike Baron and Bill Reinhold
Debuted in: The Badger #27 (First Comics, September 1987)

Winner of the grossest origin of all time goes to the former U.S. military man who falls into a hidden cavern underneath a pyramid and has roaches climb into his mouth every day for like a million days, and then comes out with an amulet that allows him to control roaches. That's a pretty great origin and a really weird backstory, but even better was that he was hired by a Fats Waller lookalike to drive renters out of the landlord's property so he could set up condos. Timely and weird, my favorite kind of comics! It helps, too, that the climax of his debut adventure involved a war between cockroaches and elephants on the Wisconsin/Illinois border. Comics are fun.

Created by: Stan Lee, Larry Lieber and Jack Kirby
Debuted in: Tales to Astonish vol. 1 # 339 (Marvel Comics, January 1963)

If you're an Ant-Man, you're going to face some insect villains -- see the troubles Blue Beetle had with Praying Mantis Man, above. For the original Ant-Man, though the problem takes the shape of a giant, radioactive, world-conquering beetle who can command the insects of the world to destroy man's civilization. It's a good thing that Ant-Man's alter ego, Hank Pym, is an incredibly good scientists, because just getting very small would not have solved this problem at all. 


neofishboy said...

I still have a lot of affection for Mike Baron's early '80s work. Badger and Nexus in Capital-then-First Comics were my first exposure to non-Marvel/DC superheroes. If I recall correctly, I'm pretty sure I bought the the first three over-sized black and white issues of Nexus (complete with intact flexi-disc) with money I made selling off some Byrne/Austin X-Men.

Calamity Jon said...

The voices they used for Alph and Beta on that flexi-disc haunt my nightmares to this day.

neofishboy said...

And oh God the song ...

Unknown said...

First time I ever saw the Scarlet Beetle was in an ANT-MAN backup story, from the pages of IRON MAN #44, sometime in the early 70s. Looking back, I imagine this was an inventory story, tossed into the book at the last minute in order to make a shipping deadline. In any case, the story was a beaut. The Scarlet Beetle, as rendered by Ross Andru and Mike Esposito was creepy as fuck. And the Beetle's plans for world domination come to an abrupt halt when he's squished by a gasoline can, unwittingly dropped on the little dastard by a clumsy arsonist. Hey, I wonder if SB ever fought the Micronauts...?

rnigma said...

I recall the name "Roach Wrangler" came from the credits of a movie that used live roaches in a scene, and the guy who had the thankless job of gathering the critters and somehow making them perform on camera was credited as the "roach wrangler."

Unknown said...

You watching Blue Beetle fight a '90s alt college band might be fun.

"No one can understand your singing now! How will you sound when I put my fist in your mouth?" *POW!*


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