One comic released during Assistant Editors' Month, although not stamped or branded as such, is Uncanny X-Men Annual #7, which pitted our jolly gene-twisted guys against the menace that is...can ya believe it: The Impossible Man! What, him again? But that trick never works! This time fer shure!
It's a lovely brilliant sunny day in Salem Center, and instead of being off sulking somewhere about their unintelligible history, the X-Men are out, as they often were, playing baseball. (Ah, those were the days.) Batting cleanup is the Kossack Kid, Peter Rasputin, who smacks the ol' horsehide so far it takes off into orbit. Or...does it?
All panels from Uncanny X-Men Annual #7 (1984), written by Chris Claremont, art by Michael Golden and Bret Blevins and a whole lotta inkers, coloring by Glynis Wein, lettering by Tom Orzechowski, Michael Higgins, and Rick Parker
You can say goodbye to a fun afternoon picnic at Xavier's School for Genetically Overactive Youngsters...just like he did with Peter Parker's wedding reception, Galactus is crashing the party!
Whoa, looks like eating that last planet has made Galactus a little green, huh? That's because (unknown for the moment to the X-Men), the artist formerly known as Galen is actually the green 'n' purple Impossible Man. Claremont forgets in this story and in a later New Mutants annual that Impy can actually change color, but no worries about that now. Masquerading as the Devourer of Worlds, Impy steals the X-Mansion, leaving behind nothing but the X-Men's basement and Wolverine's Thingmaker set.
Pursued around the globe by the X-Men, the Impossible Man is stealing some of the greatest and most unique treasure of the Marvel Universe: Nick Fury's eye-patch (ick, he really needs to wash behind that thing more), Zabu the sabretooth tiger, Dr. Strange's sigil window, the Hellfire Club's Black Queen outfit (va-va-voom!), the Fantasticar, and...as we see towards the end of the book, even a few trinkets from places very definitely not the Marvel Universe:
As it eventually turns out, there's no malice to the Impossible Man's heists: he's just "borrowing" each item for a galactic scavenger hunt. And what could be more of a prize than capturing the one, the only, Stan Lee? trouble is, as Impy finds, Marvel's offices are no longer where they were last time he (and we) saw 'em:
Which means that across town, at Marvel's new 1980s offices, Mark Gruenwald and Eliot R. Brown come face-to-face with Zabu the sabertooth and a purple-'n'-green miniature Ghost Rider:
Writer/editor Larry Hama and artist Michael Golden, relaxin' in the reddest room in the history of architecture, are visited by the impossible Man in his search for Stan before Colossus and Wolverine catch up with him. Check out the dig at Stan's hairpiece...ouch!
And if it's the eighties...who else do expect to guest-star during a visit to the Marvel Bullpen but eight-foot-three EIC Jim Shooter (accompanied by Marvel's then-VP Publishing Michael Hobson). Ah, those were the days...
Finally apprehending the Impossible Man in the middle of the Marvel offices, Wolverine thinks it's a good idea to let Impy take Stan (Obviously he foresaw the creation of Stripperella)...
...while Storm, even in her mid-eighties Mohawk punk look, is the empathic and considerate X-Man:
... Chris Claremont and Paul Smith try to duck the blame while Louise Simonson plays peacemaker...
...and as the X-Men take Impy away, Kitty Pryde, the Hermione Grainger of her time, apologizes on behalf of everybody for the chaos, the confusion, and very possibly, the entire story:
...leaving the 1980s Bullpen to clean up, contact the insurance company, and very probably write a comic book about the entire experience.
That ain't the end, of course. There's some typical mid-eighties Claremont obsession with Impy taking on the appearance of Tom Selleck (pictured) accompanied by Kitty Pryde and Illyana Rasputin in their bathing suits (luckily, not pictured):
And then assistant X-Editor Eliot Brown shows up again to apologize for the whole shebang...
...give us the title of the story...
...show us just how many cooks it takes to make an x-broth...
...and blow the whole ferschluggin' thing up:
Whew. Well, there you go: Marvel superheroes visit the 1980s Marvel Comics offices. And yeah, it's pretty silly, but it's also a lot of fun, something that's sadly missing from most of today's comics. Why, Joe Quesada would never let Marvel superheroes rain such chaos down upon his modern-day Marvel offices, now, you can bet on that!
(That's a hint to tune in tomorrow for more twenty-first century Bullpen excitement than you can shake a pen of bulls at, folks!)