Good pal o' mine Tom Spurgeon...and, when you think about him, he's a very good pal to the entire business and culture of comics...recently had an extended stay in the hospital, and we here at COBF wish him all our best. We want you to stick around, Tom! So let's dedicate this post to Tom and answer one of his thought-provoking questions, namely "Freddie Moyer?".
This succinct and to-the-point query was linked to this Warriors Three post of mine. I'm sure you asked the very same thing when you saw the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe-style page featuring the W3:
Page from Thor & Hercules: Encyclopedia Mythologica one-shot (2009)
Yup! That'll cause some queries. Namely, what's up with the two "civilian" Midgard* names each of the Warriors Three has? MMORPG names for their "World of Midgard" accounting and advertising characters? Names they book under while staying in Midgard hotels to avoid the screaming teenage girls? Their S.H.I.E.L.D.** cover identities?
Not exactly. Let's use the power of mathematics to illuminate the purpose of Fandral being called "Freddie Moyer," shall we? Let me get out my chalk and write on the black...now, who forgot to clap the erasers? And who replaced the chalk with string cheese? And where did my chalkboard go? Oh, here it is:
Freddie Moyer:Fandral = Don Blake:Thor
Ah ha! Freddie Moyer is the name Fandral uses in his mortal identity on Midgard! But...hmmm, I don't remember Fandral or Hogun or Curly Joe having mortal identities! What story was this in? And did it have a drunken bum version of Odin? Why, yes it did.
We must now travel at the speed of light! back to the 1990s...to 1996 in fact, immediately following the momentous events of comics' greatest and highest achievement, Onslaught! hee hee hee hee...sorry, I couldn't get through that without giggling. Anyway, following the mutant crossover story "Onslaught," most of earth's heroes except for Spider-Man and the X-Men...and hey, it was their story...were whisked away to another world where everything looked like Image Comics. Yes, it was 1996's Heroes Reborn, a thirteen month experiment that ended several major Marvel series (including Thor) and rebooted the characters into new #1s. Yep, it was Ultimate Marvel before Ultimate Marvel. Maybe we should call it Penultimate Marvel.
Anyways! Thor ended with issue #502, not so much with a bang but with a whimper, and the next time we saw him was in the Heroes Reborn universe, until everybody agreed that New Thor was kind of a jerk and replaced him with our Thor for the remainder of the Heroes Reborn stories. (I only wish I was kidding about that.) That left a huge plotline dangling over in the Marvel Universe: following another of the every-two-years Ragnaroks that seem to plague the Norse gods, Asgard had been destroyed and the gods, each and every one of 'em from Aegir to Ziu (that's an alternate name for Tyr, mainly because I couldn't find any Marvel Asgardians whose names began with "Z"), was lost across the Fifth World (Midgard), amnesiac in their new human identities. Thus was Thor #502 followed by Journey Into Mystery #503, returning the series to its original title and spotlighting the story of The Lost Gods! (Hint: they were under the sofa cushions with the remote control.)
Now, remember, it's the Nineties. It's the decade when all women in comics looked like this:
Most panels in this post are from Journey Into Mystery #503-513 (November 1996-October 1997), scripts by Tom DeFalco, art by the Deodato Studios (#503-511) and Sal Buscema (#512-513)
Yep, the Nineties, where women have thighs bigger than their waists and legs 2.5 times longer than their torsos!
And of course, every police woman looks like this, even before she finds the Witchblade:
Which is why it's no surprise that we find fashion photographer Freddie Moyer in the midst of comic book supermodels, only one of whose eye has been shot out by a BB gun.
Yep, folks...that's Fandral. Years before close-minded protests about Heimdall being played by a black man, blonde-haired blue-eyed Errol Flynn cosplayer Fandral was temporarily a black man. And his pirate-themed photoshoot (insert your own "booty" pun) is interrupted by the Tiny-Headed Blues Brothers who suggest that he "will have more success at trying to die!" See, folks, if Stan Lee had been born in the sixties, that's the sort of dialogue Doctor Doom would have had. And we have loved him all the same.
Freddy/Fender Fandral strikes a pose and gets with the swordplay, thus proving even though he's not aware of it, he's actually a dashing swashbuckler Norse god. Or, a Nightcrawler fan. That's a fitting position on Midgard for the debonair romantic Fandral. So, by that criteria, where would you, career guidance counselor to the Asgardians, place, let's say, Volstagg?
Yup! He's a television chef, Vincent Starwit, the Gargatuan Gourmet. He was huge in the ratings and big in the cookbook section! Also: morbidly obese. And what about Hogun? Why, he became "Hulk" Hogan, wrestler, actor, and reality TV star...naw, I'm just joshin' ya. (But he oughta have been Hulk Hogan.) No, he was...
Tyrone Hammer, football coach! (Although with that name he really shoulda been a private eye.) This was a curve ball we got thrown by DeFalco: with a name like Tyrone and a caption about war, I thought Hammer was going to turn out to be Asgard's Tyr, god of war! Nuh uh. It's Hogun. He's a football coach, and he's grim. You'd be grim too if you had to practice football indoors. And as the cast comes together throughout the story, their memories start to coalesce. Except, hopefully, not about that weekend they all got drunk and found themselves in Niffleheim without any pants. Nobody wants to remember that weekend.
At least in his immortal amnesiac existence Volstagg/Victor got to keep his wife and, presumably, his eighteen natural and two adopted children. One wonders when he had time to cook. (Hey-oh!)
Somewhere in there's the A-plot about Egyptian god of darkness Set trying to take over the nine worlds (also, possibly Disney World), but at the exact moment when everyone's needed to kick some Setass, the policewoman turns to Sif and the old drunken bum turns to Odin and Aunt Freda turns to Frigga and of course these guys turn back into that trip we know and love:
Thus, Fandral was forced to surrender his NAACP membership card.
The re-booted Journey Into Mystery, for all its 1990s overindulgences, is actually a decent story, and it's fun to see the mortal gods deal with their world, accompanied by the arrogant Enchantress, until Big Daddy Asgard gets his memory back and beats the Hel outta Set in a story that really oughta have been called "Game, Set, Match!" But it wasn't.
It's a pity that Thor himself was actually absent for this storyline, but still, the idea of turning the Marvel Norse gods into humans a la Dr. Donald Blake is a pretty cool plot that hadn't been done before. Which, of course, didn't prevent J. Michael Straczynski from writing the exact same plot ten years later in his run on Thor:
Panels from Thor v.3 #4 (December 2007), script by J. Michael Straczynzki, pencils by Olivier Coipel, inks by Mark Morales, colors by Laura Martin, letters by Chris Eliopoulos
Thus unravels The Mystery of the Three Guys Who Looked Kind of Like the Warriors Three (#17 in the Donald Blake, Master Detective adventure series).
A few-well placed hammer strikes later!:
Shazam! Let's see Criss Angel, Mindfreak, pull that transformation trick off!
So, if J. Michael Straczynzki's version was pretty derisive, at least it was over in one issue...but still, give me the goofy earnestness and wildly thong-populated DeFalco/Deodato '96 version any day. And it did solve one of my greatest musings about the Marvel Universe...if Thor's hammer changed into a cane when he became Donald Blake, what did Volstagg's quarterstaff turn into on Midgard?
So, there ya go, Tom, and everybody else. That's the story behind those two mortal names each for the Warriors Three on their OHOTMU page. Now you know...and knowing is at least forty, forty-five percent of the battle. Possibly as high as forty-eight percent.
*Earth. **Some Horrific Identities Established Likely by Dugan
One of many awesome double-page spreads from Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E. #11 (February 2007),
script by Warren Ellis,
pencils by Stuart Immonen,
inks by Wade von Grawbadger,
colors by Dave McCaig,
letters by Joe Caramagna
(Click picture to Ellisize)
Panels from Generation Hope #10 (October 2011), script by Kieron Gillen, pencils and inks by Tim Seeley, colors by Val Staples, letters by Dave Sharpe
Also: why are there so many blue-skinned mutants? Beast, Nightcrawler, U-Go Girl, Maggott, Mystique, Archangel, Transonic, Dead Girl, Brainy Smurf... Why don't they ever mix it up up a bit? I'd like to see a plaid mutant once in a while.
Double-page spread from Super Powers v.1 #5 (November 1984), plot and pencils by Jack Kirby, script by Joey Cavalieri, inks by Greg Theakston, colors by Carl Gafford, letters by Ben Oda
(Click picture to Apokolipsize)
Panels from Thor Giant-Size Finale one-shot (January 2010),
script by J. Michael Straczynski;
pencils by Marko Djurdjevic;
inks by Danny Miki, Allen Martinez, and Marko Djurdjevic;
colors by Christina Strain;
letters by Joe Sabino
Double-page spread from Marvel Presents (Guardians of the Galaxy) #10 (April 1977), script by Roger Stern, pencils by Al Milgrom, inks by Bob Wiacek, colors by Janice Cohen, letters by Irving Watanabe
(Click picture to condor-size)
Hey, wait a minute...did the recent Power Man and Iron Fist miniseries really introduce a neo-Nazi villain thinly named after 1980s Power/Fist artist Kerry Gammill, or am I just seein' things?
Panels from Power Man and Iron Fist v.2 #5 (July 2011), script by Fred Van Lente, pencils by Wellinton Alves, inks by Nelson Pereira, colors by Bruno Hang, letters by Clayton Cowles
W...wow. Just wow. I mean, I guess it's a homage. On the other hand, was the name Killy McHitler already taken?
Confusingly, it turns out that "Gerry Kammill" is still a crook, but at least he's not a racist swastika-wearer. Whew! Well, that's a relief for all the Gerry Kammills of the world, huh?
Unhh, Marvel? Altho' I've long wanted to be portrayed in your comic books, you can leave me out of this type of homage. I don't wanna see you portraying the next Hate-Monger as "Cowy, the Small Plush Cow!"
The Mid-Day Matinee this week, all week: Double-Page Spreads! When the action is too big for one page, why not fill up two pages with your excitement and adventure! Especially if you're getting paid by the page? They're widescreen, they're mammoth, they're big-ass, they're Double-Page Spreads!
Double-page spread from Captain America Comics #16 (July 1942), script by Stan Lee, art by Al Averson (Click picture to Allied-size)
Recolored and remastered version printed in Captain America #600 (August 2009)
(Click picture to anniversary-size)