Wednesday, January 04, 2017

If I Ran Timely Comics: Russia's greatest love machine

Hey, let's talk about Rasputin!

Splash page of The [Uncanny] X-Men #140 (December 1980), co-plot and script by Chris Claremont, co-plot and pencils by John Byrne, inks by Terry Austin, colors by Glynis Wein, letters by Tom Orzechowski

No, no, not that Rasputin. Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin, the infamous "Mad Monk" and trusted friend of the family of Nicholas II, last Czar of the Russian Empire! (At least until they reboot it in Russian Empire: Rebirth #1.) Rasputin was famously "unkillable," supposedly surviving several assassination attempts because of his adamantium bones and healing factor. That's why he's a perfect subject to star in his own Marvel/Timely-era comic book story! Remember how huge Rasputin got when they published this story? All the kids in the alleys and on the farms were running around yelling "I am Rasputin! You cannot kill me!" Ah, those were the days, the days of borscht and roses.

Splash panel of "The Mad Monk!" in Amazing Detective Cases #6 (Marvel/Timely, May 1951), script by Carl Wessler, pencils by Pierce Rice, inks by John Tartaglione

Of course this sets up the story for plenty of wholesome pre-code murder attempts! That darn Rasputin, he got away...again!

Naturally, it ends the way it always does: with Rasputin being shot, rolled up in a carpet, and dropped in the ice-freezing Volga River. Eh, that old cliché.

The world never saw the supposedly immortal Rasputin again.

Later in that same comic book, another story ends with death by drowning. Yes, thanks to Stan Lee's canny business sense, May 1951 was drowning month in all the Timely comic books! (See, for example, Patsy Walker #34, where Patsy attempts to get rid of an extra date, with hilarious and waterlogged consequences!)

Final panels of "Death on the River!" in Amazing Detective Cases #6 (Marvel/Timely, May 1951), pencils and inks by Jay Scott Pike

Hmmmmm, that story made me think. Hmmmmmm! Why, if I ran comics, that would give me an idea. An awesome idea. Bully got a wonderful, awesome idea!

So, cracking open the heavy plastic shell of my CGC 9.8 of Amazing Detective Cases #6 and going at the pages with scissors and glue, I've wound up with with this as the final panels of "The Mad Monk," and I think you'll all agree that it's an improvement and that I would be a natural working on the 14th floor of the Empire State Building, working alongside Stan Lee and suggesting maybe a superhero based on a spider might be a rather nifty thing to do.


Dave said...

Years ago, when I was in St. Petersburg, I made it a point to visit both Rasputin's apartment building (which was actually quite nice) and the bridge they threw him off of (which was not).

Anonymous said...

The Archers? wouldn't "Underneath the Arches" be more fitting?

Blam said...

"That gun looks nothing like the countess!"