Monday, September 28, 2015

Comics' Stupidest Titles: ...And Starring Joan Crawfish

If you read 'em long enough, you'll find more than a fair share of tone-deaf, dumb-ass comic book story titles, and no, I wouldn't even dare count the class Stan Lee-isms like "And Lo — There Shall Come an Ending!" (Part 3 of Five). No, let's reserve this feature for the worst of the worst, the cheesiest, the corniest, the stupidest titles in comics. Titles like this watersogged "classic:"

Splash page from "There Are No Wire Hangers Underwater!" in Iron Man Annual (1976 series) #10 (September 1989), script by Fabian Nicieza, pencils by Don Perlin, inks by Don Ald, colors by T. Fine, letters by Rick Parker

It's only 1989, which means that I can't use my What can we say? It was the nineties tag. You can pretty much agree that the nineties began in the eighties, however, what with the introduction of chrominum covers, Venom, Batman: The Killing Joke, and the New Teen Titans' Danny Chase. Also: the beginning of single-story mega-crossover events in comics annuals, which will eventually lead to Eclipso: The Darkness Within, The Terminus Factor, JLApe, and perhaps the world's worst summer event since the invention of that ice cream van song: Bloodlines. But it all started here in 1989's Atlantis Attacks, in which former President Jimmy Carter, media mogul Ted Turner, and redneck comic Jeff Foxworthy waged war against the entire Marvel Universe…oh, excuse me, I've made another one of my silly mistakes. That's Atlanta Attacks.

Anyway, "There Are No Wire Hangers Underwater!" continues the saga of true blue Atlantean Andromeda, former member of the Defenders and future member of the underwater heroic team named (groan) "Deep Six." I was fairly sure that she was a member of the Avengers during the hazy, please-try-to-forget-them latter years of Avengers Volume 1, circa Deathcry and Teen Tony Stark, but I was wrong. That's how memorable Andromeda is: she wasn't in the worst years of the Avengers.

But she is returning home to Atlantis pretty much concurrent with it attacking, since beloved bare-torsoed fishy king Namor is believed to be dead, floating face down on the surface of the ocean. Not so: Namor would be non-dead for many more years until finally meeting his fate in that epic battle against the Gorton's Fisherman in 2012's limited series Namor No More. Also not realistic: that weirdass, appearently waterproof version of the Times of London, which in real life doesn't look anything like it's portrayed in this panel. For one thing, there's no crispy and delivious fish 'n' chips wrapped inside it.

Andromeda, wearing the world's least aero- water-dynamic boots, is determined to find out the villain behind the plot of Atlantis Attacks! But since she can't find Tom DeFalco, she's going to confront her own Daddie Dearest, the fearsome Attuma! Or as she calls him: the clam behind the madness. I dunno, I woulda gone with "the clam before the storm." But I'm shellfish that way.

The (stupid!) title of the story is a reference to the 1981 cult classic movie Mommie Dearest, and I'm pretty sure including Joan Crawford in this not-entirely-Iron Man story would have improved it immensely.

Instead, we get Andromeda's dad and Namor nemesis Attuma. I haven't read the rest of this story, serialized across several issues of Atlantis Attacks, but I'm just betting one of the sequels is titled "Attuma with a View."

Thus follows the most anti-climatic battle in the history of Iron Man Annual #10: Andromeda confronts Attuma, Attuma threatens Andromeda, Attuma gets all creepy, Andromeda runs swims away. Also, he insults Andromeda's mom (Andmomeda?) Lady Gelva by calling her a sea cow. I dunno, for some reason I myself don't see that as a insult, personally.

TO BE CONTINUED! In X-Factor #4.

X-Factor Annual #4 is pretty cool because it has artwork by Walt Simonson and John Byrne, an appearance by Jake and Elwood Blues…

Panels from "Inferno Aftermath" in X-Factor Annual #4 (September 1989), script by Mark Gruenwald, pencils by Jim Fern, inks by Joe Rubinstein, colors by Greg Wright, letters by Joe Rosen

...but best yet, it doesn't actually contain a continuation of the Andromeda story. Thus not giving us exactly what we don't want! Hooray for comics!


timoneil5000 said...

Technically, though, even if X-FACTOR ANNUAL #4 shipped not "next week" but "Three Months Later" ('tis true) it was the continuation because that was the climax of Attuma's plotline. All he did after was attack New York in the WEB OF SPIDER-MAN installment, which was actually the only time during all fourteen chapters of the crossover than Atlantis actually Attacked anything. (It was actually destroyed in that WEB OF issue, at which point Attuma folded like a house of cards because, well, his homeland has been destroyed.)

Most of the story was actually setting up Atlantis as a patsy for the whole thing which was actually a plot by Ghaur to resurrect Set, anyway. Which, you know, was a great idea for a story meant to celebrate Namor's 50th Anniversary.

Blam said...

Okay, "Thus follows the most anti-climatic battle in the history of Iron Man Annual #10" is one of the funniest things I've read all year.

Jon Jermey said...

Panama fighting? Is that where people hurl stiff straw hats at each other? "Curse you, Oddjob!"