Saturday, October 10, 2015

Countdown to Halloween: Jack Kirby's Monsters! Night Ten: I've paid my dues / Time after time / I've done my sentence / But committed no crime

Cover of Strange Tales #98 (July 1962), pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Steve Ditko, colors by Stan Goldberg, letters by Artie Simek

The Champion came down to Earth
He was lookin' for some guys to hit

Splash page of "No Human Can Beat Me!" from Strange Tales #98 (July 1962), plot by Stan Lee (?), script by Larry Lieber (?), pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Paul Reinman, colors by Stan Goldberg, letters by Ray Holloway (?)

He challenged humanity so hard
Our heads from our bodies split

He beat us all at wrasslin'
Tossin' every guy outta the ring

He knocked a baseball outta Yankee Stadium
To Long Island with just one swing

He challenged the greatest weight-lifter
By picking up his stand

He golfed eighteen straight holes in one
And not one ball into sand

He climbed the mightiest mountains
In just one leap and hop

He beat us all at every game
From checkers to Gnip Gnop

But then a guy named Johnny
Made the Champion start losin'

He said 'Don't come back, you son of a bitch
Earth's the best there is at snoozin'.

If you're, like me, a fan of the Ever-Lovin' Blue Eyed Thing, this tales probably reminds you of one of the great comics of the eighties, Marvel Two-in-One Annual #7, in which Cosmic Elder the Champion of the Universe challenges all of Earth mightiest heroes to a boxing match:

Page from Marvel Two-in-One Annual #7 (1982); script by Tom DeFalco; pencils by Ron Wilson; inks by Bob Camp, Mike Esposito, Frank Giacoia, Dan Green, Armando Gil, and/or Chic Stone; colors by George Roussos, letters by Jim Novak

But it's only Mister Grimm who can go the distance in the ring, round after round.

The Thing brings into four-color life that famous saying by Winston Churchill:

"Never, never, never give up."

Alongside with Superman vs. Muhammad Ali, it's one of the greatest comic book boxing stories of all time.

And it ends in a draw.

So, remember, in the words of Mister Charles Daniels: Johnny said, "Devil, just come on back if you ever wanna try again, I done told you once, you son of a bitch, I'm the best that's ever been."


Erich said...

The "sleeping contest" idea reminded me of a strategy Captain America once used against the Super-Adaptoid; he convinced it that no matter how many abilities it adapted from human opponents, he could never equal them: "You'll never know what it is to be alive, because you can't die!" The Super-Adaptoid retorts "I CAN die!"--and then proves it by deactivating itself.

Blam said...

This story was reprinted as "I Royally Screwed Over the Earth of 1,000,000 Years from Now!"