Looking at the baffling products that are spawned from successful franchises it's not surprising that people will also dish out good money for any comic book-like product that features their favorite characters, and we mean absolutely any comic book. It doesn't matter if it's missing insignificant things like a plot, logic or even any entertainment value whatsoever, someone will obviously buy that shit, because the comic book industry just keeps on making them. Stuff like ...
#6. The Marvel Swimsuit Edition
"Fury and Stark are modelling adorable modest low rise bikini briefs and the means to your childhood's destruction."
For the hoards of people who have been disappointed to find that the annual Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition was filled with pictures of real life beautiful women instead of animated superheroes, Marvel created the Marvel Swimsuit Special, an annual comic book that provided pictures of superheroes wearing as little clothing as humanly possible and that's about it.
Artistic integri-what now?
For example, we have this cover that shows Rogue too busy looking hot to care that all that exposed skin is legitimately endangering the life of every person and thing she comes across. Sure, she can't even kiss her boyfriend without putting him in a coma for life, but that's no reason not to strut around half naked with Gambit. What's the worst thing that could happen? She drains all of his power? In the bottom of the sea? And kills him?
Instead of wearing a bathing suit, the Fantastic Four's Invisible Woman has chosen to just make parts of her body invisible using her powers. Which is fine, except for the fact that Sue's powers are routed in concentration, which means as soon as she turns around and sees a giant monster behind her, she'll forget to keep making her privates invisible and basically be standing on the beach naked. Also there's a monster.
For a battered 'Nam vet, he has a remarkable absence of scars.
We can't choose the most disturbing thing about this image that has unwillingly been burned into the darkest recesses of our mind. Bad enough seeing the Punisher clad in only a skull-mankini with not only no women in sight he might be trying to impress, but there are also no other human beings anywhere nearby. Instead Frank Castle, one of the angriest, deadliest men in the Marvel universe seems to be trying to get a volleyball game started at a tiny monster orgy. Monsters, we must point out, who are fighting over buying toothbrushes when the only teeth in sight are hanging from the Punisher's crotch. And just like that we are thankful this comic book has no real storyline.
"Wolverine, Thing, Beast, our favorite hulks, mug for the camera in their fabulously flamboyant surfer-inspired baggies."
"And then I want you to draw The Thing looking like he crapped his suit, but also got an erection from it. Can you do that?"
"Could the Sub-Mariner's ferocity reflect some humiliation of having to don such a skimpy little number?"
The Fantastic Four villain, Namor the Sub-Mariner, is one of those fish guys who basically wears a bathing suit for a costume anyway but this is the Swimsuit Special, so Namor pulled out all the stops: He whipped out his formal, gold crotch-necklace, got his hair styled and practiced his best Did-Someone-Order-a-Rape-Party facial expression in front of the mirror all day. You're welcome ladies.
Probably the only thing crazier than the fact that this comic book got released for five straight years, are the fans who wrote in to the editors, in what was basically the comments section of the 90's. We love the bait-and-switch that Letra Bledsoe pulls off, convincing the editors up front that she's writing about their progressive attitude before getting into why she really reached out.
Now why would such a well-balanced woman want her address withheld?
Nothing says "I sincerely applaud your refreshingly equal treatment of men and women" quite like "Can you send me a picture of Thor's butthole?"
#5. Knight Gallery
Batman: Knight Gallery is actually kind of a cool idea.
It's not as exciting as a straight-up comic book, but it's neat as far as world-building goes. The reader gets to imagine Bruce Wayne is a real guy who stayed up late designing his costume and all of his sweet toys. Handled correctly, a journal of rejected Batman ideas could be a really awesome extended universe artifact.
Too bad they included all of Wayne's commentary, and too bad he's kind of an idiot.
"Maybe make a costume that doesn't look like a costume. Maybe wear cords with a fez."
It turns out that all of the strong and silent mystique that makes Batman so cool and interesting gets thrown out the window when you have to read about him openly wondering if his pointy bat suit might make him look "too fancy." This isn't Bruce Wayne's rejected journal; it's a fashion show. It's Project: Batcave.
"I don't want violent criminals to have any trouble shooting me at night."
That's what you think bats look like? Jesus, no wonder you're so afraid of them.
... less flamboyant Satan, but keep the heels.
What's truly baffling about these designs, apart from the fact that bats aren't red either, are Bruce's comments to himself on each picture. Notes like "drop the shoulder hooks" and "cape impractical" read as though he was seeing the completed drawings for the first time and hadn't just spent hours meticulously sketching, shading and coloring each one. It's little things like this that make you realize Batman truly is just a crazy, rich guy who has some legitimate mental health problems and too much time on his hands.
"Idiot as moron."
Perhaps even crazier than Batman commenting on his own costumes is the way Batman goes about redesigning the Robin costume for his third sidekick, Tim Drake. As it goes along we actually see Batman finally realize after all these years just how impractical and inappropriate Robin's costume really is and it only took one sidekick quitting and another one getting violently murdered to realize it.
A skirt would only look ridiculous in this scenario.
"Should also maybe think about not using Tim Drake's real name over and over again, in case any villains find this. I'll tell Alfred to warn Tim Drake's father, Jack Drake. I'm Bruce Wayne."
"I am going to burn the shit out of this kid!"
Far be it for us to criticize, because Batman surely knows more about Batmanning than we do, but "exposed legs=bad" and "crimefighter should have weapons" feel like realizations that absolutely should not be happening late in the game.
What about this costume, does work, Batman?
Really, it's just the wings that don't work Bats? How about the bright green codpiece? You have no problem with that? Then again, as we see below, Batman's got a weird thing about crotches. As in, he kind of really likes to emphasize and point at them.
"Note to self: Make sure all of the criminals know where the party is."
#4. Marvel's Strength and Fitness Guide (Will Not Get You In Shape)
Medusa, that's really not appropriate.
This is another book that seems like a great idea, because every kid wants to be a superhero. (If you're kid doesn't, you've done a bad job raising it, and we're really sorry you had to find out this way.) This book should theoretically act like a guide for becoming as close to a superhero as possible.
OR, it could just be this totally different thing that's much much worse.
Lifting weights is not bad for you in general, however, what the Marvel Strength and Fitness Guide neglects to tell kids as they lift a deadly metal barbell above their face is how many times they should repeat this exhausting exercise and that they should most definitely, always do this with a spotter so they don't, you know, crush themselves when their arms get tired. We can't help but picture some poor kid in the 70's working out alone in his basement with a goal of being a crimefighter, only to have his trusty barbell fall on his face and disfigure him in such a way he has no choice but to become a supervillain.
Is anyone else suddenly nauseous?
Next, Marvel gets to the basic fundamentals of a good workout, which is of course, keep going until you get sick. Forget working out at a steady pace, kids are busy and need to get in shape right now and there's no better way to do that then working out until you puke, hell, they'll lose twice the weight, twice as fast.
It's fun to watch Marvel's gradual transition into Fucking With Us happen in real time.
This is either an exercise or the worst guide to cunnilingus ever.
Yeah, just stick out your tongue, bulge out your eyes and yell shit, that's an exercise now. Be sure to give it a try next time you're at the gym, but make sure you bring the book with you and show it to people so they know you're not an asshole, you're just a lunatic.