The 5 Most Insane Celebrity Cameos in Comic Books
Celebrities plus comic books is a well-known recipe for madness. But sometimes, as if coming up with the most hilariously unlikely pair-ups wasn't enough ("The X-Men meet the guy who discovered penicillin! Whatever!"), the writers go out of their way to make the comic even more insane than the title suggests. Sit back and watch the madness that unfolds when ...
KISS Meets Howard the Duck
Back in the '70s, Marvel Comics was more desperate for celebrity guest stars than a third-shift late night talk show. Fortunately, there was one opportunity they couldn't mess up: Gene Simmons of KISS was a massive Marvel fan, and he and his band mates are pretty much comic book characters already. It wouldn't be that much of a stretch to see KISS fighting alongside Spider-Man, the X-Men, or Iron Man.
So of course Marvel paired them up with freaking Howard the Duck.
Which is still less embarrassing than "Lick It Up."
Before Howard the Duck was George Lucas' fourth worst movie, it was a Marvel comic starring the same degenerate human-phile anthropomorphic fowl, and who better to introduce a gang of fire-breathing rockers to the Marvel universe? And so, in the middle of one storyline, Howard witnesses KISS materializing out of a woman's head. They hang around for four more inexplicable pages, just long enough to qualify as a guest appearance, and disappear again with no explanation.
"Just have them show up and sing 'Love Me Do' or whatever." -Stan Lee
Somehow, this led to an oversized KISS comic book that was printed with their own blood (everyone who bought a copy died of syphilis). The story, written by Howard's creator, follows the members of KISS as four regular teenagers who get superpowers -- the same ones they had in the horrible movie they don't want you to see -- from a blind hobo in a furry thong.
Or the saddest vision of He-Man's future.
The villain is the Fantastic Four's nemesis Doctor Doom, because Marvel just didn't care enough to make up a new enemy. After tussling with some robot gypsies, the gang has a climactic encounter with Doom himself ... which ends when they remind him of his dead daddy.
Once again, Ace's superpower of thoughtless insensitivity saves the day.
Defeated by his own emotions, Doom lets the painted ones go, and that's seriously how this fucking comic ends. In Issue #3, KISS beats Doctor Octopus by pointing out his binge eating disorder. (We're kidding, there wasn't an Issue #3.)
Daredevil Fights Crime With Uri Geller
If you're not familiar with Uri Geller, he became hugely famous in the 1960s and '70s by claiming to have magic mind powers. He was exposed as a fraud on live TV, but to this day claims he can bend metal with his mind.
According to legend, Stan Lee met Uri Geller at a party and immediately wanted to put him in a comic. Stan called editor and writer Marv Wolfman to choose a comic for the task. Since Wolfman preferred not to get punched in the face and called a goat fucker, he skipped trying to convince any other writers to do so. He put Geller in Daredevil, the title he was writing, putting his own stories on hold for the sake of a C-list celebrity cameo.
Daredevil and Geller heroically rush to save the young hot blonde, leaving old brown suit guy to get flattened like a pancake.
As you can guess from the cover, a supervillain called Mind-Wave, armed only with his mind-powered "Think Tank" and crippling mental deficiencies, is attacking New York. The police, of course, find no better crime-fighting duo than a blind man who hits people with a stick and a former male model who likes to pretend he has magical powers.
"Great, maybe you can bend the bad guy's apartment keys before he runs us over with his fucking tank."
Uri Geller then proceeds to tell Daredevil his origin story, about how when he was a baby he got abducted by aliens and was given amazing powers to fuck up silverware.
"Yes ... you will be the champion of the Forkians in our war against the evil Spoons."
He also likes to tell people his mother had eight abortions and the ghosts of his unborn siblings protect him from evil, which raises two questions: One, was his dad aware of condoms? And two, what level must a wizard be to cast Phantom Fetus Force Field in Dungeons and Dragons? Frankly, we are glad the guy's act is such an obvious scam, because learning that psychic powers are real but you can only use them for shitty party tricks would be like learning that Santa Claus exists, but he only ever gives you underwear.
Anyway, if you are wondering how Daredevil and Geller defeat a tank, well, they pretty much don't. The bad guys just get off the tank and try to fight them mano a mano, which seriously misses the point of having a tank. Geller's powers, to the surprise of everyone involved, are actually useful, since he can bend the metal pieces inside the bad guy's weapons and stop them from working, but even Marv Wolfman was running out of ideas.
The superhero equivalent of helping your dad fix things around the house by holding his beer.
Well, yes, we know that the bad guy could have smashed Daredevil's head with a bent pipe anyway, and Daredevil had already seen the guy with his radar sense, but at least be polite, Daredevil; pretend the guy helped you a little there. Don't be an asshole.
And Mind-Wave? He got what was coming to him.
Note that there are two bars that go behind his ass that we don't see come out.
Tom Wolfe Meets the Hulk and Doctor Strange
Tom Wolfe is one of the most respected writers in new journalism and a best-selling author responsible for books like The Bonfire of the Vanities and The Right Stuff. So, naturally, when you hear his name, you instantly think, "What would it be like if he met the Hulk?" Fortunately, Marvel Comics is way ahead of you -- there's an issue where the white-suited scribe and the green punch-monster rub shoulders at a happening '70s party.
"HULK SMASH SOME KEY PARTY STRANGE!"
Wolfe's mostly one-sided association with Marvel started when he briefly referenced mystical superhero Doctor Strange in his nonfiction book The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. Marvel returned the favor by featuring Wolfe in an issue of Doctor Strange's comic as a personal friend of the character.
They're clearly on something a little stronger than aspirin here.
What the hell is wrong with Wolfe's arm in that panel? Do they have a secret handshake or something? Anyway, since Wolfe clearly liked the issue (read: he didn't sue), Marvel decided to take the relationship even further by having him appear in an issue of The Incredible Hulk that was actually an adaption of his essay "These Radical Chic Evenings," only with more giant gamma-radiated monsters.
Wolfe had one in the original, but his editor cut it.
"These Radical Chic Evenings" chronicles the story of a group of rich liberals who throw a party to support the Black Panthers. The funnybook adaptation replaces their misguided pet cause with the Hulk and ... you know what, it fits surprisingly well. However, the comic deviates slightly from its source material when a fight breaks out in the middle of the party between Hulk and a superpowered feminist named Valkyrie, who is basically Thor with boobs.
"Hulk will wreck a city block, leaving hundreds homeless, but hitting a superpowered Norse warrior woman? Fuck that, man."
That panel was Wolfe's last appearance in comics, so presumably he died in the fight.
Geraldo Rivera Meets Count Duckula
Right off, even the "Duckula" in the title logo of this comic is shrugging, like it's saying "Yeah, I don't know how the hell this happened either."
Yes, it's the classic comic duo of Count Duckula and journalist/talk show host Geraldo Rivera, and if you draw a Venn diagram of both fanbases, the only way the two groups would touch would be "inappropriately." We have no idea who this is for, who asked for this, or why the hell you would give it to him in the infinitesimal chance someone did ask for it. As a challenge, we tried to come up with something weirder, and we only came up with Gerardo "Rico Suave" Mejia and Count Quackula.
One has no shirt, the other has no pants. Together, they fight crime.
The comic begins with Geraldo filming a show in Transylvania where he is about to open the other secret vault of Al Capone. This is a reference to a super-hyped Geraldo TV special from 1986 where we discover that the only thing Capone was keeping in his vault was his unused oxygen. This comic was published late in 1989, so that reference had more than a few flies feasting on its rotten carcass by the time Duckula took it out for a spin. This time around, the secret vault turns out to be just the back door to Duckula's castle. Having his special ruined again, Geraldo decides to make a last minute change and film a special about vampire ducks.
Geraldo knows this is how all Eastern-European cannibal sodomite snuff movies begin.
And then hilarity ensues ... or it would have ensued if the references in this comic weren't just as confusing and inexplicable as its existence.
Stephen Kink, celebrated author of Batman, apparently.
Continuing with the story, as much we would prefer anything else, Duckula's archnemesis, duck vampire hunter Dr. Von Goosewing, crashes the show to try to kill Duckula, but the only rancid undead monstrosity he manages to kill here is the humor ... even more.
You can tell it's fiction because someone thinks Geraldo getting 'stache blasted by a chair is a bad thing.
This is also a reference to something that happened to Geraldo. In 1988, during a show about skinheads who strangely had heads full of hair, a fight broke out and Geraldo's nose lost against a flying chair. At least this time the reference was only a bit more than a year old, and we think the comic is basically saying that Duckula is as bad as racism. That's OK with us.
But it was all for nothing, because Duckula, being a vampire, cannot be captured on film.
However, Geraldo's shame is captured perfectly, as always.
Duckula and company get kicked out of the studio and return to Transylvania. In the end, the only thing we can learn from this is that Duckula's comics were terrible and that's why they only lasted 15 issues.
Superman Meets Everyone
As we've said before, Superman has appeared in a comic with literally everyone. But that doesn't just go for other superheroes and the Quik Bunny; the Man of Steel has also met countless celebrities, like that time he and Orson Welles fought Martian Hitler.
Supes totally saved Welles' "rosebud" from that dick shot.
In this story from 1950, Welles has just finished shooting a movie when he comes across an experimental rocket to Mars and manages to lock himself inside right before it launches. Once on Mars, the director of Citizen Kane realizes that the Martians are huge fans of Hitler. Their leader even calls himself "Martler" and grew a little mustache.
He also had one of his Martian gonads removed for full accuracy.
Welles tosses the Nazi space dwarf aside and sends a message to Earth warning about the Martian invasion -- unfortunately, no one believes him because of that time he trolled them with that War of the Worlds hoax.
"Wait, that's my colonoscopic vision. Perry should get that ass-troid checked out."
And then Welles and Superman end the invasion by using Martler's unconscious body as a ventriloquist dummy to broadcast a peaceful message to all of his followers.
Dammit, if only the Allies had thought of this during World War II.
There was also the time Don Rickles agreed to make a one-page cameo in a Jimmy Olsen issue, but then comic legend Jack Kirby (the same man who "adapted" 2001: A Space Odyssey into a comic about a robot superhero) took that one page and turned it into a deranged two-issue saga featuring Rickles' crazy spandex-wearing twin. Rickles was shocked.
"So that's why Kirby asked for those photos of me in my underwear ..."
But the most unnerving guest appearance in a Superman comic has to be the time he met President John F. Kennedy ... after Kennedy was dead. Months before his assassination, the Superman writers had prepared a whole mini-storyline where JFK knew Superman's secret identity and helped him protect it by dressing up as Clark Kent. The comics ended up coming out just a few months after Kennedy was shot to death.
That's, um, a rather unfortunate choice of words there.
So think about it: One day thousands of kids in America opened an issue of Superman that promised a surprise guest star inside (the cover said "Who is the mystery masquerader?"), only to find out on the last page that it was their recently dead president. No wonder Don Draper's kids in Mad Men are so messed up.
Maxwell Yezpitelok is a serial creator of dumb Tumblrs. Check out his latest Superman-themed one if you're a nerd.
Related Reading: These aren't the only insane celebrity cameos we can dig up- not even close. And Jay Leno teaming up with Spider-Man won't sound half as crazy when you've watched him beat up Hulk Hogan. If, wracked with the throes of addiction, you simply must have a STRONGER hit of ridiculous celebrity cameos, we give you this list of famous Americans in Japanese ads.