6 MCU-Worthy Comic Book Scenes
Two of the more recent Marvel Studios film franchises feature a talking raccoon with machine guns, a dancing baby tree, and Paul Rudd shrinking to the size of an ant. If you think that's as goofy as the Marvel Universe can get, you're either not into comics or not into the right ones.
As you take a break from binging on Netflix's ultra-gritty Daredevil, here's a reminder of the batshit insanity that could potentially (hopefully?) take place in that same universe:
Loki Is A Candy-Obsessed Maniac
In the movies, Loki is a ruthless manipulator whose triumphs tend to involve kingship, global domination, and massive casualties. In the comics, however, his priorities are a little ... different.
And more delicious.
That's from the time Loki turned an entire street into sweets as part of a cunning plan called "annoying the shit out of Thor." Now, we know Loki is supposed to be a trickster god, but the story titled "The Vengeance of Loki!" from Journey Into Mystery #88 might be one of the most ham-handed slapstick bad-guy plots ever engineered. Loki starts by summoning a tiger to attack Thor's romantic interest, Jane Foster, who is an intrepid nurse instead of an intrepid astrophysicist in this version.
Her greatest aspiration was polishing Thor's hammer.
By attacking Jane, Loki forces Thor to let go of his hammer for more than a minute -- which, as we've covered before, causes the mighty god of thunder to turn into a puny doctor named Don Blake. Loki encases the hammer in an impenetrable force field, leaving Thor powerless. Now Loki is free to do whatever the hell he wants ... and the best thing he can think of, apparently, is turning stuff into ice cream and candy. And then for good measure, he also transforms a bunch of people into colorless beings, thereby realizing the same goals of the baddies in Rainbow Brite.
"Hey, Stan, what if in this issue some people turn into blank outlines?"
"What if you draw a full comic for once, you lazy bastard?"
Thor/Blake overcomes this truly diabolical scheme by hiding behind a friggin' plastic Thor replica. This blows Loki's fucking mind. When Loki sees what appears to be a very, very motionless Thor standing in front of him, he takes away the force field to check on the hammer just to make sure he's not tripping balls. Dr. Blake then leaps out of the bushes, grabs the hammer, turns into Thor, and chases Loki's ass back to Asgard using a bag of peanuts and a tennis net.
"It's not cool to make fun of my lack of depth perception."
As for the blank people, we never see them again, but we wouldn't worry too much about them: Thor already proved in a previous issue that his hammer has literally any power the writers want to pull out of their asses, including turning negative people back to normal with anti-matter.
Kingpin And The Red Skull Strip Down To Their Underwear And Fight In A Bubble
Kingpin and the Red Skull are two of Marvel's deadliest villains, each responsible for more suffering and atrocities than any real-world serial killer. Can you imagine what it would look like if these two merciless bastards were pitted against each other? You don't have to, because that's already in a comic! And the answer is: It looks completely bonkers.
Trust us, context doesn't make this any less ridiculous.
In Captain America #378, Kingpin and the Red Skull have an argument about who gets to sell all the drugs in New York. Kingpin is doing it because he thinks culling the weak-willed will make America stronger, while the Red Skull just wants to make everyone OD until there is no more America.
To that end, the two decide to sort things out with a gentleman's agreement: Whoever can beat the other senseless gets to keep distributing. This doesn't seem like the wisest choice for the Red Skull, considering the fact that he's a little bald Nazi and Kingpin is built like a dump truck. But then, the Red Skull is completely crackers, and in his defense, Kingpin doesn't really look like exercise is his thing.
So, in order to satisfy honor and make sure no one has any secret weapons, the two villains naturally have to take off their clothes, revealing that Kingpin is a boxers man and that the Red Skull has been walking around in a tiny black banana hammock all this time.
"H-How did he find out about my crippling foot fetish?!"
Remember, this is a comic book set in a world full of superpowers and fantastic technology -- if they wanted to, the writers could have easily made it so the villains simply scanned each other with X-rays to make sure they had no weapons. This clearly comes down to someone at Marvel really, really wanting to see Kingpin and the Red Skull punching the shit out of each other without clothes. The biggest blows, however, are verbal:
Yeah, Kingpin, that sounds way more convincing than, "I'm big-boned."
As much as he protests to being called fat, Kingpin's winning move is the same one every pudgy kid used in the fifth grade: pinning the other dude under his enormous gut until he gives up.
Captain America wisely waited for the greasy shitshow to be over before intervening.
And so, Kingpin effectively wins the fight and sees to it that if the people of America want to smoke meth, it's going to be his meth.
And speaking of meth ...
Captain America's Meth Rage
The Streets Of Poison arc of Captain America focuses heavily on drugs, possibly even behind the scenes. Before the amazing pantsless brawl between the Red Skull and Kingpin, Cap has a breakthrough realization about "the No. 1 problem" in America, and it does not go well for anyone.
SPOILERS: No, it isn't.
Yep, this storyline doesn't shy away from the fact that Cap is technically a drug user, since he gets his powers from a Super Soldier serum -- in fact, that's central to the plot. Captain Hypocrite takes the fight against drugs to the streets, where he stumbles into a meth lab. Because Cap's primary battle tactic is bashing things, and because meth labs are insanely volatile and dangerous, the whole place explodes, filling the air and/or dousing tiny sharp objects with all the horrible things meth is made of. Somehow, the drug binds itself to the serum in his blood, turning him into a full-blown addict.
"Devil" is the second-strongest curse word Cap has ever used, after "France."
This is no ordinary addiction, however. Because this was the early '90s and the "Just Say No" campaign was in full swing, Cap doesn't just become a junkie -- he becomes a caricature of a junkie. He hears voices in his head, is perpetually in rage-mode, literally bocks like a chicken, and stops shaving, of course. Because that's, like, drug addiction 101.
Oh no, he's reached the "everyone looks exactly like me" phase.
Eventually, with the help of Ant-Man, Cap ditches his serum-infused blood and teaches a nation of young, impressionable comic readers that he doesn't need drugs in order to be a superhero.
"I'm more awesome than all of you, is what I'm saying."
Except that, nope, he totally does. It's later explained that his DNA has been irrevocably changed by his previous treatments to the point that his body now produces the serum naturally, and he gets to keep all the benefits. So instead of having a major impact on the Captain America legacy, this arc went down in history as "Hey, remember that one time Cap got super addicted to meth and made chicken noises in a bar?"
Captain America Gets Ripped Off By Ben Franklin
In 1976, Captain America creator Jack Kirby wrote a story called Bicentennial Battles to celebrate America's 200th birthday. Yes, what better way to honor this great nation than through a comic where Cap goes back in time and fights Hitler, makes friends with Indians, and gets his intellectual property stolen by Ben Franklin?
It all starts when Cap runs into a short little man called Mister Buda who makes him travel in time with the power of "belief." If this story wasn't set before Streets Of Poison, we'd assume it was a drug flashback.
"If by the end of the night you haven't fucked an apple pie, I'll give you your money back."
At first Cap ends up in the 1940s and gets a chance to once again play his favorite sport: punching Nazis. It's just good old-fashioned fascist-bashing action, because what could be more American? Things turn more confusing, however, when he takes another time trip to the 18th century and meets Ben Franklin, who is strangely interested in the design of his costume ...
"Uh, you didn't have to draw the flag draped around my naked body, though ..."
"Yes. I did."
It turns out the American flag was inspired by Captain America, not the other way around! How does Cap react to this amazing honor? Why, by freaking the fuck out. It's a miracle that he contained himself enough to not punch a hole through Slippery Franklin's skull.
Happy 4th of July, kids!
Cap's version of the chicken-or-the-egg problem destroys him -- he storms out of there, mentally begging Mister Buda to please end this nightmare. We can only speculate that Kirby honestly set out to do a nice little patriotic story, but when he got to the part where someone gets ripped off, he remembered his old "issues" with Stan Lee and just lost it.
Hawkeye Throws A Fit And Quits The Avengers ... Five Times
The Avengers movie franchise has been very kind to Clint "Hawkeye" Barton. Sure, they made him go all rogue on S.H.I.E.L.D. and kill a bunch of people after being brainwashed by Loki's giant glowstick of destiny, but when you compare the Hawkeye of cinema to the Hawkeye of comics, that starts to look like a fair trade. In the comics, he's best known as the guy who keeps quitting The Avengers in a huff. Iron Man is a genius, and Thor is sexy; Hawkeye throws hissy fits.
The first time he leaves is in Avengers #109, and it's impressive that it took him that long to get started. In this issue, Hawkeye has a meltdown because the girl he's got a crush on is dating an android, and he ends up getting lured into a trap -- he gets strapped to a bomb and The Avengers come to help him, but he quits anyway because he's tired of being "the stupid Avenger."
Hawkeye: The Stupid Avenger, coming to theaters May 2018.
Hawkeye returns, only to leave again in Avengers #144 after traveling to the 19th century and meeting a vigilante who calls himself the Two-Gun Kid, and whose entire superpower consists of owning two pistols. Presumably Hawkeye's quitting was a reaction to finding out that even superheroes from 100 years ago were more technologically advanced than he is.
Thor: "I was dropping a deuce. What were you saying?"
Hawkeye goes on to lead The West Coast Avengers, a version of the team so unimpressive that he's actually the most famous character. However, his temper gets the best of him again in Avengers West Coast #45, when the U.S. government forces him to accept a Captain America copycat into the team. That's not what sends him over the edge, though -- it's the fact that when Fake Cap beats him up, the one who tries to help him is his soon-to-be ex-wife.
"Wait, did he mean the marriage or the team?"
Naturally, he ends up crawling back to the team ... until said no-longer-soon-to-be ex-wife dies and Hawkeye quits again to mope around in his own solo miniseries. More importantly, he seems to have figured out that there's a problem with the name of the group:
This is exactly why the movies added Phil Coulson.
Avengers Volume 3 #9 marks the final time (so far) that Hawkeye calls it quits, but by now everyone cares so little that he just leaves a note on the fridge.
"Oh, is it Tuesday?"
Marville Is The Most Insane Marvel Comic Ever
Before its current multimedia renaissance, Marvel went through some desperate times at the turn of the century. Some desperate, confusing times. The best example is Marville, a 2002 miniseries written by then-Marvel president Bill Jemas as part of bet to see which of three titles was more popular. Marville began as a satirical parody -- even the name was based on Smallville -- but morphed over time into pure, gibbering insanity. It starred Kal-AOL Turner, future son of Ted Turner and Jane Fonda, who is sent to the present because ... Superman. Something about Superman.
Ah, that clears it up.
Now, we've written about bad moments in comic history before, but Marville is something else completely. It's just breathtakingly weird. The first two issues are mostly really poorly set up jokes about U.S. economic policy and dog farts (because those are two things that really go together), with the not-very-subtle message that superhero comics basically suck. Most notably, we see Iron Man, Black Panther, and Batman portrayed as high-rollers who beat the crap out of poor people and outsource their jobs to Mexico while casually slinging racial slurs around.
Jemas could have really used Black Panther around when he was pitching the series.
Just when you think it's gonna start making sense, Rush Limbaugh teleports into the scene with his Magic Mic and the trio squeal like fangirls, before he zaps them into unconsciousness.
Bill O'Reilly was too busy to pose for the cameo.
After that, we enter the Twilight Zone that is the rest of the series. What started out as a really stupid attempt at satire spirals into a truly bizarre discussion about God and the evolution of life. And this is what it looks like:
The image is blurry due to the tears of the artist forced to draw this.
Readers were supposed to vote for (or against) Marville, but they just flat-out refused to buy it. It's worth noting that not long after Marville, Jemas was no longer working as an executive at Marvel.
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