Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Shambling into a new era?
Man-Thing re-emergant!

It should be no secret that one of my all-time favorite comic book characters is the macabre MAN-THING... inasmuch as this blog is dedicated, in part, to him/it.

Man-Thing (as I may have mentioned before) was one of the very first comic book character/series' that I, then as a 10-year-old boy, would discover and soon thereafter collect.

It was Man-Thing that also helped introduce me to Doctor Strange, and while Doc would soon soar to the top of my fanboy mentality, Man-Thing was always present at its soggy base foundation.

Man-Thing had been fairly popular over the years, more so in the height of the "Monster craze" in the 1970's, but still, since his first appearsance in the magazine-format Savage Tales v1 # 1 in 1971, he would have several starring roles at Marvel over the years:

A few series' (of varying degrees of success):
  • Adventure into Fear - 1972-1973 : # 10 - 19
  • Man-Thing volume 1 - 1974-1975 : 22 issues
which was "enhanced" by the "Giant-Sized Man-Thing" - 1974-1975 series of 5 quarterly specials
  • Man-Thing volume 2 - 1979-1981 : 11 issues
  • Man-Thing volume 3 - 1997-1998 : 9 issues
  • Man-Thing volume 4 - 2004 : a 3-issue mini series that tied into a FEATURE FILM, direct-to-DVD release, Sci-Fi channel TV movie (the less said about that the better)
Some extended-term "serials":
  • Monsters Unleashed (magazine) - 1973-1975 : in most of the 11 issues and 1 annual
  • Marvel Comics Presents v1 - 1988 : # 1-12
  • Marvel Comics Presents v1  - 1994 : # 164-167

As well as a few mini-series:

  • Book of the Dead - 4 issue mini - 1993
  • Strange Tales v3 - 2 issues 1998 (a continuation from the 1998 Man-Thing series)
  • Dead of Night - 4 issue mini - 2006
  • Legion of Monsters : Man-Thing (oneshot) 2007

Otherwise, it was just years of nothing but sporadic walk-on shamble-by appearances in others' titles.

 *** For a complete list of ALL of Man-Thing's appearances, please visit the excellent Man-Thing site; 
The Swamp ; Home of the Man-Thing - [HERE
It is run by an internet-friend of mine and I contribute sightings and info there as often as I can. ***

However, it seems that 2009 and 2010 are the start of some "grass roots" resurgence for the Man-Thing... and "10-year-old Ptor" couldn't be happier.

Sure, he doesn't have any new series as of yet, or anything more substantial than some one-shots and guest-starring appearances, but these all seem to be leading... somewhere.
They are linked, somewhat, to what seems to be a conscious effort, by Marvel, to promote and push the muck-encrusted mockery of a man into the limelight.

 I mean, how ELSE would you explain the fact that there is now a $500.00 (actual price - not a 2ndary market mark-up... which are far higher!) Comiquette statue of Man-Thing?!?

 (An incredulous post of which can be found [HERE])

Multiple guest appearances in high-profile books like the  "X-Men : First Class" series', written extremely well by Jeff Parker (remember that name... it'll come back at the end of this post), would be a great aid in showcasing "Manny" to those comic fans who might not otherwise have an interest.

(a loving review of X-Men: First Class FINALS # 3 can be found [HERE]) 

Still, last year we had several guest appearances; a special one-shot issue along with Spider-Man ("Fear Itself") -

Cover art by Mico Suayan and Frank D'Armata.

as well as guest starring roles in the Marvel Zombies v 3 and v 4 mini series'.

cover art by Greg Land
(note: this scene does not appear in the comic)

(reviews of several of those can be found [HERE].)

Marvel Zombies v 3 and v 4 included Man-Thing as a part of a new "Midnight Sons" team of Monsters who fought the invading Zombie-universe Marvel characters.
Man-Thing even showed the ability to be a serious force in that team setting (which will lead to one of the newest developments in his "career" - as I'll mention in a little bit).

However,  some more recent events like Man-Thing in yet another "team" (with the "League of Monsters/ Monster Midnight Sons") is shown having some kick-ass moments in titles like Punisher (in the most excellent "Franken-Castle" storyline - issue # 13 especially! Seriously, read # 13. Fan-freaking-tastic!)...


Cover by Mike Mckone

and "Deadpool : Merc with a Mouth" (dealing with the fallout from the Marvel Zombies invasion) have been showcasing the new "popularity" of Manny and building to his next stage.

Deadpool; Merc with a Mouth # 6
Victor Gishler (words), Bong Dazo (pencils), Jose Pimentel (inks), Matt Milla (colors)

A part of that new stage was set up a few years back in Marvel Comics Presents v2 # 12 (in a short tale of "the Initiative" wherein Government agents tried to recruit the Man-Thing into the 50-state initiative program) ...

MCP v2 # 12
Jai Nitz (writer), Ben Stenbeck (artist)

which was then followed-up in the more recent Dark Avengers #10, that saw Ares and the other Dark Avengers capturing Man-Thing for Norman Osborn.

Art by Mike Deodato
A quick side-step into a bit of a retread on his origin (with some new tweaks - as revealed in my review [HERE]) in the pages of the new Web of Spider-Man # 6 ...

adds a modern touch to the Man-Thing mythos as well as an extra tendril tying him into the Marvel Universe proper (and one villain in particular) and the Man-Thing is now poised for his next step lurch...

In the upcoming "Heroic Age" the Marvel Universe will emerge from the darkness of the recent decade-long "Disassembling, House-of-M, Civil War, World War Hulk, Secret Invasion, Seige" era to one of heroes (and some repentant villains) rising to the opportunities and nature of being HEROES.

In this new world, one of the most unlikely figures ever to emerge from the shadowy depths is taking his place on a top-tier TEAM title: The THUNDERBOLTS!

That's right! For who-knows HOW LONG (and who knows HOW - period) writer Jeff Parker (remember that name from earlier?) is once again setting his unique vision upon the Man-Thing and having him / it stand hunch side by side with heroes and (former?) villains in the next incarnation of this ragtag team of misfits, outcasts and ne'er-do-well's.

So, how does Man-Thing fit in with a group that consists of:
Juggernaut, Ghost, Moonstone, Crossbones which is led by Luke Cage?
Damned if I know, but Jeff Parker can make it good!

cover by Marko Djurdjevic

While, I will miss Man-Thing in a milieu more apropos to his nature, (such as he is currently serving with the "Legion of Monsters" in the Punisher title,) I am willing to see him in a larger arena as the Thunderbolts can afford. This is especially since his recent ventures into team-status (in the aforementioned Marvel Zombies and Punisher-based "Legion of Monsters") have shown some new and interesting twists to he who has been handled (sadly, for much of his "career") as a rather 1-dimensional monster.

Will this new offshoot be like fertile soil from whence something good shall grow?
Or will it soon be tossed onto the compost heap to rot and stink?

If it doesn't work out in the "big leagues", what's the worst that can happen?
A return to the minor leagues in the Florida swamps?
That would only be like going home.
Either way, I look forward to seeing what emerges from this new rebirth.

Tamam Shud!


mike fox said...

man i absolutely LOVE this post! i've been slowly building a man-thing collection for a few months now, trying to find good deals on ebay and such and looking for cheap back issues or guest appearances in the archives of a local comic warehouse here in the DFW area. as any muckhead will tell you, i don't know WHY i like man-thing, i just do. i think it's a certain dissatisfaction with current comic writers who have lost touch with fantasy, magic, the supernatural, and the more "fictional" things about comics. now more than ever i appreciate stylistic artists like skottie young and sam kieth as well as imaginative writers.

anywho, great post! love the site too

Unknown said...

Yes, the writers at marvel are keeping us muck heads very busy! We can only hope they tell some interesting stories without altering the basic nature of Man-thing too much.

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