Wednesday, April 20, 2005
OBNOXIO THE CLOWN Marvel Comics, 1983
Often mistakenly called Obnoxio the Clown vs The X-Men by historians, this comic is actually just straight-up Obnoxio the Clown. This "comedy" book features a number of different short one page gags as well as two short stories. In one story Obnoxio invades the X-Men Mansion to annoy them, and the other story... You know, I don't think I've even read the other story. The X-Men thing was bad enough, why push my luck?
Obnoxio apparently sprung like Athena from the mind of Larry “G.I. Joe” Hama but Allan Kupperburg wrote, drew, and lettered the whole damn book. He is a smelly, obnoxious, jaded clown – I’m talking about Obnoxio, not Kupperburg. For all his faults, Obnoxio is one of the original obnoxious clowns, preceeding more famous and funnier bad clowns like The Simpsons’ Krusty, In Living Color’s Homey the Clown, and Shakes The Clown.
The problem with Obnoxio the Clown is the complete lack of humor. It’s as if Marvel thought that just the concept of a rude, smelly clown was so funny that they didn’t even bother with the jokes. I mean, yes, there are jokes – Obnoxio calls the X-Men the “yeechs-men” – but they just lay there, flat and dead on the yellowing paper. It’s as if the jokes are made of anti-comedy particles or something. Fozzie Bear is funnier than Obnoxio.
In the main story, Professor X is planning a surprise birthday party for Kitty Pryde, and he’s pulling out all the stops. “I’ve even arranged for the services of her favorite clown from ‘Crazy’ magazine!” Charles thinks to himself. That’s right, he’s hired none other than Obnoxio the Clown, who is mistaken for a foe by the X-Men when he shows up for the gig. You see, the mansion is also under attack by a dangerous mutant named Eye-Scream, who can turn into any flavor of ice cream at will. No, really. He morphs into a blob of chocolate chip mint and oozes under doors in the mansion. Eye-Scream, ladies and gentlemen. Anyway, Obnoxio gets attacked by the X-Men, yet inexplicably Kitty Pryde does not recognize her favorite clown from Crazy magazine. The fat smelly clown holds off the X-Men and navigates the hazards of the Danger Room with a vast arsenal of wacky gadgets, until the whole crazy misunderstanding is sorted out.
Here's a sample of the hilarity:
Man, Wolverine is uptight, isn’t he? Makes you wonder how fun he’d really be to hang out with. I mean sure, he drinks, but who’d want to go to a bar with Wolverine? He’d just stare at you appraisingly, occasionally growling. Unless you were a woman, and then he’d be shooting pool with you and calling you darlin’ and trying to get you loaded. Either way, there’d be a bar fight, possibly involving ninja or mutant-hunting assassins from the future.
Right. Back to Obnoxio. The rest of the comic… the rest of it makes me tired.