Friday, June 10, 2005

MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE Marvel Comics, 1979



If you don’t like The Thing, you are a frickin’ communist, end of story.*

For my money, Marvel Two-In-One is the ultimate Thing series. Sure, he was in Fantastic Four and had his own book, The Thing, but I thought Marvel Two-In-One was the most fun. Each issue featured The Thing and a co-star (hence the Two-In-One title), but really, it was just a Thing solo book. Half the time The Thing would team up with regular heroes like Dr. Strange and Black Panther, and the other half he would “team up” with lame second-stringers like Triton, The Aquarian, and Quasar. That’s right, I just took a shot at Quasar. Regardless of who the co-star was, Marvel Two-In-One always had a lot of clobberin’, and that’s never a bad Thing. Heh-heh.

This particular issue is part of the ongoing “Project Pegasus” saga, in which The Thing defends the top-secret Project Pegasus from attack and skullduggery with the help of Wundarr, Quasar, and the black Giant-Man, who I love. I just think he’s a cool looking character and wish he had stuck around. Anyway, in this issue Thundra, the warrior woman from Femazonia, leads a commando team of super-powered female wrestlers called The Grapplers on a secret mission into Project Pegasus. Seriously, I can’t make shit like that up.

Let’s take a look at The Grapplers:



Yes, that’s the Screaming Mimi, who would go on to become “Songbird” in Kurt Busiek’s awesome Thunderbolts series. And there’s Poundcakes, who would go on to become your junior high gym teacher. I know it’s a comic book, but who would let herself be called “Poundcakes?”

Thundra does battle with The Thing while the rest of the super-powered female wrestlers fight Quasar and Giant-Man. The Thing, who has a hurt arm, gets knocked around by the Femazonian she-wrestler, who has a thing for The Thing. Heh. Man, I am on fire today!

That’s right, Thundra – who, let’s face it, is kind of sexy in a Chyna kind of way – has the hots for The Thing. They are fated to be mates because he’s powerful and he’s good in a fight – traits that Femazonians admire.

I don’t want to get into a discussion about Ben Grimm’s rocky anatomy here, because there’s probably plenty of bad fan-fiction that covers that ground. But surely it must have crossed Thundra’s mind that The Thing might be, you know, rocky all over. I mean, how would that work? There isn’t enough KY jelly in the world to make that an enjoyable experience. So I don’t know where she’s coming from with this “fated to be mates” crap.

Although maybe Femazonians get their kicks in different ways:



Wow, Thundra. Was that good for you?

I should quit while I’m ahead.

This is just a great, goofy old-fashioned comic book slug-fest, written by Mark Gruenwald (that explains Quasar’s presence) and Ralph Macchio with art by Perez and Day. The cover is by John Byrne, who did a lot of work on Marvel Two-In-One back in the day. I think the whole thing is keen.

To me, this issue represents a sense of fun that I think a lot of Marvel books lack these days. Times change, I guess, but sometimes I wish superhero comics had that old four-color whiz-bang quality to them and were actually written for kids instead of thirty-something geeks like me. Don’t get me wrong, I think superheroes can encompass a variety of different genres and themes, but I don’t think they all have to be fucking Greek tragedies. That’s just me, though.

Bonus! This issue has a letter from Young Kurt Busiek, who would go on to write some of my favorite modern comics, like Thunderbolts and the now legendary Busiek/Perez run on The Avengers. Kurt’s one of those guys that remembers why we all liked comics in the first place, and it shows in his work. Young Kurt Busiek (now a mini-series event from NBC!) was a regular letter writer to Marvel Two-In-One. Here’s an excerpt:

“Here’s a suggestion: The time has come for Colonel Nicholas Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. to return to his own book. You’ve finally got the artist for it in Frank Miller. […] Frank Miller would do an excellent Nick Fury. C’mon, you’re gonna be doing a spy book with the Black Widow. If she can swing it, why not Fury?”

As they say on Fanboy Rampage: Busiek wins. Too bad Marvel didn’t heed Young Kurt Busiek’s wise words. If only I could step in my Wayback Machine and make Frank Miller work on a Nick Fury book after he finished Daredevil. Sigh…
UPDATE: Thanks and mad props to reader Jason "Thrillcox" Wilcox for pointing out this dope page re: the Project Pegasus storyline in Marvel Two-In-One. It's a great overview... if you speak French, that is. Fortunately I do, as well as Pushtu and Tagalog.

*This applies to both the comic book character and the John Carpenter movie.

37 comments:

Bill said...

Essential Marvel Two-in-One this fall. Woot!

Keith said...

Wow, Poundcake's got quite a bulge.... I'm not entirely sure she's a woman.

David Campbell said...

I wondered the same thing about my junior high gym teacher.

Adrian said...

Warning: If you inexplicably think Chyna is hot, do not go here. You will never be able to think of her without screaming in horror again. Thanks a lot for comparing Thundra to Chyna, now I'll never be able to read a story with her again without wondering whether she has a 3-inch-long clitoiris.

kelvingreen said...

So Screaming Mimi became Songbird, but does her teammate Titania have any connection to the She-Hulk villain of the same name?

David Campbell said...

I think She Hulk's nemesis just has the same name, and was created during Secret Wars. I think. Where's Dan Coyle when you need him?

David Campbell said...

And Adrian, that was really disturbing. Really.

Kevin Church said...

The first thing I thought of when I saw Chyna's name was that very thing. She nearly ruined all hormonal surges I got out of seeing Jane from the Go-Gos all leathered up on that crappy VH-1 reality show.

Anonymous said...

1. There were two different Titanias. This was the first one, and she's been forgotten or killed by Scourge or something.

2. Look at the Grapplers again. TOTAL ripoffs of Barda and the Female Furies from Mr. Miracle.

Anonymous said...

"I don't want to get into a discussion about Ben Grimm's rocky anatomy here, because there's probably plenty of bad fan-fiction that covers that ground."

So to speak.

I wonder how Busiek liked the Garth Ennis version of Fury? Apparently George Clooney was interested in doing a Nick Fury movie, but then he read that miniseries and decided to take a pass. In other words: THANK YOU, MR. ENNIS!

Dan Coyle said...

(Crashes through the window) Ahhh, crap! First yesterday's flat tire and now this!

Anyway, just to clear things up, yes, the Titania that has fought She-Hulk and Spider-Man mnay times, and has been the Absorbing Man's better half for years, was originally Skeeter McPherran, a resident of the Colorado town that was transported to Battleworld during the Secret Wars.

After interacting w/one of those weird machines in the bases, she became super-strong and powerful- but as befitting a comic written by Jim Shooter, she was utterly trounced and humiliated by Spider-Man after whaling on She-Hulk.

The Grapplers Titania was killed by Scourge late in the Thing's solo run, shot in the shower- which they actually depicted- sans nipples- in the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe's Book of the Dead.

Dan Coyle said...

A Mark Gruenwald comic featuring thinly veiled versions of classic DC characters? I am shocked, I tell you, SHOCKED!

Adrian said...

As far as I can tell, almost no bad fanfic porn has been written about the Thing, thankfully. And yes, I looked. You don't want to know where I looked. If you thought the Chyna porn was disturbing...

On a somewhat less disturbing note, Erik Larsen would later come up with characters who were also blatant ripoffs of the Female Furies, the Femme Fatales. And then Mark Greunwald used them in the story where Superia tried to turn Cap into a woman.

David Campbell said...

Thanks Dan!

And no Thing erotic fan-fiction? Maybe I should be a pioneer and write some... I could explore Ben's obsession with Aunt Petunia or something.

(shudder) OK, not a good idea.

Busta said...

Who cares about the sex stuff when your a kid. I think they meant it to be like soul mates. You know ...together forever crap. Marvel 2 in one & Marvel team ups was the best bang for your comic book buck ( .40 ) back then.

David Campbell said...

Dear God, I just got off the phone with my mom, who told me she reads my blog every day, but mostly the comments, which she finds amusing. Everybody say hi to my mom!

Sorry Mom!

Shon Richards said...

Poundcakes is the greatest villain name ever.

Dan Coyle said...

Always a pleasure to reveal my freakish amounts of knowledge, Dave. And Dave's mom.

Savage Dragon is a swell book, but it's filled w/Xeroxes of the Forever People and Captain Marvel's rogues gallery. Hell, his Mighty Man character reads like a rejected Big Red Cheese proposal. He even had the Big Bang guys do uncanny riffs on Beck and Binder at one point.

Anonymous said...

I saw this cover, and the memories came flooding back! For a boy nearing pubescence when this comic book was published, it was truly a Marvel (hehe)!! These women were the stuff of which young boys' dreams were made of -- leather and straps, skimpy clothing, physical.... And yes, Poundcakes did bear some similarity to my PE teacher! I'm sure this book is still in my collection somewhere, albeit a bit dog-eared. Thanks for digging this one out!

Brian Cronin said...

Letha was ALSO killed by Scourge!

Gotta give Gruenwald that much credit, he at least was willing to off his lesser-used characters, too.

Martin Wisse said...

Titania wasn't the only Grappler killed by Scourge of course: Letha also bit the bullet.

So you get two dead grapplers, one who became a hero and the only one left who is still evil is ....

Poundcakes!?

(Last seen fighting with her boyfriend the Jackhammer in an issue of Captain America, where Cap goes on a date... three guesses who wrote that one)

Dan Coyle said...

Ah, Cap #371, probably the best issue of Gruenwald's run, which begins with Diamondback essentially ordering Steve to take her out on a date.

Brad Curran said...

"If you don’t like The Thing, you are a frickin’ communist, end of story.*"
"*This applies to both the comic book character and the John Carpenter movie."

Truer words have never been spoken. I don't care how badly they alter the adaptation of the comics in the FF movie, as long as Michael Chiklis gets to yell "It's clobberin' time!" before smacking Dr. Doom around.

Anyway, I found a handfull of Marvel Two-In-Ones at the mall in a collectibles shop. I'm going to at least pick up the issue where Ben teams up with Namor to stomp Modok. I'm not sure how you can combine those elements and not have a fun story.

Brad Curran said...

I also found an issue where the Grapplers are mobbing the Thing. I swear, this blog will inspire me to blow all my money on back issues instead of trade paperbacks. Thanks, Dave!

G. Bob said...

Your mom reads your blog? No wonder you never talk about the dead hooker in your trunk.

David Campbell said...

What happens in Tacoma stays in Tacoma.

kelvingreen said...

A pair of Titanias? I thought as much. Different hair colour for a start. The Spidey/Shulk Titania's ginger, iirc.

Anonymous said...

And is it just me, or is Letha a direct rip-off of Valkyrie from the Defenders?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, she's like Ultimate Valkyrie.

Daniel E. Renfer said...

Have you ever thought about the fact that maybe Thundra likes it kinda rough. I mean, look at her. I'm sure she isn't entirely opposed to a little bit of light clobbering in the bedroom. Really, can The Thing's thing be any worse and unforgiving as some of the things you'll find in just about any sex shop? I'm sure they'll get along just fine.

David Campbell said...

Renfer wins!

Jason said...

Tagalog?

SanctumSanctorumComix said...

Benjamin J. Grimm...

RIBBED for her PLEASURE.

~P~

Martin said...

I loved Marvel Two-In-One growing up. So glad we got some Essentials for this book and hope we get the full run before they're through.

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