Tuesday, July 26, 2005
Kobra Week! KOBRA #4 DC Comics, 1976
Yes, believe it or not, Kobra once had his own comic book!
During the 70's DC had an editorial philosophy that pretty much amounted to: "Throw a bunch of crap at the wall and see what sticks." Unfortunately, DC's crap was coated in teflon, and nothing stuck to the wall. But for a brief, glorious period - the DC Explosion! - the reading public was treated to such comic book oddities as Kobra.
In this series, the unspeakably evil Kobra, the King of Evil, does battle with his twin brother, Jason Burr, who is an idiot, yet somehow always manages to foil Kobra's schemes, if only temporarily. For reasons best left unexplained, the two brothers share an empathic bond and can feel each other's pain. For instance, if Jason Burr gets hit in the nuts with a lacrosse stick, somewhere in an evil temple Kobra doubles over, clutching his boys. As you might imagine, this complicates things and makes Jason Burr the one enemy Kobra cannot kill!!!
Can I point out the boss Joe Kubert cover (above)? Kubert's one of those guys whose work is instantly recognizable and instantly boss! He rules, end of story. He rules so much that he founded Joe Kubert's School of Being Boss. Anyway, the Kubert cover classes up the comic, if you ask me. I don't know why there's an inset panel of Jason Burr on the toilet - that scene isn't in the book...
Kobra, in typical Kobra fashion, is striking a dramatic pose and screaming at his brain-washed underlings. Here, click on this splash page and it will get you up to speed:
I like his outfit in this comic; it looks like he's wearing comfy terry-cloth pajamas. You know, he should do a line of men and underling's clothing called Kobra Seperates. I'd buy them.
Kobra is one cat who appreciates the importance of brand management. He's always got a new outfit that is built on the timeless Kobra theme of orange and green scales. And talk about accesorizing! He even pimped out all his excavator and heavy machinery, Kobra-style, by um, putting cobra heads on bulldozers and shit. The Kobra Vibe is always in effect.
Much like Dr. Doom, Kobra was always trying to get an edge in his never-ending struggle for Global Chaos by screwing around with powers beyond human understanding, . In Kobra #4, our man tries to harness the power of a giant alien robot, the Servitor. Things go wrong:
The Servitor - that was my nickname in college. I swung with a different crowd, baby.
Anyway, check out the panel where The Servitor's face explodes - that's a pretty cool sound effect, no? "Choom!" Nice effect.
Kobra and his much-abused minions take care of The Servitor, and then we move on to the monthly fight between Jason Burr and his evil twin brother. Every month they fight, and every month they forget that the two of them are linked empathically:
More great sound effects: "FUNT!" That's what getting kicked in the gut sounds like when you're wearing comfortable terry-cloth armor from Kobra's fall collection. Speaking of fashion, Jason is wearing a Superman T-shirt in order to confuse young readers, I guess. He looks stupid. He is stupid.
The Kobra series didn't survive the "DC Implosion" and Jason Burr met his destiny in the pages of a Batman comic book. It's a pity that Kobra is (supposedly) dead, because I think a new Kobra series would rule. If there's one thing that kids love, it's fanatical merchants of global terror in eye-catching outfits.
That, and ponies. Kids love ponies.
(Krap! I never mentioned that Kobra was kreated by Jack "King" Kirby. You kan see some of Kirby's kraziness in this issue's art - like the "Kirby dots" in the panel above. Kirby + Kobra = Kool.)