Friday, April 06, 2007

SILVER SABLE #27 Marvel Comics, 1994

Okay, I have a confession to make: I don't recall actually reading this comic, and I can't be bothered to actually read it again.

I am basing this entire post - and this is lame - on just flipping casually through Silver Sable #27. If you're looking for a nuanced, well-balanced essay on the plot and themes and artistic/literary merit of this comic - well, what are you doing on my blog in the first place?

For those unfamiliar with this most Nineties of Marvel titles, Silver Sable & The Wild Pack was a colorful Boob War meets Dirty Dozen comic about a rough team of super-mercenaries and their leader, a monochromatic aristocratic sextastic ass-kicker with a huge mane of white hair named Silver Sable.

Sable was originally a supporting character and occasional adversary of Spider-Man who graduated to her own title in the mid-Nineties and has since faded once again into the crowded background of the Marvel Universe. In five years Silver Sable will be retro enough to be cool again, just like Spider-Woman and Ms. Marvel.

In this particular issue, Man-Eater, one of Silver Sable's crew has gone ape shit (or in this case, tiger shit) and the Wild Pack has to track the were-tiger down before he scratches up somebody's sofa real bad.

I don't know a lot about Man-Eater or why he goes crazy in this issue. Hormones? Pon farr? The only thing I do know about him is that his code name "Man-Eater" has nothing to do with the fact that he's a giant tiger-man. "Man-Eater" was actually a prison name that he picked up during a five year stint in San Quentin. Hey, don't judge. You gotta do what you gotta do to survive in prison.

Anyway, Man-Eater goes crazy and pulls an American Werewolf, rampaging all over town. He interrupts a couple's romantic picnic(above). Woah, what is that gal saying? That's just naughty.

Fortunately, Man-Eater doesn't eat the pre-coital picnickers, but he does attack the unemployed grunge musician who mugs them. Ever since Cobain died, those guys have had a hard time making ends meet.

One of the weird things about the book is how Man-Eater says the word "roar" a lot. Take a look.

Help me out here. If a word is in a word balloon, that means the speaker is actually saying the word. Am I right? If it's a sound effect, the sound text appears in the panel as a graphic, not inside a word balloon. Follow me? So if a word (like "roar") appears as a graphic inside a word balloon, does that mean the speaker is actually saying the word depicted, or making the sound described?

So, is Man-Eater saying the word "roar" or is he making a roar-sounding noise? The problem lies with the fact that roar is both a noun and an onomatopoeia. It would be easier if Man-Eater were a giant poodle man. Then he would either be saying "bark" or making a bark-like sound, i.e., "woof," and it'd be easy to tell what effect the creators are going for.

Take a look at this panel of Tiger-Man vs Pearl Jam:

Here, Man-Eater's "roar" doesn't have any punctuation and is misspelled, so I'm led to believe that he is making a noise that sounds like a roar rather than shouting the word "roar."

In the next panel, Man-Eater's "roar" has an exclamation point but it's still misspelled. Does this mean he's making a noise or saying a word? The answer is clearly yes.

My confusion aside, it's pretty easy to follow the storyline in Silver Sable #27, even if you're not actually reading it like me. Sable and the Wild Pack eventually track Man-Eater down and taser the living bejeesus out of him while he yells "Roar!" or makes a roar-like noise, take your pick.

I like the cover for this comic, but as for the book itself? It's got a little too much Man-Eater and not enough Boob War for my tastes. I mean, if I pick up a Silver Sable book I want to see a little chrome-colored ass, not page after page of Man-Eater getting his roar on. Let's sex up the joint a little.

Although perhaps I should be careful what I wish for, as the ultimate cause of Man-Eater's frenzy is revealed...

Man, I know there are entire sub-cultures of people who get off on that sort of thing, but that panel planted some unwelcome mental imagery in my head.

Thanks a lot, Marvel. I'll never be able to look at a tiger again without feeling dirty.


Anonymous said...

This comic just demonstrates the well-known axiom that furries are the root of all evil.

I collected this title for the first year or two for some reason--probably Boob War. It wasn't all bad, though. I liked seeing the non-villainous Sandman in a monthly book, because he's versatile as hell. I always liked Battle Star, too--the character, not the codename. The codename is weak (although not as bad as "Fin"), but I always thought the guy had some potential. Sure, he's another Cap knockoff, but at least he wasn't a prick like USAgent.

Bully said...

How the heck did Silver Sable even move? Judging from that cover, her hair is half her body weight.

SallyP said...

Wait a minute...a Tiger Man running around in a '90's comic book? Oh my God, it's Desmond! Desmond, honey, get back over to the pages of Warrior where you belong, with the beer and all the DC women petting your soft soft fur. Marvel is a far too dangerous place for Tiger Men.

Botch the Crab said...

I cannot believe that Silver Sable had at least 27 issues. Man, no wonder the industry bubble burst.

Anonymous said...

The cover is pretty good. Hey! Is that the old golden age Shield by the UPC? But on the inside Man-Eater looks like something from "Cats" on steroids. And he IS saying roar. The spiky irregularity of the balloon means it's really, really loud though. The pages look rushed. I can appreciate a bad story with eye candy art. This looks like pretty crummy stuff.

Anonymous said...

It's Tigorr, from the Omega Men, getting for a bit of extra work.

Cully said...

Wait, wait, wait... his codename is "MAN-eater" and it was a female tiger that set him off?

Mister Sinister said...

Is that the Bronze Tiger lookin' fo' some lovin?

Oh... no its a Counter-Earth reject!

Anonymous said...

"In five years Silver Sable will be retro enough to be cool again, just like Spider-Woman and Ms. Marvel."

You know, "made the writer/editor/artist feel all squirmy down there as a 12 year old" and "cool" are not in fact synonyms. Spider-Woman is the proof of it.

lostinube said...

I always liked Silver Sable. Anyway, Marvel probably gave her her own series because they really really wanted to have an opportunity to publish that Issue #1 variant cover where she's all shiny and stuff. Ah, the 90s.

David C said...

"I cannot believe that Silver Sable had at least 27 issues."

I'm starting to believe *everything* had at least 27 issues in the '90s. Silver Sable. Black Cat. Deathlok. The Soviet Super-Soldiers. Brother Voodoo. The Gibbon. Jasper Sitwell. Batroc. Blackwulf.

(Admit it, you can't tell which of the above are made up, which had 27 issues in the '90s, and which existed, but with fewer issues, without looking it up, can you?)

Tim Easy said...

did you say "batroc", as in batroc the leaper?? omg I haven't seen that name in ages

Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator said...

It looks like his wrist band is growling in that one panel.

And if super heroes get nicknames like Darknight Detective and Man of Steel, can his be Furious Furry?

Quilty said...

I read the first five issues of this title when they were first released. I thought I'd be reading the Marvel version of Suicide Squad. Instead, I almost went that route myself.

Anonymous said...

Andrew said...
That's not the Golden-Age Shield; that's Battlestar, once Bucky to one of the faux-Captain Americas that were all the rage at one point.

Yep, he was assigned the Bucky identity after Steve Rogers quit and the Feds made John Walker (former Super-Patriot, future USAgent, and always prick) Captain America. Lemar Hoskins, like Walker, had been given low-level superhuman strength, stamina, and resistance to injury from the Power Broker treatment. They got trained up by the government and sent on a few missions in the comic, and then apparently somebody told Mark Gruenwald that in some parts of the country, "Bucky" is some good old-fashioned racism. I think Gruenwald felt genuinely bad about it, and immediately revamped him into Battle Star, which has its flaws but at least doesn't attempt to channel a dead white kid. (Yeah, I heard, Bucky's back now and all, but that's this week--you never know with Marvel.)

Off topic, when the Feds made John(ny) Walker the USAgent, they faked his death and gave him the new secret identity of "Jack Daniels". Apparently they were hitting the sauce pretty hard in the Bullpen during the 80s.

tkincher said...

It's always sad when a character has such potential to be cool and then totally doesn't. Silver Sable doesn't need a bunch of groupies! Cool heroes are almost always loners.

That's why the Fantastic Four will always be inherently uncool, and why Batman stories are better when Robin is dead.

Anonymous said...

David C: Only Sable and Dethlok got 27 issues. Blackwulf got only ten, Soviet Super Soldiers was a one-shot, Black Cat was a miniseries. Everyone else did not get their own book.

Good for Marvel DC really didn't have Bronze Tiger in play back then, because that's almost actionable.

Anonymous said...

So, is Man-Eater saying the word "roar" or is he making a roar-sounding noise?

In that particular panel, it's a super-pissed leaf venting its outrage. I'd roar too if I was cut down in the prime of my life by a mangy man-tiger in search of poontang.

Anonymous said...

I picked up a complete run of this series on eBay a few years back. I tried to read it. Honestly, I did. I don't think I made it past issue 20 or so. It was painful.

That said, I like the concept and even a couple of the characters. In the hands of the right writer, it would be a hit.

zwatcher said...

the reason man-eater went feral is because he is a human and a tiger fused together, complete with the tigers instincts and drives.
much like a werewolf the human side has a hard time controling the beast within.

spring said...

Fellas, I slaved through all 35 issues on a bet, and lemme tell ya - it was beyond painful. Literally the only issue I'd reread was the one John Arcudi guest-wrote, which was basically a Day in the Limelight for Sandman.