The Things I Do For Comics – Spider-Man/Badrock
I consider my fellow BOEG writer Biff Tannen a friend. Really, I do. We’ve known one another quite a while and he’s a rather agreeable chap. So, when that cold-hearted bastard suggested I read Spider-Man/Badrock for my next installment in this series, I was understandably upset.
You see, we recently sat down and watched The Image Revolution and while it was an interesting and well-made documentary, and certainly informative regarding the events surrounding the formation of image, it simply did not probe the human psyche for the reasons WHY people wanted these books. I’ve read some god awful books in my day, as regular readers of this column know, but some of the stuff that came out of 90s Image makes Force Works #1 look like motherfucking Watchmen.
So, let’s run down the list of what had me dreading this comic from the getgo. It was a sort of perfect storm of garbage, from what I could see.
1) Intercompany Crossover
In any good (which means less awful) romantic comedy, we have that moment where the unlikely couple first meet under the worst possible circumstances. Similarly, the intercompany crossover comic has the moment (i.e. most of the book) where the two heroes are at odds over a misunderstanding. And just as the couple in the movie eventually get together, break up, and get back together, the two heroes join forces to tackle a common enemy and part ways, typically in a wise-ass sort of “Smell you later, loser” sort of sendoff. You need look no further than Spawn/Batman for the perfect example of the bad crossover comic. Before I even cracked the spine on Spider-Man/Badrock, I was imaging an uglier version of the same dreadful tit-for-tat I’d read so many times before.
2) Liefeld’s involvement
To be clear, I know Rob Liefeld’s M.O. well enough to realize he wouldn’t be directly involved in the creation of these books, but even seeing his name on something is cause for panic. Recently, when the relaunches of Prophet and Glory hit the shelves and were critically acclaimed, you may have noticed that they didn’t exactly brag about Liefeld’s having created those characters. Not too long after X-Force, thanks to books like Youngblood and Brigade, anyone who was paying attention noticed that Liefeld’s name was typically associated with pure trash. And it was a wise move for those recent books to distance themselves! Alan Moore wrote Youngblood, and I wouldn’t read that shit on a bet (please don’t test that claim). I mean, a shit sandwich is a shit sandwich, even if Anthony Bourdain throws it together.
3) Unorthodox Numbering
There are a few cases where an issue 0 isn’t total bullshit. Seven Soldiers #0, for instance. That book was a prelude to a large scale maxi-series and it was all a prelude to a larger story. I get that. But the DC Villains Month bullshit? 23.4 having nothing whatsoever to do with the story of 23, let alone 23.1-23.3 ? Funk that! And Spider-Man/Badrock had the goddamn balls to print two different issues as “1A” and “1B”! It’s a two-issue mini-series, damn it, not two different covers for the same book. To make matters worse, each issue had two separate covers of its own, so the 1A-1B bullshit is doubly perplexing.
But remember, these are all my preconceptions, I hadn’t even hit the story within this book yet. For all I know, I could be totally off-base.
So let’s get started, shall we?
Fuck, Fuck, Fuck, Fuck, Fuck! That’s most of the first page? I know that 1990s Spider-Man artists played it pretty fast and loose with anatomy, but this is really something. His left thigh is substantially, like FOR REALS SUBSTANTIALLY, larger than his right. His head is shaped like a piece of candy corn and his eyes are upside-down, maybe? And I offer two farthings to any man who can tell me what’s going on with Spidey’s right hand, or more accurately which artist/drawing it was stolen from. This is a very, very bad drawing. Spider-Man is immediately below a lit streetlight, so maybe it’s night time in the photo? Or maybe it’s not? Sorry for all of the question marks, I’m kind of having an existential crisis here.
This book was brought to us, by the way, by Dan Jurgens and Maray Mychaels as writer and penciller, respectively. There were, reportedly some “pencil assists” by Rob Liefeld himself on a few pages scattered throughout the book, and I’ll be sure to point out the obvious contributions when we hit those pages.
Anyway, the book opens up in fairly standard fashion. Peter Parker is trying to sell some Spider-Man photos to J. Jonah Jameson as he is wont to do, and Jameson is badmouthing Spider-Man. In fact, he has even committed a bit of libel and claimed that Spider-Man had himself committed a robbery which he had, in fact, stopped.
ART ASSIST! That there’s a Liefeld nose, kiddos! It’s slightly upturned, unusually tiny, and all-around weird-looking. It’s got a sort of Kevin Bacon meets Michael Jackson kind of thing going on. And then the next page has what I believe to be Liefeld lips. There are lots of extra lines and hatching. See?
Marat Mychaels (Liefeld friend and studio sweetheart) is not a great artist either, and his style is very different from Liefeld’s in a lot of ways. Mychaels’ figures are wilder and even less in keeping with actual human forms than those of Liefeld. And whereas Liefeld draws the same face all of the time, Mychaels can’t even seem to get the same face down for two panels in a row. I imagine him sitting Norman Rockwell style at his drawing board with a mirror to perfectly capture facial expressions. Only he bought the mirror at a heavy discount when a local carnival funhouse closed down. And also, the mirror is covered in shit.
I mean, the dude has at least seen a drawing of J. Jonah Jameson before, right? He knows that J. Jonah Jameson is Spider-Man’s miserable old Caucasian boss and not the late actor Pat Morita, right? Right?
Also, Mary Jane Watson Parker was, at this point in her life, a supermodel/actress. Sure, she and her husband were always flat broke, but she was supposed to have the goods in the looks department. Marat Mychaels must have once more gotten confused as to the characters in the Spider-Man comic book series and accidentally drawn a gargoyle in MJ’s place.
Anyway, there was some kind of story going on here. Jameson is going to interview SHAFT of Youngblood, Parker is going to photograph the occasion (for a dirt cheap rate) and Shaft is totally not into it. He’s a radical man of action and he hasn’t got time to be doing a press tour, so he convinces Badrock to meet with Jameson by claiming that the Daily Bugle representatives are actually former producers of the television series Battlestar Galactica (the shitty one, not the good one).
Oh yeah, and I think that Shaft is in an abusive sexual relationship with his agent. What’s happening below is not an outwardly threatening gesture, but he’s definitely asserting his bedroom dominance over his Matthew Lillard styled agent.
Needless to say, when Jameson is greeted at the door by Badrock instead of Shaft, he’s none too pleased. And his eyes begin to move independently of on another in shock. And not just his eyeballs… his actual eye sockets apparently starting shifting around his face.
I’m so fascinated with Badrock’s clothes. He dresses like Ving Rhames in Pulp Fiction, but his clothes are painted onto his body. Oh, and apparently he’s supposed to be a kid? He’s sixteen years old in 1997 and he’s a huge old school Battlestar Galactica fan? What the fuck is up with that? Not only that, but this 16 year old is being paid BY THE GOVERNMENT to beat people to death? Youngblood was a fucked up book and I’m glad I’ve never read it.
Speaking of beating people to death, Badrock’s interview is cut short by a street-level ruckus caused by Spider-Man foe The Rhino (soon to be one of like 15 villains in a major motion picture, but the only one played by Paul Giamatti). Badrock starts knocking the piss out of this mentally challenged immigrant and Spider-Man soon arrives to lend a hand. And then Venom shows up? I’m really not clear on why that happened, as I recall Venom was an anti-hero in the 90s and he and Spider-Man had a nice “you-don’t-fuck-with-me-I-don’t-fuck-with-you” thing going on. They even address this plot hole in the book, but it’s immediately dismissed. I saw a cloaked figure earlier on, though, and I think it was Mysterio so maybe there’s trickery afoot?
I think that’s “rules”, dumbshit. I’m pretty sure that contracts are made to protect two or more parties entering into business with one another.
What does Venom’s arrival mean for our friendly neighborhood web-slinger?
Will Badrock ever see the fabled lost episode of Battlestar Galactica?
Why in the goddamn hell am I actually going to read part two of this series?
All of these answers and more in PART TWO of this atrocious comic crossover!!!
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Posted on July 24, 2014, in COMICS!, Reviews, The Things I Do For Comics and tagged 90s, Badrock, Image, Liefeld Week, Marvel, Maximum Press, Rob Liefeld, spider-man, The Things I Do For Comics, Venom, Youngblood. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.