Tuesday, August 17, 2010

K-Tel Super Hero madness

"Fear in the Funhouse!"

writer/ editor Marv Wolfman
artists supreme, Sal Buscema and Frank Giacoia
Letterer, John Costanza
colorist, Glynis Wein

Caps is almost flying out of the left arm of his Uncle Nat, twisted by fate into the faceless, merciless and super-powerful Mega Man, who taunts Nova into pursuing himself or saving the people in the house he's just set on fire. The kidnapping scene is also the Rider home, and Nova, a.k.a. Richard Rider, chooses to chance Caps' survival while rescuing his mom, dad and brother. He's still working on disguising his voice, successful here. His brother's chosen to stay low and cover his mouth, which Nova approves proudly. Robbie bemoans his unfilled fire extinguisher (from NOVA #1).

Now for something you rarely see: Nova tries to fly around the house fast enough to whip up a vortex to snuff the flames, only to find some things in comics don't work in real life (nice meta-texturalizing, to bring Nova's reality that much closer to us than "comics"). Smashing into the street to uncover the city water pipes, however, does the trick. He reassures the family that "Richard" is safe and flies away long enough to change back to Richard, as he continues to marvel at his wafer-thin but nigh invulnerable super suit. But what do super heroes do with their civvies? (Suddenly I'm thinking about [u]the Greatest American Hero .[u]) The whole family goes to the doctor, apparently, the same one who saw Richard manifest his one-time-only laser blasts from his eyes just before he gained his Nova persona in full. Richard decides that's one appointment that will keep a loong time.

Mega Man, at his funhouse destination, promises to take his hand off Caps' mouth if he won't scream. He begins to explain, while asking him to keep to the shadows, though "amusement parks tend to become tinsled morgues during the winter." (That would make me feel so much better to hear that, Uncle Nat.)
He admits his desire for vengeance, based on believing Caps at fault for his accident, drove him mad, but asks for pity as he again explains about the last living entity on Earth, on the other side of the portal, saving his life but recreating him faceless, with strange powers. He later realized "the thing was female".

Here he begins a self-involved monologue, describing his unhappy marriage to Caps' aunt Clara and the years they spent running this funhouse. Here he had begun to hope he could see her again, start over, but frightened children reminded him what he has become, fueling his blame. Now however, he wants Caps to go to Aunt Clara to prepare her for the shock of seeing him again, begging him to explain. He wavers, but what else can Caps do but say he'll try his best?

Charles Rider, after dinner, fields an argumentative call with a P.T.A. leader who has him placed on suspension for not giving in to "ridiculous demands which would destroy our teaching system." Angry, he refuses to talk to Rich, but his son doesn't give up. Showing a bit of the courage he's discovered in his other identity, he spends the next hour talking to Charles.

Afterwards, he changes into Nova for patrol, noting the mounting difficulties in the wake of his new i.d. "Not that bullethead is responsible for this"; in fact Nova saves him from "going bonkers." The problem before him is a good old fashioned cat-stuck-on-the roof. To his surprise, he finds the owner's gratitude very fulfilling.

Next, Caps knocks on Aunt Clara's door on Coney Island...

(continued later today!)
For our pink Mega Man:

One thing I meant to mention last time: while it’s obvious you have to invent or remember the art in your head as you read along---and sometimes there are funny dialogue bits, too---the letterer does a lot to make the comic entertaining. Even if you’re reading along in a b & w volume you can appreciate how the letterer adds drama and humor to the lines. Sometimes an iconic logo really draws you in, too. They are unsung heroes and the majority of us would nearly go mad trying to letter by hand!

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