Comic books are not real life. They are better than real life. They allow you to go forward in your own story with the myth of the super power to bolster your courage. You can face your daily devils and demons secure in the knowledge that, while no one is perfect, we can all at least imagine holding firm to an ideal in spite of the trials we face… being true to a power and a goodness beyond ourselves… being a hero.
I have followed Iron Fist’s adventures since the 1970’s. It is true that I haven’t been as devoted to him and his heroics as I have been to Spiderman and the Avengers. But I love the idea of a good guy in white standing up to the bad guys in black and beating the poop out of them with a good heart and a bare fist, not resorting to guns and bombs and gratuitous killings. Danny Rand, the Iron Fist, has always been such a character to me. Noble because he does not intentionally kill the enemy, like Batman, Superman, Captain America and so many other favorite super heroes.
I admit it, this love-gush of a post is only happening because I finished binge-watching the new Iron Fist series on Netflix. I depend on Netflix now to deliver to me effortlessly what I used to endlessly hunt and scrabble for in the way of idea fuel and motivational electricity. And even though I am a notoriously uncritical critic, I have to say, it was not as heart-thumpingly good as either Daredevil or Luke Cage. But it brought an old friend to life in a way that I never before believed could happen. And I love the way it fit this puzzle piece into the overall jigsaw of the Marvel superhero stories on Netflix. It used characters like the ER nurse Claire and the villainous Madam Gao to connect plotlines in Daredevil and Luke Cage, and the evil but helpful lawyer character from Jessica Jones. Will I watch it again? Definitely. Will I need to draw Iron Fist for myself? Probably. But this is a hard experience to either explain or recapture. Television using comic book heroes, sometimes, at its best, makes life better than it really is.
I love Marvel Comics, and, as a result, I am also falling in love with the Marvel Superhero movies. I spent this morning drooling over the Flash TV series which has that wonderful comic book wiseacre flavor. And I decided that Dallas needs its own superhero.
So, using the toxic pollution in the city air and the natural ability of the human body to adapt to anything, Muck Man is born. Yes, Muck Man, the toxic hero who smells so bad that bad guys don’t have a chance. Severe odor is his super power. He can remove his shoes and take down a regiment of evil villain minions with a wave of foot-fungus incredo-stink. He can radiate infected ear-wax smells through the earwax antennas on his helmet. And, of course, he can go fully nuclear with a Muck Man power fart.
The Magnificent Muck Man has a secret identity too. He is a mild-mannered retired school teacher by day, pursuing a mundane and forgettable career as a writer until the city is threatened by a super villain. And he is coming.
Behold, the Angry Orange King. He is tramping toward us in Angry Tramp Boots looking to tramp all over the basic human rights of people he doesn’t like. Especially poor people he doesn’t like. He gives rude finger gestures to the masses with the fingers of his tiny, tiny hands. And he likes to build gigantic things and make other people pay for them. He has recently defeated the homegrown lizard-man super villain that represents our state. He used his super villain power to hang insulting nicknames on people, and we all know that nicknames can be fatal, especially to lizard-people. Many would argue that the Angry Orange King hasn’t won total victory yet. He still has to defeat one more opponent before the frightened nation turns the keys to the kingdom over to him. But there is no guarantee that he will be beaten, as no other contender has beaten him yet, despite everything the wise monkeys claim to be true.
So the confrontation is set to happen. Blow-hard insult master against the world’s greatest source of stinky justice. Who will win? Nobody knows for sure. But for me, I tend to side with goodness over evil.
One of the things I find so fascinating about Captain Action is the way he portrays space heroes from comic strips that were created long before I was born. Here you see Flash Gordon (the mask is from 1967, the rest of the costume comes from Playing Mantis in 2003.)
Buck Rogers from the 25th Century (everything here is either a recreation by hobbyists or a replacement part) stands next to him.