Thursday, August 31, 2006

Could Ben Grimm outfly Hal Jordan? Does 'Hell' go with 'Yeah'?

And that's why Ben is a better pilot than that prettyboy Jordan at DC: he doesn't need a fancy-nancy ring to do his flying. From Marvel Adventures Fantastic Four #4, "His Latest Flame", written by Jeff Parker, pencilled by Juan Santacruz, inked by Raul Fernandez. I got this as part of a collection at Target, clearanced to $1.49; and absolutely worth it, especially as an intro to Jeff Parker, who is currently writing Agents of Atlas.

Here's a thought, that I may have had before, but DC's the New Frontier had a good example of it: the last issue has most of the silver age DC characters that were pilots, together in battle: the Blackhawks, Ace Morgan of the Challengers of the Unknown, Larry "Negative Man" Trainor of the Doom Patrol, Captain Nathaniel "Atom" Adam, and Hal "Headwound" Jordan. Oh, all right, he's Green Lantern and you know it. Lots of pilots, but at the start of the 60's, that was a pimp job.

Over at Marvel, there's fewer pilots, but still Ben Grimm, Carol "Warbird/Binary/Ms. Marvel" Danvers, Jim "War Machine" Rhodes...John "Man-Wolf" Jameson was an astronaut, but he was Captain America's pilot for a stretch of issues, so we'll count him. Not as many, but a good batch.

There's a few careers with a lot of overlap for superheroes, like reporters, or circus performers. Seriously, lots of circus folk: acrobats like Nightwing, Nightcrawler, and Deadman; strongmen like the Blob or the Hulk (from Avengers #1!), performers like Hawkeye and Mr. Miracle and Ghost Rider. Then you've got your general evil circus, whether name brand like the Ringmaster's Circus of Crime; or just cranked out for a story, like Mesmero's circus in X-Men, or the freakshow in Starman. (If you see a freakshow in comics, there will be evil either there or around. Guar-an-teed.)

I swear, I saw R'as Al Ghul with an evil circus once. Maybe that's why the circus is in decline in America: too many evil ones. If I go to the circus, I'd be expecting to see at least a couple super-heroes, an evil/possessed/extorted ringmaster, and/or hypnosis.

And, as expected for me and this site, I can just see the point of all this fading off into the distance back there. What jobs can you think of that have been held by several super-heroes? Doctor? Lawyer? Indian Chief? Hell, there probably have been more than a few of all of those. Try "millionaire playboy" and I bet you could almost run out of fingers.


Anonymous said...

Does soldier count as a job? Sort of a cop-out I know, but you could probably gather a bunch of characters under that umbrella.

Mostly it seems as though comic book characters are research scientists or engineers or adventurers/archaologists/mercenaries, etc....whatever makes the most sense to enable them to be superheroes. Heroes almost never have regular jobs like working at Starbucks or...I don't know, selling cars.

Anonymous said...

I think both Scott Summers and Madelyne Pryor were both pilots I have many 80's X-Men issues where one of the two of them were flying a plane. Also Scott and Alex's father was a pilot, Corsair of the Starjammers if I remember correctly.

Anonymous said...

Also Jim Corrigan and Barry Allen were both cops and I think there are several more I can't think of right now.

Anonymous said...

Adventurer. Now there's a cool job title. Growing up, I read more non-superhero comics than I did the "regular" comics. I loved the Challengers and Cave Carson and such. I think that's one of the things that made the Fantastic Four work so well. They weren't crime-fighters. They were adventurers. I wish I was one.