Wednesday, May 12, 2010

This is a spoiler for X-Force #26:

...and Incredible Hercules #141, and Countdown to Infinite Crisis #1, and Secret Invasion #8 and...

I'm going to save my snark and commentary for after the break, OK? Feel free to skip it!

My favorite comic book character, bar none, Nightcrawler, died in X-Force #26. I guess the typical, fannish thing to do right about now is huff and puff into a fit, and go on about how everyone at Marvel sucks and I'm quitting the X-Men books forever, if not all of Marvel's books, or to that effect. Yeah, we're not going to be doing that. Sure, I'm disappointed, but it's not like I was paying money for them. (The last issue of Uncanny I bought was maybe #499? Maybe?) And based on past trends, Kurt oughta be back inside of three years, if not much sooner.

I do rather miss the days when the Ultimate Universe wasn't terrible, and even if a character was dead in the 616 continuity, they could still get some play there. Kurt is still in the X-Men Forever continuity, but he lost his powers, coloring, and tail to Rogue...oh, and it's pretty awful. Currently, the only Nightcrawler stories might be the Wolverine and the X-Men cartoon, where he's actually managed to get some spotlight episodes. (Oh, and here...eventually.)

Why is Nightcrawler my favorite? The first comic I read with him (maybe) he friggin' impaled Dracula. I started getting X-Men comics here and there, and was firmly hooked by the time he got his limited series with his creator, Dave Cockrum.

I didn't--and still don't--care for the Christian aspects added to Nightcrawler's character. (Newsarama had a nice history, with interview bits from Dave Cockrum indicating he didn't care for it, either.) Personally? I saw Nightcrawler, as the everyman in the X-Men. Seriously, hear me out: Kurt didn't have the horribly traumatic past of Wolverine or Storm (although he had a few rough spots, like the death of his brother or being hunted by the mob) and wasn't as homesick as Colossus (although he remembered the circus fondly, occasionally) or duty-bound as Cyclops.

Who was the X-Man that was going to stay up late watching old movies? Who was the one that went out with his girlfriend, who wasn't a mutant, on a regular basis? Who was the least brooding on the entire team? Nightcrawler wasn't the take-nothing-seriously, joker-type, but got in a good line here and there. He wasn't the alpha-male team leader, but could do it in a pinch. He wasn't the biggest, baddest, best-there-is-at-what-he-does, but he was a utility player.

But, my favorite thing about Nightcrawler is a variation of something I saw in an X-Files episode, "Quagmire." Scully compares Mulder to Ahab, and his insane quest; but Mulder seemingly denies it:

MULDER: You know, it's interesting you should say that, because I've always wanted a peg leg. It's a boyhood thing I never grew out of. I'm not being flippant, I've given this a lot of thought. I mean, if you have a peg leg or hooks for hands then maybe it's enough to simply keep on living. You know, bravely facing life with your disability. But without these things you're actually meant to make something of your life, achieve something, earn a raise, wear a necktie. So if anything, I'm actually the antithesis of Ahab, because if I did have a peg leg, I'd quite possibly be more happy and more content not to be chasing after these creatures of the unknown.

If you had blue fur, and a tail, and pointy ears and funny hands and feet; you would doubtless freak a lot of people out, even in the confines of the Marvel Universe. And while Kurt tries to be as normal and live as normally as he can, he is never going to be normal: a lot of doors are closed for him, but then again, a lot of those doors are pretty crappy ones, especially compared to the ones that were opened. Kurt might get the hassle going to the grocery store or wherever, but on the other hand, he's never going to have to get a crappy job at said store either. He can do his thing, and anyone who gives him grief is doubtless a anti-mutant racist, and racists are never the good guys, so he'd be in the right fighting them. I'm not sure if I'm making it clear, but it was an idea that appealed to me a great deal as a kid, and probably still does now, to be honest.

Anyway. Nightcrawler strips will probably return here, eventually, after a fashion. I have an idea, and want to see where it goes. If it goes...


grifter said...


"do i smell like that?"

SallyP said...

Ted, I share your disbelief.

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