The League of Regrettable Superheroes: Half Baked Heroes from Comic Book History by Jon Morris
Publisher: Quirk Books
Publication Date: 2015
The Short Version:
A fun book looking into the history of some of the more obscure (for good reason) heroes of comic books from the 1930’s on up to the 1980’s.
Why I Read It:
When my bookseller friend posted a photo of it I checked it out and just had to put my name on the waiting list at the library.
From the publisher:
You know about Batman, Superman, and Spiderman, but have you heard of Doll Man, Doctor Hormone, or Spider Queen? In The League of Regrettable Superheroes, you’ll meet one hundred of the strangest superheroes ever to see print, complete with backstories, vintage art, and colorful commentary. So prepare yourself for such not-ready-for-prime-time heroes as Bee Man (Batman, but with bees), the Clown (circus-themed crimebuster), the Eye (a giant, floating eyeball; just accept it), and many other oddballs and oddities. Drawing on the entire history of the medium, The League of Regrettable Superheroes will appeal to die-hard comics fans, casual comics readers, and anyone who enjoys peering into the stranger corners of pop culture.
This was such fun. It’s a fun book to pick up and flip through to read whatever pages catch your eye. Morris has compiled a collection of art and history about comic book heroes you’ve never heard of. Most of the entries are only a page long and don’t take long to read. Morris’s irreverent humor and comments only add to some of the already hilarious origin stories of some of these characters.
The new Blackhawks become operatives for a government peacekeeping force bearing the unlikely acronym G.E.O.R.G.E. – the Group for the Extermination of Organizations of Revenge, Greed, and Evil.
The man behind the Beast is game warden Mike Maxwell, trapped on the top of Mount Kilamanjaro when a storm disables his private twin-engine airplane (he’s one of those wealthy game wardens). He and his college buddy Rupert Zambesi Kenboya take refuge in a nearby cave. In short order Maxwell gulps down a restorative cup of water fortified by unknown minerals, develops a massive physique and tremendous strength, is set upon by a talking mutant ape (whom he quickly subdues), and is then presented by the ape with a helmet that allows Maxwell to control animals with his mind.
The lead character of Morlock 2001 may have the most ignoble origin in the history of comics. While other heroes launched their careers from fantastic alien worlds, high-tech laboratories, or your average island paradise, Morlock started life as . . . an eggplant.
Slapstick is Steve Harmon, a high school smart aleck and “difficult child” with a lifelong interest in corny humor and practical jokes. Disguising himself as a clown to avenge himself on a rival (he’s got a cream pie with this guy’s name on it), Steve is sneaking around the back alleys of a traveling carnival when he discovers an insidious, unbelievable plot. Evil Clowns from Dimension X have opened a portal between worlds and are abducting unsuspecting carnival-goers in advance of a full-fledged invasion!
One of my favorites is “Captain Science” which is now The Hubster’s official nickname.
This is just a treasure trove of nostalgia and pop-culture history. If you like oddball bits of fun, get your hands on this book.