Check out this month's favorite characters: Hellboy; Scud; Jack B. Quick; and Linda Carter, Night Nurse.
"Two-fisted Horror." I can't think of a more concise way to explain the sub-genre Mike Mignola created when he introduced Hellboy to the world at large.
Kent Bonifield, CGC Grader
This is a tough question for me to answer. Do I choose someone whose sheer willpower can create anything they can imagine? Is it four abandoned brothers mutated during childhood and raised in the shadows? What about a journalist, with his filthy assistants and his bowel disruptor gun? Maybe a robot that turns into a tyrannosaurus rex? Perhaps I’ll choose a barbarian aardvark that becomes a king and a pope? How about the arachnid with the best battle cry ever, “SPOON!”? In kindergarten, I took all the green markers to color my best friend so he could smash things better — maybe him? Should I choose a dapper villain whose legacy creates a huge political movement and a brand-new society, or instead a twisted villain who does things for laughs? What about dairy products gone bad?
So many choices — COMICS ARE AWESOME!
I am going to choose something that inspired me to create and publish my own comic after college: Scud, the Disposable Assassin.
You purchase a Disposable Assassin from a vending machine, give it a target and off it goes to complete the assassination. Scud is a Heartbreaker Series Model 1373 Assassin and like all Disposable Assassins it is programmed to self-destruct after the completion of its mission. However, Scud sees the self-destruct warning on its back in a mirror and instead of completing its mission to kill Jeff, (a female mutant with mousetrap hands, an electrical plug for a head, and mouths for knees that quotes movies) Scud severely wounds her and places her on life-support so they both live. In order to pay for Jeff’s medical bills, Scud decides to work as a mercenary. And that is the first issue. The series continues with a romance, a sidekick, outer space, zombies, dinosaurs, another dimension, rogue angels, spider-gods and stopping the apocalypse.
Scud, the Disposable Assassin is a wacky comic complete with quirky pop-culture references with a dark twisted sense of humor and unrelenting over-the-top violence. Scud is fun, dynamic, eclectic and inspired. Anything could happen, like the most diabolical villain of all time, Benjamin Franklin, riding a glider while wearing a grass skirt — or that even a robot could get its heart broken.
When I was fortunate enough to meet Stan Lee for the first time, I was able to form a coherent greeting. When I met Rob Schrab for the first time, Shawn Caffrey had to say hello for me.
Paul Litch, Primary Grader, Restoration Detection Specialist
Jack B. Quick
Alan Moore co-created several entertaining characters for the Tomorrow Stories anthology, first published in 1999 by his America’s Best Comics line. There was The Spirit-inspired Greyshirt with Rick Veitch; the satirical superhero First American with Jim Baikie; the Plastic Man-type Splash Brannigan with Hilary Barta; and, of course, Cobweb, a character Moore created with his wife Melinda Gebbie. I thoroughly enjoyed all of these characters. But, the serial I looked most forward to in this series was Jack B. Quick, the boy inventor, co-created with Kevin Nowlan.
Jack B. Quick is a 10-year-old boy genius whose many theories, inventions and experiments tend to wreak havoc throughout his small town of Queerwater Creek, Kansas. His poor parents, being at the front line during such activity, often suffer from these experiments yet support him all the same. But whether he is creating miniature universes, abducting gray aliens, traveling through time or trying to corral a fleet of hovering buttered felines, Jack’s “tinkering in God’s domain” ends with minimal side effects … usually.
Dave Couillou, Finalizer, Magazine Specialist
Linda Carter, Night Nurse
Marvel's 1972–3 incarnation of Linda Carter, Night Nurse, is what comics are all about! Tense drama and heartrending pathos abound in a bustling metropolitan hospital, a mosaic of the life and loves of a vibrant young nurse and the life and death decisions made daily by comic book medical professionals.
I used to work in the operating rooms of such a hospital in the early '70s and Night Nurse was an uncannily accurate portrayal of hospital life.
How many nurses did I know who were given an ultimatum by their ultra-rich fiancée to choose between marrying him and living the champagne lifestyle forever or pursuing a then-low-paying nursing gig, only to choose the noble profession of nursing? How many nurses did I know that would routinely risk their own life, defiantly standing between the loaded gun of murderous mob hit man and his helpless target in a hospital bed, because he was her patient? How many nurses did I know who would relentlessly ferret out criminal activity in the hospital without regard to the impact of those revelations on her own career?
Linda Carter was that plucky nurse and she was an inspiration to me.
Linda Carter was part Florence Nightingale, part Sherlock Holmes, part Captain America. When I read of an exciting event in her brief four-issue run, I tried to work that event into my own somewhat mundane hospital career. While I inexplicably managed to stay employed during my endeavors, it turned out that, sadly, I was no Linda Carter.
Eventually, neither was she. Linda was reduced to a mere cameo role in her own final issue, the story's heavy lifting performed by one of her roommates, also a dedicated nurse, in a Gothic romance set in a mysterious mansion.
When Night Nurse was canceled by Marvel, not even Linda Carter's expert care could have healed my broken heart.
Michael McFadden, EC & Charlton Specialist
Missed Part Two of this series? Click here.
Don't miss the final article in this series in December.
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