Top 10 Marvel Characters That Would Make Horrible Halloween Costumes.

Oct-30-08

I was getting my youngest son ready for his Halloween Parade at preschool this morning and I started thinking about costumes. One of these days, I’ll have to dig out the Polaroid of my younger self dressed as Captain America with my sweet cardboard shield. Not that that has anything to do with anything.

Anyway, I was thinking that some costumes look great and are instantly recognizable to the common folk. And some? Not so much. The cool ones are easy to applaud, so what’s the fun in talking about them? I’m sure when we have the kids out trick-or-treating tonight, that we’re bound to run into endless iterations of Iron Man, Batman, Spider-Man and Hulk. There’ll be a few Jokers mixed into the crowd and maybe, just maybe, someone will have the resources and chutzpah to pull off an excellent Hellboy costume.

However, I’m not holding my breath for any of these:

10. Radioactive Man: Hmm…a husky, glowing Chinese man in a dress. Sure, I’ve been to some crazy nightclubs in my life and done some things I’m not proud of, but that image is just creepy.

9. Sub-Mariner: It doesn’t take much to slap together a costume consisting of a green Speedo, Spock ears and pillow feathers super-glued to your ankles. That said, it definitely takes a lot to pull the look off…like a body that anyone would want to see in a Speedo.

8. Ka-Zar: I guess I have some sort of subliminal problem with half-naked fanboys, because the idea of a stinky hippie in a loincloth reminds me more of Burning Man than Halloween. The only treat this costume would get at my house would be a bar of soap to scrub off the stench of Patchouli.

7. Razorback: My high school’s janitor may have looked kind of weird slopping up vomit in his green jumpsuit and rubber gloves, but adding a pig carcass and CB lingo to the ensemble is NOT an improvement.

6. Starfox: The costume itself wouldn’t be a difficult thing to produce, but it takes a certain kind of schmuck to believe he can waltz into a bar dressed like that and try to pick up a woman with his “empathy” powers. I predict many drinks thrown in his face.

5. Vulture: Not only do I never need to see a bald old guy in some skintight green jammies, but those big wings would be a logistical nightmare in a party setting. He’d be constantly knocking over drinks and getting stuck in doorways.

4. Madrox: Unless you’re one of a set of quintuplets, there’s absolutely no pulling off this “mutant in jeans and t-shirt” concept. But imagine how freaky that would be if you were!

3. MODOK: I’m not sure if this would be the stupidest costume or the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen. Granted, there would need to be some major “suspension of disbelief” to pull off the hovering bit. It would be pretty hilarious to see MODOK trying to bob for apples with his giant noggin and tiny T-Rex limbs.

2. Professor X: Ooooh. Bald guy in a wheelchair. Original.

1. Ghost Rider: Flaming skull? If you’re gonna go for realism, this one is probably not a good idea. Plus, the motorcycle makes it kind of awkward to mingle.


One-Shot: Ka-Zar

Jun-05-08

He’s been called “the Great” and “the Savage,” but I prefer to call him “the blond Tarzan set against a Land of the Lost backdrop.” Who is Ka-Zar? Or, more importantly, why is Ka-Zar?

Our blog is ever-developing. That’s why we’re going to shake things up yet again. John and I are going to occasionally do a little exercise I like to call “One-Shot.” One of us offers up a character and the other gives a quick revamp of what he would do with that character. No back and forth. No debate. Just quick glimpses into the characters and our limited creative powers. So, let’s get it started. John? What can you do with this guy?…

Ka-Zar the...uh...

Wait! What? No back and forth?! But I like the back and forth. Did I miss a memo? Man, my secretary is so getting a mark in her permanent record for not informing me of this. Oh, and Ka-Zar? The truth comes out…you actually hate me. Ka-Zar, for the love of Galactus! Well, let’s get this train moving…

Sadly, I couldn’t agree more that Ka-Zar is a complete and total knock-off of Tarzan. However, I think there are a few rules that must be followed in regards to Ka-Zar. First, leave him in the Savage Land. On occassion, someone will get the idea that they can do good stories about Ka-Zar in other locales, normally New York City. Now, when Ka-Zar was first introduced, in X-Men #10, way back in 1963-ish, he was a barely cognizant barbarian, speaking in some horrible broken English and totally uncivilzed (I kept waiting for him to knock Jean Grey over the head with his club and drag her back to his cave). If this were the Ka-Zar that we had in the Marvel Universe today, then he might actually be interesting when he’s not in the Savage Land. Sadly, Marvel realized that he could be even more like Tarzan if they made him a long lost English Lord, so they quickly civilized him. Now, when he’s in New York City, things are fine. He speaks better than most New Yorkers, he understands the modern world, and instead of an interesting fish out of water tale, we’ve simply taken one of the few things that make Ka-Zar unique and tossed it away. So, he stays in the Savage Land.

One note about the Savage Land as well, before I go too much farther. The Savage Land is a jungle, much like Tarzan inhabited, but it’s a jungle with dinosaurs and mutants running around. It’s important, I think, to make the Savage Land as much a character in a Ka-Zar series as Ka-Zar himself. This is a place which contains all the dangers of the jungle, with the added fun of long extinct plants and animals, and the possibility of crazed mutants or long extinct gods popping by when they get bored. There is a lot of shiznet that goes down in the Savage Land, and a lot of powerful people (The Petrified Man, Belasco, the High Evolutionary and Terminus to name four) end up in the Savage Land during their plotting and planning of nefarious deeds. This is a weird-ass place, and you never know what might happen. Nothing is too outlandish, and that’s important.

Second point: Ka-Zar has a family. His wife, of course, is the ever amazing Shanna the She-Devil, and they have a kid as well. Shanna is just as much the adventurer as her husband is, yet they have a young child to take care of. How does that work? Does Shanna resent Ka-Zar if he runs off and leaves her with the baby? Are those feelings reversed if she does the same to him? How have they worked out who watches the baby and when? Or do they grab one of the indigenous tribes that live around them and have one of their number watch their offspring?

With that out of the way, I think we look at Ka-Zar as the McGyver of the jungle. He knows enough about technology that he can use it if confronted with it, but not enough to really do anything with it. Instead, he knows the terrain of the jungle, and he knows how to love and thrive in the jungle, and he can use that to his advantage. It’s one of the reasons I think removing him from the Savage Land is such a huge mistake; his one “superpower” if you will is his ability to match wits with any creature that enters his territory and come out on top. If he’s captured and his wrists are bound, he knows the nearby plant with sharp fronds which he can use to cut himself free. If he needs to evade pusuit, he knows the secret caves and excellent hiding places. If he needs to defeat a large force of villains, he knows the best spots for ambush, the most efficient traps to set, and the jungle creatures who will ally with him.

So, for Ka-Zar, I say his series focuses on his time in the Savage Land. He’s seen as a leader and uniter of many of the tribes, so he has the role of a leader and diplomat, but the heart of a warrior. He has to be a loving father and husband, but he also likes to go out and bust heads. He’s constantly fighting opponents who are vastly superior to him in terms of power, and he has to beat them on his wits alone. It’s jungle action, but with dinosaurs and mutants. Ka-Zar must deal with everything from simple hunting issues (perhaps making sure that a tribe has enough food when a strange disease destroys their food stores) to stopping intergalactic madmen (he did once fight Thanos). He also has to protect the Savage Land from businesses and corporations who would like nothing better than to strip mine it for it’s natural resources.

That’s the Ka-Zar comic I see. A little disjointed. Are you sure you don’t want to comment on this? I think it could be interesting.

There’s no way I’m offering any help to a dude in a loincloth.