Filing Cabinet of the Damned

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Great Moments in Comic Book History: That Ain’t Schwag

Ah, Marvel Comics of the seventies. When sense went bye-bye and comics grew pleasingly insane. All it took was a quarter to sample healthy doses of Wacky Comic Goodness. Seventies Marvel gave us Howard the Duck, the Hypno Hustler, super-villain Richard Nixon, and The Defenders.

The Defenders were a loose-knit superteam of the odder Marvel heroes. In the beginning, their core consisted of Dr. Strange, the Hulk, and the Sub-Mariner. From the git-go, they fulfilled their unofficial slogan: “We Ain’t the Super-Friends.”* For proof, check out The Defenders #6, June 1973, A Great Moment in Comic Book History.



The story begins with an assault on Dr. Strange’s Greenwich Village mansion by a minor mystic, the boringly-named Cyrus Black. Strange and the Defenders wallop Black and his minions in record time. Black himself barely escapes.

Cyrus returns to his crappy apartment, hoping to recover his energies and think of a new plan to revenge himself upon Strange. He lights a brazier filled with (and I’m not making this up) “Jamaican incense” and lies down on his bed.

Yep. Incense. Yep.

After falling asleep, Cyrus finds himself attacked by his pet rat Nebuchanezzar, who had grown to enormous size. Aiiiee! Just as Big Rat Nebbie chows down upon his former master, Cyrus realizes it must be a dream and wakes up.

And there, in his room...is a giant freakin’ rat. The rat soon shrinks back to normal size, and Cyrus gets an idea. The incense fumes...hmmm...

Soon the Defenders find themselves under assault by a series of mythological monsters. They defeat the monsters, only to be confronted by a huge muscled version of Cyrus Black. Big Daddy Cyrus is now too much for them. He slaps the Defenders around, cackling all the while.**

The Sub-Mariner saves the day when he figures out that the Big Daddy version of Cyrus must be a fake. He convinces Cyrus that this is true, whereupon the muscled magician vanishes.

Black wakes up on his cot, freaked out.

Das Ende.

That’s some powerful...um...”Jamaican incense.” Yep.

Did you know that if you read Defenders #6 with the stereo on, it synchs perfectly to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon?



Far out.

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*”Unofficial,” in this instance, means “I just made it up.”

**This is why being a villain would be fun. Heroes never get to cackle.

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