Filing Cabinet of the Damned

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Ask a Super-Villain: MODOK

Despite his reputation as a maniacal super-genius out to conquer the world from his rocket-chair, the super-villain MODOK proved to be a charming and witty conversationalist who did his best to make me feel at ease.

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We met at a small Vietnamese restaurant in Falls Church, Virginia to discuss his career, his plans, and the superhuman community at large. I settled into a chair, he enabled the silencing mechanism on his flying chair, and we began.

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Harvey Jerkwater: Thank you for agreeing to meet with me. This is quite an honor for me, as I’ve been a fan of yours for years. I don’t know what I should call you. MODOK? Mr. MODOK? Would you prefer to go by your human name, George Tarleton?

MODOK: MODOK is fine. “Mister MODOK” is my father.

HJ: [Laughs] MODOK it is. Your name is an acronym, right?

M: Yes, it stands for “Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing.”

HJ: Intimidating.

M: I don’t much care for it, but the name has a history. It’s too late for me to drop it and ask everyone to call me “Gary” instead. [Laughs]

HJ: I suppose not. Though it could work. “Puny humans! Beware the wrath of Gary!”

M: [Laughs] Hmm. I’ll have to think about it.

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HJ: I understand you’ve been in negotiations with the Ore-Ida company. Tell us about it.

M: The Ore-Ida company toyed with the idea of hiring me as the pitchman for Tater Tots. With a little makeup, I could easily masquerade as a floating Tot.

HJ: I see. What came of that?

M: Not much, I’m sorry to report. Though I was interested in the job, I grew peevish during negotiations and accidentally slew a number of Ore-Ida employees with psionic bolts of energy. Afterwards, they wished to have little to do with me.

HJ: Pity.

M: Yes, I would have enjoyed the work. A steady paycheck and no fear of the Hulk cramming his giant green fists into my skull would have been two great improvements over my usual working conditions.

HJ: I’m sorry to hear it fell through. Now, I understand you’re a fan of electro-pop music—

M: Oh, no.

HJ: Would you tell us about your college band?

M: Depeche MODOK? Oh good lord. Do I have to? Where did you find out about that? [sighs] I dyed my hair black, sang about religion and sex, and basically made an ass of myself in dingy bars.

HJ: Hm.

M: It was a way to meet girls.

HJ: Ah.

M: Unlike my latest musical project, which is much more of an avenue for personal expression.

HJ: You’re referring to your hip-hop act M.O.D.O.K., “Mental Organizm Designed Only fo’ Krunk?”

M: Yes, that’s the one. We’re touring Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina this winter. I’ve garnered a not-inconsiderable fan base. They say I have “flow.”

HJ: You’re known in the super-villain community for your candor. Would you be willing to share your impressions of various people you’ve known?

M: Of course!

HJ: Captain America.

M: A prince of a man and less of a stick in the mud than you’d think. He’s lightened up considerably over the years. The Captain does have one weird trait—he spits when he talks. A lot. That’s not sweat you see on the faces of the Avengers; that’s the leftovers from Captain America’s pep talk.

HJ: Iron Man.

M: In his heart, a monumental nerd. He tries to cover it up with fratboy behavior and antics, but he’d blend in with the biggest geeks in AIM’s research and development wing. A Poindexter who wishes he weren’t and pretends he isn’t.

HJ: The Hulk

M: Which one? The childlike Hulk was a temperamental pain in the ass who couldn’t figure out what was going on most of the time. And he smelled terrible. The Hulk with the ability to reason was a hundred times worse. A prima donna who acted as though you should fall to your knees and cry tears of joy that he graced you with his presence. Weird as it sounds, the smarter Hulk smelled worse than the brainless one. Even I can’t figure out how that happened.

HJ: Doctor Doom.

M: Lives up to his reputation as a psychotic tyrant, as you know. Let me think…something interesting about Doom… Ah! Victor has a high-pitched voice, though he masks it with a device in his armor. Also, though he publicly appreciates the big bombastic composers like Wagner, privately he loves REO Speedwagon,.38 Special and Night Ranger.

HJ: You’re kidding.

M: No, I’m not. “Sister Christian” is his favorite song. Also, he also has a soft spot for his pet turtles. The only time Victor’s wept in the past two decades was at the death of his first turtle, Boppy.

HJ: Remarkable.

M: The world is a strange place, Mr. Jerkwater.

HJ: That it is, MODOK. Thank you for joining me and agreeing to be interviewed.

M: The pleasure was mine.

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