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CSBG Archive

365 Reasons to Love Comics #77

Well, yesterday’s was the most unpopular one ever. Man, if you guys didn’t like that one, you’ll probably hate this one. Of course, I love it, and I shall spread that love.

Today: the finale of Joe Simon Week! It’s the most bizarre stretchy superhero ever!

3/18/07

77. Jigsaw

Jigsaw 1.jpg

Jigsaw, Man of a Thousand Parts, is not the best stretchy superhero. We all know that’s Elongated Man. He is, however, the strangest. Take that, Plastic Man!

Created and edited by jazzercising Joe Simon, written by outrageous Otto Binder, and drawn by tantalizing Tony Tallarico, the co-creator of Lobo, the world’s first titular black hero, Jigsaw was a two-issue series that was part of Harvey’s superhero line back in 1966. Lt. Gary Jason, astronaut, crashlands on the moon and undergoes alien surgery that turns him into a human jigsaw with the ability to stretch because of “living tissue tape!” His girlfriend freaks out at his new and scary jumbledness, and he’s all bummed out, until Si-Krell and the other aliens scoop him back up to be their own personal superhero. They partner him with sexy human-looking Pulot, Zilla. It ain’t all bad.

Jigsaw 2.jpg

The second issue was far crazier. Jigsaw gets caught up in the interplanetary olympics and decides to hold them in New York. He wins, of course, and then there’s a space race battle, but everything works out okay. After that, Jigsaw dropped off the face of comics.

Jigsaw 3.JPG

It’s shame Joe Simon concepts haven’t gotten enough love, but then, look at the comments section of the last few days, and you’ll see why. Perhaps people don’t appreciate the bizarre. I admit, the execution on these stories isn’t the best, but they are rich with far-out ideas and situations that work in rip-roarin’, electrifyin’, and hilarious ways.

Look at Jigsaw. It’s a cool visual and a zany story that leads to a lot of fun. All of Joe Simon’s stuff was like that. From crazy living dummies to teenage presidents to rich boy adventurers to men of a thousand parts to perfect patriotic heroes to entire genres, Joe Simon has contributed fun and interesting ideas to the comics medium. It wouldn’t be as fun without Joe Simon, and I’m very saddened that all these wonderful, brilliant, silly ideas didn’t have longer lifespans and aren’t appreciated like they should be. Were it up to me, these ideas would be living on in current comics.

For a lot more on Jigsaw, check out the piece at Dial B for Blog and the profile on International Hero. They’ve got a lot more information and awesome scans.

15 Comments

These zany ideas DO still have a place in comics, all they need is focus. Prez could be great, if it was just planned more than one issue (or going by your description, even more than one panel) at a time.

I would like to see one of the planets in the DCU dedicated to all of the off-the wall and insane (yet-light hearted) ideas of yester-year. I’m sure you could use these Simon ideas, thorw in a couple of Kirby ideas (Newsboy legion) and whatever else you or Grant Morrison could dig up and just let it go.

Awesome! I’d never heard of Jigsaw before, but now I want to go find these issues. A stretchy superhero created by Simon and written by Otto Binder just has to be good. (Speaking of Binder, he should get his own week too- one of the best superhero writers ever).

I personally loved yesterday’s, not just because I know somebody named Daniel Merritt. :- )

Most of my comic-book loving fans tend to stress the Lee & Kirby partnership, but I can see now just how much Simon & Kirby both had in common– wild, crazy ideas coming from ceaselessly creative men.

It’s interesting to note that the main trend from the last several Simon entries is “comics that only lasted 1-2 issues”. While I wouldn’t say Simon’s ideas suffered from a lack of imagination, it’s pretty clear that he had trouble finding anything as commercially viable as Cap.

You could imagine this character being a toy tie-in, like a ’60’s version of Stretch Armstrong.

As for Simon and Kirby having wild, crazy ideas, all I can say is… Hotsky Trotski!

Plastic Man is the best stretchy superhero ever, bar none.

As far as innovation and humour goes, yes, Plastic Man is the best stretchy-hero. Jack Cole was a bonafide genius.

But as far as characterization and likability goes? Elongated Man, bar none.

Mr. Fantastic has always been the weakest of the FF, I think– even when he’s written correctly, which is a damn slight more passionate than he got at the end of CIVIL WAR # 7.

Haven’t read Jigsaw, but he seems pretty awesome.

I wonder where Stretch Armstrong fits into such a ranking? :- )

Even with characterization and likability I’d still give to Plastic Man. But then again, I never really liked anything John Broome wrote.

“I never really liked anything John Broome wrote.”

But– but– what about The Jordan Brothers? You _can’t_ hate the Jordan Brothers. It’s physically impossible, like hating the Kennedys.

In fact, the Jordan Brothers are just like the Kennedys; the difference is that one of the Jordans is the Green Lantern of Earth.

But, seriously: I think John Broome is a seriously under-appreciated and over-looked writer. He’s the man that gave us Gorilla Grodd, Professor Zoom, Sinestro, the Guardians of the Galaxy, the Weaponeers of Qward– an incredibly fertile imagination that helped to refine the superhero genre.

I’m not saying anything’s wrong with anyone who doesn’t care for Broome– I just personally feel that he’s seven different kinds of awesome.

And damn, do I love those Jordan Brothers stories.

The Kirbydotter

March 19, 2007 at 7:30 am

Yes it is a bit sad that John Broome is so underrated.
He was one of the best writer of the Silver Age, maybe the problem is that most of the best writers of the Golden and Silver Ages were at DC.

Gardner Fox was the more productive… Maybe too much so because the quality of his writing fluctuated a lot.

Ed Hamilton was an established SF writer from the pulps, but not necessarily the best at doing comic book work. I always though he wrote infantile stories too many times.

Otto Binder was also an established pulp writer, who also transposed his experience at Fawcett to build up Superman’s great Silver Age pantheon (Supergirl, etc) using themes he already had exploited for Captain Marvel.

Arnold Drake was the one who pushed the limits with concepts such as Deadman and Doom Patrol.

John Broome wrote good and tight stories. I can almost always spot his stories in Julius Schwartz great SF anthologies (STRANGE ADVENTURES and MYSTERY IN SPACE)

On Joe Simon’s poor Bronze Age concepts.
I don’t think it was because he failed at everything he did during this period because his concepts were too wacky or weird. Jack Kirby did pretty weird things in the Bronze Age (Omac, Kamandi, Devil Dinosaur, etc.). The Bronze Age is an era of wild, bold and crazy ideas. Most of them didn’t sell that well, but they still retain a cult following type of appeal even 30 or 40 years later. I think that Joe Simon failed because he was disconnected from his readership. Wild ideas need hard work to sell the concept or at least make them entertaining. In that regard, I think that Simon took the reader for granted and didn’t respect their intelligence. He wrote as if readers were barely out of kindergarten, at a time when most readers were in their teens and comic books were being openly read in colleges (remember that Stan Lee was being invited to lectures in the late 60’s).

Don’t go to the Kennedys with T., Tom!

This entry feels undernourished, Bill. You told us how awesome Jigsaw was, but where are the examples?

Personally, I’ve loved Joe Simon week. All of this stuff sounds like a lot of crazy fun. Also, I just read the first Ambush Bug mini this morning, so it was fun to read about the Green Team.

Hi – I actually still have a copy of the number 1 of this comic. It’s amazing to find it out there on the internet after all these years.

Interesting to see Joe Rosen’s lettering on the Issue 1 cover (he was the Harvey Comics main letterer when I started reading in the late 1960s). And the excerpt from Issue 2 is unquestionably Big Brother Sam Rosen. A trip down Memory Lane. Thanks!

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