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365 Reasons to Love Comics #283

Our Dread Lord and Master Brian Cronin deigned to fill in on this lowly column for a week and some change, and I shall be forever thankful for it. He’ll be thankful too, because he won the bet that I wouldn’t make it a whole year. Well, I had a good run. Your hookers are on their way, Brian!

Anyway, now that I’m off my deathbed and I don’t sound like Kathleen Turner anymore, it’s time to get back to the column. Brian talked to you about brilliant artists and marvelous intellectual publishers. It must be time to get back to wacky crap no one cares about! Hurray!

Now: let’s bring on the bad guys! (And bring on the archive link!) Today’s featured villain (and send in nominations for your favorite baddies– I’m all ears, like some horrifying patchwork auditory monster) has got a good head on his shoulders. Wait. No, he doesn’t.

10/10/07

283. Arnim Zola

Zola 2.jpg

Dr. Zola has a lot of criteria going for him, in terms of his success as a villain. Is he a Nazi? Check! Nazis make great villains because everyone hates them. Is he weird looking? Check! His face is in his torso and he’s got a little security camera (read: “psychotronic device”) where his head should be. The man probably invented ModBlog (you really don’t want me to link you to it). Actually, the torso-face is a hologram or somesuch, but, still– it’s weird. What else? Oh, right– He was created by Jack Kirby, back during the King’s spectacularly mad 70s run on Captain America. That’s, like, another half a dozen checks just for imagination’s sake.

The world’s first geneticist, beating even the High Evolutionary to the profession, Arnim Zola became a master of human cloning. He cloned Hitler, even, turning der fuehrer into the original Hate-Monger. He’s also noted for creating the montrosity known as… er… Doughboy. Hey, even crazed headless Nazi scientists have their off days. Zola also caused the creation of super-powered beings like Vermin, into whom J.M. DeMatteis breathed life, and Jolt, who ended up joining the Thunderbolts.

Zola 1.jpg

Arnim is constantly teaming up with the Red Skull, probably because it pays well. He’s saved the Red Skull from certain death before, transferring his mind into a cloned body of Captain America himself. That one eventually got killed off, too, but it’s the thought that counts.

So how does Arnim Zola find himself as a Reason to Love Comics? Well, he’s a crazy mad scientist with a face for a torso that dresses in a ridiculous get-up and goes around cloning Hitler. That, my friends, screams “comics!” and pounds its chest like a giant ape would. In the end, that’s all comics need to succeed– relentless imagination, bizarre characters, and Nazis with their heads in the wrong spot. As far as mad science and body horror goes, you really can’t beat ol’ Arnim.

Zola 3.jpg

Okay, the post itself is barely longer than the lead-in, but that’s all I’ve got for today. For more on Arnim Zola, hit up the Marvel Directory and Marvel.com’s own on-site Wiki.

12 Comments

Tom Fitzpatrick

October 10, 2007 at 5:14 pm

I sure as hell hope that you didn’t LOOK like Kathleen Turner, otherwise you’d might as well be dead!!! ;-)

Someone Passing By

October 10, 2007 at 5:25 pm

Anyone who keeps clones Aunt May and Uncle Ben around’s gotta be weird.

Zola always gets second banana to MODOK in the ‘crazy looking villain’ department, but I’m glad to see him get his due.

You’ll get no argument from me. I once purchased a page of original artwork because it featured Arnim Zola. And he’s fighting Shamrock, no less!

The only thing that can make Arnim Zola more fun? Having him fight MODOK!

http://www.comicartfans.com/GalleryPiece.asp?Piece=45688&GSub=6236

Wow, great link, sue.

How about MODOK and Arnim Zola Vs. Quasimodo and the Kree Supreme Intelligence?
Kirby sez: Heads, we win.

sure, but has there ever been a female version of Zola?

SanctumSanctorumComix

October 11, 2007 at 5:40 am

ZOLA is my favorite bit of Kirby-inspired madness.

He was the sole reason for my reading Captain America comics waaaaay back in the day.

It’s good to see him in recent issues as well, but I prefer the orange & purple lunatic-suit to the black leather jacket he sports today.

I mean, you got your FACE in your chest & a web-cam for a head!
WHY bother trying to “blend in”.

Flaunt it, baby!
Let your freak-flag fly!

~P~
P-TOR

Hey Bill,

If you like freaky Nazi stuff, check out the current Shanna the She-Devil mini-series. She’s not very well drawn, but the enemies are great: Leftover Nazis from a secret WWII base that have devolved into cavemen and have a fighting arena. Seriously… Nazi cavemen watching gladiator fights in an underground roman coleseum. Great comics craziness. When I first saw it, I immediately thought of you.

I always loved Zola’s chest-mounted TV-face. The psychology behind it seems so twisted:

ME: Hey, Arnim, why do you have an image of your face, pre-decapitation, displayed on your chest?

ZOLA: It aids me when I must interact with all you schwein mit heads on your shoulders, you fool!

ME: So the purpose is to make people more comfortable when they’re talking to you? Because, let’s face it, you’re a Nazi mad scientist with a box for a head who goes around cloning fascist supervillains. Trying for social niceties is probably a lost cause, don’t you think?

Welcome back Bill. Zola always gets a chuckle out of me just for how ridiculous he looks.

A couple of my favourite baddies would include Doctor Doom (how have you not done him yet!), the Mandarin and Kang.

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