365 Reasons to Love Comics #284
I continue my look at the best villains in comics with the greatest high concept baddie of all time. Do not click through the fold if you have apiphobia. And do not click this link if you have archivophobia.
Swarm may be the best bad guy ever. I give you three reasons for this:
1. He was created by Bill Mantlo, a true comics genius.
2. He’s a Nazi made out of bees.
3. Dude, didn’t you read #2? He’s a Nazi made out of bees.
Created for the off-the-wall 70s Marvel masterpiece The Champions, Swarm was once Fritz von Meyer, a Nazi scientist and beekeeper. One day, he stumbled upon a hive of radioactive mutant bees that proceeded to eat him alive. However, through the miracle of comic book science, his consciousness was absorbed into the swarm, and he became, as stated above, a Nazi made of bees. There used to be a human skeleton, too. But mostly, he’s made of bees. Also, he has giant robot bees that help him out. Because Bill Mantlo, that’s why.
Swarm battled the Champions in his first appearance, but somewhere along the line, he became enmeshed in Spider-Man‘s rogues gallery. It was insect-on-arachnid action, but our friendly neighborhood webslinger has beaten the bee-man back again and again. Luckily, he isn’t allergic. Swarm’s popped up now and again, fighting Spidey, the Secret Defenders, or even the Runaways. Unfortunately, he gets treated like a shmoe, and that’s a shame. Sure, he can be defeated with a bug-zapper and the liberal use of insect repellant, but hey, I’d be scared as hell if I was attacked by a super-villain made of bees and didn’t have so much as a Citronella candle on me.
Swarm’s even appeared in cartoon form, on Spider-Man & His Amazing Friends, of all shows. I mean, he’s a big time super-baddie! He needs to be used a lot more. I hope he shows up in Matt Fraction’s The Order– because we all know they’re really the Champions. They deserve to test their mettle against a classic and utterly mad villain like Swarm.
I mean, I love Swarm. I have some terrifying bee-man-crush on him. The concept is brilliant, and it’s something you’re only going to find in comics. If I was writing for Marvel, I’d have Swarm show up everywhere. Wouldn’t you? He’s a Nazi made out of bees, for God’s sake! I can’t seem to stress that enough. He’ll pollinate the crap out of you!
Really, that’s all I’ve got. The concept speaks for itself. In case it doesn’t for you, I shall reiterate: Nazi + Made of bees. Radioactive mutant killer bees, remember. With giant robot bees for henchmen, just because. That, my friends, is whatÂ the comics mediumÂ is all about. Maybe you think it’s about the amazing cohesion of art and story, but no. It’s about Nazi bee-men.
Okay, I have now run that joke into the ground for all eternity. For more on Swarm, visit the links toward the top, and check out Marvel’s detailed history and profile on their website.