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CSBG Archive

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.

10/11/07

284. Swarm

Swarm 2.jpg

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 3.jpgSwarm 1.jpg

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.

Swarm 5.jpgSwarm 4.jpg

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 what the comics medium 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.

28 Comments

I think the lamest part of Swarm is the gloves and hood.

Huh. And to think I thought Swarm was a villain created just for the Spider-Man cartoon. He seemed pretty lame, like he was there to fill a void. All I remember is that he kept on yelling “SWARM!”

NAZI MADE OF BEES!

Awesome.

Yeah, I definitely remember him more from the cartoon than the comics. I wish somebody would put that show out on DVD. Anyway, he is a fun little villain, and I loved his brief ass kicking in Runaways…

I always thought Swarm should fight Ant Man, with extreme close-ups on the insane insect rumble.

But I have to say I think you’re stretching a bit to call the Champions an “off the wall 70s Marvel masterpiece.”
Bottom feeders of the superhero-groups, to me.
Hey, there’s polling question. Top five super-teams, any company.

Hah. Clasic. I had no idea Swarm was created that long ago. But you’re right, Bill. These crazy concepts are why we love the funny books. Only in comics.

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.

YES! Bill is back (no disrespect to Cronin, by the way)!

Seems like a Nazi made out of bees wouldn’t pass the party’s own racial purity standards. (Then again Hitler wasn’t exactly 100% Aryan either.)

Seems like a Nazi made out of bees wouldn’t pass the party’s own racial purity standards.

Yeah, well, would you want to be the goosestepper to take that up with him?

Generic Nazi: Herr Swarm, I regret to inform you that you haff been determined to be an impure, non-Aryan specimen. Therefore ve vill haff to– Ouch! Aagh! It hurts! The stinging, it hurts! Mein Gott, keep them away from me!

Anyway, I thought this entry was the bee’s knees :)

For a future villain, I’d like to see an entry on Psycho Man. I mean, the name alone makes him a classic. If a guy calls himself Psycho Man, you just know he’s not the type to take in homeless puppies and help little old ladies across the street.

Raise your hand if you think Bill Reed and Chris Sims are the same person. *Raises hand*

“I think the lamest part of Swarm is the gloves and hood. ”

Wrong. Most would agree that it’s Drone #22718. He’s a total lame-ass.

Hmm, so he’s kind of like a Borg collective unto himself?

Did anyone else ever wonder why the dozens of Marvel Nazi Super-Villains never got together to really take another shot at the ruling the world thing.

You’ve got Strucker, Baron Blood, Arnim Zola, Swarm, the Red Skull and countless others but the never sat down and said, “hey guys… you know what?” That would make for a really cool story.

At the comic store today I had Essential Spec. Spiderman vol.2 in hand saying to myself Nazi bees, Nazi bees, Nazi bees. Luckly cooler heads prevailed and I picked up Showcase Superman Family instead.

Welcome back, Bill!

I love how he thinks the ‘Los Angelinos’ are fleeing in terror on that one page. Going by their expressions, it’s more like ‘Hey, a guy going for that Guinness record! Neat! Better get out of the way now…’

Hmm, so he’s kind of like a Borg collective unto himself?

Well, yeah, except assimilation is kind of tricky…the trouble is, I suppose, that bees leave their stingers in their victims, not the other way around. Now, a collective of sentient mosquitoes, there’d be a concept in a million…Lord, somebody stop me before I hurt myself.

Wrong. Most would agree that it’s Drone #22718. He’s a total lame-ass.

I stand corrected. Is he the one who always shows up to work drunk?

No, that’s Norm.

22718, he COULD be great, but he lacks get up and go, ya know?

[…] I’ve always had a soft spot for the Vulture– he’s my favorite Spidey baddie (not counting Swarm, who, let’s face it, is everyone’s enemy). It’s probably because I have the mentality of a 90-year-old man. Many think Vultch is lame because of his old age, but c’mon! Super-villains don’t practice ageism. Even if he’s on Medicare and collecting social security and eats nothing but applesauce and kidney mush, the Vulture is still a formidable opponent to that blasted webslinging wallcrawler. I believe he’s loaded with potential, most of which remains untapped. […]

“I wish somebody would put that show out on DVD.”
Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends is the only obscure TV show I’ve ever loved enough to buy a bootleg copy of, and yes, it’s just as awesome as I remembered it. The Swarm episode was classic. Now if only someone would release it legally…
There was a Sensational Spider-Man issue with Swarm in it during the Ben Reilly era, and man, clone or no clone, that was a good comic.

Hmm, many of you have vastly different taste than I do.
I have PPSSM 36 & 37, and I would have no trouble parting with them.

Thankyou Bill for summing up what I’ve been trying to tell people for years.

Hes a Nazi.
Made of Bees.
The villain potential is simply mind boggling.

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[…] revealed some of the villains that will appear. And who’s on that list? Oh yes. It’s Swarm. Rock on! (Oh, and there’s a new lady baddie named “Swiss Miss.” We’ll see […]

Where exactly would a man made out of bees buy a purple cloaked hood and gauntlets? Or where would he ever get the idea to do put them on in the first place? I mean he’s made of bees! Why would bees want to wear a cape? The bees under the cape and gloves would be getting squished and killed.

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