Axel-In-Charge: Navigating the "Civil War II" Landscape, Bringing DMC to Marvel
Here’s the next look at a beloved run (of someone) that did not make the Top 158 of the Top Comic Book Runs.
Len Kaminski and Anthony Williams’ Scare Tactics – 10 points (1 first place vote)
Scare Tactics #1-12, plus a few one-shots
Scare Tactics was a band of monsters.
And when I say band, I mean band, as in rock band!
The band featured Fang, a werewolf, on lead guitar, Scream Queen, a vampire, on lead vocals, Slither, a sort of mer-man on bass and Gross-Out, a guy transformed into a monster by a meteor, on drums.
They were not trying to be heroes, but they often got stuck helping out people, especially against monsters, because they didn’t want their kind to get a bad rap.
It was a really fun book by Len Kaminski.
They tried to sort of establish the book into the DC Universe…
In fact, DC must have liked the book, because they gave the book some real support by having a series of one-shots where the members of the band teamed up with various DC heroes…
Sales were still bad, though, so the book ended with issue #12.
I voted for Scare Tactics by Len Kaminski and Anthony Williams, as my number one favorite series of al time. It was published by DC comics during the 90’s It came out about the same time as these other new DC propeties e.g. Young Heroes in Love, Vext, Chase, Chronos. Xero et. al. As well as relaunches of other titles that were supposed to cover the scary side of the DC universe. Such as Doom Patrol, Book of Fate, and Night Force I think. Do any of these titles ring a bell?
Anyway this was a title that really got me. It was the 90’s the X Files was still on going, and I was a big fan. Scare Tactics follows the life of 4 teenage escapees from R-Complex (sorta like Area 51 but for supernatural phenomenon, a warewolf, a vampire, a reptilian guy, and a really deformed boil encrusted monster. They escaped from R-Complex with the Help of Fate’s best friend/quais sidekick, Arnold Burnsteel. They go on the lam, all the while beig escorted by Burnsteel on his winebaggo, and posing as a rock metal band!!! Thay have to resort to using their individual abilities, smarts, and overall mean disposition to stay ahead of R-Complex.
Now what makes this title special? Sure the pairing up of an assortment of different Monsters to form a hero team isn’t really that original nowadays, it was the reason though as to why I picked this title from the rack in the first place. What kept me buying though was that despite their differences, their one unifying detail was that they were all teenagers. Being a teenager myself at the time, I really sympathized with them. You kow how being a teenager is all about finding where and who you fit in with, all the while being very self conscious as to how diferent you are to everybody else. Their experience hardships not only from being on the lam, but also due to their teenage insecurities of being freaks and their status of being outcasts. (very much like the X-men but more cutiing edge, even upon rereading after a long time. Rock metal band!!! C’mon!)
This title had a wonderfull group dynamic to it. It had so many layers. Vampire girl feels nothing but contemp for all of them, but however has a slight attraction to redneck warewolf. Redneck warewolf is also attracted to Vampire chick, both however would rather die than admit it. Snake Boy likes Vampy. Vampy doesnt care about Snake Boy at all. (unrequited love, how could I not relate to this) Snake boy is slowly being overcome by his dark reptile persona. Gross monster guy is actually very inteligent, his current gross form however impedes him from communicating with his friends. They think he’s stupid. Then there was Arnold Burnsteel himself.
Arnold Burnsteel was the coolest character ever. He was like the groups Professor X. Only instead of having super powers, he was instead super paranoid. A master computer hacker as well. He would often come up with the most off the wall ideas, that would save the group. Like the one time he used Bill Gate’s uranium card to get the group new instruments. There was the ultimate quote from him. “Dont let me go back there. Claws, fangs, superstrength, It dont matter. I got Mean”
Len kaminski’s writting was wonderfull. Great dialogue and awesome storylines, though sometimes cliche, would often redeem itself with uique resolutions, and wonderful execution. Anthony Williams art was wonderfull as well.
It’s a shame it only lasted for about 12 issues.
Does anyone remember this series and liked it?
In a nice little bit of news for people who wonder if creators care about the fans liking their work, Len Kaminski replied in the thread with the following:
I can’t imagine a greater compliment. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I used to say that if TACTICS reached ONE person, I would have justified my place on Earth.
Unfortunately, DC owns the right to ST, so there’s not much I can do with it on my own. I will confess, I DO have a concept that’d be VERY near and dear to ST fans, (think JLA/SQUADRON SUPREME), if I can ever get it off the ground.
Thank YOU for posting – it’s given me new inspiration to take another crack at comics.
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