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My Favorite Mid-90s Marvel Comic Screw-Up

Okay, during the mid-90s, Marvel was cranking out a whole lot of books, so there were a few issues that sort of fell through the cracks. Particularly when they tried out a line of 99 cent tie-in books to the Avengers and the Fantastic Four, titled Avengers Unplugged and Fantastic Four Unplugged, respectively.

In Avengers Unplugged #2, there is probably one of my favorite screw-ups of all time.

Enjoy!

In this issue, the Avengers fight Graviton.

Now, the screw-up is not the ugly costume penciler MC Wyman and inker Sandu Florea came up with for Graviton (Florea ended up having to pencil some of the issue – always a good sign when you need emergency penciling in the comic).

The screw-up is not this amazingly ugly Hercules drawing…

The screw-up is not that the Avengers have this brand-new (ugly) costume for Graviton already on their files for Graviton…

The screw-up is not writer Glenn Herdling’s odd dialogue…

The screw-up is not this bizarre page where Deathcry (the least sensational character find of 1993!) APPARENTLY suddenly is screaming for help while she is trying to rescue people stranded on floating debris by Graviton’s antics…

The screw-up is not the next page, where we don’t see the “Heelp!” bit even addressed.

The screw-up is not even the fact that BOTH Herdling AND Florea’s names were spelled incorrectly, although, to be fair, that’s pretty damn bad.

No, my favorite screw-up occurs later in the issue, when Deathcry is finishing loading people on to the Avengers’ Quinjet.

It goes from a little boy asking for his pet cat to a little girl and her teddy bear – on the SAME PAGE, in ADJOINING PANELS!!!

How awesome is that?

It’s been almost fifteen years, and I still love that page so very much.

74 Comments

Yeah… those were some pretty dark days.

On the other hand, FF Unplugged managed to be a respectable effort (not great, but reasonable for $.99) more often than not (of course it was only six issues). IMO. It definitely surpassed sister-title FF Unlimited (not sure about FF Uncola) and looked pretty good relative to the “flagship” series, even.

When you look at three of the four affected titles, it’s actually possible to imagine that “let’s wash our hands of this and turn these properties over to Image” could have been pretty convincing, at the time.

Daniel Huw Bowen

April 8, 2009 at 8:12 am

That is really amusing. How the hell no one noticed that before it was published is beyond me.

M.C. Wyman is seriously one of the worst comic artists I’ve seen. I feel mean to say that… but there’s a reason Thor was unreadable for a long stretch there. Well, more than one reason, but this one was a big one.

That’s hilariously bad, though. Was this entire comic constructed in a weekend?

That’s a page of original ‘art’ that I’d be proud to own.

That is some terrible shit all around.

Skrull child. It was intentional.

Skrull child. It was intentional. The Avengers were too busy to notice.

This “Deathcry” intrigues me. I hope Bendis has a plan for her in the future.

Maybe that kid is just an idiot.

Yes, they plan on having her sit out several missions, fly back to Shi’ar space (allowing Hercules to avoid the horrible Onslaught/Heroes Reborn crossover), and eventually show up again ten years later in Annihilation, only to die horribly.

The kid is an idiot who has the power to change gender at will, that is.

What exactly was “unplugged” about the Avengers or the Fantastic Four? Did Marvel just appropriate it from MTV’s Unplugged show because it was popular at the time? What exactly was “plugged” about the Avengers and the Fantastic Four in the first place that needed to be unplugged?

By that token, if Battle for the Cowl came out 10 years ago, DC would’ve named it “Who Wants to Be a Batman?”

I imagine that they were churning out so many books at the time that no one had any time to notice. Kind of like the way Hanna-Barbarra churned out cartoons in the ’70s. There’s an episode of “Super Friends” in which several of the heroes are stranded in the past, including Batman. While the other heroes are at the Hall of Justice, trying to figure out where their comrades are, there’s a shot of BATMAN CLEARLY IN THE BACKGROUND. I always imagined some animator furiously scribbling over his desk; a colleague comes by and sees that he’s inadvertently added Batman to the scene. “Uh,” he starts, “Isn’t Batman supposed to be in…” “No time!” shouts the first animator, as he reaches for a new cell.

I blame the Lefield art style for all mistakes made by Marvel in the 90’s.

It seems this book was Unplugged from any reasonable script and art. That must be it. Was it Marvel trying to do a funny Avengers book?

“WOW! I think you got them all!”

If any of you didn’t tear up at the final panel there when the little kid gets his bear-kitty back, you clearly have no soul.

Now that Marvel is again cranking out too many books…will we see more of these?

Damn I love this blog…I love how huge her hands are for no reason when she’s grabbing that man in that panel.

Looks like Graviton was hitting the GNC pretty hard in the early ’90s, bulking up for his lame new costume.

Well if he’s going to fight Hercules, he’d better. Herc seems to be clearly juiced in his appearance.

Ho-lee…

That is one sensationally badly editted comic…

… wonder if I can find it somewhere for a laugh…

In that first panel Hercules is either 11 feet tall or Deathcry is 4 feet tall. That size differential is crazy.

MC Wyman is the only artist that made me respect Rob Liefeld’s art. After seeing his artwork I realized that drawing like Liefeld is apparently harder than it seems. Same goes for another Liefeld knock-off, Mark Pacella. Those two made me think “Wow, maybe Liefeld isn’t so bad after all.”

Man, there was some absolute crap put out in the 90s, wasn’t there? I guess there is every decade, but the 90s seemed to practically revel in it’s own filth. I know I picked up most of the Avengers Unplugged issues back in the day, because even though they sucked, they were cheap.

I nominate Fluffy the cat-bear as the honorary stuffed animal of Pet Avengers.

I think the “HEEELP! HELP ME!” is another screw-up. I think that line is supposed to come from the guy that Deathcry saves on the next page, and not on the page itself.

Anyway, that’s the only way it makes sense to me that doesn’t make my brain bleed.

And ANOTHER screw-up is my last post! I meant to write this:

“I think the “HEEELP! HELP ME!” is another screw-up. I think that line is supposed to come from the guy that Deathcry saves on the next page, and not DEATHCRY herself.”

Sheesh.

Someone needs to send this to Breevort’s blog, and see if he’ll shed any light on this (as he’s done before with comics of that time)…I thought Macchio was generally a pretty respected editor…

MC Wyman? Given his bizarre sense of perspective, it could be MC Escher.

Ah, the good ol’ days of Marvel-Style Plotting! The artist just makes shit up and the writer has to try and make it make sense.

Actually, there’s one more panel in the story, in which the father sees who Deathcry saved and says, “No, my *daughter!* DAAAAUGH – TERRRR! Whatsamatter Shoulder-Pads Lass, you don’t speak English?” The kid says, “You left my kitty in there to rescue a stupid teddy bear?” Then he kicks her on her unarmored leg.

My favorite game with these sorts of comics is to imagine how drunk you’d have to get to draw, print, and publish the book without noticing the relative errors.

This is a last-week-of-college, finals-are-over-and-I’m-getting-drafted raging kegger.

Dude, could you post more stuff like this? I know me and my friends would get a big kick out of it.

You made my day Brian. This is so funny.

How is this even possible?

Hanna Barbara?

I don’t know, Filmmation was pretty bad. That round logo at the begginning of the cartoon is what I refer to as the ‘Circle of Death’.

I wonder what Wyman made a page, being at the bottom of the comic book artists heap, it couldn’t of been much.

T – MC WYman and Mark Pacella had the opposite effect on me in regards to Liefield. Seeing how crappy their art was, and realizing they were aping Rob Liefield, is part of what made a young, stupid me finally realize that Liefield was not a very good artist.

Although I have to admit, his early Hawk and Dove stuff and that What If? he did about Wolverine I still kinda like. Early Liefield isn’t nearly as bad as his later stuff.

I demand more characters with a hyphen in the name please. Gravity-Man, Giant-Man. Should have been Death-Cry just to keep with the theme.

Seriously though, this needs to be a new weekly feature on Comics Should Be Good! A laugh riot.

i also want to know how the heck did t no one notice the screw up before the book got published. not to mention no wonder death cry did not catch on for her attitude about not wanting to dirty her hands to rescue a cat then it changes to a teddy bear. which still can not belive marvel let the screw up happend

For whomever was wondering about that horrible Avengers lineup in the Cap moment from earlier in the week: here’s where that team originated, I believe.

Can someone explain why it made sense to someone to put armor on only one leg?

By the way, what exactly did that brunette woman throw and to whom in the panel before the “Heeelp”? You’ll note she’s not actually holding anything she could use to pull anyone in. My intial guess was that the word balloons were seriously mixed up. The “Heelp” should be coming from the woman in the top panel and the rest should be coming from Deathcry off-panel. Unfortunately, while her hand in the second panel could be throwing something, again there’s nothing there she could use to pull the woman in with .

Ah, Deathcry. The best part of Annihilation: Conquest was where Captain Universe killed you.

No, Stephen, that was the Avengers team in the actual Avengers book at the time. There were no separate teams between Avengers and Unplugged.

I remember running across that batch of Avengers in the Captain America issue mentioned previously and wondering who the hell some of them were (I didn’t start reading Avengers until the Busiek/Perez run started). Still don’t know what Deathcry’s deal was.

Still don’t especially care, either.

As for the pages shown here, I kinda wonder what Ralph Macchio was doing when he was supposed to be looking over these pages before sending them to print. Shouldn’t he have had several opportunities to catch all the errors (pencils, letters, inks, colors)? Or don’t editors see the pages at all stages of production anymore?

All this in what should be one of Marvel’s flagship titles… Man, those were hard times.

I agree with the other posters that the problem with the help dialogue is the word balloons pointing to the wrong characters, but….

How the hell can you stretch out yelling the word “help” so it would be rendered as “HEEELP!”?? If you think about it, and say it, it would be more like “HELLLP!”

–Mikkke

Citizen Scribbler

April 8, 2009 at 4:23 pm

I’d like to add a vote to keeping this as a regular feature. Although you could expand it to other eras and companies. I found it highly amusing, and I thank you. I’d like to nominate Extreme Justice, which is probably worthy of an entire series of such posts on its’ own. :)

-Citizen Scribbler

Bill (Reed), a comic made in a weeekend can be great, if the old story about the creation of the Metal Men is true.

“You’re going down, Gravity-Man!”

Get it? Gravity? Down? ::imitates Johnny Carlson swinging an air-golf club::

Some other great Marvel mid 90’s screw ups include:

* Teen Tony. There was nothing redeemable about this story line.

* Forceworks. Whatever happened to that Century guy, anyhow?

“Please Wyman… don’t hurt ‘em.”

FunkyGreenJerusalem

April 8, 2009 at 5:01 pm

Seriously though, this needs to be a new weekly feature on Comics Should Be Good! A laugh riot.

No Way! That would mean there’s even more horrible shit out there than we ever imagined!

Perhaps this could be the start of a new site: [wait for it, wait for it………..]

Comics Should Be BAD.

Bu-dump!

;-]

Any one Marvel book with this many screw ups clearly deserves a NOOOOOOO! Prize. Preferably a Never Again Prize, but I won’t push my luck.

“* Teen Tony. There was nothing redeemable about this story line.”

Redeemable? No. I personally love reading me some Busiek when he’s in serious continuity-cleanup-mode, and was quite looking forward to “Look Back in Armor”.

Since that never actually happened, nothing redeemed would be accurate, though.

Duff McWhalen

April 8, 2009 at 8:07 pm

I’m always digging through Avengers back issues, and I always see that awkward cover with Crystal and Widow touching asses. If only I knew that the pages between the covers were so incredible.

Bill (Reed), a comic made in a weeekend can be great, if the old story about the creation of the Metal Men is true.

Well, yes, one can: I point to Human Torch #5 or thereabouts, in the Golden Age. The Torch vs. Namor issue? Done in about a weekend, and totally awesome. But they can’t all be winners.

Even putting aside the grade school-level inconsistencies, we still have Gravitron having stolen Doctor Doom’s look with ten times the paramilitary fetishism. No wonder he killed himself recently….you simply don’t live a look like that down.

So… why is the panel with Deathcry going “wow” posted twice? That wasn’t in the comic, was it? Did Cronin commit a screw-up of his own? (Hey, nobody’s perfect!) ; )

“Forceworks. Whatever happened to that Century guy, anyhow?”

Well given the fact he was brought to earth by the scarlet witch and fell in love with her, we could always assume he was created by her insanity…yay scarlet witch explains the errors away again.

So… why is the panel with Deathcry going “wow” posted twice?

It’s the end of the bit showing that there was no follow-up to her “heeeeelp!” from the previous page and the beginning of the next bit showing the parent telling her to go look for the daughter, so I included it for both bits.

I also have the credits up there twice, as they are on the page demonstrating Graviton’s ugly new costume and to show the misspelled names.

This is very, very bad, to the point of being funny, even in the places where it accomplishes what it intends. But it’s Comics Should Be Good, not Horrible Comics Should Be Ridiculed, so please don’t make this a regular feature.

Am I a buzzkill? I’m not trying to be!

FunkyGreenJerusalem

April 8, 2009 at 10:14 pm

I also have the credits up there twice, as they are on the page demonstrating Graviton’s ugly new costume and to show the misspelled names.

You monster!

MC Wyman had some pretty solid fill-in issues for Silver Surfer though, so he ain’t all bad.

I think this still falls under the philosophy of Comics Should be Good. As in “See, this is bad.To be good comics should not be like this.”

That’s my way of saying I’d love to see more of these posts.

Yeah, I would agree that this still falls under the general philosophy of the site.

That doesn’t mean I’ll be doing more, just saying that it falls under the general philosophy of the site. ;)

Besides, this really is my favorite screw-up, so nothing can really match it for me! :) That doesn’t mean that I don’t have plenty more stuff like this ready to go if need be. :D

OK! (it did make me laugh)

This is the reason why I stopped reading Avengers until Busiek and Perez arrived. And probably the inspiration for Bendis tearing apart the old group so harshly. The mid-90’s Avengers sucked all shades of bad.

Citizen Scribbler

April 9, 2009 at 4:36 am

I think a feature like this absolutely fits the philosophy of the site.

Comics that once were just horrible to even look at can be transformed into a source of amusement and entertainment. It makes bad comics good!

Other requests include The Blasters Special and Green Lantern: Mosaic 1

-Citizen Scribbler

No, seriously, someone explain the bit with the brunette.

Even changing the word balloons explain everything because the main panel on the page has Deathcry trying to rescue the blond guy in the white shirt. The first panel on the next page shows her actually catching the guy (from a completely different angle, btw). It’s like those two panels aren’t even on the right page. Is there some other page in this issue that has the brunette woman in it? As I see it here are the blatant mistakes on the page:

Two panels with the brunette woman are on the wrong page.
The word balloons are mixed up between both the characters and the panels
They neglected to draw in whatever was being thrown to use as a life preserver and the accompanying rope.

How is a busted piece of metal like a life preserver?

I’m with you, Carl. That whole page seems screwed up, not just some word balloons out of place. It’s like the writer was just shown individual panels, out of sequence or context, and wrote dialogue for them.

What was “Look Back in Armor” meant to be? Google turns up very very little.

Unplugged meant no editors.

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