Axel-In-Charge: Unmasking the "Totally Awesome Hulk"
Every day this year, I will be examining the first pages of random comics. This month (for a while) I will be showing pages chosen by you, the readers. Today’s page is from Secret Origins #48, which was published by DC and is cover dated April 1990. This page was suggested by commenter The Crazed Spruce, but I couldn’t run it on the day he wanted me to. Sorry, sir! Enjoy!
The main story in Secret Origins #48 is about Ambush Bug, and while there’s very little happening on this page, we can see the sense of humor that we get from Ambush Bug stories. Giffen and Fleming often broke the fourth wall in Ambush Bug stories, and they do so even in the title of the story – it’s the most basic origin you can think of. The Bug (his name is Irwin, or maybe it’s not …?) is also speaking to the reader, and there’s a few jokes here. One, of course, is that Bug doesn’t quite get the idea of “painted” comic books. Giffen and Fleming are also poking fun at the trend of fully painted comics, which DID sell like hotcakes for a time. Giffen and Fleming did this quite often – they obviously enjoy making comics, but they also enjoy making fun of the conventions of comics and the habits of comic book consumers. This is a good example of that – they’re making a comic that mocks the very title this story appears in, after all. The reason it’s tolerable to the people with less of a sense of humor is because Giffen and Fleming mock themselves as much as they mock the conventions of comic bookery – as the “dedication” points out. They also tend to do this in the credits, too, and we see that they have a lot of fun with Julius Schwartz, DC’s “goodwill ambassador” at this time, as they always did.
Obviously, not a lot occurs on this page, but what’s here helps show very much what kind of comic book this is (even though I haven’t read the issue; I’ve read other Ambush Bug stories, and Giffen and Fleming kind of have a formula). With only a little bit to go on, readers can get a good feel for what kind of comic this is. That’s not a bad thing!
Next: You’ve heard of homages on covers, but how about a homage to a first page? Be here for it! In the meantime, spend some hours checking out the archives!
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