During a recent discussion of the most recent Retro Review, I mentioned that it was a GOOD book, something that doesn’t always occur with the Retro Review process.  She pointed out that I’m the idiot in charge of picking the damn things, to which I responded, “Who’s scruffy-looking?”  Still, the charge is a valid one, and I tried to explain to her that, sometimes, there is as much enjoyment in a completely ludicrous comic book as there is in a really good one.  As with the movies of Ed Wood, there comes a point where the quality isn’t even an issue anymore, the point where a work becomes so bad, it’s almost good.  Indeed, many of my favorite characters and comics are just to the right of the line between “fine art” and “dumb joke”, and even some of the greatest characters of our shared history are just a little bit goofy around the edges.  (See, they’re ninjas, but they’re also reptiles, right?  They fight with archaic weapons and they love pizza!)   Ask someone Stephen’s or my age about the works of Sid & Marty Krofft sometime, or consider how ridiculous/transcendentally awesome the concept of the Silver Surfer really is…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) has three words for ya: The.  Powerpuff. Girls.
If that doesn’t prove the point, nothin’ will, asking:  What characters best epitomize the point where “ridiculous” and “awesome” intersect?

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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  1. December 31, 2012 at 12:29 pm — Reply

    Off the top of my head, I’m going to have to go with Squirrel Girl. Because the concept is so dumb, the name is idiotic, and yet the character is so damn enjoyable. She’s Luke Cage and Jessica Jones’ nanny, yet she’s also single-handedly defeated Wolverine, Dr. Doom, and Thanos, among others.

  2. joe
    December 31, 2012 at 1:08 pm — Reply

    I think it has to be Beta Ray Bill. It’s weird to write that because half my brain screams “No! Beta Ray Bill is pure awesome!!!! Not silly! NO.”

    But he IS an orange horse alien who assumes the powers, abilities and manner of dress of the Swedish god of weather.

    Madman is another guy that comes to mind. He makes whiz-bang yo yos philosophical. I’ve also always had a soft spot for Mr. Tawky Tawny.

  3. December 31, 2012 at 1:51 pm — Reply

    Dex-Starr, the Red Lantern who is nothing more than a black cat from Earth who happened to be angry enough to get a ring. Not an alien cat, not an anthro cat, just a black house cat from Earth with a power ring (and can now spit acid blood).

    To be honest, a number of Lanterns fit the bill in some way. Rot Lop Fan (who has no concept of color or light so he believes he is not a GL but a member of the F-Sharp Bell Corps), G’nort (the insane dog man), Ch’p (in some incarnations a cartoony anthro squirrel from an alternate timeline of anthro animals), etc. They all sound like they shouldn’t work in the same setting as Batman and Superman, but they do (at least they do for many of us that like the characters).

    Plastic Man is the same, someone who seems so silly and crazy and shouldn’t be in the same setting as the JLA, yet it works for him.

    Also, Tribbles from Star Trek, Lepi from Star Wars and pretty much any non-human alien from Farscape. All are so ridiculous yet awesome.

  4. Dave
    December 31, 2012 at 2:19 pm — Reply

    Justice League International. The perfect combination of awesome and ridiculous.

  5. Robert Hulshof-Schmidt
    December 31, 2012 at 2:28 pm — Reply

    I approach blasphemy here, but a solid handful of the early (pre-Shooter) Legionnaires: Bouncing Boy, Triplicate Girl, Matter Eater Lad, even Dream Girl in terms of overall usefulness. The it-matters-’cause-we-work-together theme and the AWESOME personality upgrade of Nura made it work better in later years, but early on…

  6. December 31, 2012 at 2:52 pm — Reply

    No question: Finn and Jake and the characters from “Adventure Time”. Completely random and silly but sometimes as funny as an episode of “Squidbillies”.

  7. B.V.K.
    December 31, 2012 at 4:47 pm — Reply

    About 80% of the characters in the WWE. Especially the ones in the late 80’s-Early 90’s. Lest we forget people like Doink the Clown, Tatanka, I.R.S., the Repo Man, the Goobledygooker (I think I spelled that right) and about a hundred other rediculous concepts that were fun to watch beat the crap out of each other.

    • December 31, 2012 at 7:32 pm — Reply

      Doink in his original heel persona? WRESTLING GOLD.

      Sadly, they turned him face and ruined it all…

    • January 1, 2013 at 1:47 pm — Reply

      You mean back when wrestling was actually fun to watch, when they tried to give the wrestlers unique and outlandish personalities, rather than every guy just being a generic ‘roid freak?

      • January 1, 2013 at 3:51 pm — Reply

        Let’s be fair… Some of them are little guys who get jobbed out regularly.

  8. January 1, 2013 at 12:04 am — Reply

    This entire thread is pointless without mentioning The Stalk from Saga

    • January 1, 2013 at 12:40 am — Reply

      Pointless? Stalk?

      I see what you did there…

      • January 1, 2013 at 4:05 am — Reply

        Sigh… Kinda walked right into that one :(

  9. January 1, 2013 at 6:14 pm — Reply

    I like the Wonder Twins. I don’t know if they ever got a serious treatment in comics but they fit.the topic here. They are/were ridiculous, but if you look at the overall concept of aliens with limited shapeshifting abilities, it could work. I would read that boo anyway, if the right team was attached.

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