The thing about the comic industry is that it was, for decades, a fly-by-night affair.  The first comic books were, after all, just collected editions of comic strips.  And Wally Wood’s adage of “Never draw what you can swipe, never swipe what you can trace, never trace what you can photocopy, never photocopy what you can clip out and paste down” really captures much of the zeitgeist of comics history.  We wouldn’t have Batman without a conscious attempt to ape Superman, we wouldn’t have modern Marvel without Stan, Jack, Steve and all the rest seeing what was working at other companies and in other media.  To be certain, there’s more to the Silver Surfer than the success of Frankie Valli and Moondoggie, but the wild, weird, inventive, agglomerative monster that is the history of comics is a beastie of marginalization, bowdlerization, duplication, short-cuts and, most of all, love of long-outmoded craft, leading to today’s philosophical query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) defies you to find anyone who better emblemizes the comic ethos than Fletcher Hanks’ legendary Stardust, The Super-Wizard, asking: What character in the century-plus history of comics and comic book is, to your mind, The PERFECT Comic Character?

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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.

4 Comments

  1. Obviously it’s Ziggy.

    But seriously, as generic and predictable as it is, it’s hard not to say Spider Man. You could drop Peter into almost every single situation or genre imaginable, from crime-thriller, to intergalactic war/space opera, to supernatural horror, to a straight romantic comedy/drama with no powers or villains involved, and still work relatively well. He truly is the everyman character, with the added bonus of fantastical powers.

  2. My first thought was Groo. The Tarzan and Conan archetype is instantly recognizable and the humor encompasses all ages. I haven’t read a Groo issue that left me unsatisfied.

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