Prescient (Adjective): Possessing knowledge of things or events before they exist or happen; having foresight. Y’know, like Dream Girl! Welcome to Ten Things: Ten Weirdly Prescient Moments!
Whooshman-Bicarbonate Films, in conjunction with An Amateur Comics Historian and the basic geometric shapes, Presents:
TEN THINGS: TEN WEIRDLY PRESCIENT MOMENTS!
10) DONALD DUCK’S PATENT-KILLING PING-PONG BALLS
In the early 1960s, Danish inventor Karl Krøyer devised a system to raise a sunken ship which was creating a health hazard by inserting a tube into the wreckage and shooting plastic balls into the ship for buoyancy. When he attempted to patent his creation, though, the application was rejected, reputedly because a nearly identical device was used in a 1949 Donald Duck tale. Krøyer denied having ever read the story, but the existence of that “prior art” meant that his ingenious plan wasn’t original and thus wasn’t patentable under the law.
9) DAREDEVIL’S MISTAKEN IDENTITY
Mark Waid’s 2013 run on ‘Daredevil’ was a game-changer in a number of ways, not the least of which was the wonderful unmasked business suit look, brought to life by Chris Samnee’s amazing art. (It’s the DD symbol belt buckle that makes that ensemble.) But the truly impressive Cassandra moment came in this 2013 panel, wherein a bystander calls DD “Red Batman.” Just a couple of years later, Ben Affleck (who was at the time the most successful live-action Daredevil, for whatever that’s worth) transitioned into the role of Batman, leading to several million people thinking that they were the clever one who came up with “Batfleck.” Was it a coincidence… OR SOMETHING MORE???
Coincidence. Totally coincidence, but still kinda neat.
8) THE PIT BULLS’ FULL-ON 90S NONSENSE
The 1993 debut of Dark Horse Comics imprint, ‘Comics’ Greatest World’ featured some real creativity, some excellent new characters and a well-conceived shared universe.
It also featured Pit Bulls.
They’re a super-team who don’t just have animal aliases (or rather, codenames that are common dog names like Duke, Butch and Spike) but animal characteristics and… they fight… stuff? I frankly don’t know, as the concept was both silly and poorly presented (not to mention a little questionable in terms of zoology) and they disappeared off the end of the pier while Barb Wire, X and Ghost went on to be remembered fo dly. Their adventures are, however, a near-perfect preview of the goofy, senseless, aimless comic nonsense that would soon flood shops and create the Great Comics Crash of the 1990s.
7) BLUE BEETLE’S BLACK HUMOR
Ooof. This one hits a little too close to home, even with Ted back from the dead after his ignominious murder.
Better to press on…
6) GABRA IS NOT CHOCOLATE YOGURT, Y’ALL
Those who follow my Twitter feed know that I often spend my days combing the darkest corners of the innernets to find interesting new things to discuss about our favorite fictional friends. Thus, when I landed on a wiki site for 70s tokusatsu (Japanese for “special filming”, essentially live-action with special effects) and discovered the existence of 1975’s ‘Akumaizer 3’, I was immediately struck by how wild and creative the story of three rogue mutant devils fighting evil on their motorcycles was. Telling the story of Xavitan, Evil and our pal Gabra here, Akumaizer is pretty obscure.
That said, it looks like he is well enough remembered to have inspired the modern poop emoji, so that’s… something?
5) JOHNNY BLAZE’S PRE-EMPTIVE RETURN
When ‘The Supernaturals’ debuted in 1998, Danny Ketch was firmly ensconsed as the Ghost Rider of record, having been in that role for nearly ten years of spiky, flaming action. The alternate Earth where this story took place (created by Brian Pulido of Chaos! Comics in a pseudo-crossover) instead used original flame-head biker Johnny Blaze. It apparently struck a chord, with either readers or Marvel creative, as the next volume of Ghost Rider, debuting in 2001, brought Johnny back as Ghost Rider, keeping him in that role until he was supplanted by Robbie Reyes circa 2014.
4) LAW’S LACK OF BRITISH ACCENT
Transformed by a cosmic event called the Vortex into a superhuman, the man known as Law immediately set about uniting all the superhumans of his world under his own control, ruling with an iron fist and nothing resembling mercy. Though debuting in 1994, his demeanor and his unique take on human/superhuman relations is at least a half-decade ahead of its time, presaging stories like ‘The Authority’, ‘Planetary’, and most of the last 20 years of comics.
3) NICK FURY’S LIKENESS RIGHTS
When Mark Millar was tasked with recreating the Avengers in Marvel Comics’ Ultimate Universe, he and artist Bryan Hitch modeled their Nick Fury after Samuel L. Jackson, the actor known for being amazing in everything he’s ever done. (Even ‘The Spirit’, which is a dreadful botched root canal delivered in movie form.) Unbeknownst to Millar, Jackson was actually a comic fan, and saw his face in the book’s pages, leading to a call from his agents to Marvel editorial. A deal was struck by which Jackson would be offered the role if the story ever made it to film, and thus was forged the heart of the MCU, all thanks to a little forward-thinking stunt casting by Millar and Hitch.
2) DEADPOOL’S SHOCKING RESEMBLANCE
Somewhat similar to our #3 example, this 2004 panel from ‘Cable & Deadpool’ is reputedly part of the reason that Ryan Reynolds became interested in playing the character in the first place. This lead to “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”, which is best remembered for being the scene of an end-credits murder in an actually good movie, which eventually spawned two successful Deadpool outings. Still, it’s a nice reference that is a good dozen years ahead of its time, and even gets a shout-out in the actual ‘Deadpool’ film.
1) JANE FOSTER’S SECRET IDENTITY
There’s a point to argue here about whether this is actually a Cassandra moment or whether recent events are a callback to this earlier comic, but I’m gonna count it under the primary rule of Ten Things: “My list. My rules.”
In this 1978 one-shot, Jane Foster found Mjolnir and became a superhero, dubbing herself Thordis. She fought off the invasion of the Stone Men from Saturn and eventually ended up being granted godhood and married Odin himself! Twenty-five years later, Jane became the actually wielder of Mjolnir in the prime reality as well, eventually dying heroically in battle.
If you think that’s the end of her story, we probably need to familiarize you with more comic book tropes, friends.
Thanks to Faithful Spoilerite and friend of Major Spoilers Thomas Perkins for this week’s topic! Feel free to thrown our your own suggestions and follow along @MightyKingCobra for more Ten Things madness on Twitter or check out the full Twitter archive here! As with any set of like items, these aren’t meant to be hard and fast or absolutely complete, especially given that the unofficial motto of comics since 1936 has been “We totally meant to do that.” Either way, the comments section is Below for just such an emergency, but, as always: Please, no wagering!