Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Grotesk Marvel: Part 1

As promised in my last post, the blogging odyssey begins with the very first comic starring Marvel's Grotesk.

Uncanny X-Men #41, published in 1963, features Grotesk as a new adversary for the X-Men crew.

They are definitely going for the 'wild-man' look with this cover, which is strange considering Grotesk's relatively civilised back-story. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

The story begins with a giant, as-yet unnamed 'sub-human' erupting into a subway tunnel in front of a train. The drivers exclaim with excitement (spelling out their every observation and sensation, as comics characters in the 60s were wont to do).

Who should happen to be riding in that same train? Why, Beast and Iceman from the X-Men, of course!

After ditching their non-super girlfriends with an excuse about finding matches or something, the two dudes transform into their mutated alter egos and engage the antagonist in spirited discussion.

I gently draw your attention to the last panel, where the first overt discussion of grotesqueness takes place.

Here 'grotesque' is used to indicate something unpleasant to look at. The 'sub-human' adopts the description willingly, as a replacement for a lost identity.

It is odd that the spelling is changed, and 'grotesque' turns into 'Grotesk.' Especially as this distinction is speech-bubble relevant only. Both words sound the same, so this transition is presumably significant to/aimed at readers only...

Having accepted the mantle of grotesqueness, our (anti)hero makes sure everyone knows it.

And Grotesk slips away into the darkness, leaving only the echo of his "loud booming voice."

Where did he come from? Where is he going? What's with that outfit? Stay tuned to find out more.

To be continued...

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