Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Grotesk Marvel: Part 2

Picking straight up where part 1 left off... The next portion of the story features more flagrant untruths as the X-Men continue to deceive their lady friends.

More importantly, Grotesk retreats into underground tunnels to mull over his new and lost identities.

Who was Grotesk before he was grotesque? Luckily his memory comes back quickly in the form of a flashback. Cutting a short story shorter: Grotesk used to be Prince Gor-Tok of the Gor-Tokians, a civilisation living beneath the surface of the earth.

Despite their obvious architectural talents, the Gor-Tokians were prone to warring with each other. Just as it seemed Prince Gor-Tok had sorted everybody out, nuclear testing caused the caverns to explode and pretty much ruined everything. It also mutated the prince, who is the last of his group left alive.

I'm going to pause here and pick out a few interesting points.

First, the fact that Grotesk lives in underground caverns is significant. The word 'grotesque' evolved from the Italian grotta or 'grotto,' meaning cave. Grotesque is the modern version of 'grotto-esque' - from the cave. The fact that the writers chose to name a subterranean character grotesque/Grotesk suggests that they were aware of the term's etymological origins.

It is also interesting that the writers continually reinforce the sub-human nature of the grotesque character. The grotesque is not just unusual or disgusting, it is less than human. In this context, being subterranean is equated with being sub-human: below the ground, below the species. This interpretation segues with historical ideas about 'primitive' cultures, and reminds me of Leonard Cassuto's discussion of the racial grotesque. However, unlike other racial grotesques, Grotesk is consistently depicted as pale skinned. Still, many of his other attributes could be argued to resemble the stereotype of the 'wild man' or 'primitive.'

Anyways, back to the story.

Professor X is clearly up to something, but none of it makes sense until the next issue, so I'm going to ignore it for now.

Having remembered the whys and hows of his primal rage, Grotesk heads off to the nearest nuclear facility to bully some nerds and maybe steal a nuke.

Thus engaged, he is interrupted by more dweebs.

Will the puny surface-dwelling worms save the world from grotesqueness? Or will our hero prevail?

You will have to wait and see.

'The Death of Professor X' is quite a famous issue, so beware of copious spoilers in my next few posts if you were planning on reading it. Where Grotesk goes, I must follow!

To be continued... again...

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