W is for Warlock
First appearing in New Mutants 18, the being known as Warlock isn’t the first character created to use that name, the first being Adam Warlock who once went by the name Him. This alien character couldn’t be more different. Like the rest of the team, he was a mutant. His mutation wasn’t the shape changing he could do, all of the Technarch could do that. It wasn’t the techno-organic virus he used to feed, nor his ability to assimilate his friend Doug ‘Cypher’ Ramsey into himself to become a gestalt entity, because that isn’t beyond any of his people. Warlock’s mutation is compassion, the thing that makes him a freak to his own people is that he cares.
He was the bizarre guy at the end who said and did things that no other character could say and he was also the beating heart of the team on more than one occasion. His reaction to the death of Doug Ramsey was heart-breaking and came to a head in New Mutants 64, perfectly showcasing an alien’s reaction to a human passing.
For me the main draw is the visual insanity that is his appearance and he never looks the same way twice and yet is always unmistakeably Warlock.
W is for Watchmen
It’s hard to imagine a pre-Watchmen comics landscape now. The irony of the whole thing is that this deconstruction of the genre became such a pillar of it.
The story is a simple one, in 1985 on a world where super-heroes had a strong impact on the world, a former hero is killed and a vigilante detective investigates this crime and finds a conspiracy against this dead heroes team-mates as the world inches toward nuclear armageddon. Through this story we get an examination of what heroes like this are and the many flaws and problems associated with them. It increased the complexity of the genre as well as the level of violence and other more adult content. I imagine it was supposed to be the last word on the subject, but instead ushered in an era of grimgrittydark comics that produced some terrible comics.
The plans with the creators were that the rights would revert to them when the series and collected edition falls out of print. What the writer didn’t see coming was just how popular this comic was going to become and as a result, it’s never gone out of print. The artist is the only one credited when the comic was adapted into a film several years back. But it’s not unrealistic to say that a large percentage of comic readers have a copy of this trade in their collection. I am indeed one of them and 4 years ago was able to get the artist (a thoroughly nice man called Dave Gibbons) to sign it. I was able to thank him and tell him that I read it every year or so. He referred to it as “the gift that keeps on giving” and I don’t think I could say anything more than that.
W is for WTF?
Comics stories have the capacity to tell all kinds of stories and many of the characters within can be written for such a long time that inevitably most characters have had the most bizarre s**t happen to them.
Ones that stick in my head are:-
That time Storm was reborn as a space-whale.
Superman fired a tiny version of himself from his fingers.
Superman was in a porn film. ( No seriously Action comics 592)
Daredevil pretended to be his sighted twin brother Mike.
Black Canary put her memories into her daughter’s body.
Professor Charles Xavier fancying one of his students.
Mr Jupiter dosing the Teen Titans with LSD when they worked for him.
The X-Men having a demonic cairn on the grounds.
Ultimate Hulk eating the lead Chitauri
Professor X erasing everyone’s memories of the Beast, including his high school girlfriend and HIS PARENTS!!!
This is not an extensive list, nor the weirdest of it all, but you see where I am going with this. Comics have the melodrama of soaps, the violence of action films, the scale of fantasy and the bonkers worlds of sci-fi and literally anything can happen.
What are your ‘favourite’ WTF moments in comics?
W is for Widget