The Fifth Column:
By Dwayne McDuffie
Hi gang, anything of note happen here while I was away? Seriously, I want to thank everyone for their patience, I just took on a new assignment that necessitated a cross-country move and I shot all my schedules to hell. I especially want to thank the mysterious Digifemme, whose intelligent, serious, thoughtful and well-written guest column on black images and creators in comics continues to draw several e-mails a day. I’ll be responding to some of your mail on this topic in the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, Digifemme has responded to some of it herself. Click here to read her additional comments and feel free to post your own thoughts to the same thread.
HEY! WHAT ABOUT THE CONTEST?
I’m glad you asked. About a month ago, irritated by the lack of STATIC SHOCK action figures, I sponsored the Name The Most Obscure Character To Have Their Own Action Figure, Even Though Static, Who Is On TV Every Damned Week, Has Nothing, Not Even One Of Those Crappy PVC Figurines! contest. I also promised that "the reader who submits the winning entry (to be judged entirely by my whim) gets a fabulous prize, although I haven’t yet decided what."
Well, contest over. The truly stunning array of entries has only served to worsen my mood. I can’t believe some of the crap that has toys when my own personal crap doesn’t have any toys. But I’ll let you guys tell the tale:
Regular reader Danny "Impulse" Donovan (named after a DC character who has had several different action figures) offered “Dazzler (Marvel's disco queen from the crack house to your door); Lady Demon. (Before my time but she's a Marvel Comics Character); Spat & Grovel! (All it took was 1 issue, they were in the Trial Of Gambit story arch and BAM action figure)” apparently, at one point Marvel intended to make an action figure out of everything that held still long enough to sketch three views of.
Dan (Omegaodd) came up with a pretty good one, “J.J. Armstrong. I had this figure as a kid. He was a handless adventurer, but he had prosthetic hooks. These hooks were interchangeable with things like guns, weapons, tools, etc. I swear this figure existed. He even had a van with all sorts of gadgets. Now get this... He was based on an actual real life private detective with prosthetic hands. Now, how's that for obscure?” I disallowed Evil Knievel but I had to let this one in.
Daniel Fish was one of several readers who suggested “Bob the Goon” (from the 1989 Batman movie). But he was the only reader who modified it “into a Barry Gibb figure, though I never got round to making the rest of the Bee-Gees. Anyway, Bob the Goon was a completely pointless action figure, he only had about 2 seconds of screen time, and he didn't do anything remotely interesting.” Not satisfied with one entry, Daniel added, “I just remembered, there was that Spawn one that looked like a minotaur, he had arm pop-out action. I don't think he even appeared in the comic until a few years later. He doesn't deserve a name, I shall refer to him merely as minotaur-head.”
Daniel Smith sent me a relentless torrent of loser characters; Samurai, from Super-Friends; Max Mercury (supporting character in Impulse); Tomorrow Woman from JLA; The Six-Million Dollar Man's Legs (JUST the legs); Lt. Riker from TV's The Rookies; Lt. Barclay from Star Trek: TNG; and Patty Bouvier (Homer's sister in law).” It was looking pretty good for him until he capped off his list with “Deathlok,” the version I used to write. Ouch. No way he’s winning.
Joe Wagner offered “A.D.A.M., a superhero from the comic group called Toy Man comics. His entire series ran a grand total of one ashcan and one actual issue. He also had a fan club and a website.” I didn’t think much of the entry, but unlike the last four entrants, Joe’s name isn’t “Dan” and I figured that had to be worth something.
Brandon Cummings complains about “Saturday Night Live's Nat X? Or f***ing Goat-Boy?” I’ve never heard of either one, so they must be characters from one of the 23-odd seasons that SNL sucked.
Speaking of goats, Gary Simmons was one of several readers who mentioned the goat from Quantum and Woody.
Thomas Galloway, perhaps the only entrant who actually understood the rules, gave me this list of X-Force figures, “Killspree, Senyaka. Slayback, Comcast, and Quark. From the Marvel Chronology Project, only Senyaka and Quark are even listed, with a whopping 5 and 3 appearances respectively.” I say again, we’re on TV, every week. Nothing.
Timothy Grubbs tells us about “Baxter Stockman of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. He was only in the second issue of volume 1 of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Many people probably didn't even know that he was a real comic character..” He’s right. I did not know that.
Ray Villarosa remembers, “The MLJ Mighty Heroes, including the Fly, The Shiled, Hangman etc...They came out in the mid to later 80's and really for no reason, the books that Archie were running at the time were cancelled. Go Figure.” See I’ve got tons of cancelled books with no toys. Where’s the justice?
Rob Smith asked, “While this may not be a super-hero toy, your talk of Mego got me thinking. What about Potsy from Happy Days. I mean what the heck are you gonna do with him?”
The soon-to-be-embarrassed reader known only as Jeff, threw out a fairly obscure entry before actually winning the contest. “ I used to own an action figure of the Indian from Grizzly Adams as a young tyke. He's so obscure, I don't even remember his name!” It’s “Nakuma.” Dwayne knows everything.
But Jeff went on to win the whole ball of wax (or whatever I end up giving out as the grand prize), with his other suggestion: Jenna Jameson. “Not all that obscure to legions of perverts, but I thought it'd warm your heart to know that a porn star has an action figure while Static doesn't.”
Here’s the sad truth. Jeff was only one of eleven readers who entered Jenna Jameson … okay, that last phrase is definitely going to require a rewrite. What I was trying to say is nearly a dozen of you who wrote in knew about that doll. Whatever else you guys are doing while you read this column, stop it immediately, it’ll stunt your growth. A friend of mine who works in the porn industry cheerfully gave me more info, explaining that the Jenna Jameson doll is life-sized, anatomically correct “and has “kung-fu grip,” if you know what I mean.”
You people disgust me. See you next week.
DWAYNE PLUGS JOHN ROZUM
John Rozum, once the deeply-weird scribe of Milestone’s XOMBI and Topps X-FILES comics has returned to the field with a new mini-series from DC/Vertigo called MIDNIGHT, MASS., already on sale in your local comics shop. It’s some of John’s best stuff ever, which is as high a compliment as I can imagine. Go buy it now.
DWAYNE PLUGS HIMSELF
"Jimmy," my last new script for STATIC SHOCK'S second season, premieres Saturday, April 13 at 8:30 AM Eastern Standard Time on the Kids WB. This is a pretty intense episode, so you may wish to screen it yourself before showing it to the little ones.
According to Static Shock’s Len Uhley, "Jimmy is one of the "issue" episodes we did in the second season, dealing with violence on school campuses. I dare not give away the huge surprise in this show, but suffice it so say that what transpires is about as dramatic as things get in Saturday Morning television." For more info, visit ToonZone.
An anthology called PANEL ONE: COMIC BOOK SCRIPTS BY TOP WRITERS is now on sale. It includes work by Neil Gaiman, Kurt Busiek, Kevin Smith, Marv Wolfman, Trina Robbins, Greg Rucka, Nat Gertler, Jeff Smith and, unaccountably, me. My full script for “Deus Ex Machina,” an issue of Marvel Comics’ DEATHLOK that I wrote as a young child, is right in there with the good stuff.