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Unexplored Marvel – Slapstick (1992)

slapstick.jpgWelcome to perhaps the coolest review yet in the world of Unexplored Marvel. He’s starring in the Initiative right now, taking mighty steps towards world domination…either that, or an awesome team-up with Deadpool. And as page 1 of issue 1 asks: "Who is he? How did he get his powers? What is his favorite color? Does he have a navel? Just who does he think he is? And what’s it to you anyway?" Well, to you, he’s Slapstick, and he should rule your world, baby!



OK, after our detour last week from 1971 into the world of the Eternals, we’re jumping to 1993. Well, Slapstick’s 4 issue limited series began in 1992, but it’s just so good, I can’t ignore him until my 1992 reviews come around, can I?

Co-creators Len Kaminski and James Fry III brought a brand new brand (heh) of lunacy to Marvel when Slapstick was born. In the very first two panels, we see the extinction of Planet Krypton, in basically a big FU to the Distinguished Competition. And the origin story only gets funnier. See, high school problem child…ah, I forget his name. But it’s not important, because he’s SLAPSTICK!!! So, he gets his powers by falling through an inter-dimensional funhouse mirror, and rescuing a bunch of Earthlings from a bunch of evil clowns. Pretty standard really.


And what are Slapstick’s powers? His body is basically entirely made up of unstable molecules…he’s a living, breathing Fantastic Four uniform made flesh. Slapstick can’t be hurt, really. He just kind of bounces around when he gets hit. Scratch that, he’s a walking Warner Brothers cartoon, complete with giant hammer he can produce from his gloves.

Now I’m pretty sure I got your attention with the whole "evil clowns" bit, but just in case, here’s some other fun critters that pop their heads up to take on our hero. The Overkiller – a Punisher knock off, hunting mutants because…well, because a news broadcast on mutants interrupted Wheel of Fortune. Sweeny Toddler, mad genius and inventor of a giant killer robot teddybear. And the Neutron Bum, a hobo with the power of a Million Exploding Suns (take that Sentry). Guest stars include Spider-Man, angry angry DareDevil, When-He-Was-Cool-Speedball, and perhaps the best ever cameo by Ghost Rider ever. Take a look at the right to see what I mean. 

There’s no way I can capture the awesomeness of this series with words. Suffice to say that it’s the one of the funniest Marvel books I’ve ever read. Kaminski’s scripts are tight, with plenty of gags. Current writers take note: each issue is a full story! Panel after panel of introspective dialogue doesn’t exist in the world of Slapstick. No sir, we just fly from moment to moment, and yet, we still feel for the real character. Fry’s artwork is unremarkable in the "normal" moments, but his gags with Slapstick are just gold. And you’re never in any danger of wondering what the heck is going on…everything is so easy to follow.

You could do a lot worse than picking this 4 issue series from a back issue bin. If you don’t smile at Slapstick, I hereby declare that you suck. End of lesson.


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