Comic book showcase: The creators of Thanos.

So I saw Avengers: Infinity War over the weekend.

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The only thing I will say about it is that it’s one heck of a turning point for the Marvel Cinematic Universe and an epic way to cap off this giant experiment that Marvel and Disney have been running for the past ten years.

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Other than that, I’m not saying anything else about the movie.  The internet is filled with enough spoilers as it is.

No, today I want to do something different and talk about the behind the scenes history of big bad guy of the film, the villain who has been teased for the past five years: Thanos.

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The character is pretty simple.  He’s in love with the Marvel Universe’s personification of death and he attempts to prove his love by killing off half of the universe using the Infinity Gauntlet.

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He’s one of Marvel’s most powerful bad guys and a big part of the strange and weird cosmic stories that Marvel produced in the 70’s and 80’s.

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Sadly, Marvel’s cosmic stories were never a big seller for the company when you compare them to their mega hits like Spider Man and the X-Men.  Stories about characters like Ronan the Accuser and Adam Strange weren’t very popular, even though they’ve been getting more attention nowadays with the smash success of the Guardians of the Galaxy movies.

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This is really sad since these are some of the weirdest, most bizarre, and high concept storytelling the company has ever produced, and most of this insanity was created by the other legend working at Marvel, and a long time favorite of this blog series: Jack Kirby.

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You know him, you love him, he helped create nearly every single superhero on the big screen right now, and he loved him some crazy far out aliens and space stuff.

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You can see a lot of his

design aesthetic on display in Thor: Ragnarok.

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While Marvel had Kirby to thank for some of the most fascinating and bizarre aspects of their superhero universe, he didn’t create Thanos.

Thanos was created by writer Mike Friedrich,

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and writer/artist Jim Starlin.

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Both of these artists have had long and storied careers at both Marvel and DC and came into their own in the 70’s and 80’s, reinventing what comics could do and giving us some of the greatest characters and stories today.

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Starlin in particular is the prince of the Marvel cosmic universe, and his resume is only dwarfed by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby themselves.

He helped create Thanos,

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Drax the Destroyer,

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Gamora,

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and he reinvented other heroes which will probably be making appearances in future Marvel movies like Adam Warlock,

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and Captain Marvel (who has a long and interesting story that I’m not going to talk about here, but long story short he was created in the 70’s and was reinvented as a lady in the present day).

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Yes people like Kirby, Friedrich, and Starlin were some of the most prominent and successful names in comics in the 70’s and 80’s, and were responsible for many of our childhood favorites.

And they all hated Marvel with a burning passion.

Long story short, the mega publisher decided to continue the long and sordid history of comic book publishers screwing authors and artists over.  Kirby followed in the footsteps of hundreds of his Golden Age co workers and was famously screwed out of most of the credit and royalties of his work, watching as his co creator Stan Lee would go on to become the biggest name in comics.

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Starlin in particular hates Marvel with the burning passion of a neutron star.

 

So they decided to quit Marvel and move on to greener pastures.  Kirby would move to DC Comics and create the characters of New Genesis and Apokalips, the latter being home to one of DC’s most powerful villains: Darkseid.

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Starlin and Friedrich decided to create their own comic, an anthology series known as Star Reach.

Star Reach is an interesting bit of comic book history.  It may seem like the comic book scene is dominated by Marvel and DC, and for the most part that’s true, but there has been a long running independent comic book scene that really took off in the 1970’s with the work of underground super stars like Harvey Pekar,

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Art Spiegelman,

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and Robert Crumb.

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The independent “comix” scene has its own separate and unique history and you could write books about it,  but for the sake of time and simplicity all you need to know is that it was characterized by its own unique art styles, adult themes, and subject matter that was absolutely NOT for children.

Star Reach was a comic anthology that collected short science fiction and fantasy stories and shared and helped bridge the gap between mainstream comics and the independent comix of the time.

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The first issue was published in 1974 and fans described the book as a “ground level publication”, sharing the distinction and aesthetic with a similar European publication we know today as Heavy Metal.

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Perhaps it was the lurid material, or the crossover appeal bridging the gap between mainstream comic books and the underground comix scene, or maybe it was the famous names attached to the book.  Either way, Star Reach was a hit and had a pretty solid five year run.

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Also, it helped set off a boom of independent comic books published in the late 70’s and early 80’s which helped shape the pop culture landscape we know and love today.

You know what?  I think this might be the perfect segue into a new age for this blog.  Sure, the 40’s were a fantastic time for comic books and produced some of comics’ most endearing characters and crazy stories, but the late 70’s and 80’s had some pretty insane characters and were a pretty fascinating time for the comic industry as well.

All good things must evolve, and I think now might be the time to change it up a bit.

This’ll be fun.

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Golden Age Showcase: Mister Mind and the Monster Society of Evil

So the Justice League movie came out this weekend.

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I haven’t seen it, I probably will despite the negative reviews, and I think I’ll use this opportunity to talk about super hero team ups.

The idea of superheroes teaming up to fight evil together is nothing new in comics.  The very first time it happened was in All Star Comics #3 in 1940 when the Justice Society of America was formed.

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Super hero team ups like this can happen for a couple of reasons.  In the case of the JSA above and the original Luke Cage and Iron Fist books,

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it was a successful attempt at saving the characters from poor sales numbers.  In the case of the modern day Avengers,

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It was a reward for the fans for watching the movies and making the MCU into the most successful franchise of all time.

But it’s not just superheroes that have been brought together, the bad guys get their team ups too.

While one of the most famous examples has to be DC’s Suicide Squad,

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today I want to talk about the first super villain team up in comic book history: The Monster Society of Evil.

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Origin and Career

The Monster Society of Evil was a collection of super villains that were published by Fawcett Comics: the original creators of Captain Marvel.

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Captain Marvel was an interesting hero, mostly because for a brief period of history he was actually more popular than Superman.

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But we’re not here to talk about Captain Marvel, we’re here to talk about the bad guys and the devious mastermind that brought them together.

The Monster Society of Evil made its first appearance in Captain Marvel Adventures #22 in March of 1943.

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The story was drawn by the original Captain Marvel artist C.C Beck,

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and written by one of the most prolific Captain Marvel and Superman writers of all time: Otto Binder.

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The comic starts off with the mysterious and intimidating Mister Mind intercepting a broadcast about an Indian Princess who has a set of jewels that she wishes to donate to the Allied war effort.

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For starters, props to the villain for having a moon base and second, it’s amazing how just on the nose a bad guy named “Captain Nazi” can be.

Why is Mister Mind helping someone like Captain Nazi?  Because it’s evil of course!

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It turns out that there’s more to the princess’ jewels than  meets the eye, and that Captain Nazi is very good at disguises,

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even if his henchmen are idiots.

Captain Marvel manages to track down Captain Nazi, only to find that it was all a trap set up by Mister Mind.

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While the hero is able to take the villains out one by one, both sides manage to track down a second pearl and the villains make their getaway through the power of teamwork.

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The race to retrieve the pearls would go on for several issues, with Captain Marvel taki.  Interestingly, the mastermind behind the whole operation would continue to remain hidden for two more issues until Captain Marvel finally decides to take the fight to Mister Mind’s moon base.

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It’s a pretty awesome story, with Captain Marvel fighting robots,

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and squid men.

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The Captain decides to search as his alter ego, Billy Batson.  After brushing off an insignificant little worm he’s confronted by a giant of a man who appears to be the real Mister Mind.

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Our hero manages to defeat the villain with an epic headbutt!

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But it turns out that the giant wasn’t Mister Mind at all!

Not to worry though, they reveal the true identity of Mister Mind in the next issue.  You know that worm Batson brushed off of his shoulder?  Yep…that’s the criminal mastermind!

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Oh yes, that’s certainly the face of a criminal mastermind and genius.

Despite his small stature and lack of long range vision, Mister Mind is a capable villain with the ability to hypnotize creatures and humans to do his bidding.  So naturally he teams up with Hitler.

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Mister Mind turns out to be a very slippery nemesis for Captain Marvel and the two would continue their game of cat and mouse (worm and human just doesn’t have the same ring to it) for over twenty issues and ended in Captain Marvel Adventures #46 when he’s captured, tried, and executed via electric chair…

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somehow.

And that was the end of Mister Mind in the Golden Age of Comics, one of the smallest and most devious villains in all of comic books.

So what happened?

Sure the evil worm may have been killed, but we all know that death is but a revolving door in comics so he could have made a comeback.

Unfortunately that wouldn’t happen.  Fawcett stopped making comics in 1953 and DC wound up suing Fawcett for copyright infringement in one of the longest court cases in comic book history.

In 1972 DC Comics began publishing their own Captain Marvel stories under the title of SHAZAM! due to Marvel Comics snapping up the copyright to the name.

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Mister Mind would be reborn as a DC super villain in the second issue of the series where it was revealed that he had survived the electrocution and hypnotized a taxidermist into creating a fake corpse.

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The villainous worm would reform the Society of Evil to include some of the most powerful and deadly villains in the Captain Marvel franchise.

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This would continue until DC reset its entire universe in 1986 with the Crisis on Infinite Earths event and everything was reset.

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Mister Mind would wind up returning to the DC universe in the limited event series The Power of SHAZAM!, only this time he became a tad more…intimidating.

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This version of the villain was a member of a species from Venus and almost destroyed the Earth in a nuclear holocaust.

The worm would continue to be a nemesis of the Captain Marvel series and DC heroes as a whole.  His most recent appearance was in the company’s New 52 reboot, although the Society of Evil didn’t make an appearance.

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He has yet to appear in any recent DC comics.

Mister Mind is one of the most interesting comic book villains to ever come out of the Golden Age of Comics.  He was smart, capable, and evil to the core but needed to manipulate others to do his dirty work for him.  Outside of stalwarts like Lex Luthor and the Joker, Mister Mind has one of the longest and most successful careers of any comic book super villain and I would be very interested in seeing if DC decides to do anything with him in the future.

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Golden Age Showcase: The Human Top

We’ve covered a lot of stupid on this blog post from insect controlling lawyers to bird politicians but today we’re going to talk about a hero that beats them all when in comes to sheer lunacy.  I present, the Human Top.

Origin and career

While he may not look like much, the Human Top’s career started off with a literal bang.  He first appeared in Red Raven Comics #1 in August of 1940.  His story was written by comic book writer and artist Dick Briefer.

Interestingly enough, this issue also held the first appearance of another super hero we’ve talked about on this blog: Mercury.

The Human Top was originally named Bruce Bravelle, a man who volunteered as a human guinea pig for one Dr. Davis.

The good Doctor was attempting to find a way for humans to feed off of electricity (Golden Age science was weird) and naturally the experiment went wrong when Bruce was accidentally struck by lightening.

Since this is a superhero comic, the wrath of God doesn’t kill Bruce but gives him the ability to spin up to speeds of 250 miles per hour.

What’s really interesting about this Human Top is that his powers weren’t based off of something like the Speed Force or divine intervention.  His ability to spin comes from opposing electrical currents which he can create by either crossing his wrists or by getting shocked from an outside electrical source.  While I don’t think the writer had a really keen grasp on how electricity works it is interesting to see a Golden Age hero who’s powers were based purely off of science instead of magic.

Professor Davis dubbed Bruce “The Top” and suggested that he go out and fight crime, since that’s all the motivation a super hero needed back in the 1940’s.

In his first adventure the Human Top foiled a bank robbery when it was revealed that the bank’s president, a man named Horace Vanderveer,

attempted to frame the Human Top and escape with the money.  Fortunately, the Human Top stopped the greedy bank president and the day was saved.

The hero would go on to have one more adventure in March of 1942, published in Tough Kid Squad Comics.

It is worth mentioning that the Human Top would also get a costume redesign for his second appearance.

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In his final adventure the Human Top would defeat a masked train robber named the Red Terror.

The Red Terror had a gang of armed goons, a couple of pet lions, and a rocket powered zeppelin which he used as a getaway vehicle after orchestrating a series of train wrecks.  However, the Human Top stopped him and he was sent plummeting to his death at the end of the story.

So what happened?

Bruce Bravelle would never have another comic book story.  However, he is still treated as mainstream cannon in the Marvel comic book universe and while Bruce is no more the name and idea behind the Human Top would continue.

The first reiteration of the name would be used by a super villain calling himself “The Human Top” and would appear in Tales to Astonish #50 in 1963.

He was a mutant named Darren Cross and he was an Antman villain.  He would later re name himself Whirlwind and he was successful enough to appear in other media as well, including his most recent appearance in the excellent Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes cartoon.

But the Human Top would be reborn yet again in 1978 as part of Marvel’s Kid Commandos team that was published under the Invaders title.

His name was David Mitchell and he worked with Toro, the sidekick of the Golden Age Human Torch (who was a cyborg instead of a boy) and Bucky Barnes himself.

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They fought Nazis, as almost all Golden Age superheroes fighting in World War 2 were required to do.

The Human Top is one of the more ridiculous ideas to come out of the Golden Age of comics.  The idea that spinning in circles really fast is a super power is less of a cool idea and more something to make you giggle as you imagine the hero/villain having to stop and vomit from the motion sickness.  However, while the super powers of the Human Top may seem a bit ridiculous, it is important to recognize the creative passion and drive behind heroes like these and admire them for the silly and amazing creations they are.

Silver Age Showcase: Baron Heinrich Zemo

WARNING: Mild spoilers for Captain America: Civil War.  This article doesn’t reveal any major plot points to the film, it just name drops the villain.

So this little movie just came out.

My opinion?  It’s pretty gosh darn awesome and you should totally go see it right now!

That being said if I were to be nit picky about it I would say there are two slight critiques of the film.  First, Civil War sacrifices a lot of the focus and plot that made Captain America: Winter Soldier so good in the name of world building and introducing new characters.

When you have that many characters who need a chance to have the spotlight you’re going to lose something, even if the movie is two and a half hours long.  It actually bears a striking resemblance to another very long super hero film that wasn’t as well received because it spent a lot of time setting things up for the future.

The difference is that Marvel has EARNED the right to spend so much time world building and setting up future events because it gave us twelve other films to get to know the characters so that’s not really a problem for me.

The second very small issue I had with Civil War is an issue that is more systemic to Marvel films as a whole: the villain.

The villain for this movie is a man named Helmut Zemo and here he is:

Without me getting into spoilers let me just say that Zemo is a good villain for the movie, he does his job and he sets up one of the most devastating emotional payoffs I’ve ever seen.  That being said, as a comic book villain Zemo is pretty boring, and in a cinematic universe that has only really managed to produce one great villain,

it’s unfortunately par for the course.

Don’t get me wrong, I still adore Civil War, but when the bad guy is changed to this,

from this,

then I feel the need to step in and talk about.

Today we are going to look at one of Captain America’s oldest and greatest foes and one of Marvel’s powerhouse villains: Baron Heinrich Zemo.

Origin and Career:

Within the Marvel Comics Universe, Baron Zemo was an old enemy of Captain America and made his first appearance as a flashback in The Avengers #4 in 1964.

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The issue was written and drawn by the legendary creator team of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and was the issue where Captain America was thawed out of his ice nap and decides to join the Avengers, it’s a pretty important issue in comic book history.

Baron Heinrich Zemo was one of Nazi Germany’s greatest and most dangerous scientists.  It should be noted that while he knew Captain America’s other enemy the Red Skull, they didn’t get along very well and they were more allies of convenience against Captain America.

Baron Zemo was the twelfth person to carry that name.  He was brilliant scientist,

an expert combatant,

and a sadistic bastard who was so evil he was hated by everyone, even his fellow Germans.

During his first appearance it was revealed that he was actually the one who sabotaged the plane that would throw Captain America into the sea and place him into a state of suspended animation and apparently kill his sidekick Bucky Barnes.

When I said Zemo is an important part of Captain America’s history I meant it.

Now you’re probably wondering about the mask.  Well, there’s a pretty cool backstory behind it.

Back in WW2 Zemo decided to wear a purple face mask in order hide his identity.  It turns out that testing weapons on your own people insures you aren’t going to make a whole lot of friends.

Unfortunately for Zemo he was doused in one of his experiments, a super strong glue known as Adhesive X, by an errant throw from Captain America which permanently bonded his mask to his face.

Zemo would spend his post war years doing what a lot of real Nazis did after the war, hiding out in South America.  Zemo continued his super villain ways, at one point he attempted to spread Adhesive X over the island of Manhattan but was stopped, when he learned of Captain America’s revival.

Naturally Zemo was a bit upset and he attempted to lure the Captain into a trap to defeat him once and for all.  Unfortunately, Captain America was too good for him and Zemo was killed in a rock slide.

So what happened?

Heinrich had a son, a gifted and brilliant boy named Helmut Zemo, who would take his father’s place and become one of the most dangerous and well known villains in the entire Marvel cannon.

Like his father Helmut was a scientific genius and was soon capable of duplicating many of his father’s inventions and schemes.

Helmut idolized his father despite a shady and abusive past.  When Captain America tried to convince Helmut that his father was evil Helmut didn’t take it very well.

Also like his father, Helmut would fall victim to Adhesive X.  In 1973’s Captain America #168 Helmut disguised himself as a villain named the Phoenix, kidnapped Captain America, and attempted to drown him in a vat of the chemical.

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Fortunately Cap was rescued by the Falcon and Zemo fell into the boiling vat and was presumed dead.  However, Zemo survived and while he was able to find a solvent that could dissolve Adhesive X he was permanently scarred.

I could go on to list the many schemes and accomplishments of Baron Zemo but there simply isn’t enough time.

Baron Helmut Zemo and his father were, and still are, two of the most dangerous super villains in the entire Marvel Universe.  Cunning, brilliant, and sadistic, the Zemo name is one that gives Captain America and the heroes of Marvel nightmares and while Zemoe is the most memorable villain in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he deserves a place as one of the most capable and tortured villains to face the Avengers.

Golden Age Showcase: The Red Skull

So I’ve been doing this blog series on Golden Age superheroes for a while now and you know who hasn’t been getting enough attention?  The villains.

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Now in my defense a lot of the bad guys in the early days of comic books weren’t the super powered titans of terror that we all know and love today.  Instead of dealing with memorable psychopathic madmen who can level an entire city or have a cool costume most of the early comic book heroes dealt with your average corrupt politician or gangster.

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Also, since the Golden Age of Comics took place during WW2 there were Nazis, and since a lot of the people creating these comic books at the time were Jewish there were a lot of heroes to kicked a lot of Nazi butt.

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So since kicking the Third Reich into next week figured so heavily into the early history of comic books I’d thought it would be best to kick off our journey of discovery into the Golden Age villains by taking a look at Marvel’s first super villain and the most iconic comic book Nazi, the one who has been the greatest threat to the Marvel heroes since the 1940’s, the one who even Hitler thought was too evil and vile: The Red Skull.

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Origin and career:

Fun story about the creation of the character.  The Red Skull was created by comic book legends, and the co creators of Captain America: France Herron, Jack Kirby, and Joe Simon.

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 The story goes that the inspiration for the Red Skull came when Joe Simon was eating a hot fudge sundae and thought the melting sundae looked like a skull.

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Simon had the brilliant idea to name his new Nazi super villain…Hot Fudge.  Thankfully he decided that the cherry on top of the sundae looked more intimidating and changed the name of the villain to Red Skull.

Anyway, back to the actual character.  The original Red Skull appeared in the first issue of Timely Comic’s Captain America #1 in March 1941.

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The villain’s actual name was George Maxon, an industrialist who owned the Maxon Aircraft Company and sold airplanes to the U.S military.

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Despite the wealth and success that came with the American government contracts Maxon decided to turn traitor and join the Nazi party.  Hitler personally charged Maxon with undermining the American war effort and promised him control over all American industry if the Nazis won the war.  In order to do this Maxon donned the now famous mask and took on the identity of the Red Skull.

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He also had a hypodermic needle filled with a fast acting poison which he billed as his “touch of death” and used to kill several high ranking members of the American military.

After a string of assassinations and mysterious acts of sabotage the Red Skull would eventually gain the attention of Captain America and his sidekick Bucky.

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However, during their fight Maxon would accidentally roll onto one of his poison needles and was seemingly killed.  Since this is a comic book and death is but a revolving door Maxon would return to enact a terrible revenge on Captain America by attacking New York with a giant drill.  He even managed to capture Cap and Bucky and proceeded to hang them.

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Fortunately for the American war effort you can clearly see in the picture that the actual heroes are not dead.  Instead the Red Skull had kidnapped two impostors and mistakenly thought they were the real Captain America and Bucky (spoiler alert, this is also exactly what happens in the movie Kick Ass).  In a desperate attempt to escape Skull throws a bomb at the two but it fails to kill them and the explosion kills the Red Skull instead.

Despite the death of George Maxon the Red Skull would rise again.  It turned out that Maxon was merely a puppet in a much larger conspiracy and in Captain America #7 published on October 1941 it was revealed that there was another, more sinister Red Skull named Johann Schmidt.  The two would continue their duel until 1949 when this Red Skull was killed battling Captain America in the depths of Hell in Captain America Weird Tales #74.

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So what happened?

Schmidt would eventually become a much more fleshed out character but it took a while.  After the post war decline of superheroes the Red Skull stayed dead for a while.  He would eventually make an appearance in a 1954 issue of Young Man Comics where he and Captain America were both resurrected.

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During the 50’s Schmidt quit the Nazi party and politics in general and decided to become a run of the mill criminal mastermind.  In his next appearance three issues later he was left for dead again.

Schmidt’s Red Skull would make a full comeback in the 60’s as the main enemy of Captain America and the Avengers in Tales of Suspense #66

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Schmidt was also given a backstory where it was revealed that he had begun his career as a supervillain by impressing Hitler so much that he was invited to join the Nazi party in the 1930’s.  His dedication the party and knack for violence and intimidation led to him becoming one of the highest ranking Nazis in all of Germany and so intimidating that he even made Hitler nervous.  Despite his skill and cunning the Nazis still lost the war and the Red Skull suffered an accident that froze him much in the same way as his old nemesis Captain America.

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Since his creation the Red Skull has been one of, if not the greatest, threat to world peace in the Marvel Universe.  However, despite all his skill and ruthlessness he is eternally linked to life and fate of his foe Captain America and usually winds up being beaten by the First Avenger in the end.  He is Marvel’s first and greatest super villain and one of the greatest personifications of hate and lust for power in all of comic books.

The Primordial Soup: Why is Iron Man so popular?

So this little movie just came out.

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It’s safe to say that the Avengers and the Marvel movie experiment has been a massive success, bringing together a team of some of the greatest superheroes of the 20th century.  What’s even better for the fans, and Marvel’s box office bottom line, is that most of these superheroes have built up successful movie franchises on their own.  The mighty Thor can easily draw fans in on his own with his epic fantasy tales (though it doesn’t hurt that he has Loki on his side).

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Captain American can rake in the box office proceeds with his sense of moral justice amid a world that is increasingly going to hell in a hand basket.

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And the Incredible Hulk is resilient enough to survive over fifty years worth of comics, television, Ang Lee, and a reboot.

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But by far the most popular and successful super hero to arise from Marvel’s post bankruptcy movie juggernaut is Iron Man, who over the course of seven years and three movies has managed to rake in over 2 BILLION on his own.

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But what makes Iron Man so popular?  Why did Marvel decide to kick off their movie universe with an unknown director and problematic lead actor?  Let’s find out.

In order to figure out why Iron Man is so popular we have to go back through his history.  One of the reasons I find his popularity so funny is because Iron Man may be the only hero created so people would hate him.  Stan Lee initially created Iron Man in 1963 during the height of the Vietnam War.  Iron Man aka Anthony Stark, is a “genius billionaire playboy philanthropist” who designs and builds weapons for the U.S military, which meant he was responsible for the Marvel equivalent of this.

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which Stan thought would piss off a lot of younger readers.  However, for some odd reason Iron Man proved to be incredibly popular and he developed into a Marvel mainstay.  Due to his capitalist, free wheeling, death dealing lifestyle Stark became the embodiment of American industrial might and militaristic aggression beating back colorful villains like the Crimson Dynamo, an experiment by the Soviet Union attempting to duplicate the Iron Man armor.

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And the Mandarin, an evil Chinese super genius with ten rings that give him various powers.

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It’s pretty clear that most of these villains wouldn’t work today, Iron Man 3 avoided using the Mandarin in his original form, because they were meant to be caricatures of America’s great Communist enemies: the Soviet Union and China.  Through out the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s Iron Man was Marvel’s representation of American industry, conquering his foes with technological prowess and ingenuity.

And then the Berlin Wall fell in 1989 and just like that the Cold War ended.

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You’d think that would be the end if Iron Man, after all what would the living embodiment of the military industrial complex have left to fight, but he managed to keep his position as one of Marvel’s top characters long after the Cold War was over.  As far as I can tell there are two possible explanations for this.  First, there’s the Batman argument, which basically means comic book readers just really enjoy watching a 1%er beat the ever loving crap out of poor people with cool gadgets.  But the second option is much more interesting to me.

Iron Man is a geek.

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Think about it.  Iron Man makes his living designing machines and gadgets.  From an early age Stark was tinkering, programming, and graduating from MIT at age 15. Heck, his only real superpower is his mind, which was able to develop a suit to give him the powers of a god.  There is no problem he can’t solve with technology and nothing his mind can’t handle.

Now if we take that template and we apply it to our society and our modern day world we can see something interesting.  Who are our real world industrial heroes?  Who are the people we admire for changing the world and making massive fortunes?  The answer is, geeks who developed the products that run our world today.  Computer experts like Bill Gates.

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Programming innovators like Larry Paige and Sergey Brin.

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And visionaries like Jeff Bezos.

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And our fascination with tech innovators doesn’t end with the people who wind up with all our money, it extends to the rest of us as well.  In fact, if you look at the number over the past twenty years, there are more engineers and people studying engineering then ever before.  If you go to crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo they are filled with people working on fun and interesting gadgets and tech.  We love the ideals that heroes like Iron Man exemplify like intelligence, confidence, innovation, and curiosity and while it is true that Iron Man does share quite a few similarities in his background with heroes like Batman I think that people tend to be more interested in Batman’s dark atmosphere and fanatic devotion to justice while we are more drawn to Iron Man’s spirit of innovation and creativity.

Unless everyone just likes to associate him with the song, in which case this entire article is completely pointless.