Last week saw the release of KICK-ASS a promising Comic Book Movie with a tepid box office on opening weekend. Industry types were somewhat surprised, as the title and premise suggested a bigger response, but those of us in the know expected it. You can’t fake KICK-ASS, it has to be in your blood, your pores and in your gonads, my friends, or the audience knows.
As much as I admire the work of Mark Millar and John Romita Jr, the creators of this epic story, I simply cannot in good conscious call them KICK-ASS examples of the male species. While Millar is British, and therefore has soccer hooliganism in his DNA, Mr. Romita is an average-sized man, with straight teeth and no criminal record to speak of. I’d feel fairly confident facing either of them in a bar fight, and I’m willing to go in sober and unarmed.
But the world of comics DOES include some of the most stunningly macho examples of man-flesh in the history of the visual arts, and you should know about them, if only to avoid their supremely terrifying gaze if they appear at conventions.
Be afraid fanboys, of—
THE TOP SEVEN COMIC CREATORS WHO COULD LITERALLY KICK YOUR ASS.
Currently illustrating The Flash.
You know that scene in Jurassic Park where the water is jiggling in the cups, so you know there’s a giant dinosaur coming? That’s based on Ken Lashley.
Ken is the largest human in the comic industry, if not in western civilization. At seven foot nine, eight hundred and sixty pounds (and none of it fat), the only reason he doesn’t play professional football is that “it wouldn’t be fair to the other players”. I’m big, but whenever I’m in a room with Ken, he makes me feel like a skinny schoolgirl in knee high socks, with a Hello Kitty backpack. Seriously.
He happens to be a pleasant, quiet, somewhat reserved individual, however, which is a disappointment to lovers of ass-kicking manly misbehavior the world over. I never thought it was part of Ken’s character to be aggressive — until I saw his cover for Excalibur #73
This is the single most testosterone-fueled drawing I’ve ever seen. It’s an existential scream of pure maleness rarely witnessed outside of Heavy Metal Gay Snuff-porn. This image of a blue-balled demon radiating nuclear energy from his dick while magnetically attracting the red lady, makes anyone viewing it more manly by 25% — including any girls. And AFTER seeing this illustration, if any of you go out and kick someone’s ass, Ken Lashley officially gets the assist.
Charles Moulton (aka Dr. William Moulton Marston).
This Y-chromosome-soaked head-shrinker helped create three amazing
legacies for himself in the 20th Century. One was the polygraph machine (the Lie Detector) which has done more to fight crime than a squad room full of cops on a lifetime steroid binge–another was the fictional queen of lesbo bondage adventure, Wonder Woman.
But Dr. Will got his high testosterone scores in a much more impressive way. He was in an openly poly-amorous relationship with two ladies his entire life– had kids with both women– and the one he WASN’T legally married to, was the one he based Wonder Woman on. Anyone who could keep TWO sexy bisexual fetish-doms happy for a lifetime of tied-up joy had to be producing twice the man-sauce you and I were issued at birth and could easily pound our weak asses into the sand without breaking a sweat. Trust me.
This Nick Fury artist had a comic career that was finished and done forty-five years ago — it lasted for maybe four months — and he’s STILL considered one of the most influential artists who ever worked. The balls it takes to be THAT good at something and walk away from it is impressive enough, but it’s par for the course for the Most Interesting Man in Comics. Let’s take a look at a recent photo of this senior citizen to give you a sense of his essence.
Steranko was born tough. Instead of spending his youth PLAYING Grand Theft Auto on his mommy’s couch with his brother’s game system, Teen-Steranko stole actual cars, and occasionally got arrested for it. That experience in the lock-up inspired him to become a circus escape artist, where laughing at thick, manly chains is in the job description.
But even this wasn’t enough for Jim (Grand Cojones) Steranko, who permanently moved into the he-man badass club-for-life when he became a professional sword swallower and FIRE-EATER.
Now you know why Steranko could write the adventures of spy-stud Nick Fury with such authority, and why he insisted on calling Nick the “ramrod” of SHIELD.
Jack (King) Kirby
We all know that Kirby was THE hardest working man in the history of comics who could write and draw an entire comic book in five days, and it would STILL be better than the one that took you three months. But besides being an authentic artistic genius, Jolly Jack was an authentic war hero of epic proportion.
MANLY MOMENT #1: When he found out he was going to be drafted, Kirby didn’t go get drunk and beg the local girls for a “shipping-out-tomorrow” roll in the hay…instead he WORKED TWICE AS MANY HOURS PER DAY to double his already astounding output, and stockpile enough pages to continuing publishing his titles without missing an issue while he personally punched out the Nazi war machine.
MANLY MOMENT #2: While sleeping in an infantry foxhole in the winter of ’44 Kirby got frostbite, and was shipped to a hospital where a doctor wanted to take his legs. Jack said no, and just to show off, he forced the circulation back into his limbs by power of his own male will.
MANLY MOMENT #3: When a commanding officer discovered Kirby could draw, he started sending Jack out ALONE at night to sketch the terrain and draw maps of enemy territory. Kirby went behind enemy lines armed with a pencil and paper. Eat that, pussies.
“Iron” Mike has so much more going for him than being the creator of THE WARLORD (who is that half-naked dude with a giant helmet and a big broadsword who ISN’T Conan). To begin with, anyone who’s named after a foundry metal without a trace of irony is already tougher than anyone you’ve ever met.
But Grell gets his he-man cred the old fashioned way. He’s the Ted Nugent of comics — a big game hunter who delights in personally killing and eating the larger creatures of our world, often with no more than an arrow, a knife and his own teeth. Though I don’t share his love of blood sports, I do share his carnivorous taste buds, and while having lunch with him at a convention a while ago, I brought it up. He told me that he refuses to eat any creature unless he’s already killed at least one of their species. “I’ve cut the throats of chickens, ducks, geese…I’ve butchered my own cow. I feel I owe it to the meals I eat,” he said to me, with an expression I refuse to describe as “Lecter-like”. I can’t argue with the logic, but I told him it meant he could never enjoy a crocodile steak or shark-fin soup — two meals I have tasted in my travels. His response, I swear to god: “I haven’t eaten shark fin soup….yet.”
While with the 45th Infantry, Bill was part of the invasion of Sicily, sketching cartoons about frontline life for “The 45th Division News”, in between dodging live rounds. These cartoons became popular enough that Bill was transferred to Stars and Stripes for the duration and told to produce the adventures of Willie and Joe as a matter of vital national need. Any man with a normal set of testes would have hopped a jeep for the rear and started sharpening pencils, gleeful to be out of danger, but not Bill. Instead he asked for his own jeep, and spent the rest of the war DRIVING AROUND THE FRONT LINES looking for ideas. And just to prove he wasn’t kidding around, in September of 1943, he had his drawing shoulder ripped apart by a German mortar while visiting a machine gun crew near Monte Cassino. True to his granite-testicled manner, Bill used it as an opportunity to do a few cartoons about life in an army hospital and kept right on going.
MIND-BOGGLING MAN POINTS: General George Patton once threatened to court martial Mauldin for gross insubordination, but the cartoonist was rescued from discipline by none other than Supreme Allied Commander and future President, Dwight Eisenhower, who told Patton that Mauldin’s characters were essential for troop morale and to “leave him alone”. Next time you get in trouble, wait and see if the MOST POWERFUL MAN ON THE PLANET shows up to have your back…
Whatever those Nancies at Hasbro might think about inventing the famous American action figure with the Kung Fu grip, Larry Hama created GI Joe for a generation of fans, and knows more about macho conflict-fiction than anyone alive. And lest you think his world of big guns and phallic-named characters was only the product of Larry’s wimpy imagination, you should know this: Hama is an eighth-degree black belt in five different martial arts. I don’t know what that eighth-degree means, because every time I ask about it, someone kicks my ass, but I figure being ANY black belt qualifies Larry to obliterate me with one hand.
And just in case Larry has to kill you from a distance, he’s a qualified marksman and weapons expert from his time in Viet Nam serving in the Army Corps of Engineers during the war.
And if that list of impressive man points hasn’t dropped you to your knees in supplication–Hama’s specialty in the Corps?
Demolition and explosives.
So naturally, the single most goddamned dangerous man in the history of our medium ended up the editor of Wonder Woman comics.
He owed it to Dr. Moulton.
That’s it for today. My delicate, lily white ass cannot stand sitting for so long. I have to lie down.