August 13th, 2009


Marvel's Greatest Losers

You know who this guy is?

I'm sorry for you if you do. Because, yes, he's The Vanisher.

This royal schmuck first appeared in X-Men #2 back in the 60's, during a run that Stan Lee and Jack Kirby seemed to mostly sleep through after the main concept was put together. Some extremely sad-ass villains show up in these and other less celebrated (or semi-less, I mean, they're all "classics", right? Yeah, that's sarcasm, for you rose-tinted, nostalgia-dripping Roy Thomas types, go read Daredevil versus The Matador why don't ya, I dare ya!) early Marvel superhero comics --see Daredevil for more laughs, so very many Iron Man villains, Ant Man's rogues gallery (and Ant Man, for that matter), the idiots tussling with The Human Torch in whatever comic his solo crap ran in, and arguably, the X-Men, among others.

Sure, some of the concepts have endured (what doesn't, really, after decades of people trying to write yet another goddamned story for characters that are older than I am?), The Sentinels, The Blob (fat guy in undies with a chipped beef on his shoulder), Magneto, of course, was a nice piece of work, especially the design.  Most of the Brotherhood of Evil Petty Jerks, especially The Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, who now appear in comics covered in blood and shame, they work nicely, too bad the stories don't. True, the Toad sucks ("eeeyow! It's the Toad!"), but even that annoying, useless little bouncing slob got immortalized in a Hollywood production. Unus? Is he around still, whistling "Can't Touch This?" I don't know. Can't even remember much more than that, and I've got the comics on my table and have been going through them. Blob again...Unus...ummm...Blob...Toad again...huh. I know The Mimic shows up at some point. He's awful,  but amiable. Okay, I give up. I can't recall any other characters from early X-Men. Some good, some mostly not-so good, and The Blob.

But then there's this guy. The Vanisher. Ugh. Ugh! I mean, look at this guy! Thank god his power is to vanish, who the fuck wants to look at him? UGH! That face! That --that costume --! He looks like Ronnie James Dio flouncing around in a 60's-era Toho monster flick. Only not that interesting. Or attractive. UGH!!! No,Toho would say no, no, it's a no-go, you go, Dio. No, no, even Ultraman wouldn't have him, I take it all back, it's The Vanisher, alone, unique, peerless. You couldn't wrestle in Tijuana in that get-up without encouraging a hailstorm of metal folding chairs. The Riddler thinks it's gauche. Chronos is embarrassed for him. Hey, Did I spell gauche correctly? It's not lit up in red, maybe I did. Or maybe I spelled that watercolor-y paint stuff they used to do animation backgrounds in. Yeah, gwarsh, that's the stuff.

Anyway. What the hell was Jack Kirby thinking when he drew this? Other than, "Holy Moses, I gotta get thirty pages done this week! %$&@#! An' Stan the bigmouth's just gonna muck 'em up wit' eleventy thousand word balloons, besides! Ah, well, where's my cigar?! Hmmm, okay, 'dis guy, he vanishes. Vanish vanish vanish. I'll draw some squiggles and wiggles on him and stuff. Hmmm hmm hmmm. Page done!"

And what was the inker thinking? Chic Stone or whoever the hell. He probably took one look at this winner and cried out, "Quelle dommage! What in blue hell is this?! Ugh! This costume! It stinks! It is an outrage! It looks like fucking Ronnie James Dio in a Toho movie outfit!" And then he keeled over, and woke up, and inked X-Men #2 and brought it in to Marvel without a word because he had another three books to ink if he wanted to eat that month. Maybe he took in a show. I'm making this up, so I really don't know. Ask Mark Evanier.

I love Kirby beyond reason. But this guy don't cut it. LOOK AT HIM AGAIN! Ugh! Did they bring him back? They probably did, they brought that awful Lucifer loser back a few times (hey, I remembered another bad X-Men creation!), he wears cut rate theatrical villain crap. And a goatee, I think. Not scary. The Vanisher has, I'm sure, been dug up by some hinky Marvel writer in the past few years, giggling while they had his head blown off, or his costume raped, or he raped Lucifer, or some such mature readers badass childishness. I certainly hope no one tried to "redeem" the character by making him "tough" or "cool" or "realistic". The Vanisher should remain in suck limbo, for idiots like me to draw and mumble about. I hope he's been left alone. He demands to be left alone. No Heroclix for you, Vanisher. Begone.

Oh, so why draw this imbecilico? Well, for one thing, I'm an idiot, and I draw things like The Vanisher. Otherwise, I'm working on a commission drawing of the original Brotherhood of Evil Mutants (Who have their own problems -- The Toad, remember? He bounces. And eats sloppy. And giggles and yells a bit. My daughter's more trouble than him.). So I've got the X-Men Masterworks open and while screwing up the roughs for the commission, I drew The Vanisher as penance. And Unus, but every time I try to pick up the paper it floats away from me now. It's uncanny! So, I dunno if I'll ever ink up Ronnie James Vanisher or not, so I figured I'd put this on the blog to incur the wrath of people who like good drawings of good characters.

So, there you go. The Vanisher, ladies and gentlemen.