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This week’s sermon - “We Don’t Need Another Hero”

July 23, 2007

Welcome to another addition of Preachin’ from the Longbox where we prove that “Comic Book Characters (or Comic Book Columns) never die; they simply come back in Specials and One-Shots (I’m talking to you, Captain Mar-Vell, Bucky Barnes, and Jason Todd, n’est-ce pas?).”

Okay, since I lost my religion for comics late last year, I’ve been like a lost soul searching for some sort of sign, tangible or otherwise, that comics are still a viable form of decent escapism entertainment. Because, currently, I’m seeing the majority of display space in comic book stores and retail outlets dedicated to the latest Big Business Trojan horse (i.e. using these iconic characters with their never-ending, event-driven inter-company crossovers) to help bolster their bottom line and enhance their stockholders’ portfolio.

Then, it hits me. As hard as a Jon Lovitz shove (okay, probably quite a bit harder than an overweight short fifty-ish schlub could muster), this muse for a column captures my attention. And by captures, I mean, it made me almost physically ill. So, with a reaction that strong, a column must be written. What is the muse, you ask? It is…

Who Wants To Be A Superhero Season 2

Who Wants To Be A Superhero, Season 2

I know that it was a guilty pleasure for some last season and it does have Stan the Man’s image and name associated with the project. But seeing the formulaic reality grinder house churn out another American Idol-clone that uses people (get this) in the garb of their superhero creations was too much for even a Reality TV junkie like yours truly. So, much as I did with the Pirates of the Caribbean monstrosity, Pirate Master, I denied to its existence.

However, I somehow got this season’s contestants in costume and figured that its sole purpose to be on this earth (other than to fail in the cable ratings) was for me to analyze and mock each participant’s entry. And lucky you, dear reader, that’s exactly what I’m going to do.

So, with that unnecessarily longwinded and egocentric laden setup, here are my thoughts, observations, insults and odds that the character will succeed for the WWTBAS, S2 cast. If using the Idol structure is the blueprint for this show, you know what judge I’m gonna be. So, on with it…

(The first PftL disclaimer – The odds provided below are for entertainment purposes only and are have really nothing to do with who actually should win this reality show competition. If this was an actual reality show that people somewhat watched, there might be some action to be had in Vegas. As it stands right now, the only place that would take such wagers is a lonely old Vegas-style operation off the coast of Bermuda who will make you buy $50 in credits for a $10 game. If that’s your idea of a rocking time, have at it, my friend.)

(Second PftL disclaimer – When referencing comics, I’m just referring to superhero books since that is where the majority of superhero books come from. Also, there has been no factual research performed on these characters by the writer. All comments are based on the impressions received by the characters’ costumes. After seeing them for yourselves, you’ll understand. Trust me.)

Trash Girl

Contestant #1 – Basura

Inspiration (meaning who they tried to rip-off ): Not sure; maybe Ant-Man for talking to bugs

PftL’s Comments: If ever there was a favorite, this one would be it only because the character has some originality and doesn’t really resemble (at least by name) of another superhero already in existence. If had to change only one thing, it would be the name. Inkow that it is the crux of the character but here’s what our good friends at Babylon.com had to say about the translation of the word “Basura”:

basura (female noun) - rubbish, refuse, garbage; dregs; manure, animal dung, fertilizer

Not exactly a descriptive list that strikes fear into the hearts of criminals nor is it one that other superheroes would like to stand next to in a group. There has to be a better name out there. But other than that, this character is the only one that I could even remotely consider in a comic book.

Odds of character making it as a lead book character: 25-to-1

Emerald Beacon

Contestant #2 – Ms. Limelight

Inspiration (meaning who they tried to rip-off ): Hmm, I wonder if it could be Green Lantern (Hal Jordan should be rolling in his grave. But please refer to the first paragraph of this column for further details.)

PftL’s Comments: God, this outfit needs work. Fringe on the arm sleeves haven’t been popular since Jon had long hair and Alec was strumming the four-string. And lemme tell you, it’s not time for a resurgence. The color combinations – silver, white and lime green – are awful not only to look at but also to have in a comic book. Outside of Captain Atom, the Engineer from The Authority and Jocasta, I can’t remember the last time an all-white or silver costume was in a decent book. Lastly, the clips on the waist for her accessories remind me of Ikea since I see stuff that looks good in their store but have no real use outside of it.

Odds of character making it as a lead book character: 30-to-1

Karate Hop

Contestant #3 – Hyper-Strike

Inspiration (meaning who they tried to rip-off ): Karate Kid, Iron Fist, Shang-Chi , or any other kung-fu dude out there

PftL’s Comments: Two thoughts initially come to mind when seeing this picture. Number one – when did Mike Reno lose weight and stop touring long enough to get on this show? And number two – does Northstar know that this guy might still be on the open market? Okay, the second one is a cheap shot but damn, this dude looks way too happy to be doing a flying high kick. If that was me, I would be a crumpled mess on the floor, which is why I’m not a superhero. And who wears a headband over six inches in width? Me thinks that he should be seeing the pharmacist about something to help with his MPB (Male Patterned Baldness).

Odds of character making it as a lead book character: 35-to-1


Contestant #4 – Whip Snap

Inspiration (meaning who they tried to rip-off ): Zorro with a little Omega Red

PftL’s Comments: Ahhh, more fringe! Maybe, I was wrong but if there is a resurgence, I’m gonna stop it at all costs. Fringe is something for oriental rigs, hookers’ lampshades and El Camino dash covers but not on superhero costumes. Ack, are those wrestling boots? Seriously, did the people who sewed the wardrobe for “Nacho Libre” do the same for poor Whip Snap? And what’s up with the red swath on the top of the hair? Is it there just for distraction purposes? I’ll revert to a Randy-ism for this one: “I’m not feeling it, dawg.”

Odds of character making it as a lead book character: 45-to-1

The Blue Defuser

Contestant #5 –The Defuser

Inspiration (meaning who they tried to rip-off ): Lock-Up mashed up with an unemployed Rent-A-Cop

PftL’s Comments: I thought that a defuser was an accessory to a hair dryer. Not only is the name lame but the costume is so uninspired that this superhero must be either a result of a small application pool or a drunken all-nighter in TJ before the show submission deadline. This guy looks more like mall security than a superhero. Hell, he even has a freakin’ blue badge on his flak jacket. And dude, here’s a piece of advice for a comic book geek to another. The exposed arms are more of a liability than a way to take girls to the Gun Show, especially when the caliber of your guns that is on display is so small.

Odds of character making it as a lead book character: 50-to-1


Contestant #6 –Partenon

Inspiration (meaning who they tried to rip-off ): A twisted mix of Hercules and the Black Knight with a slight dab of Thor

PftL’s Comments: It’s the first Ren Fen entry and it’s a real gem. It looks so bad on so many levels. The bad ten cent stones around the belt, the tunic, the forearm shields, the gold llame tights; I could go on… But, that’s not the worse of it. The crowning achievement to this very laughable getup is use of the leather Italian sandals. There’s nothing better than fighting crime while, at the same time, keeping your feet cool, casual and ready for that next summer concert series. The worst thing is that I have a feeling that this guy will only speak in some sort of bad Russell Crowe as Maximus accent. Ughh, he’s not going to be long in this contest.

Odds of character making it as a lead book character: 74-to-1


Contestant #7 –Mr. Mitzvah

Inspiration (meaning who they tried to rip-off ): The Seraph and Sabra with Blackhawk’s flight jacket spray painted gold

PftL’s Comments: Welcome Little Johnny Lydon to the party and he fights for the Star of David. And it’s another person who loves the gold on the costume. With all of that gold, maybe he should change his name to Gelt. At least, the kids would like him. Anyway, the suit is very unimpressive and lame that my level of snarkiness has temporarily left me. Hey, that may be his power. Must fight through – My last thought is that if a pair of henchmen could roll up on Mr. Mitzvah with a crow bar and a Louisville Slugger, they can Bar and Bat Mitzvah to death and that’s would make a pretty damn funny obit.
Odds of character making it as a lead book character: 75-to-1

Funky Headhunter

Contestant #8 –Braid

Inspiration (meaning who they tried to rip-off ): Medusa with Robin’s staff

PftL’s Comments: Wow, here’s a shocker; it’s another lame name and lamer costume. It is obvious that this character’s hair is a weapon. This has been done better with the wife of Black Bolt. For her sake, I hope that she has an Eisner-award winning back-story and origin because if not, there’s only a five-page back-up story in her future. Since she did not put enough effort into making her character memorable, I don’t feel like I have to do more than she did. I’m done.

Odds of character making it as a lead book character: 100-to-1

Brain Scan

Contestant #9 –Mindset

Inspiration (meaning who they tried to rip-off ): Charles Xavier, Brainwave, Doctor Strange’s eyebrows and Mysterio’s tailor

PftL’s Comments: Alright, for those of you who are looking to write comics are a career, here’s a nugget of useful information for you to use in your first superhero book. If a person needs to be either highly intelligent (ala Lex Luthor) or be a world-class telepath (Prof. X), he has to be as bald as the majority of porn stars’ nether regions. It must be the only way to convey the sheer magnitude of their gray matter because hair blocks the brain’s abilty to think powerfully. For example, Grant Morrison is beautifully bald and a genius; Lindsay Lohan, not so much on either count. Back to the subject at hand, Mindset must’ve just acquired this noggin power since no one who would be so high on the Mensa chart and wear those clam shell-looking shoulder pads that are so large that they would make Brian Urlacher wet himself. As a parting shot, men with large girth in their midsection should not wear tight clothing under any circumstances; especially when there are two triangles pointing at your beer belly. This guy might be blessed with smarts but he’s cursed with Dunlap’s Disease (and quite possibly on the Seafood diet). There, I’ve satisfied my old man jokes quota for the column. Yay for me.

Odds of character making it as a lead book character: 200-to-1

The Cleaner

Contestant #10 –Hygenia

Inspiration (meaning who they tried to rip-off ): American Maid, blatantly

PftL’s Comments: Puhlease! This character is so bad that it deserves the number one spot as the worst of the worst. C’mon Stan, I know that you had an army of creators under your tutelage over 30 years ago. But to be a part of the show without camp that has a friggin’ maid with a unbelievably bad moniker as “Hygenia” as a superhero is out and out crazy. If I was Mrs. The Man, I would be looking into locking your ass up for this one; Stripperella be damned! The only thing that would rocket this character to the top spot in the All-Time Bad Superheroes list is if the first name of her secret identity was Gina. Then, all of her co-workers could yell at her, “Hi, Gina” and the laugh track would go off and it would be over. Get this pile of stink away from me. I’ll never be able to look at fish nets fondly ever again.

Odds of character making it as a lead book character: 2 million-to-1

So, who am I predicting as a winner of this season’s Who Wants To Be A Superhero? No one. Not the contestants, not Stan Lee, not the SciFi channel, and especially not the viewers. With this cast of rejects that the Great Lakes Avengers and the Substitute Legion of Superheroes would openly laugh at, this season is the television equivalent of what WOPR learned from Matt Broderick which is “the only winning move is not to watch.”


Britt Schramm is also a contributor for the pop-culture website Kung-Fu Rodeo and solely responsible for the mess that is Tripping the Life Fanatic. He also occasionally blogs about his own life at The Preach’s “Ahem” Corner.


One Response to “Preachin’ from the Longbox: We Don’t Need Another Hero”

  1. Moo Says:

    Amazing how “comics” equals “superheroes” is a very american thing. Elsewhere, like, oh, Europe, there’s entirely different fare to be had in comic book form. Different format, too.

    This popped up in a random search, so, well. Yes, I know it’s late, who cares.

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