Thursday, March 20, 2014

A JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE ANDROID

No one correctly answered the comic book trivia question I posed in my last post. In fact, only one person even ventured a guess. Thanks to Kelly Greene for giving it a good shot but alas, his answer of Frank Miller's SIN CITY was incorrect. Thanks for playing our little game buddy and I hope you enjoy the wonderful parting gifts and the home version.

No, the line that I quoted, almost verbatim, in my review of BATMAN (1989) was this: "What it looks like is a left-over set from METROPOLIS. Fritz Lang's, not Clark Kent's!" The dialogue originally appeared on page ten of AVENGERS #93 in a story by Roy Thomas and Neal Adams.

The words are spoken by Henry Pym, in his Ant-Man persona, during his journey into the interior of the android Avenger, the Vision. Pym's journey is, of course, merely a spectacular set-piece that takes place amidst the epic, multi-issue saga that has since become known as The Kree-Skrull War. The sequence is stunning in it's boldness, creativity and, if you'll pardon the pun, vision. I read this comic book in 1971 and that line has stayed with me for all of these forty-three years.

The very idea of Henry Pym going inside of the Vision blew me away. Seeing this wondrous interior landscape depicted by Neal Adams was breathtaking. Having Pym back in his original super-hero persona Ant-Man (after stints as Giant-Man, Goliath and Yellowjacket) was way cool and I loved that jet back pack. But it's the dialogue by Roy Thomas that grabbed me and never let go. Because that one line, a toss off pop culture reference, had enormous implications for the Marvel Universe at the time.

First, it acknowledges that Fritz Lang's science fiction masterpiece, the epic silent film METROPOLIS, exists in the Marvel Universe. And then it makes clear that some iteration of Superman also abides there, most likely as a fictional character, a colorful super-hero whose adventures only appear in comic books, comic strips, cartoons and movies. But what if by mentioning the city of Metropolis and its' most famous son, Thomas was implying that the DC Universe and the Marvel Universe were one and the same? Separate, parallel universes seems more likely but again, Pym's comment would imply that at least he has knowledge of the existence of "Earth-DC". Is he the only one? Surely Reed Richards would know about this.

Of course it would be a few years before the Marvel Universe and Earth DC would officially meet. That earth-shaking event occurred when Superman met Spider-Man in a story so big, it had to be printed in  the over-sized tabloid format.

But I've always liked everything about page ten of AVENGERS #93. The story, the artwork, the character, the dialogue and that one line has stayed with me forever.

Thanks and acknowledgement to the work of Roy Thomas and Neal Adams for creating this indelible memory.

And, as another one of my heroes used to say, now you know the rest of the story.



No comments:

Post a Comment