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Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Failed Universe #1 [1986] (Random Comics Theatre)

Random Comics Theatre

Failed Universe #1 [1986]

Some things in my collection I'm not sure how they got there. I know I wasn't buying any comics in 1986, so any comic I have from that year was bought as a back issue. I probably found this one around 1990, either really cheap or in a blind pack with some other comics.

This was published by Blackthorne, a short lived company from the late 1980s, mostly of black and white comics in the post Ninja Turtles b&w boom, including a lot of licensed comics, many in 3-D, and a handful of creator-owned comics. This is one of a series of parody comics they did (other ones advertised in this issue are MAN OF RUST and LEGION OF STUPID-HEROES). This one is a parody of Marvel's "New Universe", which launched with much fanfare a few months prior. It's created by Cliff MacGillivray, David Cody Weiss and Michael Kelley.

The cover is based on the house ad which announced the line. Looks like they took the graphic from the ad directly, just redrawing the Earth. It's a pretty decent gag.

I don't think I've read this since 1990, and at that time my knowledge of the New Universe was pretty slim. In fact, I think this book might have been my first real exposure to most of the details of the line and informed most of my ideas of the books. I know a bit more about the line now, though I've still only read a handful of the actual comics (mostly the first year of STAR BRAND for some reason).

It looks like Blackthorne's parodies were as much parodies of comic book publishing as the actual books, so this one opens with the corporate offices of Mediocre Comics where they decide to create a new line of comics, with the assurance from the fanboy community that they'll buy anything and the accounting department that not having to pay creators will save millions. They turn the job over to the marketing department, which fires up the Cosmic Computer to churn out the product based on established cliches, so we get the story of Star Bland, calling out his similarity to Green Lantern, and then bleeding in to other comics like Sue Force through endless crossovers.

It's all... not great, but serviceable for what was no doubt a rush job. A few good gags that seem to actually be based on the early issues of the comics being parodied, some clear art, lacking a bit in backgrounds but otherwise solid. I'm actually not sorry I still have this for some reason and took the time to re-read it, which I did not expect going in.

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