Michael Davis: Brokeback Marvel
Over the last 30 or so years some comics have tried to bring the "real world" into the medium. One of the first and best examples was written by my fellow ComicMix columnist Denny O’ Neil. His epic story about Green Arrow’s sidekick Speedy becoming hooked on drugs is a classic. That story was written over 30 years ago and could have been written today. It still holds up.
I will resist the urge to ask Denny why Speedy had to get hooked… hee hee hee.
Denny may not remember, but I often think back in fondness to a day I gave him a ride home from DC Comics. That, for me, was a good day. Denny most likely was thinking "tuck and roll" as he looked for an opportunity to jump out of the car.
That story Denny wrote was on the forefront of comics that tackled the real world. Since that comic there have been many comics that tried the real world approach — some of the finest have been Marvels, Kingdom Come and of course the granddaddy of them all, Watchmen. Now all of those comics and many others have dealt with the question, "What would happen if superheroes really existed?"
Well, none of those comics dealt with what really would happen if those superheroes existed in the real world… and tried to get a date.
You would think that all Super people would have no problem getting some action. They would most likely be treated as rock stars. Well, maybe in Ohio or some such place where people have sense.
Not where I live. Not in Los Angeles, where people have no sense. People in L.A. think that what you drive defines you. Some guys and girls don’t care if you faced down Dr. Doom to save the world. If you drove up in a Honda to that battle you get no play. Here you will have to work to get on the A-list dating scene. L.A. is the kind of town where status is everything. So our heroes will have to bring their A-game…
"Hello my name is Suzanne Wilson and I run Wilson Speed Dating," the young lady said as Johnny Storm, Dr. Bruce Banner, Thor and Blade walked in the door. Once they were seated she told them "The way this works is simple — you will each have three minutes with a young lady. During that time you will ask each other questions to see rather or not you want to go on a proper date. Clear?"
Nods all around as our heroes all sit down across a young lady. Johnny Storm is seated across from a pretty blond with short hair.
"Hi, I’m Johnny Storm."
"Hello, I’m Paris Hilton. So Johnny, what do you do?"
"I’m a member of the Fantastic Four."
"That a rock group? Oh wow! Do you have a CD out?? Do you know Justin Timberlake?"
"It’s not a rock group. We fight crime."
"You a cop?"
"Oh God, you’re a security guard??"
"No. I’m a super hero."
"That a kind of sandwich?"
"No we defend the earth from super villains."
"That pays a lot?"
"No, I do it for free. Hey where you going?"
"I don’t date men without a job. You have a trust fund or something?"
"Your daddy rich?"
"Then why on earth should I go out with you?"
At another table we spot Dr. Bruce Banner sitting with a pretty young lady.
"Hi, I’m Dr. Bruce Banner."
"Hi, I’m Nicole Ritchie. You a doctor? Where do you live, is it far from here? You have a car?"
"I’m between homes because I’m on the ru… I mean, I travel around a lot."
"Does that mean you don’t want to take me home?"
"We just met each other, don’t you want to know more about me?"
"You a doctor, right?"
"What else is there to know?"
"Well I think you should know I have a secret."
"Cool — you the father of Anna Nicole’s baby?
"NO! When I get angry I turn into a giant green monster capable of great destruction and mayhem."
"OK, but you ARE a doctor right?’
"Well then, let’s go."
Not too far from Dr. Banner sits Thor. He has a long line of ladies waiting to talk to him. The one he is currently sitting with is from the Bronx New York — she is not happy.
"Lo! I am Thor, God of Thunder!"
"DID YOU JUST CALL ME A ‘HO’?"
"No, my lady I said ‘Lo.’"
"I ain’t your lady. "
"I meant not to insult you. What is thy name, fair one?"
"They call me Peaches."
"Ah, a lovely fruit to be sure."
"DID YOU JUST CALL ME A FRUIT?"
"You da fruit. Look at the way you be dressing!"
"You be a fruit! Yo momma’s a fruit! Yo daddy’s a fruit!"
"Yea, yo father!"
"Oh, I see by ‘daddy’ you mean father! My father is Odin!"
"Tell me — who’s your daddy?"
"Oh, you be a rough neck… I like that! What are you holding under the table?"
"That is my hammer."
"Oh, you pretty sure of yourself."
"Would you like to see my hammer?"
At the last table sits Blade. His companion has a bald head but is really pretty.
"Hello, my dear. My name is Blade."
"That’s a nice name, what do you do?"
"I’m a singer. Look; I’m not here for a date. I just heard there was a bar here."
"Oh, well we can still talk a bit."
"Sure, let’s talk about drinking. What’s your favorite drink? Let’s order it!"
"I would rather not say. You would not like it and I’m not thirsty."
"Well. Who needs to be thirsty? Come on Spade, I’ve had them all. Shoot, I like them all."
"It’s Blade, not Spade. Trust me, you won’t like this."
"Blade, Spade. What’s the difference?"
"As a black man, it’s offensive."
"SORRY!! Please don’t tell Fox News, Shade!!"
"WHATEVER! Don’t yell at me! Hey, why are you looking at my neck?"
"Now, I’m thirsty…"
I wait for the day when some writer really tackles superheroes in the real world. As you can see from what I have written that has not happened yet.
Well, that’s it…what? You say you were mislead by the title ‘Brokeback Marvel?’
What did you think? Not even I would dare to write something like…
The Hulk and Thing stood on the mountain looking out at the sunset…
"That cowboy hat looks good on you, Thing."
"Why are you so glum?"
"It’s just that…"
"What? You can tell me anything…Thing."
"I wish we could spend more time together."
"We could if you quit the Fantastic Four!"
"You know I can’t do that."
"YOU COULD IF YOU WANTED TO!"
"Don’t yell at me. You are always yelling at me!"
"Damn you Thing… I wish I could quit YOU."
Nope, not me! I would never write anything like that!
Michael Davis is a comics creator, was a co-founder of Milestone Comics, is a television producer and writer, and is the founder of the Guardian Line series of comics.