When it comes to comic books, one of my favorite things to do is watch for cameos from my favorite obscure characters. It’s one of the ways I built up my fandom in the 90s: searching out back issues where my favorite characters randomly showed up and had a line or two.
This is the entire basis behind my ongoing Strong Guy Watch series. I’m a big fan of the Strong Guy character, and for the past several years, he’s been making random cameos here and there. It’s fun to keep an eye out for the big lug.
With Dawn of X bringing back every single mutant character who ever lived, the Watch has quadrupled to include every favorite mutant I’ve ever had! Multiple Man, Maggott, Stacy X, Abyss, Blob, Mimic and so many more! None of them are starring characters in any of the Dawn of X comics, so I’ve got to stay eagle-eyed for when any of them might pop up at any time!
This week’s X-Force #9 features the best yet showcase of a bunch of my favorite characters! Everybody’s hanging out at The Green Lagoon!
Obviously we’ve got Strong Guy, who seems to be macking with Selene at the top middle of the picture. We’ve also got a couple Multiple Men hanging out on the bottom. He’s still wearing his classic costume, so the ongoing debate of a new Multiple Man costume remains ongoing. Writer Benjamin Percy continues to be the only Dawn of X creator to use Multiple Man, even if it’s only for quick, wordless cameos. Also, of note: this is the first comic book panel in literal years that features Multiple Man, Strong Guy and Wolfsbane…even though none of them are hanging out together.
This image is also the first reveal of what Blob is doing in Dawn of X: bartending!
I’ve been eagerly anticipating the Blob since his star turn in Age of X-Man last year. Bartending is a fairly good use of the character and I hope to see him get some attention soon.
We’ve also got Maggott canoodling with M at the bar, so that’s neat! And the rest of the scene in the actual comic features quick appearances from Avalanche and Toad!
I love panels like this in Dawn of X. This is a smorgasbord of mutant cameos in a way we’ve never seen in comics before! I hope they keep it up every now and then.
Still no sign of Mimic…
Good news, everybody! Strong Guy has finally been spotted on Krakoa as part of Dawn of X! Every X-Person ever, hero and villain, has supposedly been resurrected on Krakoa, but some of my favorite characters have been missing since the big relaunch.
But Strong Guy shows up in a big group shot from this week’s X-Force #2! He’s also, apparently, gone back to his 90s costume. Probably because of the upcoming action figure.
I’m glad to see he’s no longer dead. Vive le Strong Guy!
Also in this picture is our first confirmation that the Blob is also on Krakoa. He wasn’t in the big villain arrival scene during House of X, so I was holding out hope that Marvel was planning something special for Blob in the wake of Leah Williams’ excellent take on the character during the Age of X-Man.
This appearance doesn’t negate potential plans for Marvel and Williams, so I’m going to hold onto hope that something excellent might happen.
Now to sit back and wait for Multiple Man and Mimic to finally appear…
Sweet Georgia Brown, my prayers have been answered! We’re getting a legit Strong Guy Build-A-Figure! I literally wrote about this in a blog wishlist.
Of course, I’m going to have to buy a lot of lame action figures I don’t want to build this mighty mutant. Or maybe I’ll be able to find some loose pieces on eBay. I’ve done that before. Whatever. Doesn’t matter. Some way, some how, I will get this giant Strong Guy action figure!
In a Little More Than 2 Years, Nearly Every Single One of My Favorite Comic Book Characters Has Been Killed
As a longtime comic book reader, I have my personal list of favorite characters. Everybody has one, right? Those characters that you love to read about and see pop up in new comics. For a lot of people, their favorite characters are big name superheroes, like Spider-Man or Batman. For me, I tend to prefer the smaller supporting characters. That’s just what happens when you read a lot of comics and are exposed to a lot of characters.
As such, when I started this blog back in 2011, one of my earliest Lists of Six was my top six favorite comic book characters of all-time. With the exception of one name, that list has remained pretty firm over the past eight years.
In the past two years and a couple months, nearly every character on that list has been killed. Several characters in my Honorable Mentions addendum have been killed. And a couple other characters I love have either been killed or nearly killed within this time frame.
I don’t…I don’t know what’s going on.
I don’t presume to think this is some sort of targeted attack on yours truly. I think this is just the unfortunate cost of loving minor comic book characters, the sorts of characters that can be chewed up and spit out as any given writer sees fit.
But damn, this has been pretty hard on the soul.
And I guess I just felt like listing them off, as if that would help me somehow. Let’s start with my favorite characters list:
Multiple Man was killed in Death of X #1 in October 2016.
He’s still dead. Multiple Man has returned to comics, replaced by one of his duplicates. And his character has been re-written as a feckless coward. So that’s some good salt in the wound.
The Mimic was killed in Extermination #5 in December 2018.
This one was really disappointing. He made a surprise appearance in Extermination after being out of comics for a few years. I knew from the moment he appeared that he probably wouldn’t survive the series, and I had to wait several months for those fears to be confirmed.
Phil Urich was killed in Amazing Spider-Man #797 in March 2018.
Phil was my favorite superhero as a kid, and the first comic I actively started collecting on my own, issue-by-issue. I endured years of him being transformed into an unrepentant villain before they finally put him out of his misery.
Tim Drake was killed in Detective Comics #940 in September 2016.
Thankfully, his death was a fake out. He survived and returned to service shortly thereafter. He’s even gone back to being just “Robin” instead of the far more ridiculous “Red Robin”. So there’s at least one happy ending in this list.
That’s it for my list of favorites. I listed “Robin” on that list as more of the concept of the character. Damian Wayne, the current Robin, is still alive…but if I’m being honest, he hasn’t really been ‘Robin’ in a long time. The concept of ‘Batman and Robin’ as a team is pretty dead. So does that count? Not to mention that Damian was killed in early 2013. So for a short while there, Robin was dead.
The Spot is also still alive, but he’s the one character I would probably take off my list of favorites. I’ve always been a big fan of the Spot, and will always be a big fan of the Spot, but there are characters I like better. Which is probably why he’s still alive.
How about some of those Honorable Mentions at the bottom of the page?
Mach X was killed in Thunderbolts #12 in April 2017.
The Scorpion was maybe killed in Venom Annual #1 in October 2018.
I’m not too sure about this one. It does appear that Venom kills the Scorpion, but then Scorpion has been showing up in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man recently. I may have to check and see if there’s an explanation.
Strong Guy was killed in Uncanny X-Men #12 in February 2019.
This is the most recent, and inspired this list. Strong Guy is Multiple Man’s best friend, and one of my favorite duos in comics. And now they’re both dead, and neither one particularly cares about the other these days. So just bleakness all around.
Avalanche was killed in Uncanny Avengers #1 in October 2012.
That happened a year after I started my blog and he’s still dead. The recent X-Men Gold comic introduced a new Avalanche, but I didn’t read it, and I’m pretty sure the character didn’t stick around. The X-Men have since ignored the new Pyro also, and he joined the X-Men towards the end of that comic. So that’s not looking good.
That’s the major list. Eight of my favorite comic book characters have been killed since I started this blog, most of them within the past two years or so. And only one of them has been properly ‘resurrected’ in that time. It’s just a little soul-crushing.
That’s not counting the time Stingray was nearly killed in a recent Avengers comic. Or the speculation that Simon Baz, my favorite Green Lantern, is probably going to be killed in Heroes in Crisis.
I don’t have any larger point to make. And I’m largely just whining. But c’mon. There’s only so much my soul can take. Is it really so wrong to have favorite comic book characters? Is there somebody specifically targeting me?
When will it stop?
All I really know is that Beta Ray Bill had better be very careful now that he’s a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy. There’s almost no way he’s going to survive that comic.
Welp, Strong Guy is dead. Remember last summer, when I was worried that he would be sacrificed in that New Mutants mini-series? Only for him to survive? Welp, that didn’t last long. The moment he returns following that mini-series, he’s needlessly killed.
Strong Guy takes the brunt of a bomb in this week’s Uncanny X-Men issue.
There didn’t need to be a bomb. And he didn’t need to sacrifice himself. Neither is intrinsically important to the story at hand. It just happens. Maybe to raise the stakes of the story? Maybe to underline how dark and gritty it is?
I don’t know and I’m starting to not care. Just kill everybody I love. Why not? What have you got to lose? Just kill’em all and bask in the awesome writing skill of killing characters!
That’s how you know it’s a good comic. If a lot of characters are killed, then it’s a good comic. That’s a rule of making comics. Right? Surely that’s right.
This isn’t the end of Strong Guy Watch. It’ll come back in a year or two when he’s resurrected. Because that’s the other god damned rule: characters don’t stay dead. Unless they’re Multiple Man, my all-time favorite comic book character. When he’s killed…no wait, hold off for a second. He’s actually been killed several times now. When he was killed the last time, he’s stayed dead, and Marvel has instead put a puppet in his place.
So no, my favorite comic book characters don’t get resurrected. They get replaced by a mocking simulacrum.
There is no joy in Mudville.