Hank McCoy (Before the Fur) - Part 1

Tedd Riccio is a comic book aficionado chock full of useful comic history knowledge. So why not tap into that knowledge for the betterment of you, the reader? Appearing weekly is a column by newly appointed Assistant Editor Tedd (just Tedd will be fine). This column is called “Hank McCoy (Before the Fur),” so be sure to keep your eyes open for his unique insights into comics. This is Part 1 of a 2 part expose if you will on zombies and their impact on comics. Part 2 will be the next post. There are some things that just aren’t okay. I mean this. Really. We all know what those things are, deep down. You know what I’m talking about. Like parking in handicapped spaces “just for a minute”, hooking up with your second, third, or whatever numbered cousin, Milli Vanilli…the list goes on. But I’m here today to talk to you about a very important issue. That issue is zombies. Zombies are &(*% scary. I remember the first time I saw George Romero’s original Dawn of the Dead. I couldn’t have been more than ten or so, but movies like the one stated above, Conan the Destroyer, Poltergiest 1-3, and other gems of the 70’s and 80’s were the standard fare of my older brother, paving the way for my own media addiction years later. It scared the hell out of me. Still does, really. I mean…there are all sorts of creepy themes to Romero’s movies that make them great- the fact that people you know suddenly become this foreign, alien, vicious killer, and the people that are left alive can’t trust each other enough to work together well…you know, it’s really about war, prejudice, and elitism. And you know, the settings- Dawn takes place in a mall, Day is in an army base…the movies are in these locations that used to serve a purpose in society. Only now, the locations are just hollow shells. Practically empty. Because society is falling apart. So even the locations are “dead”. Oh, and there are the cannibal zombies. That’s the biggest theme in his movies. It’s terrifying stuff. Anyway, years passed. And other people started making zombie movies. Only theirs were really, really bad. Romero’s Night, Dawn, and Day trilogy were great- but when I was in college watching “Return of the Night of the Living Dead at Dawn’s Day Part III” or whatever on USA at one o’clock in the morning, I started to feel a little more confident about the whole zombie thing. After talking it out with my roommate over a few beers and the movie’s resolution, we were thinking we’d have a pretty good chance of survival in a threat-of-zombification situation. I mean, zombies just didn’t quite seem as scary in the many (and oh, there are many) follow-ups to Romero’s trilogy. Some of the zombies moved a little quicker, with a little more purpose and direction than they did in Romero’s films- but they seemed more likely to fall for stupid tricks. They moaned even more. The actors wore make-up that made you think: “Man, how did that woman mistake that zombie for a husband? I mean, even if she had never seen zombies up until this point- LOOK at him for god sakes?”. So zombies just became…one more threat. Nothing I’d want to tangle with. But not any scarier than anything else, like vampires, killer clowns, the freaky interdimensional people on Twin Peaks. Zombies were bad, but I was giving my odds like fifty-fifty to live through a zombie attack. I was pretty fast. Granted, the Zombie Survival guide and World War Z were years away from being published and I can see how wrong I was about my odds in retrospect- but nobody was making top notch zombie movies that made me believe I had to be any better prepared. So then, the remake of Dawn of the Dead came out and changed everything. When I exited theater with my friend, we got in the car and didn’t say anything for a long, long time. I held the arch of my nose between my fingers, struggling to make sense of what I had just saw. Zombie’s had ran. And I mean…fast. REALLY fast. As fast as they could. Sometimes they even sprinted, or jumped over short distances. Zombie’s running changed everything. EVERYTHING. Everything I thought I knew was shot to hell. All of those years of getting over my zombie-anxiety- destroyed in a two-hour orgy of blood, guts, and fast zombies. It was unbearable. Of course, it was only a matter of time before someone upped the ante and came out with a better zombie. The latest model is even more effective than your running right at you zombie. It comes courtesy of the surprisingly disturbed recesses of the minds of the writers and illustrators at Marvel Comics. And it freaks me right the %*& out. Marvel zombies think. They’re consumed with that overwhelming hunger to devour flesh to an unreasonable degree- but they talk, run, use tactics to overwhelm and capture prey, pull of super-heroic (or maybe super-zombie?) stunts with their powers to corner you, and they eat you. And then you become a zombie. Think about it- it would be scary if the Avengers went on a murderous rampage against people. That alone would BE scary. Cap running people through with the edge of his shield, Giant-Man stepping on crowds. But now, take it one step beyond- ZOMBIE Avengers going on murderous rampage. You get the picture. There’s nothing as nauseating as seeing the characters that you like to think of as these archetypal ethical gurus reduced to partaking in the horrific act of consuming human flesh with an almost childlike glee. Watching Peter Parker devour his wife and Aunt, The Avengers chow down on Jarvis, and, one of my personal revolting favorites, She-Hulk consume Reed and Sue Richard’s children is not easy to stomach. But what’s even more horrific is that these zombies think about who they WERE and what they ARE. Peter Parker is fully aware that he is devouring the people he use to love more than anyone in the world. Zombie Hank Pym actually actively searches for a cure to the hunger he and the other zombie Avengers are experiencing- but after chastising his zombie teammates for “giving up”, they ask him if he doesn’t want to eat a piece of Jarvis with them. Zombie Pym admits that he does want to eat and mumbles “I just don’t like giving up” while stuffing his face with Jarvis-meat. You get where I’m going with this. For the most part, the only thing that kept Marvel zombies from keeping me up at night worried about super-powered free thinking legions of the undead was its light-hearted tone. Okay, maybe “light-hearted” isn’t quite the right phrasing. But Army of Darkness vs. Marvel Zombies is pretty hysterical, featuring a zombie Howard the Duck and legend-of-dorkness fan favorite Ash from the Evil Dead series. I especially like the women that Ash gravitates to in this series- A. Allison Blaire, aka Dazzler, just because, hey, that’s his style and B. Wanda Maximoff, aka Scarlet Witch, because she dresses like she could have been IN Army of Darkness. In fact, even visually Wanda reminds me of the female lead of that movie. Of course both of these knock-out beauties end up as meat for the ravenous hordes of undead super-hero cannibals. But I digress.


  1. i agree with you zombies that run scare the $#@^ out of me too cause how you gonna get that headshot if they are jinknig and jiving towards you really?


Post a Comment