Wednesday, April 14, 2010
My Controversial Theory About the Macabre Man-Thing
In the 1970s, a quirky writer named Steve Gerber wrote about a muck monster dubbed THE MACABRE MAN-THING. Now, this soggy creature was not altogether original to begin with. It was Marvel's answer to DC's SWAMP THING. And now, as I found out in the issue below, The Macabre Man-Thing is even less original....
That's right, JLA #46 from the mid-60s. As attentive Flophousers know, I'm currently knee deep in reading reprints of the Gardner Fox/Mike Sekowsky JLA stories dubbed CRISIS ON MULTIPLE EARTHS from the early to mid-1960s. Well, in #46 above, writer Fox at various points refers to the villain Solomon Grundy (that hulking Frankenstein's monster you see here) variously as a "swampland savage," a "marsh monster," and, you guessed it, a "macabre man-thing"....TWICE!
Now here's the swamplicious controversial part: I don't blame Gerber for the swipe. My hunch is that the Marvel editor in chief at the time of MAN-THING's debut - Roy Thomas - purloined the "macabre Man-Thing" line.
That's him, back in the day, on the far left, partying with Barry Windsor Smith and a few fillies from Chicksville, New York.
"Roy the Boy" is an avowed fan of DC superhero groups, including JLA and JSA, which he's damn-near made a career of emulating in his own works (Invaders, Infinity, Inc., Freedom Fighters, All-Star Squadron, and whatever that failed superhero group from San Francisco was called.... etc.)
So I'm guessing Roy consciously or unconsciously lifted (or is it "paying homage?") the "macabre man-thing" moniker.
Cue Arsenio Hall soundbite: "Things that make you go 'Hmmmmm.'"