For decades and decades, the X-Men have been one of the time tested standards in superhero teams. You take something as popular as the X-Men and incorporate them with something a little less popular to try to give the other property a boost.
But what if you toss them into a mass of things no one cares about?
You get the 1983 one-shot of Obnoxio the Clown vs. the X-Men.
In October 1973, Marvel launched their own answer to MAD magazine in Crazy Magazine. Crazy has its roots in humor magazines dating back to the 1950s before the Marvel launch in 1973. The ten-year run of the book did lend it enough credence to become a Simpsons punchline in the 1992 episode, “Separate Vocations,” (albeit still behind MAD and Cracked).
April 1983 would not only see the final issue of Crazy but one of their recurring characters, Obnoxio the Clown, would get his own one-shot book with the X-Men.
In case you were unfamiliar with the Obnoxio character, he greets the reader with insults and titles his story: Something Slimey This Way Comes.
I’m still not sure what to think. If only I could read his list created on a few sheets of toilet paper, I’d really know how to feel about this guy…
I can’t read the TP list but he does have a smarmy retort to the Cabbie he stiffed for the ride to his gig at a kid’s birthday party. There a “weird geezer” has promised him large compensation. Unbeknownst to anyone, a masked figure hides in the background too, hoping Obnoxio doesn’t foil his, “carefully laid plans.”
We discover the weird, old geezer is everyone’s favorite paraplegic mutant, Professor Charles Xavier. Cerebro has detected an unknown mutant presence, which worries Professor X to the point he may start baldi—oh.
Professor X throws out a lot of dialogue for the reader who is more familiar with Obnoxio than the X-Men; Stating who the X-Men are and that the party is for Kitty Pryde, the X-Men’s youngest member. I can’t focus on all this unnecessary dialogue. I need to know about the person who has more knowledge on Obnoxio than one of Marvel’s signature properties.
After giving extra character details, he does namedrop Crazy magazine, so maybe they just figure this magazine would capture the imagination of the general public circa 1983.
Throughout these early panels, Obnoxio makes some jokes that I guess I am supposed to find funny but this one really sticks out.
I am now strangely curious about a White Supremacist Charles Xavier mini-series.
A large explosion knocks Charles Xavier unconscious, leading to Cyclops to burst on the scene. Cyclops sets up the mansion’s backup system, so the X-Men are prepared to handle an attack as Obnoxio drops some classic Three Little Pigs references and gets sent down a trapdoor.
Cyclops is sure to alert the rest of the team by name. I really wish the attack happened during Kitty’s party so we could potentially have like two pages of Cyclops dropping names of everyone standing nearby.
The star clown’s narration informs us the true villain was nearby and we see his leg transform into what I am pretty sure is afterbirth.
Then his whole body becomes it; and it talks!
This is why Tom Cruise wanted to eat the placenta. #2006
Obnoxio finds himself in a holding area from the trapdoor and says a series of things someone is supposed to find funny before using some of the carbon dioxide from his seltzer to make the wall explode.
He emerges from the hole in the wall, where the X-Men are waiting. I guess they expected him to blow up a wall of their home.
While the super team is distracted by a hobo clown, the real villain of the story creeps around the mansion. His motive? The X-Men’s flashy powers make his ability seem ridiculous.
Never underestimate talking goo.
As he tries to enter the Danger Room, our villain starts making quips and puns about things being easy as pie “a la mode!” He identifies himself as Eye-Scream and talks about getting things done, “lickety-banana-split.”
A bit different than the maternal bleeding I once thought he was…
The X-Men all throw out one-liners about grabbing the clown but are foiled when he escapes on a unicycle.
The X-Men look great in this issue. The scummy clown with no powers outwits some of the greatest comic legends of all-time. After the hand-buzzer to Colossus, Obnoxio takes out Nightcrawler and his thick German accent with Sneeze Powder.
Eye-Scream is impressed with the work of the vagrant clown but vows to dispose of the jester as well, once his master scheme in the Danger Room is complete.
A giant claw grabs Obnoxio and tosses him inside the Danger Room. Storm identifies he probably is not the bad guy. But that’s okay because he “clowned” them before conquering the Danger Room with seltzer water and whipped cream pies.
Obnoxio’s Carrot Top level prop comedy gets put to a stop when Eye-Scream fills the Danger Room with water. The X-Men decide whichever side he is on, they can’t let him die, and Wolverine slices the doors open.
Not bad, about nine pages before Wolverine does anything of note…
I think Wolverine feels his misuse when he notices Obnoxio was using a rubber chicken as a diving helmet and decides to take matters into his own hands.
Notice, as always, Cyclops (who I will remind you started this), ruins all the fun.
It doesn’t really matter though, as suddenly all the X-Men and Obnoxio are in the control room with a now fully conscious and functioning Professor X and a completely frozen Eye-Scream.
The Professor used his mind powers to change the temperature in the control room but we move on from that super quick to find out Kitty forgot it was her birthday and watch Obnoxio seltzers her in the face.
There’s a couple more panels of lame jokes but…
This isn’t over…
There is a one-page “Obnoxio’s Abuse Page” where some ‘kid’ writes a letter telling Obnoxio both him and his magazine should drop dead (1983!)
It results in Obnoxio telling a your mom joke and something about the kid’s aunt before napping on a desk.
So that’s cool…
There’s another story ahead – “Jury Duty!”, with zero X-Men involvement. Probably to match my zero enjoyment of this book…
The writing of Random Comic Recall is usually one where I have fun going through the book and just write as I read some old comic I pulled. This one just has no enjoyment. I tried skimming the “Jury Duty” story and there is just nothing fun in it. At least in the last one, jokes could be made about seeing some iconic characters in something so bizarre. Writing further on Obnoxio feels like trying to have a good time with a Larry the Cable Guy movie.
Much like the “Abuse Page,” they do a one-page “Dear Flabby” where Obnoxio makes some comments that are supposed to be entertaining about different Marvel titles before getting dragged away in a straight jacket.
This may be the most offensive thing in the book. After he ruins my night by reading this piece of trash, he gets dragged away mercifully while I sit with this awful book rotting in my long box.