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January 17, 2008

Comments

Siskoid

Gah! That last one barely gets Code Approval!

Mark Engblom

Ah, but that's the disgusting reality of homelessness, Siskoid...and it's my solemn duty to educate the public!

Shar

I realize it is a retelling of the events from FF #4, but is the actual page you show from Sub-Mariner #1 (1968)?

Interesting how the Big Three from Timely--Namor, Cap and the original Human Torch--made their Silver Age Marvel debuts in FF #4, Avengers #4 and FF Annual #4, respectively. (There was a "Cap" in an earlier Strange Tales Johnny Storm story... but that was a faux Cap so that doens't count!)

Shar

Duh...my question has been answered...you also show the cover to Subby #1 directly above the page I mentioned (I haven't actually read ever that issue so that's why I asked.) The Buscema (and Adkins?) art is gorgeous!

Mark Engblom

Hi Shar!

Yeah, I didn't really make it super clear where the Sub-Mariner flashback came from. Sorry about that. The panels are taken from Sub-Mariner #1, which I felt had the edge over Kirby's original sequence from FF #4.

Hey, that observation of yours about the "Big Three" returning in #4 issues is fascinating! I had never made the connection until now. Thanks for stopping by!

cinephile

Interesting that most of those covers and stories seem to create a sense of homelessness through magic, imaginary stories, mytzlplick, etc. I haven't read them all, but it looks like only the Iron Man story makes homelessness an actual, ongoing state of being, and explicitly links it to the character and his disease. Then again, that's the genius of Denny O'Neill.

Mark Engblom

Good observation, Cinephile. You're right, Tony Stark's fall seems to be the most authentic and close to reality as far as that downward spiral (often fueled by an addiction) that leads to homelessness.

However, a couple other covers DO come from stories that did present homelessness in a somewhat more realistic way. The story appearing in the Flash built up to it over a period of months, showing Wally West losing his money, then gradually losing more as a result of that loss of resources. Granted, he was scooped up by the JLA and helped out, but up until that point, things looked convincingly bleak for the Flash.

Similarly, the situation of Namor wandering the streets in the fog of amnesia closely approximates (at least in my mind) the plight of the homeless mentally ill. Sure, the cause of his mental illness was a sort of "magic", but the resulting decades of Namor's undignified wandering are surprisingly poignant when you think about it beyond the brief "set-up" sequence it was intended to be in Fantastic Four #4.

But, yeah, for the most part, you're right that most stories presented homeless heroes in the context of the old "look at the funny hobo!" paradigm of decades past.

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