Friday, December 2, 2011

Pulped faces in comics - Snake-Eyes and Flash

Like many my age, G.I. Joe from Marvel comics was my gateway into comic collecting. It was easily accessible (no extended continuity, as with the superhero universes), familiar (the cartoon and toys were already in full gear when I discovered comics at my local bookstore), and enthralling for a young boy (guns! tanks! masks! Cobraaaaaa! Yo Joe!!!!!).

And the lynchpin character was Snake-Eyes. What was not to like? He was mysterious, tragic, wore all black, and was a freakin' ninja. Hell, yeah! This was my guy. And I was lucky because three issues after I began with #23, readers got the secret origin of Snake-Eyes with issue 26 & 27. Phenomenal stuff. If there was any wavering on my part, with that two-parter Larry Hama solidified my status as a G.I. Joe fan, and I hung on until somewhere around the 140s - quite a run.

Throughout the series, Hama would often come back to Snake-Eyes origin, sprinkling in more details that would link him even more closely with other characters within this universe such as Storm Shadow, Scarlet, Duke, and Zartan (??).

If you're unaware of their connection and you've ever been a fan of these characters, you need to seek out these issues (I believe #84 recounts their connection)

Anyway. Eventually, we finally got to see Snake-Eyes's true face - the one that had threatened to make many a person in the comic ill just from the sight of it. Mark Bright was the current artist when Hama finally showed us readers this horrific visage in issue #93, and I admit to being a bit let down.

Returning to that issue now, a couple of decades later, I can see that Bright - with his highly skilled pencilling - did the best he could and managed to make Snake-Eyes rather gruesome, but it didn't work for my young mind. It is, no doubt, a result of one's imagination providing a far more vivid image than what any artist could contrive.

Though, the resultant mashing of Barry Allen's face by Big Sir, as portrayed by Carmine Infantino, certainly is a fine example of the image being more horrific than the imagined one.



Gibran Graham said...

Wasn't #23 one of the issues that got a promo commercial?

Chris Beckett said...

Probably. Seems like there was an entire string of issues that got that treatment. I remember the Snow-Cat(?)leaping off the screen and the Dreadnoks racing across the the TV in a jeep or something. Great memories.