Supernatural Saviors

1011107_kindlephoto-284515435Greetings, boils and ghouls! Tis’ your old pal, the Symbi-Keeper, with a tale from a Marvel Universe much like the one we know, yet somewhat….altered. This yarn begins in the distant land known as Louisiana….(Cue the maniacal laughter!) Whew! I bet reading that in your best HBO “Crypt-Keeper” voice really wore you comic fans out! Not to worry, I think I got most of that out of my system now. I guess it’s just the season. Halloween just seems to bring out your inner monster. That brings me back to the subject of this month’s article, Marvel Comics’ Supernaturals 4-Part miniseries.

605275The story begins with action. The first panel shows two young African-American boys standing in the center of a creepy graveyard in the middle of the night. They stand within a circular arcane symbol with a strange dagger. The elder boy, Daniel, slashes his hand, dripping his blood within. His younger brother Jericho is more unsure. But he does the same after promises that this ritual will bring their deceased mother back to them. As you can imagine, the whole thing goes horribly awry as there is a blast of fire. Nearly blinded by the inferno, Jericho opens his tear-filled eyes to see the bloody dagger hit the ground. Daniel is gone! At this moment, all non-mystically powered superheroes around the globe simply disappear! The story picks up again 13 years later, near Halloween. A now-grown Jericho Drumm awakens in his bed, screaming the name of his sibling. Jericho is soon to find out that now, nearing the anniversary of that fateful night (Dubbed the Chaos Event.), the remaining mystical heroes of the planet are now starting to turn up missing! He immediately takes on the guise of his super alter ego, Brother Voodoo, and seeks out the Sorcerer Supreme himself, Dr. Strange. But, upon reaching the good doctor’s home, it is discovered that he as well is now gone! Not to worry, though. Sensing his impending doom, Strange set up a failsafe. A relic meant to seek out five other “chosen” individuals to prevent another Chaos Event. Of course the relic I speak of is the Eye of Agamotto. Wasting no time, Brother Voodoo searches out the others: Black Cat, Ghost Rider, Satana, Gargoyle, and Werewolf By Night!

supernaturals_2The problem? Another has risen and is rallying the forces of darkness into an army. His name is Jack O’ Lantern and he knows of the “chosen” as well. In fact, while Voodoo was busy at Strange’s, all of them have been under attack! But, using the powers at his disposal, Brother Voodoo teleports to each one in turn, snatching them from the clutches of evil. All but one are taken to sanctuary….except Werewolf By Night. No, Voodoo was too late to save this poor beast. While the group gets to know each other a bit better (and squabble about even joining this band of supernatural misfits!), the villainous Jack O’ Lantern has our good friend, the Werewolf By Night, chained in a strange dimension. While there, he uses his incalculable arcane abilities to separate the werewolf from its human host! Meanwhile, the others are finally convinced that the time has come to use their powers against the coming threat. (Oh, and the recently resurfaced Werewolf By Night joins them as well. Convenient, eh?) That is when N’ Kantu, the Living Mummy, and other evil creatures choose to attack the unsuspecting city! Led by their master, there seems to be no stopping them! Who will save the day?! The Supernaturals, baby! Or they would, if Jack O’Lantern hadn’t blasted Brother Voodoo into a coma and separated the others throughout time!

supernaturals_3 As the heroes confront monstrous adversaries in different times, they must also confront their own fears. Ghost Rider and Black Cat face crazed witch-hunters, Headless Horseman, and the Scarecrow in Salem during the witch trials. Gargoyle goes it alone against a horde of zombies, and the Chupacabra. Satana and Werewolf By Night take on Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, and an army of vampires and werewolves in old Transylvania. As the heroes battle on they all fall, one by one, to the forces of evil.  But, in the Transylvanian past, a shocking event (yeah, right!) occurs. The Werewolf betrays Satana by knocking her out and delivering her to Jack O’Lantern! All of this, along with Brother Voodoo being mentally tortured by memories of the night his family perished!

2933bbb161eabf3e587b3c7d1e0eAs Halloween night fast approaches and our heroes are underpowered and chained, Jack O’ Lantern is given a mystical horn by his minions upon his request. Upon blowing it, the giant monsters from Marvel’s past arise all over the world: Grottu, Droom, Gruto, Gorgorilla, Moomba, Grogg, Roombu, and Groot! (I am Groot. Sorry. “Guardians” flashback.) Meanwhile, Jack O’Lantern reveals that he just requires the blood of an innocent to complete his goal of Hell on Earth. To do this, he chooses Satana’s human counterpart. But as he raises a familiar looking dagger into the air, Brother Voodoo recognizes it from that fateful night, 13 years ago, with his brother at the cemetery in Louisiana! Jack O’ Lantern is his missing brother! Voodoo snaps out of his catatonic state and attacks.

At the same time, Werewolf By Night reveals himself to be on the side of angels and frees Satana! (Shockers abound, right?!) As the Supernaturals all fight for the future of the universe and their very lives, other mystically-powered superheroes appear around the planet defeating the menace of the titanic conjured monsters! While this is going on, Brother Voodoo seems to be failing in his battle against his evil sibling! Sensing this, the Supernaturals all grasp the Eye of Agamotto and channel their combined might into Voodoo. Empowering him he uses all of this, plus his own might, and sends the now depowered Jack O’ Lantern into a void, never to return! But, as he falls into nothingness, he warns that only he has the power to return the other heroes of Earth! The end. Quite a climactic ending huh kiddies? Too bad the series was never picked back up to tell us what happened next. But I’m sure that the as long as there was a mighty team like the Supernaturals out there, the day was eventually won. Well, that’s it for me fellow comic fans. But before I leave you….Happy Halloween from all of us at the Unspoken Decade! (‘Nuff said!)



More than Words: Fin Addicts, a Nomination for Best Letter Column of the 90’s

(Editor’s note: In the months to come, proprietor Dean Compton and I hope to share with you the thoughts on an increasingly diverse array of comics from even more fellow lovers of that most Unspoken of Decades! If you would like to be one of them, head on over to The Unspoken Decade’s Facebook page and send us a message! In the meantime, enjoy this look at Fin Addicts from new contributor Albert Carpentier! – ES)

Hi, Legions of the Unspoken! My name is Albert Carpentier, and I celebrate 90’s comics.  Thanks to Dean for letting me contribute to the Unspoken Decade! During the early 90’s, I was a teenager with a limited amount of monetary funds to spend on comic books.  I tried to avoid multi-part crossovers and comics with jacked up prices due to a fancy cover but a crap story.  I enjoyed extras like pinups, house ads, and letter columns.

DC and Marvel typically included a one page letter column with a handful of letters that occasionally offered some insight but were chosen to print because the editors could hype up some upcoming story line or new series in their response.  I don’t remember Valiant having letter columns at all and I don’t feel like digging out my old Ninjak comics to check.  Then there was Image.  Image comics were a breath of fresh air with multiple pages of letters.  I thought it would be fun to revisit the Fin Addicts letter column from Issues #1-26 of Savage Dragon.

The first issue of Savage Dragon I picked up was Issue #9.  I picked it up because I had enjoyed the SuperPatriot miniseries, and the character made a guest appearance in #9.  I knew Savage Dragon was the flagship title for the Highbrow Universe of Erik Larsen and eventually bought all of the back issues at my LCS.  Besides enjoying the fun story lines and characters, I got my money’s worth because Larsen filled these issues with extras, and as the series went on they usually averaged four to seven pages of the letter column Fin Addicts.  The infamous Issue #7 was 22 pages of splash pages, a poster insert, and eight pages of letter column that concluded on the back cover!

The humble beginning of Fin Addicts. A forum for Savage Dragon fans since 1992.


This was before email.  Letters were typed or written and then mailed (with a stamp!) to the PO Box listed in the header of Fin Addicts.  Larsen responded to a question in Savage Dragon (ongoing) Issue #1 that he received over a thousand pieces of mail every month.

Issue #12 included an explanation on how he picks letters for the column.  It is good advice about asking questions that can be answered without ruining the story, offering insight and something new.  While I enjoyed reading Fin Addicts, I never attempted writing a letter.  This could have been time well spent in my high school creative writing class but I was too busy writing fan fiction episodes of Seinfeld.

Olav Beemer, habitual letter writer.

A typical Fin Addicts included a question and answer section compiled by Larsen from questions in letters.  This was helpful to find out character names and backgrounds not stated in the story and about Larsen’s creative process.  Issue #13B included a preamble about many readers asking the same questions to write term papers.  He listed several questions from 12-year-old Robert Mickelson.  This info helped middle and high school kids write book reports.  I like to think somewhere in the world there is someone who received a Bachelor of Arts in English writing a thesis about Dragon.  I imagine this person is somewhat like the Jeremy Piven character in the movie PCU.

Larsen used Fin Addicts as a forum to interact with readers and he held court about a variety of topics.  Issue #8 included a tribute to Jack Kirby after his death.  Issue #14 an announcement of the birth of Larsen’s son.  Issue #18 a breakdown of different formats used to write comics.  Issue #26 a stark take on the status of the comic book industry after the speculation boom.  Letters with negative views were printed, and Issue #15 included an apology to a reader whose dad was “bent out of shape” about the near nudity of characters in Issues #9 and #14.

Due to the passage of time we tend to forget how controversial Image was at the time.  Some people like to collect comics because of the writers and artists.  Some people like to collect comics because of the characters.  Neither way is wrong; however, opinions are created and heated feuds can take place.  Larsen feuded with Peter David and others.  Fin Addicts was not immune from these conflicts. Reader Alan Bykowski wrote letters appearing in Issues #11 and #14 touching on some of these issues.  Letters from Peter David were in Issues #20 and #22.  Larsen’s response to the letter in Issue 20 was four-and-a-half pages long!  I remember being shocked at the time flipping through and seeing page after page of bold font used for responses.  Creating comics was their job, and they took it seriously.

Great response from Erik Larsen about reasons to print negative letters.

Reading and collecting comics was a choice I made as a teenager.  Initially none of the others in my group of friends made the choice with me.  Eventually, I found several new friends who shared an interest in comics, but when I first started reading, I felt like an outsider.  I read Fin Addicts and found there were other people who cared about comic books and the characters in them just like I did.  They were escaping into comics just like I was, and they cared enough to write a letter letting the creators know we were out there.

Dissolving Barriers: DC’s Coagula

(Editor’s note: In the months to come, proprietor Dean Compton and I hope to share with you the thoughts on an increasingly diverse array of comics from even more fellow lovers of that most Unspoken of Decades! If you would like to be one of them, head on over to The Unspoken Decade’s Facebook page and send us a message! In the meantime, enjoy this look at DC’s Coagula from new contributor Lee! – ES)

Hi, Legions of the Unspoken! You can call me Morbius95 (aka Lee). That’s all you get for now! As you will probably be able to tell, this is my first time writing on a professional level. I decided I wanted to write because I have a voice that can possibly help someone through my writing. (Plus it’s fun!) I was born in the 90’s, so I guess that makes me a perfect fit to write about this unspoken decade! My first tastes of comics came in 2003 when I acquired The Demon #22 for my 8th birthday from a cousin of mine. I have been in love with comics ever since, with a special fondness for the 90’s despite not collecting till the 2000’s. Doom Patrol became one of my all-time favorite groups when I first acquired, you guessed it, Doom Patrol #70. I became infatuated with these outcasts because I felt like one my self.Image result for coagula doom patrol

Kate Godwin (aka Coagula) made her debut in that issue of Doom Patrol, published in September of 1993, and quickly made an impression as one of the first ever transgender characters in DC comics history. Created and written by the amazing Rachel Pollack and penciled by Scot Eaton, Coagula’s appearance stood out in a landscape where LGBT issues in comics had been limited to very few events, such as Marvel’s Northstar coming out in Alpha Flight #106 (1992) and DC’s Pied Piper coming out in The Flash #53 (1991). Appearances from transgender characters were practically nonexistent in the Big Two –that was until Coagula showed up.

Image result for coagula doom patrol
Really ahead of the whole steampunk trend.

To start off in Doom Patrol #70 we meet a man not named yet who has a troubled psyche about his, ahem, small genitalia and how he hates others because of his problems, especially, shockingly, women. This guy gets rejected repeatedly, and every time this happens he believes it’s because of his size. So after some pity over his life he decides, he has had enough and decides to get back at society by making a gigantic codpiece to make up for his lack of size. (Yes, that is his name too. Really.)

We first meet our super-heroine picking out a mask for her friend Jean’s birthday party, a fairly realistic looking frog mask. They leave the scene and head to a bar,  where we learn about her powers, which are she can coagulate liquids and dissolve solids. We find out that while working as a prostitute she gained her powers from sexual contact with Rebis, a radioactive hermaphrodite formed by the original Negative Man Larry Trainor and Dr. Elanor Poole, who are forced to merge by and with the Negative Spirit that had left and then returned to Trainor.

Image result for Coagula dc doom patrol

Image result for coagula doom patrol
Why you get the money up front.

Next we find Kate in a bar showing off her powers for her friend. She also discusses trying out for the Justice League, who liked her powers but didn’t like the way she was. At first we think she’s about to give up, but boy are we wrong.

Codpiece is seen walking up to a bank, which he proceeds to blow away part of with his, well, codpiece. He then drills a hole in to one of the vaults with the piece, which is basically like a Swiss Army knife with all its attachments. The police try to stop him, but that goes as well as you would expect, and Codpiece knocks one out with a boxing glove from, well, you know where by now.

Image result for codpiece dc
And he wonders why he doesn’t have more luck with the ladies.
Image result for codpiece dc
George and Marion finding Coddy while on their stroll

I haven’t said much on who else is in this story mostly because I wanted you guys to know how great Coagula is, but yes, there are others in this story as well. Like the couple that come to help the cops  take on big old Coddy, George and Marion of the Doom Patrol! Earlier in the story they decide to get out of DP HQ and go out on the town to have some fun. They invite Cliff (aka Robot Man), but he refuses. (We’ll discuss that at a later date.) They encounter Coddy as he unleashes bombs from his piece and conks two officers out cold with some technical prowess. They throw everything they can at him but to absolutely no avail. He stops them at every corner, and when all seems dark for our heroes someone takes notice of the scene, and that someone is…Coagula! Kate had an official costume at one point but got rid of it because she didn’t think heroing was her calling. Then she remembers the green frog mask from earlier and puts it on.

Image result for Coagula dc doom patrol
When the lady in the frog mask is the most normal looking person around, you know things have taken a turn.

Immediately you can tell he is distracted by this seemingly normal woman who’s just wearing some costume mask, but boy is he in for a huge surprise, folks.

Image result for Coagula dc doom patrol


Image result for Coagula dc doom patrol
Pictured: every man’s worst nightmare.

After is all said and done, George and Marion are very impressed with the abilities Coagula showed off, so much so that they offer her a spot on the Doom Patrol. She accepts their offer to go with them, thus turning into one of my personal favorites of the Doom Patrol. This was ground breaking for the time to see a transsexual lesbian in a comic. (She later turns out to be bisexual, dating Cliff Steele.) When I first read it, it honestly blew my mind, especially for the decade it came from.

I just wanted to thank Dean for giving me this opportunity to write something I’m very passionate about and hope to write more in the future. The reason I’m passionate about LGBT issues is because I myself am bisexual and genuinely care for my community. I had problems as a child thinking something was wrong with me, and these comics helped me through some tough stuff in my life. Thanks for letting this manic depressive have a shot where most wouldn’t give me one.



%d bloggers like this: