Characters Appearing: Astrid Josefsen, Man-Thing, Viking Josefsen
Issue(s): Man-Thing #16
I had originally read only issue #17 of this storyline (see the Considerations section for why it's not all part of one entry) and just assumed the viking was another zany weirdo that wandered in from the Nexus, but he is in fact an Earth-born character. A longshoreman forced to retire at the age of 65, Grandpa Josefsen went crazy and declared a war on all the sissies, hippies, and cowards that have ruined the modern world for him. Josefsen is also apparently super-strong...
...something that isn't explained, but this is the Marvel universe so the idea that a character could potentially have super-strength isn't out of the question.
The initial target for his ire is his granddaughter, Astrid, who calls the cops on him when he throws her artist boyfriend out a third story window. He pursues her through the swamp where she runs into a rock artist named Eugene Spangler. Spangler, sort of a nihilist Ziggy Stardust, quit his 1999: A Space Parable tour...
...to take a year off to write "a cosmic operatic tribute -- to ruin, to rot, to all the gorgeousness of dirt and decadence!". Spangler happens to be at the top of the viking's hitlist, but he's also pretty clearly a self-absorbed idiot and doesn't take Astrid's warnings seriously. What's kind of interesting is that at this point Josefsen's ideas about musicians are a little outdated; Spangler and his crew aren't peace & love hippies but something closer to proto-punk artists like Iggy Pop or maybe Transformer-era Lou Reed (although the space-glam trappings don't really fit with that; i'm not sure exactly who Gerber was parodying, if anyone), and they don't mind getting into a physical fight with the viking.
Not that it makes much of a difference; they are all murdered.
The Man-Thing's role in all of this is, unsurprisingly, incidental. It's nice seeing him confused by the emotions coming from Josefsen. Josefsen is too crazy and full of rage to be afraid of the Man-Thing, so there's no real confrontation.
Nice art by Buscema/Palmer, which does a great job of conveying the old man's physical presence, and also treats us to some Man-Thing vs. alligator action.
By itself this issue is a little strange and it's not clear what, exactly, the message is. There's no sympathetic characters here (Astrid is a generic victim). But when combined with the upcoming book-burning story, it's the beginning of an interesting arc.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Giant-Size Man-Thing #4 takes place next, and we'll learn in Man-Thing #17 that the Giant-Size issue takes place the day after the events here, with #17-18 being a conclusion to this story.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Essential Man-Thing vol. 2
Gerber was most likely parodying all 3 musicians listed--Bowie did the Space thing, Iggy & Lou were flirting with Glam(more Lou than Iggy)in 1972-3, and it was actually Bowie who personally revived both of their careers after Lou quit the Velvet Underground in 1970 and the first iteration of the Stooges broke up in 1971.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | July 13, 2014 12:57 AM
Seeing Man-Thing gator-rasslin' is always a blast. However, in terms of Marvel monsters versus the animal kingdom, the gold standard remains the werewolf versus shark donnybrook in WEREWOLF BY NIGHT #2.
Posted by: Brian Coffey | September 27, 2017 9:26 PM
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