9 Terrible Comics Starring Real People (and 4 That Are Actually Awesome)
13. World Championship Wrestling (Marvel, 1993)
Considering that they both tend to be about men in tights beating the crap out of each other over a predetermined storyline, one would think that combining comic books and pro wrestling would be a no-brainer. In practice, however, it usually leads to a spectacular failure, like the WCW comic that was — no joke — sold at both comic boook stores and bait shops in South Carolina, and was so terrible that when a character looked into a mirror, his reflection was making a completely different expression. And this was the bestattempt made at a wrestling comic.
The uniformly terrible Chaos! Comics line got the license for several WWF Superstars (including “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, The Rock, and, perhaps most regrettably, Chyna) in the early 2000s, but none of them are quite as iconic as The Undertaker, whose short-lived series was based on the premise that when the six-time World Champion was in the ring, he was actually fighting literal demons that would be sent to hell with his signature Tombstone Piledriver. Wrestling fans will believe a lot, but that’s pushing it.
Even stranger was Nash, which removed pro wrestler Kevin (sigh) “Big Sexy” Nash from the wrestling ring and instead put him into a post-apocalyptic Liefeldian wasteland for reasons that are completely beyond our understanding.
And finally, no discussion of terrible pro-wrestler themed comics would be complete without the legendarily terrible WARRIOR, written and based on the former WWF champ who had his name legally changed to “WARRIOR“ after a trademark dispute with the company. With four issues and a Christmas special (yes, really), this one is about… well, to be honest, we’ve read every issue and still have no friggin’ idea what was supposed to be happening in this series. It’s mainly just about Warrior making up words like “foked” and “Destrucity” and then working them into essays in the back matter.
In one of the least logical appearances by a real person in comics, Judd Winick scripted a story where the Outsiders turned to “America’s Most Wanted” host John Walsh to find a missing child, then promptly showed him up by using crazy super-technology that, for reasons that are never made clear, Nightwing has never bothered to hand over to any actual law enforcement agencies. Nice one, Dick.
During the height of the New Kids on the Block craze of the early ’90s, Harvey was publishing no fewer than seven series (and more one-shots) featuring the superstar boy-band, including one where they just hung out with Harvey mainstay and plutocrat-in-training Richie Rich. Sadly, the issue where Donnie Wahlberg “accidentally” burnt down the Rich mansion only exists in our dreams.
Everyone’s favorite mohawked member of the A-Team has actually starred in three comic series, starting with the odd “Mr. T and the T-Force” in 1993, which featured art by the legendary Neal Adams. Curiously, the series debuted well after Mr. T’s initial popularity waned and before the rise of nostalgia that would see him return in graphic novel format in 2009, but the biggest disappointment was that the “T-Force” was a gang of scrappy youngsters and not some kind of mystical energy field generated by his gold chains. His recent original graphic novel more than makes up for it though, as it features Mr. T as as a bodyguard in a super-suit that fights his Caucasian equivalent, Mr. C.
It might be hard to believe, but musician and king of the prexies Pat Boone was at one time so popular that he not only guest starred in an issue of “Superman’s Girl Friend Lois Lane” (in which the Man of Steel’s deep-rooted Kryptonian psychosis leads him to write a folk song that subliminally reveals his secret identity), he also had his own solo title for five issues. Which puts him in the company of…
As has already been established, Chaos! Comics–the company built on the success of “Evil Ernie” and “Lady Death” — was absolutely terrible, but rarely did quality sink to the fan-fiction-esque levels of this one, which included an issue where the eponymous band spent two pages talking about how awesome their fans were, then led said fans to a strip club where all the strippers immediately fell in love with them, and then killed a bunch of mouthy jocks in stereotypical letter jackets. Seriously. That is literally what happens.
On the flipside, DC put out a comic about Prince in 1991 with art by “The Question” penciller Denys Cowan, a cover from “Batman: the Killing Joke” artist Brian Bolland, and a script by Dwayne McDuffie that was so over-the-top that it looped around to become awesome. The plot involves Prince’s evil twin, Gemini — whose music is powered by hatred –r eturning to Minnesota and taking over, leading to a rock-off that involves both a complex death-trap and Prince literally bringing a dead woman back to life with the power of Purple Rain. Also he is compared to Batman. Twice.
DC’s long-running comic about the similarly long-running comedian Bob Hope not only saw issues scripted by “Doom Patrol” creator Arnold Drake, but also gave us one of the ComicsAlliance’s favorite characters, the shape-shifting mod Super-Hip, described by Wikipedia as…
…the crew cut and bow tie-clad ‘nephew’ of Bob Hope and a student at Benedict Arnold High School, an educational facility whose “Faculty of Fear” is comprised entirely of Universal Horror-style monsters, including principal Dr. Van Pyre, German-accented science teacher Prof. Heinrich von Wolfmann, and coach Franklin Stein.
And that’s awesome.
And finally, the strangest real-life team-up of all saw Jack Kirby, the King of Comics, introducing Don Rickles, the King of Insult Comics, to the comedian’s long-lost costumed twin Goody Rickles, who in Superman’s words, “causes more trouble than the villains.” It is completely insane, but as far as crazy things that have happened to Jimmy Olsen, it’s not even in the top five.
Political figures have been appearing in comics for as long as there have been comics: JFK famously showed up in “Superman” and the “lost” Teen Titans Annual where Bob Haney revealed that an alien impostor was assassinated, freeing him to bring peace to an alien planet; Franklin Roosevelt was a supporting character in a good number of Justice Society stories; Bill Clinton made a few appearances in in “Captain America”; even Fidel Castro teamed up with the Flash in the late ’80s! But the biggest impact on comics has been President Barack Obama, who made appearances in “Licensable Bear” and “Savage Dragon” before a team-up with Spider-Man opened the floodgates that saw him in everything from Rob Liefeld’s “Youngblood” to “Drafted,” where he used his skills as a community organizer to battle an alien invasion after being rendered mute. Yes, really.
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