Friday, September 28, 2007

SUPERTRAMP: Could "The Vagabond" Be the Worst Superhero Ever?

At long last, the Red Bee can lay down his weary burden -we have a new contender for the title of Worst Superhero Ever. The Vagabond made his debut in U.S.A. Comics #2, and like most Golden age characters had only the most rudimentary of origins. With a big crime wave sweeping the city, crusading officer Murphy was called in to help:

Like many handsome millionaire playboys/crusading district attorneys/ frustrated beat cops of comics’ Golden Age, Murphy decided to fight crime anonymously by taking on the dramatic secret life of a costumed crime fighter. Unlike those others, a mere domino mask and opera cape would not be sufficient. Apparently, to fight crime in Middleton, one must become fatter and smellier than crime.

“I need a disguise that will strike terror into criminal hearts! I shall become a creature of the night! I shall become...a comical, roly-poly cartoon hobo!!”

Thus was born the Vagabond, a.k.a. Chauncey Throttlebottom III, the first bumfighter. With a fake gut, rosy-red nose and clown lips, smoking a cigar, this utter fucking lunatic took on the city’s crime wave. Like most crime fighters of the time, he was amazingly competent at everything, and his enemies were easily whipped into submission, never commenting on his ridiculous guise. But really, what the fuck were they thinking with this guy? As one has to suspend ones disbelief to accept that a man dressed as a giant bat will intimidate hardened criminals, so must one suspend ones disbelief that much more to swallow this:

This battlin’ bum only appeared in the first three issues of U.S.A. and has never been seen since. There was a female Vagabond that showed up in Captain America in the ‘90s, but if forgotten fourth-string superheroines can be thankful for anything, I’m sure she’s grateful for having no connection whatsoever to Chauncey Throttlebottom III.

It takes a whole lotta suck to give both superheroes and hobos a bad name, but the Vagabond had all that suck…and more.


Mike Konczewski said...

Are you sure he appeared in USA #1? On the Grand Comics Database, it looks like he debuted in #2, and only ran 3 issues. Just curious.

Brian Hughes said...

You are correct sir! Noted and fixed.

Anonymous said...

This reminds me a bit of the awesome trailer for the (non-existent) film HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN that played in Canada with GRINDHOUSE.

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