Monday, August 10, 2009

Bang-Up Thrilling Displays of Physical Strength and Power

I think it's a damn shame that Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster were treated so badly for so long by National/DC Comics. They really should have gotten their proper due as the creators of Superman, if only so Siegel could have spent more of his sunset years playing golf and fewer writing comics like Mr. Muscles:



Brett Carson is Mr. Muscles, a costumed strongman who begins "Man Vs. Beast!" hanging out at the Zoo showing off for the adoring crowds. The best I can tell by this issue, somehow Mr. Muscles makes a living by running a gym full of "pupils", wrestling, and, well, appearing at Zoos, apparently.





But not everyone is a fan. Meet the most embittered Zookeeper in comics:




Mister Muscles dazzles the crowd with such feats as: balancing himself on one thumb! Lifting weights on barbells! 81 whole knee-bends! The exhibition climaxes as Mr. Muscles meets his greatest challenge yet; a big bald lard ass climbing a ladder to cannon ball our hapless roid-case:


HOORAY MR. MUSCLES!!! Of course, the fat guy tumbles down the ladder to a shuddering heap on the cement below, dislocating several vertebrae, but who cares, he’s just some fat fuck! MR. MUSCLES!!! Every day is a rippling, glistening, corded holiday with Mr. Muscles around!


That evening, the worlds mightiest physical culturist instructs his pupils:

"Now, the trick is to let them know you're really trying to kick the drugs, but you need to sell these candy bars so you can go to the drug retreat at Disney World. Then you won't be stuck here and tempted back to drugs. We talked about what IMPLY means, Right?

Class: (mumbles agreement)

Mr. Muscles: Right! So you all gotta IMPLY that if they DON'T buy enough candy bars, you might be back! For money to steal from them! For drugs!! "



Give the man credit though, when he gets an emergency call from the zoo, he immediately jumps out the window. I'd like to see "the Fuzz" match that level of service:


Published by Charlton Comics, Mr. Muscles took over issues 22 and 23 of the defunct Blue Beetle series, so don't be fooled into thinking that Mr. Muscles lasted 23 issues! Charlton did this sort of numbering trick all the time to avoid paying mailing fees related to starting up a new title. So they might start out with Combat Action for issues 1-7, change to Western Action for issues 8-13, and morph to Undersea Romance Western for issues 14-24, before wrapping up the run with, say, Captain Atom's Tomb of Terror for issues 25 and 26. Modern readers will be heartened to know that Marvel has made great strides in challenging Charlton’s position as King of the fucked-up numbering mountain in recent years.



In other news, yes, an apparently nude "Kid Muscles" has just jumped into the Roadster....



A page later, the Evil Zoo Keeper has immediately knocked out the useless Kid Muscles and trapped Mr. muscles in the tiger cage. Between their special Fat Guy/Bodybuilder Stunt-Stravaganza and their deranged, Tiger-unleashing Zoo Caretaker, I'm thinking this Zoo has some serious OSHA issues.

I have no words for the TIGER MUSCLE ZOO ACTION that follows:









Then it turns out that the wicked Zoo Keeper was just jealous of Mr. Muscles! He was all skinny, and Mr.Muscles was all strong, and it just made him want to turn tigers loose on one guy and try to shoot another guy!



Then Mr. Muscles tells the inspring tale of how he overcame polio to perfect his body and strove for years to regain his mobility, then later to resemble a giant greased cauliflower. All is forgiven as our Don Knotts-esque Zooman becomes a physical and moral exemplar, rippling with muscles and mental clarity. I like to think that he went back to work at the zoo wearing just the wrestling shorts and his "Zoo Caretaker" cap.






7 comments:

2ND.FADE said...

heh... at least Mr Muscles sends bad guys down the gym for their redemption..
That Lazy Doc Savage would just go for operating on their brains....

MetFanMac said...

What on EARTH happened to Kid Muscles's arm in the third to last picture??

Brian Hughes said...

Um, that, thats...MUSCLE DYNAMIC TENSION in action! Yeah, that's the ticket!

(Either that, or terrible art...)

adf said...

I'm contacting CBS immediately to suggest they replace "As the World Turns" with "As the Chubby Chap Strikes the Mighty Man's Midriff."

Also, please please please tell me there really was such a thing as Undersea Romance Western. If not, I'll have to get started on it myself immediately.

Mego Thor said...

"I have no words for the TIGER MUSCLE ZOO ACTION that follows:"

I do; Pure Crap! On the plus side, workin' out cures polio! I always suspected only lazy asses caught it.

Tom K. Mason said...

I would totally read any comic book called Undersea Romance Western!

Anonymous said...

It's so wrong to describe KID MUSCLES
as useless!! He can bend steel in his bare hands (the steel bars of
the tiger cage)and he can lift and
pull a very heavy car (See: "The Kid
Muscles In"). And without his help,
Mr. Muscles would not have defeated
the loathsome Jake Armbuster. So
please don't denigrate KID MUSCLES: The best-built and most handsome young muscleman of all time!!!