Thursday, October 06, 2011

Legion of Subpar Villains: Fire-Proof, But By No Means Fail-Safe

America: Land of opportunity, innovation, and sometimes, great stupidity. At some point in the late 19th century, we decided that Asbestos was the new wonder material that was going to insulate our homes, schools, and federal buildings, and generally make life a beautiful living dream. Later, it was discovered that asbestos was super-toxic to humans over the long term if handled or inhaled. WHOOPS! Since then, a multi-million dollar industry has been built up around removing and containing the asbestos that was installed in the first place.

So how big of a loser do you have to be to give yourself a terminal illness dressing up in a toxic gimp suit made of asbestos in order to fail at robbing banks? Just ask the ASBESTOS MAN, a one shot punching bag who debuted in Strange Tales #111 (Aug 1963). Like so many other enterprising, disgruntled comic book scientists, Orson Kasloff decided that work is for chumps, and he'd be better off using his universal solvent to rob banks. But with no criminal skills, how was he to gather a criminal gang? Clearly, the only answer was to pick a fight with the Human Torch, defeat the whippersnapper, and wait for the goons to come to him. I never said it was a good plan. These days, he's dying of Mesothelioma, courtesy of his poorly self-designed asbestos clothing sending millions of jolly, microscopic fibrous visitors to his lungs, long after those many years ago when that punk ass Human Torch beat him so very, very easily. Now it's a race between the chrysotile fibers strangling his lungs and the fibers burrowing under his skin as to which horrific form of cancer takes him first; skin or lung, if not both. Such are the horrors and consequences of unsafe asbestos handling.

This goof-ball is especially amusing when you consider the sliding timeline of the Marvel Universe. He probably went on his little crime spree about eight years ago, Marvel time. Ironically, he probably had an e-mail reminding him that it was time to take his annual asbestos awareness training waiting for him in his e-mail at work.

Most recently, Asbestos Man made a reappearance in Fear Itself: The Home Front #6, where the Terminally-ill Terror attempted a comeback before being confronted and talked down by the Great Lakes Avengers, none of whom would actually touch him. He still made it into their top 5 rogues gallery, though. Because they, too, are sub-par.

1 comment:

Carl Walker said...

I learned about this guy recently, and I'm glad to see he finally made a return!