The rock musician/comics creator’s forthcoming Oh, Killstrike from Boom! Studios is a paean to the overmuscled antiheroes of yore.
I missed the ’90s.
When people talk about the Image Revolution, pouches, steroidal musclature, copious bloodshed and Liefeld‘s feet, it’s all academic to me. I wasn’t really there.
As a Batman fan with a profound case of comics OCD, I suffered an acute case of burnout after the second Burton movie came out. By that time, Batman was in everything or on everything and so I felt I needed everything Batman was in or on, regardless of quality or substance.
Like Two-Face without his coin, I was paralyzed by an inability to make choices. So I chose not to make choices. I quit. Cold turkey. Done.
That you’re reading this is proof I came back — but it wasn’t for about 10 years or so.
Max Bemis, as it turns out, has me covered. His forthcoming Boom! Studios mini with artist Logan Faerber — Oh, Killstrike — is an ode to ’90s comics excess. The premise is one a lot of middle-age fans can relate to: New dad, unnerved by the responsibilities of fatherhood, not only refuses to put away childish things, he ends up giving life to one of his favorite ’90s ultraviolent antiheroes, heavy artillery in tow.
Killstrike, of course, is a construct of Bemis‘ fertile imagination. But he sounds the part, no? The only thing less subtle might have been calling his creation SavageDeathDeadStrokeBladeSpikeOuchOuchOuch.
Anyway, Max — better known as the frontman for the band Say Anything — and I talked about his fave ’90s ubermen and he listed five that top the heap of carcasses:
“I was a fan of the X-Men cartoon. … You know, I had a Wolverine fixation like I think every child did. Wolverine was cool but I wasn’t collecting X-Men comics yet. So I think Grifter was my first example of, like, the bad boy — the unpredictable smart-talkin’ bad boy and his mask is weird so his mask is cool. And… you gotta have a little bit of a man-crush on him as a child! I’d say it was, like, him and Charlie Sheen!”
“I got into WildC.A.T.S in a dedicated way before I got into X-Men in a dedicated way. It was a little bit later on that I got serious about buying every X-Men issue that came out and knowing the continuity and the history of the characters. But WildC.A.T.S with me, was…I jumped on at Issue #1, y’know? So they were coming out as I was that age. And I remember… he was a cyborg so, like, he couldn’t truly love. I wasn’t really thinking about the sexual aspect but there must have been some kind of subconscious, you know, “What’s he gonna do when that happens?” … (And) he gets torn apart all the time, they have to rebuild him from scratch. He was a kind of a romantic lead to me — a classic, romantic/tragic figure.”
“Spawn is great. … That comic is still ongoing. I have a lot of respect for that. One of the reasons I put it on (the list) is that in recent years I started rereading the older stuff and trying to catch up with all, like, 200 or whatever issues, especially since they just released them all digitally. But it’s actually… it’s one of the only comics that I got to start over and read again. Like, I haven’t done that with, Youngblood! I don’t know if I would for Youngblood. But, yeah, I haven’t done that for any of these comics except for Spawn.
“They actually took the time to release those big hardcovers and also trades and the digital so like you can go back and read it just from that. And it still to me holds up! It’s great! I think it’s a very sad and tragic story and it’s very easy to relate to Al Simmons’ character.
I only take Ripclaw because I think his design’s pretty cool for a, like…obviously he’s a Wolverine-type guy in Cyberforce. It’s a given. He is basically Wolverine. But then there’s the other guy on WildC.A.T.S, who actually his name I can’t recall (Warblade — Dan). There’s a guy in WildC.A.T.S. who had like a green ponytail, and he was his like opposite and they actually had a sort of crossover between WildC.A.T.S and Cyberforce and they fought.
And I totally wanted Ripclaw to win because he was just so much more obviously cooler than a guy with a green ponytail. Even when Alan Moore wrote WildC.A.T.S and it was like really great writing, I STILL was judging the guy with the green, long ponytail. Like, CAN’T he just cut the ponytail, y’know? I mean, Alan Moore was writing the book at this point and someone has GOT to notice that this guy has a green mullet! So that’s why I chose Ripclaw, because I just remember dominantly thinking he is SO much cooler than the other guy!
“He may not get as much attention as Deadpool … but I feel like his role in the X-universe is equal if not more. Because Deadpool is kind of doing his own thing all the time.
“Cable is being involved in all these various huge events in the Marvel Universe and he’s got his own series, which is actually very good. I think if I were to work in the industry, in comics, in that way, I would hope something like Cable would happen. I’m sure Rob (Liefeld) is, like, super (proud). … He’s gotten killed off but brought back, of course, 500 times but in general I think he’ll probably stick around and be part of the X-Men mythos for as long as there is an X-Men. So, I think that’s pretty cool!
“I mean, he’s very much one of the main inspirations for Killstrike, ’cause he’s SO big, has so many guns, so many shoulder pads and everything.
“But, you know, he has a winning personality!”
Oh, Killstrike is due out 5/20. Final order cutoff is 4/27 and the item code is MAR151035.