by Carl R. Jansson
The nineties get a lot of flack nowadays from comic fans, and some of it is very well deserved. Many things happened in the nineties that made it a very dark decade for the comic industry, many things we would like to forget happened at all, and some things we just can’t seem to let go of. And pouches, so very many pouches. Each Tuesday I discuss the many things that made that decade truly a great time to be a fan. This week, I bring you another reason the nineties weren’t all bad.
Okay, so he was originally a product of the eighties, with some appearances in Omega Men, but Kieth Giffen and Roger Slifer’s creation really came into his own once they recreated him from the ground up for his appearance in Justice League International #18 and #19. Giffen used the character as a parody of the grim and gritty style anti-hero that was all the rage at the time. Due to the popularity of Batman: The Dark Night Returns and Watchmen comics became a darker place, yet without a writer of the caliber of Alan Moore or Frank Miller to use their characters as commentary, this new breed of anti-hero was just dark for darkness’ sake.
It is revealed that Lobo has killed off his entire species with a science experiment, committing genocide purely because he wanted to. His origin isn’t all that has changed. He now sports biker chic, all leather and chains, with long straggly grey hair, pale white skin with blood red eyes, and rides a suped up flying cycle he calls his ” Space Hawg”. Through his appearances in L.E.G.I.O.N. Lobo became popular, but it was his first four issue miniseries, Lobo: The Last Czarnian, which rocketed him to many fans favorite list in 1990.
As written by Giffen and co-writer Alan Grant, and drawn spectacularly by Simon Bisley, Lobo finally became the commentary that was missing from comics, even if many readers didn’t notice, or care. Lobo was over the top ultra violent, crude, and one mean bastich. And it was hilarious! Over half the time he ended up killing his bounty, to the chagrin of those paying the contract, mostly Vril Dox of L.E.G.I.O.N. The fact that he would destroy entire civilizations at the drop of a hat, yet would give his life for his favored space dolphins, only added to his roguish charm.
Besides his extraordinary strength, he had superhuman durability and a healing factor to rival Wolverine, once even regrowing thousands of clones of himself from drops of his blood. It was Wolverine to the Nth degree, many years before Deadpool used the same tricks, and for some reason really struck a cord with comic fans.
The “Main Man” had many miniseries’, including the fan-favorite Paramilitary Christmas Special in which he is contracted by the Easter Bunny to take out Father Christmas himself, and it wasn’t long until he had an ongoing series, which lasted six years. During that time Lobo was everywhere, crossing over into other DC titles and beyond. Crossing paths with Superman, Hitman, Deadman, Starman, The Mask, Judge Dredd, The Authority, and once bested in battle by the one he most parodied, Wolverine. It was safe to say that Lobo was taking over.
This version of the space-faring bounty hunter would go on to appear, in animated form, on television, as well as inspiring a college filmmaker to film his own live-action Paramilitary Christmas Special, and a later comic series by Anthrax’s own Scott Ian! He’s still kicking around DC Comics’ New 52, in fact there is two of him, but it all started here, in Lobo volume one, number one, one more reason it was awesome being a comic fan in the nineties. Next week I’ll bring you another.
David Lapham’s Stray Bullets
Doom Patrol Volume 2