Appantix A*

November 3rd, 2008

Oh no, not this tired old turn again – it’s bollocks. No it’s not, but it has got bollocks in it. Oh no, not again, leave the poor dead dog alone would you? Actually it’s not a dead dog, but it has got a … etc.

Check the fuck out of these latest man-bloomers, or ‘moomers’, if you like. They’re the latest hot-off-the-rack examples of the comics world’s ever increasing penetration into the intersecting tripartite spheres of movies, fashion, and sense-shatteringly great undies.

I don’t know why these knicks appeared in the shops just the other week – my panz connec just spotted them on the off-chance. Both the recent Iron Man and Hulk movies have got the dvd treatment over here in the past couple of weeks, so I guess that’s got something to do with it. Like with my other Iron Hulk pants, you get the impression the merch dept was giving a bit of a two-fer-one-fer: two movies this summer, only room for one new pair on the Super-rack at H&M. They went for the classic solution: Marvel Two-in-One. A couple points “worth” mentioning in that regard: i) perhaps the Mighty Marvel Marketeers are priming the pant-wearing, non comic-reading segment of the audience for the interesting and commendably brave, shared universe Avengers movie crossover thing they’re doing over the next three years or so, by putting characters not strongly associated in the public consciousness onto the same pant; softening them up (while giving away the eventual plot of the Avengers movie)…; and b) the relative quality of the two films is being thoroughly expressed in the b-slapping that our favourite green, mean smashing machine is getting from the Alumin(i)um Avenger in both pairs of crossover pants. The Incredible Hulk had some suitably gamma action sequences, and the opening shot of the favela is a far, far better intro than that kind of b-movie (meant as a compliment) has a right to expect, but that’s no competition for Robert Downey, Jeff Bridges, or saki and stripper-poles on a jet plane.

However even that can’t excuse the sheer plain unlikeliness of Iron Man beating the Hulk in a straight-up scrap – not just once, but on two pairs of pants in a row!

I mean, how come? No way! Sure, everyone loves Tony, but in the tough guy stakes he’s nothing but canned Hulkfood.

(That’s a classic flatus right there, a real treat for we connoiseurs of such things: ‘ARRRGH!’ It’s a humdinger, a right farmhouse-scrumpy-in-a-plastic-flagon of a flatus. Trust me, I have done tests.)

As you can see these panx are pretty bloody brilliant – the colours have been really nicely balanced – I love the simple, heavy blue wash on the front, which goes well with the chunkily naïve and dynamic accompanying shot of shellhead. In fact, the whole design screams rollicking good four-colour comicbook action madness. This is all a little bit too deliberate maybe – the text on the front has clearly been picked and placed by a designer who reckons he’s well clever putting the ‘graphic detail’ bit in there. And the back, with its chop and paste collage of scenes doesn’t have quite the rude charm or popart masterpiece ‘authenticity’ of some of the beautiful strides in my, frankly, world-beating wardrobe of amazing superhero underoos.

But they do have something.

It ties into what I was saying about the 1985 / Neon-Neon / that-town in-ET feeling that I mentioned in the recent podcast. Look at the flecked electric blue background. That’s pretty eighties, all on its own. But look again at the spotty dotty colouring process used on IM’s face. The first superhero comic I ever bought (sorry, we’re in ‘first comic I ever bought’ territory now – I’ll understand if you want to look away) was a Marvel UK reprint of Jim Shooter’s megalo-melodrama opus Secret Wars. (Yeah yeah, Watchmen whatever – this was the 80s comic that really made the future happen, an innocently cynical cross-platform attempt to pleasure suckers like me into fueling the comicbook industry for the rest of their lives. Nice job, Jim.) I don’t know what kind of production process Marvel (/UK) were using on their colour separations in those days (I’m sure there’s half an internet devoted to the subject somewhere), but whatever it was, those spotty colours are it. Depending on the colour they were, certain characters would almost shimmer and move under the shonky pressure of the tiny, inexplicable circles. They brought comics to life. Those weird, cheap-ass dotty dots are the acme – and the acne – of cues, embedded deep in my subconscious, that capture the time and the comics for me, eliciting a huge half-guilty rush of nostalgia. They’re so real I can smell them (the dots, I mean, metaphorically speaking – not my pants. They don’t smell, alright?) That is why I am so unashamed, and – hey! – sincere, in calling these my favourite superhero pants.

At least until next spring, when I expect some pants to come along that will finally fill that huge gaping X-shaped hole in my pants (collection). I surely cannot wait for those. We here at Mindless Ones Dot Com are taking bets on a truly era-defining flatus on that one. Say it with me true believers:


Previous pants posts

Pantiversary: Year Seven
– cheers babe.

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