Well, well, well, now what do we have here Raist? Could this be the beginning of an all new series of posts on your blog? Are you going to explain this at all? And why on Earth are you talking to yourself? Sorry for the silly opening, but yes this is going to be the start of an all new feature on my blog: VS. As the name implies I’m going to have two things duke it out in a no holds barred grudge match, and see who or what is going to come out on top. In this series of posts all kinds of things are going to be featured, games vs movies, manga vs anime, books vs movies, original movie vs remake, the list goes on and on. In short basically if there is something that has a counterpart in the same or another medium, it will get featured in this series. Now that I have explained what this will be about, let’s get this first installment underway. Let’s meet todays contenders! In the left hand corner we have the original Marvel comic bookseries of Man-Thing dating back to 1971, an obscure and probably not very well known character. In the right hand corner we have the Man-Thing movie which was made in 2005. Who’s going to win this battle of wills? Let’s get ready to RUUUUMMBLLLEEEE!!!!!
When you think about Marvel comics, most people will probably bring up the superhero characters such as Spiderman, Iron Man and the like. But way back in the 70’s Marvel comics was also responsible for a black and white magazine called Savage Tales. Now this was a book that was made before the comics code imposed restrictions on content in comics such as nudity or extreme violence. As such Savage Tales was intended for a mature audience which shows in the way the stories were told as well as depicted in the incredible art this book contained. Savage Tales number 1 also was the first time the Man-Thing made it’s appearance, or to put it in comic terms: it’s origin story. Scientist Theodore “Ted” Sallis is working deep in the Everglades with a team that is attempting to recreate the Super Soldier Serum that created Captain America. Against regulations he has also brought along his lover Ellen Brandt. Ultimately Ted succeeds in creating the serum, but is beginning to have second thoughts about the project. He destroys the formula, and takes a vial of the solution with him in an attempt to keep it safe from a terrorist organisation. Unfortunately though, his lover is in league with those terrorists and ends up betraying him.
When Sallis is held at gunpoint and ordered to give up the serum, he manages to break free, and attempts to flee in his car. Injecting himself with the solution in the hope of saving himself he crashes his car deep in the fetid swampwaters. Unfortunately his plan backfires, and the serum combines with strange magical forces in the swamp transforming him into a lumbering, mindless creature: The Man-Thing! Now with his mind gone forever, Ted wanders through the fetid waters alone as a monster that is neither evil nor good, but also to become a protector to everyone that calls the swamp home. I had a blast reading the huge 1188 page The Man-Thing omnibus, that chronicles the history of this strange creature and contains most of his comics from the 70’s. The beast has all kind of adventures ranging from confronting evil cults, serial killers, magical creatures, and an evil businessman called Schist who wants to turn the swamp into pollution filled factory grounds. There are even guest appearances by well known characters such as The Hulk and Spiderman. I highly recommend this massive tome to everyone who loves classic comics, monsters, and is interested in a relatively unknown piece of Marvel history.
I give The Man-Thing Omnibus a 9 out of 10 score.
In 2005 The Man-Thing made it’s big screen debut. Well, it was supposed to be a big screen debut anyway, but it didn’t go as planned. Instead it got it’s premiere on the sci-fi channel and then made it’s way straight to dvd. I don’t really think I need to explain why exactly that was the case. This was movie was pretty bad, and that’s putting it mildly. The story of the film is also completely different from the comics. In the movie a young sheriff that goes by the name of Kyle Williams is sent to the town of Bywater, to fill in as a replacement for the original sheriff who is missing along with 47 other people. Kyle goes to work, and soon bodies begin to turn up, hideously deformed with plants growing from them. Upon investigating, the sheriff finds out that ever since an oil tycoon called Fred Schist bought the local swampland from the Native American chieftain Ted Sallis, the first people started to disappear. In fact Sallis was the first one to vanish without a trace. Amidst several protests by locals against Schist’s activities in the swamp, Kyle tries to put a stop to the murders and at the same time uncover the truth. Apparently though, against his better judgement, he has to face the fact that a supernatural force has taken root in the swamp….
This is without a doubt a very low budget B-horror movie. While I occasionally can have fun with those, that most certainly wasn’t the case with this one. How you can take a concept that’s so cool as The Man-Thing and completely waste it is beyond me. The creature itself has about 3-4 minutes of screentime, and doesn’t even look convincing. It also doesn’t behave at all like it did in the comics. There, while it would go too far to call it a force for good, it didn’t attack people indiscriminately or without reason. Here though right from the very first scene it kills someone without any cause. Ted Sallis is mentioned and is apparently a Indian chieftain here, instead of a scientist. But it never really becomes clear if he has in fact turned into the creature. Most of the actors in this film seem like they don’t even want to be there, and speak in all kinds of horrible accents, which causes you to miss certain sentences. One thing I do have to mention is that some of the corpses that are found in the film look considerably creepy and disgusting. That’s pretty much the only highlight I can think of in this film. I think I’ve made it pretty clear that this movie is one to best avoid even if you are someone who loves low budget flicks.
I give The Man-Thing Movie a 3 out of 10 score.
Well, this wasn’t even a match. With a comic concept that is as cool as The Man Thing, you could have done something really fun with it in a movie. Alas, that was not to be, making The Man-Thing Comic the easy winner in this first installment of VS. And that also brings us to just about the end of this post. I hope you enjoyed it! Let me know in the comments section if there are things you wish to see in this series of posts. I of course have a couple of ideas for future editions myself, but I’m always eager to hear from my readers, and hear what they want to see. So let me know, and I will do my best to make it happen!