Many years ago, I stumbled upon a comic that really fired up my imagination. It was King Size Avengers No.1, with the a masterfully alliterative subtitle: “The Monstrous Master Plan of the Mandarin.”
Inside, the Avengers — Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, Goliath, the Wasp, Hercules, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver — where matched up against Mandarin‘s super villain gang: Power Man, Living Laser, Swordsman, Enchantress and the Executioner.
When I first read it, I was a little kid just getting into comics and I positively loved the issue. Most of all, I was thrilled by the villains. A Living Laser! A guy with lots of Green Lantern-styled rings! And then there was the Executioner. His armor and ax made for an awesome package.
In fact, I liked it so much that I convinced my parents to let me be the Executioner for Halloween.
In the 1980s, it’s pretty hard to find an executioner costume, so we built it from scratch. My dad constructed a wooden ax out of a broomstick and black-painted plywood. Then we created the armor — out of a paper grocery bag that was cut and stapled to approximate his outfit. On top of that, we drew some Executioner-styled motifs with markers. Heck, it even had a “Roman” leather-strip dress, just like the character did.
On Halloween day, we drove door-to-door (this is rural New York State, you see) and at each stop, I was forced to explain just who the Executioner was. I certainly didn’t look like a medieval executioner, they said. Where was my hood, they asked. Why are you dressed like Spartacus, they wondered.
Needless to say, I got pretty frustrated after a while. “Geez,” I remember thinking, “Don’t these guys read comics?”
Inspired by Commander Benson’s essay on this issue.
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