Next week Quirk Books is releasing its follow-up look at the obscure side of comic books with The Legion of Regrettable Supervillains, a companion book to its 2015 release The League of Regrettable Superheroes (reviewed previously here at borg.com). Cartoonist and graphic designer Jon Morris has again researched the archives of Digital Comic Museum and Comic Book Plus to locate oddities from the Golden Age of comics to more recent series.
Morris collected more than 100 of these antagonists of the comic page, many only serving their plot in a single issue of a long forgotten publication. These are villains that today seem laughable as bad guys, like Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man, Bloor (The Dictator of Uranus), The Horrible Hand (a giant hand), and The Human Flying Fish. The Legion of Regrettable Supervillains is a great excuse to look back to the roots of comicdom, its creators, and the publications that have come and gone. Morris’s overview of the far recesses of the Golden Age of comics may remind readers of the changing times–the changing audiences–for comic books, and how the industry has grown. Creators of the obscure are mentioned in the book when known, and sidebars list plenty of humorous weaknesses of these vile fellows. The Balloon Maker is particularly nefarious, and a baddie before his time–he’s something out of House of Wax or Silence of the Lambs. As much as some entries are obscure, others, like MODOK, are better known–but still strange.
You’ll see plenty of examples of full color covers and interior art from the characters represented, as well as characters created by legends in comics like Dick Sprang, Frank Frazetta, Gill Fox, Jack Cole, Otto Binder, Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Jerry Siegel, Joe Simon, Neal Adams, and John Romita.