Thursday, April 14, 2011

Cosmo & the sentient animals of the Marvel Universe debate


Often in the world of comics it's not always easy to understand why we find some concepts and characters appealing and why we don't care for others. Some of the last comments made in the previous posting has prompted me to address this. I had never even heard of the Cosmo character until the Thanos Devastation one shot that kicked of the Annihilators mini-series. But I liked him right away. Where as characters like Rocket Raccoon and Howard the Duck who I've been aware of since the early 80s have been of no interest to me.
First of all we have to just simply accept the whole sentient animal concept in the first place. So what's the difference between Cosmo and the ones I don't like? Well both Howard and RR are drawn to look like "cartoonish" caricatures of the animals they are. So it's kinda like seeing something that looks like Rocky the flying squirrel interacting with characters like Ikon, Gladiator or the Silver Surfer. That right there makes it hard for me to take those characters seriously in the main stream Marvel Universe. Cosmo is drawn to look like a real dog. Plus, both Howard and RR have these kinda wise guy personalities. Their intended appeal to the readers feels a little forced and contrived to me. Where as Cosmo despite his powers and intelligence has almost this sense of innocence about him and simplistic way of looking at situations that sort of befits the concept of a common dog turned sentient. I think a great example of that is the clip art provide above. He's funny with out trying to be. So that's just my honest non-ranting take on things when it comes to sentient animals of the Marvel Universe. I'm not going to get into Cosmo's origins I'll leave that up to you folks to find out using Google or whatever other search engines you prefer.
By the way, you may have heard Cosmo at one time or another cry out "BOZHE MOI!". If that sounds familiar to you it's because we've heard it a lot with Colossus of the X-Men and maybe on occasions with other Russian characters in Marvel, usually said when someone is amazed or startled. It translates literally into "my God". Speaking for myself during moments of amazement or shock I usually say holy shit. I guess that's kinda similar.

11 comments:

  1. I love Cosmo - he was my favourite part of Guardians of the Galaxy especially his arguments with Rocket Raccoon!

    ReplyDelete
  2. proving once again that great minds think alike Dan.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Excellent reasoning as to your split between Cosmo and Howard / Rocket.

    The cartoony look of those two always bugged me as well, but Steve Gerber's writing (and the art of Frank Brunner, Gene Colan, Michael Golden and more) made him a favorite character of mine (plus, he's tied deeply into the roots (so to speak) of the MAN-THING).

    Still, I can not argue with your sound explanation into your viewpoint.

    I found Cosmo to be a treat as well.

    ~P

    ReplyDelete
  4. well sometimes a good artist and writer can take a concept like those characters and make the best out of them for lack of a better way of putting it. but back then(early 80s)when it came to Mike Golden, Bill Mantlo and Sal Buscema i just naturally gravitated toward stuff like ROM and The Micronauts. i've just never been a fan of things that i perceived as being campy or otherwise too tongue n cheek in the realm of more serious super hero/sci-fi drama. but hey, to each his (or her) own. i was initially content to leave the RR stuff alone as you can see from my first A#2 review. but seeing all those fan boys out there salivating over the RR story while picking apart The Annihilators just made me have a melt down as you can see. i needed to let off some steam. just like Arnold's arch enemy at the end of Commando:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t-tRErs5UcI

    ReplyDelete
  5. You think maybe they salivate over RR because their expectations for it are nil? It's the only thing I can think of. I never really was exposed to Cosmo before your column, but he may be my favorite canine character since Lockjaw. And you made some excellent points about him being funny without being cartoonish. He fits within the parameters of the book, the same way Beta Ray Bill does, (cause let's face it, with that name, he could always be a total schtick character).

    ReplyDelete
  6. Gotta agree: Cosmo is one of the best (and maybe most under-rated) characters brought in to the Marvel Universe in the last several years. Something else you'll probably appreciate, David, is that the reasons you have for liking Cosmo more than Howard and Rocket are pretty much the same reasons that my wife hates talking animals in movies.....but she loved the talking dog in the movie "Up." :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. it's good to have you back Max. i'm not a huge fan of movies like UP but i think your wife's a keeper. spare no effort to keep her happy, at all times!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Believe me, David, I know I'm blessed :) And come on, give "Up" a chance, and I'll.....I'll kick a Raccoon for you or something!

    ReplyDelete
  9. well look here's the thing about me. after my mom delivered me the doctor dropped me on my head and . . . wait i don't need to go quite that far back. i got into Marvel and DC type superheroes at a real early age (5-7). early Anime like StarBlazers would soon follow. i can't even remember if i ever liked anything else before that. so i don't think i ever had anything but a brief passing interest at best with stuff like Micky Mouse or Scooby Doo.
    so as a result by the time family movies like Toy Story came out and what have you i was pretty much sold on more sci-fi/super hero type animated genres. so something like UP just isn't gonna cut it for me even though i don't think it's bad per se. if i need a good laugh i'm more inclined to read something with Captain Boomerang in it or go watch a movie like Superbad.
    don't go kicking raccoons those things are dangerous. in an episode of 1000 Ways To Die some drunk Russian soldier tried to hump one and received a very nasty injury as a result that caused him to bleed to death.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I agree 100%
    Also here are some cool 33/4 customs you may like.
    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v469/Markusv8/finalcast1.jpg
    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v469/Markusv8/cosmo.jpg

    ReplyDelete
  11. hey welcome to the blog Jason sorry i didn't get back to you sooner. i've seen that Rom figure before in fact i've feature it here on a previous posting but that Cosmo figure was cool never seen that before.

    ReplyDelete