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Lobo is (dramatic pause) a geeky dweeb – The Omega Men #3

July 15, 2011

This requires a moment’s explaining.

In the early 1990s, in what was for me the height of Saturday Night Live’s funniness, Emilio Estevez (yes, that Emilio Estevez, at his own summit of Young Guns/Mighty Ducks fame) hosted the show. There were several memorable sketches that night, including one featuring ‘roided up weightlifters with itty-bitty stick legs. The real standout, though, was a game show parody (think Password) entitled “Geek, Dweeb, or Spazz.” Various upper echelon high schoolers would compete with one another in guessing which of those categories their more lowly classmates fell into. David Spade was quite hilarious as a “Spazz” in a Ghostbusters t-shirt.

I’m getting close to the point, don’t worry.

Emilio was the fourth subject, but he didn’t fit the geek/dweeb/spazz mold. He wore a leather jacket. He talked the macho talk. He threatened the preppy contestants with physical violence and disdained their efforts to placate him. But then Mike Meyers, the host, whipped out a yearbook picture from Emilio’s previous high school, where he was a pocket-protectored treasurer of the Dungeons & Dragons Club. He ran off the stage sobbing, and the show moved on.

I think you may be seeing what I’m getting at (and now that I’ve done the worst thing in the world and explained a joke, you can watch the sketch at the bottom of the post).

Look back up at that cover. Whenever I see the later Lobo that we all know — the jacked up one in leather, the one with the “bastich” attitude, the tough guy — I harken back to that image. That hair. That costume. He may not have been a member of the Dungeons & Dragons Club, but a badass can’t at one point look like an in-drag Tim Curry could have played him in a movie. The Rocky Lobo Picture Show. His later accoutrements reek of overcompensation.

Here he is in his first full-body shot in comic book history (words: Roger Slifer, pictures: Keith Giffen, Mike DeCarlo):

Granted, he was a conscienceless killer even in those first moments, as evidenced by his flicking a guy’s brain through the back of his head a couple of panels later:

(By the bye, the “Humbek” character that gets offed is meant to be a spoof of Fred Hembeck. Impress your friends with some useless trivia!)

Lobo’s tough-guy persona was intended to be a send-up of the grizzled testosterone fiends that so riddled comics back in those days, but like many parodies he achieved a level of popularity that led him to slip his tether and become an embodiment of what he was originally meant to mock. If it’s any consolation to Giffen et al, he’s always been a joke to me, and will be one forever more. That first appearance yearbook photo is going to tail him around in my head for a very long time.

Of all the Feetal’s Gizz in the universe, he’s the Feetal’s Gizziest, and the geekiest of dweebs.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 18, 2011 12:27 pm

    Wow, I had that comic and never realized the Lobo I met in later comics was the same guy. I wonder if this issue would be worth anything if I hadn’t given it — and all my Omega Men comics — away long ago?

    Of course the bigger mystery is why I ever bought them at all.

    • July 19, 2011 10:41 am

      I seem to remember Omega Men #3 being hyped by Wizard back in the early 1990s as one of those “Comics to Watch!” or “HOT HOT HOT COMICS!” or whatever the hell label their hype machine was using to push books. It was one of those comics that was sure to skyrocket in value and let you retire at 30, you know? The bubble will never burst!

      I bought it for a couple bucks a month ago (and I might have overpaid at that price), which should offer a clue to that mag’s crystal-clear prescience.

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