We Are the World, We Are the Mutants...

HEROES FOR HOPE STARRING THE X-MEN #1, Marvel Comics, 1985
While I was away last week, Mike Sterling over at Progressive Ruin posted a bunch of stuff on Heroes for Hope, something I'd completely forgotten about. So I dug it up to check for myself. It's an X-Men jam whose proceeds were donated to famine relief and recovery in Africa. When superheroes tackle real life issues, there's always a danger of the creators missing the S.S. Good Taste by, for example, making the famine the work of a supervillain. I couldn't remember where Heroes for Hope stood on this, though I did recall some kind of super-menace.

Thankfully, the "primal mutant" in the story only feeds on misery, it does not cause it. Well... it causes pain for the X-Men, so that's a bit of a plot hole, but you have to expect this sort of thing when there are so many creators involved. Every few pages, there's a change of writer, artist, inker, letterer and colorist, everybody chips in (which I guess is more or less the lesson of the story). They're not all created equal, of course: One letterer spells the word "attacked", "attacted". Eeech!

But there are a lot of surprises, especially now that I know my stuff (as compared to 1985). Many UK creators turn up, like John Bolton, Alan Moore, Charles Vess and Brian Bolland who I didn't know - or hardly knew - at the time. And "real" writers too! Stephen King writes 3 pages, as do Harlan Ellison, George "Wild Cards" Martin, and Bruce Jones (a decade before penning the Hulk!). Frankly unexpected. Odd, but interesting art pairings includes Bill Sienkiewicz inking Frank Miller, Walt Simonson on Howard Chaykin and Al Milgrom destroying Mike Kaluta.

So a real winner, eh? Well, not really. To give each writer something to do, the "primal mutant" attacks each X-Man with an illusion, but it usually amounts to padding. The best written, in my opinion, is Alan Moore's bit about Magneto (at this time a member of the X-Men and a real fashion faux pas - he's the pink guy on the cover). Moore is teamed up with Richard Corben's really creepy art, and manages to squeeze in special appearances by the original Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, the Morlocks and Hitler! And it includes this freaky panel:
The best drawn is Brian Bolland's bit starring Storm, showing her in a number of guises, which Storm admits are pieces of herself:
Meow! I know which piece I want! (Tastes may vary.)

The second part of the book gives various writers the chance to make sermons about famine, poverty, the difficulties of helping without creating more problems, and never giving up. One sermon, fine. Two, ok if you change it up a little. Three, and it's a National Geographic article from Colossus' lips? Pushing it. Four? Ok, I'm skipping pages.

I was gonna rant about Rogue's powers being misrepresented and looking like a rag doll at the best of times, and this at the worst:
But just like a UNICEF commercial, you acknowledge the problem and what they're trying to do and you change the channel before it's over. Very hard to rate this, since its heart is in the right place, but as a whole, it's drab. I hope my 1.75$ Canadian did some good though.

1 comments:

rob! said...

all of those imaginary Storms play to a particular fetish out there. maybe Bolland also had one where Storm was a giant?

 

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