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Friday, May 19, 2006

Profiles In Courage: The Hypno-Hustler

I mentioned last night that I'd been reading through the Marvel Legacy 1970s handbook, which is loaded to the gills with pure delight. Marvel Comics of the 70s, after all, are well known for the fact that they are, on occasion, bat-shit insane.

Then again, that's sort of the hallmark of every decade over at Marvel. But it was in the 70s that the craziness reached its upper limit, as personified in tonight's honored subject:


Yes, the brainchild of none other than the single greatest Marvel writer in history, Bill Mantlo himself, the Hypno-Hustler appears and subsequently has the hell kicked out of him in a story called--wait for it--"Spider-Man Night Fever."

See, he's got this small hypnotic ability that's augmented by his backup band The Mercy Killers, a name which I guarantee you every single emo band on the planet wishes they thought of before settling on something like "Portnoy's Complaint."

But the awesome band name isn't what makes the Hypno-Hustler one of the greatest villains of all time. No, for that, we have to turn to his posters:

"The Hypno-Hustler" isn't just his super-villain codename, it's the way he bills himself to the general public. He's essentially advertising his sinister Master Plan on every stop in the New York City Subway System, and that's a ballsy move no matter how you look at it.

"Are you sure we should go to this show, Ethel? I don't want to get hypnotized and hustled or anything."

"Oh George, what could possibly happen? We're just going to see The Hypno-Hustler."

Unfortunately for the Hypno-Hustler, Peter Parker is dragged to the disco in a white Travolta-esque suit by his ostensibly well-meaning friends for some relaxation just as the robbery is going into effect. One judicious application of webbing to his ears to block out the siren song of the Mercy Killers, and Spider-Man's foiling the Hustler's attempted robbery through the time-tested method of punching him in the face and subjecting him to the hot lixx of his own hypno-guitar.

That's right, I said hot lixx from his own hypno-guitar. Have fun with whatever Green Lantern's doing this month, suckers.

So yeah, the plan doesn't exactly work out like he wanted it to. But what if it had? The entire crime is based around the fact that the Hypno-Hustler's got to play for the audience, and I imagine after he splits with whatever loot he gets from a bunch of teenage hipsters--which today would result in a net haul of $26.50, four spiked wristbands and a pile of "ironic" t-shirts--they're going to wake up and realize they've been had. Considering that he's not exactly making a secret of what's going on at the show (see above), I imagine that second gig is going to be pretty hard to book.

But really, I guess that second robbery was never much of a concern.

BONUS FEATURE: The Funniest Panel I Have Ever Seen

Clearly, Spider-Man has been through this sort of thing before.

More Profiles in Courage:
| The Haunted Tank |
| The Vagabond |
| The Tiger Man |
| Banjo |


Anonymous Jon H said...

Mantlo must have been to a Parliament/Funkadelic or Bootsy Collins show shortly before writing that.

If any real-world musician should be turned into a comic book superhero, it's Bootsy.

5/20/2006 2:02 AM

Anonymous Jon H said...

Actually, not just Bootsy. Also Johnny Cash.

I can see it: "Bootsy and Cash"

5/20/2006 2:03 AM

Anonymous Dorkamus Prime said...

You guys do realize that Sam Jackson has signed on to play the Hypno-Hustler in Spider-man 4, right? Soundtrack by Portnoy's Complaint, of course.

5/20/2006 5:32 AM

Blogger Philip Looney said...

I love how 70s Marvel was all about making up characters based on what the kids were into at the time:

"Hey the kids are really into Disco/Funk music - I know, we'll make the Hypno-Hustler!"

"Hey the kids are really into Skateboarding - I know, we'll make the Rocket Racer!"

"Hey the kids are really into Kung Fu - I know, we'll make Iron Fist!"

5/20/2006 8:59 AM

Blogger Erech said...

Wow, I totally just read this like 2 days ago. Packing, getting ready to move, stumbled across a box of old 70's and 80's comics all beat up, and right in the middle, a good run of crazy ass Spidey comics.


5/20/2006 11:27 AM

Anonymous joe o said...

They continue the music theme:

Carrion, my wayward son

5/20/2006 5:33 PM

Blogger James said...

Damn you Chris! Now I am going to have to write about Devil's Heart or Hellcow.

"Oh George, what could possibly happen? We're just going to see The Hypno-Hustler."

To get completely off the subject there is a car dealership in Iowa called, I shit you not, Dick Witham Ford. While this is no Three Way Hummer, I always wondered how they would advertise.

5/20/2006 10:55 PM

Anonymous Greg M. said...

Can it be that Bill Mantlo was the Bob Haney of Marvel?

5/22/2006 10:34 AM

Blogger Chris Sims said...

" Can it be that Bill Mantlo was the Bob Haney of Marvel?"

This may--MAY--be the most perfect sentence I have ever read.

5/23/2006 12:52 AM

Anonymous Micronaut Mad said...

I am sure many of you know about Mantlo's tragic story. If not check the links below:



2/06/2007 10:20 AM

Blogger Timothy Liebe said...

::"Hey the kids are really into Disco/Funk music - I know, we'll make the Hypno-Hustler!"::

Philip - you forgot Dazzler, man! How could you forget - Dazzler?

Tim Liebe
Far as I KNOW, we're not going to be adding Dazzler to WHITE TIGER - though Hypno-Hustler's a "Definite Maybe"....

2/13/2007 12:55 AM

Blogger Dr. kold_kadavr_flatliner, MD, the sub/dude said...

Faith, hope, and love,
the greatest of these is love -
jump into faith...
and you'll see with love.
Doesn’t matter if you don’t believe
(what I write);
God believes in you;
God. Blessa. Youse -Fr. Sarducci, ol SNL
Meet me Upstairs where the Son never goes down…

5/18/2015 7:09 PM


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