Saturday, April 7, 2012

Iowa City Man Sought Baby Stroller for his Snake // My Favorite Five Comic Book Snakes!

I first heard about this story on Facebook. This morning I noticed that KCJJ radio expanded on the original story this morning. Basic story? A guy went into a local thrift store to purchase a baby stroller and/or some baby clothes for his giant snake so that he could take it out in public and not get quite so much of a reaction. Nothing big; it just is a fun story about the random curiosities of Iowa City living. Check it out:
An employee at an Iowa City thrift store says a man attempted to purchase a baby stroller so he could hide his large snake in public.

The unidentified employee of Artifacts on East Market Street posted a photo of the snake to the store's Facebook page on Thursday. The photo shows a large snake hanging from the sunroof and driver's-side window of a black SUV parked in front of the Bluebird Diner. The description of the photo claims the man wanted to buy a baby stroller or baby clothes so he could disguise the snake when he takes it out in public. A later comment from the Artifacts account says the man wanted to take the snake into restaurants without disturbing other customers. It goes on to say that the snake then began to honk the car horn.

Other commentors claimed they had seen the man with the snake at various locations throughout Iowa City, including city parks. Iowa City Police even received a report of the snake hanging out of the SUV sunroof near the corner of East Jefferson and North Lucas Streets just before 5pm Thursday.
Don't get me wrong. I love this story. If I could take my dogs out in a stroller, I would. So I don't hold it against the man for getting one for his snake.

Anyway, I was thinking about this story and musing about the snake honking the car horn and then somehow that got me thinking about comic books. I'm not a huge fan of snakes, but I decided to mull over my Favorite Five List of Comic Book Snakes. It took some thinking, but I think I came up with an impressive list:

5. The Serpent: Last year, Marvel Comics had a huge comic book event called Fear Itself. In a nutshell, the long-lost Asgardian God of Fear known as the Serpent was brought back from oblivion. He recruited a bunch of nazis and super-villains and destabilized the planet through the power of fear and destruction. He was ultimately defeated, but not before killing Captain America (the Bucky-version) and Thor. I'm not sure how, but both are already back from the dead so it all worked out in the end. I thought that the Serpent was visually interesting and I liked how he used his magic to transform villains (and a couple heroes!) like the Juggernaut and Attuma and the Thing into deadly, nasty, hammer-wielding powerhouses.

4. Serpentor: I was a huge fan of G.I.Joe as a kid. I watched the old cartoons and read the Marvel Comics religiously. I even bought a few of the toys. G.I.Joe always straddled the line between realistic military action and super-science. Serpentor never even approach that line. He was a a cloned super soldier using the DNA of several historic warriors and commanders. He was meant to inspire COBRA. He ended up taking over as COBRA's new emperor. Serpentor was a brilliant strategist. He could tap into the memories of his genetic donors. He was strong and he was tough. Unfortunately, he eventually got himself killed during the COBRA Civil War. My understanding is that subsequent comic book creators have created a Transformers-like Serpentor robot. I'm not sure I like that. Serpentor's genetic heritage is what made him unique. I say, bring back the clone!

3. Serpent Society: The Serpent Society is a group of snake-themed mercenaries. They were gathered together by the Cobra and initially found themselves going up against Captain America. This was a kick-ass team initially. I think they had something like 20 members initially. A couple like Rock Python and Boomslang were pretty lame, but others like Bushmaster and Rattler and Black Mamba were pretty cool. One member, Diamondback, eventually defected and became romantically involved with Captain America for a while. The group has been around in one form or another for nearly 30 years. As a result, members have come and gone and all sorts of creators have used them. Unfortunately, the Society isn't always treated with the reverence that they deserve. Their last appeared in an issue of the X-Men where they were single-handedly defeated by Hope Summers. They deserve better.

2. Snake: Snake is a rarely used Chinese patriot who was originally introduced in Marvel's Alpha Flight comic book. He was a member of China Force and was sent to Canada to retrieve a super-powered exile named Jade Dragon. Snake had elastic powers, not unlike Mr. Fantastic or Plastic Man. He subsequently appeared in an issue of X-Force but hasn't been seen (to my knowledge at least) since the mid-90s. I'm not quite sure what I like about Snake or China Force. I'm sure that a lot of that attraction has to do with their connection to Jade Dragon and Alpha Flight. But I also like the idea of a Chinese super-team. You don't see too many super-hero teams outside of America (or Canada or the United Kingdom). Occasionally, you'll see some random hero coming from another country, but it's even rarer to find a super-team from any of those countries. It's hard to image that there aren't secret teams of Chinese X-Men or Fantastic Foursomes when America is brimming with superheroic representatives. Anyway, we need to see Snake and China Force again soon.

1. Serpentina: As you can see, most of the snake-based characters out there are demonic or villainous or both. My all-time favorite comic book snake is a former member of the X-Men from the not-so-distant future; Serpentina! Back in the early 90s, Marvel Comics created a new line of comic books set in the year 2099. 2099 was a post-heroic era. Most of the heroes from the prior century were long gone. All of the sudden, new heroes and teams were emerging from the shadows. One of those teams was X-Men 2099. I don't remember why, but a new group of mutants joined together. One of those first X-Men was Serpentina. Her powers were pretty basic. She had stretchy arms that were good for wrapping around people. Unfortunately, she was killed during their first mission by some bozo named Junkpile. Outside of a pheromonal mutant prostitute named X-Stacy, Serpentina was the only snake-based X-Men (past, present, or future) who ever existed. It's unfortunate that she had had the opportunity to shine. It would be interesting to see if she ever gained the ability to do anything more than give high fives. X-Men have been resurrected for much less than this. Maybe Tina needs to be pulled back to the present so that she can enroll at Wolverine's mutant school. Just a thought...

Who is your Favorite Comic Book Snake?


Katy Anders said...

This means that you can name at least 5 comic book snakes.

Think about that...

Jon said...

Actually, I can name many more. They just didn't make my list! :P