Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Jon Learns About Home Composting PLUS My Favorite Five Comic Books Worms!!

Last week was Earth Week. My office is all about being Green. We work out of a carbon-conscious building. We recycle. We look for ways to reduce the use of paper. We are encouraged to bike or walk to work or carpool. And we now compost. Whenever we get together in groups of 25 or more with plans of sharing food, we're supposed to compost whatever is left over.

A couple weeks later (i.e., last week), I learned that there would be informational sessions about composting. I decided to take advantage of this opportunity to learn more about composting. Here is a description of the home composting class that I attended:
Food for the Food” will provide all the in-and-outs of home composting on Thursday, April 25th. The 30-minute outdoor presentation will be offered at 12 p.m. and repeated at 12:30 p.m. The presenter is Scott Koepke, of New Pioneer Co-op’s Soilmates Organic Garden Education Service. The sessions will be held in the employee parking lot south of the Johnson County Administration Building. Session attendees may park in the adjacent public lot.
Wanna know what convinced me to check out the "Food for the Food" class? They advertised that there would be worms and I wanted to see how people utilized worms when home composting. Basically, the worms chew up the composting materials and poop out the nutrients. Recycling at it's finest!

My mind works funny. Something grabs my attention and I can't let it go. The concept of nurturing a composting pile at my home really interests me. I have this visual image of us tossing banana peels and lettuce leaves and apple cores and grass clippings onto this hypothetical pile, watching it break down into compost, and then recycling it on our yard. It's a cool concept. Not that I garden. That's more Mark's, Leslie's, and D'Angelo's thing to do. But I could see myself getting into composting itself -- once I learn more.

The main problem with the "Food for the Food" class was that there wasn't enough time for me to learn more about the concept and the practice of composting from a beginner's perspective in a group setting in a half-hour. It just went too fast. But I learned enough to keep my eyes peeled for future composting programs.

Anyway, since worms attracted me to this home composting class, I thought it would be fun to create a list of my favorite comic book worms. I initially thought that this might be hard, but -- with a flexible definition of what could be a comic book worm -- I actually found an assortment of fun favorites.

Welcome to Jon's Blog's Favorite Five Comic Book Worms!!:

5. Worm: Worm is a member of the Savage Land Mutates. I was going to say that he's one of the newer members, which is technically true. There is this place in the Marvel Universe called the Savage Land, which is this prehistoric patch in the middle of the Antarctic. It's filled with dinosaurs and cavemen, but there are also these mutated cave-people called the Savage Land Mutates who cause trouble from time to time. I'm not quite sure how he got his powers, but Worm is this slug-like guy who secretes mucus from his hands. He smears his mucus on others and then mentally controls their bodies, basically making them into living puppets. I'm not a huge fan of Worm, but he's a favorite for Husband Mark.

4. Bookworm: Nelson Gruber was a laboratory assistant in a university sleep clinic and a bit of a loner. He got shocked by dream energy from the extra dimensional traveler, Sleepwalker, and found himself with the ability to create people and things from books, which he could then mentally control. He let this new power go to his head, of course, and eventually got defeated when someone gave him a book with nothing but blank pages. I've always enjoyed doppelganger powers, which kind of includes Bookworm's abilities. Unfortunately, Bookworm has only appeared in the one story, which is a shame.

3. Squoimy the Woim: I had never heard of Squoimy the Woim until I saw him sharing space with several other nearly-forgotten Archie Comics/MLJ Comics characters in ARCHIE & FRIENDS: NIGHT AT THE COMIC SHOP. Compared to several of the other characters like Cosmo the Merry Martian, Gloomy Gus, Super Duck, and Young Dr. Masters, Squoimy didn't really stand out. He was just a funny animal with a silly accent. Then I purchased a digital copy ARCHIE #1 off the Archie Comics iTunes app. ARCHIE #1 featured not only Archie and his friends, but it also featured the adventures of several funny animals such as Cubby the Bear, Judge Owl, and... Squoimy the Woim. The Squoimy story was cute. He's trying to woo his girlfriend Annabelle with a poem, but keeps getting interrupted by a bully named Moe Squito. Eventually, Moe pushes Squoimy too far and the nerdy worm decides to push back. Like I said, it was a cute story.

2. Maggott: Maggott was a short-lived South African mutant who briefly joined the X-Men back in the late 90s. I think I was his only fan. He had one of the most unique powers around. His digestive system consisted of these two slugs (named Eaney and Meany) who could eating pretty much anything. They would run around and fuel up and then return to Maggott's abdomen and charge him up. He would then transform from a skinny black kid to a hulking blue man with superhuman strength. Unfortunately, he didn't last long with the X-Men and quickly found himself captured by the Canadian government and placed in a concentration camp called "Neverland." He was exterminated with several other prisoners at Neverland, though one of his slugs managed to survive the experience. I keep thinking that Maggott's due to a return to the X-Men or one of their many spin-offs. Frankly, I could think of at least two ways to resurrect him pretty easily!

1. Glow Worm: Glow Worm appeared in two stories back in the mid-80s. I think he's so significant in my memories because he appeared in some of my first comic book stories once I began collective comics on a regular basis, which I know dates me. Glow Worm was this freakish mutant who lived with this other freakish mutant named Bulk in the middle of a toxic waste dump. He had this twisted worm-like body and generated explosive energy spheres. People were scared of Glow Worm and Bulk, so they hired X-Factor (the original X-Men who decided to disguise themselves as mutant hunters) to capture these two creatures. X-Factor quickly realized that Glow Worm and Bulk were essentially harmless and just wanted to be alone. Plus, they were pulsing with radioactive energy from the waste dump, so they didn't want to bring the pair home with them. So X-Factor wished them well and sent them back to the toxic waste dump to live out the rest of their days. Which wasn't that long. A couple years later, the High Evolutionary drained away Glow Worm's and Bulk's powers, which ultimately led to their deaths due to radioactive poisoning!

It's unfortunate that Glow Worm and Bulk were too repulsive to hang with the cool kids at X-Factor. It's likely that they could have actually helped this mutant "odd couple" instead of kicking them to the streets. They could have been two of the greatest X-Men if given half a chance. Now we'll never know.

So those are my favorite five comic book worms. Who are your favorites? I'd love to learn all about them in the comments section!


Jon said...

It was pointed out to me on Twitter that I excluded the obvious choice for this list: Mr. Mind from Captain Marvel/Shazam. The truth is that I know very little about Mr. Mind and the little I've seen of him in action, he's been a minor act in some other character's storyline.

That said, are there any great suggestions for Captain Marvel trade paperbacks that feature Mr. Mind? Who knows? I might come up with an addendum to this post!

Anthony said...

You'll probably want older (pre-Crisis) stories for Mr. Mind stuff; post-Crisis, "talking telepathic worms" aren't as kewl as "OMG evil Superman-type we clearly don't have enough of already" Black Adam (the only Fawcett character DC actually cares about).

"Shazam: Greatest Stories Ever Told" IIRC has a few tales with Mind. The 70s Shazam revival also featured Mind. A modernized (i.e. not-CC Beck-cartoonish) version appears during the 90s "Power of Shazam" run.