Tuesday, January 8, 2013
The Wundarr Of It All!
Marvel has done a number of variations on the classic Superman theme. There's Hyperion of the Squadrons Sinister and Supreme, Gladiator of the Shi'ar Imperial Guard, and Stuporman of Not Brand Echh fame. There's even another spin by Steve Gerber in the pages of Omega the Unknown. But one of the most curious to my mind was Steve Gerber's creation of Wundarr, a superman from the stars who arrives a bit stunted in a most curious way.
The scenario is a fun one, what if Superman arrived on Earth but was not taken in by a kindly family like the Kents, but rather remained intellectually and emotionally a child possessed of his mighty powers. It made for a wildly entertaining story by Gerber and artist Val Mayerik in Adventure into Fear #17 where the Man-Thing has to deal with this "Sky-Being".
Frank Brunner's original cover is one of his very best.
Wundarr was a bit of a one-shot...ahem...wonder, until Gerber began using the child-trapped-in-a-superman's-body in the pages of Marvel Two-In-One. Those early issues with Ben Grimm trying to deal with the childlike Wundarr are delightful. Later in the comics run, long after Gerber left, Mark Gruenwald and George Perez took Wundarr and transformed him into the more highly evolved Aquarian, a character much more adult, but alas a lot less fun.