Tag Archives: Greg Salinger

FOOLKILLER: DEFENDERS NUMBER 79

Foolkiller in swamp in Man Thing

Foolkiller

Summer means superhero movies, so Balladeer’s Blog’s “Script Doctoring” of Marvel’s handling of Foolkiller continues with Part Five. FOR PART ONE OF THIS ARTICLE CLICK  HERE

More hints about my backstory for Foolkiller’s Purification Gun as I outline this alternate version of Defenders # 79as the team continues fighting Mandrill, Fem-Force and Mutant Force.

DEFENDERS Vol 1: Number 79 – Chains of Love (Jan 1980)

Since having Hulk on the cover was always crucial for sales during this struggling period for The Defenders the cover featured Hulk, Dr Strange and Sub-Mariner in their dull Tunnelworld adventure. It’s more imitation Tolkien as the trio battle the Unnameable, a boring villain from the Unreadable (Ed Hannigan).   

Back on Earth the other contingent of Defenders (Valkyrie, Yellowjacket, Hellcat, Foolkiller and the Wasp) are where we left them last time. Yellowjacket has already been captured and the others are surrounded by Fem-Force, the Mandrill’s all-female army, because Ruth and Amber – under the Mandrill’s pheremone-fueled control – betrayed them.   Continue reading

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FOOLKILLER: THE DEFENDERS, MUTANT FORCE AND MANDRILL

Foolkiller purplish hat sash

Foolkiller

Balladeer’s Blog’s “Script Doctoring” of Marvel’s handling of Foolkiller continues with Part Four. FOR PART ONE OF THIS ARTICLE CLICK HERE

I’m dealing with Foolkiller’s role in Defenders number 78 this time out as they battle Mutant Force, Fem-Force and their leader the Mandrill. I throw in hints at the backstory I’ve devised for Foolkiller’s costume and Purification Gun, since Marvel never got around to addressing it.   Continue reading

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FOOLKILLER PART TWO

Welcome to the second part of Balladeer’s Blog’s alternate way of handling the Marvel Comics character the Foolkiller. Marvel has changed and rebooted the character many times since his first appearance in 1974, but never in a way that has made Foolkiller click with the public the way other Marvel characters have.

FOR PART ONE OF THIS ARTICLE CLICK HERE

Defenders 76 Little TriggersDEFENDERS Vol 1: Number 76 – LITTLE TRIGGERS (Oct 1979)

A. Synopsis of the “real” story – The Defenders (Valkyrie, Hellcat, Moondragon and the Wasp) get involved with Richard Rory, Amber Grant and the various unresolved plot threads left over from the premature cancellation of the comic book series Omega the Unknown. The Defenders search for precocious 13 year old James Michael Starling, who always had a link to Omega that not even he understood, and locate him at his old family home in Pennsylvania.

Foolkiller doorway red sash

Foolkiller (Greg Salinger), with his Purification Gun.

The alien race of Protarians, who have been pursuing both Starling and Omega for months, arrive in spacecraft and try to nab the boy. The Defenders battle the aliens to protect Starling and his female friend Dian. Meanwhile in Las Vegas, the Defenders’ old foe Ruby (the orb-headed woman on the cover) and her monstrous creation she calls the Dibbuk steal the dead body of the superhero Omega. Ruby plans to dissect the corpse to see what she can learn for her various inhuman experiments on the living.

In unrelated subplots Nighthawk, in his civilian identity of millionaire Kyle Richmond, is served a restraining order forbidding him to go into action in costume until his legal problems are resolved, and the Hulk battles a shapeless creature who serves the Unnameable, a really boring villain the Defenders will fight in the near future.

Back in Pennsylvania the besieged Defenders drive off the Protarians only to see a blinding light, after which they see that Starling’s body has somehow been replaced by the late Omega’s. This odd development is the cliffhanger ending for this issue. +++

B. Balladeer’s Blog’s Alternate Treatment – Continue reading

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FOOLKILLER: MARVEL’S MISSED OPPORTUNITY

Foolkiller Spiderman

Foolkiller once battled Spider-Man, just like every other hero and villain in the Marvel Universe.

Superhero-Mania shows no signs of abating and Marvel Comics certainly rules the big screen right now. I have a soft spot for comic books because reading them as a kid led me to mythology, one of the big loves of my life. I’ve covered superheroes here at Balladeer’s Blog in the past and with Marvel’s Deadpool, Civil War and X-Men: Apocalypse all out this year I figured I’d explore a character Marvel never seemed to get a handle on: the Foolkiller.

This character’s lingering appeal first seemed to come from his Zorro-esque appearance. Beginning with the second man to don the costume and wield the Purification Gun the appeal started to come from the figure’s potential similarities to the Punisher and Paladin, with overtones of Rorschach before there ever WAS a Rorschach. (Oddly, Marvel tried a 1990 reboot with Foolkiller in which he was much like Deadpool, who didn’t debut until the following year.)

Foolkiller doorway red sash

*** *** *** *** *** *** *** ** ***  That a long red sash flowing from your hat or are you just happy to see me?

 

I took an hour or so for some escapist fun and buried myself in the various reboots Marvel attempted for the character over the decades. I would say Marvel REALLY missed their chance way back when Foolkiller faced the Defenders. Nobody asked for it, but here is my issue by issue look at how this misused figure could have been incorporated into the Marvel Universe beginning with Defenders # 74.  

For readers unfamiliar with this obscure vigilante/ maniac I’ll pepper in relevant facts as we go along. For starters, outside of the name, this Foolkiller has no connection to the satirical figure from the 1800s American South. Marvel’s original Foolkiller (who died in just his second appearance) was a religious fanatic who killed people that he felt were spiritual “fools” designated by Heaven for him to slay. He donned the cool Zorro-type costume and used a Purification Gun (origin STILL unknown) that fired as yet undefined energies.

Foolkiller parachuteThe power of those energy blasts varied wildly (you know comic book writing) but could do anything from blasting a regular human being to bits, to annihilating a supervillain called Blockbuster to blasting holes through stone and metal walls or even stunning the incredible Hulk. The unusual fabric of the red sash connected to the Foolkiller’s hat had expandable qualities, like when the figure would use it as a parachute when leaping from a tall building or airplane. 

At the time that Foolkiller clashed with the Defenders the man using the costume and Purification Gun was blonde poet Greg Salinger. Unlike the original Foolkiller – the religious zealot Ross Everbest – Salinger’s criteria for “fools” to be killed was more secular, putting him one step closer to Punisher or Proto-Rorschach territory.  

Foolkiller Defenders 74

Ah, comic book inking screwups! Though Foolkiller’s costume was colored correctly inside the book, on the cover his costume was mistakenly red instead of his hat-sash.

DEFENDERS Vol 1: Number 74 – FOOLS RUSH IN  (August 1979)

A. Synopsis of the “real” story – Foolkiller (Greg Salinger) fresh off his encounters with Omega and Blockbuster (well, in comic book retcon time, anyway) travels to the Defenders’ Long Island Headquarters – the Richmond Riding Academy. He claims it’s because he is considering joining the Defenders, whose previously secret existence was recently exposed by “Dollar” Bill English’s televised documentary. In the cliffhanger ending it turns out that, in reality Foolkiller has designated the Defenders as his latest fools to slay.  

B. Balladeer’s Blog’s Alternate Treatment – This could have been the start of a long run for Foolkiller with the Defenders and made him a potential hit instead of a never-was. There was no real risk in trying him out as a Defender. Hell, the Defenders had had a hero-villain like Sub-Mariner as a member, the forever-fugitive Hulk was STILL a member at the time as was Nighthawk, a reformed supervillain. They had even had unconventional figures like the feared Silver Surfer, the Son of Satan and Devil-Slayer as members.     

That said, the reason there was no risk was that if the fans hated having Foolkiller as a Defender he was easily disposed of after a few months – have him carted off to an insane asylum (like the Defenders really did after defeating him in the next issue), or just kill him off or have the other Defenders get fed up with him and treat him like any other supervillain and send him to jail.  

From what I gather the sales figures for the Defenders at the time were already faltering (hence the repeated “Defenders try to subdue their member the Hulk” storylines and covers). The comic book could definitely have used some pizzazz. By this time – 1979 – Wolverine over in the pages of The X-Men had shown that an abrasive, potentially deadly wildcard character could really liven things up.  

Foolkiller’s running battle with the Hulk on the train to Long Island in the original story could have spilled over all the way to the Richmond Riding Academy. Nighthawk had just resigned as necessitated by the Federal Investigation into his alter ego Kyle Richmond’s legal troubles stemming from Nighthawk’s questionable past. (Kyle’s secret identity was publicly known by then)

The remaining Defenders at the Riding Academy HQ – the Valkyrie, Clea and Hellcat – could have been drawn to the chaos of the Foolkiller/ Hulk fracas, by now taking place on the Riding Academy grounds. Naturally they would side with their teammate the Hulk and join him in fighting Salinger. Somewhere in the course of the battle a cliffhanger situation could arise.     Continue reading

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