Armagideon Time

As stated in a previous installment of Nobody’s Favorites, Atlas/Seaboard’s business plan for comics publishing involved two-dozen titles across multiple genres. This ambitious (and hubristic and ultimately doomed) scheme used Marvel’s Bronze Age roster of offerings as a template.

Given the success the House of Ideas had at the time with adapting the Conanfranchise into funnybook form, it shouldn’t be a surprise that Atlas made their own bid for the sword-and-loincloth revenue stream with a barbarian hero of their own.

Behold, the mighty Iron Jaw!

Unlike certain other barbarians, this metal-mouthed mountain of masculinity inhabited a savagely mythic future differentiated from savagely mythic past setting by a few words of caption text and little else.

According to the editorial notes at the end of the first issue, Iron Jaw was intended to portray how a “real man” would cope within a lawless and harsh environment. According to the four issues of the series which saw released before Atlas went man-tits up, the coping process for “real men” involves…

VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN!

VILE MYTHS ABOUT RAPE!

CHILD MURDER!

INCEST!

UNICORN RIDES!

I tend to be somewhat charitable when in comes to the nature of trashy lowbrow fantasy,  having been a geeky adolescent male more familiar with d20 rolls than with dating. 

As obnoxious as the genre’s power fantasies and warped views on gender relations are, there’s no denying their their appeal to socially maladjusted man-children seeking a little escapism until they smarten up and come to their senses (which is not a given by any stretch, but occurs more often than some depicitions of the breed suggest). 

Iron Jaw, however, went straight past the realm of puerile sexism and into the slimy domain of outright misogyny.  In attempting to ape Conan the Barbarian, it ended up offering a bastardized version of the Nietzschean “will to power” as conceived by a dude stewing in the resentment over a bad (and likely self-inflicted) break-up.  As offensive as it was unoriginal, Iron Jaw deserves its place in both the dustbin of history and the dankest corner of Nobody’s Favorites.

Related posts:

  1. Nobody (Else’s) Favorites: Very metal
  2. Nobody’s Favorites: Trash metal
  3. Nobody’s Favorites: Man meets war

14 Responses to “Nobody’s Favorites: Metal fatigue”

  1. Tom Hartley

    See, without Dave Sim’s manga-inspired decompression, it took Michael Fleisher only FOUR issues to explain the problem with wimmen these days.

  2. Batzarro: The World's WOrst Detective!

    I know compared to the raping and child murder parts this is a minor thing, but… what’s with the “favor by killing them in battle” stuff? If the context is “killing them to rescue ‘the wench’”, then what’s the alternative? Following them home and killing them in their sleep?

  3. Mike Zeidler

    Maybe these should be retitled “Roy Thomas’ Favorites” Unless there was another Ironjaw that he used for his various indie projects.

  4. Prankster

    Haha, I remember reading about this one somewhere…might have been the old “Gone and Forgotten” site. And the pages they posted were every bit as misogynist and faux-Nietzschean as what you’ve got here. I remember thinking, “OK, dudes, I realize you’re trying to ape Conan here, but even Conan’s not THAT big an asshole.”

  5. Jim Kosmicki

    I can remember really wanting to like this at the time (actually I can remember really wanting to like most of the Atlas titles – and failing), but there was something about this one that didn’t set well. Given that this was being published at the same time as the high popularity point of the Gor books, it wouldn’t surprise me if this one sold well.

    Wulf (at least those first couple issues) was the good Atlas Barbarian title, as I recall.

  6. Frank

    Michael Fleisher was the Mark Millar of the ’70s… by which I mean he totally stole the basics from another writer (John Norman in this case) and dumbed it down for the asses. I fished one of these out of a quarter box in the late ’80s, and it must have been stolen by a buddy soon after. I only just now noticed.

  7. rgl

    Batzarro — those killed in battle go to the better class of hell, those that die peacefully spend eternity in accounting. (see Valhalla).

    I thought I had liked this, then realized I had confused it with Larry Hama’s Wulf the Barbarian.

  8. Shinwell Johnson

    Mike Zeidler–I am unfamiliar with any Ironjaw character by Roy Thomas, but given Thomas’s obsessive love of the comics of the 1940s, I would presume that he was referring to the original Ironjaw–the Nazi spy who bedeviled Crimebuster in Lev Gleason’s BOY COMICS.

    Michael Fleischer’s creations for Atlas were all derivative in this way. The Grim Ghost was a swipe of the Black Widow (1940s version). Morlock 2000 was set in a dystopian future where books were banned, and burned by firemen…need I identify the source for THAT? As for the Brute, his first issue was a scene-by-scene copy of the movie TROG–which shows that not only was Fleischer an imitator, he was an imitator with really bad taste.

  9. Shinwell Johnson

    Oh…mentioning Morlock 2001 and the Brute has reminded me that both of those characters, plus a third Fleischer creation for Atlas (the Tarantula), were all man-eaters. That’s right–once upon a time, there was a comics company that, within just a few months, debuted THREE “heroes” who ate their opponents. That still seems to me one of the weirdest moments in the history of this medium.

    The weirdest part: All of these comics were passed by the Comics Code Authority. I presume that the facts that the Brute was a blue-skinned caveman, and Morlock and the Tarantula both transformed into humanoid hybrids (a man-tree, a man-spider), were used to argue that their dietary habits were not REALLY cannibalism…

  10. sallyp

    I’m not even going to mention all the bad writing, poor plots and rampant misogyny. What really floors me, is that HE can ride a Unicorn!

    Really?

    That seems just so…odd.

  11. damanoid

    As strange a choice as it might seem, I think the “jaw” in these comics may be a metaphor for some other violently mutilated body part later replaced by a larger, ridiculously intimidating yet aesthetically unpersuasive prosthetic.

  12. Kris

    How do I get in on the sword-and-loincloth revenue stream ?

  13. Bad Inker

    The inking on these panels is still better than the half-assed crap called “indie” these days.

  14. Sumguy

    Some Nobody’s Favorites just need a revamp, some more competent handlers, or maybe a costume that’s not awful. This guy, though? The only story I could ever see myself reading him in is one where he gets killed in a suitably karmic fashion – preferably getting thrown, unarmed, with his trademark jaw dislocated, to a crowd of assault victims.

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