Celebration starts early on a Friday!

St. Patty's Day! Whoo-Hoo!

Being more than a bit Irish myself, I love this holiday! If I had to distill myself (hic) into a holiday - Patty's Day would be pretty close: parties, drinking, little people, attractive red-heads, bad limericks.. and I hear that you can somehow throw in snakes! Love the snakes! Let it begin! Heck, I'm drinking right now! Whoo! Let's sprinkle in the comics, too!

Everyone with me raise a pint to St. Patrick's Day and to comics and especally to my favorite 1980s blatantly unabashed Irish stereotype super-heroine...

Me Lassie!

Ah, Shamrock! How I love thee!

Errr, I mean... "Faith and Begorrah! Mine love for thee hits me skull t'wer a blunt sheleighly to me 'ead!"

Shamrock was one of the many "national" characters created for (possibly) the first EVER comics cross-over slash limited series: Marvel Super Hero Contest of Champions. And brother, this 3-issue series kicked the ass of this particularly young F.Soup back in the day. So much so, that I have kept my original copies. And I even re-read them every once in a while. Why is there not a trade of this? I ask you? Seriously.

The plot is so simple that I won't go into it. Oh, heck.. it's really so simple that it's quicker to just write it out:

The Grandmaster has a bet with some other unknown uber-cosmic being that his "team" of kidnapped heroes can beat the Unknown's "team" at 4 games of "find the glowy thing."

It's like a very early Secret Wars, but without that whole "kill all your opponents" thing. And the heroes get no reward out of it.

Marvel (I'm guessing) thought this would be a good occasion to highlight some fan-favorite heroes and to introduce some new ones. For some reason (and, I suspect this was influenced by the Giant-Size X-Men all-foreign cast re-launch's success) they decided to make all the new ones representative of specific countries. Nothing really wrong there.. but they really went overboard with the ethnic-stereotype-as-it-relates-to-powers thing. Check it out:

Arabian Knight - Flying Carpet, Sabre, Turban. Only missing a lamp.
Blitzkrieg - Lightning! And Fast! Lightning Fast! Only missing the power to annex hopelessly undefended countries very quickly.
Collective Man - Collective strength (and nationality-powers) of all of China! Actually, he was a pretty cool idea for a national-based super hero.
Defensor - Spanish conquistador! They should have made him immortal, if he drinks a certain elixar once a year. And gave him blanket-throwing plague powers.
Peregrine - French asshole!
Sabra - Israeli Spikey bird lady. Hated the Arab guy. Controlled all media. (Hi, Google!)
Talisman - Aborigine (not the Alpha Flight chick) who used the "Dream Time." Does that ever work successfully as a viable comic super power? I mean, if you're not drawn by, say, Steve Ditko?
Vanguard - Russian Thor with magical Sickle and Hammer! I think he lasted for a bit, actually.

(I remember hoping that the Talisman from Contest of Champions was actually the same aborigine that teleported the X-Men to wherever from their Austrailian base during that abysmal period in the 90s. Nuts. Missed an opportunity there, Marvel...)

I think you can count the subsequent appearances of these guys on one hand. Wow. Has one series ever tried so hard to introduce so many failed characters?

But, anyway... back to Shamrock! Me many beer's thus far are derailing me thought train!

Shamrock had the power of luck. Of freckin' course she did, because what other super power would an Irish super-hero have? The power to drink 20 Guinness in under an hour, sing a maudlin dirge for your bonny wee child, then punch out a Catholic? Ah, 80s Marvel.. so deep. So deep.

Shammy was actually the eventual decider of the Contest O' Champions, capturing the final shiny thing. Here's the complete Shamrock-oriented sequence, scanned from me very own issue:

(I thought about commenting about each page there.. but.. you get it. Observant Bonny lasses as y'all are!)

(Except that last page.. man, even as a kid.. that missed coloring job on the yellow backside of me dear, dear Shammy, pissed off the youngin' Soup!)

So, the toast! Dear all: Happy St. Patty's to ye all! Enjoy the brew, may I see you grey while combing your grandfather's hair, may your home be too small to house all your friends, may there be nicer legs besides yours under the table, and most of all: Beannachtam na Feile Padraig!


EDIT: Shamrock Bonus!!

Previously unpublished Marvel Shamrock and French Asshole script! Good stuff!

Double EDIT:

When I saw the stats for this entry a week after the posting, I had at least 20 unique hits from China never to be seen again. Make of that what you will. (Hi China! China! China!)

(let's see if it happens again...)


Adam Barnett said...

This isn't gospel but I *think* they printed a TPB of Contest of Champions... I think it had the original (that you're talking about here) and some sequel I never read.

I never really understood the powers of the Collective Man - when you're powers seem to be based on overpopulation, I would think you'd have a hard time fitting in with heroes who can actually do practical things.

FoldedSoup said...

I guess I like the potential of the Collective Man's powers. He just seemed so ..umm.. ambiguous enough to do something great / weird with him. Stick him in a Morrison story, for example.

And there is a trade? Really? I was misinformed (hopefully). TY, I will add that to the list!

(Oh, and I inadvertently had comments set to "moderate." Just noticed now, fixed it. That's why yours took so long to show up. Sorry 'bout that!)