Monday, September 25, 2023

Take A Seat


As I was compiling subject matter for this post, the first thing that came to mind was this guy:

Who looks like he's traveling through space seated on some kind of contraption--at least that's what I'd assumed, having never read the story. Except that this character, Orion, isn't seated on anything, but simply hunched over, gripping what he calls his "power rods." Yet there is a seated character among those Orion mingles with in New Genesis--Metron, who appears to be persona non grata among the others and flits about time-space in his "Mobius Chair" advancing his own agenda.

And thus, the New Gods have unknowingly summoned us to hear another

Marvel Trivia Question

What Marvel characters look to chairs for their status, and/or their power?

(Or, in Ben Grimm's case, their life??)

There's no character who tops this list like Thanos, whom we saw making use of a teleporting chair during an encounter with the Silver Surfer that afterward served his needs in a succeeding two-issue series, The Thanos Quest by Jim Starlin and Ron Lim.  In that series, Thanos seeks out and reclaims the six "soul gems" (renaming them the "infinity gems")--each gem in the possession of an Elder of the Universe, who one by one is maneuvered into parting with their gem by this thrall of Death.

Thanos's chair also possesses a number of technological systems which assist Thanos in his quest--but against the Elder known as the Runner, it ends up demolished. (Though despite his cockiness, the Runner would fall to one of the gems which Thanos had already purloined).

Despite his chair now reduced to a pile of scrap metal, acquisition of the gems allows Thanos to travel to his destinations himself thereafter. Yet the chair/device served as a reminder that Thanos preferred making use of technology to achieve his ends, well before he laid hands on all-powerful items like the Cosmic Cube or the Infinity Gems.

Back on Earth, we take as sharp a turn from Thanos as possible when we peek in on the doings of Dracula, who has confronted and been confronted by his old enemy, Quincy Harker, a man who has sworn to bring about his death. As we can see, due to his confinement to a wheelchair (thanks to you-know-who), Quincy has been obliged to invent tools and devices specifically designed to defend against vampires, which over the years have had a mixed rate of success.

In their final encounter, we would see Quincy's conveyance offer one last surprise for the lord of vampires that would conclude their death duel forever.

Magneto, as well, was skilled in the art of surprising his foes--a talent which even Black Bolt finds himself stymied to deal with (and rather painfully at that) when given his own chair after being taken captive.

The X-Men, by contrast, are all too relaxed by Magneto's seated accommodations for them--confinement which, they learn to their horror, might turn out to be their final fate.

M.O.D.O.K., the handiwork of Advanced Idea Mechanics, is one of the most recognizable of Marvel's characters who uses a chair to move his bulk around, though it's this villain's mind that makes him a threat.

Yet in the 1977 Iron Man Annual, he creates a "Doomsday Chair" to augment his might, and which seems to make him a more viable threat until it would prove to be more than even he could handle.

Both Ms. MODOK and MODAM made use of seating similar to their predecessor, though the latter could be something of a vicious, mobile arsenal when necessary.

Another character whose girth required mobility in the form of a specialized chair was Midas, whose obsession with wealth caused him to take extreme measures with those who crossed him, as Morgan Stark found to his near-detriment.

Inevitably, it wasn't just the black sheep of the family who would face Midas and his chair, but Iron Man himself, who battles his foe after a recent operation which repaired his heart with synthetic tissue--having no choice but to flout his doctor's orders to avoid stressful situations.

(I'd say we can make a fair guess as to how things ended up for the old boy.)

Like MODOK, two other characters whose seats were used more in a practical sense than offensively were Brain-Child and Janus, whose power originated from pure mentality or negative force, respectively. (Though Janus's gyro-craft was known to crash through obstacles.)

Naturally, there were a number of characters who merely preferred their seating to be comfortable, yet imposing. Kang the Conqueror comes to mind, introduced to the Avengers in a floating, transparent chair, though not at all averse to an imposing throne. The Mole Man, of course, prefers a throne, as he would hardly be imposing without one; but it's Dr. Doom who often proves he's imposing no matter how or where he's seated.

Due to a condition which rendered him a paraplegic, the Owl was forced to resort to a chair provided by the Maggia that allowed him to still conduct criminal operations. But both he and it meet their presumed end from the weapon of ex-C.I.A. agent and special investigator Simon Stroud, an old friend of the Black Widow's.

There were also occasions when the Avengers were inclined to use their seats offensively--on each other!

And just for good measure, Hercules gets a second round with the so-called memory "inducer," albeit on a slab table this time--while both Iron Man and Thor make sure to diplomatically substitute the word "probe" for "torture."

And don't think you're getting off easy just because you're not an Avenger, Mar-vell.

As for their foes, the Avengers found that even a diminutive opponent packed a wallop when their method of mobility was well-designed--as was the case with Tom Thumb, of the Squadron Supreme. (Though a little teamwork proved to be his undoing.)

Fortunately, not all chairs designed by others were harmful. Thanks to her late husband, Madame Web's seating was built primarily for life support--though it also accommodates her gift for clairvoyance.

But leave it to Annihilus to construct a chair for the sole purpose of stealing a child's power, and, almost certainly, his life.

With thanks to a comment from alert reader Rip Jagger, we turn our attention to the Red Skull's Chiefs of Staff, a group of Nazis hidden for two decades on Exile Island--all bloodthirsty men who desire the death of Captain America (for starters). One of whom, Cadavus, has modified his wheelchair to offset his status as an aged invalid, in a manner befitting its name.

Scratch one "Murder Chair." (I shudder to think what this geezer will tinker with next.)

And, finally, to wrap up this offbeat post, it was only a matter of time before a chair turned on one of the Avengers.


Anonymous said...

Great selection, CF! Several favourites of mine, and near favourites.

To me, X-Men # 112's my favourite single issue X-Men (also, my first!)

I read the Cap, Black Panther & Quicksilver extract in Avengers & SSOC Weekly # 116.

Also, the Midas clip looks maybe a couple of issues before (?) Iron Man # 106 - another fave of mine.

In addition to these, several others are recognizable, too. A great pick!


Colin Jones said...

MODOK was the first one I thought of.

Marvel published King Conan #1-6 from December 2021 to July 2022 and the graphic-novel collected edition has a cover which features King Conan sitting on his throne and staring at the reader with his son Prince Conn standing beside him. It seemed like a rather dull cover to me but today's post has made me see it in a new light!

Big Murr said...

My mind conjured up the nigh-iconic splash page of Loki brooding in a chair. Silver Surfer #4 (1968). Often put forward as an example of Big John Buscema's artistic skill.

Once my mind went to Loki, it wandered over to Asgard in general.

Mighty Thor #338 (1983) features Thor, Odin, and this new character Beta Ray Bill climbing to "the High Seat Hlidskjalf" for a proper discussion of events. That exact moment I could remember, but my memory tickles that other writers used Hlidskjalf in other tales (or maybe just Walt Simonson)

Comicsfan said...

Hlidskjalf is certainly a worthy contender for mention here, Murray. Any "seat" that allows one to "see all the nine worlds" definitely shouldn't be *ahem* overlooked. (Sorry, Odin. Just a friendly pun from a mortal speck.)

Phillip, X-Men #112 is an issue to remember, no doubt. Magneto earned his laurels that day with a clear-cut victory, and gained additional points for one of the most sinister fates ever conceived for his hapless prisoners.

Colin, tsk tsk, I see through your little ploy--tantalizing me with Conan trivia in an effort to coax more CTB posts from me. Crom would be proud of you.

Anonymous said...

Talking about chairs, Odin also piloted many a mighty throne.
They changed as often as his headgear! (which I think I remember being the subject of a highly entertaining post here).
He was sorta of the Elton John of the Elder Gods.

I remember Starlin remarking in an interview that he originally conceived of Thanos as being more like Metron, but Roy Thomas told him to "beef him up," make him more like Darkseid.
But when they brought Thanos back, he seemed more like Metron again, zipping around the cosmos in a chair.

Great post, C.F.! I enjoyed it. That panel that first introduces Modok gets me every time. Nobody was expecting that!
That Kirby, I tell ya.


Colin Jones said...

Mention of Odin on his throne reminds me of the time he said to Thor "Odinson, thou mayest approach The Presence" which is probably my all-time favourite Marvel quote - in one sentence it sums up both the majesty and pomposity of Odin.

Comicsfan said...

M.O.D.O.K. is hands down one of Kirby's more startling creations, M.P. It also served to elevate A.I.M. in my mind--an organization that would go to such lengths to raise its profile in the world domination arena as well as give itself an advantage in conducting its operations was one to be reckoned with.

Anonymous said...

Colin - To paraphrase someone, (I can't recall who): "Bombast is a crucial part of any good Thor story!" Yes, over-the-top, extreme bombast!


dangermash aka The Artistic Actuary said...

I also thought of Loki on the splash page of Surfer #4 and of Midas, the character just made for George Tuska's pencils.

The Kingpin has some pretty good chairs, normally behind desks with lots of buttons but he has a good looking standalone throne in ASM #69. And the Schemer takes after his father in #83 (a subtle clue to his identity?) with a similar desk in ASM #83 but it's definitely the desk and not the chair that's the big hitter in that setup.

And I just checked out the cover of FF #108 and, no, that's not a chair that Janus I’d floating in.

Oh, and just as I was about to press the publish button, what about Professor X? Does his wheelchair count? Would he have had a fancy flying version at some point?

Anonymous said...

It's a basic fantasy, isn't? Take on the world - or the universe even - without having to leave the comfort of your armchair.


Comicsfan said...

I don't recall a flying version, dangermash, but he had two or three that hovered so that he didn't need to manually move side-wheels.

Rip Jagger said...

Pardon if it's been mentioned but I well remember The Exiles from early issues of Captain America when his book was just kicking off. One of the members was an old unreconstructed Nazi named Franz Cadaverus who used his "Murder Chair". Love this topic.

Comicsfan said...

An excellent addition, Rip! And what an introduction--"Cadavus, Monarch of the Murder Chair!" (Can one really be a monarch of a chair, Mr. Lee?) He certainly fit right in with his fellow bloodthirsty Exiles.