Another day, another huge announcement from DC Comics, via Vertigo’s Graphic Content blog: After a over a decade in quasi-legal limbo, DC will release Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s Flex Mentallo in a deluxe hardcover format in Fall 2011.
Long one of the most eagerly sought-after “uncollectible” books in comics, this four-issue 1996 spinoff from Morrison’s storied Doom Patrol run featured, in the person of its titular hero, a parody of the famous Charles Atlas bodybuilding ad “The Insult That Made a Man Out of Mac” — and thus attracted the legal ire of the Charles Atlas company. Though the courts found in favor of DC, the Charles Atlas company’s trademark-infringement/dilution lawsuit apparently spooked the publisher bad enough that their plans to collect the four-issue miniseries, scrapped when DC received Atlas’ original cease-and-desist notice, remained mothballed even despite the rise to superstardom of its creators on books like New X-Men, All-Star Superman, and Batman and Robin…until now. As such it’s the most high-profile example yet of DC’s post-Paul Levitz willingness to (re)publish books previously considered verboten, a la Warren Ellis and Phil Jimenez’s long-suppressed school-shooting Hellblazer story “Shoot,” which helped launch the “Vertigo Resurrected” initiative. It just goes to show you: There’s no resisting the Power of Muscle Mystery!