In every installment of I Love Ya But You’re Strange I spotlight strange but ultimately endearing comic stories. Feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a suggestion for a future installment!
This time around, based on a suggestion by reader Eugene H., we go into further detail on Mister Fish, one of the characters on CBR’s recent list of the greatest Luke Cage villains.
Mister Fish had an interesting origin as a creation. You see, “Power Man” #29 was supposed to be the second part of a two-part storyline by then-regular writer, Don McGregor. However, McGregor was late with the issue, so Marvel had to go with an inventory story. Inventory stories were one-off issues written and drawn by either regular Marvel staffers or new creators looking to break in (one of Frank Miller’s earliest Marvel works was for an inventory story). Sometimes, inventory stories would just be in script form, left to be drawn if needed by the regular artist on the title (or another artist) if the script for the latest issue was lagging. Since the artists on “Power Man” #29 were the regular art team of the title, George Tuska and Vince Colletta, then that is the most likely scenario (that Tuska and Colletta drew the issue on their normal schedule, just of a fill-in script).
The issue opened with Luke Cage hired to guard over a trucking company. It did not go well for our hero…
That page is notable for being just the second time that Luke Cage used his catchphrase “Sweet Christmas!” (a term coined by Mantlo in another fill-in issue).
Anyhow, Luke saw someone coming from the explosion and followed the person only to discover that the person was running towards his boss, Mister Fish!
So they fought a bit (including Mister Fish’s super racist little person sidekick) before Mister Fish ended the fight with a blast from a special gun…
In a hilarious bit, when Mister Fish asked Cage if he wanted to hear his origin, he basically told him, “No thanks,” but we learned the bizarre origin anyways…
Luke recovered, of course, and there was more fighting. Mister Fish brought out his special gun, but this time it didn’t work…for some inexplicable reason.
So they tussled a little more and then Mister Fish accidentally fell off of the building and died…
(Well, he at least most likely died. Other Mister Fish have shown up since, but they’re unlikely to be the same as the original, despite how little sense it makes for someone else to have the same mutation as Mister Fish)
Isn’t that amazing? No wonder people still remember Mister Fish decades later despite his only appearance being in a fill-in issue.
Thanks to Eugene for the suggestion! If anyone else has a suggestion, drop me a line at email@example.com!
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