Until this year, I didn’t believe in a strict dichotomy of good and evil. Morality runs on a spectrum, I thought, and furthermore, it’s entirely subjective—an evil act to one person could be the epitome of goodness to another. Even psychopaths weren’t necessarily “evil,” I thought…they simply had a mental deficiency that made them capable of monstrous acts. More than anything, I didn’t think it was helpful to think in these black-and-white terms, because it prevented us from really understanding one another.
But ladies and gentlemen, all the liberal philosophy in the world couldn’t stop me from arriving at a difficult conclusion earlier this year: Sean Edgar, Paste editor, is an evil man. He is the embodiment of darkness, and anybody who makes an excuse for him is probably evil, too. Look, I’m a simple person. I like music and movies and sports, and I mind my own business. I don’t bother anyone. I didn’t deserve what happened in January, when Sean forced me to describe five comic book characters based on illustrations alone. I don’t know comics, and that’s okay—or at least I thought so.
But Sean slowly brought me into a world of hell and ignorance, and it left me traumatized. I tried to work through it, but then he did it again a month later. I was flailing at this point, and when Jim Vorel (another evil person) got in on the act with pro wrestling, another blind spot, I plunged into darkness. Twice. Then, like one of those Dragon Tattoo books where every single white male is in on a massive evil conspiracy, Garrett Martin came out of nowhere to make me do the same with videogame characters. After the blitzkrieg subsided, I’ve never been the same.
So here we are. My soul has been totally compromised, and now I’m just a lifeless shell of a human describing things I don’t enjoy for the amusement of others. This time: Sean Edgar is back, and he’s obtained Cosplay photos. God help me. As usual, I’ll do my best with each photo, and then Sean will respond with the truth. Here we go.
Initial Thoughts: Terrific. Great start. Clearly, we have a frog-themed character here, which I deduce by the appearance of a frog near what I’m assuming is a fake right bicep—though I’d love to see this guy pumping iron with a group of meatheads at the gym. I feel like there’s not much more to this character beyond the frog motif, except that his smile seems vaguely joker-like (that’s a character I know!), which makes me think he’s a deathly prankster, but of the frog world. Maybe he goes around terrorizing other frogs. I’m not sure how you’d do that, since human children have already cornered the market in frog terror. (When I was young, I used to capture them in bulk and keep them in a tank for a few days before letting them go. Which isn’t great, but also isn’t as awful as the weird kids I knew who would try to burn them using the sun and a magnifying glass.) Now that I think about it, I would like to see two groups of frogs on separate giant lily pads, each having to choose if the other group would get eaten by a giant hawk, or something. Maybe that’s what this guy does. Or maybe a frog had sex with a bodybuilder, and this is the result. I notice we can’t see his lower body here, so I’m assuming it’s all frog from the waist down.
My guess at the character’s name: Froker. (Frog + Joker, plus it sounds like a British insult, ya wee froker.)
My guess at his superpower: Equaling children in cruelty.
My guess at his arch enemy: Fratman (Frog + Batman, and it also makes it impossible for anyone to make a frat bro superhero in the future without infringing on the copyright.)
The real story: Shane, I know you believe I’m the evil in your life, but the more reasonable conclusion I’ve arrived at is that you were deprived of many of the universal delights we experienced in our youth. Like BATTLETOADS! Who doesn’t know Battletoads? This Nintendo side-scrolling brawler tested our mettle with unreasonably difficult gameplay. Tears were shed. Controllers were bashed. This gentleman is Rash, one third of the Battletoads trio, also including Zitz and Pimple. They save princesses on alien planets with appendages that spontaneously engorge. Rumor has it that these amphibious gentlemen will soon make a comeback on current-generation gaming consoles, in which case, Shane, you should compensate for this game’s absence in your life.
Initial thoughts: Well, this is obviously a mariachi musician with a furry on his shoulder. I’m not seeing the sombrero anywhere, but the bedazzled white suit can only mean mariachi, so I’m assuming it’s hanging down his back. He keeps his extra guitar picks in the bandolier pack slung around his knee, and he wears white gloves because…he’s a germaphobe? That’s the only explanation. In fact, I bet the furry thing is an animal he’s bred to keep the bugs off him, the way dragonflies help cows. Yup, I’m definitely right on this one—he’s an OCD mariachi singer with a symbiotic bug-eating pet. I can’t imagine what kind of adventures he gets up to, but let’s be real, it’s the perfect disguise. Everyone loves mariachi singers, and they can go anywhere.
My guess at the character’s name: Mariachi Michael and Lil’ Douglas.
My guess at his superpower: Blends into various cultures, assassinates anyone the U.S. government deems to be “the next Hitler.” Also gets hired to serenade women.
My guess at his arch enemy: The Germ-man. Get it? It’s a really dirty guy who’s also evil, and he’s from Germany. Just like Hitler.
The real story: Hmmm. Did your parent’s ever take you to Disney World, Shane? If they had, you may have witnessed a 3-D spectacle called Captain EO, starring Michael Jackson and directed by the man who directed The Godfather Trilogy. It ran from 1986 to 1994, AND IT’S COMING BACK. I don’t remember much about the plot, but the Wikipedia entry says that Anjelica Huston attempts to turn Jackson and his crew of space couriers into trash cans, which is fucking awesome. Something makes me think that you were the kind of kid who went to golf tournaments instead of enjoyed life. That might explain this.
Initial thoughts: God help me, this always happens. It always gets weird. Thanks, Sean. Thanks for torturing me and making 2015 the worst year of my life with your weird photos that make me think weird thoughts. I hate you. I don’t know what this guy is, okay? I don’t know. But I’ll tell you what I think: He’s a fetish-crazy masochist who has people throw things at the bullseye on his chest because that’s what he’s into. And it disturbs everyone. I bet this guy ruined comic-con one year. As for the weird helmet thing, with the jewel? I imagine he’s the king of whatever weird masochist club he belongs to. At this point, I’m really not even sure whether these costumes have to represent actual characters, or whether someone can just dream up a bizarre fantasy outfit and let it ride. Does it have to be a “real” thing? Did this guy write his own comic with this character, and now he gets pissed when nobody has any idea who he is? I can’t take a world where this guy is considered legit.
My guess at the character’s name: The Masochist King.
My guess at his superpower: Encouraging evil people to abuse him until they get freaked out and leave. (Also works for the U.S. government, where he was developed in a lab as an alternative solution to illegal immigration. Soon we’ll be seeing thousands of his like at the borders, trying to weird everyone out so they just go home.)
My guess at his arch enemy: The Sadist Usurper. Way cooler.
The real story: I can’t even….OK. Shane, this is Havok. He’s a mutant in the Marvel universe who projects plasma blasts. He’s rotated through a multitude of X-Men related teams, and seems like a pretty nice guy! To be honest, I don’t really get the jewel/helmet thing either.
Initial thoughts: This of course, is an easy one: Bill Murray and the Robot.
My guess at the character’s name:
and the Robot.
My guess at his superpower:
Bill Murray, the classically disheveled American film star and baseball fan, goes around with his robot beating the shit out of bad people with a bat. Sometimes, the bad people gang up on Bill Murray, at which point the robot shoots them with his red blaster, which kills them instantly. A lot of people are like, “hey, Bill Murray and the Robot—don’t you think you should just let the robot take care of the criminals, since his weapon is far more effective?” And Bill Murray pretends to consider it for a second, before giving a slight nod to the Robot, who blasts them into oblivion. It’s a good system. Also, they work for the U.S. government.
My guess at his arch enemy: Snowden.
The real story: Two more Nintendo icons: Mega Man—an android who pursues other cybernetic beings created by the villainous Dr. Wily—and Ness, the suburban boy hero of RPG EarthBound who defends against an alien invasion with music. But that dude totally looks like Bill Murray. Yeah, I like your version more, Shane. Kudos.
Initial thoughts: I will not be attracted to a cosplay person. I will not be attracted to a cosplay person. I will not be attracted to a cosplay person…
DAMMIT, SEAN. Why must you introduce sexual confusion into my brain, which I thought I had put behind me in middle school, when I finally got over that debilitating crush on Daphne from Scooby Doo? This isn’t the first time you’ve pulled this, either.
Look, I don’t know who this cool dude and sultry vixen are. They dress in purple and green, so maybe it’s some version of The Riddler? Didn’t Jim Carrey dress that way? Except I think he had question marks all over. That was Batman, right? In any case, Jim Carrey is far scarier now that he thinks vaccines are the devil, so let’s stop talking about him. Whoever this couple might be, they look the most like an actual pair of bad humans—a gangster and his gun moll. I imagine they run a club somewhere, and have shitty taste in music. Why they go for a purple-and-green color scheme is beyond me—the only things I can think of with those color schemes are eggplants and Barney the Dinosaur, both of which seem like a weird provenance—and I’m further confused by the way the guy paints only half of his face. Is he some bizarro version of the Phantom of the Opera? Speaking of which, why don’t we ever do this post with musical characters? I would kill at that.
My guess at the characters’ names: The Phantom of the Night Club and Chandelier Cherry. Or “Barney and the Eggplant Girl.”
My guess at their superpowers: Tempting aspiring musicians with total proficiency at shitty techno music.
My guess at their arch enemy: Real art. Or whoever Barney’s dinosaur enemy was in that show. Baby Bop?
The real story: Technically, that’s Batman villain Two-Face and…an incredibly attractive young woman dressed in lingerie vaguely resembling Two-Face’s costume. If it wasn’t bottomless, I’d think she was wearing a Maritime costume for beauty pageant toddlers who exclusively perform under blacklights. Honestly, these are just two insanely attractive promotional models. He just finished maxing some reps after guzzling a shark cartilage muscle supplement. She just accumulated her millionth Instagram follower who commented an endless emoji stream of smiley faces with heart eyes. These models probably took pictures with countless gross Midwestern 30-somethings. I may have been one of them. And I may follow her on Instagram. Don’t judge.