Hey everybody, it’s time for another great character spotlight, right here in Marvel Snapshot! This time around, we’ll be looking at a man that plagued one of my all time favorite teams, The Defenders, for quite a while. His name is Lunatik, and he’s about to get some love even though most have sadly never even heard of him! He was created by David Anthony Kraft and George Pérez in 1975 (Creatures on the Loose #35)!
The alien man named Arisen Tyrk was a crazed king of a dimension named “Other Realm.” This fanatical leader sought to possess the Godstone, to satiate his enormous thirst for power. In doing so, he came into contact with the Man-Wolf, John Jameson. He attempted to use a “gun for hire” in Kraven the Hunter, but he couldn’t get the job done. Some freedom fighters from Other Realm then brought Man-Wolf to their dimension to help overthrow Tyrk. As he tried to escape, he fell through a dimension that split him into multiple versions of himself, with four of these “versions” falling to Earth and becoming Lunatik.
In The Defenders #52, the return of Prince Namor was causing a ruckus in the streets, and the Hulk got into a fight with him. There was intrigue with some Soviets, and then there was Valkyrie meeting the new drama professor at E.S.U. (Empire State University). Professor Turk seems to have some sort of weird attraction to Val and her no-nonsense methods of getting a job done. Over the next few issues, Val meets a crazed criminal called Lunatik, and the two seem to be two sides of a coin. Both use extreme methods to get a job done. Only Val will not hurt others to do this, but Lunatik has no problem hurting or even killing people (image below which shows him pushing a baby in its carriage into oncoming traffic).
Lunatik fights Valkyrie and proves that he’s a match for her skill-wise, and his mental imbalance puts him beyond her scope of comprehension, as far as knowing how to apprehend him. Eventually, the rest of the team gets involved, and they reunite (and it feels so good) all the different “pieces” of Arisen Tyrk, A.K.A. Lunatik, and send him back to his own dimension. Then they must fight another war in said dimension.
The character was obviously an homage to the Joker, and a good one at that. He was every bit as insane as the Joker, but had better dialogue because of being created in the Bronze Age, rather than the Golden Age. So, basically, for a poor man’s Joker, he was a fun and interesting character! Stories with characters like Lunatik are why comics from this era are still fun reads and entertaining after decades have passed. As usual, take a look at my recommended reading list, along with some great shots of the deranged Lunatik (some solid work from Carmine Infantino and Klaus Janson)! See you next time!