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April 14, 2010

Wacky Comic Wednesday: Obnoxio The Clown Vs. The X-Men

Obnoxio the Clown Vs. The X-Men

Obnoxio The Clown Vs. The X-Men may sound like an obscure Italian film, but it’s actually a one-shot comic that was published by Marvel Comics in 1983. It was written and illustrated by Alan Kupperberg, who had previously worked on high profile titles for Marvel such as The Amazing Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, Captain America, and Dr. Strange. After leaving Marvel, he contributed to DC Comics’ Justice League of America. As well as some not-so-high profile books, like The Fury Of Firestorm and Blue Devil. He also did some work for Cracked Magazine, but since contributions to Cracked were largely on a work-for-hire basis prior to its transformation into a web publication, it’s unlikely that you’ll see a credit for his artwork or articles. Speaking of Mad Magazine rip-offs, here’s a fun fact: Obnoxio The Clown became the unofficial mascot of Crazy! Magazine (Marvel’s attempt at the humor magazine genre) three years prior to this one-shot’s release.

Obnoxio The Clown Vs. The X-Men definitely showcases Kupperberg’s prowess for working on team books. The dialogue is as rich as a canned ham, but wonderfully so. It’s very obvious he was making a deliberate attempt at humor, but there are some horribly corny moments that are so bad, they’re good.

Crazy! #69

The basis for the plot is as simple as it is ridiculous. Professor Xavier has hired Obnoxio the Clown to entertain at Kitty Pryde’s birthday party. I’m not sure what age Kitty was supposed to be in 1983, but she had the body of a twenty year old. So, I would assume, she’s too old for a friggin’ clown. Regardless, Prof. X thought this would be appropriate for her. Because he has the ability to read minds, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. Essentially, the clown arrives just as Cerebro senses a mutant intruder on the property. As the sirens wail, Obnoxio proves to be the perfect distraction. To make matters worse, Prof. X has been conveniently knocked out by an exploding computer. So, there’s no one to clear up the confusion when the inevitable antics ensue. The actual intruder is Eye-Scream, a mutant whose name is a less than clever pun for his ludicrous powers. Eye-Scream has the ability to turn into any flavor of ice cream at will. These transformations are controlled by a refrigeration dial on his chest. Just turn the knob to the right, Chunky Monkey. To the left, Rocky Road. So forth, and so on. This guy lacks the imagination to actually span thirty-one flavors, though. Throughout the entire comic, he only turns into one flavor. Strawberry. Which I feel is totally appropriate, because this guy’s powers are fruity. His reason for hating the X-Men is about as lame as his powers themselves. He wants to kill them because “their flashy powers make his look ridiculous.”

Shortly after his arrival, Eye-Scream dissolves into a gooey pile of melted strawberry ice cream and slides into the mansion’s basement. Meanwhile, Obnoxio is living up to his name by repeatedly ringing the doorbell of the X-Mansion. This results in a trap door opening under the welcome mat, like something out of an episode of Looney Tunes. He falls into an underground detention area, and quickly rummages through his bag of tricks for a way to escape. In a Macgyver-esque move, he takes the C02 cartridges from his seltzer bottles and ignites them with his cigar. This creates a volatile explosion that would put most plastic explosives to shame. On the other side of the massive hole, he finds a pissed off group of X-Men, who are ready to kick some ass and ask questions later. Before they can make their move, Obnoxio jumps on his unicycle in order to make an escape. Colossus attempts to grab him, but is quickly thwarted with a joy-buzzer handshake. Nightcrawler also attempts to take down the clown, but is sent into a teleporting conniption fit after Obnoxio gives him a dose of sneezing powder.

A Marvel Masterwork Pin-Up featuring Obnoxio and the X-Men

Before Obnoxio can dish out any more embarrassing abuse to the highly trained group of mutants, he’s grabbed by a giant hand from the danger room. While the X-Men were playing grab-ass with the clown, Eye-Scream took control of the Danger Room’s computer. Soon after, Obnoxio is sealed in a section of the X-Men’s unmerciful training facility, and he’s hit with an onslaught of obstacles. The first of which consists of  numerous flame throwers that are squelched by his seltzer bottles. The second are a series of lasers, that he swiftly defuses by hurling cream pies. Lastly, it seems Obnoxio has met his match as the room begins to fill with water, but don’t underestimate  the ingenuity of a clown. He crafts a diver’s helmet from a rubber chicken, and as Wolverine Snikts his way through the Danger Room wall, Obnoxio body surfs to safety. Though he’s faced death numerous times since his visit to the X-Mansion, he still has a sense of humor about things. When the water finally clears, Obnoxio lies on the floor, pooches his lips out, and flops like a displaced salmon. Now, that’s a professional! Needless to say, Wolverine isn’t amused by his floundering and grabs him up by the nape of the neck. Before Wolvie can go berserker on his ass, Prof. X regains consciousness, and summons the X-Men to the Danger Room. Once there, the merry mutants discover the real culprit was actually Eye-Scream. Who ironically was subdued when Prof. X used his telekinesis to drop the thermostat below freezing, trapping Eye-Scream in a block of ice. Obnoxio places some whip cream on the frozen villain, and tops it with a giant cherry. This makes Kitty laugh, and she asks if he’ll still entertain at her party. Her inquiry is met with a squirting flower to the face before Obnoxio abruptly leaves the mansion.

Obnoxio the Clown Vs. The X-Men is a classic moment in comic book history. The detailed artwork and unapologetic humor has more than stood the test of time. This comic is as fresh today as it was in 1983 (give or take a few dated cultural references). So if you’re in the mood for some low-brow humor, and you don’t suffer from Coulrophobia, pick this one up. It’s comedy gold!

Bonus: Obnoxio the Clown Fun Pages

Josh Jones



  1. Billy

    I’ve actually contemplated buying this several times… :-O

  2. Kristin

    That is certainly one of the weirdest things I’ve seen…..

  3. When Kitty debuted she was 14 and I remembe her having a B Day in an issue of Excalibur at which point she either turned 16 or 17. yep they age pretty slow in the Marvel U depending on who you are lol

  4. Drew

    I want this now

  5. I remember owning this. Crazy magazine just killed me.

    Don’t know if you’ve covered Spiderman and the not-ready-for-prime-time-players yet, but that book killed me too. I’ve owned several of those.

  6. […] Ace of Aces). Robert liked my pencil on notebook paper minicomics of Hulk vs. the X-Men (in the Obnoxio the Clown vs. the X-men mode, for those of you who remember that one-shot comic), and we worked together to produce four […]

  7. jaime

    i have that comic with a label that says: jan 1 1983 :), and don’t have spider man’s face in the corner

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