"Before I can be a hero, I have to figure out what's right and what's wrong. We need to figure out the meaning of life. Where it all started and where we're all going."
— Kal-AOL Turner, Marville #2
"Bill Jemas thought there was too much joy in the world, and thus attempted to get rid of it by creating a comic that sucks joy in like a vacuum and then incinerates it."
quote from Marville #4 and his take on the comic.
A notorious "parody"
comic created by Marvel Comics
editor Bill Jemas, as a bet between him, Ron Zimmerman and Peter David
on who could make a better-selling comic. Known as the "U-Decide" event, Zimmerman's six-issue Ultimate Adventure
took a year and a half to come out. David's Captain Marvel
title went on for twenty-five issues and was well-regarded. As for Marville
Kal-AOL Turner, son of Ted Turner from the year 5002, is transported into the present day. Believing himself to be a superhero, Kal-AOL meets up with Mickey (who nicknames him "Al") and Lucy. And crosses paths with Spike Lee
and Rush Limbaugh
. The first books are also filled with attempts at parody and topical humor.
Then it takes a turn for the weirdly philosophical when they all go back in time and meet God, who is actually a black man named Jack. After that, they watch the evolution of the world, and discover that dinosaurs talked with Jewish mannerisms, and Wolverine
is the first human, evolved from an otter.
Has been Snark Bait
to some reviewers
- Achievements in Ignorance: Just about everything that the series preaches as fact is false, and has long since been proven as such. Many of them are common knowledge.
- All Men Are Perverts: Guess how Al discovers he doesn't have X-Ray Vision.
- All There in the Manual: Subverted, if it's even possible to do. Despite the redundant amount of "Previously On" prologues, they add nothing useful and frequently get things WRONG about the story.
- And Now For Something Completely Different: Marville #7 is... a submission guide for the then-upcoming Epic line of Marvel Comics. How anyone is supported to know this is unclear, since the cover is graced by the same Marville logo, the same Marville cover chick, and "EPIC" stamped on a fence.
- Ape Shall Never Kill Ape: The comics states that only humans kill their own species. A theory that has been debunkednote .
- Art Shift: Issue #3, that ditches thought balloons in lieu of text running in the borders of the comic. Then #5 eschews art of any kind and has text on a blue background for two pages.
- Artistic License – Biology: Issues #3 to #5 are loaded with scientific inaccuracies, to the point where you'd very likely be faster off making a list of things that are accurate.
- Artistic License – Paleontology: Apart from all the various inaccuracies about dinosaurs, Jemas continually refers to the Jurassic Period as "Jurassic Park". This may be a joke... but it happens so much that Jemas may actually believe that's the real name.
- Author Filibuster: Issues #3 to #5 are filled with this (and since they are nonsensical and don't seem like parodies at all, Linkara described as "a gaze into the eyes of madness").
- Behind the Black: Issue #2 attempts this when the cast and Spider-Man track down the Kingpin of Crime's lair to an abandoned bowling alley. Lucy asks him if this is really the place, and the next panel pulls out to reveal a gigantic skyscraper behind the bowling alley with "KINGPIN ENTERPRISES" on the side. It had the potential to work, had the previous panel not showed the roof of the bowling alley and above, showing that there was nothing behind it until the next panel.
- Bigger Is Better: Naturally God, aka Jack, has a huge black dick. That is, in exact words, "like an African fertility God".
- Bilingual Bonus: Mishbucha is a Hebrew noun that means "family." Which means the dinosaurs are Jewish.
- Cannot Tell Fiction from Reality: It is revealed that the religious debate part of this comic is not a parody, Bill Jemas fully believes all of what is being said. This including many debunked theories such as humans only using 10% brain power, Ape Shall Never Kill Ape, and so on. Also much of the debate hangs on Wolverine being the first human being, who mutated from an otter; backing up real-world debates about evolution and stuff by using comic book characters as evidence (and making them as weird as possible in the process...)
- Cerebus Syndrome: It went from a "parody" comic to a philosophical comic about life, the universe, and everything. Amusingly, it results in the comic becoming even weirder than it already was in contrast to most example of the trope. Also doubles as Going Cosmic.
- If Bill Jemas will have you believe, he seems to think if you buy this comic and understand the "depths" of the story, it will bring about World Peace.
- Chair Reveal: The Kingpin does this at the end of his crime speech.
- Colony Drop: It opens with a meteor shower on Earth. One of the stones is cut by Ted Turner with a Tomahawk Chopnote .
- Covers Always Lie: Most of the covers feature cheesecake shots of a redhead who never actually appears in the comic. Issue #1 also had a cover with mechas.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Despite what one might state about Al, there is no doubt he can handle himself in a fight.
- Curbstomp Battle: During Issue #2, Rush Limbaugh shows up and zaps some Captain Ersatzes of Batman, Iron Man, and Black Panther to smithereens.
- Dear Negative Reader: The series concludes with Jemas wildly insulting his readers for "not getting it," leading to the failure of his book, along with his competition for their business practices.note
- Death by Origin Story: Zig Zagg with Al's dog, AOLstro. At first, Al's failure to stop a bank robber appeared to have lead to AOLstro's death, but it turns out the robber slipped on AOLstro's drool. Later, when Al and Mickey go to the movies, a mugger apparently shot AOLstro in an alley, but it turned out AOLstro knocked him out by farting.
- Dominatrix: Lucy suddenly becomes one during one criminal's rather-confusing trip through the justice system in Issue #2.
- Evolutionary Levels: The "biological clock".
- Fanservice: The covers are always covered with a woman barely wearing anything and Issue #3 has all the characters go skinny dipping.
- The Fool: Al. Where he thought he gained superpowers from traveling back in time, believing he could save people by just giving out money, and did not know the dinosaurs were killed off.
- A Form You Are Comfortable With: God is seen by Mickey and Al in different forms, before eventually settles on a young African American.
- Fox News Liberal: Let's see: Ted Turner is a doofus, Spike Lee is a criminal mastermind, Rush Limbaugh is a Godlike hero (and slender, to boot), intelligent design, the original humans were white, batshit insane pseudoscience, mocking racial sensitivity and vegetarianism, and so on. Yeah, there's a certain political viewpoint going on here.
- God Was My Copilot: But isn't omnipotent and requires a time travel machine from the year 5002.
- Idiot Hero: Al. Special emphasis on the "idiot" part (and the "hero" part is pretty questionable as well).
- Implied Love Interest: The recaps in Issues #2 and #3 claim that Al "falls in love with Mickey, but it's a one-way street." Nothing in the actual comic suggests any romance between the two.
- Insane Troll Logic: Al, for some reason, believed he gained superpowers from being sent back in time. Mickey repeatedly has to remind him that he does not have any powers.
- MANY of the religious debates.
- Ted Turner trying to convince bystanders to save the world from a meteor shower by Tomahawk Chopping the meteorites (as mentioned in the Colony Drop example above). One man calls him out on his, but only because it'd be offensive to Native Americans.
- In Name Only: Issue #7 has nothing to do with the rest of the series, and is instead an advertisement and pamphlet explaining "Epic Comics" and its intention.
- Irony: Peter David is portrayed as a homeless bum in #2 and pretty much stating that his work was worthless, all while the comic he made for the contest against Bill Jemas sold twice as much as his did.
- Lady Not-Appearing-In-This-Comic: The scantily-clad redhead who appears on the covers from Issue #2 onward.
- Logic Bomb: This comic tries to repeatedly state that there is no evolution... all while showing evolution happening around them.
- Magical Negro: In the form of Jack, aka God.
- Mind Screw: Add haphazard storytelling when it tries being straightforward, showing downright insane scenes once it attempts being serious, and the weird "scientific" debate, and it's hard to make much sense out of the comic.
- Narrow Parody: For a supposed parody, it doesn't attempt too much, to the point jokes are explained.
- Neon Sign Hideout: The Kingpin of Crime's lair is a gigantic skyscraper with "KINGPIN ENTERPRISES" written on the side.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Actual celebrities appear, from the hero's parents being Ted Turner and Jane Fonda in 5002, to Spike Lee being the Kingpin, and cameos by Alan Greenspan and Rush Limbaugh (who is handsome and thin).
- Non-Indicative Name: Besides the cover of Issue #1, Smallville is never touched upon.
- One Nation Under Copyright: Ted Turner purchased Earth... and once AOL overtook it they renamed the planet "AOLon".
- Plot Hole: You can't go more than three steps without falling into one. Around issues 3 to 5, the Time Machine's mechanics become a little confusing and inconsistent. The characters decide to use a bag, some water, and a pre-historic life form to check what year they're arriving at, but it's never explained how they're not aging along with it either, and a panel ago, there's a window on the time machine, rendering their "biological clock" a little pointless. Also they claim that the Time Machine does not move from the location they started from, but Al was sent into the middle of the street when he first arrived in the past.
- Police Are Useless: To a very insulting degree.
- Pre Historia: Issues #3 to #5.
- Recap Episode\Post Modernism: Issue #6 is Kal pitching the events of the earlier issues to an unnamed person.
- Also at the beginning of each book, there is a few pages recaping what happened before. Often getting its own material wrong such as claiming that Mickey and Al are in love (which is never shown in the comic) and when stating Al being sent back to the past said picture is of Al receiving the time machine in the past.
- Rich Jerk: Iron Man, Batman and Black Panther cameo just to be portrayed as this, not to mention Ted Turner and the protagonist of the series, Al.
- Saving The World With Art: In issue 6, Al is on a Mission from God to prevent World War III, and apparently the best way to do this is to get a comic book publisher to publish the previous 5 issues. So Al pitches the series, which is presented in an inaccurate recap, but ultimately gets turned down.
- Science Is Useless: The comic does this to an insulting degree. To the point that it pretty much states that if you believe in science you are a moron.
- Sex Sells: As mentioned in Covers Always Lie, there were several covers featuring a very scantily clad woman who never showed up in the comics, with the covers being attributed to the fact Bill Jemas was losing a bet with Peter David. The desperation ramps up til you get bare ass, almost bare breasts, and Wolverine's claw in #5.
- Skinny Dipping: Issue #3 has everyone doing that in prehistoric Earth.
- Somewhere, a Palaeontologist Is Crying: Or laughing. Jewish Hadrosaurs (aka Duckbills) who can talk and live in the Jurassic Era, er, Park.
- Stripperiffic: Lucy is introduced in this, supposedly as an undercover cop. The girls also dress in those every now and then.
- Take That: Most of the digs at DC Comics are rather mean-spirited.
- Scientists never do anything on purpose, anthropologists can't find jobs—and besides, their knowledge only extends a few hundred years, and everything before that is made up for the purpose of making scientists look smart.
- There's a jab aimed at Jemas' competitor Peter David in Issue #2, when says he David no fans (while Rush Limbaugh has tons of fans.)
- Police officers(!) get the treatment in Issue #2.
- Take That, Audience!: Kicks in as late as—get this—Issue #6. Worse, it's not as much as making fun of the audience, rather it's a savage indictment of American culture: the reasoning is that Al's pitch for "world peace" is rejected by the editor because audiences don't care about substance and just want more superhero comics. Eat your heart out, Grant Morrison.
- The irony being that only those with the intellectual prowess to read Bill Jemas would even notice this accusation.
- Through the Eyes of Madness: The comic as it progresses becomes a look at Bill Jemas' psyche and his, putting it mildly, bizarre outlook on science, history and the world.
- Time Travel: Al does this in Issue 1. Then in the ones in #3 through #5 it is used for Jemas to drop weird philosophy.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Mickey's Tomboy to Lucy's Girly Girl.
- Viewers Are Morons: Issue #1 gives a summary on the people who are riffed on in the comic. Even the backstories for Batman, Superman, and Spider-Man are given. However, it does not explain such things as Ron Perelman or controversy around the Atlanta Braves.
- Also, saying things such as Wolverine being the first human.
- Issue #6 is a long accusation towards everyone not buying the comic because they didn't get the deep meaningful message.
- Wangst: Mickey claims people should feel bad for the air molecules that humans destroy when they breathe. Keep in mind that nobody argues with her on this and this occurs during the philosophical portion of the comic, implying that Jemas thinks the same thing. —Or worse, this is intended as another (tangential) jab at liberals/environmentalists/secularists/youths/all of the above.
- What Happened To The Dog: AOLstro, Al's dog, hasn't been seen since Issue #2.
- Wolverine Publicity: Wolverine shows up in Issue #5, and is on the main cover of Issue #6, even though he has no part in Issue 6 at all.
- World War III: It is revealed in #5 that the reason that they are traveling through time is because Jack wants to show them how war works and due to their popularity and wealth from "fighting" crime they will prevent the upcoming World War.