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Comic Book / Men in Black

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A six-issue comic book series, getting two volumes of three issues each, one in 1990 and the other in 1991. The comics follow the Men In Black, a secret organization that polices supernatural and extraterrestrial beings on Earth. The story centers on new agent Jay, whose partner Kay indoctrinates him into the Agency and slowly works on getting him into the proper mindset. Other characters include Zed (who is never seen, and may or may not be a computer), and Ecks, who goes rogue.

This comic book was eventually adapted into the Men in Black film series and cartoon.

The series was published by Aircel Comics, an imprint of Malibu Comics, which was eventually bought out by Marvel Comics, which went on to publish three of its own one-shot Men in Black comic books (they were based on the live-action films, rather than the original comics, however; the company did bring creator Lowell Cunningham back to write them as well as retell the very first issue of MiB, though).

To see these tropes you'll need a jacket, tie and glasses:

  • An Offer You Can't Refuse: This is the way Kay "recruites" Jay, telling him he was declared as dead and that he'll "never do anything important or even interesting again."
  • Continuity Nod: The one-shot Far Cry published by Marvel was made to retell the first issue's story, mixing both the original comics and the first movie. Here, the Agent Jay of the story is the one seen in the comics and his "recruitment" is done the same way (even placing him as an undercover agent investigating the new drug Bezerk), but the technology is more like the one seen in the first movie.
  • Cult Defector: The first mission of Agent Jay revolved around a new kind of drug, Bezerk, and a cult that developed around around it. Jay has the mission of going undercover in this cult and being used by Kay as a Guinea Pig, before he rescues Jay before he dies and annihilates the rest of the cult.
  • Deal with the Devil: More than a real deal (which are part of the cases they see as MIB), this is the way Jay thinks about becoming a Men in Black.
    Kay: There. You're official. You've just reached the pinnacle of your profession. Smile.
    Jay: Hmm. [thinking] You don't smile when you've just made a deal with the devil.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The comics were made in black and white with a purpose to remark the dark theme of the series. Averted with Far Cry, which was made in color as the rest of Marvel Comics issues.
  • Elite Agents Above the Law: Being loyal to the original urban myth, MIB is an obscure organization that goes beyond any laws to control the world and stop any abnormal activity like extraterrestials, demons and even sects. Different from their adaptations, the original source doesn't work as the "world police" but closest as it gets to the MIB myth, shaping the world as they like and having no compassion to any witnesses (unless they decide to recruit them).
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The drug in the first issue is called "Bezerk," and taking it turns the user into The Berserker.
  • The Faceless: Agent Zed, who appears physically in the movies, is just a voice on the radio in the comics.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink: Unlike its film and animated adaptations, the Men in Black also monitors mutants, demons, and other paranormal creatures and activities.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Agent Ecks.
  • Jerkass: Kay is far ruder and more paranoid than the somewhat grumpy but still kind-hearted version portrayed in the films.
  • Knight Templar: Kay is perfectly fine with doing downright awful things to keep humanity safe.
  • The Men in Black: Duh.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: The neuralyzer (here called a neurolyzer) has the shape of a flashlight instead of the tiny devices of the movies.
  • The Nameless: Justified in the Men in Black, but the future Agent Jay has no official name in his first appearance before being "recruited".
  • The New Rock & Roll: Seemingly parodied in the third issue, in which a game of a faux-D&D actually causes a demon to breach our reality.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: Rogue Agent Ecks became a werewolf who commited various murders in a city. It is hinted his lycanthropy has to do with the MIB and the reason why he went rogue.
  • Psycho Serum: Berserk, the drug used by the cult in the first issue.
  • The Remake: The Far Cry one-shot comic book, written by creator Lowell Cunningham, and the only color comic based on the original series than the movies.
  • Short-Runners: The original run was two volumes of three issues each volume. When The Movie came out, three more MIB comics were made - one a straight retelling of the film, one taking place between movies 1 and 2, and only one a continuation of Lowell Cunningham's original miniseries (Far Cry, more as The Remake).
  • Unexpectedly Real Magic: One of the stories was about a group of kids playing a Dungeons And Dragons clone who found an ancient mystical artifact and used it as their 20-sider. They didn't know it was magic, they just thought it was cool-looking. When one of them casts a "summon demon" spell, an actual demon appeared and destroyed half their house, and most of the town they lived in.
  • Villain Protagonist: Kay all over. He neuralizes an entire street with abandon, leaves Jay to deal with a grieving mother and, in a later issue, brainwashes a neuralized hick into climbing a clock tower with a rifle, then committing suicide, on his 16th birthday. Why? "For insurance." All for the greater good, of course.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Kay. He genuinely believes that keeping the paranormal secret is for the "greater good".
  • White Sheep: Jay. He maintains his own principles even after being recruited as a MIB (or at least he tries to).

We're not the system. We're over it. Above it. Beyond it. We're "them." We're "they." We're the Men in Black.