Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Pulp Hero: Lobster Johnson!

Not long ago, we got our first mini-series starring a "historical" figure within the Hellboy Universe, created by Mike Mignola.
Lobster Johnson appeared, drawn by the able Jason Armstrong, and was one of the best things from the year. Needless to say, a comic about Lobster Johnson serving justice in the 1930s against Nazis and demonic wizards and floating bodiless brains and giant Gorilla Men was made just for me, lovingly.
Not much is known about Lobster Johnson, save what we've seen in his few (memorable) appearances over the years. It turns out the Claw enjoys what many justice-servers enjoyed, such as the Shadow and the Spider: namely, opening up on criminals with his double .45s and then burning his Claw insignia into their foreheads after they are dead, as a warning to others.
Lobster Johnson takes other inspiration from the Pulps, having his own team of secret operatives who assist him in his work. They are all hardened men, all as unknown as the Lobster, except for their shared obsession to rid the world of evil.

There's nothing not to love about Lobster Johnson. He wears awesome goggles all of the time, which look like the bulbous eyes of the sea creature he's named after. He seems to have only his purpose for characterization. He's uncompromisingly vicious, but not inhuman. He's not superhuman, either, as he's often injured and, according to Mignola's history, he's deader than sh*t. He does pop up as a ghost quite often, doing something nutty like shooting phantom bullets into a comatose woman before dissipating. The woman soon awoke from her trance, but how the Claw serves within that world, officially, is anyone's guess.
What's important is that readers seem rightfully entranced by Lobster Johnson, and his mystery, which I hope Mignola never spoils. I don't really want to know who Lobster Johnson was, or what he did. Certainly hints and allusions are welcome, but I prefer the mystery. Really, the purpose of Lobster Johnson is to hammer the anvil of justice. We are compelled to follow his thirst for justice, as if he was starving before our eyes. We want him to have justice, then, to survive and enthrall us more. Hopefully we will be seeing more of the Claw very, very soon.


Josh Reynolds said...

Here is the Claw!

Really, I just like saying his name...Lobster Johnson. Lob-ster John-son.

That's a great name.

Joplin John said...

One of my prized possesions is my Lobster Johnson action figure!