Obnoxio the Clown vs. the X-Men #1 (1983)

Obnoxio the Clown vs. the X-Men #1 (April, 1983)

“Something Slimey This Way Comes!”
“Obnoxio the Clown’s Abuse Page”
“Jury Duty! ~or~ Oy the Jury”
“Dear Flabby”
By Alan Kupperberg
Edits & Creator of Obnoxio – Larry Hama
Chief – Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $0.60

Man, 1983 was a weird year for the top-selling books on the market.  DC had the New Teen Titans in those Drug Awareness Specials… and the X-Men had their State Fair of Texas giveaway, and… whatever this is.

What “this” is… is, another oddity I’d first discovered while scouring the pages of Wizard Magazine‘s price-guide.  I’d see a listing for “Obnoxio the Clown vs. the X-Men”… and, just like with the Dallas issue, I wanted more than anything to know just what in the hell it was.  It took me a long while of hunting… but, then… probably like 10 years ago, it suddenly became 50-cent bin fodder in my neck of the woods.  I think I’ve even got like 3-4 copies of it over the years, because I was always worried that I didn’t actually own it.

So, it might go without saying that… yeah, I owned it… but, I never got around to actually reading it.  Gonna fix that today, and pass the “savings” onto you!

Worth noting: The Indicia for this issue just calls it “Obnoxio the Clown Vol.1 #1″… but, in the interest of, ya know, actually getting anyone to read this post, I’m gonna call it “Obnoxio the Clown vs. the X-Men #1″.  I mean, Marvel themselves used the X-Men name boost circulation… so, why shouldn’t I?

More worth noting: This piece isn’t intended as a “catch all” for Marvel’s Crazy Magazine.  While I’ve got a short stack of ’em in a closet somewhere, humor mags were never my bag.

Let’s do it!

Our first story opens with Obnoxio the Clown arriving in Salem Center, where he’d been hired by Professor X to perform for Kitty Pryde’s some-teenth birthday.  Ya see, young Ms. Pryde is a hyooge fan of Marvel’s humor mag, Crazy… of which, Obnoxio the Clown is the “star”.  Well, the very moment the clown arrives, Cerebro starts pinging like crazy… alerting the Professor to the fact that there’s a new mutant on the scene.  In fact, the pinging is so powerful, it overloads some sort of feedback loop, which knocks the Prof completely unconscious!

Cyclops rushes in to check on the commotion, and is shocked to see his mentor kayoed on the ground.  He rushes outside to call the rest of the team to action… as it looks as though the mansion is currently under attack.  If you’re thinking that Obnoxio the Clown has just been outed as a mutant… well, not so fast, kemosabe – Obnoxio may be a lot of things… a scumbag, a drunk, and a snappy dresser… but he ain’t no mutant.  The thing that made Cerebro ping is… the most sensational (non-Eques) Mutant Character Find of 1983: Eye-Scream!  Uh, yeah… a mutant with the power to transform into whatever flavor of ice cream he so desires.  A mutant who only appears in this very issue, and never again.  Dawn of X, my ass.  How you gonna kick off a brave new era of X-Men comics, and not bring back Eye-Scream?!

Meanwhile, Obnoxio the Clown goes to ring the doorbell of Xavier’s… and accidentally triggers the trap-door under the floor mat.  Ah, the classics!  This sends him down to the sub-basement of the joint… where he needs to think up a clever way to escape.  He settles on lighting one of his CO₂ chargers for his silly seltzer bottle with his stogie… blowing out the double-tough walls of the dungeon with a FRUMP.

Obnoxio winds up walking right into the X-Men… who immediately assume he’s the enemy.  Even Kitty Pryde, the self-professed Crazy fanatic doesn’t seem to recognize her hero!  Worth noting, our clown refers to the X-Men as the “Legion of Super-Pests”, which is sort of cute.

Nearby, Eye-Scream makes his way to the vaunted Danger Room… which, uh… has just an ordinary door with the sign that reads “Danger Room” on it.  I was expecting so much more.  Now, the door is locked (duh), but our new favorite mutant has something of a skeleton key in that he can, ya know, turn into ice cream.  And so, he takes the form of… a banana split?  That’s not an ice cream flavor, right?  That’s just something you make with ice cream… Oh well, we’ll allow it.

So, Eye-Scream is in the Danger Room… and the X-Men have their hands full fighting (and getting their butts handed to them by) Obnoxio the Clown.  I mean, it’s really quite embarrassing for our heroes.

By now, Eye-Scream has figured out how to activate the Danger Room… which triggers all manner of traps and gimmicks.  Obnoxio finds himself trapped within… and the X-Men are locked out.  Now, the Danger Room door looks like a blast-door or something, like they might have on the Death Star… but, whattayagonnado?

The Danger Room begins filling with water… leaving poor Obnoxio to use an inflated rubber chicken as a breathing apparatus.  Lucky for him, on the other side of the door, Wolverine is slicing and dicing with his claws.  It isn’t long before the hobo clown is rescued.  Wolverine, however, looks like he’s about to exact a bit of revenge on the ol’ painted jester.

That is, until he gets a psychic summons from the once again awake Professor X.  They head into the Danger Room command station… and find the Prof, and Eye-Scream… that latter of whom is “on ice”, as in frozen stiff.  Not sure how or when that happened… though, Obnoxio did throw a cream pie at him a bit earlier.  I guess that’s as good a guess as any?  He informs the crew that Obnoxio is their guest… and is here for Kitty’s birthday.  Kitty doesn’t seem to have the foggiest idea what he’s talking about.  Anyhoo… the day is saved, and the clown leaves.  Whatever happened to Eye-Scream is anybody’s guess…

Next we get a one-pager called “Obnoxio the Clown’s Abuse Page”, where our hero personally responds to readers of Crazy Magazine’s missives.  It’s… well… uh, it’s drawn nicely enough.  It isn’t funny by any definition of the word… but, well… it’s there!

Our second feature opens with Obnoxio taking the train back from Westchester… so, we might assume that this is a continuation from his run-in with the X-Men?  I’m going to say it was… otherwise, why would I bother even covering it?  It’s a long ride… and a long walk.  Once he finally returns to his palatial abode, he is stunned to learn he’s received a summons for Jury Duty!  What’s more, it’s a summons to appear that very day!

And so, we follow him down to the courthouse, where he’s sat in a great big room full of other unfortunates with summons’s’s’s to appear.  It’s… uh, not very funny.

Our hero steps outside to have himself a smoke… when he happens across a heist in progress.  A gaggle of black-clad geeks are in the process of stealing… mannequins?

The bad guys are completely out to lunch, and as such… they try and lift and swipe Obnoxio himself!  Once they realize he’s, ya know, a smelly old pervert and not a limbless mannequin, they drop him and scatter like… well, things that scatter.

They run right into the court room, with Obnoxio hot on their trail.  The Clown stops to chat with Dennis the Menace’s father for a moment, and the Judge decides to adjourn the court until after the pending chase scene.

The chase goes outside the building, where the would-be robbers run into a… regular dude, and get knocked off their feet.  The Police arrive, and arrest ’em… and all looks to be good.

When reporters begin to arrive, Obnoxio begins juggling… hopeful to get some good publicity.  The judge decides to excuse our hero from serving on a jury… and so, we follow him home.  This time, he’s greeted by a stack of bills.  Wonk, wonk, wonnnnnnk?

Finally, we wrap up the issue with another one-pager.  This one’s called “Dear Flabby” and is credited to “Abigail Van Kupperberg”.  It’s an advertisement for Marvel subscriptions disguised as an advice column.  It ends with Obnoxio being straitjacketed and dragged away.


This sure was… somethin’, wunnit?

Such a weird little one-off… the only issue of Obnoxio the Clown.  The Clown himself would only go on to appear a couple more times… and has now been relegated as hailing from Marvel Earth-80360… which, I suppose, is the Marvel Earth of Crazy Magazine.

Now, while I didn’t find this nearly as funny as I think I was supposed to… you know me… I’m a real sucker for lore.  I love the fact that this contains the only appearance of a Marvel Mutant… back in a time where mutants weren’t popping up all over the place!  Back in 1983, there were… what… a few dozen of ’em?  And… to think, Eye-Scream was one of ’em!  Hell, Eques and Eye-Scream were both bona fide Marvel Mutants before the glut!

I always find stuff like that so interesting… and, it’s somewhat shocking that Eye-Scream never made another appearance… you’d expect him to be ripe for a cameo in an issue of Deadpool or something silly like that.  But, nope!  He’s a one-and-done!  And yes, I did refer to my 198 Files to see if he retained his powers after M-Day.  He, sadly… does not get a mention.

If only Marvel didn’t just bring back the Fallen Angels concept… otherwise, I might pitch one of my own: Eye-Scream, Eques, Alchemy… maybe toss in Thumbelina too!  If anything, it’d be a ton more fun than the recent Fallen Angels miniseries!

Overall, while this was rather unfunny… almost aggressively so… it looked great, and I can’t say I didn’t have a good time reading it (at least the X-Men half).  The jury duty backup… kinda lost the plot.  I wasn’t sure what was happening or why… and it ended with a bit of a dud.

Worth nabbing if you find it on the cheap… maybe get this bugger slabbed for whenever Eye-Scream gets his own Marvel movie.  I mean, he’s not the worst candidate for one!

(Not the) Letters Page:

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2 thoughts on “Obnoxio the Clown vs. the X-Men #1 (1983)

  • joecab

    The only thing I remember about this comic is how sweet Obnoxio's big black eyes looked on the cover. What a li'l anjil.

  • Damien Drouet-Whiter

    You want to add Crimson Daffodil from the Mutant Misadventures of Cloak and Dagger to that team and call them The RejeX.


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