Don Simpson's "Megaton Man" is one of the greatest superhero spoofs to ever be put to paper, and I was a bit surprised when I learned that Simpson was going to have an art showing in, of all places, my hometown of Brownsville, PA. It turns out, unbeknownst to me until I arrived at the Frank L. Melega art museum, housed at the Flatiron Building, that Simpson is a Pittsburgh native.
It's unusual to have something like this show up in Brownsville, so Larry and I took the short trip a few weeks back and caught a glimpse of the show.
The gallery includes an impressive display of Megaton Man artwork, with a few other items sprinkled in for good measure.
Simpson himself was at the gallery when the show opened. I would have loved to have been there, but it coincided with the New York Comic-Con, which was a shame.
There were a couple reference to the Tick at the show. It's hard not to see parallels between the two characters, and I got the impression that maybe Simpson wasn't too fond of the blue guy (Megaton Man showed up a few years before The Tick). Obviously, I think there's room for more than one superhero parody on the market.
Interestingly enough, there was some art from the War of the Independents miniseries at the show. I had all but given this series up for dead, as the series has been on quite the hiatus. But it seems that Simpson himself is drawing the fourth issue, and that it'll be released this summer. See here is a print and what I believe a cover for War of the Independents, featuring both Megaton Man and the Tick.
I'll admit that I hadn't read much of Megaton Man before going to the show. Indy comics from the mid-80s don't often show up in the back issue bins I sort through. But I decided to grab the 10-issue first series online and I have to say - it's got its moments of brilliance. The relationship between Megaton Man and Stella Starlight is complicated, deep and sometimes tortured. I soon after picked up the followup "Return of Megaton Man" and I'm working my way toward the '90s Image crossover titles (one issue of note that's on its way to me currently: "Yarn Man", a secondary Megaton Man character and Thing parody).
Also worth mentioning is Simpson's "Border Worlds" series, which I also picked up and quickly consumed. It's a very ambitious sci-fi concept that I also enjoyed very much.
Near the back of the gallery, almost hidden, was a display of some bigger pieces, and art from Simpson's own collection.
Included in this collection are a few pages of original Fantastic Four art from John Romita. Needless to say, it was just incredible.
The gallery was supposed to have ended by now, but according to Simpson himself, it's been extended to run into February...so if you haven't seen it yet, there's still time! Do yourself a favor and, if you're from my part of town, go and see this great gallery. Here's the address:
69 Market St., Brownsville, PA 15417
I'd love to see a Tick/Megaton Man crossover happen one day. Maybe Simpson, who recently got his PhD (!) from the University of Pittsburgh, will hit a few more conventions in the coming months and years. I'd love to meet the guy.