Back in 2015 a run of Deadpool ended with issue 45 where the earth explodes in a rather unpleasant manner (though I’m not sure there’s a pleasant way in which it could be destroyed) and Scott Aukerman contributed a five page bonus story called The Thwipster And The Quipster Battle The Hipsters. In it Agent Scott Adsit (who in this universe is a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and not a critically acclaimed comedian) and Spider-Man battle a bunch of Men-Wolves on S.H.I.E.L.D.’s helicarrier, and it turns in to a discussion of how Spider-Man has the courage to make jokes whilst fighting for his life. It’s very funny stuff in general, with a great 30 Rock joke from Spidey, and the ending made me smile a lot too, and led me wanting to read more of Aukerman’s comics work.
Luckily I was able to, as shortly afterwards he contributed a story to Secret Wars Journal issue 3. Set in an alternative universe and starring a group of heroes including Hank and Janet Pym (aka the original Ant-Man and The Wasp) and Peter Parker, the big difference is that they live in a world where everyone Hulks out when they become angry (or even just slightly miffed, as there’s one fantastic gag about a Hulk who’s furious due to Game of Throne spoilers). It’s a brief affair but a very likeable one, as a therapist tries to help Peter Parker deal with the recent death of his Uncle Ben. Initially Peter hulks out when forced to talk about such a difficult subject but the therapist is able to give him advice about how to come to terms with it, and in doing so actually finds some optimism in life for himself. As well as containing a lot of strong humour it’s surprisingly heart-warming, and it’s a shame that Aukerman has yet to return to this world.
Following this in 2016 he wrote issue 6 of Spider-Man/Deadpool, who are my favourite Marvel comics characters (though due to Jason Aaron and Mike Del Mundo’s superb current run on Thor he’s catching them up), and so I was pretty sure I was going to enjoy it before reading the first page. And enjoy it I did, given a whole issue to play with it’s Aukerman’s best work so far, opening with Deadpool and Spidey having a very funny conversation where they put events in to context. As you’d expect with Deadpool it’s a meta affair as he learns there’s going to be a major film made about him, and he soon recruits Spider-Man as an assistant producer. There’s lots of funny digs about the Hollywood process, and star of the movie “Donald Dryans”, and Aukerman clearly enjoys writing action scenes too as it turns out the film’s stunt man plans to kill Deadpool. Throw in a cute cameo from Daredevil, some of The Walking Dead cast, dinosaurs from Jurassic World and even Aukerman himself, along with a great joke concerning Batman Vs. Superman, and you’ve got a comic which is an enormous amount of fun.
Now X-Men Black – Mojo is his latest comic and an even dafter one, though once again it does have a surprisingly sweet core at it’s centre. Also set in an alternative dimension it revolves around supervillain Mojo, an overweight yellow fella with robotic spider legs, and our anti-hero is a tv mogul obsessed with getting viewers for his channel and comes complete with a plan to destroy the X-men to help him do so. There’s only one thing he didn’t ever consider – that he might fall in love with a normal human woman.
The mix of Mojo’s egotistical and superior attitude with his confusing feelings of love create a lot of very funny scenes, from trying (and failing) to come up with a chat up line to befriending a superhero who should be his enemy, but slowly becomes a friend, the splendidly odd Glob who has transparent skin meaning all of his bones and organs are on display. As well as the romantic main plot Aukerman finds the time to insert some funny satire of the tv business (with Mojo’s line “”Hmmm…Ratings have dipped two points in the demo…I suppose I’ll have to murder Gambit or something during sweeps” eliciting a strong laugh), and he even creates his own X-Man, Mukus, who has the ability to, well, you might have guessed but it’s amusing disgusting even if I’m not quite sure how his powers may ever save the world. But who knows, maybe humanity will one day run out mucus and he’ll be the man we need. There’s also a strong central theme about accepting who you are, and not caring about the unpleasant opinions of strangers who you don’t know, which is advice I hope many take. The moral side of things is carefully handled, and most importantly doesn’t get in the way of the many great gags on every page (with the ongoing jokes about Mojo being literally spineless making me laugh the most), and it’s a delight to read.
It’s not quite the funniest superhero comic I’ve ever read (that would either be John Byrne’s superb run on She-Hulk or Giffen and DeMatteis’s Justice Leauge International, which I’ll be covering in an article very soon) but it’s not far from the incredibly high standard of both of those titles. When supervillains normally fall in love it tends to be with someone who doesn’t return their affections, or if they do a massacre soon follows, so it’s pleasing to see Aukerman take an alternative direction and for once love actually saves lives instead of destroying them.
All of his work so far certainly shows that he’s got a strong handle on writing comics, and enjoys playing with a variety of different ideas. Scott’s clearly a very busy man, what with all of the podcasts he’s involved in and the fact that he’s a producer on Bajillion Dollar Propertie$, Sick Note and Take My Wife, and also directed two episodes of the latter show, but I’d love to see him take on a regular comics series which would give him the opportunity to really flex his comedy muscles, and treat us to something that could be truly special.