Why did a flaming starfish eat his face?

I've commented before on the odd habit of putting superheroes in costumes that make it look like they're getting eaten, but I have to confess I never thought someone would design a mask that appears to be a starfish humping a guy's face. It's possible, of course, that the haberdasher simply sewed Sunfire's top lip to his headgear, but I think I'm gonna stick with the man-eating echinoderm. Judge for yourself:

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Note that in none of these images can you see Sunfire's upper lip. In fact, the only way to account for the way this looks is to assume that Rob Liefeld doesn't know anatomy from anemone jokemeister Wolverine got a little crazy with the superglue. Regardless, here's how I like to reimagine the dialog in these panels. "Hey guys, I think this starfish bit off my nose! No, really I am freaking telling you my nose is gone!! Hey you over there, is that my nose on those lines under your feet, assuming that's your foot I mean? Ah to heck with it, there's no space in this mask for my nose anyway, just let it go."

I included the bottom left image because I couldn't figure out how all the various pieces of this sea-borne abomination actually would fit together. But after seeing it from behind, I realized that Liefeld doesn't know either, so I stopped worry and learned to love the suck.

I really wanted to grant the benefit of the doubt here and assume that Liefeld was just having an off day when he designed and/or drew this. But the entire issue is rife with the same kind of massive head-wingery. Don't any of these people ever have to go through a frigging door?

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You can't see it in this image, but Wolverine also has amazingly long pointy bits coming off of his boots. Apparently he doesn't go sideways through doors either.

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Stryfe, being a big-time villain leader of a whole group, naturally has more resources than your lowly X-Factor type of teen mutant, so he's able to not just have tall sharp prongs coming off the top of his helmet, but the bottoms as well. Plus some extraneous antenna spikes on his shoulders and arms, just for good measure. I bet most of his criminal takings go right back to the carpentry guild, constantly repairing door frames he smashes on his way through. Sadly, all of his power and resources were not enough to save him from having his lip eaten by his mask as well.

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Warlock makes up for the fact that he doesn't wear clothes by naturally extending his cybernetic head shafts to impossible lengths. Because even though you can draw them long normally, sometimes you need even more!

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Dragoness is the only one in the clear on this, because she already has to make sure she has room overhead for her wings.

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At least Cannonball's aviator goggles hang down. Of course, given the fact that his whole schtick is flying at incredibly high speeds, how practical is that, really? "Don't worry, I'll save you -- urrrk, gaaaack!" and Cannonball dies, strangled by his own intemperate headwear, a fate we wouldn't wish on anyone besides the guy that drew all of this on days when we're feeling cranky.

(All images from the same single issue -- yes, all of that packed into just one comic book! "The New Mutants", Vol. 1, No. 94, ©1990 Marvel Entertainment Group, Inc. Louise Simonson, writer; Rob Liefeld, penciller; Hilary Barta, inker; Joe Rosen, letterer; Brad Vancata, colorist.)

4 Responses to Why did a flaming starfish eat his face?

  1. I see Stryfe’s helmet and think zebra swallowtail.

  2. Yeah. Even Sunfire’s helmet looks more like a butterfly than a starfish. Never seen one that eats lips before, though.

    And at high speeds, wouldn’t general physics draw Cannonball’s helmet straps backwards, opposite the direction of motion?

  3. I’m not sure, but the one in the bottom right, looks like it could show his nose and upper lip, then again maybe, it’s just his tongue.

  4. Unless that lower bit is all floppy, (and wouldn’t that be a fashion statement!) then Stryfe can not see his own feet without gutting himself. I love it.