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Review: Skateman #1

Skateman #1 cover
Cover by Neal Adams

Skateman #1
Published by PC and © the respective creators below, November 1983

Title: “Skateman”
Synopsis: A Vietnam vet turned washed-out roller-derby star is inspired by his girlfriend’s murder to become Skateman.

Writer: Neal Adams
Artist: Adams

Review: In more than a decade of critiquing comics, Skateman #1 is the worst comic book this reviewer has encountered. To be clear: Neal Adams’ art reamins decent. But this story is a painful kitbash of everything Adams the writer thinks young people will find cool, five years too late. Dreadful.

•••

Title: “Futureworld”
Synopsis: In a post-apocalyptic future plagued by mutated monsters, humanity looks again to nuclear power for salvation – but only finds disaster.

Writer: Jack Arata
Artist (layouts): Arata
Inker: Andy Kubert

Review: This short story makes little sense, but does sport solid, Joe-Kubert-inspired art, inked by the son of that legendary artist.

•••

Title: “The Rock Warrior ”

Synopsis: Something about intergalactic transporters, a toddler and power chords on a cosmic guitar. Seriously, who even knows at this point.

Writer: Paul S. Power
Artist: Power

Review: Continuing a theme, this backup tale features decent art and a significantly subpar story. Is this issue over yet?

Grade (for the entire issue): F

Second opinion: “To my surprise, I rather enjoyed it. … (Adams’ art) carries Skateman completely, so you really don’t worry overmuch about the script.” – R.A. Jones, Amazing Heroes #39, Jan. 15, 1984 … “(Skateman) boasts impeccable art but, unfortunately, questionable everything else. … A low point in its creator’s long and otherwise celebrated career.” – Jon Morris, “The League of Regrettable Superheroes,” 2015 … “What was Neal Adams thinking?” – The Slings & Arrows Comic Guide (second edition), 2003 … “#1 Worst Comic of the Last 25 Years.” – World’s Worst Comics Awards #2, 1991

Cool factor: So bad it’s good? No. No, it isn’t. But you really can’t look away. 
Not-so-cool factor: Such a wealth of uncool to choose from: The roller-derby origin story. A superhero costume featuring tube socks. A healing beverage called Skaterade. Painful dialogue. A racial slur. The wanton murder of the love interest. Kiddie skateboarders vs. a murderous motorcycle gang. The undisputed end of peak Neal Adams. Seriously, it’s really hard to believe so much uncool could be packed into this slim little package.

Notable: First – and, thankfully, only – appearance of Skateman.

Character quotable: “Hands off, jerk hole! The party’s over! We’re forming a union! My foot and your face!” – Skateman, master of dialogue

A word from the writer/artist/creator: “(Skateman) wasn’t intended to be for sale on this marketplace. It was intended to be a promotion for a potential movie. … When we were asked (by PC) whether or not we could get permission to print the thing, well, that’s when skating was not only out, but relatively the door had shut.” – Neal Adams, talking about the origins and timing of Skateman, in Amazing Heroes #51, July 15, 1984

Editor’s note: This review was written July 29, 2021.

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