Wednesday, April 02, 2008

More on Mordru

Happy April Fool's Day yesterday. Hope you enjoyed both the easy trivia quiz and the story of Mordru.

Unless you were online about 10 years ago, reading the rec.arts.comics.* [RAC] usenet message boards or the LSH-L mailing list, the whole "Mordru's Vaudeville Career" thing was probably a little confusing (not to mention bizarre). I had that trivia quiz planned out for about 6 weeks, and one of the questions was going to be "name an incident from Mordru's Vaudeville career". Then I realized that while it was funny, most of my readers probably wouldn't get that joke, unless I put it another way, in its own post.

Basically, "Mordru's Vaudeville Career" was a running joke that started in late v4, in the mid-1990s. The references were most often made by Troy McNemar and Mike Chary, though plenty of others chimed in as well. Here's what we had in the Legion FAQ around 1999 or so, from Mike Chary:

In around issue 47 or 48 of v4, Mordru attacked a character named Devlin O'Ryan who had energy reflection powers with a mystic blast. Devlin begged him not to, fearing the energy would recoil and injure him. Mordru is the most powerful sorcerer in the universe. The blast did not, however, rip Devlin to shreds or short circuit Mordru, it merely knocked him on his can as though 'twere part of a lame Three Stooges bit. It was suggested that Mordru failed to execute this maneuver properly and that it merely proved Moe Howard was right to drop him from the act because Mordru lacked the timing to be a straight man. And thus was a career born.

Over time, various online fans "embellished" Mordru's vaudeville career, putting him at the forefront of television, interacting with various show-biz personalities, as a movie star, a singing sensation, a daytime talk show host, a rodeo clown, etc.

The only posts that are still available to the general public are the Usenet archives at Google. A search of "Mordru Vaudeville" brings up several dozen messages, which I copied, edited, and chronologized. Then I found some good IMDB links, some video clips (one of which is a Rickroll), and some pictures (thanks, Google Image Search!). And voila, an old meme is reborn, at least for a day.

Among those contributing to the "discussions" were Kevin Chang, Ben Weiss, Danny Sichel, Simon DelMonte, Jason Fliegel, Richard H. Whitten, David Bakas, Andrew Apold, Don Brinker, Tom Galloway, Chris Maka, Michael Kelley, Jonathan Miller (who comments here from time to time), David Goldfarb, and others. Hey, leave a comment here if you remember this "research project" we worked on back then. :)


Gustavo said...

It was priceless, and I really didn't need any previous knowledge to enjoy it. And also, it's very nice how it naturally segued into Mordru's latest appearances in the (*choke*) animated series.

Jonathan Miller said...

Sometimes I miss those USENET days. And then I remember the Signal to Noise ratio and the time I no longer have.... ;-) I'm just glad many of you have blogs these days so I can reconnect occasionally!

I remember the Mordru thing starting around '93 or so, but it's been long enough that I can't recall for sure.

Thanks for the memories. :-)

T. Troy McNemar said...

I keep hearing rumors of a forthcoming tell-all book about Mordru that will supposed include close examination of his show business history. While I'm sure it will be standard gossip-rag-in-hardcover garbage, part of me really wants to know about the reported affair between Marilyn Monroe and Mordru in the early 1960s. There are apparently even rumors of JFK jealousy and the Secret Service "sitting down for a chat" with Mordru. Magic bullet indeed?

Brett said...

Hey Michael,

Thanks for the trip down memory lane - I don't think commented at the time, but I followed Mordru's career religiously back then.

I'm still living in London (technically, I contract in Stratford-upon-Avon) - in fact, just bought a house, hoping to jump in the housing market just as it goes tits up, I guess.

It's a shame you missed the hey our boy Mor had in France in the 50's. Those crazy frogs...

Michael said...

Hey Brett - why don't you take a vacation to Las Vegas this summer?

Jim Drew said...

I recall being part of that thread. Danged if I know if I contributed anything significant, though!