Major Bummer was a DC series that ran from ‘97-‘98 that was canceled at only fifteen issues due to low sales. In that small amount of time its creators John Arcudi (regular writer of BPRD and the new Image hit series Rumble), Doug Mahnke(of Green Lantern and Justice League fame), and Tom Nguyen made Major Bummer one of the most enjoyable contributions to mainstream comics in the 90’s and the title developed a cult following. Sadly there are still a ton of people who have just never heard about the series and putting together a complete set can be a little tricky although not too costly.
Major Bummer stars Louis Martin, a slacker with no real goals in life and who really doesn’t care about anyone besides himself. Due to the incompetence of a pair of alien college students that were doing their thesis on super-heroes in Earth culture, Lou Martin receives fantastic powers that were in fact meant for a Martin Louis. Now incredibly strong, built like a tank, mostly invulnerable, and gifted with superhuman intelligence (although he’s too lazy to use it), Lou spends most of his time trying to keep down a job and avoiding the other experimental guinea pigs that were also gifted with special abilities.
Part of the great appeal of the series were all the other characters and villains. Lou is hounded by wannabe heroes such as the geeky Gecko and an aromatherapist hippie named Francis, as well as a horrible stalker nerd and the idiot aliens responsible for his powers. Also imbued with powers are a group of loser gangsters who are actually a little more likable than some of the heroes and are often the focus of a number of great plot points. The best of the group and possibly one of the best villains ever created is Nunzio, who often steals the entire story and is fantastically designed and emoted by Mahnke. Then you have Tyrannosaurus Reich. Really, this is one of the best comics ever.
Arcudi offers some of the best laugh out loud concepts and moments and his overall plotting and story ideas keep the entire run fresh. Mahnke’s pacing and flow work perfectly to help set up jokes, and his ability to capture just the right facial expression at just the right moment enhances the overall story fantastically. Major Bummer is definitely worth the time to hunt down, especially if you’ve ever checked out the other collaborations between Arcudi and Mahnke. They co-created the original Mask comics (which are much more violent than the movie), and they did one of my favorite Aliens stories in the Stronghold mini-series.
There is a very good chance you can find issues in blow-out bins at comic stores or conventions as most retailers probably won’t bother pricing them up. The original cost per issue was $2.50, so really you shouldn’t have to pay much more than $3 a pop if a store does bother to mark them. Thankfully there is a trade paperback available from Dark Horse for only $29.99, so you get a great deal in a nice package.
-Chris Casos, Manager