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The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Characters
The Specials are a super-hero team featured in "The Specials", a feature film released in the year 2000. This is an R-rated comedy (rated this way for vulgar language) about a day in the life of a second-rate super-hero team. The team is, according to a title card shown at the beginning of the film, the sixth or seventh greatest super-hero team in the world.
This is a relatively low budget film. In the first commentary track (actually, the second commentary track made, but the first track featured on the later DVD release), writer (and star) James Gunn notes (timecode: 23 minute, 40 seconds) that the film was made for about $1 million. Also of interest is Gunn's comment that he is a huge comic book fan. He regards The Specials as sort of a comedic version of Alan Moore's Watchmen.
The Specials has a surpisingly large amount of overt religious content for a live-action super-hero movie. A number of the characters are overtly religious and refer to their faith in God.
Perhaps most unusual is the fact that two members of the Specials were married in the United Church of Christ. These are "The Strobe" (Ted Tilderbrook) and his wife Emily ("Ms. Indestructible"). The Strobe is the team leader. In an important speech near the beginning of the film, the Strobe recounts his origin story and ascribes his calling as a super-hero to inspiration from God. The Strobe believes that he is literally "a part of God." The official website of James Gunn (writer, producer and star of The Specials) notes that Ted Tilderbrook is a devout Christian (and a Republican as well).
Ted's brother Tim ("Minute Man", sometimes spelled "Minuteman") is also on the team, and is apparently also a member of the United Church of Christ. After researching the religious affiliation of literally thousands of super-heroes, these are the first super-heroes we have found who are Congregationalists or members of the United Church of Christ.
Having said all this, it should be noted that this is not intended as a movie for young people or church groups or anything of the sort. The film's R-rating is well-earned through many uses of the so-called "F-bomb" and other vulgar language. Some of the dialogue has crude sexual content (all played for laughs). Finally, although this might not have contributed to its R rating, some of the Specials are fairly unsavory human beings.
[WARNING: The rest of this article, in describing content from The Specials, contains material that some readers may find objectionable.]
It should be emphasized that although The Strobe, his brother Minute Man, and his wife Ms. Indestructible are apparently all members of the United Church of Christ, only the Strobe is a devout and sincere church member. Ms. Indestructible may have only married into the faith. Nothing in her dialogue or behavior suggests that she is a "devout Christian," which is how screenwriter James Gunn describes the Strobe and how the character is portrayed in the film. A key plot point involves Ms. Indestructible having an extramarital affair (with her husband's friend, the Weevil). This is clearly a violation of her vows, even given the exceptionally lenient sexual ethics of the United Church of Christ. After being caught by her husband, Ms. Indestructible is portrayed as feeling very guilty about this, however. She weeps while she watches a video of their wedding in the United Church of Christ and she decides to remain with her husband, even though she isn't very happy in the marriage.
There is also nothing to suggest that Minute Man is devout, either. He shares the same origin story as his brother, the Strobe, but he doesn't recall anything like God calling them to be heroes. The Strobe and Minute Man appear to have been raised together in a churchgoing family, and Minute Man is now less observant. At one point in the film, Minute Man visits his teammate Deadly Girl at her home late at night. They aren't even dating, but after watching television together they end up sleeping together for the first time. They next morning the arrive at Specials headquarters together, prompting their friends to ask if they slept together. Deadly Girl replies by asking if oral sex counts as sleeping together. On the commentary track, the filmmakers suggest that Deadly Girl would have been willing to go "all the way," but that Minute Man retained some reluctance and so held back (but not by much). Minute Man's behavior here suggests a character who is not devoutly religious or deeply committed to all aspects of Christian ethical behavior, yet he remains slightly influenced by his upbringing in a devout Christian home.
The Strobe is the most devoutly religious member of the Specials. He openly acknowledges his faith and his creator explicitly labels him a "devout Christian" on the official Specials website. But the Strobe is far from perfect. The vindicative and uncaring way he speaks to his wife in one of the film's last scenes will strike viewers as the way that some real-world Christians may act, but certainly not the way anybody with a genuine understanding of Christian teachings should act. Having said that, it is important to remember that this scene takes place only hours after the Strobe witnessed his wife cheating on him with his best friend. His emotions are still raw. The Strobe's wife, Ms. Indestructible, begins this scene with great hope in her heart that her husband will show her forgiveness and understanding. Presumably the Strobe often acts better than he does in this scene, which is why his wife has such high hopes of a better outcome. In fact, only minutes later, we see the Strobe and Ms. Indestructible jointly show great kindness and compassion toward new team member Nightbird.
Among the many ways that the behaviors of the Specials is decidedly "less than perfect," the language and behavior of Amok can be particularly offensive. Before "reforming" and becoming a "super-hero," Amok was a super-villain. In fact, he was a member of the Society of Super-Villains, during which time he and the villainous team he was a part of plotted to give everybody in the world scabies, which is a rash caused by an infestation of the skin brought on by the microscopic mite Sarcoptes scabei. At one point in the film, frustrated with how things are going with the team, Amok decides to return to super-villainy and sets a goal to rape people's pets. Fortunately his teammate, Power Chick, talks him out of this plan. Amok apparently has few (if any) boundaries with regards to his sexual activity and he frequently talks about using women as if they were mere objects for his pleasure. He has apparently lost control of his anti-matter powers while having sex with some anonymous person, resulting in serious bodily harm to the other person. Amok acknowledges that early in his career he tried to kill people when he fell in with a bad crowd, but apparently he never actually killed anybody. Amok was originally written to be rabidly racist, but most of his most offensive racist language was cut from the screenplay or edited out and does not appear in the final cut of the film. On the official website of James Gunn, a page purportedly written by Amok makes it clear that Amok is freely blasphemous and openly anti-Christian.
Most of the other members of the Specials are not nearly as bad as Amok. Deadly Girl nonchalantly recounts getting drunk at a Bat Mitzvah and accidently using her powers to summon a demon, which ate a kid. She hardly seems remorceful about this, but this is a comedy and the lines in which she recounts this story constitute a joke. Deadly Girl is fairly surly and sometimes intentionally rude, but she is meant to be sympathetic and likeable.
In some ways the most "unlikeable" member of the Specials is Weevil, who is portrayed as the most popular member of the team among the general public. Weevil is apparently a genuinely good super-hero, but the storyline of the film has him acting as a "sell-out" because he leaves the Specials in order to join the very popular team of super-heroes known as The Crusaders. In a TV interview conducted immediately after joining the Crusades, the Weevil speaks dismissively of his former teammates, which naturally causes them to feel bad and makes him look like a jerk to film viewers. Weevil is also incredibly vain. He is proud of the fact that in the last Rolling Stone poll about super-heroes he was voted "Most Witty." Nevertheless, the Weevil never killed a kid at a Bat Mitzvah or tried to kill anybody as a super-villain.
Despite having recently attended a bat mitzvah (a Jewish celebration of a girl's coming of age), there is no indication that Deadly Girl herself is Jewish. The film never identifies Deadly Girl's real name, but the official Specials website identifies her name as "Angela McCary," a decidedly non-Jewish name. Out of all the Specials, Deadly Girl is the member whose super-powers most obviously have religious implications. Deadly Girl literally crosses over into the land of the dead and she can command demons. Deadly Girl's name and the imagery invoked by her origin story (on the official website) and her in-film description of her powers suggest demonolatry or Catholicism more than Judaism or any other religion. Deadly Girl's origin is strongly Lovecraftian.
Power Chick is an openly gay but embarrassingly geeky and poorly-dressed supeheroine. She is very, very nice and supportive, but she is the very opposite of "cool." She helps take care of the bizarre alien team member named "Alien Orphan." With her many undesirable or annoying traits, she seems to be designed in part to shatter lesbian super-heroine stereotypes. Power Chick is a recovering alcoholic and sometimes annoys her teammates (particularly Amok) with her reference to Alcoholics Anonymous-style Twelve Step philosophy.
Nightbird (whose real name is Shelley Madden) is the newest members of the Specials. Nightbird is fairly religious, although more quietly so than the Strobe. She tells the Weevil how she used to pray every morning that she would gain super powers. (Apparently her prayers were answered, because she did indeed gain super powers.) Given Nightbird's stated disapproval for the sexual immorality and general mindset of the Specials, she clearly comes from a more traditional, ethically-minded or "conservative" religious background. She may be a Latter-day Saint, Seventh-Day Adventist, Evangelical, member of the Assemblies of God, etc. At the beginning of their first date together, Minute Man tries to kiss Nightbird, but she deftly prevents him from doing so. Nightbird seems cast very much in a "Mary Marvel" role - a sort of "Molly Mormon" character type.
Nightbird's enthusiasm and wide-eyed naivete recall Mary Marvel's initial introduction into the Justice League. This was later darkly echoed by Starlight's introduction into the clearly vile "superhero" team "The Seven" in the Garth Ennis series The Boys. With regards to their values and respectibility, the Specials occupy a point midway between the Justice League and that team's twisted analog, the Seven. Nightbird's introduction to the team she so admires does not go as well as Mary Marvel's introduction into the Justice League, but goes far better than Starlight's introduction to the Seven. Starlight, an Evangelical Protestant Christian, allowed herself to be sexually violated and cruelly used in order to stay on the team. Nightbird would never have allowed something like to happen to her. So strong are Nightbird's convictions that despite having wanted to be in the Specials her whole life, she resigns after her first day with the team after seeing their reprehensible behavior. Nightbird decides to leave the Specials purely based on her disappointment in their behavior. The behavior and language Nightbird witnessed would actually be considered rather mild by the standards of most contemporary state college campuses. None of the Specials ever affronts her personally or asks her to violate her own standards. After giving her decision some thought and after speaking to her long-time hero, the Weevil, Nightbird later returns to the Specials, which is trying to pull itself together and make a new start.
The Specials (2000)
Directed by: Craig Mazin
Produced by: Mark A. Altman, Dan Bates, Rick Mischel
Written by: James Gunn
Starring: Thomas Haden Church, James Gunn, Rob Lowe, Jamie Kennedy, Judy Greer, Sean Gunn, Paget Brewster, Jordan Ladd, Jim Zulevic, Kelly Coffield
Below we present a partial transcript of The Specials. It was our intention to include here only those portions of the film which pertain to religious-themed content and the religious affiliation of the characters. But so much of the film actually touches upon such content, or helps put these elements and the characters' religious beliefs and ethics into context, that we ended up including a considerable proportion of the film. This is not however, a complete transcript.
[Timecode: 8 minutes, 3 seconds. Scene: Specials HQ (Headquarters), which, as the establishing shot shows, is simply a nice two-story home in the suburbs with a small sign hanging in front of the porch that reads "The Specials." After establishing shot, we see the meeting room of the Specials: All of the team members (except the multi-body being known as "Eight") are seated at a large table. This entire film takes place within the space of about 24 hours, focusing on the day that the Specials attend a reception honoring them as part of a toy company's roll-out of the team's first-ever action figure toys.]
Additional Notes from DVD:
James Gunn, first commentary track, timecode: 26 minutes, 36 seconds. As bad as Amok seems in the final cut of "The Specials," he was actually much worse in original script and in the earlier cuts of the film. In addition to his routinely vulgar speech and dialog, he was "semi-racist" and paranoid about people being racist toward him and profiling him because of his blue skin. He used a lot of racial slurs and "people were very offended by it."
James Gunn, first commentary track, timecode: 40 minutes, 38 seconds: Gunn notes that he likes all of the characters, and he thinks they are likeable, and there is really only one character that may not be likeable: The Weevil. He states the the Weevil has a real blackness in him. He wants to be a good guy, but he wants so much for people to like him that he's willing to do anything toward that end.
A Specials "roll call" page purportedly written by Minute Man appears on James Gunn's website, which is the official website of The Specials film. Religious-themed material from this page has been excerpted below. From: "Specials Roll Call: Compiled by Minute Man" page, on official website of James Gunn, the writer, producer and star of The Specials (http://www.jamesgunn.com/specials3.html; viewed 24 July 2007):
REAL NAME: Ted Tilderbrook
SUPERPOWER: Shoots laser beams out of arms. Can fly.
Ted was a twenty-two year old college student and I, his brother Tim, was thirteen. One night we snuck into an abandoned photo-processing plant "on a goof." We were unaware that that supervillain Dr. Malevolent was using the abandoned plant as a laboratory (he was out at the time). Ted and I were tiptoeing across a ceiling rafter when Ted slipped and plummeted into a giant vat of experimental radioactive fluid. I tried to help him out but I only weighed sixty pounds (I was little for thirteen) and I toppled in after him. Eventually, we escaped from the vat and we collapsed outside the plant. Our skin was burning. It hurt. We had both fallen into comas when an ambulance delivered us to St. Dominic's hospital. There, Ted was pronounced dead but resuscitated. While "dead" Ted had a vision of God - that he was chosen to do God's work on earth. He said God was white and had sort of an oval-shaped head, but what he looked like wasn't the important thing and I should quit bugging him about it. Anyway, when we came out of our comas we found that both our bodies were suddenly enhanced with superpowers. Ted had the idea that was should don costumes and became The Strobe and Minute Boy, and it was neat.
...Ted married Emily Chandler five years ago, and they have lived happily ever after since.
...When Valiant Lass, a later member, left the Specials to join the Crusaders, he did not tell her Christ would send her to Hell for leaving. Ted explains: "I wished her the best of luck, and told her my prayers would be with her - and I knew she'd need my prayers, considering the Crusaders are backed by the CIA."
REAL NAME: Tony Sierra' Jr.
SUPERPOWER: Weevil agility. Can walk up walls and across ceilings. Weevil strength.
Weevil is not the father of a nine-year-old black child in Pascagoula, Mississippi. He refuses to take a DNA test' not because it will prove his paternity, but because he disagrees with DNA testing on ethical grounds.
Weevil's father was not gay, although he did have a loving, "touch-based-relationship" with the superhero Rock Heavy for a few years.
REAL NAME: Tim Tilderbrook (me!)
SUPERPOWER: I can turn small, to a tiny fraction of a millimeter.
See my brother The Strobe's origin, above. It's exactly the same except for the part about seeing God in a dream at the end. While we were laid up for those three weeks, my most vivid dream was a dream about having a tickle war with Blair from "Facts of Life" (the earlier' skinnier Blair).
REAL NAME: Emily Chandler
SUPERPOWER: Indestructible skin, super-strength.
REAL NAME: Graham Brakhage
SUPERPOWER: Amazing intelligence
REAL NAMES: Unknown.
SUPERPOWER: Eight is a single consciousness in eight separate bodies. He is able to think eight separate thoughts concurrently. All of his bodies are honed to athletic perfection. He is overwhelmingly intelligent and knowledgeable on many issues.
REAL NAME: Unknown - U.S. Bill keeps his identity a secret, even from the other Specials, so as not to compromise those he loves.
AGE: Again, it's a secret. Because of his taste in music (his favorite band is Fine Young Cannibals), we guess it's somewhere in his mid to late twenties.
SUPERPOWER: Super-Strength. U.S. Bill can lift a metric ton.
REAL NAME: Caspar Drake
SUPERPOWER: Amok can blast anti-matter from his hands, and he can fly.
Caspar Drake, a young high-school dropout who earned his living doing custom paintings on the sides of vans, was chosen to become Amok, an emissary of the enormous God-like planet-eater Tyrannos. Tyrannos bestowed upon Drake his enormous powers. He then sent Amok to planets to announce that he was coming to destroy them. However, Amok had such a bad attitude - one time he spit on Tyrannos giant eye - and he was somewhat of a slacker - sometimes he would just go to the arcade or something and forget to go to a planet to warn them Tyrannos was coming to eat them - that Tyrannos fired Amok.
Amok is the bad boy of the Specials, and he adds a lot of life to our group meetings with his disorderly' rebellious nature!
When Amok first gained his superpowers he was impressionable. Like so many who gain world-changing powers in an instant, he was overwhelmed with the responsibility. In this confused state he joined the Sinister Swarm - Amok, an orphan, found a father-like figure in their charismatic leader' the Amazing Blister. The Sinister Swarm synthesized a strain of scabies and threatened the U.N. that they would release the virus on the public unless they were paid a billion dollars. The Crusaders stopped the Swarm's malignant plan, and Amok was sent to Ryker's island, Sector 6 (for superpowered villains). He did his time - three years - and was rehabilitated. When he was released' he turned over a new leaf, turning in his evil duds for those of a hero, and he joined the Specials.
Most rumors that you hear about Amok are true.
REAL NAME: Nancy Glickenstaff
SUPERPOWER: Power Chick can mutate her body into any substance she desires - whether it be hard as diamond or soft as a Ty plush animal.
Power Chick has been sober for twelve years, an active member of a twelve-step organization.
Power Chick is the only gay member of the Specials. She lived with Melissa Etheridge for three years before meeting her current life-partner.
Power Chick and her life-partner legally adopted Alien Orphan, who lives with them in West Hollywood.
REAL NAME: Angela McCary
SUPERPOWER: Deadly Girl is perhaps the most powerful member of the Specials. She is the Ruler of the World of the Dead (a mysterious demonic dimension). Her powers are tri-fold:
* 1) Because D.G. is the Ruler of the World of the Dead, she is in charge of all manner of demons that reside there. She is able to summon them to this plane of existence (known as the Material Universe) to do her bidding.
* 2) D.G. is able to transport herself from one spot on earth to another in an instance. She does this by slipping into the World of the Dead and then slipping out again at whatever spot she desires - most desirably, right behind a bad guy, so she can whack him in the head with a rock!
* 3) D.G. can blast protoplasmic rays from her arms. Although not as powerful as The Strobe's lasers or Amok's anti-matter, they hurt like heck!
Angela was a member of Alpha Gamma Delta sorority on the University of Michigan campus. One night, slightly buzzed from a keg party, she and three of her sorority sisters started messing around with a Ouija board (board for contacting spirits manufactured by Parker Brothers). Somehow, the four young women accidentally triggered a multidimensional portal into the World of the Dead. This is a very bad place if you've never been there. It's mostly black, like outer space, but instead of stars or planets there are a bunch of purple, swirly spiny things, and demons of various types. There, a group of demons headed by the sadistic Lord Vorhu, the then-current Ruler of the World of the Dead, used the girls as grisly fodder, torturing them and murdering them. Angela witnessed the horror of her friends disemboweled and dying (which may be partly responsible for her current "Goth" appearance). She herself was about to be sacrificed by Lord Vorhu with the sacred Dagger of the Dead. Lord Vorhu set down the dagger for a moment, to scold one of his demons for something they had done (I think it was using one of Angela's friend's heads as a hand puppet), and Angela heroically grabbed the dagger. She leapt upon Vorhu with a speed uncommon for Alpha Gamma Deltas - or any sorority sister' for that matter - and slit open Vorhu's neck. At that moment, Vorhu's powers poured from the open slice on his neck (his powers looked like green and yellow sparkly things' D.G. claims), and into a surprised Angela McCary. As Vorhus stumbled onto a purple spiny thing and died' Angela McCary became the new Ruler of the World of the Dead. Demons (usually) submit to her as they did to Lord Vorhu, and she is able to come and go from the World of the Dead as she pleases.
Deadly Girl doesn't enjoy going to the World of the Dead very often. She'd rather hang around Specials HQ playing Nintendo 64.
REAL NAME: (unpronounceable word of 42 syllables that begins with an "M"). Some of the members of the Specials have taken to calling Alien Orphan "Doug."
SUPERPOWER: Can mold his body into any shape, though not always perfectly. It is almost impossible to kill Alien Orphan; if you blew him up, his various parts would just rejoin and continue on their way. His green hue and freakish appearance is disarming to enemies.
Alien Orphan's rocket ship crash landed on earth about a year and a half ago. At that time, he was a living substance in the shape of a gooey green glob that looked a lot like phlegm. Gradually, over time, Alien Orphan has been able to hold his body, through will power, in the approximate shape of a human being. As he was not able to speak English, we knew very little about his origin, that is, until we ran into some of the "policemen" from his galaxy a few months ago: It seems the law of Alien Orphan's native galaxy was pursuing him for political transgressions. To his native galaxy, God is a consistent drip down a stalactite on the fourth planet of their solar system. Alien Orphan did a forbidden dance that mocked his galaxy's God. For this, the galaxy's tribunal instantly ordered his death. Alien Orphan stole a rocket ship and made his way toward earth. He has found safe harbor in The Specials HQ, both because the Specials stand against all political oppression, and because the idea of worshipping a drip as God is pretty darn silly.
REAL NAME: Shelley Madden
SUPERPOWER: Bird powers.
An essay purportedly written by Amok (and clearly written in his "voice") appears on the official Specials website. We will not reproduce the entire essay here, but suffice it to say that even a cursory reading of this essay makes it abundantly clear that Amok is a vulgar, crude, anti-social character who may indeed operate now as a super-hero but who seems hardly "reformed." Excerpts from: "The Truth About the Specials: a Personal Essay by Amok" page on official website of James Gunn, the writer, producer and star of The Specials (http://www.jamesgunn.com/specials5.html; viewed 24 July 2007):
I may be an asshole, but at least I'm honest about it. THESE guys [Amok's teammates]: they act like they're something else other than what they are. This ESSAY could be my chance to tell the true face of the Specials, so while Tim and Mr. Smart have their Specials Roster Page, full of lies and media savvy, I could be the TRUTH ABOUT THE SPECIALS, as well as some other things. Here it goes:
[Amok proceeds to delivery a hate-filled screed laced with an incredible volume of vulgar language and venom toward his teammates.]
And here is some TRUTH on some other subjects:
2) OUR FANS
OUR FANS ARE IDIOTS. Seriously, though, don't you have something better to do then be reading this stupid web page? Couldn't you find any good ****, you gotta go and read this all-too-long [expletive] essay? Why would you give a sh-- what I said? Don't you have a life? About a month ago I got paid to fly to Austin, Texas and sign autographs at a boat show. These kids are lined up the aisle, paying four bucks a pop for a signed 8x10 of me. With every one I signed, I just kept thinking, "Loser. Loser. Another loser. Loser." Really. It was depressing. I also noticed that almost all of our fans are ugly.
3) JESUS AND THESE OTHERS
JESUS IS A ***** [vulgar expression suggesting wimpiness]. I've been hearing people go on about Jesus and Buddha and Mohammed for years and years. But let me ask you one question: How many of those guys could shoot anti-matter out of their hands? My guess is zero of them. I blew up a starship full of blood-sucking Reticuloids once! As far as I know, I don't even think Jesus could fly. "Oh, I'm so big, I'm so powerful, I'm the Son of God!" Meanwhile, he's walking around, not flying. Real tough. I'd like to tickle this guy in front of his "apostles," just to humiliate him. I'm not saying that people should form a religion around me: but I WILL say that I could come up with a symbol a lot cooler than an X on its side. The symbol of my religion would be something that rocks: like a fireball with a clenched fist on it and the knuckles spelt out A-M-O-K.
That's the end of this essay. Turn off your computer and do something with your life, gaywad.
Amok's description of team leader The Strobe is particularly mean-spirited, but it is also illuminating in that it reinforces the film's portrayal of The Strobe as an openly and overtly religious Christian. From: "The Truth About the Specials: a Personal Essay by Amok" page on official website of James Gunn, the writer, producer and star of The Specials (http://www.jamesgunn.com/specials5.html; viewed 24 July 2007):
THE STROBE. The Strobe has a giant stick up his *** and he's always bossing me around. EVERY DAY I come into work and he's got another gripe about me: I didn't shave, or my shirt's untucked... The Strobe is a republican Christian right whack job, sort of the Gary Bauer of the Superhero set... And then there's the stuff about how he claims that he's been chosen by God, and you're never gonna hear the end of it. If he's so chosen by God and such a evolved spiritual soul, why is it the only thing he seems to care about is our "image" and me not smoking or drinking or [fornicating with] strippers in public, or making jokes about Kirk Douglas, who, you can't deny it, looks funny when he talks. In short, the Strobe is a Nazi.
Amok goes into some detail describing Deadly Girl, discussing her powers at length. Her demon-based powers have clear religious overtones and implications. From: "The Truth About the Specials: a Personal Essay by Amok" page on official website of James Gunn, the writer, producer and star of The Specials (http://www.jamesgunn.com/specials5.html; viewed 24 July 2007):
DEADLY GIRL... the one thing I can say is that she's WAY OVERRATED. She's often considered the most powerful Special, because she can summon demons and so forth. But, first of all, demons are unpredictable! One time she brought forth a whole bunch of walking skeletons to fight Arcanos, and the stupid, brainless bastards started attacking me! She said, "Kill Arcanos," but they didn't know what the [expletive] she was saying. Another time she made a bunch of little guys that looked like fetuses attack Dr. Malevolent. I think they WERE fetuses, like aborted fetuses lost in purgatory or something (I think I mighta recognized two or three of my own in there). They weren't as stupid as the skeletons, but just as useless. All you had to do was step on one for it to be squashed. And they smelled like bile. Deadly Girl can also blast protoplasm from her hands. You know what if feels like? Like a pinch. It doesn't hardly hurt...
Mr. Smart has a page on the official Specials website on which he describes many super-villains who have been adversaries of the Specials over the years. A number of these capsule descriptions have overtly religious content, excerpted below. From: "Mr. Smart's Rogues Gallery, A to Z" on official website of James Gunn, the writer, producer and star of The Specials (http://www.jamesgunn.com/specials5.html; viewed 24 July 2007):
THE BIRKENSTOCK is The Specials' hippie enemy who employs exploding hackey-sacks in his war on Wall Street stockbrokers. The Birkenstock is also known for Tie-Dyeing humans to death. He is currently at large, though his human tie-dyer has been confiscated and can now be viewed in the Amazing Trio's museum in Branson, Missouri.
STATUS: At large
DANGER LEVEL: 7
THE EUROFAG is a homosexual bank robber with a penchant for leaving Hermes scarves and Pet Shop Boys CDs at the scenes of his crimes. He is notable for being the only Specials foe whose name begins with the letter "E."
DANGER LEVEL: 2
THE MANATEE has the ability to breathe underwater. He at first desired to be a superhero, but was declined membership at various superhero groups, including the Specials. We've all seen underwater breathers come and go - the Specials at one time even had Kid Guppy in the group. But, truth to tell, they rarely come in handy. It's more economically feasible to just rent out Water Man from The Imperials. Anyway, after the Manatee's lifelong dreams were dashed, he turned to a life of underwater eco-terrorism. He released oil tanks into areas or the ocean swarming with tropical fish. This killed numerous aquatic creatures. The Manatee was easy to catch however, as he is quite weak and a pretty slow swimmer. Alien Orphan metamorphosed into a giant fish and swallowed him whole. We shortly thereafter turned him over to the authorities.
DANGER LEVEL: 2
QUACK is a twelve-foot tall muscular duck with enough supper-strength to burrow through mountains. Quack was responsible for the deaths of scores of duck hunters in the Midwest in 1997. The Specials defeated Quack after an eight-hour long battle in Springfield, Illinois; sadly, an eight-year-old girl was caught in the crossfire and paralyzed by one of the Strobe's laser blasts.
DANGER LEVEL: 9
UBERMENSCH is the Nazi superman. He has a stutter. This stutter caused in the Specials an out-of-control laughing fit the last time we battled Ubermensch. It's difficult to take one's Aryan claim of supreme physical and mental superiority seriously when it takes him three minutes to get through the word "unparalleled." Ubermensch's feelings were hurt and he flew away in tears. The blonde jerk-off hasn't shown his face since.
STATUS: At large
DANGER LEVEL: 6
VULCAN THE FIRELORD is the vengeful Greek god who's extremely jealous of Jesus. His preferred form of violence is smashing up Christian churches and houses of worship for other monotheistic religions. Last seen teamed up with Count Dracula killing monks in Western Europe.
STATUS: At large
DANGER LEVEL: 10
YOUNG STUFF are five shapely sixteen-year old girls who wear modified Catholic schoolgirl uniforms. They have various powers (superspeed, stretching, invisibility, etc.) They are, bar none, Mr. Smart's favorite adversaries. Let all their members - Kaitlin, Heather, Meadow, Crystal, and Darcy - be well-informed that Mr. Smart eagerly awaits our next "tussle" when they're released from juvenile hall next year!
DANGER LEVEL: Hot, hot, hot!