The Puke(pop culture)
Mike Allred's off-kilter superhero Madman took on retro science-fiction villains with an air of goofiness that came off as satirical but was really a throwback to the more innocent days of superhero comics. Fittingly, he often fought bad guys who were based on the basic villain archetypes— evil scientists, robots, and muck monsters. Such a character is the Puke, introduced in Dark Horse's Madman Comics #8 (1995) as an innocent man named Terrence who is transformed into, well, you guessed it … a giant pile of puke. In the grand tradition of comics' blob and mud monsters, Madman must battle the Puke through the halls of a hospital. The Puke's high acidic content proves deadly to many cannon fodder security guards, eliciting cries of “Aagh! I'm burning!” from his victims. To defeat his foe, Madman attacks the monster with Alka-Seltzer (a practical choice), borax chloride, and, in desperation, popcorn. Although the Puke is almost invulnerable, he's eventually shrunk down to a size where Madman can stuff him into a beaker—with a toilet plunger. (The same reducing substance used against the Puke returned in issue #9, shrinking Madman into Mini-Madman!) Not surprisingly, the story comes off as more amusing than disgusting, given Allred's pop-art influences. While an inarticulate muck monster to the end, the Puke proved iconic enough to end up on a magnet and—who knows—he could even appear in the long-rumored Madman movie.
The Supervillain Book: The Evil Side of Comics and Hollywood © 2006 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.