RIP Joe Simon…

So, when you think “Outsiders”, what pops into your head?

This perhaps:

Batman and the Outsiders Logo

Or this:

Outsiders Logo

Maybe even this:

Outsiders New Logo

But, this is Gorilla Daze. And when Gorilla Daze thinks “Outsiders”, only one comic will do:

First Issue Special #10

Oh My God!!

…And you may well ask! Only one of the wackiest comics of all time!!

First Issue Special #10, January 1976

The Outsiders are, LIZARD JOHNNY, THE AMAZIN’ RONNIE, HAIRY LARRY, OL’ DOC SCARY and MIGHTY MARY. Names to conjure with, I’m sure you’ll agree. One day, while watching TV, they see a fellow mutant being attacked by an angry mob. So they jump into Hairy Larry’s truck and go zooming off to the rescue!

The Outsiders

Arriving at the scene, the Outsiders leap into the fray. The mobsters are shocked by their appearance—who wouldn’t be?—and soon begin shooting. In response, Ronnie starts hitting people while Larry mows others down in his truck! Mary is hiding behind a wall, and her pretty face sends several hearts a-flutter. Distracted by their libidos, two mobsters are brought down when Mary steps out from cover and beats them.

Lizard Johnny gets his hand chopped off—but it’s okay: “He’ll heal quickly! Lizards regenerate themselves!” explains Doc Scary.

Having seen off the crowd and rescued dome-headed Billy, the Outsiders address the reader of the comic directly, breaking the fourth wall: “Our readers are probably wondering who we are.”

Through a series of flashbacks, we discover that Lizard Johnny was caught at sea by a fisherman. A fisherman in a small rowing boat. In the ocean. In a storm. On first seeing him, a scientist decided the kindest thing would be to kill Johnny with a meat cleaver, but fortunately for us the creature was rescued and spirited away by handsome Doc Goodie.

Billy, it transpires, was living in a cellar beneath a tailor’s shop. Two would-be robbers entered the cellar and, shocked by Billy’s appearance, set fire to it. Fleeing outside, Billy was attacked by the mob (which is where we came in).

The final flashback tells the story of Doc Goodie. It seems that he was an astronaut on a mission to Venus who suffered an accident. Found by aliens, he was returned to Earth. Unfortunately, the experience left Goodie extremely ugly: the aliens didn’t know what a human was supposed to look like so just did their best.

To hide his appearance, Goodie wears a mask with handsome features. When he removes the mask, we see that he is none other than ol’ Doc Scary! Gasp!

Doc Scary

The Outsiders gang

As the gang relaxes with new member, Billy, a news report of a freak terrorizing a town comes over the TV and the final panel of the comic is the same as the first. It starts all over again. Deep, huh?

0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0

This, er, monstrosity, was perpetrated by writer Joe Simon and artists Jerry Grandenetti and Creig Flessel. Keep a mental note of those names, you’ll be seeing them again. And again. Why, they’re the very bread and butter of a blog like Gorilla Daze. Joe Simon’s ability to come up with bonkers ideas knows no bounds.

First Issue Special was a series dreamed up by DC publisher Carmine Infantino. Knowing that first issues generally did better business than those that followed, he came up with the idea of a comic that had no.1 on the cover of every issue! Those that sold the best would be awarded their own title. First Issue Special ran for 13 issues, introducing the world to Atlas, the Green Team, Manhunter, the Dingbats, Warlord, and, er, Lady Cop

You can see exactly how much confidence DC had in The Outsiders: the group don’t even appear on the cover!

Images ©2011 DC Comics