What is Major Bummer? Major Bummer was a satirical comic book series published by DC, which ran from 1997 to 1998, and chronicled the life and times of off-beat heroes in a modern day milieu. The pioneers of this book were the creative team behind the more popular ‘Mask’ comic (a’la Jim Carry film) for Dark Horse publications, John Arcudi (writer) and Doug Mahnke (artist), and they stayed on this book from the very beginning to the very end.

The Complete Major Bummer

The basic pretext behind this series was that gruff slacker, Lou Martin, gets transformed into a ‘Superman’ like figure, with a bold physique and an advance intellect - the latter of which he can only use subconsciously or in moments of deep thought.

The problem with Lou, though, is that he was a lazy b**tared, and did not really want to be a hero - he’d rather play on his Nintendo and watch porn on the internet instead (right kids?).

There’s also other heroes in this book as well. Val Andrist, the environmentalist daughter of an Ice Cream magnate that could fly. Francis Dutton, a hippie with a sonic scream. Lauren Isley, a forgetful old woman who could predict the future. A cat, that becomes a giant when it is scared. And "Gecko", a nerd who could stick to walls and really wanted to be a ‘superhero’.

Now the series ended with the revelation that Lou got his powers due to a couple of extraterrestrial students whom ‘made’ Lou into their ‘school project’. They only got a C.

Why was this series cancelled? God know? The official stance by DC at the time was ‘due to poor sales’, which I took as meaning ‘This book is too risky’. And I suppose in truth a mixture of these two statements are somewhat valid.

The tales of Lou and his wannabe brigade was depicted in a rather bold and unusual way, with Mahnke’s visuals really extreme, and Arcudi’s writing not much better!

Now please don’t take my last statement the wrong way, as what I mean by this is that the overall execution of this comic book was really pushing the barrier - taking the p*ss out of conventional superhero yarns, while also conveying a message about modern times and society. Granted, on some level, the humor did supersede the ‘super’ in this book, but that was what was so refreshing about it! It made it real – rapturous – and relevant.

Still, I digress, why do I think that this comic book was cancelled? Well, apart from its acquired taste compared to the usual comic book fare, I would have to say that it all came down to marketing. Firstly, around my neck of the woods, the term ‘Major Bummer’ is a dubious expression to label a title. Secondly, with the lack of any real support at the time from DC, this off-beat tale was quickly beaten to the curb. And thirdly, no big names to promote this title, or obligatory crossover to pollinate it into the rest of the DCU. No promotion, only buggery?

Any future plans? Humorist titles are not that popular in this day and age compared to the usual spandex clad drivvel. And John Arcudi and Doug Mahnke are both busy now with more popular projects – Mahnke on Green Lantern for DC – and Arcudi probably locked up somewhere, counting imaginary chickens. It is doubtful that the likes of Lou and his clan will see the light of day again, but you never know, time will tell.