Inferior Five

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Inferior Five
Showcase #62 featuring the Inferior Five
Publication information
PublisherDC Comics
First appearanceShowcase #62 June (1966)
Created byNelson Bridwell
Joe Orlando
In-story information
Member(s)Merryman
Awkwardman
The Blimp
White Feather
Dumb Bunny
 
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Inferior Five
Showcase #62 featuring the Inferior Five
Publication information
PublisherDC Comics
First appearanceShowcase #62 June (1966)
Created byNelson Bridwell
Joe Orlando
In-story information
Member(s)Merryman
Awkwardman
The Blimp
White Feather
Dumb Bunny

The Inferior Five (or I5) are a parody superhero team that premiered in the DC Comics title Showcase #62 (1966). Created by E. Nelson Bridwell (writer) and Joe Orlando[1] and Mike Esposito (artists), the group was intended as a parody not only of the Fantastic Four, but of all the superhero teams whose members had such great powers that they could have solved any of the crimes put before them singlehandedly. The Five had to work as a team; none of them could have fought crime on their own.

History[edit]

The premise is that the characters were sons or daughters of members of a superhero team called the Freedom Brigade, a parody of the Justice League of America, and most of the Inferior Five were takeoffs of other popular DC characters, though Merryman's appearance was specifically modeled on Woody Allen[citation needed].

After appearing in Showcase #62, 63, and 65 (1966), they got their own title which lasted twelve issues. The first ten had new material and were published from 1967-68. In two memorable adventures (published in #7 and #10 respectively), they met a parody of Marvel' superheroes such Iron Man and Spider-Man (here called "Cobweb Kid") (#7), and then (#10) fought alongside the "Kookie Four" (the humorous version of the Fantastic Four) and Sub-Moron (an obvious look-alike to Namor) to repel an invasion of aliens with hypnotic eyes and garlic breath.[citation needed]

Issues #11 and 12 were published in 1972, and titled Inferior 5 (using the number 5 rather than spelling out the word) and were all reprints, except for new covers. Nothing changed with the alteration of the title. Afterwards they appeared sporadically after their own series was canceled, most notably in Showcase #100, one or two panels in Crisis on Infinite Earths, The Oz-Wonderland War #3 (March 1986), in a superhero Limbo in the Grant Morrison written Animal Man series. They appear in one panel in JLA: Another Nail as Flash and the Atom take a trip through many dimensions.

Although the Inferior Five's original stories made frequent references to other prominent DC heroes, The Oz-Wonderland War #3 revealed their adventures to have actually occurred on "Earth-Twelve," which thus had its own doppelgangers of the JLA, the Teen Titans, etc., meaning that any such references were out of continuity in relation to the heroes of DC's primary Earth-One.

Current status[edit]

Following the Crisis on Infinite Earths (where the Five were seen simply standing around in a few crowd scenes, with no point of reference to where they had come from originally), the Inferior Five's sole "continuity" appearance as a team was in the first Angel and the Ape miniseries, where it was revealed that Angel and Dumb Bunny are half-sisters. Members of the Justice League of America had cameos in the series, indicating that the Inferior Five now existed on the post-Crisis Earth.

Further appearances include:

Steve Gerber proposed a Vertigo version of the Inferior Five as a send-up of the "dark 'n' gritty" comics of the period, but this was rejected.[2] Gerber later claimed that DC refused to publish anything with the title on the grounds that it would make them look "inferior" for publishing it.[3]

Members[edit]

Superior Five[edit]

In the mini-series Villains United, the Inferior Five were paid homage as a group of supervillains who are tentatively known as the Superior Five. Each member has the abilities of an I5 member but, aside from being evil, are serious and modernly styled characters. They consist of:

Little has been seen of these characters except for one panel in Villains United #4 and a few shots of them in the background in the same issue. They are among the imprisoned supervillains in Salvation Run. Jongleur is one of the villains sent to retrieve the Get Out of Hell Free card from the Secret Six.

In other media[edit]

Television[edit]

Miscellaneous[edit]

Awards[edit]

The series and characters have been recognized in the field, being awarded a 1966 Alley Award for Best Humor Title: Costumed.

References[edit]

  1. ^ McAvennie, Michael; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1960s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. Dorling Kindersley. p. 117. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. "Writer E. Nelson Bridwell and artist Joe Orlando knew what was in a name when they unleased the Inferior Five in Megalopolis." 
  2. ^ Nevada #1 text page
  3. ^ January 23, 2005 post to the Howard the Duck Club (members only)
  4. ^ "Final Crisis Superman Beyond 3D" #1-2 (October 2008)

External links[edit]