The best lame comics have lame origin stories. “US 1″ came into exist not through the inspiration of a writer or artist; it was born in a marketing office. In the early 1980s Tyco created a line of electric trucking toys. A few years later they approached Marvel about doing a comic based on the toys. And Marvel bit.
Then, in 1983, in a lame reverse merchandising move, the “US 1″ comic hit the stands. And I bit. I was nine years old and excited to own a first issue of a series. This was an investment, I thought, that would pay off when I was in my early 30s, leading to an early retirement. Twenty-four years later “US 1″ comics are worth about six cents a copy and I am about 45 years away from retirement.
The hero of “US 1,” Ulysses Solomon Archer (U.S.A, get it?), graduated from college magna cum laude with a degree in computer program design and electronics engineering, among other things. He was quarterback of his football team. So, what does this athletic genius want to do with his life? Get hemorrhoids and drive a truck. Sounds like this guy shoots real low when it comes to career goals.
Immediately after graduation, U.S. joins his big brother, Jeff, as a gypsy trucker. But the life of a truck driver isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, especially when there’s some demonic lunatic in a black 18-wheeler looking to play road hockey whenever it rains. The Highwayman, as he’s called, sends Jeff and U.S.’s truck off a mountain for fun. U.S. is thrown from the wreckage and survives; Jeff’s body isn’t recovered. Now we step further into lamesville.
U.S. is in bad shape after the accident. His skull is shattered. But, wait, there’s hope. There’s this new, experimental surgical “technique.” The doctors replace U.S.’s skull with a special metal alloy — which gives him at least two special powers: he has a really hard head now (which he uses for his devastating head-butts) and he can pick up CB transmissions in his head.
1 hour ago