Irving Forbush (Forbush Man)

Since Daredevil, in every single Marvel-Netflix tv series Stan Lee made his usual cameo in photo only, as a police officer appearing all around the city (more often in the police precinct) giving precious advises to the honest citizens of New York City. Well, in the last episode of Iron FistDragon Plays with Fire, in a recruitment poster for the NYPD, the character has been finally named Captain Irving Forbush… and this is quite a surprise, as not only he is a character from the comics, but he’s a parody character created by Stan Lee himself along with Jack Kirby, an unlikely superhero with a pot on his head as a helmet. This only makes the cameo even more enjoyable than it already was… and gives us the opportunity to meet one of the craziest characters from Marvel Comics, maybe on par with Howard the Duck. Let’s see together.

Very little is known about Irving Forbush’s early life: he was born in New York City, or something close to it, the alternate New York from Earth-665, a dimension inhabited by distorted and parodist versions of Earth-616‘s heroes and villains. Irving was the son of Stan Forbush and his wife Jacqueline, and he managed to disappoint them from his very first instant of existence, since they wanted a daughter, and had him instead. Apparently, his parents’ grudge against his “wrong” gender was quite an issue, since they eventually abandoned him, and he started living with his tyrannical and moody Aunt Mayhem (and, sometimes, with Uncle Benny and his cousin Lance). He found a pathetic job as an office gofer for Marble Comics, a renowned comicbook company (whose chief was, of course, Stan Lee): mocked and underestimated by everyone, Irving knew he was meant for something greater, and he dreamed of becoming a superhero… albeit he had no ability nor skill at all. The only thing he believed he was missing, however, was a cool costume and a mask to conceal his identity, and if he found in a pair of red long johns with an “F” tailored on them his perfect uniform, he still missed a mask. It was Aunt Mayhem who provided one for him as, in a fit of rage, she slammed a cooking pot on her nephew’s head, thus giving him the idea: carving eye-holes in that very pot, Irving Forbush could finally become Forbush Man, “the greatest power in human history”… or, at least, so he claimed. Sure he was the hero people needed, Forbush Man made his public debut challenging the powerful villain known as Juggernut (a dumb version of Juggernaut), and surprised everyone by defeating him. Well, he did this not exactly thanks to non-existent powers, but due to pure luck, that brought the villain to basically defeat himself. The miracle, however, kept repeating itself over and over again, confirming Irving in his delusion of being the world’s greatest superhero.

After “defeating” a number of villains, there was still one thing Forbush Man needed for being a “true” hero: a group to be part of. He applied for membership in the Revengers (parody of the Avengers), S.H.E.E.S.H. (S.H.I.E.L.D.) and the Echhs-Men (X-Men), but everytime he ended up causing a series of incidents that nearly destroyed said teams. Finally, he was offered membership by Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (reminiscent of Sgt. Fury‘s Howling Commandos), but he declined, seriously considering to retire as long as he was still regarded as an invincible hero (??). Unfortunately, he didn’t quit at all, quite the opposite, he faced another invincible foe in the form of Strangie (a dumb version of The Stranger), helped by the likes of Spidey-Man (Spider-Man), the Simple Surfer (Silver Surfer), The Thung and the Human Scorch (The Thing and the Human Torch)… and emerged miraculously victorious. Again. After laying low for a while, Forbush Man appeared once again, this time for his most ambitious mission ever: to collect the autograph of every single character in his comics series (yup, he knew he was a comic); eventually, however, he annoyed Rhinose (Earth-665’s Rhino) so much that the villain punched him out of the comic’s page itself, launching him in an alternate reality, Earth-8311, better known as Larval Earth, a world inhabited by animal parodies of Marvel heroes. In this new universe, Forbush Man unwillingly gave birth to a new supervillain, the Ironing Boar, simply by arriving, and he teamed up with Spider-Ham to defeat him… asking both the hero and the villain for an autograph for the entire battle. Eventually, with Ironing Boar defeated, Spider-Ham kicked Irving back to Earth-665… right in Rhinose’s apartment. After some time again, a mysterious company recruited Forbush Man (who now apparently had extremely powerful mind powers), Charlie America (Captain America), the Incredible Bulk (Hulk) and Giant-Sam (Giant-Man) into a brand new team, the New Paramount: Forbush Man finally had what he wanted, and he was a part of a great team… of supervillains, as it later turned out, as they were sent on Earth-616 to battle the heroic Nextwave.

Irving Forbush is a dumb and boastful man, who however happens to be gifted by an incredible luck that ends up supporting his unbelievable claims. As Forbush Man, his superpowers are quite impressive: he usually saves the universe so quickly that nobody even realize it’s in peril to begin with, and he claims to be “mighty with women”, albeit this last boast is even less believable than the first one; for a time he declared to possess the Forbush Vision, a mental ability that allowed him to project realistic illusions of a personal hell into his enemies’ mind, so vivid that the adversaries actually died in it… but the only known victims are alive and well, so this power as well is not confirmed; the only actual power he has is the ability to break the Fourth Wall and to annoy his authors as well. Either the best hero in history or the worst pretender of all time, most likely the second, Forbush Man is a living embarrassment to anyone who knows him, and for everybody else. Unfortunately, he’s the only one who doesn’t realize it.