How Ed Brisson made me care about a character I legitimately loathed.
I fought against this character for years. I found Robert “Glob” Herman to be unnecessarily grotesque and just overall uninteresting. It didn’t help that the first time I saw him came at a time that I quit reading X-Men comics for the better part of a decade. I hated him (Glob), and I hated everything about that entire era. He and all the characters from Grant Morrison’s New X-Men down to the stupid leather uniforms represented something I wanted nothing to do with. That namely being Marvel Comics’ propensity to latch onto anything that’s even mildly successful at the box office. I loved my comics. I loved X1 and X2, but I hated it when Marvel tried to blend the two together. Characters like Glob, Beak, and Angel Salvadore irked me to no end. So why is it that Glob Herman is quietly becoming one of my favorite characters?
I’m not sure when it happened… perhaps it was December 5th, 2018. The day the Merry X-Men Holiday Special One-shot debuted. I bought it sight unseen with my only justification being a text crawl of writers/creators headlined by names like Chris Claremont, Ed Brisson, and Kelly Thompson. I didn’t until just recently notice that talk show host, Charlamagne tha God, was involved. Had I, it might have been a clue to what I was in for. I positively did not enjoy the book. Except, that is, for a single story…
The one-page tale was entitled “Deck the Halls” written by Ed Brisson and illustrated by one of my new favorite artists, Pere Perez. It’s a 6-panel story with no words, so I think saying it was “written” by Brisson is a stretch. It was more like “scripted by.”
It’s really simple. The first panel displays Glob Herman’s “face” with the SFX of [whack, whack, whack]. The SFX continues but it finally displays Glob’s hand holding a nail he’s using a hammer on. The third panel displays his hands hanging mistletoe, the next two, are him unfolding a chair and the last is him simply sitting in it. That’s it. Him sitting in a chair, quietly under the mistletoe. End.
It’s says nothing, yet speaks volumes about the character. He’s looking for companionship. He wants to be loved, and he doesn’t want to force himself on anyone to capture it. With one page, with zero dialog, Brisson has made me a fan of a character that I couldn’t stand. So much so, it forced me to retroactively reevaluate the character, which I now looked at as a tragic multi-layered, figure. Someone I can now relate to oddly enough. I’m a lifelong Gambit fan. I’m about the flash and the excitement. This one page broke my heart and made me digest Glob Herman differently from that point on. Even his goofy “Kill the humans” thing back in Morrison’s run. Or his ill-advised lunge at She-Hulk in X-Men Legacy.
Herman at one point is an unloved kid just trying to fit in. Unfortunately, the first group that took him in was Quire’s Omega Gang. In Legacy, we have Glob, still a kid, wanting to help and be a hero. To stand up for friends and his home. So much so, he rushed at a character who has the word “hulk” as part of their name.
My next encounter with him came in Uncanny X-Men. Relegated mostly to support, Glob functioned often as the young X-Men’s voice of reason. While not very effective from the perspective of combat, he was there, in the thick of it.
What’s sold me most recently was his part in Uncanny X-Men #7. He, Armor, Rockslide, and Pixie had been marooned with Nate Grey (X-Man) in his home reality, the Age of Apocalypse. They’d been there for months, or possibly years, searching for a way home. Upon arriving, the group’s appearance and even their powers had been tweaked to fit more in their new universe. Including Glob Herman, who seemed to be able to maintain a constant flame about his translucent body.
He found his new look ‘cool.’ He was pleased with himself. Something I suspect was a new experience for him. While effectively dispatching Infinite Guards, Glob confides in his teammate Armor that he’d never felt useful prior to that point. And to be honest, that has always been my opinion of the character. The fact that Glob is also aware of that makes him all the more relatable. To me at least.
Glob has become more than an annoyance to me or a reminder of a less pleasant time. I’m paying more attention to him and it’s all your fault, Brisson…