(Earth-Fred Hembeck Kills the Marvel Universe)

Type: Alternate Earth

Environment: Earth-Like

Usual means of access: Presumably vibrational attunement

Dominant Life Form: Humans, mutants

Significant Inhabitants: Ant-Man, "the Big Guy," Black Bolt, Black Cat, Black Knight, Black Panther, Black Widow, Captain America, Captain Marvel (Monica Rambeau), Crackers the Clown Prince of Death, Cy, Dazzler, Doc Samson, Doctor Doom (Nathaniel Richards), Doctor Octopus, Doctor Strange, Elektra, Fantastic Four, guardian angels, Iron Man (James Rhodes), J. Jonah Jameson, Edwin Jarvis, Lizard, Loki, Mister Fantastic (Reed Richards), Namor, Nightmare, Ninja Sentinels, Owl, Rhino, Scorpion, Spider-Man, Tony Stark, Stingray, Texas Twister, Thanos, Thor, Toad, Uncle Ben, Victor von Doom, Vulture, Warriors Three, Water Wizard, X-Men, Zzzax

First Appearance: Fred Hembeck Destroys the Marvel Universe#1 (July, 1989)

History: (Fred Hembeck Destroys the Marvel Universe #1(fb) - BTS) - While Reed Richards and Victor von Doom were in college, Reed went on a panty raid without Victor. Reed's father Nathaniel soon arrived in his son's dorm room and found Doom upset at being left out. Nathaniel tried to stop Doom from subsequently running experiments but proved unsuccessful and, in Doom's upset state, Doom's experiment exploded, killing Doom. Nathaniel then took up Victor's identity as Doctor Doom. At various different points in time, Crackers the Clown Prince of Death was sent to kill the assassin Elektra, each time choosing to kill her in a different way.

Eventually, the "Big Guy" began looking into some of Earth's heroes' recent adventures and was shocked to discover that a hero, potentially Wolverine or She-Hulk, kicked a bad guy in the wrong side of his jockey shorts. In his awesome anger, his response was to wipe all of the powered beings off the face of the Earth. Crackers the Clown Prince of Death was contacted by the "Big Guy" to kill every super-powered being on Earth, both the good and the bad. At the same time, he had the guardian angels reassigned so the superpowered beings would be on their own, instead making them the guardian angels of the New York Mets.

(Fred Hembeck Destroys the Marvel Universe #1) -Going through his list, Crackers started with Ant-Man, who was fighting Water Wizard. Using a stream of water from the sewer, Water Wizard was able to knock out Ant-Man by flinging him into an old woman's door. The lady answered the door and found the soaking wet, unconscious Ant-Man and brought him inside to dry off. To speed this up, she put him in the microwave, which caused him pop, killing him. Ant-Man presumably woke up as a ghost in "the Beyond." Crackers then sent Loki some Clash records before traveling to Asgard, where he found Loki listening to the records. Loki decided to enact his revenge plan on Asgard and enthralled Thor and the Warriors Three. The five of them got mohawks and started a "Ragnarok and Roll" band called "Loki and the Thorazines." Their first concert attracted all the Asgardians and their music destroyed all of Asgard, presumably killing all present.

After the Asgardians presumably woke up as ghosts in "the Beyond," Crackers returned to Earth and gave Black Bolt, Black Cat, Black Knight, Black Panther and Black Widow the Black Plague, killing them all. He then visited Captain Marvel (Monica Rambeau) and trapped her inside a television rerun. The TV was turned off by Jarvis, leaving her permanently trapped. He traveled to a Mexican border town, where he had Daredevil stabbed by a sai from one of his undercover agents, Cy, who pretended to be a contact on a information for a drug smuggling ring. Crackers next traveled to Dazzler and had Thanos, who was encased in stone, crush Dazzler to death when the lights went out.

The deceased continued to wake up as ghosts in "the Beyond." Shortly after, as Spider-Man was heading home, Doctor Octopus began taunting him and followed Spider-Man into an alley, where Spider-Man was beaten to death by the Rhino, Scorpion, Vulture, Lizard, Toad, Owl and Doctor Octopus. A building then collapsed on the seven villains, killing them and bringing them to "the Beyond." As each new being was killed, J. Jonah Jameson was receiving word on the deaths and continually replaced a photo of each deceased superbeing on the front cover on a proposed issue of the Daily Bugle until he learned about the death of Spider-Man. Settling on Spider-Man's death for page one, Jameson called Acme Framing Company to inquire about purchasing a frame for the newspaper page.

Captain America and several dozen other super-powered beings were subsequently killed in unrevealed circumstances and at some point, Crackers recruited Nightmare to kill Doctor Strange, which he did by entering Strange's subconscious and making him have a scandalous dream concerning the Scarlet Witch. When his guard was down, Nightmare stabbed him the back with a trident. After Spider-Man woke up in "the Beyond" as a ghost and initially freaked out that he was missing his legs, he met Captain America, who helped him understand that he was dead and showed him the others who had also all died. Spider-Man began to question whether they were in Heaven or Hell but She-Hulk informed him they were in "the Beyond." One of "the Beyond" workers appeared, which freaked Spider-Man out as he appeared as a ghost, but She-Hulk informed him they were all ghosts now. The worker showed Spider-Man around "the Beyond," where they scan the records of the deceased and fit them with either horns or wings (unless they already had a set). Spider-Man then began to question why so many super-heroes had died on the same day, admitting that he wouldn't have been surprised if two minor heroes such as Stingray or Texas Twister had died, but not two of the most popular heroes such as themselves. He began to freak out and wanted to be alive again so Cap brought in Doc Samson to help counsel Spider-Man. Cap met with Iron Man (James Rhodes) and commented that he was surprised Tony wasn't present because of all of his drinking.

Back on Earth, Crackers found Tony but spared him, assuming his drinking was going to kill him soon anyway. He then met with Nightmare, who had just killed Strange, and killed Nightmare. Looking at his list, Crackers saw his next target was Elektra and became annoyed at having to do it yet again and tried to come up with a way to kill her that hadn't already been done. With that idea on what new way to kill Elektra on the back burner, Crackers set about killing Juggernaut and Kingpin in the meantime. He sent each a note from the other asking to meet to talk in private in the middle of a lake. The pair met up but there weight sunk each of their boats and the pair drowned.

Crackers next traveled to the desert and challenged the Hulk, curious what would happen if death took on an uncontrollable brute force, one on one. The Hulk began wailing on Crackers, eventually tiring himself out, allowing Death to flick and thereby, kill, him. He then traveled to Latveria and found the Fantastic Four held hostage by Doctor Doom. Before Crackers could kill them, Mister Fantastic asked if Doom could let them see his real face. Taking off his mask, Doom was revealed to have secretly been Reed's father and that the real Doom had died several years prior in an accident. Doom then released the group and revealed that Reed also had a secret sister. The group then set out to find Reed's sister but were subsequently crushed by a giant rock. Reed and the Fantastic Four then woke up in "the Beyond" and met with the guardian angels, who revealed how "the Big Guy" had decided to remove superpowered beings from Earth. Reed came up with a plan to contact the true person in charge, the Cartoonist, and he revealed his plan to the other deceased beings, enlisting Spider-Man's Uncle Ben to contact cartoonist Fred Hembeck of Earth-77640.

As Reed enacted his plan, Crackers visited the X-Men, who were all asleep, and had them killed with Ninja Sentinels. He then got to the end of his list and found his last two beings were Namor and Zzzax. He switched their minds as Namor was meeting some surface dwellers and Namor (with Zzzax's mind) decided he needed more electricity, electrocuting himself to death. Zzzax (with Namor's mind) then subsequently went to kill two honeymooners in a hot tub but decided he needed a swim, seemingly short-circuiting himself to death. Having killed all of the superbeings, Crackers then remarked that it wasn't goodbye, merely Au Revoir.

Fred Hembeck of Earth-77640 was later asked by editor-in-chief Jim Shooter's evil twin to write a comic book about how to destroy the Marvel Universe. Unknowingly glimpsing Earth-89768 events to write his story, Hembeck completed the work but he was convinced not to kill the heroes in his story by the Earth-89768's ghost of Uncle Ben. Sufficiently convinced, Hembeck, Earth-77640's superheroes and the good Jim Shooter visited the Marvel Offices, where the evil twin's scam was discovered and he was nearly pummeled to death by a group of irate comic fans. Hembeck and his allies stopped the fans and Hembeck's story was removed from the production schedule. Retaining one of the only copies of the story, Hembeck was later tracked down by "the Punisher," who sought to see how guilty Hembeck was. Reading the story to determine whether to kill Hembeck and curious about Hembeck's big finish to the story, "the Punisher" was surprised when Earth-89768's Uncle Ben appeared again and explained how he had convinced Hembeck to change the story by reminding Hembeck of his own meaningful death, which was in contrast to the meaningless deaths of Hembeck's big story finish.

When "the Punisher" asked what had happened after Hembeck was convinced to change his story, Hembeck explained how he had went to the Marvel offices to stop the evil Shooter twin from being beaten to death. Hembeck then asked if "the Punisher" had decided to end his misery but "the Punisher" revealed himself to be Stan Lee. Stan then let Fred off the hook for trying to kill the universe he had created and the two threw Hembeck's copy of the story into the garbage, where it was discovered by Earth-77640's Crackers, who set about following the story of his Earth-89768 counterpart.

Comments: Fred Hembeck and Vince Colletta.

The story behind the publication of this comic is interesting. It was originally to be titled, Jim Shooter Destroys the Marvel Universe and was announced in 1983. After the release of the Fantastic Four Roast in 1982, Hembeck and Shooter discussed the follow-up and decided on a something that would become this book. The book was delayed to a myriad of family issues, editor delays, framing device issues, Jim Shooter's firing and ended in publishing limbo for a few years until finally being rescued by Jim Salicrup and eventually published in 1989. The story is far longer and Fred himself wrote a full story that can be found here.

The Hembeck-77640 who wrote the fictional comic story of this reality's events certainly implies that "the Big Guy" was Jim Shooter (at least on Earth-77640), who had tasked him with making the comic story. Glancing over the issue, I don't think we're ever really told who "the Big Guy" was (on Earth-89768) that sent Crackers on his mission to kill the superhumans. I suppose it could be Jim Shooter of that reality but one might also assume Hembeck intended him to be God or whoever might control Death, as this reality's Death counterpart appeared to be Crackers himself. --Proto-Man

Profile by Copeinator123.

Earth-89768 has no known connections to:

Crackers the Clown Prince of Death

Crackers was contacted by the "Big Guy" to kill every super-powered being on Earth, both the good and the bad. He set about this following a list, rarely directly killing the hero, just setting about the events that led to their death. He accomplished this by arranging the microwaving of Ant-Man, the destroying of Asgard with the power of music, the giving all the characters with "Black" in their name the bubonic plague, having Thanos kill Dazzler in a dark room, the killing of Daredevil with a sai, hiring Nightmare to kill Strange then killing Nightmare, the drowning of the Juggernaut and Kingpin, seeing if the Hulk could go toe to toe with death (he couldn't), the crushing of the Fantastic Four and Doctor Doom with a rock, the killing of the sleeping X-Men with ninja Sentinels and finally swapping the minds of Zzzax and Namor to get them electrocuted. After all the heroes and villains had been killed, he remarked it wasn't goodbye, merely Au Revoir.

-- Fred Hembeck Destroys the Marvel Universe#1

images: (without ads)
Fred Hembeck Destroys the Marvel Universe #1, p4, pan1 (Main Image)
Fred Hembeck Destroys the Marvel Universe #1, p14, pan4-6 (Death of Spider-Man)
Fred Hembeck Destroys the Marvel Universe #1, p21, pan4-6 (Death of Hulk)
Fred Hembeck Destroys the Marvel Universe #1, p5, pan2 (Crackers)

Fred Hembeck Destroys the Marvel Universe #1 (July, 1989) - Fred Hembeck (writer, pencils), Vince Colletta (inks), Jim Salicrup (editor)

First Posted: 08/03/2020
Last updated:

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