wonder and Hulu’s MODOK was released on streaming in the middle of last year. He was a comedic take on a classic Marvel Comics villain voiced by famed comedian and comic geek Patton Oswalt. As well as being an attempt at supervillain comedy, it also took a more human look at this murderous leader of AIM and his life outside of his villainy.
References to deeper Marvel Comics lore are sprinkled throughout the first season of MODOK. While some are more overt, like Iron Man, others are more subtle and only really noticeable during a replay of the series.
ten Kirby’s college flag pays homage to the King of Comics himself
The second episode of MODOK has a beautiful tribute to one of the greatest comic book creators who ever lived, creator Jack “the King” Kirby. As the episode shows, MODOK and his wife, Jodie, met when they were students at Kirby University. The public is treated to a glimpse of the Kirby University flag and campus.
Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created MODOK with Thrillers #94 where MODOK threw with Captain America and Agent Sharon Carter.
9 Gruenwald High School is a nod to a legendary Marvel creator
Speaking of Captain America, the fourth episode involves a visit to Poundcakes High School, aptly called Gruenwald High School. Mark Gruenwald was a legendary Marvel writer who had a highly regarded run on Captain America and Marvel two in one as well as other titles such as Quasar and the famous Supreme Squadron maxiseries.
Mark Gruenwald is particularly relevant to Poundcakes, as she first appeared in Marvel two in one #54 by Mark Gruenwald, John Byrne, Ralph Macchio and Joe Sinnott. She was part of an all-female supervillain team called the Grapplers alongside Letha, Titania, and Screaming Mimi (later Songbird of the Thunderbolts). The Grapplers were hired to break into Project PEGASUS, which was guarded by the Thing of the The Fantastic Four (the Thing being the star of the Marvel two in one series).
8 Lila Cheney is a mutant capable of teleporting over great distances
In the first episode, MODOK and Austin Van Der Sleet attend a Lila Cheney concert. Lila Cheney is actually a mutant musician who can teleport across vast gulfs of space. In fact, she can’t control her teleportation powers well enough, so she has to plan which planets to teleport to before she can return home to Earth without passing the planet.
Lila first appeared in Annual New Mutants #1 as an antagonist, though she later became an ally of the mutant community on Earth. It was created by Chris Claremont and Bob McLeod.
seven The weapons found in the abandoned SHIELD base
In the second episode, MODOK and AIM break into a S.H.I.E.L.D. base to try to retrieve AIM’s time machine from the law enforcement organization. MODOK and his minions scour several awesome artifacts to find the time machine.
Two, in particular, stand out. The first is Professor Xavier’s Cerebro Helmet, through which Professor X has telepathic access to the minds and locations of every mutant on Earth. The second is the Ultimate Nullifier, a weapon of immeasurable power that was first given to Mister Fantastic of the Fantastic Four by Uatu the Watcher to use against Galactus when the Devourer threatened Earth.
6 Carmilla Rappaccini becomes a young superhero called the Scorpion
In the comics, Carmilla Rappaccini goes by Carmilla Black and is the adopted daughter of Monica Rappaccini. She becomes a superheroine and a mercenary named Scorpion. In all honesty, Mac Gargan, the original Scorpion, was possessed by the Venom symbiote at that time, so the name was up for grabs.
Unfortunately, Carmilla’s later adventures find her on the wrong side of the law, and she even fights Spider Man at one point. Carmilla’s Scorpion character is referenced on the show by the scorpion logo on her shirt.
5 Arcade’s Arcade and its Murderworld lawsuit for MODOK
Arcade is a famously deranged Marvel Comics villain who’s taken on just about every hero, but he seems to have a particular fixation on the x-men. It was created by the legendary team of Chris Claremont and John Byrne, first appearing in Marvel Team #65 in 1978 to fight Spider-Man and Captain Britain.
Arcade is actually referenced several times in MODOK. The first is a photo of an establishment called “Arcade’s Arcade”. The next is in a later episode where MODOK and his family must escape from a Murderworld trap created by Arcade.
4 Fin Fang Foom serves Lockheed as a meal at MODOK
Fin Fang Foom is a vast green dragon who actually predates the Marvel era of comics by a few months. He first appeared in Weird Tales #89 by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber and Jack Kirby. He later became a frequent enemy of Iron Man.
Fin Fang Foom makes his MODOK appearance as the owner of a restaurant called “Fin Fang Farm to Table”. There, he serves Austin and MODOK a dish which turns out to be Lockheed, another dragon. Lockheed is the friendly dragon sidekick to Kitty Pryde of the X-Men and is significantly smaller than Fin Fang Foom.
3 Advertising for Lucky Jim Howlett’s blond beer
A fairly quick reference is a television commercial for “Lucky Jim Howlett’s Canadian Lager”. James Howlett is the birth name of Wolverine of the X-Men. He is Canadian and well known for enjoying a bottle of beer here and there.
Audiences can see Wolverine’s gloved hand toasting glasses with the Fantastic Four Thing’s hand. The Thing is also known to enjoy beer, though not as much as Wolverine.
2 All characters in MODOK’s Six line
In the fourth episode, MODOK recruits a team of villains from the Bar With No Name (another reference to Marvel Comics lore) for a job to steal Captain America’s shield. The villains he chooses are more obscure and not quite of the same caliber as Doctor Doom or Red Skull.
The villains are the aforementioned Poundcakes, the Melter, Tenpin, Armadillo, and Angar the Screamer. The name “MODOK’s Six” also refers to a comic book series called MODOK’s 11 by Fred Van Lente and Francis Portela. This team also included the Armadillo.
1 All the villains that pop up in the Soho lair
The Soho Lair is billed as a more upscale villainous establishment with thieves too prominent to spend their time at Bar With No Name. A handful of major Marvel Comics villains can be seen attending the Soho Lair establishment. Unfortunately the bar does not accept MODOK.
Villains that can be seen include Mister Sinister, the Leader, Madame Masque, and even Kang the Conqueror. This motley assortment covers villains from the X-Men, Iron Man, Pontoon, and avengers rascal galleries.
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