Sunday, February 3, 2019

Baron Von Papergreat edges further into Marvel comics universe

The legend of Baron Von Papergreat continues! Now he's been part of his first crossover event.

But let's back up. Baron Von Papergreat entered the Marvel comics canon, in the most fringe way possible, when he was mentioned on the letters page of The Great Lakes Avengers #2 (January 2017 issue). That debut was fully and giddily documented in this Papergreat post.

In short, I described him in the published letter as "the only ephemera-centric super hero. Papergreat's powers include the ability to decipher any handwriting, no matter how loopy or chicken-scratchy, on old postcards; the ability to find clues, currency and gum wrappers tucked away inside old books; and the ability to save worthless piles of old papers from certain destruction and hoard them for future evaluation."

I also offered to have Baron Von Papergreat handle some dusting; most superheroes are loathe to do their own dusting, so he could, for example, stop by Mister Immortal's place every other weekend to handle that. That sealed the deal with Great Lakes Avengers writer Zac Gorman, who signed off on Baron Von Papergreat by noting: "You had me hooked with your powers but you reeled me in with 'light dusting.' You're hired!"

"You're hired" = entrance in the Marvel canon, right alongside Tony Stark, Namor, Riri Williams and Lockjaw. At least in my book, it is.

Baron Von Papergreat's status was reaffirmed in The Great Lakes Avengers #7 (June 2017). The final letters page of that sadly-too-short series states: "It's time at last, eager applicants! For six issues we've listened to you extoll [sic] the dubious virtues of your 'skills' and 'abilities,' and we can finally release the full roster of All-New, All-Different, All-Pretty-Boring Great Lakes Avengers Support Squad™, as chosen by our hiring manager/writer, Zac Gorman."

Baron Von Papergreat is on the list of eight "ACCEPTED" Suppert Squad™ members, alongside such illustrious characters as The Cheesemonger and The Mega Horbz.

So, with the end of that run of The Great Lakes Avengers, it was probably going to be the end of Baron Von Papergreat's story, right?


Along came the newest run of the West Coast Avengers, written by the super-talented Kelly Thompson and edited by Alanna Smith, who served as the Assistant Editor for The Great Lakes Avengers back in the day. This series, which features the continuation of the storyline of Kate Bishop from Thompson's Hawkeye run, also has a page for reader feedback. Only it's done via newfangled technology — Twitter.

So I sent a Tweet.

And then Smith dropped this hint right around Christmas:

Last week, West Coast Avengers #7 (March 2019) was published. And there it was, nestled in with artist Eduard Petrovich's incredible work on the final page:

The magnified version is at the top of this post. It states, as you can well see:
#WestCoastAvengers is a dandy book! If the team ever needs a hapless backup hero or some light housework done, honorary Great Lakes Avenger Baron Von Papergreat is available! #OKToPrint
Indeed, he's ready and willing to move out to San Andreas Fault territory to help fight supervillains and/or dust bunnies. If you're keeping score at home, there have now been mentions in two separate Marvel series for Baron Von Papergreat, which pretty much means he's double canon.

Where to go from here? Baron Von Papergreat has been incredibly fortunate so far. Certainly there are no guarantees that this kind of momentum can be maintained. We can certainly dream, though. Right? I would love to see him mentioned in passing in The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Doctor Strange or the upcoming The Magnificent Ms. Marvel.

And if things ever really got crazy and the Marvel Cinematic Universe came calling, I'd recommend Luis Guzman to portray Baron Von Papergreat. I'm sure he would look great in a cape.

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