Pouches are always in fashion. Or rather, if they are not, they damn well should be. Our own Claire Napier is a big pouch advocate and has been a staunch pouch supporter since the ’90s, when Rob Liefeld and his ilk introduced superhero fashion to practicality:
“When you’re wearing a pouch (or more), you can do anything. You can do it because you feel like you can, and that’s powerful! Hey nerd, could you go on all the weird missions the X-Men do, right now? Would you feel ready? No! Well put on some POUCHES, and then you will. I’m serious. A pouch is like a magical drug; Schrödinger’s pouch is full of potential.”
Wearing one or more pouches tells the world that you are prepared for anything. But Liefeld himself has taken this phenomenon one giant leap further. What if wearing pouches is not enough? To find true pouch zen, what if one were to become the pouch? To become The Pouch.
For pouch lovers, this is a dream come true, but how do other members of our crew feel about The Pouch?
How do you feel about The Pouch?
Nola Pfau: I like it. I don’t know if it’s a function of the character’s unique construction, but I find that the proportions work better for me than some Liefeld art. It’s also pleasant to see a Liefeld who riffs on himself in this way; he’s been derided for his involvement and heavy influence in the style trends of the ‘90s, and that criticism was very heavy until perhaps the last few years or so. It’s nice to see people backing off it, and also nice to see Liefeld himself having fun with his work.
Kayleigh Hearn: I did get a good chuckle out of the gun made of pouches. Why stop there? Why isn’t the moon made of pouches? Or the Image logo? I was a bit more distracted by the title, as I assume Bloodstrike: Brutalists isn’t actually about people who love ugly, concrete egg carton architecture.
Heather Wells: Questions. So many questions. How does he see? I like to think he sees out of that button at the top, but does that mean all the buttons are eyes? Do the pouches open? Can he store things in himself through the many pouches? I have a hundred questions, and I really want them answered, so even if it’s Liefeld riffing on his style and character design, I think I’m legitimately intrigued in this meme character. Kudos for that, I guess.
Brenda Noiseux: At first glance I thought it was someone else’s tribute to Liefeld. Knowing that he did it himself makes me chuckle. It also makes me wonder how pouches can be so masculine. Are we saying men shouldn’t be ashamed to carry more than their wallet? Could The Pouch be non-binary with a few design tweaks? If The Pouch falls into a vat of leather dye and turns bright pink, what then?
Wendy Browne: I’m proud of Liefeld for having so much fun with his creations. I am definitely one of the ones who derided his work, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how much he’s improved in recent years alone. And I have a soft spot for people who can laugh at themselves in the face of such derision. What’s not to love about The Pouch and the evolution that has brought him into existence?
What do you think the Liefeld is trying to achieve with this character?
Nola: It’s an absurdist take on the trends he’s known for, his very own Peter Porker, Spider-Ham. I honestly think it’s the kind of parody character that could really last, it hits that sweet spot of thumbing his nose at critics and having fun with both the history and the medium of comics. This joke wouldn’t work as well in animation, for instance.
Kayleigh: It should be noted that Liefeld still doesn’t draw this guy’s feet, even when said feet would actually be pouches! Now that’s a power move. It’s absolutely Liefeld poking fun at himself, but lampooning his overuse of pouches is also pretty tame stuff. Is Liefeld parodying his exaggerated anatomy, or his tendency to recycle the same three “growly guy with knives” character designs? Now that would have some bite. Maybe we’ll see Bloodstrike relaunched next year with a suspiciously familiar-looking character called The Sack?
Heather: I’m not nearly as familiar with all the trends in Liefeld’s art, but at a glance, I have to assume it’s meant to be intentionally ridiculous. It’s absurd and over-the-top, either to poke fun at his own style or mess with the story (or both). It looks like some kind of dramatic reveal. Maybe we didn’t know pouch monsters were a thing in this world, and now it’s very dramatic.
Brenda: If this is some kind of strange homage to the ‘90s, I want it to be sparkly. Add some holographic colors already!
Are there enough pouches?
Nola: There are never enough pouches.
Kayleigh: Well, how many is t— *Looks down at hand, which has become a giant, leathery pouch* Dear god, it’s spreading!
Heather: No. The best pouches are the two perched on his shoulders like little pouch birds, and I demand more of them. You could probably fit a pouch or two on his head, too, if we get real creative.
Brenda: I don’t think I can answer this question until I see The Pouch’s feet.
Elizabeth: Next time: Skateboard made of pouches.
Wendy: Do the pouches have pouches? Is there a fanny pack round back?
Nola: Oh no, let’s not get into the fanny conversation again…