‘Argo’ Special: Five Comic Books Within Comic Books

by Ryan Rigley

Based on a true story, Ben Affleck’s “Argo” tells the tale of six American hostages that escape the U.S. embassy in Tehran after its taken over my Islamic militants. In order to get out of Iran, the six Americans must pretend to be part of a Canadian film crew shooting a fake movie called “Argo.” Which makes the film kind of like “Inception”; in the regard that there’s a movie within the movie, not a dream within a dream.

With “Argo” now in theaters, we thought what better way to celebrate than by making our own list of things within things. Comic book things, to be exact! These comic books within comic books are all either parodies of actual comics or metaphors for something way bigger, but they’re all read by both fictional comic book characters and the real people reading those comic books.

Confused yet? Check out our list of comics within comics past the jump!

“Tales of the Black Freighter”
Straight from the pages of Alan Moore’s “Watchmen,” “Tales of the Black Freighter” is arguably one of the most famous works of metafiction in recent years. Read by a teenage boy, named Bernie, who likes to sit outside of newsstands, the comic stars a castaway who desperately attempts to return to his family and warn them of the impending arrival of a phantom pirate ship manned by the souls of the damned.

“Science Dog”
Starting as a reoccurring joke between Robert Kirkman and Cory Walker, Science Dog made his first appearance within the pages of “Invincible.” Now, “Science Dog” is Mark “Invincible” Grayson’s favorite comic book superhero. Billed as a superheroic dog man, Science Dog is the result of an accident involving a time machine and a tennis ball. He has enhanced strength and speed, with intelligence ten times greater than that of the smartest human being.

“Animal Man”
Throughout the course of Grant Morrison’s run on “Animal Man,” main character Buddy Baker seems to be aware that he is a character in a comic book. Not at first, but gradually he becomes more and more aware of this fact; culminating in a visit from writer Grant Morrison himself in the final issue of his run on the series. In other versions of “Animal Man,” Buddy Baker is a famous actor who actually does have an ongoing comic book based on the exploits of his superheroic alter ego.

“Random Acts of Violence”
Written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray for Image Comics, “Random Acts of Violence” tells the tale of two comic book creators, Ezra and Todd, who after publishing their first major work, a horror character called Slasherman, are meticulously stalked by their very own creation. As Ezra and Todd journey across the country on a signing tour, the people around them mysteriously begin dying in the same fashions as in their comic.

“Radioactive Man”
In the world of “The Simpsons” comic book and TV series, “Radioactive Man” is the most popular superhero comic on the shelves. After surviving the explosion from an atomic bomb, Radioactive Man receives enhanced strength and invulnerability. The extent of his superpowers remain largely unknown, although in one episode of “The Simpsons,” Bart shows Lisa an issue where Radioactive Man throws one of his villains into the sun and then quips “Hot enough for you?”.

List your favorite comic books within comic books in the comments section or on Twitter!