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Cobra Clan

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The Cobra Clan are a team of comic book supervillains in the Belch Dimension Comics universe. They are the primary adversaries of the Treehouse Warriors .

The team is comprised chiefly of mutants and is led by the villianous Hiss Hole. Ironically he is the only member of the team to not have been born a mutant, having been turned into his present reptillian form through a laboratory mishap. Following his mutation, a period of despair and self-exile, and some in-depth study of the black arts, the former Dr. James Allen put together a squad of fellow rejects who had been shunned by society for their physical appearances and shortcomings. All of them had criminal records, ranging from juvenile offenses to homicide to--in the case of Prof. Sydney Fruitcake--being drummed from reputable scientific circles for his illegal and immoral experiments.

The team consists of a rotating roster of ne'er-do-wells including Slobber Face, Noodle Nozzle, Gorilla Man, Jello Brain, and Prof. Fruitcake, as well as Demi-Jon, the cloned "son" of Hiss Hole, and other mutants who may appear for one storyline or in flashbacks and never seem to be seen again.

Inspiration

Artist Jonathan M. Sweet first designed the villain characters when he was nine, basing them on characters from He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. Hiss Hole was heavily influenced by both the Snake People--particularly a character called Kobra Khan--and by Shadow Weaver, an evil sorceress from its sister series She-Ra, Princess of Power. Slobber Face, Jello Brain , and Gorilla Man were modeled after Leech, Mantenna, and Grizzlor, members of The Evil Horde, respectively. Noodle Nozzle was likely influenced by either author Carlos Collodi's drawings in the original Pinnochio, or a beak-nosed minor goon in a Batman coloring book called "Benny the Buzzard", who was one of The Penguin's goons. Prof. Fruitcake was modeled after the Batman foe Dr. Strange.


History

In the years following his mutation by the bite of a venomous king cobra, Dr. James Allen went into self-imposed exile. Not much is known about his whereabouts during this period, except that after quitting his teaching position at Jigaboo Junction State University he resided in the poorer quarters of the town, left his rented rooms only after dark, and wrapped his face in bandages when he did so. Allen became interested in magic when he discovered an Egyptian artifact called the Orb of Ashurbinapal, whose magic could supposedly cure him. Where science had failed me, he recalls during his flashback [1], sorcery would step into the breach... Where or how he came upon it--legally or through criminal means--is not recorded; however, the orb was destroyed by a young boy (his future nemesis Jonathan Sweet), and with it went all hope for a cure.

Again, Allen's past falls into the realm of lost history, but when he resurfaced four years later he had a team of mutates--fellow outcasts, like him, born with physical deformities that made them abominations in society's eyes. Hiss Hole speaks of the Clan's early battles with the Warriors to his captive Marcie with nostalgia [2], though he admits they often ended in defeat for him and his team. It was during his first meeting with Jon that Allen was first called "Hiss Hole". Joshua Cline gave him this name after he introduced himself as Snakeman, saying "You look more like a hissing asshole to me, bub." The crudity stuck, thus becoming a constant torment to Snakeman. The Warriors likewise mock his crew with monikers that play upon their physical oddities--"Slobber Face" has large lips and slurps when he speaks, "Noodle Nozzle" has an extrordinarily large nose, "Jello Brain" stutters, and so forth.

When Hiss Hole was banished to another dimension during a particularly brutal battle with Jon and his team, Gorilla Man, Slobber Face, and Noodle Nozzle were jailed in Sing Song Prison. In the first issue, they are paroled and seemed reluctant to face life on the straight and narrow; however, their boss--who had reentered our world through a portal created by an electrical storm--appears and gladly offers them a chance to return to their old life.


Members

The Cobra Clan consists of roughly four or five core members who regularly appear in the series, and a few who have only single or sporadic appearances.

  • Buger Nose. A mutant with excessive nasal drip whose talent is lobbing sticky balls of his own mucus at his enemies. First appears in a flashback in #37. A later story reveals his real name is Wes J. Chatman. Hiss Hole promises he will "go far" on the team, this is shown to be ironic, as he is seldom seen or mentioned in the series.
  • Butt Out. A mutant with a pair of five-foot-long prehensile buttocks that he uses to strike at his foes. Likely inspired by Whiplash on He-Man. Seen first in a flashback in #37, also a background character in "Secrets of a Teenage Superhero" and "Desolation Row".
  • Demi-Jon. A clone of Jonathan Sweet grown from a clump of stem cells, which were infused with an ionized copy of Jon's DNA so he would look exactly like and have all the same powers as he. Hiss Hole considers him his son and heir.
  • Gorilla Man. A very strong half-man, half-ape behemoth.
  • Jello Brain. A mutant who rather resembles a wingless bat, with two-toed feet, large floppy ears and bright pink skin.
  • Noodle Nozzle A mutant with an long, oversized nose.
  • Slobber Face. A mutant with emerald-green skin and grotesque oversized lips.
  • Prof. Sydney Fruitcake. The Clan's science officer; a one-eyed hunchbacked man of German ancestry.
  • Squawkbox. A mutant hybrid of a man and a green parrot. He was part of Hiss Hole and Captain Maggot's crew in "High-Sea Hijinks". He later appeared in the cold open to issue #16.

Headquarters

In its first few appearances The Cobra Clan seems to lack a permanent headquarters. They take over Tony Moneran's clubhouse in #1, work out of a shack on the grounds of a travelling fair in #3, and operate off the deck of a ship at sea in #5.

A permanent home, the Cobra Pit, isn't introduced until #9, though it's never clear if Hiss Hole had this fortess all along or if it is recently built. If they indeed had it to begin with, it begs the question of why he and his crew didn't just go there instead of stealing Monty's clubhouse. Sweet suggests that "after months of disuse, it would take time to power up the evil tech and clean the cobwebs out of the corners".

The Cobra Pit is a sizable facility located deep in the earth's core. It has a room with a large viewing screen--presumably a hybrid of technology and magic, as Hiss Hole can see seemingly anywhere on the surface at will--which Hiss Hole seems to be perpetually seated at, observing his enemies with either glee or rage, depending on what he sees. It also possesses a lab, which is used to perform various unholy and illegal experiments, including cloning and vivisection.

The Cobra Pit's location is known to but a few, and is accessible via secret underground passages below the city (possibly accessible through the sewers), or through dimensional doors Hiss Hole produces with his magic. Jon and Josh were there once, having gotten in via their discorporeal forms--but as they exited in their rightful bodies, and were able to find their way back to the surface, presumably they may still remember the way. The intense heat provided by nearby lava pits presumably keeps Hiss Hole alive, which suggests, like a snake, he is cold-blooded, needing constant warmth to live, not warm-blooded like a human.

Hiss Hole also uses a number of temporary lairs, such as the various abandoned buildings and warehouses of the slum districts .

Insignia

The Cobra Clan crest is a skull and crossbones, often depicted in purple, with prominent fangs. Hiss Hole embosses it on all his property, such as crates containing shipments of drugs in "High-Sea Hijinks" and a golden throne in "A Girl and Her Chair".

Treatment

Hiss Hole is often cruel and vicious towards his underlings. He tolerates no disrespect and treats failure with severe punishment. He physically threatened Slobber Face once for making light of him [3]. He frequently calls his minions stupid and useless, bitterly lamenting their ignorance and incompetence yet realizing if they actually had brains they would likely overpower and betray him (a classic cartoon villain paradox). Hiss Hole seems slightly nicer to Fruitcake, as he seems moderately brighter than the others, although he has been known to snap at the professor too if things don't go his way. His men know they owe everything to him and subsequently tolerate his abuse, because without him they would likely be on the street...and, despite many defeat--and even jail time in many cases--return invariably to his side, loyal as dogs.

Dissolution

Upon their leader's death [4], the team disbanded. Slobber Face and Noodle Nozzle went out on their own as independent criminals. On one occasion they kidnapped Jason and held him for ransom, but he proved so difficult to handle they actually begged Jon to take him away for nothing.[5]. Gorilla Man and Squawkbox joined the Terran Warlords, while Jello Brain founded his own group, the Brotherhood of Misfits. Prof. Fruitcake reformed and took a job as a building maintenance man [6]. Demi-Jon established himself as a villain in his own right, with his own team of henchmen to boss around, and schemes ranging from criminal mischief [7] to instigating race riots [8] to counterfeiting.

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