Comics

Who is HOBODARKSEID? And Why Should You Care?

Evil comics character Darkseid.

This is the real Darkseid. A fake Darkseid appears on Twitter as a hobo. Let us explain. DC Comics hide caption

itoggle caption DC Comics

Before we get to the who, let's start with the what: @HOBODARKSEID is the magic that happens when three discrete branches of geekery come together. He exists at the happy confluence of comic book nerddom, comedy nerddom ... and Twitter.

For the six of you still reading, some background: Darkseid (pronounced DARK-side, as in "___of the Moon," "Tales from the__" and, yes, "Turn to the___, Luke") is the Big Bad of the DC Universe. Or he was until very recently, when Superman killed him or something, through, as near as I can make out, karaoke. Not kidding; wish I were.

But never mind that. Comic books are lousy with evil, world-conquering cosmic villains of the "Die, puny humans!" variety, but Darkseid's special. He was created, along with a slew of fellow, equally trippy superhumans, by legendary artist Jack Kirby when Kirby left Marvel at the start of the '70s and went to work for DC.

Darkseid's schtick: The tyrant ruler of the planet Apokolips, he scours the universe for the secret of the Anti-Life Equation, which will subjugate all life to his terrible will. And he certainly cuts a dashing figure, with his gray, rock-like skin, blue helmet, tunic and, um, thigh boots. Has eye-beams that can either kill, or seriously bum out, his victims.

Likes: Evil schemes, standing with his arms behind his back, making pronouncements like, "Darkseid is," "Die for Darkseid" and "Submit."

Dislikes: Hope, free will, rude people.

@HOBODARKSEID, on the other hand, is a fake Twitter celebrity. He's the mighty ruler of Apokolips fallen on hard times, and into a comedy meme popularized by John Hodgman's 2005 book, The Areas of my Expertise.

That's right: hobo jokes.

The alchemical mixture of cosmic villainy and bindle gags, and why it's the best thing on Twitter right now — oh, and who's behind it all — after the jump.

On August 6 of this year, the being known as @HOBODARKSEID manifested on our plane of existence with a single, tweeted pronouncement:

THIS BINDLESTIFF IS UNACCEPTABLE.

This was followed, almost immediately, by another:

DARKSEID WILL EAT A CAN OF YOUR SO-CALLED "EARTH BEANS," YES.

And three more, in rapid succession:

DARKSEID LIVES! DARKSEID IS! DARKSEID SMELLS OF YOU-RINE!

HOW MUCH WILL YOU GIVE DARKSEID FOR THIS KISS TAPE HE FOUND?

And:

SO BE IT— THE CRADLE OF DARKSEID'S EMPIRE SHALL BE THIS DUMPSTER BEHIND BABY GAP. TREMBLE BEFORE ME!

Those few sentences contain the seeds of what would come to characterize the @HOBODARKSEID brand: A juxtaposition of comic book grandiloquence with the sordid, drunken details of daily hoboing, all parceled out in discrete, bite-sized chunks of prose. Plus, salty language, and lots of it. Be warned: uncensored @HOBODARKSEID is emphatically N the S-est FW.

But following @HOBODARKSEID (a.k.a. "Darkseid Jenkins") on Twitter means that, once or twice a day, you can count on that gray, glowering visage popping up in your stream, interrupting your friends' ruminations on sandwiches and whether or not they're awake, to impart some new nugget of all-caps wisdom. He's smart, funny, frequently tasteless, niche-y and my favorite thing on Twitter right now.

Thrill! To his feuds with other celebrities:

NO, GLORIA ESTEFAN AND THE MIAMI SOUND MACHINE. THE RHYTHM SHALL NOT "GET" ME— IT IS DARKSEID THAT SHALL BE "GETTING" YOU!

See! Him learn valuable life-lessons:

THAT WOMAN'S HANDS ARE EVEN LARGER THAN DARKSEID'S.

OH WAIT.

Observe! As he occasionally turns his critical faculties to the arts, such as cinema:

A NEW TODD SOLDONZ FILM! PERHAPS ANTILIFE HAS A GREATER FOOTHOLD ON EARTH THAN I THOUGHT.

And:

TO "BEAT THE HEAT" DARKSEID HAS SNEAKED INTO THE MOVIE THEATER NEXT TO BABY GAP. NOW TO CROUCH IN THE BACK ROW AND CONSPIRE AS "UP" PLAYS.

I'M SORRY DARKSEID MUST HAVE SOMETHING IN HIS EYE.

Here, he offers his thoughts on literature (well, an old issue of "Cracked", anyway):

THIS ALLEGED "HUMOR" PUBLICATION IS POSITIVELY STEEPED IN ANTI-LIFE.

He's even turned the weight of his terrifying gaze upon television. Here he is, anticipating the premiere of a NBC show earlier this month:

...UNSPEAKABLE AGONIES AWAIT... THE GRINDING OF THE SOUL AND IDENTITY INTO DUST BETWEEN THE WHEELS OF ANTILIFE... ALSO SOME "JAY WALKING"...

I CANNOT BELIEVE THOSE RIDICULOUS ADS HAVE ACTUALLY APPEARED IN SMALL TOWN NEWSPAPERS! WHO WOULD EVER PURCHASE A POUND OF GROUND "MEEF"?

He's a shrewd trendwatcher:

BAH. "PILATES."

And tirelessly updates his followers on the status of his nefarious plots and plans, viz:

STEP ONE: ANNEX ADJACENT DUMPSTER, THUS EXTENDING DARKSEID'S EMPIRE FROM DUMPSTER 1 TO DUMPSTER 2 BEHIND BABY GAP. REVEL IN LAMENTATIONS.

STEP TWO: PANERA.

But @HOBODARKSEID isn't just about the world-conquering. He's got a lot of irons in the fire:

DARKSEID HAS JUST SIGNED A LUCRATIVE DEAL TO PROVIDE HIS VOICE TALENTS FOR SOME KIND OF FAKAKTA GPS THING I DON'T KNOW.

"IN POINT-FIVE MILES YOU WILL SUBMIT BOTH TO THE LEFT HAND TURN AS WELL AS TO DARKSEID'S WILL." THEN IT GOES BING-BONG.

And:

DARKSEID'S NEW SHOW PICKED UP FOR MIDSEASON: CANNIBALISTIC HUMANOID UNDERGROUND DOCTORS. GRIECO. THE LADY FROM HOME IMPROVEMENTS. ETC.

Some days find @HOBODARKSEID in a reflective mood:

WINE-IN-A-BOX, DARKSEID HEREBY DUBS THEE "ASTRONAUT WINE."

I THINK, AT THE ZOO, YOU CAN JUST KIND OF TELL WHICH ANIMALS WOULD BE DELICIOUS. SLEEP WITH ONE EYE OPEN AND ONE HOOF ON YOUR GUN, ZEBRAS.

Some days he comes close to baring his soul to us:

YOU WOULD BE STUNNED TO LEARN THE FREQUENCY WITH WHICH ONE WHO DWELLS IN A DESPAIR DUMPSTER MUST GRAPPLE WITH HIS OWN LACTOSE INTOLERANCE.

But through it all, he reflects our mistakes, foibles, our imperfect humanity:

AWW COME ON GIRL YOU KNOW YOU ARE DARKSEID'S BOO

S**T! IGNORE THAT! THAT WAS MEANT TO BE A DIRECT MESSAGE! A PRIVATE DIRECT MESSAGE! THAT WAS NOT INTENDED FOR PUBLIC CONSUMPTION! UNREAD IT!

NONE OF YOU ARE DARKSEID'S BOO! YOU ARE ALL DARKSEID'S SLAVES! ALL OF YOU! HUMANS ARE ALL UNWORTHY OF BOO STATUS.

Now, as for who @HOBODARKSEID really is, well — is that really so important? Doesn't not knowing add something ineffable to the mix, a frisson of mystery and magic that we can treasure? Isn't the most important thing that somehow, in this topsy-turvy world of ours, we can rely on the fact that @HOBODARKSEID simply ... is?

Just kidding, it's this dude. Writer for Marvel and other comics, all around funny guy.

I leave you with what I believe to be his crowning achievement. It's my favorite @HOBODARKSEID Twitter post to date, perfect in its simplicity, weighty with import and just generally sublime:

HEY LOOK! JIM BREUER!

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