The Unbearable Suckiness of Being Gambit

The Unbearable Suckiness of Being Gambit

Apr 30


A lot of folks are still skeptical about Twitter. I mean, there’s the recent Oprahcization, and then suddenly there are all these megacompanies and entire cities trying to “follow” you, and oh, yeah, the glut of “social media and branding experts” spammin’ it up, and I suppose I can see how, to a non-Twitterer, it might all seem like some sort of minutiae overload, wherein everyone can’t stop talking about their stupid boss and the snack they just got from the vending machine. #bbqruffles

But, look. Without Twitter, I would not have engaged in one of the most IMMENSELY SATISFYING nerd arguments I’ve had in forever.

Generally, loud, persnickety fandom debates drive me crazy. I once fled a comic book shop because people started talking about Final Final Crisis (or something) and one of my worst convention experiences ever involved being packed uncomfortably close to a pair of gentlemen arguing about “light Sith” in a panel-waiting line. I don’t know why, exactly, such things drive me crazy, except that maybe they hit a little too close to home — I mean, I have been known to turn into a raging wildebeest when provoked by Deep Space Nine haters. Or maybe I’m just trying really, really hard not to be that geek, the one for whom EVERYTHING is a Scott and Jean.


So today, I’m reading Book Smugglers. I usually agree with the delightful Ana and Thea about all the important stuff, so I was a little flummoxed to come across a bunch of positive commentary about…Gambit. Yes, Gambit. GAMBIT.

I Twittered about it.

This set off…well, kind of a fucking shitstorm. So first some people wanted to know why I hate Gambit. Then some others chimed in with anti-Gambit comments. And then, it all bled over into RL, which is where things really got awesome.

But before I get into that, a brief interlude to explain that I hate Gambit for a lot of reasons (yes, I’m pissed that he’s in the Wolverine movie. Boo, Fox. Boo). The wretched, wretched accent, which both sounds and reads stupid. The dumb-ass power, which basically amounts to CARD THROWING. The sleazy, skeezy attitude, which reminds me of that guy from college, you know the one, the one with the greasy waterfall of hair and the vomitorious bedroom eyes and the bad lines about how he is a feminist, too, man, and would you like to hear a song he wrote about it? (NO, YOU WOULD NOT.)

What it all boils down to, I think, was pretty perfectly described by Erin Palette during Conditional Axe’s infamous Gambit Week.

“…the writers tried to stack too much into one character: He’s a thief AND a martial artist AND a cajun AND a mutant AND he wears spandex AND a trenchcoat AND throws explody cards AND uses a quarterstaff AND AND AND AND AND it’s ridiculous. It’s sort of like being a Space Pirate Amazon Ninja Catgirl…”

YES. Gambit is a character of excess. Stupid excess.

Anyway, as the Gambit Twitterthon started to take off, I mentioned that I am fond of his ladylove, Rogue. Within seconds, Friend Charley was at my desk.

Charley (sotto): “Rogue has a stupid accent, too.”

Zing! Before I even had a chance to retort, he was off, leaving nothing but a Charley-shaped dust cloud in his wake.

Two minutes elapsed. Then Friend Daniel was suddenly at my desk, too. I can’t replicate our actual convo because it was just that awesome, but here’s a rough approximation. Charley also zinged back at some point to egg him on.

Daniel: “GAMBIT. Gambit is awesome!”

Me: “The accent! The staff!”

Daniel: “The accent is awesome! The staff is awesome!”

Me: “No! You = so wrong!”

Daniel: “The coat!”

Me: “The coat! Fucking terrible!”

Daniel: “What is wrong with you, I am going to cut you with this broken Coke bottle!”


Daniel: “This is the most passionate argument I’ve ever had it work!”

Me: “Same!”

Daniel: “We’re the greatest!”

High-fives, all around.

I then returned to Twitter and asked for validation. Here are a few of the best anti-Gambit Tweets — and no, I’m not paying you for them.

“Gambit is what happens when the 90s has too much to drink and throws up a character.” — @jason1749

“Is Gambit the dude that kills people with playing cards? I don’t read many comics, but death by paper cut sounds lame to me.” — @ktyler

“Gambit’s so stupid, his mask covers every part of his head except his face.” — @danielsolis

“No real hero wears a headband. ‘Nough said.” — @JosephFinn

“I’m sort of stunned that there is any argument period over the value of Gambit. He flat-out SUCKS.” — @AlertNerdMatt

Now that said…debate is healthy for geekdom, right? So if you want to express your love for Gambit, please do so, either in the comments or on your blog. And thank you for giving me one of my most enjoyable nerdfights of the last millennium — try as I might to shy away from it, there’s something really fucking satisfying about yelling across the room at your friend about why something sucks, particularly when the other person is convinced that that something is awesome, and therefore YOU suck. (Charley and Daniel: No, you suck! Just kidding. I love you guys, for reals.)


  1. Best title ever!

    And you’re totally enthusiastic about nerd fights for someone who hates them. <3 <3

    Also, Gambit sucks. Duh.

  2. Just, you know, leave Cable alone!

  3. Thea

    Ok, ok, ok. I am laughing along with your witty commentary (as always) but also I feel like I need to plead my case for the Cajun, who, although IS that guy with the hair and the eyes and the accent, is everything I love.

    The staff IS awesome, the cards are awesome, the bio-kinetic power is awesome, and I have to admit that I love the trench coat, I love the body armor, I love the eyes, and and everything. Maybe because I was about…9 when I first met the Cajun? (Wait, that sounds creepy, doesn’t it?)

    Ok, I can agree that he is emotionally manipulative. And the whole product of the ’90s thing. But I love his accent. I love Rogue’s accent. I love that when I’m reading the ’90s comics, it’s a bunch of “ahs just don’ know what i’d do if ah hurt yoo!” “‘sok, chere, jus’ give Gambit a kiss”

    I realize I’m not making a very good argument here, but…I love Gambit. I love Rogue. I love the two of them together, with all the angst and shittiness they have had to undergo. BUT, I can understand why people might not like him, with the whole lying Mr. Sinister etc drama. Can I just throw up a high five and say that I love that I’ve typed out an insanely long comment when I’m 8 beers deep? You guys rock. Thank you :p

  4. Thea

    Oh and also, this came at a good time.

    (More for the romance fans, disclaimer for the non-shippy-folk)

  5. Mike Miller

    Good natured nerd fights are the best! Recently had a similar experience while helping my friends who work for a Magic card store with the new set.

    Also having read many X-Men comics in the 90’s I can say with some certainty that Gambit’s backstory is convuluted enough to give Wolverine a run for his money… its like they retconned the entire Marvel U so Gambit would have the chance to give everyone the clap…

  6. Caroline

    Now, the real question — if Gambit threw kinetically charged Magic cards, would that make him lamer, or more awesome?

  7. Dan

    Wait…there are people who don’t think Gambit sucks? I’m shocked.

    I’ll admit, his power is kinda cool…but, if it were me, I’d use something a little more substantial than a deck of cards. Like baseballs, maybe. Energized baseballs would pack a wallop. Or, y’know, anything other than a thin piece of plastic-coated paper.

    Gambit’s barely a step up from Jubilee, power-wise. And, both of them wouldn’t stand a chance against Katie Power. Yeah, I said it: they’d both get their butts handed to them by a grade-schooler. In pigtails.

  8. Jeff

    Only if he called out the damage as he did it.

    “Lightning Bolt! Three damage, chere!”

  9. Matt

    I’m with Dan–I’m sorta stunned that there are people out there who actually LIKE Gambit. Even as someone who came up in comics in the nineties, and read his share of shitty X-Men comics, I can’t justify even a mild nostalgic fondness for him.

    Sarah pretty much nailed why, in this exceptional passage:

    “The sleazy, skeezy attitude, which reminds me of that guy from college, you know the one, the one with the greasy waterfall of hair and the vomitorious bedroom eyes and the bad lines about how he is a feminist, too, man, and would you like to hear a song he wrote about it? (NO, YOU WOULD NOT.)”

    EXACTLY. He’s a fucking scumbag who happens to have superpowers.

  10. Sarah

    You guys are making me laugh so hard.

    Caroline: I feel that this incident helped me re-discover my enthusiasm for nerdfights. I’ll be UNSTOPPABLE from here on out. And I think if I ever tried to say anything bad about Cable, Jeff S. would declare inter-blog war.

    Mike: Tell us more about the Magic card fight. Also, the line about Gambit and the clap…*snicker*

    Thea: Ya know, sometimes we just love the things we love — no shame in that. I think what’s especially funny about this one is that all the qualities that make you love Gambit are the same ones that make me hate him. Trying to read a conversation between him and Rogue makes my eyes bleed.

    Dan: See, that’s just it — why does he choose FUCKING PLAYING CARDS, of all things? If you have a power that involves kinetically-charged whatsis, wouldn’t you choose something way more awesome? Like ANYTHING ELSE?

  11. Hmm...

    I find it funny that the character was ever popular given the nerdy fanbase. A dude that gets all the chicks and has good skin and hair?

    How did any of you relate to it?

  12. Good grief! How did I miss this? Then again, I guess I wouldn’t have much to contribute to the argument. I am an unabashed lover of Gambit, but I have no reason for it other than… I just am.

  13. Gambit hate can always be found at 🙂

  14. Steve

    Gambit is hands down the BEST X-Men ever. Don’t confuse the character Gambit (and all his coolness) with the utter suck-ness that occurred to the comic books post Gambit. Why did it suck? Cause Gambit was SO cool… they tried to copy him over and over, and it got old. Also the whole Rogue relationship did kill alot of his coolness and made people want to fall asleep I think.

    It is obvious why Gambit is so awesome, but I want to specifically address two points:

    1) That is mutant power is ‘throwing cards’ – or that throwing cards is lame why doesnt he throw something MORE AWESOME?

    Ok his mutant power has nothing to do with playing cards. He can kinetically charge ANY object (INCLUDING HIS AWESOME TELESCOPIC STAFF). KINETIC MANIPULATION is his power. Let’s stop that non-sense right here.

    Now, why does he use playing cards? Well, he is a card player… so there’s the most obvious answer. Here’s the real answer (IMO) and why playing cards are THE BEST thing he could possibly throw around. How many cards fit into a deck? 54 if you include jokers. How big is a deck? You could fit dozens of decks of cards over your body in various pockets. So what does this give Gambit? HUNDREDS of grenades at his disposale. If he used BASEBALLS… well his pockets would be bulgy as hell and maybe he could hold… 20? Playing cards are PERFECT.

    Ask any soldier in the army if they could hold 54 grenades in a case the size of a deck of cards and they would drool forever.

    2) That Gambit is too much… a character of excess, and/or non-heroic. Lets delete the mutant and spandex comment from above, since every x-men wears spandex and is a mutant. As for being Cajun as being excess??? Seriously? Cause he is not from…. New York or something, its not ok? Are you prejudice against New Orleans? I’ve already explained the cards… and any true martial artist knows that a quarter-staff trumps ANY other melee weapon.

    As for his non-heroicness… his I am bad but good but bad… hell that’s why I like him. I am so sick of the static heroes… the ones who you can predict exactly what they will do in any situation encountered. Why even bother reading/watching… you know whats gonna happen. Not with GAMBIT!

  15. Casey Ontiveros

    Gambit is a mixed bag of weird, on one hand, he has all this potential to be awesome. Kick ‘splode, bad guy past, freaky eyes. On the other hand he has the deck stacked against him, kick ‘spode(teenage masturbation must have made him a master wall repair man), the accent(really we need the accent?), of course the pink suit, brown trench coat(It was to tone down the potential of being mistaken for Northstar’s Cajun lover) and over the bad guy past. It was a pretty large cliché that Wolverine and Magneto had rocked before with better success.

  16. Casey Ontiveros

    And the URL is perfect for this post. 1991. HA!

  17. Gambit’s ridiculous, but in his weak defense, about half of Claremont’s characters had ridiculous accents, which he loved to spell eye-bleedingly phonetically. That’s why I always cringed when Banshee or Moira showed up, although I liked the characters just fine.

  18. JeanGreyForever1

    He truly does! I hate HIM soooo much!!!!1

  19. RachelSummersForever1

    He’s not that bad, is he?

  20. Jane A

    No, he’s even worse! 🙂

    Never could understand what so many liked about that sleezy figure.


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