Sunday, April 3, 2011

Marvel History Post 54: Strange Tales # 108

Issue: Strange Tales # 108 Writer: Stan Lee & Robert Bernstein Artist: Jack Kirby Publication Date: May 1963 Brief Summary: Torch is putting a serious hurting on crime, and gangster chief Scar Tobin is not pleased about it. A recent escaped criminal named Van Ville comes to Tobin and displays a miraculous power to make his paintings come to life, which he plans to use to take down the Torch. Van Ville explains that he was a counterfeiter, and the Torch got him arrested, which is why he hates him. In prison, he found, through a wall in his cell, a passage to some underground cavern. There he discovered the magic paints and escaped. Some time later, Scar's gang robs a bank, and the painter paints a bunch of enormous fire hydrants to douse the Torch so Scar's men can make off with the loot. Later, Van Ville paints the other members of the Fantastic Four attacking the Torch. However, the Torch had actually created a dupe, which is what the painter believes he had his painting of the other members of the Fan 4 destroy (not confusing at all!). The real Torch comes and puts the criminal painter away, and also disses him pretty hard by saying that he's a sloppy criminal. Commentary: This painting character Van Ville needs some sort of villainous name, as it is rather annoying to write about him as "the painter." Also, how his powerful paints work is not very clearly explained. Ole Stan is reaching on this one. Apparently they were left behind in ancient times by some sort of alien race? Also, this is another story where, off panel, our hero has already thought his way out of danger and how he will defeat the villain. Stan uses this motif a lot as well. Hey, it's gotta be hard writing just about every story published in the mighty Marvel Universe! Quick Thoughts:
  • Stan again recants previous issues through the hero remembering battles with their rogues gallery.
  • Apparently Human Torch worked in a bookstore for a brief time.
  • Torch at one point tells Van Ville that his plans are going up in smoke. Yes.
Favorite Panel: Because sometimes Asbestos isn't enough. Next: Tales of Suspense # 41