Friday, July 23, 2010

Marvel History Post 42: Strange Tales # 106

Issue: Strange Tales # 106 Writer: Stan Lee / Larry Lieber Artist: Dick Ayers Publication Date: March 1963 Brief Summary: Torch comes home to find his sister and a man named Carl Zante, who is looking for him. His sister explains that everyone knows that Johnny Storm and the Human Torch are the same person, and the town has not told Torch they knew because they believed he wanted privacy. Zante asks Torch to leave the Fan 4 and team up with him, as they will earn lots of money, fame, etc. Torch, thinking about money, goes and confronts Reed Richards, who says the reward money the Fan 4 earn must continue to go to scientific research. Torch flies off in a huff, quitting the team, and tells Zante, who appears to have ulterior motives, that he's down for teaming up with him. Zante tells him their first case is freeing a teller who was trapped in a bank's vault. Torch goes and burns a hole into the vault, playing into Zante's hands, as he just wanted to rob the bank. He handles Torch, and is making off with the money, when the rest of the Fan 4 catches up to him. They slow him down long enough for Torch to return to the fray, and he catches Zante once and for all. Torch, uh, claims he never believed Zante, but needed to play along to see what he was up to. Either way, Zante is headed off to jail, and Torch is back with the Fan 4. Commentary: Stan cleans up the continuity break between Fantastic Four and Strange Tales, as in Fan 4 it's pretty obvious to everyone who the Human Torch is, but in Strange Tales up till this point Johnny Storm has been trying to maintain a secret identity. I'm glad Stan removed the secret identity thing, as it's used in Spider-Man and Thor anyways. Quick Thoughts:
  • A number of earlier Fantastic Four stories are recounted, including the team's battles with Miracle Man and Namor.
  • Unstable Molecules get another reference. Stan loves 'em.
  • Liquid asbestos makes a big play in dousing the Torch.
Favorite Panel:Thing shows Torch just how much he means to him. Good to see these two getting along. Next: Tales of Suspense # 39