Saturday, April 30, 2011

Marvel History Post 81: Tales of Suspense # 45

Issue: Tales of Suspense # 45
Writer: Stan Lee / R. Berns
Artist: Don Heck
Publication Date: September 1963

Brief Summary:

http://marvel.wikia.com/Tales_of_Suspense_45

Commentary:

We continue to learn about Iron Man's excessive wealth, including knowledge of his car collection, and the number of plants he runs around the world. He also almost gives Happy Hogan 100,000 dollars for saving his life.

We also meet Pepper Potts, who is kind of a bitch to Happy. Obviously, being a Stan Lee female supporting character, she's in love with our hero. Stan definitely follows a formula, allowing a hero to catch on, and then slowly building up his supporting cast.

Quick Thoughts:

  • Iron Man goes car racing, a la the scene from the film Iron Man 2.
  • The villain in this issue bears some similarities to a famous X-Man we will be meeting in the very very near future.

Favorite Panel: I don't think that's quite how it works.

Next:

Tales to Astonish # 47

Friday, April 29, 2011

Marvel History Post 80: Strange Tales # 112

Issue: Strange Tales # 112
Writer: Stan Lee / Joe Carter
Artist: Dick Ayers
Publication Date: September 1963

Brief Summary:

http://marvel.wikia.com/Strange_Tales_112

Commentary:

Torch's vanity is on display in the early goings here; this will become a big part of his character as he progresses. He's also a bit of a hot head. Yeah, I said it. I'm not proud.

The Eel, or Living Bomb, or whoever, isn't that villainous. Like a lot of Stan's early villains, his primary interest is in robbery. At one point he even makes a reference to taking action so that citizens will not get hurt. It speaks to how this was a less violent era of entertainment in general.

Quick Thoughts:
  • What is a miniature radioactive atomic pile?
  • Brief cameo from Torch's nemesis the Wizard in this issue (from his cell).
  • Torch absorbs an entire atomic explosion and goes super nova for the first time. Pretty awesome.
  • Thing chokes up when he thinks Torch might be a goner. Kind of cute.

Favorite Panel:

Dude, I think it's supposed to be called Weapon X.

Next:

Tales of Suspense # 45

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Marvel History Post 79: Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos # 3


Issue: Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos # 3
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Jack Kirby
Publication Date: September 1963

Brief Summary:

Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos # 3

Commentary:

Nick Fury leads his team by his own rules. Witness the drill master blasting his unit for not having straight enough uniforms, and then Nick Fury's Commandos walk past, one more ragged looking than the next. However, when someone questions how Fury's squad gets away with it, the answer is that it's Nick Fury's squad. Case closed. They're the best of the best, but they play by their own rules in a lot of ways.

Of course, that doesn't matter much to their superior office, Captain Happy Sam Sawyer.

This issue has one of the coolest MU connections we've seen thus far, as it features the first meeting between Nick Fury and Reed Richards. Of course, the story takes place in Richards' younger days before the Fan 4. Still, we learn that he was a member of the OSS, the wartime intelligence agency. Also, we learn that he was rocking the pipe, even back in WWII.

Quick Thoughts:
  • Despite the fact that this is war, Stan throws a lot of zingers out there in the dialog between the Commandos.


Favorite Panel:
Dig it.

Favorite Quote:

"Aw, Nick, have a heart! The Howlers want to have some fun tonight! Why don't ya stay here and practice some new cuss-words or somethin'?!" - Dum Dum Dugan to Fury

Next: Strange Tales # 112

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Marvel History Post 78: Journey into Mystery # 96

Issue: Journey into Mystery # 96
Writer: Stan Lee / R. Berns
Artist: Joe Sinnott
Publication Date: September 1963

Brief Summary:

http://marvel.wikia.com/Journey_Into_Mystery_96

Commentary:

We see Thor have some of the same struggles that Spider-Man is known to have in balancing all of the different aspects of his life. By leaving his medical practice during office hours to go rescue people, Thor is certainly accomplishing the greater good, but he does so at a large personal cost, losing the patients that provide him his livelihood. Thor will fare better in the long run on this front than Spider-Man will.  This is largely due to the fact that he is Thor.

Thor outwits this Merlin villain (not the guy I remember from the stories), and banishes him back to his tomb for another thousand years, presumably to piss off Thor 2963 or something.

Quick Thoughts:
  • Thor can't breathe underwater. Just so you know. Cause we got some folks who can do that.
  • Another brief JFK appearance shortly before his death
  • This series has a great track record for near destructions of famous monuments throughout the world, this time adding the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial to the list.
Favorite Panel:

This seems like an issue Thor, the Norse God of Thunder, should be able to deal with.

Next: Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos # 3

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Marvel History Post 77: Fantastic Four # 18

Issue: Fantastic Four # 18
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Jack Kirby
Publication Date: September 1963

Brief Summary:

http://marvel.wikia.com/Fantastic_Four_18

Commentary:

Well, last time we saw the Skrulls, Reed turned them into a bunch of cows. This time, the team traps the Super Skrull in an enormous crater. So, all in all, the Skrulls don't have a lot against Reed and the Fan 4.  This will more or less remain the case until the Secret Invasion storyline waaaaay down the road (and even then, did the Skrulls really have much?)

This issue seemed to end rather abruptly, with the focus at the end being all about the fight. There is not much resolution in terms of what happens with the rest of the Skrulls, but perhaps that's because we'll be seeing them again.

Quick Thoughts:
  • Reed and Sue go on a date.
  • Reed invents a passenger ICBM? That doesn't seem right.
  • The entire Skrull planet is powered by one Cosmic Generator. Right. No wonder the Secret Invasion failed.
  • According to this issue's letters page, it was Steve Ditko's idea to put the tiny symbol with the characters in the corner of the cover.  Go Ditko!
Favorite Panel:

If the Beatles had had an escape mechanism from crowds like this one, they might have had an easier time of things.

Next: Journey into Mystery # 96

Monday, April 25, 2011

Marvel History Post 76: Fantastic Four Annual # 1

Issue: Fantastic Four Annual # 1
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Jack Kirby
Publication Date: September 1963

Brief Summary:

http://marvel.wikia.com/Fantastic_Four_Annual_Vol_1_1

Commentary:

Reed spends a lot of time observing the advanced technology of Namor's people. It will be interesting to see if this is referenced again. Additionally, we hear of man's first contact with the people of Atlantis, in the year 1920.

We also hear Namor's origin, the story of his Atlantean mother and human father. It is also referenced here that Namor is the first known mutant (the X-Men are waiting patiently in the wings).

This issue also includes a retelling of the first meeting between Spider-Man and the Fan Four. Depictions of previously rendered incidents will become popular in superhero comics. I am wondering if some of this, later on, is not as a sort of gimme to the artist. After all, I imagine most proper comic book artists would like their change to depict Batman's origin, or the death of Gwe - I'm getting way ahead of myself with that one.

Quick Thoughts:
  • Jack put together a double page splash at the beginning of this one. Haven't seen a whole lot of big images up to this point, but hey, it's an annual.
  • Reed seems to make some sleazy deals, such as the one in this issue of getting the Fan 4 on a free cruise.
  • A scientist uses the term Homo Mermanus to describe Namor's people.
  • Torch is only sixteen.
Favorite Panel: Reed seems a little too much like he's expecting sexy time in this shot.

Favorite Quote:

"You flamin' fig-head!! That door won't keep me out! When I'm thru with ya, there won't be enough left to light a firecracker" - A very irritated Thing to a very naughty Human Torch

Next: Fantastic Four # 18

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Marvel History Post 75: The Avengers # 1

Issue: The Avengers # 1
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Jack Kirby
Publication Date: September 1963

Brief Summary:
http://marvel.wikia.com/Avengers_1

Commentary: Here we go. This is Marvel's current flagship property, the Avengers. Marvel's answer to DC's Justice League, this book brings together some of Marvel's most popular characters.
The team is brought together under the false impression that they need to stop the Hulk. This is not entirely unreasonable, as the Hulk will, from time to time, ruin everything in the MU. The Hulk is sort of the forgotten figure of the early Avengers team, as he doesn't stick around for long. It's also important to note that Captain America is nowhere to be seen in this group.
Quick Thoughts:
  • At one point Wasp refers to Iron Man in his suit as hideous.
  • So, why is it that Loki can't escape from a lead-lined tank?
  • Wasp is the character who names the team the Avengers. No one shouts for them to assemble though...yet.
Favorite Panel:

When will Hulk learn that the circus is not his best move?

Next: Fantastic Four Annual # 1

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Marvel History Post 74: Amazing Spider-Man # 4

Issue: Amazing Spider-Man # 4 Writer: Stan Lee Artist: Steve Ditko Publication Date: September 1963 Brief Summary: http://marvel.wikia.com/Amazing_Spider-Man_4 Commentary: The beginning of this issue is a phenomenal example of why Spider-Man works. Poor Pete tries to do the right thing in busting up a heist, and instead bungles the whole thing and gets himself into some trouble with the law. It's not a big scene, but it's a perfect example of why Marvel superhero comics represented something new on the scene in the 60s. These heroes had serious flaws that made them easier to relate to than the Batmans and Supermans of the world. It's understandable why Spider-Man will become one of the most popular superheroes of all time. We can see ourselves as him.
Jameson's secretary Betty Brant makes her first appearance in this issue as well. She's Pete's first big flame. Quick Thoughts:
  • Well, asking for a diploma is certainly one of Sandman's more bizarre capers.
  • It's pretty rough when a hoover takes you out of the fight.
  • Spider-Man goes from bi-monthly to monthly with this issue.
Favorite Panel:
The shoot out scene from Heat it isn't.
Next: The Avengers # 1!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Marvel History Post 73: Tales to Astonish # 46

Issue: Tales to Astonish # 46 
Writer: Stan Lee / H.E. Huntley 
Artist: Don Heck 
Publication Date: August 1963

Brief Summary:

http://marvel.wikia.com/Tales_to_Astonish_46

Commentary:

No, not that Cyclops (although he's coming soon). It's obviously a robot controlled by a superior technological alien race that is fooled into believing that earthlings would be too challenging to conquer due to the mental proficiencies of one man. Stan does love his favorite themes and villain types. I'm predicting Reds next issue. Reds 95%, Egg Head 4%, Mole Man 1%.

Quick Thoughts:

  • Wasp is already acting like a spurned lover, and she and Ant Man aren't even dating yet!
  • Wasp refers to sailing around where Hercules walked. At first it makes her sound kind of dumb, but maybe it's more a premonition.
Favorite Panel: You do that, Pym. You do that.

Favorite Quote: "Ridiculous! Nothing that lives is that big!" - Wasp, future wife of Giant Man
Next: Amazing Spider-Man # 4

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Marvel History Post 72: Tales of Suspense # 44

Issue: Tales of Suspense # 44
Writer: Stan Lee / R. Berns
Artist: Don Heck
Publication Date: August 1963
Brief Summary:

http://marvel.wikia.com/Tales_of_Suspense_Vol_1_44

Commentary:

Well, with the origin of the Mad Pharaoh, one wonders whether or not Stan Lee knows how embalming works.  Also, I guess it's the fact that he's been couped up in a tomb for the past 2,000 years, but all the Mad Pharaoh wants to do is go back to the past to whoop on Cleopatra? And, the Mad Pharoah can travel through time. So why did he hang out in the tomb for so long? Better luck next time, Stan.

  • Also, the year 1963 is referenced pretty specifically as the present.  So, that's not going to hold up.
Favorite Panel:

Is it that, Tony? Or is it the first signs of the demon in a bottle?

Next: Tales to Astonish # 46

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Marvel History Post 71: Strange Tales # 111

Issue: Strange Tales # 111
Writer: Stan Lee & H.E. Huntley
Artist: Dick Ayers / Steve Ditko (Ditko on Strange)
Publication Date: August 1963

Brief Summary:

http://marvel.wikia.com/Strange_Tales_111

Commentary:

Yes. This is the mofo you've all been waiting for. This is what Stan's been building towards ever since he created the Human Torch. His presence, and the threat he represents, has been hinted at since Torch's humble origins. It's none other than...Asbestos Man!!!
Torch gets beat up in their first encounter, but then remembers that he can just influence the world around him to his advantage in order to defeat Asbestos Man. I can only hope that this signals the end of the Asbestos related adventures of Johnny Storm.

There's also a fun little jaunt with Dr. Strange as he saves his master's life and battles Baron Mordo for the first time.

Favorite Panel:

Respect the net.
Next: Tales of Suspense # 44

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Marvel History Post 70: Journey into Mystery # 95

Issue: Journey into Mystery # 95
Writer: Stan Lee / R. Burns
Artist: Joe Sinnott
Publication Date: August 1963

Brief Summary: http://marvel.wikia.com/Journey_Into_Mystery_95

Commentary:

It's fun how in the early days of the MU, Stan could just whip up crazy ideas and inventions without having to even remotely explain them. I guess not much has changed, given that you can just give someone a power by making them a mutant, but as if the super indestructible android wasn't enough, Stan puts in a duplicating machine (it's not Xerox) in this issue. He even duplicates Thor, which will hilarious happen again in the Marvel Universe storyline Civil War. History does love repeating itself in the funny books.

Quick Thoughts:
  • The android kind of looks a little bit like a green Dr. Manhattan from Watchmen. No, not buying it?
  • For a medical doctor, Don Blake puts out some pretty good inventions.
Favorite Panel:
This panel raises a few good questions. Where the hell was the professor hiding Jane away? What does Thor mean when he says he disposed of the body. Why didn't he just use the door to enter? Journey into Mystery: A Thinking Man's Comic.

Next: Strange Tales # 111

Monday, April 18, 2011

Marvel History Post 69: Fantastic Four # 17

Issue: Fantastic Four # 17 Writer: Stan LeeArtist: Jack Kirby Publication Date: August 1963 Brief Summary: http://marvel.wikia.com/Fantastic_Four_17 Commentary:
Alicia plays a bigger part in this issue than in recent stories. Doom wonders how she can love a creature such as The Thing. We also get a little bit of pathos in regards to Doom, as he goes into the details of how he dares not expose his actual face to the world. He also admits that he does not understand human beings.
This is a side of Doom that drops out of a lot of more recent Marvel comics. Current writers seem to focus entirely on Doom's brilliance and his arrogance, which is the thing that (heh) "dooms" him in his efforts of world domination. It is infrequent to see Doom admit that he doesn't actually know something.
Quick Thoughts:
  • Ant Man makes a very very brief cameo.
  • A few comic moments, as the Fan 4 has a few mishap in their search for Doom. Stan is keeping his stories relatively light at this point in the MU history.
  • Doom actually isn't trying to take over the world this issue. He just wants a seat in the president's cabinet.
  • There's a brief cameo of JFK in this issue, not long before his assassination. It's perhaps a less well known comic book cameo than the one documented here.
Favorite Panel:
Doom's escape at issues' end. He'll go on to make a few other escapes in his career. Really, if he was as good at licking the Fan 4 as he was at escaping, he probably would have solved the nuisance of Reed a long time ago.
Next: Journey into Mystery # 95

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Marvel History Post 68: Tales to Astonish # 45

Issue: Tales to Astonish # 45
Writer: Stan Lee & H.E. Huntley
Artist: Don Heck
Publication Date: July 1963
Brief Summary:
http://marvel.wikia.com/Tales_to_Astonish_45

Commentary:

This issue tries to set up Egg Head as Ant Man's arch rival. Again, he's one of those villains that at this point is more interested in defeating Ant Man than in really accomplishing anything else. It's amazing how destructive the personalities of a lot of these villains comes off. 

It's always the "Once the superhero is out of the way, I can get back to my regularly scheduled crimes."

It's also interesting how clearly Egg Head is mentally unhinged, but can still manage to put on a show of normalcy, such as his appearing as a zoologist. He escapes at the end of his issue. For all his brilliance, his Ant Eater plan didn't work out. Weird. I'm sure we'll be seeing more of him in stories to come.

Favorite Panel:

Thought this was a fun one of the dynamic duo.

Next: Fantastic Four # 17

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Marvel History Post 67: Tales of Suspense # 43

Issue: Tales of Suspense # 43 Writer: Stan Lee & Robert Bernstein Artist: Jack Kirby Publication Date: July 1963 Brief Summary: http://marvel.wikia.com/Tales_of_Suspense_43 Commentary: I think I prefer the stories where Stan has the hero show the villain the error of their ways. Over the history of the Marvel Universe, there will be many moments where we see someone switch sides in the epic struggle of good vs. evil. While I can't say that Kala has gone good by the end of this issue, Iron Man has at least pacified her by showing her the foolishness of her plan to invade the surface world.
Quick Thoughts:
  • Iron Man's suit is collapsible. It's a lot more believable to hear that Spider-Man's suit is collapsible. Unstable molecules at work again?
  • How does the sunshine make Kala into a hag? That ain't right.
Favorite Panel:
Tony Stark, pimping it up, and stealing a line ("Bub") from a certain Canadian we will see several years down the road.
Next: Tales to Astonish # 45

Friday, April 15, 2011

Marvel History Post 66: Strange Tales # 110

Issue: Strange Tales # 110
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Dick Ayers / Steve Ditko (Ditko on Strange)
Publication Date: July 1963
Brief Summary:
  http://marvel.wikia.com/Strange_Tales_110

 Commentary:
Well, glue gun Gary, or whatever the hell his name is, has returned (who woulda thunk it?). And, he's teamed up with another of Torch's rogues, the Wizard. Stan loves bringing back rogues, trying to establish them as worthy foes for our heroes. Sometimes Stan's villains work, and sometimes they're named Paste Pot Pete.
Like a lot of super villains, Paste Pot Pete becomes obsessed with the hero who previously defeated him. Some super villains, it seems, forget the original intent of their villainy, becoming consumed with their foe. Whether Paste Pot Pete is obsessed with Torch or just stuck on a feeling will be seen perhaps in future tales.
One of the other stories in this issue features the first appearance of Dr. Strange, Marvel's most of the time Sorcerer Supreme. He has a rather drastically different costume from his iconic one. He is also referred to as the master of black magic. His foe Nightmare makes an appearance as well. It's funny how many different characters Stan really did create in these early Marvel books, and how many of them have managed to stick around.

 Quick Thoughts:
  • The Human Torch keeps a scrapbook. With photos of weird old men that tried to fight him.
Favorite Panel:
So this is Pete sneaking into a prison by pretending to be the food delivery service. So, what kind of outfits is the food delivery service man normally wearing?
Next: Tales of Suspense # 43

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Marvel History Post 65: Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos # 2

Issue: Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos # 2 Writer: Stan Lee (Dude writes everything) Artist: Jack Kirby (Dude draws everything) Publication Date: July 1963 Brief Summary: http://marvel.wikia.com/Sgt_Fury_and_his_Howling_Commandos_Vol_1_2 Commentary: Well, Stan's interpretation of Nazis as epic dolts with excessive usage of the letter "v" is hilarious. I guess it could be insulting to Germans, but it's Nazis, and they're notoriously hard to defend. Still, the plan to get captured and get taken to a concentration camp on purpose is in slightly bad taste.
We see Fury in this issue show respect to his elders, namely Captain "Happy Sam" Sawyer. We also see him get reprimanded, albeit briefly. It's a bit of role reversal, as for most of his time in the Marvel Universe, Fury plays the role of the gruff older war soldier. We even see him doing that in these early appearances with his soldiers. Fury also disobeys orders, putting his mission at risk to go rescue Dum Dum Dugan.
Quick Thoughts:
  • Fury frequently refers to his commandos as "you heroes." Kind of fun.
  • Stan does occasionally mix in some actual facts about WWII in the midst of these ludicrous adventures.
Favorite Panel:
Thought this was kind of a fun one. First of all, although not noticeable here, this is one of the bigger panels I've seen in these early Marvel comics, coming in at over half of a page. There's also a lot of chaotic action. I imagine we'll see more of this in the upcoming Aven...whoops, shouldn't get ahead of myself.
Next: Strange Tales # 110

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Marvel History Post 64: Journey into Mystery # 94

Issue: Journey into Mystery # 94 Writer: Stan Lee / Roger Burns Artist: Joe Sinnott Publication Date: July 1963 Brief Summary: http://marvel.wikia.com/Journey_Into_Mystery_94 Commentary: When a warhead is on the loose, Thor gets the call. Is he the hero community's biggest hitter in these early days? Come to think of it, has anything changed? I would imagine that Thor is in fact Marvel's biggest consistent hero in terms of handling worldwide threats. The Avengers and all of SHIELD would likely get the call these days, but Thor is probably the dude you want leading the charge.
On an unrelated note, it was exciting to see Thor go and destroy a lot of world famous landmarks in the span of about a few pages. Also, Thor did not really save the day in this one. Odin had to step in and get the job done.
Quick Thoughts:
  • Thor flies so fast at one point that he's practically invisible. This super speed element to his powers, I would imagine, is gone in later years.
  • Those curious can find out how chromosomatic glands (where Loki and Odin both hit Thor this issue) work here.
Favorite Panel: New meaning to the term bringing down the hammer...that's not a funny joke. I apologize.
Next: Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos # 2

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Marvel History Post 63: Fantastic Four # 16

Issue: Fantastic Four # 16 Writer: Stan Lee Artist: Jack Kirby Publication Date: July 1963 Brief Summary: http://marvel.wikia.com/Fantastic_Four_16 Commentary: More of the integration of characters in each other's books in the mighty Marvel Universe here, as Ant Man meets the Fan 4. There's also a plug for Ant Man's new partner the Wasp, who recently made her first appearance.
And, also in Marvel fashion, the heroes are mistrustful of each other, with Reed thinking Ant Man might be the one who causes his...erm...shrinkage problems.
Also found it interesting that Reed tests out a new cure on the Thing to turn him back into his human form, and Thing does not seem that interested, as his gal pal Alicia Masters loves him as The Thing. Big turnaround from not too long ago.
Quick Thoughts:
  • Stan seems to use the word uncanny a lot. This bodes well, as there's a few uncanny adventurers who will emerge on the scene in a few months.
  • Is that The Human Torch hitting on a princess? This will soon enough become par for the course.
Favorite Panel: Alright, alright, I'll stop choosing ambiguously hilarious panels for a while.
Favorite Quote: "Aww, knock it off, Sue! It was bad enough to have ya moonin' over the Sub-Mariner for months!" Thing, in response to Invisible Girl's swooning over Ant Man.
Next: Journey into Mystery # 94

Monday, April 11, 2011

Marvel History Post 62: Amazing Spider-Man # 3

Issue: Amazing Spider-Man # 3 Writer: Stan Lee Artist: Steve Ditko Publication Date: July 1963 Brief Summary: http://marvel.wikia.com/Amazing_Spider-Man_3 Commentary:
Perhaps it is due to my mistaking his origin with subsequent rewrites, but I thought there was more pathos in the fall of Doc Ock. Here, he basically gets a bump on the noggin and then loses it. Isn't there a dead wife or something in his back story? Am I just pulling the worst ever fan boy move and confusing it with the movie? Probably.
Also, Human Torch makes a cameo in this issue. This led me to tagging it as a Fan Four post as well. At some point I guess I'm going to have to consider this whole tagging thing. For example, I've given Ant Man his own tags, because he's currently in his own book. But I haven't done that for Doom or Namor, both of whom will have their own titles at some point. I guess I'm just throwing them in the Fan 4 realm for the time being? Quick Thoughts:
  • Torch says he's used his power so much that he needs a few days to recharge.
  • Torch also tells a bunch of high school students to stick to their schoolwork. I guess Thing's words about being pounded into a match stick stuck with him.
Favorite Panel:
Spidey gets bitch slapped.
Next:
Fantastic Four # 16

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Marvel History Post 61: Tales to Astonish # 44

Issue: Tales to Astonish # 44
Writers: Stan Lee, H.E. Huntley
Artist: Jack Kirby
Publication Date: June 1963

Brief Summary:

http://marvel.wikia.com/Tales_to_Astonish_44

Commentary:

In addition to this being the first appearance of Wasp, this is also the first time Ant Man has represented two thirds of the book. He has previously been the lead story, with several backups to follow. In this issue, he represents two thirds of the book.

Also, I had to look up H.E. Huntley. Learn more about him here.

We hear about the tragic murder of Pym's first wife in this issue as well. Again, Stan is building Pym as a rather likable fellow in these early issues with a decent amount of pathos. The notion of Pym as the number one A-hole of the Marvel Universe has not taken shape yet (although he does seem a little bit like a pedophile for lusting after the allegedly quite young Wasp).

Quick Thoughts:
  • I'm still pretty grossed out by the notion of catapulting into a huge pile of ants that are the same size as me. I imagine I always will be.
  • We also have an early secret identity reveal, with Ant Man exposing himself (poor word choice?) to Wasp.
  • Pym references unstable molecules.
  • Wasp wastes no time, telling Pym she's falling in love with him in their first appearance together.
Favorite Panel:
Make of it what you will.
Next: Amazing Spider-Man # 3

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Marvel History Post 60: Tales of Suspense # 42

Issue: Tales of Suspense # 42 Writer: Stan Lee Artist: Robert Bernstein Publication Date: June 1963 Brief Summary: http://marvel.wikia.com/Tales_of_Suspense_Vol_1_42 Commentary: Yeeeaaah Communism! That's all I have to say about this one. Was Stan Lee afraid of getting blacklisted or something?
Also, the villain known as the Actor discovers Iron Man's secret identity. Iron Man has never been the best about keeping his identity a secret, so this is not exactly surprising.
Of course, the Actor survives for all of another ten panels or so after that point, so I guess the secret's safe for now.
Favorite Panel: The Red Barbarian had a weird meat fetish all issue. Here he is throwing a piece of mutton at one his subordinates.
Next: Tales to Astonish # 44

Friday, April 8, 2011

Marvel History Post 59: Strange Tales # 109

Issue: Strange Tales # 109 Writer: Stan Lee Artist: Jack Kirby Publication Date: June 1963 Brief Summary: http://marvel.wikia.com/Strange_Tales_109 Commentary: Well, Torch's intentions are noble, but his means of handling situations is not exactly diplomatic. We've seen him a number of times now escalate a situation and exacerbate the problem, all in the name of super heroics.
Also interesting to see Pandora's Box make an appearance. Stan hasn't been shy of mythological references in his funny books. We'll keep an eye out for more.
Quick Thoughts:
  • Thing once again shows his softer side by admitting he actually likes Torch.
  • Torch turns the flame off of his hands to carry some kids home. At some point in time, they are going to explain why simply being close to Torch doesn't cause problems.
  • How is a flood one of the evils from Pandora's box?
Favorite Panel: You can call it the Evil of Hatred all you want. What I see is Slimer's grandfather.
Favorite Quote: "You quit school, and we'll flatten you into the Human Match-Stick, hear!?" - The Thing, who has all the best lines, really.
Next: Tales of Suspense # 42

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Marvel History Post 58: Journey into Mystery # 93

Issue: Journey into Mystery # 93
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Jack Kirby
Publication Date: June 1963

Brief Summary:

http://marvel.wikia.com/Journey_Into_Mystery_93

Commentary:

What was I saying last post about being thankful that the communists weren't involved? Oh well.

We see Thor take sides in a politic battle here, which others have also done in this early Marvel Universe. This practice will decline in later years, with only a few characters having well known political beliefs. Heroes seem to argue over ideology more than democrat vs. republican. Take note of the popular Civil War storyline from a few years past.  

We also get some more hypnosis in this issue, one of Stan's favorite tropes. Hypnosis and commies and Thor. Gotta love it.
The ending of this story is a bit ambiguous. Did Radioactive Man die? Did Thor actually kill him when he sent him back to communist China. I guess time will tell. Time, or this.

Quick Thoughts:
  • Thor is referred to as the protector of democracy. Interesting.
  • We see Thor at work as a doctor again this issue. Sadly, we also see him head into a lab and light up a pipe.
  • Radioactive Man deflects Thor's hammer and lightning bolts with (what else) radioactivity. How does that work?
Favorite Panel: Who needs a hammer when you've got locks like these?
Next: Strange Tales # 109

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Marvel History Post 57: Fantastic Four # 15

Issue: Fantastic Four # 15 Writer: Stan Lee Artist: Jack Kirby Publication Date: June 1963 Brief Summary: http://marvel.wikia.com/Fantastic_Four_15 Commentary: The Fantastic Four try out alternative careers in this issue, and realize that the only thing they really like doing is being superheroes. Kind of a basic premise, but it touches upon some elements that are seen in other comics, notably Batman. Batman can't be anything else other than Batman. It's not in his nature.
One might say the same of Spider-Man following what happens to Uncle Ben. However, in both instances, an external event happening to a guardian figure forces the hero into the role. What keeps the Fantastic Four intact? Later on, a lot will be made of how the Fantastic Four are a family, and this is what keeps them together. In these earlier stories, while Torch and Invisible Girl are certainly still brother and sister, there is not as much of a familial tie between these characters. Although some of the animosity between members has settled down since the very early issues, I have not yet noticed the group functioning as a family unit.
Oh, and the Thinker, who has thought of everything, did not think of the unexpected. Kind of lame. Hey, at least he wasn't a Red. Quick Thoughts:
  • Another appearance of the Fantastic Four comics magazine within this issue. Still don't know why I'm obsessed with meta.
  • The Thing, for the first time, shows that he cares about Torch when he tells him he'll miss him. Ain't that cute.
Favorite Panel: The ole Yancy Street Gang, up to no good yet again. Thing looks better in a tutu than you'd guess. The flower is a nice touch as well.
Next: Journey into Mystery # 93