Monday, October 31, 2011

Marvel History 172: Avengers # 8

Issue: Avengers # 8
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Jack Kirby
Publication Date: September 1964
Brief Summary:

http://marvel.wikia.com/Avengers_8

Commentary:

Kang the conqueror shows up, doing what he does best, which is to attempt a conquering, and proceed to fail at it.  Of course, we've seen Kang before, way back when he was called Rama-Tut and tussled with the Fan Four.

Kang puts the whooping on the Avengers, but is then fooled by Rick Jones and the Teen Brigade (yes, they're still around).   I have to believe that Stan assumes that his readers see the Teen Brigade as somehow being analogous to them if they were in the Marvel Universe.  I guess that makes sense?  However, if I'm going to fantasize about living in the MU, I mine as well envision myself as Spider-Man or a Norse God of Thunder.  Probably not Rick Jones.  Just sayin'.  



Quick Thoughts:
  • The Avengers do not have a leader at this point in time; they're run as a democracy
  • Stan Lee also talks about Kang's time in the year 4,000.  It's not pretty.  

Favorite Panel:

Giant Man in the sniper position.

Next: Fantastic Four # 30

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Marvel History 171: Amazing Spider-Man # 16

Issue: Amazing Spider-Man # 16
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Steve Ditko
Publication Date: September 1964
Brief Summary:

http://marvel.wikia.com/Amazing_Spider-Man_16


Commentary:

Daredevil stops by, as does our old friend the Ringmaster, last seen tussling with a malcontent Bruce Banner here.  Stan has Daredevil explain a few things about his powers in a brief monologue.  I'm assuming the logic behind this is that many of the readers of Spider-Man don't also read Daredevil.  So, Stan offers a helping hand.  Of course, these kinds of gestures are a lot easier to accomplish in a Universe made up of less than 200 comics, as opposed to one consisting of several thousand, which is where things stand in the present MU.  As you might expect, Ringmaster hypnotizes Spidey into fighting Daredevil for some more popular hero vs. hero combat in their first appearance together.  Daredevil breaks the hypnotism spell, and Spidey puts the beating on the Ringmaster and his circus of crime.

Quick Thoughts:


  • Aunt May bugs Peter to call Mary Jane Watson again
  • The way Foggy Nelson is illustrated in these early stories is quite different from his appearance in modern comics
Favorite Panel:

Left foot red, right hand yellow.


Next: Avengers # 8

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Marvel History 170: Tales to Astonish # 58

Issue: Tales to Astonish # 58
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Dick Ayers
Publication Date: August 1964
Brief Summary:

http://marvel.wikia.com/Tales_to_Astonish_58


Commentary:


Colossus shows up!  No, not that one.  Some bad guy from outer space.  I'll be putting up my first post featuring the X-Man Colossus somewhere in the year 2021 or so at this rate.

Anywho, Captain America tips off Giant Man and Wasp to this villain, who is based out of Africa.  It's nice of Cap to drop in for a cameo.  Stan doesn't even bother to advertise Cap's appearance on the cover, perhaps given how brief it is.

The rest of the story is mostly spent with Giant Man and Wasp changing sizes and tickling Colossus's toes in combat.  Seriously.  After they defeat Colossus, the natives build a statue in honor of Giant Man.  All in a day's work.


Quick Thoughts:

  • Giant Man has learned how to mentally adjust his size.  
  • Wasp goes through a costume change
  • Giant Man can also change Wasp's size mentally; little domineering, no?
  • Wasp takes on The Magician in the backup story 
Favorite Panel:

And that kid is back on the escalator!


Next: Amazing Spider-Man # 16

Friday, October 28, 2011

Marvel History 169: Tales of Suspense # 56

Issue: Tales of Suspense # 56
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Don Heck
Publication Date: August 1964
Brief Summary:

http://marvel.wikia.com/Tales_of_Suspense_56

Commentary:


Tony Stark is pretty bummed out about having to wear a metal plate on his chest.  I dunno, I think the billionaire playboy should look a little more on the bright side, but that's just me.  Of course, this is classic Stan Lee angst.  Still, Stark does somewhat have a point, as he can't tell just how long the life saving technology that's keeping his heart beating will last.  If I could, I would have reassured the man that he had at least a few good years left.


This doesn't appear to be Stan's month for villains, as his latest is known as the Unicorn.  There's really nothing villainous about Unicorns.  At all.  I'd be hard pressed to even name that many animals (real or imaginary) that are less intimidating than Unicorns.  Whatever.  Hawkeye is next issue.  


Quick Thoughts:

  • Unicorn's costume was built by Crimson Dynamo
  • And yes, that means he's a commie
Favorite Panel:

Who wouldn't want this?


Next: Tales to Astonish # 58

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Marvel History 168: Strange Tales # 123

Issue: Strange Tales # 123
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Carl Burgos
Publication Date: August 1964

Brief Summary:


http://marvel.wikia.com/Strange_Tales_123

Commentary:


Thing and Human Torch go on a double date, and wouldn't you know it, some jackass calling himself the Beetle shows up and gets all super villainy right up in their faces.  The Beetle's main goal in life is seemingly to show that he simply cannot be stopped.  Torch and Thing then proceed to stop him.  So, that's a rough first outing for him.  


In the backup story, Loki deceives Dr. Strange into stealing Thor's hammer.  By using a piece of the leather that dangles from the hammer, Dr. Strange is able to magic his way into creating a mystical hand that can move the hammer.  This is one of the biggest plays anyone has made on the hammer thus far.  Of course, Strange realize his mistake in trusting Loki and rights the wrong.  Nevertheless, it's interesting to note the power he seems to have over Thor.



Quick Thoughts:
  • The Fab Four get a reference
  • Artist Carl Burgos was the first person to draw the original Human Torch back in the golden age of Marvel
  • Ditko draws Thor for the first time
Favorite Panel:

Thing on a moped.  Reed has to build something better for him. 


Next: Tales of Suspense # 56

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Marvel History 167: Sgt. Fury # 9


Issue: Sgt. Fury # 9
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Dick Ayers
Publication Date: August 1964
Brief Summary:

http://marvel.wikia.com/Sgt_Fury_9

Commentary:

I'm not sure if Stan could jam in more attempts at British colloquialisms into the dialogue of the commando Percy Pinkerton.  Outside of just a straight list, it might be impossible.  Then, when you think it can't get more ridiculous, Stan hits you with his attempt at a German accent.

And, to top it all off, Percy starts moving in on Nick Fury's woman!  The nerve!

Anyways, the gang sets off to capture Hitler.  Baron Strucker makes another appearance.  Stan explains who's speaking German and who's speaking English, which is pretty darn confusing.  

Best of all, Dum Dum Dugan puts his arms around his buddies when he's about to get executed.  Looks like the dude is relaxing for a group photo.  He knows Fury is coming to save them, but still...pretty bad ass.

Favorite Panel:

Sorry...how does the umbrella alleviate the situation?  Pinkerton must be related Oswald Cobblepot.



Next: Strange Tales # 123

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Marvel History 166: Journey into Mystery # 107

Issue: Journey into Mystery # 107
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Jack Kirby
Publication Date: August 1964
Brief Summary:

http://marvel.wikia.com/Journey_Into_Mystery_107


Commentary:

Well, Thor fights the Grey Gargoyle, who, while he might have been Quasimodo's best friend, is an enemy to pretty much everyone else.  His power to turn people to stone only last an hour, and when he turns himself to stone, he remains animate.  Also, the Grey Gargoyle can't turn Thor's hammer to stone.  He also can't lift it, which was pretty much his whole plan.  So, as you might imagine, the Grey Gargoyle loses this one.


Quick Thoughts:

  • A police officer says the Avengers have "top federal priority," whatever that means.
  • Thor loans some equipment from his pal Iron Man
  • Loki tries to kill the immortal Baldur in the backup story
Favorite Panel:


Odin's son in love


Next: Sgt. Fury # 9

Monday, October 24, 2011

Marvel History 165: Fantastic Four # 29

Issue: Fantastic Four # 29
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Jack Kirby
Publication Date: August 1964
Brief Summary:

http://marvel.wikia.com/Fantastic_Four_29


Commentary:


The Red Ghost, a villain fought way back when, makes his return, super gorillas and all.  It's good to know that even Stan Lee had a fascination with super monkeys.  One of them has the same powers as Magneto!


Also, the gang meets up with the Watcher again, who takes them on a tour of some of the various oddities he has collected in his years of, uh, watching.  Stan gets to flex some of his far out there sci fi stuff in this brief look, including his very own version of Kandor.


We also take a trip to the blue area of the moon, which will become a popular locale in the Marvel Universe in several future stories.


Quick Thoughts:

  • Rock Hudson, Bela Lugosi,  and Jane Mansfield all get referenced
  • While the Watcher can't meddle in the affairs of others, he can take action to ensure that he has privacy for his, uh, watching.  He's kind of a creeper if you think about it.
  • Thing kisses a lamp post on Yancy Street; maybe there's some hope



Favorite Panel: The team meets the Watcher once more

Favorite Quote: "Hey!! Watch out with that popgun!  My Blue Cross ain't all paid up yet!" - Thing, who makes you wonder just how much health insurance would cost for a superhero


Next: Journey into Mystery # 107

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Marvel History 164: Daredevil # 3

Issue: Daredevil # 3
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Joe Orlando
Publication Date: August 1964
Brief Summary:

http://marvel.wikia.com/Daredevil_3


Commentary:

We meet Daredevil villain the Owl, who has a more interesting back story than most of the other foes we've encountered thus far, being a man who allegedly became rich off of endeavors on Wall Street.  Of course, he made a lot of that money illegally, but hey, he's a super villain, you can't ask too much out of the guy.



So, when its time for his day in court, Owl establishes himself as a player in the crime underground instead.  


Daredevil makes a crime fighting gaffe when he calls a person by their name, thus revealing to Karen and to the bad guys that he knows her. 


Favorite Panel:


That's our pal Daredevil, bouncing his suit around the city like a basketball.  He'll sew together a backpack later this issue.


Next: Fantastic Four # 29

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Marvel History 163: Avengers # 7

Issue: Avengers # 7
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Jack Kirby
Publication Date: August 1964
Brief Summary:

http://marvel.wikia.com/Avengers_7


Commentary:


Odin's getting his banish on, sending the Enchantress and the Executioner from Asgard.  They join up with Baron Zemo and become his two new henchman.  Stan's really setting up Zemo as one of the primary members of the Avengers' rogues gallery.  This makes sense, as Zemo has the most history with Captain America, who is the only current Avenger without his own monthly comic at this point.


Rick Jones puts on Bucky's old costume, but Captain America is having none of it.  He tells Rick to take it off, and to never wear it again.  He also says he'll never have another sidekick (right).  


This is one of the earliest signs we've had of a hero's mantle being passed on to another person, even though Rick doesn't actually try to be a new Bucky.  Still, we will see this idea of the heritage of heroes play out more in upcoming stories.  


Also, the action here is on multiple fronts for the majority of the story, something we haven't seen Stan use to much effect before.  But it works, upping the suspense in each of the story's sections.


Favorite Panel:


Cap's a man on a mission.


Next: Daredevil # 3

Friday, October 21, 2011

Marvel History 162: Amazing Spider-Man # 15

Issue: Amazing Spider-Man # 15
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Steve Ditko
Publication Date: August 1964

Brief Summary:


http://marvel.wikia.com/Amazing_Spider-Man_15

Commentary:


Kraven the hunter makes his first appearance.  He's apparently an old friend of the Chameleon, who fought Spider-Man
way back when.  Kraven arrives to hunt the most dangerous game, man, in a slight take off of the famous short story.

It's a little confusing why Kraven is allowed to declare his intentions to hunt down Spider-Man without any sort of police intervention.  But then, Spider-Man is a well known vigilante by this point, so what is it that law enforcement really owes to him?  The cops don't make an appearance till issue's end.


Kraven, given the nature of his character, is the most likely villain to become obsessed with  a nemesis.  We've seen this happen with many other bad guys, but Kraven is perhaps the man whom it makes the most sense to adopt this attitude.


Quick Thoughts:

  • Liz Allen meets Betty Brant; they don't hit it off
  • Kraven's strength and speed come from the theft of a witch doctor's potion
  • Mary Jane is referenced for the first time, although she's not seen this issue
Favorite Panel:

Kraven the Hunter arrives on the scene.  Dig the 'stache.


Next: Avengers # 7

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Marvel History 161: X-Men # 6

Issue: X-Men # 6
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Jack Kirby
Publication Date: July 1964
Brief Summary:
http://marvel.wikia.com/X-Men_Vol_1_6

Commentary:

Professor X has been reading up on the rest of the mighty Marvel Universe, and realizes that Sub-Mariner might be a mutant.  What the Prof isn't counting on is that Namor is also an arrogant ass.  Namor's also coming off a rough spurning by the lovely Sue Richards, and, well, he doesn't take it too well.  


Namor does stick up for the Scarlet Witch, as he refuses to ally himself with Magneto due to the way Magneto talks to her.  But, Namor can't make friends with the X-Men either, and as he darts off at issue's end, Professor X claims that Namor can never truly be one of the X-Men.  


We see Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver continue to develop as sympathetic characters.  Even though they leave with Magneto, it seems clear that it's only a matter of time before they change their allegiance to the side of good.


Quick Thoughts:

  • Quicksilver is incredibly protective of his sister
  • Magneto displays some weird brain power, sending an astral projection of himself to try to find Namor
  • Namor is referred to as a mutant, although he does not as of yet believe that he is one
  • Toad mocks the wings on Namor's feet
  • There's a bonus pin up at the end of the issue

Favorite Quote: "If there's one thing I like better than pie and ice cream, it's more pie and ice cream!" - Iceman

Favorite Panel: 


Beast starts to show off his verbose vocabulary.


Next: Amazing Spider-Man # 15

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Marvel History 160: Tales to Astonish # 57

Issue: Tales to Astonish # 57
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Dick Ayers
Publication Date: July 1964


Brief Summary:


http://marvel.wikia.com/Tales_to_Astonish_57


Commentary:


Apparently, Giant Man's decided to hold off on the engagement ring for a little while, instead offering up Wasp a new weapon.  He hasn't quite figured out what a girl wants yet...and perhaps never will.  


In other news, Giant Man baddie Egg Head is the villain du jour, and he uses Ant Man's own technology against him to convince him to tussle with Spider-Man.  That works out about as well as it always does.  


Still, there remains some tension between Wasp and Spider-Man, who don't seem to like each other.  It will be interesting to see if this is remembered when next they meet. 


Wasp's backup story now features her in a prominent role of tripping up a burglar, as opposed to her narrating some other strange tale.  We'll have to see if this trend continues.


Favorite Panel:


Wasp puts her new weapon to good use.


Next: X-Men # 6

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Marvel History 159: Tales of Suspense # 55

Issue: Tales of Suspense # 55
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Don Heck
Publication Date: July 1964
Brief Summary:


http://marvel.wikia.com/Tales_of_Suspense_55

Commentary:


This issue is an all out brawl between Mandarin and Iron Man, with little time for much outside of the action.  


We do learn a little bit more about the differences in Mandarin's rings, with one of them being noted as a dis-integrator ray.  
Mandarin attempts to use lethal force on Iron Man, but the result is completely ineffectual.  We often see the villains of this era sometimes ready to kill, but there are quite rarely any casualties outside of Fury's war stories.


Also, next issue, the Iron Man stories will be a full 18 pages long.  The other types of Marvel comics continue to be phased out in favor of the men in tights. 


Favorite Panel:


Iron Man, apparently a man of few words at times.


Next: Tales to Astonish # 57

Monday, October 17, 2011

Marvel History 158: Strange Tales # 122

Issue: Strange Tales # 122
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Dick Ayers 1st story and Steve Ditko 2nd story
Publication Date: July 1964
Brief Summary:

http://marvel.wikia.com/Strange_Tales_122

Commentary:

Some of Doom's henchmen make their return here after a rousing success in their last appearance against the Fan Four.


Doom's own return is foreshadowed, and by foreshadowed I mean Stan tells us that he'll be returning in Fan Four Annual # 2.  So, you can all sleep easy now.


So, nice job by Stan to tie up some loose ends, but other than that, this issue is fairly standard fair.  Torch seems to have the weakest supporting cast of all the solo superhero mags, which is kind of funny, as his supporting cast is sort of the Fantastic Four.  While the Four have continued to make more regular appearances in this book, any actual character development for them is saved for their own magazine.


Quick Thoughts:

  • Torch's love of sports cars is referenced again
  • ...and so is his inability to handle asbestos
  • Dr. Strange goes on a crazy acid like trip in the backup story, and also faces off against Nightmare once more
Favorite Panel:

Hey, if you're not gonna promote yourself, then who's gonna do it for you?


Next: Tales of Suspense # 55

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Marvel History 157: Sgt. Fury # 8

Issue: Sgt. Fury # 8
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Dick Ayers
Publication Date: July 1964
Brief Summary:


http://marvel.wikia.com/Sgt_Fury_8

Commentary:


The newest Howler is a Brit named Percival Pinkerton.  The gang tries to mock him for his Britishness, but Percival has the last laugh when he trips them up with his umbrella.  Yes, umbrella.


Still, Percy plays his part and helps the team.  Stan's seemingly got plenty of love in his heart for the British, although he perhaps could have given his starring Brit a better weapon.  Stan's depictions of the Nazis are typically less favorable.


Also, another one of the characters in the present (as in the 60s) Marvel Universe makes an appearance in the World War 2 era, and this time it's Baron Zemo, or Dr. Zemo as he's known here.  Some interesting stuff with Stan interweaving all of his books together, and not just the ones set in the present!


The Commandos seem to contribute to the mission in different ways, all playing their role, but their personalities are still only loosely defined outside of Fury.


Quick Thoughts:
  • Stan takes a break from hyperbole this issue, claiming this is "Not a bad story" by Stan Lee
  • Fury and his Commandos are now a monthly book with this issue
Favorite Panel:


Percival Pinkerton threatens with that menacing umbrella.  


Next: Strange Tales # 122

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Marvel History 156: Journey into Mystery # 106

Issue: Journey into Mystery # 106
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Jack Kirby
Publication Date: July 1964
Brief Summary:


http://marvel.wikia.com/Journey_Into_Mystery_106


Commentary:


Thor outwits Hyde and Cobra, but in the process, he damages the reputation of his human form, Dr. Don Blake.  It is a very Clark Kent-esque moment, where the alter-ego must play second fiddle to the heroic side.  However, Stan makes it even more extreme, with Blake appearing not only a coward, but one who serves his own purposes.  



Meanwhile, in the backup story, Odin shows his benevolence and wisdom in granting Balder, the gentlest of his warriors, the gift of invisibility.  Why can't he be so reasonable about Thor hooking up with a mortal?


Quick Thoughts:
  • There's a recap on what happened last issue at the beginning of the book.  Marvel won't always be so kind in the coming years.
  • Thor claims never to have despised a foe as much as Mr. Hyde
Favorite Panel:


Yep, that's Cobra, just...climbing into...something...he'll be in jail by issue's end.


Next: Sgt. Fury # 8

Friday, October 14, 2011

Marvel History 155: Fantastic Four # 28

Issue: Fantastic Four # 28
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Jack Kirby
Publication Date: July 1964

Brief Summary:


http://marvel.wikia.com/Fantastic_Four_28

Commentary:


So, the Puppet Master takes over Xavier's mind.  I'm going to say this probably doesn't happen in the MU of the future.  Stan is still settling into the limits of each of his character's powers.  I'm thinking a handful of clay, radioactive or not, will not stand up as powerful enough to handle Prof. X in the coming years. 


The X-Men receive another appearance in a more popular Marvel title.  Methinks Stan's trying to boost sales. 



Quick Thoughts:
  • The X-Men are noted as having become "famous", although Thing is not impressed
  • Cyke's "force blast" holds back Torch's flames
  • There's an error where Cyclops references the Mad Thinker before his awareness of the Mad Thinker's involvement in the plot
  • Another error where Sue gives the X-Men credit for defeating the Space Phantom, when it was actually the Avengers





Favorite Panel: The first meeting of the Fantastic Four and the X-Men.

Next: Journey into Mystery # 106

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Marvel History 154: Avengers # 6

Issue: Avengers # 6
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Jack Kirby
Publication Date: July 1964
Brief Summary:

http://marvel.wikia.com/Avengers_6

Commentary:


Captain America dedicates his life to bringing Bucky's killers to justice.  And who was that dastardly villain?  Perhaps it was Baron Zemo, who has a hood stuck on his head.  Despite not being able to remove the cloth, he's still a pretty serious baddy, as he is noted as being Hitler's greatest scientist.



Well, he's none too pleased with Cap, and he rounds up a big group of nasty boys who've been seen in the various heroes' individual stories to wreck havoc on NYC.  The Masters of Evil's biggest threat to our heroes: a powerful adhesive.  So, they glue up the Avengers, and who comes to the rescue?  Aw, yeah.  Paste Pot Pete.  He provides the assist, and the Avengers do the rest of the work, making short work of the "Masters" of evil.  


Although the superhero team up is the more common, the super villain team up is also popular, and we see Stan make use of his previous creations here, with the addition of Zemo. 

Quick Thoughts:

  • Cap gets his shield to swing back to him by using magnets in his gloves
  • Radioactive Man refers to Thor as "Overrated One"
Favorite Panel:

Cap flashing some serious acrobatics. 


Next: Fantastic Four # 28

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Marvel History 153: Amazing Spider-Man # 14

Issue: Amazing Spider-Man # 14
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Steve Ditko
Publication Date: July 1964
Brief Summary:

http://marvel.wikia.com/Amazing_Spider-Man_14

Commentary:


You got the Enforcers, the Incredible Hulk, and to top it all off, you've got the introduction of the Green Goblin, Spider-Man's arch nemesis.  What more could you possibly ask for?


Green Goblin doesn't exactly seem very fear inspiring in his first couple of scenes.  He's got a goofy broom, and his plan is to get Spider-Man to appear in a movie with him.  But, Spider-Man, bit by the Hollywood bug like the Fantastic Four
before him, signs himself up.  

Alas, the Green Goblin and the Enforcers attack Spidey, and then they end up in a cave with the Hulk in it, so that doesn't work out so well.  I'm surprised they didn't tumble into the sea and run up against Namor.  


Green Goblin gets away in the end, and Stan keeps the identity of the man behind the mask a secret from the audience.


Quick Thoughts:

  • Aunt May looks more like a man every issue. 
  • Spider-Man believes the Enforcers are actually just really well made-up actors
  • Spider-Man apparently has the power of chest expansion, whatever that may be
Favorite Quote: "Tell me, Flash -- How much rent do you pay in that dream world you live in!" - Liz Allen

Favorite Panel:


No, he's actually a really bad dude.  No, trust me.  Really.


Next: Avengers # 6

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Marvel History 152: Tales to Astonish # 56

Issue: Tales to Astonish # 56
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Dick Ayers
Publication Date: June 1964
Brief Summary:


http://marvel.wikia.com/Tales_to_Astonish_56


Commentary:


Woah, Giant Man's taking Reed's lead, as he's ready to propose to Wasp!  From flirting to fiance, just like that.  Of course, things don't go as planned, and there's some romance melodrama, so the engagement doesn't happen...yet...  


The relationship between Giant Man and Wasp seems to moving on the same trajectory as the one between Reed and Sue, but of course, these two relationships will have very different endings.  I'm curious to see when the divergence will occur.


Quick Thoughts:
  • The Pym's family wealth is mentioned
  • Giant Man is frustrated that despite being larger than the Hulk, the Hulk is much stronger
Favorite Panel: Giant Man sneezes on Wasp, who is none too pleased.


Next: Amazing Spider-Man # 14

Monday, October 10, 2011

Marvel History 151: Tales of Suspense # 54

Issue: Tales of Suspense # 54
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Don Heck
Publication Date: June 1964
Brief Summary:


http://marvel.wikia.com/Tales_of_Suspense_54

Commentary:


Iron Man's got a new mask.  He's also got a healthy amount of angst, as he admits to himself that he has feelings for Pepper, and is nervous about the playful bickering between her and Happy Hogan.


Mandarin shows up for a rematch, and offers an alliance to Iron Man, provided that Iron Man serves him.  Iron Man's not into it.  Mandarin fights Stark with a sword before busting out one of his rings.  This is a two-parter, so we'll have to wait a little bit to see how it turns out.  


Favorite Panel:


Mandarin brings the pain on Iron Man.




Next: Tales to Astonish # 56

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Marvel History 150: Strange Tales # 121

Issue: Strange Tales # 121
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Dick Ayers 1st story & Steve Ditko 2nd
Publication Date: June 1964
Brief Summary:


http://marvel.wikia.com/Strange_Tales_121


Commentary:


Stan's calling in Plantman from the bullpen here (hey, it's baseball playoffs time, what do you want from me?).  At this point he's developed a rogue's gallery for all of his primary players except Daredevil (who's only had two appearances at this point), so it's easy for him to rotate villains into the stories.


Plantman's origin is retold for those unfamiliar with his initial appearance.  


Torch tells the rest of the Fan 4 that he wants to tackle the villain by himself, and the others agree.  While I realize the reason Stan does this from a storytelling perspective (Torch is his star, and he should be taking center stage in this mag), I question the logic behind allowing this from a tactical standpoint.  However, the stakes seem lower in the early Marvel Universe, and the threat of death seems less likely (Torch?  Dying?  Never!).  So, maybe it's not such a big deal.  Something to keep an eye on, though.  And, Thing does provide a valuable assist in this issue by protecting Torch's girlfriend.  


In the backup story, Dr. Strange tussles with Baron Mordo once again.


Favorite Panel: 


Plantman gets a new costume.  Yes, this is him trying to look more serious. 


Next: Tales of Suspense # 54

Marvel History 149: Journey into Mystery # 105

Issue: Journey into Mystery # 105
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Jack Kirby
Publication Date: June 1964
Brief Summary:


http://marvel.wikia.com/Journey_Into_Mystery_105

Commentary:


Our pal the Cobra returns, and so does Mr. Hyde, in a sexy super villain team up!  Well, perhaps not sexy.  


Also, of note, Thor's...um...Asgardian accent doesn't really exist in these early Stan Lee stories.  Clearly something that was added to the character as the years went on that became a central part of his mythos.  


This one ends on a cliffhanger, with a disarmed Thor at the mercy of two foes.


Quick Thoughts:
  • Other people can tap the cane to turn Blake into Thor; Blake doesn't have to do it himself
  • Cobra's hydraulic hoist is able to lift Thor's hammer
  • There is a backup story about Heimdall 
Favorite Quote: "In a way you are fortunate, Giant Man!  Not many of us can carry the girl we love about with us as you do!" - Thor, who means that quite literally


Favorite Panel:


Dr. Don Blake at the mercy of two super villains.


Next: Strange Tales # 121

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Marvel History 148: Fantastic Four # 27

Issue: Fantastic Four # 27
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Jack Kirby
Publication Date: 1964
Brief Summary:


http://marvel.wikia.com/Fantastic_Four_27

Commentary:


Well, Reed goes out to pick up an engagement ring for Sue, and while he's out, Namor sleazes his way in and captures her, vowing to make her fall in love with him in 24 hours.  


We've seen this gimmick before, and believe it or not, it's 47 years later, and Namor's still trying to ingratiate himself with other people's girlfriends, as recent issues of Uncanny X-Men will attest.  Dude owns three fourths of the world; can't he find a mermaid to satiate his lust?


Dr. Strange makes a guest star appearance.  He helps Torch and Thing catch up with Reed, who finds Namor on his own, and then also separates everyone before real damage can be done.  Also, Reed lays on the passion in a display of emotion that, for him, is pretty impressive. Alas, he does not pop the question before issue's end.


Favorite Panel:


Next panel, Thing tells Reed what he wants for Christmas.


Next: Journey into Mystery # 105