Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Marvel History 198: Tales to Astonish # 61

Issue: Tales to Astonish # 61
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Dick Ayers 1st story & Steve Ditko 2nd story
Publication Date: November 1964

Brief Summary:


http://marvel.wikia.com/Tales_to_Astonish_59


Commentary:

Perhaps the tales of a man who catapults himself into a bed of ants are waning in popularity, as Hulk gets top billing on the cover of this issue.  The Hulk story picks up where it left off last issue, and it actually leaves us with another cliffhanger.  It's almost as if Stan is using a more modern approach here, with each issue paving the way for the next.  This is a style perfected later by Christ Claremont, whose work on X-Men we'll get to in about 2019 at this rate.

The Ant Man story (which is actually the first story in this issue, but I thought I'd mix things up a little) features the villain Egghead.  Egghead builds android, Ant Man defeats android, story ends.  Let the good times roll.


Favorite Panel:


The Hulk is captured!


Next:

X-Men # 8

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Marvel History 197: Tales of Suspense # 59

Issue: Tales of Suspense # 59
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Don Heck 1st story & Jack Kirby 2nd story
Publication Date: November 1964

Brief Summary:


http://marvel.wikia.com/Tales_of_Suspense_59


Commentary:

And so the Captain America/Iron Man double feature era of Tales of Suspense begins.

The art in the first story is a little different, as the facial features of Tony Stark and Pepper Potts are drastically changed from earlier efforts.

Also, Black Knight points out that he knows how to find Iron Man, and its by attacking Stark's factory, given the close relationship between the two.  So, if the villains know where to find you anyway, isn't having a secret identity more trouble than it's worth?  The story ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, as it seems that Stark cannot abandon his armor for fear to his health.

The Captain America story features the first appearance of Jarvis, the Avengers' longtime butler!  In his first appearance he is referred to as Tony Stark's personal butler.  Otherwise, this story is rather bland, as Captain America wipes the floor with a number of common thugs.



Favorite Panel:

Captain America in action.  A rather nice splash page by Mr. Kirby


Favorite Quote: "The trouble with girls is -- they all act like females!" - Captain America


Next: Tales to Astonish # 61

Monday, November 28, 2011

Marvel History 196: Strange Tales # 126

Issue: Strange Tales # 126
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Dick Ayers 1st story & Steve Ditko 2nd
Publication Date: November 1964
Brief Summary:

http://marvel.wikia.com/Strange_Tales_126


Commentary:

Alright, we're back in action after a few days off from the Thanksgiving holidays.

Don't worry; according to the Mad Thinker, his plan has a 99.99% chance of working.  This is a comic about the .01%.  It's also yet another exciting round of let the heroes fight each other for the first half of the story.

This story is somewhat more interesting in the sense that our two heroes never actually encounter the villains.

The backup story is more interesting, as Dormammu makes his first appearance.  Dr. Strange has referenced Dormammu a number of times, but now he's here in the flesh...so to speak.  Dormammu's reality is properly trippy.  Ditko gets to flex his Salvidor Dali muscles in a lot of these Dr. Strange stories, creating worlds that are entirely removed from our own.  Also, Clea, a critical member of Dr. Strange's supporting cast, makes her first appearance.  A big issue for the Doctor, and the story is a two parter!


Favorite Panel:

Thing looks like he could use a hug or something.

Next: Tales of Suspense # 59

Friday, November 25, 2011

Marvel History 195: Sgt. Fury # 12

Issue: Sgt. Fury # 12
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Dick Ayers
Publication Date: November 1964

Brief Summary:


http://marvel.wikia.com/Sgt_Fury_12


Commentary:

Yikes.  I'm not gonna beat around the bush here; I really don't have anything to say about this comic.  The Howlers fight Nazis in a ludicrous fashion.  Fury's a hard ass.  Happy Sam's a bigger hard ass.  Percy is a bundle of British nonsense.  I'm hoping Stan gets something going in this comic soon, as it's not maintaining my interest much at all.  The best thing about this issue is the pinup of Fury in the back.

Favorite Panel:

Kind of a cool color scheme.  And yes, it does feel like you've done this a million times before.

Next: Strange Tales # 126

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Marvel History 194: Journey into Mystery # 110

Issue: Journey into Mystery # 110
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Jack Kirby
Publication Date: November 1964

Brief Summary:


http://marvel.wikia.com/Journey_Into_Mystery_110


Commentary:

Well, Loki's back on earth, and now he's paying the bail for Mr. Hydre and Cobra in the hopes of forming a coalition against Thor.  Stan is using the super villain team up to greater effect, as he now has cabals of evil going in both X-Men and Avengers, and now in his solo Thor stories.

Anyways, Thor has to fight his way back into Asgard, which is pretty cool, as he takes on the entire city and wins.  The issue also sees Thor pull a semi-Superman move to keep Jane alive. And it's a two parter to boot!

The backup story is one of Odin's military campaigns, in which he stages a wise retreat.  And so, until next issue, may the eyes of Asgard smile down on thee..



Favorite Panel:

Just a casual conversation at the end of the working day, nothing to see here.  Pay no attention to the slop-house climbing in through the window.

Next: Sgt. Fury # 12

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Marvel History 193: Fantastic Four # 32

Issue: Fantastic Four # 32
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Jack Kirby
Publication Date: November 1964

Brief Summary:


http://marvel.wikia.com/Fantastic_Four_32


Commentary:

Reed changes Thing back into human form, and cautions that the change could be permanent.  We see that this upsets Torch,   who has apparently really taken to Thing being a part of the team.



Ben suffers from amnesia after the transformation.  It's just one of those side effects Reed forgot to mention before the process started.  Oops.  So, he reverses the process, and that's that.

We also learn the story of Sue and Johnny's dead, who lost his wife and then lost his marbles and went to jail.  Tough times.  Then Super Skrull, our buddy from times gone by, masquerades as the elder Storm and goes on a crime rampage.  Disappointingly, Reed doesn't turn him into a cow.  And, unfortunately, Sue and Johnny's dad dies saving the Fan 4.

Favorite Panel:

Remember those punching bags from when you were a kid?  Ever wanted to sock Reed
Richards in the face?

Favorite Quote: "Some hotshot scientist you are!  Maybe I shoulda teamed up with Doc Doom!" - The Thing

Next: Journey into Mystery # 110

Monday, November 21, 2011

Marvel History 192: Avengers # 10

Issue: Avengers # 10
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Don Heck
Publication Date: November 1964

Brief Summary:

http://marvel.wikia.com/Avengers_10

Commentary:


So, Immortus is the new villain that stops by to chat with the Masters of Evil.  His first move is choosing Paul Bunyan to fight with Executioner.  This is how he chooses to display his power.  The Masters of Evil are impressed, which is a good indicator that they don't really have a good proof of concept for their little villain organization.

Anyways, the Masters of Evil want Immortus to kill the Avengers.  Naturally, this leads the Avengers into fighting each other.  I don't know how many more hero vs. hero stories I can take.

The team then faces off against a bunch of mythical figures of ages past, such as Goliath and Merlin.  Thor does fight Hercules, so there's that.  Enchantress decides to move everything back in time a week to before the team encounters Immortus, so it's as if the fight never was.  If she's this powerful, shouldn't she be able to take down the Avengers single-handed?


Favorite Panel:

Cap poses for the pinup

Next: Fantastic Four # 32

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Marvel History 191: Amazing Spider-Man # 18

Issue: Amazing Spider-Man # 18
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Steve Ditko
Publication Date: November 1964

Brief Summary:


http://marvel.wikia.com/Amazing_Spider-Man_18


Commentary:

After running away from the Green Goblin last issue, Spider-Man is looking like a pretty big coward.  Of course, he only ran away to help Aunt May, but the fickle public doesn't know that.  Spider-Man is going to find himself getting into a lot of trouble due to his aunt over the years, with nothing more serious than his Faustian deal in the "One More Day" story line of a few years ago.

His fear for Aunt May extends to even not interrupting a crime for fear that something might happen to him, and then Aunt May would have no one to look after her.  From there, it's all downhill.  He can't get a date with Betty Brant, he tries to sell the solution to his webbing formula, Aunt May's running out of medicine...it's a big mess.  Fortunately, by the story's end, Spider-Man is ready to return to his crime fighting ways.  They could have called this one "How Spidey got his groove back."  Stan puts Spidey through the ringer like none of his other heroes.



Favorite Panel:

Spidey's back!

Favorite Quote: "Was that Peter Parker?  I feel so good these days I even like him!" - J. Jonah Jameson

Next: Avengers # 10

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Marvel History 190: Tales to Astonish # 60

Issue: Tales to Astonish # 60
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Dick Ayers & Steve Ditko
Publication Date: October 1964
Brief Summary:

http://marvel.wikia.com/Tales_to_Astonish_60


Commentary:

The issue opens with Ant Man yelling at his fan club.  Well, no wonder this guy's popularity is in the toilet all of the time.  Ant Man also makes a reference to a friend of his, an FBI agent who last appeared here.  I don't remember this dude at all, to be honest.  Guess I'm forgetting some of the minor characters I've met along the way thus far.

Ant Man tells the story of his first wife, a Hungarian freedom killed by the Reds (not those guys).  Still, the story doesn't take that serious of a turn, as Pym is hopping back on flying ants and thwarting communist plots to train super smart gorillas.

Hulk takes over the backup stories as promised, transforming Tales to Astonish into a full fledged superhero magazine.  In this issue, Banner discovers the manner by which he transforms from Bruce to the Hulk and back.  Apparently it is caused by situations where he is in great duress.  Hulk also fights his own robot (which he can't defeat), and wears a lot of purple pants.

Favorite Panel:

Banner gets all philosophical.

Next: Amazing Spider-Man # 18

Friday, November 18, 2011

Marvel History 189: Tales of Suspense # 58

Issue: Tales of Suspense # 58
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Don Heck
Publication Date: October 1964
Brief Summary:

http://marvel.wikia.com/Tales_of_Suspense_58


Commentary:


Kraven and Chameleon, last seen bumbling around here, return for...who knows?  General unpleasantness, I suppose.  Kraven gets captured in about five panels, and then Chameleon pretends to be Captain America.  So, you know, that naturally leads to Cap and Iron Man duking it out for a while.

The hero vs. hero fight is rising beyond commies and mad scientists to the top of Stan Lee's favorite plot lines.  Also, next issue will begin featuring Captain America on a regular basis in the backup stories.  Huzzah!

Quick Thoughts:

  • Stark has added an underwater breathing apparatus to his suit
  • Captain America uses the word "donnybrook"
  • Lyndon Johnson is referenced as the president
Favorite Panel:

Cap flashes his legendary sense of humor.

Favorite Quote: "...Iron Man and Captain America...acting like enemies!!  It doesn't seem possible!!" - Someone that clearly hasn't read Civil War

Next: Tales to Astonish # 60

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Marvel History 188: Strange Tales # 125

Issue: Strange Tales # 125
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Dick Ayers
Publication Date: October 1964

Brief Summary:


http://marvel.wikia.com/Strange_Tales_125


Commentary:

So Strange Tales is now Marvel's premiere team-up book, as it now features Thing and Torch each issue.  Stan kicks off the new era with more references to asbestos.

This issue is pretty heavy on the action, with Thing and Torch fighting Namor most of the time.  Not much in the way of story beats, until the end, when it's revealed that Mr. Fantastic had finally gotten Namor to agree to meet with him to talk peace.  Thing and Torch unknowingly put an end to that.  Oops.


In the backup tale, Dr. Strange fights Mordo...again.  Strange could really use a supporting cast at this point.  And the Master doesn't really count.  It's about time for Strange to have a love interest that he thinks is unrequited, but really isn't.  It would only be fair.

Quick Thoughts:
  • Torch refers to Namor as "Web Head."
  • Whilst in water, Torch can make his body hot enough to steam the water

Favorite Panel:

Mordo and Dr. Strange's fights sometimes happen across cruise ships, I guess.


Next: Tales of Suspense # 58

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Marvel History 187: Sgt. Fury # 11

Issue: Sgt. Fury # 11
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Dick Ayers
Publication Date: October 1964

Brief Summary:


http://marvel.wikia.com/Sgt_Fury_11


Commentary:

The Commandos get a temporary new commanding officer, Captain Flint, and he's a real pain in the ass (think David Schwimmer in Band of Brothers).  It's all a lesson about how what sometimes works in the classroom, so to speak, doesn't actually work in practice.  And, blissfully, Captain Flint has learned his lesson by story's end.

We also learn that the Commandos' actual commander, Happy Sam Sawyer, was the man who originally organized and trained the Commandos.  It's good of Stan to start building out the back stories of some of these guys, as the all out war action is starting to get rather tiresome.



Quick Thoughts:
  • Dum Dum Dugan spent years as a boxer
  • Joe DiMaggio and Shirley Temple are both referenced
  • Every issue of Sgt. Fury ends with Stan saying, in regards to the next issue, "Be here, and that's an order!"

Favorite Panel:

Like a Looney Tunes episode...

Favorite Quote: "I wonder if Fury's parents ever had any kids?" - One of the Commandos

Next: Strange Tales # 125

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Marvel History 186: Journey into Mystery # 109

Issue: Journey into Mystery # 109
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Jack Kirby
Publication Date: October 1964
Brief Summary:

http://marvel.wikia.com/Journey_Into_Mystery_109


Commentary:

The story begins at the World's Fair, with Thor admiring a statue of himself.  No one ever said our Norse neighbor was humble.  There's also a statue of the X-Men, because the entire world doesn't hate them yet.

Thor doesn't meet the X-Men in this tale, but I'm sure it's just a matter of time.  He does destroy Magneto's base of operations, but Magneto seems to blow through these at an alarming rate, so I have no doubt he'll land on his feet.

Quick Thoughts:
  • Magneto has them scanning for the X-Men's location, and he has them based somewhere near Manhattan
  • Don Blake had a date scheduled with nurse Jane, so good to see some progress on that romantic front (even though he had to cancel it)
  • Magneto refers to his transportation as the Magni-Sub
  • The backup story deals with "Arkin the Weak," who's a cousin to Loki of clearly lesser repute

Favorite Panel:

Don't mind me, I'm just casually tossing away one of the most powerful objects in the universe.

Next: Sgt. Fury # 11


Monday, November 14, 2011

Marvel History 185: Fantastic Four # 31

Issue: Fantastic Four # 31
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Jack Kirby
Publication Date: October 1964

Brief Summary:


http://marvel.wikia.com/Fantastic_Four_31


Commentary:

Some people just don't know when to quit.  Take, for example, your friend the Mole Man.  We've seen him fail here, and here.  But the double M is at it again.  His plan is to take Sue Storm hostage, under the assumption that then, everyone will let him take over the surface world.  That plan won't work!  Heroes are more clever than that!  What's this guy been doing, livin' in  cave (I went there)!?!?

The Avengers get in on the action, and Reed has to step in to prevent the Avengers from flying off the handle while Sue's life is still in danger.  The Avengers are displeased.  We'll have to see if there is any more tension between the teams in the coming tales.  



Favorite Panel:

I'm not sure if this is the first Clobberin' Time, but it's one of the earliest, at least

Next: Journey into Mystery # 109


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Marvel History 184: Daredevil # 4

Issue: Daredevil # 4
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Joe Orlando
Publication Date: October 1964
Brief Summary:

http://marvel.wikia.com/Daredevil_4


Commentary:

Apparently Daredevil has an indomitable will, as he does not respond to the commands of the Purple Man, a villain who can make people do anything when he speaks to them.

The Purple Man's origin isn't told until towards the end of the issue, which differs from the norm, as Stan usually unveils his villain's beginnings more towards the start of the story.  Unfortunately, Purple Man's origin is pretty lame (something spills on him) and Daredevil catches Purp's crimes on audio, so that's the end of him for now.

Quick Thoughts:
  • Daredevil gets a letters section
  • Good reference to Magneto as the only person other than Daredevil who can tell where the North Pole is by sensing its magnetic pull
  • This is one of Daredevil's first public appearances, and he draws a favorable reaction from the crowd
Favorite Panel:

Interesting color scheme, given the issue's antagonist.


Next: Fantastic Four # 31

Friday, November 11, 2011

Marvel History 183: Avengers # 9

Issue: Avengers # 9
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Don Heck
Publication Date: October 1964
Brief Summary:

http://marvel.wikia.com/Avengers_9


Commentary:

Sometimes you just have to take your hat off to Stan the man.  I had no idea he created Wonder Man.  I guess I shouldn't be surprised, since he created just about everyone.   Seriously, I'm waiting for Donald Duck to show up in the next issue of Tales to Astonish.  Wouldn't surprise me.

Anyway, Captain America is hallucinating about Baron Zemo.  Stan's paying more attention to Zemo, too, as he and his villain pals have been given more time in the spotlight.  Of course, most of that time is spent doing one of the things villains do best, which is infighting.  



Wonder Man captures Wasp off panel, which you think would be a scene they would draw for the reader.  However, these comics are plotted before they are scripted, which inevitably will lead to scenarios such as this one, where the flow from panel to panel does not fully add up.

Wonder Man also appears to bite the dust at the end of our tale, so I'm curious to see when he makes his triumphant return.


Favorite Panel:

Your thoughts on the panel may vary, but to me, it looks like Zemo is giving a thumbs up to a bald guy for exorcising Iron Man from the body of Captain America.


Next: Daredevil # 4

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Marvel History 182: Amazing Spider-Man Annual # 1

Issue: Amazing Spider-Man Annual # 1
Writer: Stan Lee 
Artist: Steve Ditko
Publication Date: 

Brief Summary:


http://marvel.wikia.com/Amazing_Spider-Man_Annual_1

Commentary:

Spider-Man's villains take stock of their lives, start singing a little Ringo Starr (or Joe Cocker, if you prefer), and decide to team up to put the hurtin' on Spidey.  Things are lookin strong for our bad guys, and then they decide to TAKE SPIDEY ON ONE AT A TIME.  Yes, I capitalized that, which hopefully highlights the stupidity of it.  If Spider-Man barely beat you individually, then maybe you should fight him all at once.  I expected at least some sort of reference to the villain's pride as their for choosing to do this as opposed to, you know, ALL FIGHTING HIM AT ONCE.  Guess who wins this one?
Quick Thoughts:
  • Spider-Man recounts his origin and Uncle Ben's death
  • Aunt May notes that Peter is the top student in his class
  • This comic is an advertisement for every other Marvel comic, as all the other heroes appear with a blurb about their own mag
  • This issue incorporates a number of splash pages; they are full page spreads of Spidey putting the whooping on his enemies
  • Dr. Ock does a pretty good Martha Stewart impersonation in hosting/imprisoning Aunt May; she has the time of her life
  • One of the backup stories is a comic of the making of an issue of Spider-Man!

Favorite Panel:


The many applications of Spider-Man's webbing

Favorite Quote: "Fighting is the last resort of the ignorant!!" Dr. Strange paraphrasing Isaac Asimove

Next: Avengers # 9

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Marvel History 181: Amazing Spider-Man # 17

Issue: Amazing Spider-Man # 17
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Steve Ditko
Publication Date: October 1964

Brief Summary:

http://marvel.wikia.com/Amazing_Spider-Man_17

Commentary:

Green Goblin is back for a rematch.  So, there's that.  Spider-Man has to run off in the middle of the fight when he learns that Aunt May has a heart attack.  This makes him look like a coward, and the Parker luck streak continues!

On the love triangle side of things, Liz Allen makes references about Miss Brant putting on weight, and being a little old.  That does kind of bring up a good point.  How many years does Betty have on Peter?  He is, after all, still in high school, while she's out in the working world.



Quick Thoughts:
  • Goblin's got a glider instead of a broom now.  A step in the right direction.
  • He also has an electrically charged toy frog as a weapon.  One step forward...
  • Flash Thompson starts a Spider-Man fan club.
  • Torch gives Peter Parker his autograph
  • Mary Jane Watson gets another reference, although still no appearance
Favorite Panel:

Johnny Storm's a popular dude.

Favorite Quote: "Imagine if he ever saw Spider-Man!  He'd probably faint!" - Flash Thompson about Peter Parker (you know, Spider-Man)


Next: Amazing Spider-Man Annual # 1

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Marvel History 180: X-Men # 7

Issue: X-Men # 7
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Jack Kirby
Publication Date: September 1964

Brief Summary:


http://marvel.wikia.com/Uncanny_X-Men_7


Commentary:

Well, the X-Men are graduating.  Time flies when you're havin' fun.  I believe Stan has spoken before at length about how he had Spider-Man graduate high school too fast because he didn't believe the character was going to endure.  Same logic applies here.

Again, more time is spent with the villains in X-Men than in the other books.  Here we see Mastermind try to convince Scarlet Witch to leave the Brotherhood with him.

Magneto removes the mental block on the Blob placed by Professor X, and Blob then joins the Brotherhood.  The X-Men fight the Brotherhood and beat them up, and then Blob realizes he was just being used, as Magneto was willing to sacrifice his life to try to kill the X-Men.  Blob sadly returns to the life of a carnie freak show, the only world he's ever known.


Quick Thoughts:

  • Iceman's appearance is a lot closer to his present day looks (as in, less like Frosty)
  • The X-Men have graduated high school, not just "X-Men Class" or whatever
  • Cerebro, the machine built to detect mutants, has its first appearance
  • Cyclops is named leader of the X-Men in Xavier's absence 
  • Magneto is still using mental powers
  • The X-Men travel by helicopter; give me the Blackbird!
Favorite Panel:

The X-Men on graduation day.  This image, or replications of it, will crop up many times; a photo of the simpler era of the X-Men.


Next: Amazing Spider-Man # 17

Monday, November 7, 2011

Marvel History 179: Tales to Astonish # 59

Issue: Tales to Astonish # 59
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Dick Ayers
Publication Date: September 1964
Brief Summary:

http://marvel.wikia.com/Tales_to_Astonish_59


Commentary:

Giant Man is pretty much obsessed with Hulk, and brings Wasp along with him to New Mexico to find the Green Goliath.

The supporting cast of Hulk's short lived series remains intact, with an appearance by Thunderbolt Ross and Betty Brant.  Strangely, despite so many fewer appearances, the Hulk has a larger supporting cast than Giant Man and Wasp.

Also, Pym hops on a flying ant, and then into a mini rocket, both of which work better than catapulting into a collection of ants as a means of transportation (he used to do that; don't think about it too hard).

Quick Thoughts:
  • Hulk catches an atomic bomb.  So yeah, he's a beast.
  • Giant Man never encounters Human Top, the "antagonist" of this story
  • Starting next ish, Hulk's the backup feature in this mag.  I guess fractured fairy tales with Janet Van Dyke had to end at some point.
Favorite Panel:

You wouldn't like Giant Man when he's angry, either.


Next: X-Men # 7

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Marvel History 178: Tales of Suspense # 57

Issue: Tales of Suspense # 57
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Don Heck
Publication Date: September 1964
Brief Summary:

http://marvel.wikia.com/Tales_of_Suspense_Vol_1_57


Commentary:

Tony and Pepper go on a date, albeit accidentally.  Whilst there, Iron Man saves lives, while new character Hawkeye(!) gets ignored.  This is really all it takes to get Hawkeye to become a "super villain." 



Hawkeye and his bag of arrows break up a bank robbery (not very villainous), but then it is assumed that he was the robber.  Black Widow swings by in a moment of impeccable timing, and the two team up.  Hawkeye has a massive crush on Black Widow, professing his love at one point.  He escapes with her at the tale's end (after tussling with Iron Man, of course), but we'll surely see more of them soon.  Kind of a humble beginning for what will go on to become one of the more famous members of the Avengers.

Favorite Panel: The first appearance of Hawkeye

Next: Tales to Astonish # 59

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Marvel History 177: Strange Tales # 124

Issue: Strange Tales # 124
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Dick Ayers 1st story, Steve Ditko 2nd story
Publication Date: September 1964

Brief Summary:


http://marvel.wikia.com/Strange_Tales_124


Commentary:

Dude, Paste-Pot Pete, my man.  You were on a roll, helping out the Avengers, redeeming yourself, becoming a good guy.  What happened?  Apparently he fell prey to the "I just need to defeat my arch nemesis" syndrome.  So, he's come back more crafty and more menacing, demanding to be taken seriously.  He probably shouldn't refer to himself as Paste-Pot Pete, but whatevs, we'll let it go.

Thing has almost as large a role in this story as our boy Johnny Storm.  I think it's pretty clear that this is the more popular duo within the Fantastic Four.  So it comes as no surprise when Stan announces at the end of the story that Thing will be teamed with Torch in every issue going forward.

In the backup story, Dr. Strange thwarts the evil Zota in the past in ancient Egypt in order to help out Cleopatra.  Stan must have a crush on her, because this is her second appearance in the MU (she develops a crush on Tony Stark here).


Quick Thoughts:

    • Torch can "flame off" certain segments of his body at a time.  We've seen this before as well.
    • Thing uses the power of his body to change the direction of his plummet to earth.  Might want to reconsider the physics of that one.
    • Paste-Pot Pete's most dangerous new weapon?  Asbestos paste.




Favorite Panel: 
The future Sorcerer Supreme.


Next: Tales of Suspense # 57

Friday, November 4, 2011

Marvel History 176: Sgt. Fury # 10

Issue: Sgt. Fury # 10
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Dick Ayers
Publication Date: September 1964

Brief Summary:


http://marvel.wikia.com/Sgt_Fury_10

Commentary:


The Howlin' Commandos head over to Okinawa to rescue a former commander of Fury.  They travel 7,500 miles in 40 hours and get shot out of torpedo tubes from a submarine to get there.  Fun journey.  Stan engages in some light racism by having one of the Commandos assume the appearance of a member of the Japanese military by putting some "goo" in the corner of his eyes so they appear to slant.  Yikes!

Sgt. Fury also explains why it is that he manages to accomplish pretty much any impossible goal that's thrown at him, but never gets promoted up the chain.  It's a simple answer.  He doesn't want to get promoted up the chain.


Quick Thoughts:
  • Fury mentions being present at the Battle of the Bulge
  • Percy's absurd Britishness continues with references to tea and bumbershoots

Favorite Panel:

The Commandos line up for attention.  Does anyone have a clue what the hell Dum Dum Dugan is trying to say?

Next: Strange Tales # 124

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Marvel History 175: Journey into Mystery # 108

Issue: Journey into Mystery # 108
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Jack Kirby
Publication Date: September 1964
Brief Summary:

http://marvel.wikia.com/Journey_Into_Mystery_108


Commentary:

Sometimes Stan will inform the audience on the amount of time that passes over the length of certain panels, particularly for scenes that occur in a short interval.  He uses this here to showcase how Thor's quick reaction saves a young boy's life.

Anyways, the story this issue is Loki's a jackass, Thor puts the whooping on him, and Dr. Strange stops by for a few laughs.

The backup tale of Asgard is really short, and features Thor freeing a number of men of Asgard from the tyranny of oppression at the hands of the trolls.

Quick Thoughts:
  • The Avengers have an emergency fund to reimburse the city for damages caused by their adventuring lifestyle.  
  • Odin's emotions seem to  have an influence on Earth's weather
  • Iron Man, Ant Man, and Wasp all make the briefest of cameos
  • Loki mentions that Thor is immortal
Favorite Panel:

Loki's latest trick to get to earth.  Okay, on the one hand, the dude shrinks into a bee, so I get it, he's hard to catch.  On the other hand, Heimdall, you're guarding a rainbow bridge to earth...shouldn't you be prepared for this kind of thing?

Next: Sgt. Fury # 10

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Marvel History 174: Fantastic Four Annual # 2

Issue: Fantastic Four Annual # 2
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Jack Kirby
Publication Date: September 1964

Brief Summary:


http://marvel.wikia.com/Fantastic_Four_Annual_2


Commentary:

Look, every badass super villain needs a proper henchman.  Someone to do the even-dirtier work, to handle the minutiae, to provide proper foreshadowing of the greater evil to come, and to get slapped silly when the evil plans ultimately don't turn out like your master intends.  Enter Boris, Doom's henchman.

But wait, Boris is more than a simple whipping boy.  In many ways, as Doom's caretaker in his early years, Boris plays a role similar to Alfred Pennyworth in his care taking of a young Bruce Wayne.  And, while Boris tries to play the role of good mentor, the results are less than astonishing, as Doom turns to the dark arts.  So, the question I'm asking myself is how much the role of the mentor plays in shaping these two men. I suppose it's the old nature vs. nurture argument.  



Also, this is the most time Stan has spent on the origin of any of his villains.  Guess he loves Dr. Doom as much as the rest of us. 

Quick Thoughts:
  • This annual has a rogue's gallery, and pinups, and all sortsa fun extras!
  • Doom's mask can only be removed by pushing a special button on his hand armor
  • Reed flashes a little misogyny by blaming Sue's emotions on her being a woman
  • Sue throws "invisible force pellets" at Doom
  • The team's first encounter with Doom is reprinted


Favorite Panel:  Dude, you have got to see Back to the Future

Favorite Quote:

"Go haunt a house or something" - Reed to Invisible Woman

Next: Journey into Mystery # 108