Friday, March 21, 2014

March 1963

(Continued from February 1963)

FANTASTIC FOUR 12  /  cover by Jack Kirby & Dick Ayers
Review  (coming soon)

TALES TO ASTONISH 41  /  cover by Jack Kirby & Dick Ayers
Review  (coming soon)

#6 is the infamous issue where Jack Kirby, in a rage of anger, walked out of his editor's office, and TORE an entire story he'd just finished writing & drawing IN HALF. My guess is, he got tired of said "editor" second-guessing the direction of the book too much. So, he WALKED. But #6, presumably, was already on the production schedule, and even if the book was cancelled on the spot, SOMETHING had to get to the printer's, or they'd be facing a STIFF penalty.

And so, STEVE DITKO was recruited to write & draw #6...

Sometime later, Ditko would do the same honors on the first 8 episodes of the series' revival in TALES TO ASTONISH.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 1  /  cover by Jack Kirby & Steve Ditko
Review  (coming soon)

JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY 90  /  cover by Jack Kirby & Dick Ayers
from the GCD: "Synopsis: The heir to the throne of a race of shape-shifting aliens leads an attack on Earth as his rite of passage. The aliens replace officials in New York and disrupt the government, but Thor discovers their plan and defeats them."

I was expecting "sci-fi" last time, but the "gangster" story pushed it back a month. THIS is the first of 9 stories (not consecutive) NOT pencilled by Jack Kirby, and a run that most Marvel fans tend to totally diss EVEN MORE than the early THOR stories that were pencilled by Kirby. I guess I can see the point, but I think some people just set the bar too high and expect every single issue to be top-top-notch.

AL HARTLEY, known mostly for humor & romance, does his only episode of THOR. I'm afraid I know very little about his work, except that the ONE episode of IRON MAN where he filled in writing dialogue, his stuff was FUNNIER than Stan Lee's!! Larry Lieber did the dialogue here, and as usual, it's "serviceable", but nothing to brag about.

This leaves us with the eternal question... WHO REALLY wrote this story??? I know what it says in the credits, and that's why I totally discount the credits. It seems to me this was still a bit early for the period where ALL the artists were expected to do their own stories, and while it's possible Al Hartley wrote this, the sci-fi elements suggest to me that JACK KIRBY, who did ALL the covers, was still hanging around supplying other people with stories. Presumably he passed them on to his "editor", who passed them to the artists, and TOOK CREDIT AND PAY for them.

The theme of shape-shifting aliens replacing public officials is a popular one in science-fiction. On DOCTOR WHO alone, I've seen it done in "Spearhead From Space", "Terror Of The Zygons", "The Android Invasion", "The Androids Of Tara", "Ressurection Of The Daleks", and more recently, "Aliens Of London". There was also a LOST IN SPACE story that used the idea, "Target Earth".

As I said earlier, it seems about this time, Kirby was launching IRON MAN, coming up with the entire concept, design, characters, stories, and pencilling 3 full episodes, even though, oddly enough, the 1st one published wound up being illustrated by Don Heck.

STRANGE TALES 106  /  cover by Jack Kirby & Dick Ayers
Review  (coming soon)

TALES OF SUSPENSE 39  /  cover by Jack Kirby & Don Heck
Review  (coming soon)

(Continued in April 1963)

All Text (C) Henry R. Kujawa
Artwork (C) Marvel Comics
Restorations by Henry R. Kujawa

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