Thursday, March 20, 2014

September 1962

(Continued from August 1962)

FANTASTIC FOUR 6  /  cover by Jack Kirby & Dick Ayers
Review  (coming soon)

THE INCREDIBLE HULK 3  /  cover by Jack Kirby & Dick Ayers
Review  (coming soon)

JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY 84  /  cover by Jack Kirby & Dick Ayers
from the GCD: "Synopsis: Dr. Blake joins a medical mission to a South American country wracked with civil war. The leader of the communist faction — the Executioner — orders an attack on the doctors, and Blake must use the power of Thor to save his colleagues and defeat the communists."
"Indexer Notes: In this story, Donald Blake is able to uses his walking stick to conjure a storm without transforming into Thor."

JACK KIRBY & Larry Lieber continue on, this time joined by the perrennial Dick Ayers, who must have inked half the books Marvel put out in the early 60's. This issue introduced THOR's own answer to "Lois Lane", nurse "Jane Nelson" (oops, "Jane Foster"-- but not in this episode). I guess when you have a hero with super-strength in blue tights and a red cape, a 3-way love triangle with only 2 people involved is a natural.

When Marvel's (alleged!) "editor" wrote his thoroughly-nauseating intro to this series in the book "THE ORIGINS OF MARVEL COMICS", he kept referring to the idea of doing "a SUPER-GOD!!!" --but then claiming that might not go over well with the Bible Belt or something. Knowing how long Jack Kirby had been doing mythological figures in his comics, it hit me-- while reading "JIMMY OLSEN", of all things-- that that statement would ONLY make any sense at all if Martin Goodman had actually suggested, "We could use another hero-- why not do something more LIKE SUPERMAN this time?" --and, after passing on that suggestion (as if it were his own idea, as always), Kirby would take it and comply by borrowing elements of the SUPERMAN mythos and tacking them on-- however AWKWARDLY-- to a new version of a Norse Mythological hero. The instant switch between 2 people via magic lightning makes it clear CAPTAIN MARVEL (the real one!) was also in the mix, as was CAPTAIN MARVEL JR. (via the lame leg).

It's so cool how Kirby was able to mix and match influences like that and come up with something new and original.

Typical of the early 60's, this issue featured COMMIE bad-guys. I wonder what Kirby would think about the idea that certain WALL STREET INVESTORS helped back the Bolshevik Revolution and the overthrow of the Czars in 1918?????

I totally discount ANY ideas coming from Jack 's "editor". Martin Goodman, however, had a LONG TRACK-RECORD of instigating book after book after book that were imitations of already-successful books from other publishers.

THOR has super-strength, flies, wears blue tights & a red cape. Plus, he's involved in a romantic triangle when there's only 2 people involved. That says "SUPERMAN" to me!

Conclusion? Either Jack Kirby-- perhaps AS A JOKE-- decided to mix "Superman" and "Thor"-- or, he did it because Martin Goodman asked for "a Superman swipe" (even as FAWCETT's publisher once did-- resulting in the creation of CAPTAIN MARVEL, because his staff had too much creativity and integrity to do a "mere" swipe).

Perhaps the thinking was to "simply" but delibrately mix-and-match elements of 3 very popular characters-- THOR, SUPERMAN and CAPTAIN MARVEL (with "JR." thrown in for good measure). THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN was very popular in syndicated reruns at that point, no doubt spurred on by the simple fact that for the FEW people who already had color TV sets, half the run of the show was filmed IN COLOR back in the 50's (just like WALT DISNEY'S WONDERFUL WORLD OF COLOR).

Not to mention, "Doctor" shows were VERY popular. DR. KILDARE with Richard Chamberlain & Raymond Massey ran from 1961-66. Could the skinny Chamberlain have POSSIBLY been a model for Dr. Don Blake??? Certainly more likely than Vince Edwards, who played BEN CASEY, also from 1961-66. (David Janssen's Dr. Richard Kimble on THE FUGITIVE was a bit later, from 1963-67.)

Jack Kirby has always been a sponge for popular media, soaking up everything around him and spewing it out in entirely new, fresh combinations. I believe my speculation here makes a HELL of a lot more sense than anything muttered incoherently in that "ORIGINS" book.

TALES TO ASTONISH 35  /  cover by Jack Kirby & Dick Ayers
Review  (coming soon)

(Continued in October 1962)

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

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