Tuesday, April 22, 2014

December 1964

(Continued from November 1964)

cover by Jack Kirby & Chic Stone  (and STEVE DITKO)
Johnny & Ben give Reed a really hard time about his being leader of the FF all the time, suggesting (and not for the first time) that they could get along without him. Next thing, they're both invited to a high-speed cross-country road race in the desert, which turns out to be a sinister death-trap. DICK AYERS supplies story & art, ye "editor" does dialogue, and Paul Reinman does inks-- his LAST episode on this series.

FANTASTIC FOUR 33  /  cover by Jack Kirby & Chic Stone
When last we saw Namor, Reed was trying to broker a truce between his people and the those on the surface. Now, on the direct, desperate request of Lady Dorma (first seen in FF ANNUAL #1), they join forces with the Atlantean army to fight off the invasion of an underwater barbarian horde, led by ATTUMA!! Namor may be a hothead, but this guy's just SCUM!! This story was so good, it was adapted almost verbatim by Alex Toth as one of the 1967 FF cartoons. JACK KIRBY supplies story, art & brand-new long-running baddie, ye "editor" does dialogue, and the stupendous CHIC STONE does inks. WOW!!!

TALES TO ASTONISH 62  /  cover by Jack Kirby & Chic Stone
It's not like it looks, as a thief steals the hero's costume & size-changing gimmick and uses them to commit crimes, while Jan tackles the guy. In his first of 3 episodes, CARL BURGOS supplies story & art, while ye "editor" does dialogue & Dick Ayers does inks.

Rick Jones, hearing his old pal THE HULK is in trouble, leaves NYC and heads for the southwest desert to help. While this is going on, The Leader (who debuted a couple issues earlier), sub-contracts The Chameleon to steal secrets for him. STEVE DITKO supplies story & art, ye "editor" does dialogue, and George Roussos does inks.

Review  (coming soon)

TALES OF SUSPENSE 60  /  cover by Jack Kirby & Chic Stone
Happy & Pepper become suspicious of IRON MAN when a malfunction in his chest-plate forces him to keep his armor on until it can be repaired, if he wants to keep living. Thor, Giant-Man & The Wasp all make cameo appearances, while Hawkeye & The Black Widow return a mere 3 months after they escaped to bedevil our hero again. DON HECK supplies story & art, ye "editor" does dialogue, and Dick Ayers does inks.

Baron Zemo, from his stronghold deep in a South America jungle, re-enacts the pre-credits sequence of "FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE" as part of a training exercise for his mercenary killers. He then sends them to NYC, where they interrupt an exhibition Cap is giving at a university. Naturally, he polishes them off (with Rick Jones' help), then contacts Zemo to let him know HE'S next. JACK KIRBY supplies story & art, ye "editor" does dialogue, while the amazing CHIC STONE does inks. WOW!!! THIS was actually the first modern-day CAP solo story I ever read, as a reprint, following the 3 WW2-era stories in AVENGERS ANNUAL #3.

cover by Jack Kirby & Chic Stone
I guess "fighting side-by-side" must be this month's trend. JACK KIRBY returns for this incredible, all-time classic story, in which we get to see Cap & Bucky cross paths with Nick & the boys, first in England, then in Nazi-occupied France. Best scene in the book is when Bucky impersonates a "Hitler Youth", and Nick is fooled. KIRBY does story & art, ye "editor" does dialogue, and the ever-dependable DICK AYERS moves over to do inks. To this day, one of the very few issues of this book I've got in my collection (even if it is as a reprint). NOT TO BE MISSED!

DAREDEVIL 5  /  cover by Jack Kirby & Wally Wood
Jack Kirby does his last cover on this book for awhile, no doubt supplying this month's new villain, while WALLY WOOD comes onboard as WRITER & ILLUSTRATOR!!! (But as usual, ye "editor" steals credit & pay for the story, in addition to just writing dialogue.) For the first time since Bill Everett did DD #1, the book DOESN'T suck!!

JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY 111  /  cover by Jack Kirby & Chic Stone
I don't believe this-- NO sypnopsis at the GCD. What do those guys do at that site, anyway?

THIS was the very 1st THOR story I ever read!!! My 1st exposure to THOR, of course, was in FANTASTIC FOUR ANNUAL #3, where he took on The Super-Skrull, knocking his A** right out of the sky with his hammer. Although both The Enchantress and The Executioner showed up, they were too busy fighting other heroes. When we saw THOR again, in the big mob-scene free-for-all fight, he was STILL having it out with Super-Skrull.

Anyway, a couple years later, I picked up MARVEL TALES #24 (Jan'70), my 1st issue of that all-reprint series. It featured my 1st exposure to Steve Ditko's SPIDER-MAN -- "If This Be My Destiny", the 1st JOHNNY STORM story I ever read, "3 Against The Torch", and this.

It's part 2 of a 2-parter. My best friend Jim once said he preferred DCs to Marvels, because with a DC, you usually got 2 complete stories. With a Marvel, you NEVER seemed to get a complete story! Ah well, if I had to pick up half of a 2-parter, I'd always prefer the 2nd half, as at least that way, I got to see how something ended.

THOR uses the power of his hammer to SUSPEND TIME in the house of death, keeping Jane Foster alive, while he tackles The Cobra & Mr. Hyde and essentially hands BOTH these bastards their heads. Meanwhile, in far-off Asgard, Baldar sings a ballad to Odin which reminds him of far-off days when he once romanced a human female, though he knew it would come to no good end. Loki accuses him of trying to manipulate their liege (which, he is), but it backfires, as Odin tells off Loki, while sending Baldar on a long, perilous journey to the hut of a healer, to gain the rare medicine that can save the life of Jane.

Back on Earth, THOR wins again... but is saddened, as he knows Jane is doomed. He lifts the time-spell... and an INSTANT later, the sword of Baldar appears, with the needed medicine attached. Thor saves the life of his beloved, and his heart is filled with joy!

JACK KIRBY spins a wondrous tale of danger, violence, fantasy adventure & romance, supplying story & art. Ye "editor" does dialogue, while the magnificent CHIC STONE does inks. WOW!!! Although I had this as a reprint, it was one of the FEW early issues of this series I went out of my way to get in the original printing, as well.

No GCD supnopsis on this one either... In a scene similar to several in the film "MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL", Thor, Baldar & Loki-- on Loki's advice-- detour thru a perilous forest, and encounter... peril. You wonder how someone like Loki ever lived long enough to grow up in the first place.

JACK KIRBY supplies story & art on this latest installment of "Tales Of Asgard", while ye "editor" does dialogue & Vince Colletta supplies the woodcuts. (heh)

It's a shame the "editor" was such a greedy lying bastard... EVERY ONE of these things have falsified credits that make it look like Kirby was "just" an illustrator.

cover by Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko & Chic Stone
Kang, The Conqueror, returns a mere 3 months after his debut, and sends a ROBOT Spider-Man to tackle the group. I guess "imposter" heroes is another trend for this month, huh? The real Spidey turns up before it's all over, but doesn't get invited to join. DON HECK supplies story & art, ye "editor" does dialogue, while the snazzy CHIC STONE does inks.

(Continued in January 1965)

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

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