Wednesday, May 21, 2014

March 1965

(Continued from February 1965)

STRANGE TALES 130  /  cover by Jack Kirby & Chic Stone
THE HUMAN TORCH AND THE EVER-LOVIN' THING "MEET THE BEATLES"
Or, almost. BOB POWELL supplies story & art, ye "editor" does dialogue, and the ever-lovin' CHIC STONE does inks. Frankly, this should be a lot better than it is...

I can't cover this issue without mentioning that, in the back is "THE DEFEAT OF DR. STRANGE", the beginning of STEVE DITKO's epic 17-part serial!!! He was getting writer's credit (and pay) by this time, though sometimes the published credits neglected that part. Ditko's editor STOPPED talking to him, because the money he'd been stealing had started going to Ditko where it belonged.
     (2-19-2014)


FANTASTIC FOUR 36  /  cover by Jack Kirby & Chic Stone
"THE FRIGHTFUL FOUR!" 
This one has its roots in the JOHNNY STORM spin-off series in STRANGE TALES, as no less than 3 baddies who've tackled The Torch, individually or in tandem, return, team-up again, and set out to replicate the FF by adding a female to their ranks. The Wizard debuted in ST #102 (Nov'62), Paste-Pot Pete in ST #104 (Jan'63). Wiz returned in ST #105 (Feb'63), the two of them teamed up in ST #110 (Jul'63), Wiz had a cameo in ST #112 (Sep'63), The Sandman-- who debuted in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #4 (Sep'63), first tackled The Torch in ST #115 (Dec'63). Wiz made a return appearance in ST #118 (Mar'64), while Pete had a cameo in AVENGERS #6 (Jul'64) and made a return appearance in ST #124 (Sep'64).

NOW... with all that in mind, allow me to point out a GLARING PLOT-HOLE in FF #36, which I believe may be purely the result of a so-called "editor" NOT doing his job and paying attention to the stories he was working on. There's a flashback in FF #36 in which Pete & Sandman both break jail together. And, they see The Wizard floating away to his possible doom, as last seen in ST #118. The problem is, Pete is seen escaping jail in his new costume, which he didn't don until months after that story. So-- HOW LONG was Wizard floating up there in the stratosphere?

I imagine any glitches were the result of JACK KIRBY (writer & artist) not having done the stories in STRANGE TALES, those having been the work of DICK AYERS. But again, a good editor-- a "real" editor-- could have caught & FIXED that.

Something I never noticed before... it was Pete's suggestion they could take on the F.F. Wonderful. The dumbest of the 3, and HE decides it would be a good idea to take on not 1 but 4 super-heroes. And the other 2 guys go for it. And we're supposed to believe The Wizard is brilliant?

I keep trying to nail down who these characters might have been based on... Sandman reminds me mostly of Victor Mature, though he could have been Robert Mitchum, or even James Caan. Wizard seems to change from panel to panel, but if I had to narrow it down to one guy, my pick would be Vincent Price. Pete, I still have no idea. As for Medusa, I'd say Raquel Welch, although at this point she'd mostly done TV appearances.

Ye "editor" did dialogue, and the fantastic CHIC STONE did inks. WOW.
    (2-19-2014)


TALES TO ASTONISH 65  /  cover by Jack Kirby & Chic Stone
"THE NEW GIANT-MAN"
Well, not exactly. Same guy, new costume and some added powers. Was there even a bad guy in this one? Not a clue... Presumably, JACK KIRBY designed the new outfit, as he did the cover. Inside, BOB POWELL steps in for his 1st of 5 episodes supplying story & art. Ye "editor" does dialogue, while, surprisingly, Don Heck returns to the series he did so much work on, doing inks.

"ON THE RAMPAGE AGAINST THE REDS"
Still fighting The Leader's Humanoids, Greenskin finds himself in Russian territory. STEVE DITKO supplies story & art, ye "editor" does dialogue, and Dick Ayers does inks.
     (2-19-2014)


AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 22  /  cover by STEVE DITKO
Review   (coming soon)

TALES OF SUSPENSE 63  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Sol Brodsky and Don Heck & Dick Ayers
"SOMEWHERE LURKS THE PHANTOM"
No, it's not the Lee Falk guy... not the opera guy either. It's an industrial spy, who makes his only appearance here. However, oddly enough, the way he's depicted on the cover seems to have influenced a character called "The Phantom" on the 1967 SPIDER-MAN show. Go figure. DON HECK supplies story & art, ye "editor" does dialogue, Dick Ayers does inks.

In the back, a real treat... "THE ORIGIN OF CAPTAIN AMERICA!" 
JACK KIRBY supplies story & art, re-telling the classic story from CAPTAIN AMERICA COMICS #1, with flashier art and a few new details & twists. Ye "editor" does dialogue, while Frank Giacoia steps in to do his 1st job of inks on the series. An immortal classic!
     (2-19-2014)


X-MEN 10  /  cover by Jack Kirby & Chic Stone
"THE COMING OF... KA-ZAR!" 
JACK KIRBY, supplying story & art, introduces another long-running character, re-inventing a Golden Age Marvel pulp & comic hero, re-using the name and M.O. but nothing else. Essentially, while "Ka-Zar" and about a hundred other jungle characters were all swipes or variations of TARZAN, in this case, it winds up being a really weird take-off on Johnny Weismuller's version-- because, BOY, is this guy retarded! "The Savage Land" he hangs out in seems to have been a tribute to a different Edgar Rice Burroughs series, taking a tip from "THE LAND THAT TIME FORGOT". Ye "editor" does dialogue, while the uncanny CHIC STONE does inks. WOW!
     (2-19-2014)


JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY 114  /  cover by Jack Kirby & ??
"THE STRONGER I AM, THE SOONER I DIE!"
from the GCD: "Synopsis: Loki uses his magic to turn Crusher Creel into the Absorbing Man."

It says here: "The start of another unforgettable SUPER-EPIC!" I guess so. A few months down the line, THOR would take a leave of absence from THE AVENGERS, and this was why. Starting HERE, although there would be a number of short and not-so-short sequences, there would be virtually NO break in the ongoing continuity of THE MIGHTY THOR, running all the way up to issue #139!!!

JACK KIRBY supplies story & art, and introduced the latest in an unending series of long-running baddies. This time, it's "Crusher Creel", who sounds like a pro wrestler turned convict (though I forget what he was arrested, tried, and convicted for). Thru the intervention of Loki (WHO THE HELL ELSE????), he's imbued with Asgardian magic, which grants him the power to "absorb" the properties of whatever he touches. Thus, he becomes... "The Absorbing Man!" (He probably should stay away from water... heh.) Ye "editor" does dialogue, while, taking his FINAL bow on the series, the mighty CHIC STONE. Damn. Considering how this issue marks the start of a whole new era of sorts, it almost seems a shame he didn't leave a month earlier. Oh well.

"THE GOLDEN APPLES"

from the GCD: "Synopsis: Asgardian version of Little Red Riding Hood."
"Indexer Notes: First appearances of Iduna, Haakun the Hunter and Fenris the Wolf God, first appearance of the land of Varinheim.
"

Not much to add to that. JACK KIRBY supplies story & art on this latest installment of "Tales Of Asgard", while ye "editor" does dialogue, and Vince Colletta does inks.
    (2-19-2014)


THE AVENGERS 14  /  cover by Jack Kirby & Chic Stone
"EVEN AVENGERS CAN DIE!" 
This picks up where the previous ish left off, but is so far removed from it it's hard to think of it as "Part 2 of 2".

from the GCD: "Synopsis: In order to save the Wasp's life, the Avengers seek out the help of Dr. Svenson, only to find he's been replaced by an alien from the planet Kallu."

Honest, folks, you can't make up stuff like this.

The credits are confusing as well, so I'm going to interpret... JACK KIRBY supplied the story & layouts, DON HECK did the pencils, Larry Ivie (publisher of MONSTERS & HEROES, using the psudonym "Paul Laiken") wrote most of the dialogue, but ye "editor" stepped in and did the last 6 pages himself.
WHY was this? Well... something NOT even hinted at on the GCD listing is that a chunk of this story-- APPARENTLY-- started out life as an episode of "Tales Of The Watcher"-- or else, was a leftover "sci-fi" tale from one of Marvel's endless anthology comics. And then, to make use of the pages, it was FORCE-FITTED into an issue of AVENGERS.

This would NOT be the last time something would happen-- not even in this series! Nearly a hundred issues later, Steve Englehart pulled the SAME stunt, taking an entire REJECTED, UNPUBLISHED issue of CAPTAIN AMERICA that had been written & pencilled by George Tuska-- split it up over 2 AVENGERS issues and padded it out with new art & a framing sequence to try to make it all make sense.

To sum up... well, let's just say this ISN'T one of the most memorable issues of this book and leave it go at that.
    (2-19-2014)



SGT. FURY & HIS HOWLING HOWLERS #16
"IN THE DESERT A FORTRESS STANDS!" 
Behind a glorious Kirby-Stone cover, DICK AYERS supplies story & art, ye "editor" does dialogue, and howling-mad Frank Giacoia does inks.
     (2-19-2014)


(Continued in April 1965)

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

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