Monday, September 29, 2014

August 1965

(Continued from July 1965)...

STRANGE TALES 135  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Frank Giacoia
"THE MAN FOR THE JOB"
One of the most important debuts in the history of all of 60's Marvel-- NICK FURY, AGENT OF S.H.I.E.L.D.!!!  C.I.A. Colonel Fury is recruited by the internationally-sponsored (ALLEGED) "spy" outfit, which is really a worldwide ANTI-TERRORIST organization set up to fight NEO-NAZIS out to finish the job they started with World War Two.

Even many years before I found out the extent of what was really going on at Marvel in the 60's, I could sense that the "NICK FURY" series, more than any other at the time, was clearly, unquestionably ENTIRELY the work of JACK KIRBY, creator, writer & visual storyteller. Which makes it all the more tragic (if not downright CRIMINAL) that many people to this day have NO IDEA that for the entire STRANGE TALES run, there were really only TWO writers guiding the book-- and the first one and his run has long been overshadowed by the flashy glitz of the second.

This was one of only 3 episodes in Kirby's run where he did full pencils. Ye "editor" does dialogue, while Dick Ayers-- the "go to" guy to help Kirby start most series in the early 60's, does inks.
     (2-26-2014)

I did extensive GCD indexes for the entire NICK FURY series.  I'm gonna be including those here.

Synopsis:
Ordered to report to the Pentagon for an "LMD", Fury is baffled by all the technos. He watches in amazement as several "Life Model Decoys" which look exactly himself all go their separate ways, and are each brutally "murdered". On the road, the Porsche 904 he's in is attacked by napalm fire bombs from an aircraft; the car proves not only fireproof, it fires sidewinder missles (destroying the attacking plane), and even more amazing, converts to flying mode with mach-pressure fans built into the wheels! Fury learns about SHIELD, an international organization whose job is to stop HYDRA, a "group of fanatics" bent on world domination, who are responsible for the attacks on him. In a hidden HQ, the agent in charge of Fury's "capture" is punished for his failure with death. Elsewhere, Fury meets Tony Stark-- playboy arms inventor who is also in charge of SHIELD's Special Weaponry section. Stark tells Fury they want him to lead SHIELD, saying "Your entire life qualifies you for this job." When a hidden bomb almost goes off, Fury saves everyone in the room, and discovers he's aboard The Heli-Carrier, SHIELD's mobile command center, thousands of feet above the Earth. As he instinctively begins snapping orders, he realizes Stark is right-- and just how grave the danger facing the entire free world really is. He takes the job.

Indexer notes:
Part 1 of 7. Fury's previous chronological appearance in FANTASTIC FOUR #21 (December 1963). 1st appearance of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Supreme Headquarters International Espionage Law-enforcement Division), LMDs, Fury's Porsche 904, HYDRA, Imperial Hydra, Laura Brown, The SHIELD Heli-Carrier. Story retold in NICK FURY, AGENT OF S.H.I.E.L.D. #4 (September 1968). Background info on the creation of SHIELD not revealed until FURY #1 (May 1994).

"ETERNITY BECKONS!"
Part 6 of 17  /  Synopsis:
In London, still seeking info on "Eternity", DR. STRANGE goes to the secluded home of Sir Baskerville, a former desciple of Mordo's, who greets him as an old friend. Meanwhile, Dormammu discovers that Clea is the one who unleashed The Mindless Ones, and swears she shall pay for her betrayal. Baskerville contacts Mordo, who sends an emissary to trap Strange. But it backfires, allowing Strange to discover that Dormammu is the one behind Mordo's attacks and his increased power. Strange hypnotizes Mordo's spirits into believing he's fled to the Netherworld, and by the time Mordo arrives, Strange has fled once more...


FANTASTIC FOUR 41  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Frank Giacoia
"THE BRUTAL BETRAYAL OF BEN GRIMM!"
Remember that the evil F.F. escaped? Well, they come back here wanting more. The Wizard zaps Ben's brain and convinces him Reed is his deadly enemy who needs to be KILLED-- and nothing can stop the guy! It's been suggested that the Wizard's brain-machine MAY have been used on Madame Medusa to get her to join the Frightful Four in the first place. Which I find makes perfect sense, given her later personality. But you know Marvel's "editor"... not only WASN'T he actually writing the stories he took credit AND PAY for, he wasn't even bothering to READ them, or pay attention, when he was filling in the word balloons.

This entire sequence was adapted for the early-90's F.F. cartoon series. I saw those episodes, thanks to my best friend sending me a tape of them. I hated the designs, the costumes, the animation, the voices, the music... but, oddly enough, with only a SMALL bit of fine-tuning, they actually FIXED the plot-holes. Which is something Marvel's "editor" had spectacularly FAILED to do.

JACK KIRBY supplies story & art, ye "editor" does dialogue, and Vince "let's see how fast I can do this" Colletta butchers the results. I've seen Colletta do some GREAT work from time to time. Suffice to say... this AINT one of those.
     (2-26-2014)


TALES TO ASTONISH 70  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Mike Esposito
"THE START OF THE QUEST!"
After many years, and right on the heels of D.D. #7, Prince Namor, The SUB-MARINER, gets his own series again. Behind a Kirby-Esposito cover, GENE COLAN supplies story & art (bet a LOT of you never knew Gene WROTE stories!!!) while ye "editor" does dialogue in which Namor evolves into the most pompous, overblown, egotistical blowhard in all of Marveldom (to match the excessive muscles Gene draws him with), while Vince Colletta does inks.

"TO LIVE AGAIN"
More HULK goodness from JACK KIRBY (story & art), ye "editor" (dialogue) & Mike Esposito (undercover inks).
     (2-26-2014)



AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 27  /
cover by STEVE DITKO
Review  (coming soon!)


TALES OF SUSPENSE 68  /
cover by Jack Kirby, Frank Giacoia & Joe Giella
"IF A MAN BE MAD!"
Tony Stark, IRON MAN, is having hallucinations... seems his "black sheep" cousin is in debt up to his ears to one Count Nefaria, who supplies him with a gadget that can help cause Stark problems. I.M. finds a space ship, but when the cops arrive, no ship. I.M. goes to investigate again... and finds there's a REAL space ship with invading aliens! After running them off, suddenly, I.M. looks good, Stark's cousin is still in trouble, and Nefaria isn't in a forgiving mood.

Strangely enough, I believe there's NO reference to Nefaria's (ALLEGED!) previous appearance, which only adds to the suspicion that it wasn't supposed to be him in the first palce, except the guy filling in the word balloons messed up.

Behind a Jack Kirby cover (and he probably came up with the story idea), DON HECK supplies story & art, while, filling in, AL HARTLEY does dialogue! And guess what? He's MUCH FUNNIER than his "editor"! I wish Hartley had done more of these.

"THE SENTINEL AND THE SPY"
CAP snaps out of his trance, and saves Eisenhower's life. But then Steve Rogers & Bucky are assigned prisoner transfer duty, as punishment for going AWOL again. By luck, they stumble into another Red Skull plot to steal an experimental Ally weapon-- "Project Vanish".

JACK KIRBY supplies story & art, ye "editor" does dialogue, and Frank Giacoia does inks (aided, I strongly believe, by his good pal Joe Giella-- Frank & Joe did a lot of work together, and the funny thing is, their styles look NOTHING alike-- so a lot of their pages tend to look schizophrenic).
    (2-26-2014)


JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY 119  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Vince Colletta
"THE DAY OF THE DESTROYER!"
from the GCD: "Indexer Notes: The first appearance of Ularic (Odin's royal warlock)."

No GCD sypnopsis? Boy, somebody over there must really be getting sloppy. I think, going by the cover (remember, it's been about 5 years since I've re-read this) that this is pretty much an all-action episode.

Part 6 of 11.

JACK KIRBY supplies story & art, ye "editor" does dialogue and Vince Colletta does inks.

"GATHER, WARRIORS!"
from the GCD: "Indexer Notes: Odinsword Quest Part 2, first appearances of Hogun, Fandral and Volstagg (the Warriors Three) and Kroda and Magrat."

JACK KIRBY supplies story & art for this latest installment of "Tales Of Asgard". Ye "editor" does dialogue and Vince Colletta does inks.

The "usual" CLASSIC!
     (2-26-2014)



THE AVENGERS 19  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Frank Giacoia and Don Heck & Dick Ayers
"THE COMING OF... THE SWORDSMAN!"
This one took me ages to track down-- in fact, I never read it until I got ahold of the Masterworks reprint. We meet Hawkeye's former mentor, who turned crooked, yet now claims he wants to go straight.. or does he? Jack Kirby creates YET ANOTHER character he never got proper credit for, while DON HECK does story & art, ye "editor" does dialogue and WALLY WOOD does inks so good he positively makes Heck's art GLEAM!!!
     (2-26-2014)



SGT. FURY & HIS HOWLING MANIACS 21  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Frank Giacoia
"TO FREE A HOSTAGE"
DICK AYERS supplies story & art, ye "editor" does dialogue, and Carl Hubbell does inks.
     (2-26-2014)


DAREDEVIL 9  /
cover by WALLY WOOD
"THAT HE MAY SEE!"
Matt Murdocks stumble into a virtually "medieval" situation while visiting Europe to see a doctor about the possibility of having his sight restored. Turns out the story was going to be called "Knightmare" before the "editor" changed it at the dialogue point. It seems WALLY WOOD decided to follow Steve Ditko's example by demanding credit & pay for writing, and his "editor" balked at losing more ill-gotten money. So instead, and under the guise of doing BOB POWELL a favor, this issue was the first of 3 in which WOOD did story & layouts, AND inks, but POWELL did the pencils in between, while ye "editor" continued to do dialogue while claiming far more. Suffice to say, Wood was PISSED at doing nearly the same amount of work, but now getting paid EVEN LESS.
     (2-26-2014)


(Continued in September 1965)

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

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