Tuesday, April 22, 2014

December 1964

(Continued from November 1964)

STRANGE TALES 127  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Chic Stone  (and STEVE DITKO)
"THE MYSTERY VILLAIN!" 
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.
     (2-16-2014)


FANTASTIC FOUR 33  /  cover by Jack Kirby & Chic Stone
"SIDE-BY-SIDE WITH SUB-MARINER!" 
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!!!
     (2-16-2014)


TALES TO ASTONISH 62  /  cover by Jack Kirby & Chic Stone
"GIANT-MAN Vs. THE WONDERFUL WASP!" 
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.

"ENTER:  THE CHAMELEON" 
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.
     (2-16-2014)


AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 19  /  cover by STEVE DITKO
Review  (coming soon)


TALES OF SUSPENSE 60  /  cover by Jack Kirby & Chic Stone
"SUSPECTED OF MURDER!"
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.

"THE ARMY OF ASSASSINS STRIKES!" 
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.
     (2-16-2014)


SGT. FURY AND HIS HOWLING COMMANDOS 13  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Chic Stone
 
SGT. FURY & HIS HOWLING MADMEN #13 has
"FIGHTING SIDE-BY-SIDE WITH CAPTAIN AMERICA!" 
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!
     (2-16-2014)


DAREDEVIL 5  /  cover by Jack Kirby & Wally Wood
"THE MYSTERIOUS MASKED MATADOR" 
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!!
     (2-16-2014)


JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY 111  /  cover by Jack Kirby & Chic Stone
"THE POWER OF THE THUNDER GOD!"
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.

"THE SECRET OF SIGURD!"
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.
    (2-16-2014)


THE AVENGERS 11  /
cover by Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko & Chic Stone
"THE MIGHTY AVENGERS MEET SPIDER-MAN!" 
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.
     (2-16-2014)


(Continued in January 1965)

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

Monday, April 21, 2014

November 1964

(Continued from October 1964)

STRANGE TALES 126  /  cover by Jack Kirby & Chic Stone
"PAWNS OF THE DEADLY DUO!"
THE HUMAN TORCH AND THE EVER-LOVIN' THING tackle the same miserable excuse for recidivists that the FF fought in FF #28 (Jul'64) only 4 months earlier-- The Puppet Master & The Mad Thinker. You know, SOME villains really can be described as "over-used", and these 2 annoyng A**H***s fit the bill. DICK AYERS does story & art, ye "editor" does dialogue, and Paul Reinman is still hanging around doing inks.

And, although it has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with Jack Kirby (so sue me), I can't let this issue be mentioned without mentioning that in the back is one of the GREATEST episodes in the entire history of the DR. STRANGE series-- "THE DOMAIN OF THE DREAD DORMAMMU!" Creator, writer & illustrator STEVE DITKO kicks the whole damn thing up several notches with this one, while his "editor" does dialogue that, for once, is utterly beyond reproach. (Yes-- I genuinely believe he did possibly the BEST work of his career on this series, by actually "playing it straight" for once.)
     (2-15-2014)


FANTASTIC FOUR 32  /  cover by Jack Kirby & Chic Stone
"DEATH OF A HERO"
The FF tackle a bizarre "mystery" villain who turns out to be connected to some of their oldest enemies. JACK KIRBY does story & art, ye "editor" does dialogue, and the incredible CHIC STONE continues on inks. WOW!
     (2-15-2014)


TALES TO ASTONISH 61  /  cover by Jack Kirby & Chic Stone
"NOW WALKS THE ANDROID"
This is a rather controversial episode in the career of GIANT-MAN & THE WASP, not for what happens in the story, but behind the scenes. It seems after 3 issues of DAREDEVIL, Joe Orlando was given a shot at doing this series. I imagine it must have been because DICK AYERS was needed elsewhere. Well, the "editor" caused Orlando to have to RE-WRITE (and therefore, RE-DRAW) so many pages, he WALKED off the book-- and OUT of the company-- NEVER to return!! I guess that's a real "UP YOURS!!!" moment, huh?

Since something had to get to the printers, Steve Ditko was roped in to finish the story, and you can tell. So, one might ask, WHO wrote this thing? I'd say, it was an amalgamation of Joe Orlando, Steve Ditko, and the "editor", though it's just as like HE only really supplied dialogue. George Roussos inks the whole shebang.

"CAPTURED AT LAST!"
This introduced a dangerous new foe for THE HULK, in the form of Army Major Glenn Talbot! I NEVER noticed until I read this particular episode the 2nd (or 3rd) time, but in his debut, he was a DEAD RINGER for actor Lee Van Cleef!! (No wonder he was such a RAT!) STEVE DITKO supplies story & art, while ye "editor" does dialogue & George Roussos does inks.
    (2-15-2014)



AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 18  /  cover by Jack Kirby & Chic Stone
Review  (coming soon)


JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY 110  /  cover by Jack Kirby & Chic Stone
"EVERY HAND AGAINST HIM!"
I don't believe this... NO sypnopsis at the GCD. Oh well. Only 4 MONTHS after THOR beat the crap out of the newly-formed team of The Cobra and Mr. Hyde, those two sick bastards have the NERVE to try AGAIN!!! This time, they lure Thor to a house loaded to the gills with death-traps. And somehow (I admit, I forget the details), Jane Foster's life is in terrible peril. She'll DIE if Thor doesn't get his hands on an antidote to some kind of poison... only, he's gotta go thru these 2 murderous animals. What a predicament!

JACK KIRBY does story & art on yet ANOTHER 2-parter, while his "editor" does dialogue and the fabulous CHIC STONE continues on inks. WOW.

"THE DEFEAT OF ODIN!"
from the GCD: "Synopsis: Was Odin is defeated by an army of men, or did he stage the battle to teach a lesson?"

JACK KIRBY supplies story & art on the latest installment of "Tales Of Asgard", while his "editor" does dialogue, and Vince Coletta is already up to his 5th episode on inks!
    (2-15-2014)


TALES OF SUSPENSE 59  /  cover by Jack Kirby & Dick Ayers
"THE BLACK KNIGHT!"
DON HECK has IRON MAN tackle the former GIANT-MAN & WASP and AVENGERS baddie (for no apparent reason). Heck supplies story & full art (perhaps from an idea from Jack Kirby-- WHO ELSE?). Ye "editor" does dialogue, while stealing credit & pay for the story AS ALWAYS.

"CAPTAIN AMERICA!"
CAP is awarded his own solo series for the first time since the early 1950's (or late 40's, or early 40's, depending on your take on "continuity"-- heehee). JACK KIRBY completely lets loose with a non-stop action romp without letting any pesky nonsense like "angst" get in the way. While Cap house-sits Avengers mansion, some mercenaries invade, hope to rob the place, before he single-handedly POLISHES them all off. After, he advises them, "It's a lucky thing the other Avengers weren't here when you broke in-- some of them are REAL tough!" Kirby does story & art, while ye "editor" does dialogue & the stupendous CHIC STONE does inks. This one's a BLAST!!!
     (2-15-2014)


X-MEN 8  /  cover by Jack Kirby & Chic Stone
Review  (coming soon)


THE AVENGERS 10  /  cover by Jack Kirby & Chic Stone
"THE AVENGERS BREAK UP!" 
Well, NO, not really... The truth is, between the story title & the HIGHLY-MISLEADING cover, this feels like one of those infamous "DC" covers where someone came up with a gimmick idea for a cover, and then tossed it into the hands of the creative team to try and make some kind of sense out of it. Since JACK KIRBY had been supplying DON HECK villains and story ideas for months on end anyway on IRON MAN, why not do it here as well?

DON HECK does story & art, introducing another new Kirby baddie, "Immortus", who would go on to become a long-running character, although in his case, it would take until the 70's before he made his first return appearance. The "editor" does dialogue, and Dick Ayers does inks. Although only his 2nd issue, Heck is already improving drastically-- though I have to say, I dearly WISH someone slicker would have been doing the inks. (Ayers, who never liked inking anyone but himself, would have preferred someone else did it as well.)
     (2-15-2014)


SGT. FURY AND HIS HOWLING WHATAMACALLITS #12 
"When A Howler Turns Traitor!"
Behind a GLORIOUS Jack Kirby-Chic Stone cover, DICK AYERS supplies story & art, while ye "editor" does dialogue & George "inky" Roussos does what he does (oh, take a guess).
     (2-15-2014)


(Continued in December 1964)

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

October 1964

(Continued from September 1964)

STRANGE TALES 125  /  cover by Jack Kirby & Dick Ayers
"THE SUB-MARINER MUST BE STOPPED!"
This marks the 2nd time Subby has turned up in a HUMAN TORCH episode, and this time, of course, he's got THE THING along for the inevitable fight scene. DICK AYERS does story & art, the "editor" does dialogue, and Paul Reinman does inks.
     (2-14-2014)


FANTASTIC FOUR 31  /  cover by Jack Kirby & Chic Stone
"THE MAD MENACE OF THE MACABRE MOLE MAN!"
(WHY do I think the "editor" had to have been the one who came up with that ridiculous name?) The FF's first foe returns for a 3rd go-round, and this time, we get the classic image of an entire NYC block of skyscrapers MISSING, having been pulled straight down into the depths of the Earth. This was adapted as one of the 1967 FF cartoons, but a year later a similar scenario turned up in the 2nd season of the SPIDER-MAN cartoons. Little did I know, BOTH were probably swiped from a story done by Joe Simon & Al Williamson, "One Of Our Skyscrapers Is Missing", in ADVENTURES OF THE FLY #2 (1959). Kirby was around, he would have seen it!

JACK KIRBY supplies story & art, his "editor" does dialogue, and CHIC STONE does inks. WOW. In my opinion, this is the LAST really "classic" Mole Man story EVER done. After this, it's downhill al the way...
     (2-14-2014)


TALES TO ASTONISH 60  /  cover by Jack Kirby & Sol Brodsky
"THE BEASTS OF BERLIN"
GIANT-MAN & THE WASP's latest adventure!  DICK AYERS does story & art, the "editor" does dialogue, and Paul Reinman does inks.

Also, in the back, "THE INCREDIBLE HULK" gets his own series again. STEVE DITKO supplies story & art, while his "editor" does dialogue and George Roussos does inks. This marks the beginning of a long-running "movie serial" format for the character, where every episode ends on a cliffhanger, whether it's called for or not.
     (2-14-2014)


AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 17  /  cover by STEVE DITKO
Review  (coming soon)


JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY 109  /  cover by Jack Kirby & Chic Stone
"WHEN MAGNETO STRIKES!"
Nobody at the GCD bothered to supply even the slimmest of sypnopses for this. Suffice to say, the X-MEN's arch-enemy turns up, in between X-MEN #7 & 8, presumably. JACK KIRBY supplies story & art, his "editor" does dialogue, and CHIC STONE does inks.

You know, it seems like they did everything they possibly could to cross-promote X-MEN during Jack Kirby's run of that book. The Angel turned up in TALES OF SUSPENSE #49, the entire group had a cameo in AVENGERS #3, The Iceman turned up in STRANGE TALES #120, the entire team had a full-fledged guest-appearance in FANTASTIC FOUR #28, they had a cameo in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #1, and now this. A few months down the line, The Avengers would guest-star in X-MEN #9, and the team would have cameos in both FF #35 & 36. Somehow, none of it seemed to do much good. Oh well.

"BANISHED FROM ASGARD!"
from the GCD: "Synopsis: Arkin the Weak betrays Asgard in an attempt to win the hand of Queen Knorda."

JACK KIRBY supplies story & art on the latest "Tales Of Asgard", while his "editor" does dialogue, and Vince Coletta does inks.
    (2-14-2014)


TALES OF SUSPENSE 58  /  cover by Jack Kirby & Chic Stone
"IN MORTAL COMBAT WITH CAPTAIN AMERICA!"
IRON MAN tackles his team-mate-- or DOES he? GIANT-MAN & THE WASP turn up for cameos, in which Janet gets to embarrass Pepper about how her hair got all messed up during the climax. NO, REALLY! As with last month's ASTONISH issue, this one serves as a lead-in to NEXT month, when CAP finally gets his own series again. DON HECK does story & art, the "editor" does dialogue, Dick Ayers does inks, and somewhere in there, apparently, Jack Kirby did some redraws.
     (2-14-2014)


THE AVENGERS 9  /  cover by Jack Kirby & Chic Stone
"THE COMING OF... WONDER MAN!"
Jack Kirby supplies yet another new villain, while DON HECK takes over writing the stories & doing the art. Ye "editor" does dialogue, and Dick Ayers supplies inks. Going from Kirby to Heck was, in my view, definitely a step down, but the real problem for me is, the Heck-Ayers team is not doing anybody any favors. This one once more features Zemo, The Enchantress & The Executioner, and introduces a rather shady character who winds up DEAD at the end of the story, leaving readers unsure if he was meant to be a failed villain or a flawed potential hero.
    (2-14-2014)


DAREDEVIL 4  /  cover by Jack Kirby & Vince Colletta
Review  (coming soon)


SGT. FURY & HIS HOWLING COMMANDOS #11
"The Crackdown Of Captain Flint!"
DICK AYERS does story & art, the "editor" does dialogue, and George Roussos continues on inks.
     (2-14-2014)


(Continued in November 1964)

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

Friday, April 18, 2014

September 1964

(Continued from August 1964)

FANTASTIC FOUR 30  /  cover by Jack Kirby & Chic Stone
"THE DREADED DIABLO"
The FF battle a refugee from ancient eastern Europe, a guy who apparently is a cross between a sorcerer and a scientist, and has lived a long, long time. He tempts Ben with a "cure" for his condition, but it fails to work in the long-term (as so many of Reed's have as well). JACK KIRBY does story & art, his "editor" does dialogue, and CHIC STONE does inks. WOW!! This one was so good (though ye "editor" had the poor sense to actually BAD-MOUTH it once in writing), it was one of the stories Alex Toth adapted for the 1967 F.F. TV cartoon show.
     (2-13-2014)

FANTASTIC FOUR ANNUAL 2  /  cover by Jack Kirby & Sol Brodsky
"THE FANTASTIC ORIGIN OF DOCTOR DOOM!"
This is, to me, the first of 3 all-time "classic" villain origin stories of the 60's. We get to see Victor Von Doom as a boy, what made him so arrogant and full of contempt for all of humanity, his time at college, and his sojourn in the Himalayas. (Do you suppose those monks were neighbors of "The Ancient One"-- or "K'un Lun" from the IRON FIST series?) JACK KIRBY does story & art, his "editor" does dialogue, and CHIC STONE does inks. WOW!!

And that's only the beginning! This issue also has a reprint of FF #5 ("Prisoners Of Dr. Doom"), 11 brand-new pin-ups, AND...

"THE FINAL VICTORY OF DR. DOOM!"
We get to see how Doom escapes certain death in outer space, being rescued by the time-hopping Rama-Tut, who he plays mind-games with to get him out of the way (my interpretation of it, anyway). We then learn, for the first time, that Doom is actually the CURRENT absolute ruler of a tiny, postage-stamp-sized kingdom in eastern Europe-- before he tackles the FF in his country's NY Embassy. Crazy stuff!! The "mental" battle at the climax, I feel certain, inspired an almost-identical one in the Tom Baker DOCTOR WHO story, "The Brain Of Morbius". JACK KIRBY does story & art, his "editor" does dialogue, and CHIC STONE does inks. WOW!!!!!
     (2-13-2014)


TALES TO ASTONISH 59  /  cover by Jack Kirby & Sol Brodsky
"ENTER:  THE HULK"
Following his brief appearance in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #14 the month before, The HULK turns up to tackle GIANT-MAN and the wonderful WASP! Even fight or serious mis-match? DICK AYERS does story & art, his "editor" does dialogue, and Paul Reinman does inks. This serves as a lead-in to HULK getting his own series again, next month! Also in the back is the 3-page feature, "Let's Learn About Hank And Jan", from the same creative team.
     (2-13-2014)


AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 16  /  cover by STEVE DITKO
Review  (coming soon)

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL 1  /  cover by STEVE DITKO
Review  (coming soon)

JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY 108  /  cover by Jack Kirby & Sol Brodsky
"AT THE MERCY OF LOKI, PRINCE OF EVIL!"
from the GCD: "Synopsis: Thor is called to the aid of Doctor Strange, and as Dr. Blake saves his life after a crippling mystic attack. Loki takes advantage of a misunderstanding between Thor and Odin to come to Earth and kidnap Jane Foster. Thor finds Loki and defeats him, while a grateful Doctor Strange saves Jane."

Not EXACTLY "Part 2", though in the terms of 60's TV, this would make a good 2nd half of a 2-part story. Definitely, a SEQUEL to STRANGE TALES #123, in which Loki tried to trick Dr. Strange into thinking Thor was evil. In this one, Strange finds himself on the verge of death, and DR. DON BLAKE had to save the life of his fellow FORMER surgeon!

You know, it's disgraceful nobody at the GCD thought to include a mention of how this story and the other one are connected. If this doesn't qualify as a "crossover", I don't know what does!

JACK KIRBY supplies story & art, his "editor" does dialogue, and CHIC STONE continues on inks. WOW!!

"TRAPPED BY THE TROLLS!"
from the GCD: "Synopsis: The king of the dwarfs attempts to sell an incognito Thor to the trolls as a slave, and Thor frees all of their captives and destroys their mine."

JACK KIRBY continues with this month's "Tales Of Asgard", supplying story and art, while his "editor" does dialogue and Vince Colletta does the inks.
    (2-13-2014)


STRANGE TALES 124  /
cover by DICK AYERS (and Steve Ditko & George Roussos)
"PASTE-POT PETE!"
The baddie completely redesigns his costume, as he's tired of being thought of as a clown. YEAH, RIGHT. He's just in time to see the feature go thru a major overhaul. After Reed, Sue & Ben kept turning up in NEARLY every episode from the get-go, the HUMAN TORCH "solo" series becomes an ongoing twosome, as it morphs into THE HUMAN TORCH AND THE EVER-LOVIN' THING! Somebody finally must have gotten the idea that Ben was more popular than Johnny, so from here on, he gets equal billing. The hilarity continues! DICK AYERS does story & art, his "editor" does dialogue, and Paul Reinman does inks.
     (2-13-2014)


TALES OF SUSPENSE 57  /  cover by DON HECK
"HAWKEYE THE MARKSMAN!"
This is simply one of the greatest IRON MAN episodes of all time! Happy gets up the nerve to ask his boss's help in puttin' in a good word with Pepper, but SHE mistakes it for his asking her for a date! Not wanting to get serious with her due to his ever-present heart condition (and his secret life as an adventurer), he takes her to Coney Island... where he winds up upstaging a local carny trick-shot artist. The guy decides to become a crime-fighter, but is mistaken for a crook on his 1st outing! And then he falls into the hands of THE BLACK WIDOW... oy!

DON HECK supplies story & FULL ART (one of the best art jobs I've ever seen from him, in fact) while his "editor" does dialogue. For the only time in Heck's entire run on the series, there's NO Jack Kirby cover, but instead, one assembled by the production department using interior panels by Heck. Which does raise the question... WHO came up with HAWKEYE??? Jack Kirby-- who'd done the similar character "BULLSEYE" back in the early 50's-- or Don Heck??
     (2-13-2014)



THE AVENGERS 8  /  cover by Jack Kirby & Dick Ayers
"KANG, THE CONQUEROR!"
In a bizarre follow-up to FF ANNUAL #2, Rama-Tut over-shoots the 30th Century, winds up in the savage, barbaric 40th, TAKES OVER, gets bored, and then decided to tackle the 20th, after fashioning a new name for himself. (We never do learn if "Kang" is his REAL name, or just another alias he came up with.) JACK KIRBY does story & art, supplying the book with it's longest-lasting ARCH ENEMY in the process, while his "editor" does dialogue, and Dick Ayers returns for what would become quite a lot of issues as inker.

Although he would continue working behind-the-scenes, this was the LAST issue of THE AVENGERS to feature full pencils by Kirby. He had a LOT of other fish to fry!
     (2-13-2014)



X-MEN 7  /  cover by Jack Kirby & Chic Stone
Review  (coming soon)


SGT. FURY AND HIS HOWLING COMMANDOS #10
"ON TO OKINAWA"
DICK AYERS supplies story & art, his "editor" does dialogue & George Roussos on inks.
     (2-13-2014)


(Continued in October 1964)

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

Thursday, April 17, 2014

August 1964

(Continued from July 1964)

FANTASTIC FOUR 29  /  cover by Jack Kirby & Chic Stone
"IT STARTED ON YANCY STREET"
One of the most classic stories in the entire run of the book!!! The Red Ghost & his Super-Apes return for a rematch, and nearly FINISH our heroes!!! Also, The Watcher puts in a brief appearance as well. JACK KIRBY supplies story & art, his "editor" does dialogue while CHIC STONE does inks. This was one of the stories adapted by Alex Toth for the 1967 F.F. cartoon show, and just about the only thing altered was the ending... which, if memory serves, was improved for the tv version. (Hey, it happens!)
     (2-12-2014)


TALES TO ASTONISH 58  /  cover by Jack Kirby & Sol Brodsky
"THE COMING OF COLLOSUS"
Jack Kirby supplies the villain, DICK AYERS does the story & art, the "editor" does the dialogue, and Paul Reinman does the inks. GIANT-MAN & WASP fight on!

And, in the back, THE WASP has her 2nd solo story, "THE MAGICIAN AND THE MAIDEN", in which the lamoid baddie from TTA #56 (2 months ago!!) has the NERVE (or is it stupidity) to come back for a rematch. And just to show how 3rd-rate he is, he doesn't even try to take on GIANT-MAN this time-- no! Only his partner! LARRY LIEBER flies solo, doing story, full art & dialogue (although his rat-faced brother CONTINUES to steal credit & pay for the story end of things).
     (2-12-2014)


AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 15  /  cover by STEVE DITKO
Review  (coming soon)


JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY 107  /  cover by Jack Kirby & Chic Stone
"WHEN THE GREY GARGOYLE STRIKES!"
from the GCD: "Synopsis: A scientist accidentally gains the power to turn himself into living stone, and to turn others into stone statues. He comes to New York to attack Thor, hoping to gain the secret of immortality. As Don Blake, Thor tricks him into falling into the river, and his stone body sinks to the bottom."

JACK KIRBY supplies story & art, and introduces yet another long-running villain who would wind up making countless appearances over the years. Ye "editor" does dialogue, while CHIC STONE continues with inks. WOW!

"BALDER MUST DIE!"
from the GCD: "Synopsis: Loki forces the Norn Queen to tell him of Balder's weakness to mistletoe and tries to kill him with a mistletoe dart, but the Norn Queen herself stops him."

JACK KIRBY does story & art, while introducing yet another long-running villain (who, oddly enough, is NOT named in this story-- but it's Karnilla, the Norn Queen). Ye "editor" does dialogue, while Vince Colletta does inks.
     (2-12-2014)


STRANGE TALES 123  /  cover by Jack Kirby & Sol Brodsky
"THE BIRTH OF THE BEETLE!"
Jack Kirby comes up with ANOTHER long-running baddie from his inexhaustible supply of ideas. Incredibly, CARL BURGOS, the creator of the ORIGINAL Human Torch steps in and does both story & art on this one. Ye editor does dialogue (while stealing credit & pay for the story) while Dick Ayers takes it easy this month and just supplies the inks. This was Burgos' ONLY turn on JOHNNY STORM, although a few months later he took on GIANT-MAN & THE WASP for 3 episodes. Allegedly, he got VERY pissed off at the way Martin Goodman STOLE his character (I guess HE didn't have any kind of contract with that GANGSTER, either), and actually wound up doing the "new" CAPTAIN MARVEL for Myron Fass Productions (something that really got Goodman twisted in an angry knot).

Meanwhile, in the back, DR. STRANGE tackles "THE CHALLENGE OF LOKI!" STEVE DITKO does story & full art, while ye "editor" does dialogue. THOR has a cameo in this one, as Loki tries to con Doc into thinking he's the good guy, and THOR is the baddie. That doesn't go too well... and a SEQUEL turns up only the following month!!
     (2-12-2014)


TALES OF SUSPENSE 56  /  cover by Jack Kirby & Dick Ayers
"THE UNCANNY UNICORN"
Jack Kirby comes up with yet ANOTHER baddie who went on to a long, long career for IRON MAN to face. DON HECK does story & full art, while the "editor" does dialogue as usual.
     (2-12-2014)


THE AVENGERS 7  /  cover by Jack Kirby & Chic Stone
"THEIR DARKEST HOUR!"
In a direct sequel to the previous issue, Baron Zemo strikes again. But all 3 of his partners are out of commission, and the attack comes when-- get THIS!!-- Odin banishes The Enchantress & The Executioner from Asgard for their misdeeds in JIM #103 (4 months earlier). They wind up hooking up with Zemo, who wants revenge, as does The Executioner, while The Enchantress mostly thinks that, now on Earth, she'll be closer to where Thor is, so, maybe...

The story actually begins with a tie-in to SUSPENSE #56, in which Iron Man was too busy to answer a call from the group, and so now a misconduct meeting is held. For failure to duty, he's "suspended" for one week. Just proves THOR is every bit as pompous as his father.

JACK KIRBY does story & art, hs "editor" does dialogue, and CHIC STONE continues on inks. WOW.
     (2-14-2014)


DAREDEVIL 3  /  cover by Jack Kirby & Vince Colletta
Review  (coming soon)


SGT. FURY & HIS HOWLING COMMANDOS  9
"MISSION: CAPTURE HITLER!"
DICK AYERS does story & art, ye "editor" does dialogue and George Roussos does inks. I'm guessing this mission didn't work out too well.
     (2-12-2014)


(Continued in September 1964)

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

July 1964

(Continued from June 1964)

FANTASTIC FOUR 28  /  cover by Jack Kirby & Sol Brodsky
"WE HAVE TO FIGHT THE X-MEN"
The latest promotional cross-over story (following the first 6 issues of their own book). JACK KIRBY supplies story & art, bringing back The Mad Thinker & The Puppet Master, a pair of ugly baddies who just never learn, and who have appeared far too many times over the years to suit me. The "editor" does dialogue, while, making his F.F. debut (replacing the departing "George Bell") is CHIC STONE.
     (2-11-2014)


TALES TO ASTONISH 57  /  cover by Jack Kirby & Sol Brodsky
"ON THE TRAIL OF THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN"
Another promotional cross-over! DICK AYERS supplies story & art, while the "editor" does dialogue, and Paul Reinman supplies inks.

Meanwhile, THE WASP, who had been "narrating" mystery tales for 4 issues, finally gets her own 1st SOLO story, "A VOICE IN THE DARK", story, full art & dialogue all by Larry Lieber (though his brother STOLE pay & credit for the story part-- nice family). I gotta admit-- looking back, I find myself wishing Stan Goldberg or Al Hartley had done her stories.
     (2-11-2014)


AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 14  /  cover by STEVE DITKO
Review  (coming soon)


JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY 106  /  cover by Jack Kirby & Chic Stone
"THE THUNDER GOD STRIKES BACK!"
from the GCD: "Synopsis: Thor evades the villains and transforms back into Dr. Blake, then pretends to betray Thor in order to get his cane back. He becomes Thor and defeats the Cobra easily, though Hyde escapes by becoming Calvin Zabo and slipping away. Hyde attacks Thor later, but is defeated. When Blake returns to the office he discovers that Jane hates him because of his seeming betrayal of Thor."

The 3rd THOR 2-parter kicks into high gear, as JACK KIRBY once more supplied story & art. Ye "Editor" does dialogue, while Chic Stone does inks (and as usual, Stan Goldberg colors every book they're putting out).

The story description above shows why it's never a good idea to be involved in a love triangle, especially where there's only 2 people in it.

"BALDER THE BRAVE"
from the GCD: "Synopsis: Odin orders Balder executed for leaving a battle to rescue a fallen bird, but Balder is so beloved that the animals and plants keep any harm from coming to him, and Odin makes him invincible."

As usual, the "All-Father" continues to be an erratic sonofaB****. JACK KIRBY supplies story & art for this latest installment of "Tales Of Asgard", while ye "editor" does dialogue. Making his DEBUT on the series as new inker is none other than VINCE COLLETTA!! Only ONE month earlier, he'd convinced his boss to give him a shot at doing super-heroes, and readers got to see him TOTALLY butcher DAREDEVIL #2 (both Jack Kirby's cover and Joe Orlando's interiors). With one notable exception, Colletta would ink EVERY remaining "Asgard" episode right to the end of the back-up series.
    (2-11-2014)



STRANGE TALES 122  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Chic Stone (and STEVE DITKO)
"3 AGAINST THE TORCH"
A sequel to FF #23 ("The Master Plan Of Dr. Doom") in which Doom's 3 super-powered henchmen return and join forces to gang up on Johnny Storm. This is kinda like "The Frightful Four", in REVERSE. DICK AYERS supplies story & art, the "editor" does dialogue while George Roussos does the inks (somehow proving himself a LOT better of a match for Ayers' pencils than he ever was for Kirby's).
     (2-11-2014)


TALES OF SUSPENSE 55  /  cover by Jack Kirby & Sol Brodsky
"NO ONE ESCAPES THE MANDARIN"
The conclusion of the 1st IRON MAN 2-parter. DON HECK supplies story & art, while the "editor" does dialogue (while stealing pay & credit for the story part, as usual).
     (2-11-2014)


X-MEN 6  /  cover by Jack Kirby & Chic Stone
Review  (coming soon)

THE AVENGERS 6  /  cover by Jack Kirby & Chic Stone
"THE MASTERS OF EVIL!"
JACK KIRBY out-does himself on this one, supplying story & art, and introducing the group to their opposite number-- a group of super-villains, each of whom is a former enemy of one of the good guys. You've got The Black Knight (GIANT-MAN), The Radioactive Man (THOR), The Melter (IRON MAN), and leading the group, Baron Zemo (CAPTAIN AMERICA-- but his only actual appearance to date was in THIS month's SGT. FURY!). The "editor" does dialogue, and, for the first time since issue #1, this series see decent inks, courtesy of CHIC STONE!
     (2-11-2014)


SGT. FURY AND HIS HOWLING COMMANDOS  8
"The Death Ray Of Dr. Zemo!"
No doubt working to Jack Kirby's specs, DICK AYERS, who'd inked the first 3 issues, returns to do story & art!! They introduce readers to the man who would soon be revealed as the evil Nazi scientist responsible for the DEATH of Bucky Barnes! The "editor" does dialogue, while George Roussos continues on inks.
     (2-11-2014)


(Continued in August 1964)

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