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

Thursday, May 15, 2014

February 1965

(Continued from January 1965)

STRANGE TALES 129  /  cover by Jack Kirby & Chic Stone
"THE TERRIBLE TRIO"
Dr. Doom's former lackeys made a 2nd stab at getting back at Johnny, 7 months after their last one. DICK AYERS makes his final bow on the series with story & art, ye "editor" does dialogue, and Frank Giacoia makes his 2nd of 2 appearances on inks. For me, sadly, this is the end of a really fun era, as the 5 episodes that follow fail to live up to what came before.
     (2-18-2014)


FANTASTIC FOUR 35  /  cover by Jack Kirby & Dick Ayers
"CALAMITY ON THE CAMPUS!" 
Reed & Ben are invited back to their old alma mater, which just happens to be where both Johnny & Peter Parker are thinking of attending. Professor X & Cyclops have a cameo, but the big news is Diablo makes a return appearance, only 5 months after his debut, and somehow breathes life into an inanimate statue, creating "Dragon-Man". The other big news is saved for the final page, when Reed finally pops the question... JACK KIRBY supplies story & art, ye "editor" does dialogue, and the fantastic CHIC STONE does inks.
     (2-18-2014)


TALES TO ASTONISH 64  /  cover by Jack Kirby & Vince Colletta
"WHEN ATTUMA STRIKES!" 
GIANT-MAN & THE WASP find themselves facing Sub-Mariner's savage barbarian foe, only 2 months after his debut in FF #33! Jack Kirby & Vince Colletta supply a fabulous cover, while CARL BURGOS does his 3rd & final of 3 stories and art. Leon Lazarus fills in doing dialogue (while ye "editor" steals CREDIT & PAY for the story-- no wonder Burgos didn't stick around long), and Paul Reinman does his final turn on inks on the series.

"THE HORDES OF HUMANOIDS" 
THE HULK fights on. STEVE DITKO does story & art, ye "editor" does dialogue, and George Roussos does HIS final turn on inks on THIS series. Seems some of the "lesser" talent was in the process of being weeded out.
    (2-18-2014)


AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 21  /  cover by STEVE DITKO
Review  (coming soon)


TALES OF SUSPENSE 62  /  cover by Jack Kirby & Dick Ayers
"THE ORIGIN OF THE MANDARIN!"
I consider this to be the 2nd of the 3 really "classic" super-villain origin stories of the 1960's. Behind a Jack Kirby cover, DON HECK supplies one of the best stories of his entire career, as well as the art. Ye "editor" does dialogue, and Dick Ayers does inks. One of the greatest of all IRON MAN stories ever told!!

"BREAK-OUT IN CELL BLOCK 10" (as opposed to "Riot In Cell Block 9")
CAPTAIN AMERICA in the middle of an attempted prison-break. JACK KIRBY once again supplies story and some of the most ACTION-PACKED fight scenes of his entire career, while ye "editor" does dialogue, and the legendary CHIC STONE does inks. WOW!!!!!
     (2-18-2014)


DAREDEVIL 6  /  cover by WALLY WOOD
"THE FELLOWSHIP OF FEAR!" 
WALLY WOOD supplies story & full art, giving us a brand-new villain in the process, "Mr. Fear". Along the way, he recruits a pair of Jack Kirby creations, The Eel (used by Dick Ayers in THE HUMAN TORCH) and The Ox (used by Steve Ditko in AMAZNG SPIDER-MAN). Ye "editor" does dialogue while stealing pay & credit for the story.


JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY 113  /  cover by Jack Kirby & Chic Stone
"A WORLD GONE MAD!"
from the GCD: "Synopsis: Thor reveals his secret identity to Jane Foster, but she doesn't believe him."

Well, that's a switch on the "Superman" format! The hero tells the girl his secret, and she dismisses it. What would Lois Lane say?

JACK KIRBY supplies story & art, and brings back The Grey Gargoyly a mere 6 months after his debut. Ye "editor" does dialogue, while the mighty CHIC STONE does inks. WOW!

"THE BOYHOOD OF LOKI!"
from the GCD: "Synopsis: Thor defends Loki after Loki is caught engaging in mystical mischief."

Look at this! Good brother, bad brother, the good brother sticks up for the bad one, and the bad one STILL hates him. You can't win with some people...

JACK KIRBY supplies story & art for this latest installment of "Tales Of Asgard", while ye "editor" does dialogue & Vince Colletta does inks.
    (2-18-2014)


THE AVENGERS 13  /  cover by Jack Kirby & Chic Stone
"TRAPPED IN THE CASTLE OF COUNT NEFARIA!" 
Jack Kirby gives us yet another long-running villain, a European aristocrat who doubles as an organized crime mob boss. DON HECK supplies story & art, ye "editor" does dialogue and Dick Ayers continues on inks. Nefaria has made countless appearances in the years since this, but it took me until 1989 before I was finally able to read his debut story, in the MARVEL MASTERWORKS Vol.9.
    (2-18-2014)


SGT. FURY & HIS HOWLING FURIES #15
"TOO SMALL TO FIGHT, TO YOUNG T DIE"
DICK AYERS does story & art, ye "editor" does dialogue, and oddly enough, Steve Ditko fills in on inks!
     (2-18-2014)


(Continued in March 1965)

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

January 1965

(Continued from December 1964)

STRANGE TALES 128  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Sol Brodsky
"QUICKSILVER AND THE SCARLET WITCH" 
The brother-sister mutant duo cross paths with THE HUMAN TORCH AND THE EVER-LOVIN' THING! This has the pair of Euro-baddies contemplating leaving The Brotherhood of Mutants, but events go awry and they change their minds (at least for now). DICK AYERS supplies story & art, ye "editor" does dialogue, and the fabulous FRANK GIACOIA makes his 60's Marvel debut as INKER!!
     (2-17-2014)


FANTASTIC FOUR 34  /  cover by Jack Kirby & Chic Stone
"A HOUSE DIVIDED"
A money-and-power-crazed BILLIONAIRE becomes too impatient with acquiring all the wealth of the world, and hatches a scheme to drive his competitors out of business, by winning a BET-- which involves a challege issued by them, to "DESTROY the Fantastic Four". Even in the 1960's, JACK KIRBY, supplying story & art, could SEE the TOTAL INSANITY that drives the filthy stinking RICH, and the utter CHAOS & DESTRUCTION and absolute lack of morality or concern for human life that some of these SICK individuals have. Ye "editor" does dialogue, while the fantastic CHIC STONE does inks. WOW!
     (2-17-2014)

My friend Patrick Ford pointed out the likely model for "Gregory Gideon" to be none other than millionaire-recluse Howard Hughes!


TALES TO ASTONISH 63  /  cover by Jack Kirby & Chic Stone
"THE GANGSTERS AND THE GIANT!" 
Jack Kirby introduces the latest in his endless line of baddies, "The Wrecker" (no relation to the one who later turned up in THOR). CARL BURGOS supplies story & art on his 2nd of 3 episodes, ye "editor" does dialogue, and the astonishing CHIC STONE does inks.

"A TITAN RIDES THE TRAIN!"
A more confusing than usual HULK episode involving The Leader, Bruce Banner, Glenn Talbot, and a bunch of "Humanoids". STEVE DITKO supplies story & art, ye "editor" does dialogue, and George Roussos does inks.
    (2-17-2014)


AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 20  /  cover by STEVE DITKO
Review  (coming soon)


JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY 112  /  cover by Jack Kirby & Chic Stone
"THE MIGHTY THOR BATTLES THE INCREDIBLE HULK!"
from the GCD: "Indexer Notes" The majority of this story is a flashback to the events of Avengers #3 (both previously shown and new scenes elaborated on)."

If memory serves (as Sir Guy Grand like to say), this starts out with Thor running across some kids arguing over who's stronger. So to illustrate, he tells a story, relating a part of a recent battle nobody (including readers) knew about. In modern days, this would be refered to as a "DVD extra".

JACK KIRBY supplies the story & art; ye "editor" does dialogue, and the incredible CHIC STONE does inks. I first read this in MARVEL TREASURY EDITION #9.

"THE COMING OF LOKI!"
from the GCD: "Synopsis: The Asgardians battle the Giants."
"Indexer Notes: Part 1 of Loki's origin. First biographical Loki story. Chronologically first appearance of Loki."

That about says it all. JACK KIRBY supplies story & art for this latest installment of the "Tales Of Asgard" series, while ye "editor" does dialogue, and Vince Colletta does inks. I first read this on in the 1976 TPB, "BRING ON THE BAD GUYS".
    (2-17-2014)


TALES OF SUSPENSE 61  /  cover by Jack Kirby & Chic Stone
"THE DEATH OF TONY STARK!" 
Maybe not, but Happy & Pepper sure think it happened. And Tony's PISSED, when he figures out WHO tried to KILL him by blasting his home to atoms via an orbitting KILLER satellite. DON HECK supplies the story & art, ye "editor" does dialogue & the invincible Dick Ayers does inks. Part 1 of 2!

"THE STRENGTH OF THE SUMO"
CAPTAIN AMERICA fights in the Far East, which just happens to be where IRON MAN wound up as well this month. JACK KIRBY supplies story & art, ye "editor" does dialogue, and the legendary CHIC STONE does inks. WOW!
     (2-17-2014)


THE AVENGERS 12  /  cover by Jack Kirby & Chic Stone
"THIS HOSTAGE EARTH!" 
Behind a hellacious Jack Kirby cover, DON HECK supplies story & art, while ye "editor" does dialogue, and Dick Ayers does inks. The Mole Man makes his 4th stab at world conquest in this one, and is joined-- for no apparent reason-- by The Red Ghost. That's 2 F.F. villains, and no F.F. in sight!
    (2-17-2014)


X-MEN 9  /  cover by Jack Kirby & Chic Stone
Review  (coming soon)


SGT. FURY & HIS HOWLING HELLCATS #14
"THE BLITTKRIEG SQUAD OF BARON STRUCKER!" 
Uncle Adolph himself personally orders Wolfgang to destroy the Howlers. Who is he to argue with der Fuhrer? DICK AYERS returns to supplying story & art, ye "editor" does dialogue, and George "inky" Roussos does whatever it is he does.
     (2-17-2014)


(Continued in February 1965)

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