Wednesday, October 1, 2014

December 1966

(Continued from November 1966)

STRANGE TALES 151  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
FANTASTIC FOUR 57  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
TALES TO ASTONISH 86  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 43  /
cover by STEVE DITKO
TALES OF SUSPENSE 84  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
THOR 135  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
THE AVENGERS 35  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
SGT. FURY & HIS HOWLING SAVAGES 37  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
DAREDEVIL 23  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
X-MEN 27  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
(Continued in January 1967)

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

November 1966

(Continued from October 1966)

STRANGE TALES 150  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
FANTASTIC FOUR 56  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
TALES TO ASTONISH 85  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 42  /
cover by STEVE DITKO
TALES OF SUSPENSE 83  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
THOR 134  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
THE AVENGERS 34  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
SGT. FURY & HIS HOWLING SAVAGES 36  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
DAREDEVIL 22  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
X-MEN 26  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
(Continued in December 1966)

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

October 1966

(Continued from September 1966)

STRANGE TALES 149  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
FANTASTIC FOUR 55  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
TALES TO ASTONISH 84  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 41  /
cover by STEVE DITKO
TALES OF SUSPENSE 82  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
THOR 133  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
THE AVENGERS 33  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
SGT. FURY & HIS HOWLING SAVAGES 35  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
DAREDEVIL 21  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
X-MEN 25  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
(Continued in November 1966)

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

September 1966

(Continued from August 1966)

STRANGE TALES 148  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
FANTASTIC FOUR 54  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
TALES TO ASTONISH 83  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 40  /
cover by STEVE DITKO
TALES OF SUSPENSE 81  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
THOR 132  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
THE AVENGERS 32  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
SGT. FURY & HIS HOWLING SAVAGES 34  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
DAREDEVIL 20  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
X-MEN 24  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
(Continued in October 1966)

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

August 1966

(Continued from July 1966)

STRANGE TALES 147  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
FANTASTIC FOUR 53  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
TALES TO ASTONISH 82  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 39  /
cover by STEVE DITKO
TALES OF SUSPENSE 80  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
THOR 131  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
THE AVENGERS 31  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
SGT. FURY & HIS HOWLING SAVAGES 33  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
DAREDEVIL 19  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
X-MEN 23  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
(Continued in September 1966)

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

July 1966

(Continued from June 1966)

STRANGE TALES 146  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
FANTASTIC FOUR 52  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
TALES TO ASTONISH 81  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 38  /
cover by STEVE DITKO
TALES OF SUSPENSE 79  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
THOR 130  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
THE AVENGERS 30  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
SGT. FURY & HIS HOWLING SAVAGES 32  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
DAREDEVIL 18  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
X-MEN 22  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
(Continued in August 1966)

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

June 1966

(Continued from May 1966)

STRANGE TALES 145  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
FANTASTIC FOUR 51  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
TALES TO ASTONISH 80  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 37  /
cover by STEVE DITKO
TALES OF SUSPENSE 78  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
THOR 129  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
THE AVENGERS 29  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
SGT. FURY & HIS HOWLING SAVAGES 31  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
DAREDEVIL 17  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
X-MEN 21  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
(Continued in July 1966)

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

May 1966

(Continued from April 1966)

STRANGE TALES 144  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
FANTASTIC FOUR 50  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
TALES TO ASTONISH 79  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 36  /
cover by STEVE DITKO
TALES OF SUSPENSE 77  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
THOR 128  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
THE AVENGERS 28  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
SGT. FURY & HIS HOWLING SAVAGES 30  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
DAREDEVIL 16  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
X-MEN 20  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
(Continued in June 1966)

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

April 1966

(Continued from March 1966)

STRANGE TALES 143  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Mike Esposito
"TO FREE A BRAIN SLAVE"
Synopsis:
While SHIELD HQ is in the hands of Mentallo & The Fixer, and Fury a helpless prisoner, Dum Dum & his men prepare to strike back! Tony Stark takes command as the technos prepare his "Neutralizer". The ESP Division are unable to pick up any trace of Fury's thoughts, but the Doctor in charge of suspects Stark has a heart condition. The baddies attach a miniature H-Bomb to Fury's wrists, then remove the mind-control mask. Big mistake-- as Fury immediately begins thinking of an old war song, which acts as the "go" signal. After a burning chemical forces the baddies to remove their protective helmets, they come under attack by the ESP Division. While Fury holds out, Stark's Neutralizer disolves the H-Bomb! Mentallo & The Fixer fight to escape, but are quickly captured, with the help of SHIELD's "Metronome Unit". It's revealed that the ESP attack has destroyed Mentallos' powers, and that Fury was wearing a "Mental Transmitter" to contact them. But elsewhere, a jet takes off from The Heli-Carrier-- but is quickly shot down by a flying golden egg...

Indexer notes:
Part 3 of 3. Fixer mentions the H-Bomb was supplied by "THEM". The "Metronome Units" join the ranks of Jack Kirby's wildest design ideas. Without their helmets, The Fixer & Mentallo bear a striking resemblance to DC's Lex Luthor & Brainiac! (The bearded mind-reading Mentallo in particular may well have been the inspiration for John Byrne's human mentalist "Brainiac" who debuted in ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN #438 (March 1988).

"TO FREE A BRAIN SLAVE"
Tony Stark takes persona charge of the effort to free NICK FURY from Mentallo & The Fixer. JACK KIRBY supplies story & art, ye "editor" does dialogue, HOWARD PURCELL steps in supplying pencils, and Mike Esposito continues on inks. Purcell wasn't bad, not too flashy, but at least serviceable, and I preferred him over Severin or Heck.
     (3-11-2014)

"WITH NONE BESIDE ME!"
Synopsis:
Strange hides his bound body in a rooftop water tank, as The Demon & his men search for him. At their HQ, Strange retrieves his Cloak Of Levitation, and uses it to capture one of Mordo's men. But his body has been found by the witch. The complex cat-and-mouse game continues until Strange finally regains control of his body and Amulet, and he hypnotizes Mordo's minions into forgetting all they know of black magic. Now he is free again to focus on the remaining threat of Dormammu, and the missing Clea...

Indexer notes:
Part 14 of 17. 1st early DR. STRANGE story never reprinted until 1978.


FANTASTIC FOUR 49  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
"IF THIS BE DOOMSDAY"
The FF watch HELPLESS as The Watcher is incapable of talking Galactus out of DESTROYING all life on planet Earth. But he has a plan... JACK KIRBY supplies story & art for one of the most famous mini-epics of his entire career, ye "editor" fills balloons and JOE SINNOTT provides absolutely STUNNING inks. WHOA!!!!!
     (3-11-2014)


TALES TO ASTONISH 78  /
cover by Gene Colan & Vince Colletta
"THE PRINCE AND THE PUPPET!"
How many times does Namor have "misunderstandings" with surface-men? (Never mind that-- how many, MANY times do ALL Marvel heroes have "misunderstandings" with other heroes?) You'd think it'd get boring after awhile... Oh well, This story, which featured guest appearances of Hank Pym & Janet Van Dyne, served as a lead-in to their re-introduction to THE AVENGERS in issue #26 of that series (Mar'66-- it's really the same month as this one, but the cover dates on AVENGERS, DAREDEVIL, THOR and X-MEN were one month "off" for some reason, and stayed that way until the Nov'71 issues.)

10 months earlier, in STRANGE TALES #133 (Jun'65), Bob Powell had inexplicably given The Puppet Master (one of my LEAST-favorite villains in the entire Marvel Universe) a complete make-over, resulting in him no longer looking like Howdy Doody's evil twin brother and more like just your average short, bald, overweight schlep of a badguy. In that story, he claimed he did it so people wouldn't know who he was, but his "new" identity was found out only a few pages later... which shows just how efficient his planning tends to be. (Of course, I do find myself wondering if that wasn't supposed to be SOME OTHER VILLAIN entirely, and Stan's dialogue either mistook it for or just changed him to The Puppet Master, but that's something others can debate.)

At any rate, this annoying, sick psycho is back, still with his "new" look, and looking more ominous than ever under Gene Colan & Vince Colletta.

Page 7: WHAT a cool shot! Might have made a nice poster, if not for all that repetitive dialogue all over it.
     (12-30-2010)

"THE HULK MUST DIE!"
Exactly TWO YEARS after DAREDEVIL #1, Bill Everett finally returned to Marvel full-time, and of course, where else should he find himself but in TALES TO ASTONISH. But NOT doing his own creation, SUB-MARINER-- no! Instead, he was doing pencils AND inks over Jack Kirby's layouts on THE HULK. Well, this is certainly the most "different" The Hulk has looked since Steve Ditko worked on it. The drawing is a lot more "cartoony", but the linework is a lot SHARPER and SLICKER than Mike Esposito or any dozen other inkers could ever dream of accomplishing. DAMN, is this guy GOOD!!!

That General Ross-- he thought he had security problems with Bruce Banner. This issue, he's got one he doesn't even KNOW about, in the form of Dr. Konrad Zaxon, allegedly a top US scientist, but unless I'm mistaken, another foreign spy out to steal secrets and the like. In this case, he's figured out how to draw the incredible life-force power from the Hulk to use it as part of a highly-destructive weapon-- killing greenskin in the process.

Presumably for protection, he dons a suit of armor... and we get to see what IRON MAN might have looked like if Bill Everett had created the character back in the early 50's, instead of Jack Kirby in the early 60's. (I know Kirby worked on this episode, but under Everett's full art, he could have been doing stick-figures for all I know!) Everett's sense of design is unique in the 60's, as his machinery could easily have turned up decades earlier.

For the first time in quite awhile, the Hulk is imprisoned by the Army, and Zaxon deliberately lets him loose so he can siphon his power off (and kill him, of course). It looks like we could have an episode-long battle royal next time. But looks can be deceiving!
     (12-30-2010)

"THE PRINCE AND THE PUPPET"
SUB-MARINER falls victim to the M.U.'s answer Howdy Doody. GENE COLAN supplies story & art, ye "editor" does dialogue, and Vince "Who IS this guy?" Colletta does his final inks on Subby (for now).
     (3-11-2014)

"THE HULK MUST DIE!"
This follows up on the shocking revelation that Bruce Banner has a problem being green. JACK KIRBY supplies story & art, ye "editor" does dialogue (making HULK dumber and dumber with each passing episode), while BILL EVERETT comes aboard supplying pencils & inks. WOW!!! Now this is really COOL!
     (3-11-2014)


AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 35  /
cover by STEVE DITKO and Jack Kirby & Sol Brodsky
Review  (coming soon)


TALES OF SUSPENSE 76  /
cover by Jack Kirby & John Romita
"HERE LIES HIDDEN... THE UNSPEAKABLE ULTIMO!"
IRON MAN battles a collossaal robot that would give ULTRA MAN a run for his money. And while that's going on in the far east, back home, Senator Byrd, tired of Tony Stark failing to cooperate with his Senate investigating committee, decided to put out a warrant for his arrest, and SHUT DOWN his factory in the process. GENE COLAN suppies story & art, ye "editor" does dialogue, and JACK ABEL makes it look so pretty with his inks.

I would like to point out, that while the dialogue gives every indication that THE MANDARIN is the one who somehow created ULTIMO, this doesn't really make sense, and much-later writers totally contradicted this, indicating that he FOUND the robot, an ALIEN construct-- just as he FOUND his 10 power-rings. Was this meant to be the original intent, and ye "editor" just WASN'T PAYING ATTENTION again while banging the typewriter keys, or, like a typical "Hollywood kinda guy", did he just figure, in his own arrogance, that he had "A REALLY COOL IDEA!", and decide to F*** over the story, regardless of how little sense it might make doing so?

"THE GLADIATOR, THE GIRL AAND THE GLORY"
CAPTAIN AMERICA join forces with Batroc Ze Lepair, while SHIELD Agent 13 thinks CAP's turned rogue. But he's just trying to save her life-- and that of the lives of everyone in New York City-- by retrieving the damaged canister before it goes critical and causes mass devastation. CAP has a brief run-in with the mysterious "Them", who brag about having bottomless bank accounts to finance their cause. Sound like NEO-NAZIS to me, what about you? (Sounds like NEO-CONSERVATIVES, too, come to think of it.)

JACK KIRBY supplies story & layouts, ye "editor" does dialogue, and JOHN ROMITA supplies pencils & inks. WOW!!!!! It's too bad these guys didn't stay together on this series for a nice long haul. This is WAY better than Romita's run on DAREDEVIL.
     (3-11-2014)


THOR 127  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Vince Colletta
"THE HAMMER AND THE HOLOCAUST!"
from the GCD: "Synopsis: The weakened and defeated Thor returns to Asgard where he finds Seidring has taken over. He battles the 'odin power' and defeats Seidring only to collapse himself."

Seems like Odin can't trust ANYBODY except the SON who's proven over and over and over to him how loyal and truthful he is. It's like Dale Arden & Flash Gordon in the newspaper strip. No matter how much Flash PROVED himself, no matter how much he risked his LIFE to save her, Dale KEPT accusing him of chasing every other woman in sight. Maybe Flash should have hooked up with Prince Barin. Those two could have given Dale & Aura something to think about.

JACK KIRBY doth supply wondrous story & art beyond the normal scope of mere funny-books! Yon weasely "editor" doth filleth in the word balloons while cravenly STEALING credit & pay for the entire story; and Vince "sword-carrier" Colletta maketh with the multitudinous ink lines. MISS IT NOT!!

"THE MEANING OF RAGNAROK!"
from the GCD: "Synopsis: Volla reveals the events of the day of Ragnarok."

The cycle of the gods is UNVEILED in all its darkly portent. The only question one MIGHT ask is... are the events on display a foreboding a a future yet to come-- or a look into the dim recesses of the past, showing how an EARLIER cycle of Norse gods didst destroy themselves, but were reborn in the form of the "Marvel Universe" Norse gods??? OR-- BOTH???

JACK KIRBY supplies story & art, ye "editor" does dialogue, and Vince "I don't get it" Colletta does inks. VERILY!

While I read the lead story in MARVEL TREASURY EDITION #3 (1974), the back-up I have in MARVEL SPECTACULAR #12 (also 1974). Oddly enough, this issue is one that falls thru the cracks in between THOR MASTERWORKS Vol.3 and ESSENTIAL THOR Vol.3, and so is one of many I've either had to track down originals of, or, read the poorly-reproduced 70's reprints of. I just didn't feel like buying an entire extra reprint volume to get a FEW issues I was still missing.
    (3-11-2014)


THE AVENGERS 27  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Don Heck
"FOUR AGAINST THE FLOODTIDE"
After Hank Pym has finally convinced the team that, YES, he's GIANT-MAN, they save NYC from destruction by Attuma and a machine that can generate destructive tidal waves. DON HECK supplies story & art, ye "editor" does dialogue, and Frank Giacoia does inks.
     (3-11-2014)


SGT. FURY & HIS HOWLING HOLOCAUSTERS 29  /
cover by Dick Ayers & John Tartaglione
"ARMAGEDDON!"
Baron Strucker returns. Former high school English teacher and lifelong DC fanboy Roy Thomas joins the team, and it's difficult to know whether he actually wrote this issue, or just the dialogue. DICK AYERS certainly did the art, possibly much more, and John Tartaglione did inks.
     (3-11-2014)


DAREDEVIL 15  /
cover by John Romita & Frank Giacoia
"AND MEN SHALL CALL HIM OX"
A mad scientist swaps brains with one of Jack Kirby's lesser SPIDER-MAN villains, and winds up paying for it in the process. JOHN ROMITA returns DD to NYC, and already things improve tremendously, as he supplies story & art. Ye "editor" does dialogue, and Frank Giacoia does inks.
     (3-11-2014)


X-MEN 19  /
cover by Werner Roth & Dick Ayers  (alterations by Marie Severin)
"LO, NOW SHALL APPEAR-- THE MIMIC!"
I'd sure like to know who's got this increasing leaning toward flowery or "Biblical" sounding story titles. A rather lame and annoying villain makes his debut. WERNER ROTH supplies story, art & cover, and possibly even the villain; ye "editor" does dialogue, and Dick Ayers does inks. Not very memorable, unfortunately. I forgot to mention, but #17 was Kirby's last issue on story & layouts. With Roth flying solo, the "editor" apparently became desperate to find someone to fill in for him, since a number of these "DC" kinda guys weren't too hot in the writing department. But then, NEITHER was the "editor".
     (3-11-2014)


(Continued in May 1966)

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

March 1966

(Continued from February 1966)

STRANGE TALES 142  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Mike Esposito
"WHO STRIKES AT--- SHIELD?"
Synopsis:
After a new "Wild Bill" robot goes wild, Fury checks out the "Encephalogram-Inducer", which, when hooked into the "Brainwave Stimulator" can transform the thoughts of the ESP Division into images. (Wha'd he say?) Mentallo breaches multiple defenses of The Fixer's underwater base, then convinces him to join forces. Fury contacts another SHIELD base for info about "Inferno 42" and Batroc The Leaper. Mentallo & The Fixer travel underground to SHIELD HQ in a "Thru-The-Ground Tank", which The Fixer mentions was supplied by "THEM". The Fixer uses "Jericho Tubes" to knock a hole in a 20-foot-thick concrete wall. Inside SHIELD HQ, he uses a "Static Distorter" to cut off all outside communications. After making it thru several more traps, Mentallo & The Fixer take on Fury & his men directly, using "Element Z" to render everyone unconscious. Placing an electronic mask on Fury's face, The Fixer turns him into a mindless slave...

Indexer notes:
Part 2 of 3. Story occurs concurrently with TALES OF SUSPENSE #75 (March 1966). 1st mention of "THEM". Fixer’s "Thru-The-Ground-Tank" strikingly similar to the ones used by The Hate Monger in FANTASTIC FOUR #21 (December 1963) and The Rabble Rouser in STRANGE TALES #119 (April 1964), suggesting a connection between them and "THEM". 3rd & final SHIELD episode where Jack Kirby did full pencils. Kirby would next do full pencils on Nick Fury in the Captain America story in TALES OF SUSPENSE #78 (June 1966).

"WHO STRIKES AT-- SHIELD?"
The answer is, Mentallo & The Fixer, though the latter is using some very advanced technology for a solo baddie. This includes-- no S***-- the "Thru-The-Ground Tank" previously seen in "The Hate Monger" and "The Rabble Rouser" stories, which he tells his partner he got from "Them". This means, Marvel's answer to Lex Luthor is getting weapons from the SAME people who supplied ADOLPH HITLER! As NICK FURY prepares for their assault, he's in touch with other SHIELD branches, and gets an update about that canister Agent 13 is delivering. The Marvel Universe is starting to become a smaller place, with all these inter-related threads going on-- almost all courtesy of one man. JACK KIRBY supplies story & art (his 3rd & final time doing full pencils on this series), ye "editor" does dialogue, and Mike Esposito steps in as inker. I really WISH they could have gotten WALLY WOOD instead... Esposito's inks have already hit a new low in quality.
     (3-9-2014)

"THOSE WHO WOULD DESTROY ME!"
Synopsis:
Realizing he can sense no trace of Mordo in his sanctum, Strange realizes an enemy must have erased it for some purpose. He finds the bomb, and tosses it high into the sky to explode. Stunned by the blast, he's captured by Mordo's 3 minions, who so imprison him that he cannot use his magic. Strange sends a telepathic thought to The Ancient One, but cannot contact him as his Master has sent his spirit form to search for the missing Clea. While 2 of Mordo's minions study Strange's cloak & amulet, The Demon tries to probe his mind-- but Strange is too powerful for him, and takes control instead! Strange fights a desperate battle, barely escaping his captors. But with his body still imprisoned, and without his cloak or amulet, things look dark indeed...

Indexer notes:
Part 13 of 17. The Witch, Kaecilius, and the Demon names revealed in DOCTOR STRANGE #56 (December 1982).


FANTASTIC FOUR 48  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
"THE COMING OF GALACTUS"
Maximus pulls the trigger on a weapon he believes will wipe out all humanity on Earth. But it doesn't work. So then, he pulls out another device, which creates a "NEGATIVE ZONE", an impenetrable barrier to cover the entire Inhumans' city, trapping all of them inside WITH HIM. The FF barely escape, but Johnny & Crytal are separated. The horror! The heartbreak! Reed vows he will do whatever he can to find a way to break thru the barrier...

...but meanwhile, inexplicably, solar flares & asteroids seem to cover the Earth, and back home, The Watcher tells the FF he's trying to HIDE the entire planet, in order to save it, from... THE SILVER SURFER. A guy on a flying surfboard. No S***. But it doesn't work, and he lands on the roof of The Baxter Building (what are the odds?) and sends a signal to his master... GALACTUS... who arrives in a collosal spaceship, announcing he will now DESTROY THE ENTIRE PLANET.

I ask you... WHAT kind of mind does it take to jump from one multi-part story to another-- 8 PAGES into a 20-page comic-book???

This is often considered THE high point, THE greatest, best, most incredible, etc. etc. etc. FF story ever ever ever. As my Dad used to say (infuriatingly)... "OH I DON'T THINK SO." But, that's me.

I first saw this on the 1967 Hanna-Barbera F.F. cartoon show, adapted by Alex Toth. He had the sense to snip off the part with the Inhumans. He also replaced Alicia with Sue, but then Alicia wasn't a regular on the show (too bad).
Part 5 of 5 --and-- Part 1 of 3.

JACK KIRBY supplies story & art, ye "editor" does dialogue, and JOE SINNOTT does the slickest inks ever seen in this universe!

This was also adapted-- VERY BADLY-- into a live-action F.F. movie. The comic is better. HELL, the ALEX TOTH cartoon is better!!!
     (3-8-2014)


TALES TO ASTONISH 77  /
cover by Jack Kirby & John Romita
My copy of this one was pretty beat-up, despite costing me more than the rest. (That's because I bought quite a few years after the previous ones, because I just really wanted the original printing.) I lost track of how many hours it took to clean this up... looks like it was WORTH it, though, doesn't it?

John Romita had just returned to Marvel from DC a couple months earlier, and had done 1 issue of THE AVENGERS and either 2 or 3 episodes of DAREDEVIL when he branched out on HULK. What a cover!! Romita has said in many interviews that all he wanted to do at Marvel was ink. It's clear he could have been one of Jack Kirby's best inkers (and probably a lot of other people's as well), but that wasn't what Stan had in mind.

"TO WALK AMONGST MEN!"
If this issue's SUB-MARINER episode proves anything, it's that Gene Colan had a thing for "military" stuff. He does those frogmen so good, you wonder why he's "wasting" his time with super-heroes! Namor, meanwhile, still has a LOT to learn about being the monarch of a small country. Like, you just don't go charging in somewhere INCOGNITO and expect to be recognized diplomatically, which might have made a lot of things a LOT easier for him over the years.
     (12-30-2010)

"TO WALK AMONGST MEN"
A new SUB-MARINER storyline begins. He has a run-in with Hank & Jan (remember them?) while the now-exiled Warlord Krang plots & schemes to find a way to get back at him and take over the throne of Atlantis. GENE COLAN supplies story & art, ye "editor" does dialogue, and Vince "Get me outta here" Colletta does his final job on inking Subby-- for awhile.
     (3-9-2014)

Now we come to the 3rd episode of HULK I ever read:
"BRUCE BANNER IS THE HULK!"
After suffering thru months on end of Mike Esposito, John Romita's linework is a welcome breath of fresh air. Look how SMOOTH those lines are! DAMN, he's good!!! (The printing on the splash page leaves a bit to be desired, though-- they must have had a problem with the color plate registration here.)

I remember the first time I read this thinking this was the best-looking art of the 3-parter, and while it's very nice, looking at it now, Romita's HULK somehow seems "generic" compare to Esposito's or Kane's. Kane's, especially, had a lot more "personality". Maybe if they'd teamed Kane & Romita up... (that would come later, of course-- heehee)

As usual, the BEST part of the episode is Jack Kirby's storytelling. It's awesome to behold when The HULK just flies into a rage at the thought of being KNOCKED DOWN by anybody, let alone as Asgardian.

On page 20, Major Talbot shows more warmth and human compassion than he's EVER exhibited in the entire series up to this point. Maybe with his romantic rival believed DEAD, the sexual tension is off somewhat (not that Kirby or Lee would have focused on that). What surprises me is how much in the first panel Rick Jones resembles Robert Walker (Sr. or Jr., take yer pick), who he also resembled in the Kirby-Stone art for "The Army Of Assassins Strikes!" in SUSPENSE #60 (Dec'64). Few artists ever take the trouble to make some characters consistent in appearance. I have to figure it was Jack Kirby's doing in this case.

What a SHOCK at the bottom of the page when The HULK does a "180" and tries to save the city. I mean, what did they ever do for HIM? And sure enough, on the next page, the city dwellers, after seeing his heroics, conclude that he did it so HE could take over the city. (At least, according to Stan's dialogue.) Weren't they listening AT ALL in the previous installment when he said over and over that he just didn't care about them, and all he wanted was to get back to his own time? I'd say they didn't DESERVE to be saved.

That's another baffling thing about this episode. I wonder WHY he keeps thinking any of these characters would just happen to have time-travel equipment laying around for his convenience? (As far as I know, The Executioner did not have the power of time-travel, nor would he have any reason to use if it he did.)

The last-page revelation isn't much fo a surprise for the readers, considering the name of the story and the way it was plastered all over the front cover. But Talbot sure is surprised. But then, he never seemed that bright from the day he first showed up at Ross's missile base. You'd THINK his suddenly learning the truth about Bruce Banner might change his attitude toward the guy... but as we'll see, not really.

Like many before him, Romita didn't stick around. While continuing to work on DAREDEVIL, the month after this he moved over to TALES OF SUSPENSE to do 2 episodes of CAPTAIN AMERICA-- a character he'd first done in the early 1950's! Personally, I think he was a better fit there, and he might have stuck around a lot longer than he did, if it hadn't been for Steve Ditko's abrupt departure from the company.

It's just as well... the next issue would FINALLY bring some stability to the feature, from a surprising source.
     (12-30-2010)

"BRUCE BANNER IS THE HULK!"
Yes, folks, his secret is out, though not until the last page, when career rat Glenn Talbot manages to pressure it out of a emotionally-exhausted Rick Jones, who figures, his friend is dead, what does it matter now? But Hulk's in the far future-- fighting, surprisingly, NOT Kang The Conqueror, but The Executioner!! What's HE doing in the future, some might ask? Though NEVER explained, the answer is simple-- he's IMMORTAL. This is what happens when you have 2 writers working on the same stories, and the one doing dialogue isn't paying attention. Too bad this never crossed Gary "burnout" Friedrich's mind a couple years later when he did a sequel, and suggested-- WRONGLY--- that the Asgardian rogue had inexplicably time-travelled there as well. JACK KIRBY supplies story & layouts, ye "editor" does dialogue, and JOHN ROMITA does pencils & inks! While Romita's Hulk, when he goes solo, looks like a gorilla, working with Kirby, he's a lot more interesting-- though, looking back, I think I preferred the Kirby-Kane version of the month before.
     (3-9-2014)


AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 34  /
cover by STEVE DITKO
Review  (coming soon)


TALES OF SUSPENSE 75  /
cover by Gene Colan & Jack Abel
"THE FURY OF.. THE FREAK!"
Happy Hogan, via a medical accident, has been turned into The Hulk's mute cousin... gee, I wonder if THIS is where the Bill Bixby TV show REALLY got its origin story from? IRON MAN has to do battle with one of his only real friends in the world, and try not to get either of them killed. GENE COLAN supplies story & art, ye "editor" does dialogue, and JACK ABEL does some of the prettiest inks you've ever seen.

"30 MINUTES TO LIVE"
CAPTAIN AMERICA is caught in between a beautiful blonde working for SHIELD, and a fatuous Frenchman with a mania for savate working for someone called "Them", all trying to get their hands on a canister of highly DANGEROUS material that could destroy all of NYC! JACK KIRBY does story & layouts, ye "editor" does dialogue, DICK AYERS supplies the pencils while John Tartaglione does the inks (I guess the latter 2 are on loan from SGT. FURY). The debut of BATROC ze Lepair-- and, "Agent 13"!!!
     (3-9-2014)


THOR 126  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Vince Colletta
"WHOM THE GODS WOULD DESTROY!"
from the GCD: "Synopsis: Thor and Hercules fight over Jane Foster. Odin, still angry because Thor revealed his identity to Jane, removes half Thor's powers by giving 'Odin Power' to Seidring. Hercules defeats Thor."

Possibly the single most overblown, bombastic, over-the-top one-on-one knock-down drag-out in all of 60's Marvel is presented herein! Hercules beats Thor, but ONLY because Odin wanted him to. After, dejected, feeling he is not worthy of Jane's love, Thor wanders off, only for Jane, who started the whole thing by flirting with Herc because she felt she was being ignored, regrets her deeds, and, at Odin's urging, goes after her man! Sheesh.

JACK KIRBY supplies story & stupendous, eye-popping artwork; ye "editor" completely overdoes it with the dialogue, having the characters talk talk talk NON-STOP even though such should be impossible in the midst of such a heated battle; and Vince "Who's the hero again?" Colletta lays waste the rubble with an endless barrage of fine-line inking. NOT to be missed! NOT to be BELIEVED!

I first read this in MARVEL TREASURY EDITION #3 (1974).

"THE SUMMONS!"
from the GCD: "Synopsis: The Argonauts are called home to Asgard by Odin."

Thor flies to confront Queel Ula face-to-face, demanding that she set Loki free. Makes a complete farce of Loki's life-long claims that Thor NEVER stuck up for him, doesn't it? Ula reminds me an awful lot of the "Lightning Lady" from CAPTAIN VICTORY, which makes sense, if you figure in reincarnation in the cycle of the gods. Before much can happen, the entire crew of the Argo is summoned home by Odin, who apparently has found out some important information about something called... "RAGNAROK".

JACK KIRBY supplies story & art! Ye "editor" does dialogue! Vince "Geez, how many characters are in this thing?" Colletta lays down the ink lines. A CLASSIC!
     (3-8-2014)


THE AVENGERS 26  /
cover by Don Heck & Frank Giacoia
"THE VOICE OF THE WASP"
Jan contacts the team by radio to warn them of another impending invasion by ATTUMA, savage underwater barbarian leader & all-around nasty person. DON HECK supplies story & art, ye "editor" does dialogue, and Frank Giacoia comes aboard on inks. I guess it helps that he's not on CAP or SGT. FURY anymore. While not as good as Wood or Romita, Giacoia on Heck is a definite step UP from Ayers on Heck. And just in time, too, as Janet Van Dyne, who no longer wears a mask, even when in her "Wasp" costumes, is just prettier than ever-- as is Wanda, The Scarlet Witch. These are 2 rare instances when characters created by Jack Kirby were drawn much better-looking by Don Heck!
     (3-9-2014)


SGT. FURY & HIS HOWLING DEATH SQUAD 28  /
cover by Dick Ayers & John Tartaglione
"NOT A MAN SHALL REMAIN ALIVE!"
DICK AYERS supplies story & art, ye "editor" does dialogue, and Italian partisan fighter on call John Tartaglione inks it all. I really should get around to reading more of these one of these years.
     (3-9-2014)


DAREDEVIL 14  /
cover by John Romita & Frank Giacoia
"IF THIS BE JUSTICE!"
A chaotic ramble as Matt Murdock helps jungle wild-man Ka-Zar reclaim his British Lord inheritance, while tackling his career criminal pirate brother "The Plunderer". Foggy & Karen are surprised to learn Matt is still alive (after being listed as "lost at sea") and following a reunion, Matt decides to rejoin the firm. JOHN ROMITA does his first "solo" issue, supplying story & art (while finishing out the story Jack Kirby and several others had a hand in getting started); ye "editor" does dialogue & Frank Giacoia comes aboard on inks. It's STILL pretty awful, but things will get better next issue. Really. Honest.
     (3-9-2014)


X-MEN 18  /
cover by Jack Kirby, Werner Roth & Sol Brodsky
"IF ICEMAN SHOULD FAIL"
Magneto has captured & trapped the team in an inescapable doom trap (as "strange Albania genius" Eivol Ekdol might call it), and only Iceman is loose to save their cabooses. JACK KIRBY supplies story & layouts, ye "editor" does dialogue, WERNER ROTH supplies pencils & the nicest guy in the business, dependable Dick Ayers, does inks. Part 2 of 2, sadly, not very memorable. Oh well.
     (3-9-2014)


(Continued in April 1966)

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

February 1966

(Continued from January 1966)

STRANGE TALES 141  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Frank Giacoia
OPERATION: "BRAIN BLAST!"
Synopsis:
As SHIELD mops ups the HYDRA thugs, Fury, Dum Dum, Gabe & Agent G head upstairs to capture Imperial Hydra, using a "Bazooka Drill" to tear thru a solid steel door barring their path. In the Imperial Industries International boardroom, Arnold Brown hesitates over the destruct button, unable to kill his daughter along with everyone else. His bodyguards emerge from the passageway, and not believing he's their leader, shoot him dead! Fury & his men burst into the room, killing the assassins as they attempt to flee. Fury has Agent G demonstrate a pair of "Vacuum-sole" shoes, which allow one to walk up or down a sheer wall-- and in front of a dumbfounded Dum Dum, he allows her to escape. Fury gives them each a week off, saying he's "sicka lookin' at yer ugly pans". He then pilots the stolen HYDRA saucer thru a secret "escape tunnel" under the city. Elsewhere, SHIELD's new E.S.P. Division decide to demonstrate their "Brainwave Stimulator" by sending Fury a mental warning of a mock attack. Elsewhere we meet Mentallo, who can project thoughts into images. Formerly a member of SHIELD, he'd tried using his power to take over, but escaped when he was discovered. SHIELD is working to duplicate his power with machinery, and he fears he must destroy them before they can find a defense against him. He picks up mental images of a criminal known as The Fixer, who manages a seemingly-impossible jailbreak with equipment built from using common objects! Mentallo hatches a plan to join forces with The Fixer, and together, "rule mankind". Fury fears that Mentallo could destroy SHIELD single-handedly...

Indexer notes:
Part 7 of 7 / Part 1 of 3. 1st appearance of SHIELD's E.S.P. Division, Mentallo, The Fixer. In this episode, Arnold Brown bears a resemblance to actor Walter Pidgeon. 2nd of only 3 SHIELD episodes on which Jack Kirby did full pencils. The new story starts on page 8; when Stan Lee wrote "at that very moment", he should really have said "a week later", as reading the page literally makes it appear Fury (who was heading for dinner & a long sleep) was in 2 places at the same time!

"OPERATION: BRAIN BLAST!"
Arnold Brown, cornered, cannot bring himself to push the destruct button, and kill his own daughter along with the attacking SHIELD commandos. Fate plays an even crueler trick, when 2 of his own bodyguards race into the room, and, not recognizing him without his Hydra robes, SHOOT him dead!! A moment later, they're gunned down by SHIELD agents while trying to escape. Nick decides, for her help, to give Laura a chance to escape scot free, to the EXTREME consternation of Dugan. Fury then orders Dugan & Jones to take a week's leave, as he "sick o' lookin' at yer ugly pans."

And so, the first act of NICK FURY AGENT OF SHIELD comes to an abrubt end-- exactly HALFWAY thru an episode. This was exactly ONE MONTH before this kind of stunt was pulled again-- over in FF #48. Anyway, Nick goes off to get a week's worth of shuteye...

...on his return, he's hit by a mental blast as the new SHIELD E.S.P. Division is giving their agents a test-run. It seems one of their own, who went rogue (or, was a double-agent all along) has bolted, and, now calling himself "Mentallo", has sworn to come back and take down the entire organization. And as if that's not bad enough, he's hooked up with a criminal scientist nick-named "The Fixer", who managed to break out of a maximum security prison using devices created from common handy items. Has SHIELD taken down a threat to the entire world, only to fall prey to just TWO men, who are the Marvel Universe's "answer" to "Brainiac" and "Lex Luthor"?????

JACK KIRBY supplies story & art this time, only the 2nd episode in which he's had a chance to do FULL pencils, and the art is looking MUCH better for it. Ye "editor" does dialogue, but once again, is JUST NOT paying attention. The segue where Nick takes a break before returning reads, "In another part of SHIELD HQ", which suggests he was in TWO places at the same time. Clearly, it should have said, "A WEEK LATER..." Honestly, the level of incompetence in the dialogue stage sometimes is positively mind-boggling. Not incompetent at all this time out is FRANK GIACOIA, who in my opinion does the BEST inking job on this entire run!!! Yep, this gets my vote for the BEST-looking episode of the entire JACK KIRBY run of NICK FURY AGENT OF SHIELD. Part 7 of 7 -and- Part 1 of 3. Absolutely ESSENTIAL!!!!!
     (3-7-2014)

"LET THERE BE VICTORY!"
Synopsis:
Enraged that Mordo has soured his victory, Dormammu consigns him to the Dimension of Demons. But as Dormammu begins to declare himself victor, Strange declares he is able to continue the fight. Fooling Dormammu into thinking he's not fully recovered, Strange manages to best him in combat! In front of the assembled dimensional rulers, Dormammu is forced to swear not to attack Earth-- but also plans vengeance on Strange. Back in The Ancient One's home, Hamir prepares a banquet for Strange & his master. After, Dormammu contacts Strange; in punishment for her twice helping Strange, Dormammu banishes Clea to "a place where you can never find her". While he boasts that he has actually won, Dormammu's rage against his defeat grows stronger by the minute. The Ancient One assures Strange that thanks to his victory, there are many who may now be able to help in his search for the girl. The Mystic Globe, with Mordo's spell removed, shows traces of leftover evil spreading, which must be eliminated. Back in Strange's home in NYC, Mordo's Demon & 2 desciples, unable to sense their master, depart, but not before leaving a purely non-magical trap for Strange-- a bomb! Strange returns home, looking forward to rest, unaware that he is in imminent danger...

Indexer notes:
Part 12 of 17. Hamir (The Ancient One's servant) named for 1st time in this episode. Mordo's Demon last seen in STRANGE TALES #132 (May 1965). Although 4 different reprintings end here, this is obviously NOT the end of the story, as it continues on until STRANGE TALES #146 (July 1966).

"LET THERE BE VICTORY"
DR. STRANGE actually manages to beat Dorammu at his own game, causing the other-dimensional ruler to become utterly & completely enraged. He vows NEVER to attack Earth again, but makes up for it by gloating as he sends the girl who helped Strange to some nether-dimension where he will never find her. And, back home, 3 of Mordo's lackeys plant a TIME BOMB in his house, which, having no magical qualities about it, they feel sure will be his downfall. What a cliffhanger!

STEVE DITKO supplies story & full art, while ye "editor" does dialogue. Part 12 of 17-- yes, in spite of everything, this is NOT by any means the end of things yet!

You know, I've long felt they screwed up big-time with the 1st DS MASTERWORKS book, in that it ended here. Another 50 pages and they could have crammed the ENTIRE Steve Ditko run into a single volume.
     (3-7-2014)


FANTASTIC FOUR 47  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
"BEWARE THE HIDDEN LAND"
After saving Triton's life, Reed ignores the warning of The Seeker, and tracks down his destination, the city of The Inhumans high in THE ANDES of South America. Ooh. En route Sue changes her hairstyle to the one favored by Diana Rigg on THE AVENGERS. Turns out Black Bolt is the KING of his people, except there's been a coup, as his evil-- and, clearly, INSANE-- brother-- has taken control while he was away. Or, was he DRIVEN away? This reminds me of the "WKRP" episode where Jennifer Marlowe got engaged to Prince Rudolpho, ruler of a country so tiny it makes Monaco look big by comparison, and learned his brother "Rudy the bartender" took over the casino while he was out romancing his bride-to-be. The sad thing about all this is, the more one reads and re-read these episodes, the more clear it is that the "editor" was just NOT PAYING ATTENTION when he wrote the dialogue and stole credit for the stories. PLOT-HOLES cropped up, which wouldn't have taken very much effort at all to fix... as proved by the early-90's FF tv cartoon that adapted this story!

JACK KIRBY supplies story & art, "ye editor" does the dialogue, and JOE SINNOTT gives it a gleam to knock your eyes out at the inks stage. Part 4 of 5 (or is that 4 and a half?).
     (3-7-2014)


TALES TO ASTONISH 76  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Vince Colletta
"UNEASY HANGS THE HEAD..!"
Vince Colletta does an interesting job here, but Namor's chest and left arm have a rough look about them that reminds me of a lot of the work he did in the 70's and beyond. One of those instances where I'd wonder, tight deadline, bored, or an assistant's work?

Page 1: This scene (WHAT, NO BACKGROUND AT ALL?) somehow reminds me of the climax of the movie SOLOMON AND SHEBA, with Warlord Krang taking the George Sanders part & Namor, Yul Brynner.  (Well, Brynner DID have hair in that movie.) This inspired me to check the film out at the IMDB, having seen it on some TV station a few years ago.  (I forget if it was TCM or Trinity.) What a shock to learn that 75% of the film-- King Vidor's last-- was completed when lead actor Tyrone Power DROPPED DEAD!! All his scenes had to be re-shot with Brynner, which MAY explain to some extent why so many reviewers feel the people he's acting with seem bored and detached. I can imagine them all feeling, "What, I've got to do this AGAIN?"

Page 6 reminds me of a page Kirby did back in the early 40's. I'm reminded how in the Marvel Universe, Namor's people bear NO resemblance to how they looked in the 40's.

Page 12: Is this a bit of retroactive continuity, Stan's bad memory, or could he just not have been bothered looking it up? Namor says his kingdom was the victim of atomic testing, which caused them to scatter to the undersea winds... "two decades ago".  As this is 1966, that would make it 1946. I've read so pitifully few 1940's SUB-MARINER comics, but can anyone cofirm or deny if this was ever mentioned before? Back in FF #4 & 6, there was a lot of talk about Namor's kingdom being destroyed, but the impression I always had was that happened AFTER his 1950's adventures, not years before.
     (12-29-2010)

"UNEASY HANGS THE HEAD"
The conclusion / epilogue to SUB-MARINER's overlong, interminable quest for Neptune's trident. GENE COLAN supplies story & art, ye "editor" does dialogue, and Vince "sleep with the fishes" Colletta puts his pens to work. Part 7 of 7.
     (3-7-2014)

"I, AGAINST A WORLD!"
And now we come to the 2ND HULK episode I ever read, courtesy of HULK ANNUAL #4 (1972). WHO KNEW this was GIL KANE's debut at 60's Marvel? Using the name "Scott Edward", his pencils are wedged in between Jack Kirby's layouts and Mike Esposito's inks. As a result, the storytelling is AWESOME, but very little of Gil OR Mike's styles get to shine. It's usually better when they only have 2 artists-- either pencils and inks, or layouts and finishes. Please note for comparison the 1972 version of the splash page. A LOT of lines seem to be missing from that. BAD reprint reproduction, or was the original altered before printing and the reprint is the "un-altered" version?? The color job the 2nd time around doesn't do any favors. All those grey weapons that are now blue, and the pale yellow credit blurb also now blue. The only thing on this page that really looks "Kane" to me are the weapons.

Page 14: Doesn't that leader look like he had Steve Ditko for a costume designer?

Page 15: That weapon looks more "Kane" than "Kirby" to me, though with that big tail-piece, one wonders HOW the hell it manages to fire without tearing off the top of the rack it's fired from? The figure in the last panel is where Kane really starts to show thru.

Page 16: That whatever-it-is reminds me of a gadget Mattel once had for MAJOR MATT MASON, except it was built as an exo-skeleton of sorts for a man in the middle of it to "wear" and control.

Page 17 is "Kane" ALL OVER! The faces of the characters, ESPECIALLY Ross, and that complex machinery in the 1st panel-- KIRBY never did anything that looked like THAT! Considering how much I've disliked Gil Kane's work at times over the years, it strikes me Kirby & Kane might have made a very interesting team, if they'd worked together on a regular basis like this. But as far as I know, this episode was the ONLY time it ever happened.

Ross is somebody I tend to HATE.  In fact, I actually WORKED for a guy JUST like him a decade back, who was a software designer. Brilliant, but EXPLOSIVE temper and not shy about tearing into the people working for him with no provocation. Still, for once, I get a kick out of Ross's attitude here, when he stands up to one of HIS superiors, telling the man, "Don't let that one extra star go to your head!" By this point, under Kirby (and whoever), Talbot no longer looks like Lee Van Cleef (the way Ditko used to draw him), but Ross here DOES remind me of British actor Thorley Walters, who I've found in recent years played a LOT of army types in the 50's and early 60's. And, if you've ever seen him as the police inspector in FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED, you can see the resemblance in the personality as well.

Page 18: What a COOL "bunker". Definitely "Kane" (not "Kirby"). This could easily have stepped right out of any of Kane's later sci-fi works, like STAR HAWKS, or his later GREEN LANTERN episodes.

I love the Hulk's thoughts in this sequence. "So THIS is the world of the FUTURE! It's just a big NOTHIN'!!"  ...and...  "...I got a lot of PAYIN' BACK to do! But before I take this place APART..." I suppose some new reader might wonder, "THIS is the HERO???" The way Kirby & Kane draw the Hulk here, he reminds me a lot of Aurora's "BIG FRANKIE" model kit, which was a giant, 2-foot high, short, squat Frankenstein they had on the market in the early 60's. I've often wondered if one might have influenced the other...

Page 19: Any other character might have at least considered an offer from the "king", but not greeenskin. "That's YOUR problem! I Got OTHER things on my mind!"

Page 22: The "walking pillboxes" are straight out of WAR OF THE WORLDS. One must have expected alien invaders from another planet. Or, considering the war-torn future, perhaps the armies of Kang The Conqueror. Instead, we get-- from the pages of THOR-- "The Immortal Executioner"! I always thought this was a COOL idea. The guy is IMMORTAL-- therefore, the reason he is ALSO in the future is, to him, he's just been alive that long. Years later, Gary "Burnout" Friedrich, in ONE misguided word balloon, tried to contradict this and say time-travel was involved with him, too, but that just makes NO SENSE and violates the simple coolness of this earlier episode. When in doubt, go with the "original", NEVER the "sequel".

Anyway, I recall back when thinking it almost looked as though the picture of The Executioner had been pasted in after-the-fact. I see no evidence of that on the original page, but, the word balloon shows signs of "fixing". WAS there someone else commanding that pillbox when Jack (or Gil) drew it, and someone (Stan?) changed it at the last minute?  Makes me wonder.

I do recall when I read this 3-parter the first time wondering, what's going on with 3 different pencillers in 3 episodes? No matter how you cut it, that just doesn't seem right. It's amazing these episodes are as GOOD as they are! I put that down to Jack's story and Stan's dialogue. (A 90/10 split, which is why the credits are a crime.)
     (12-29-2010)

"I, AGAINST A WORLD"
THE HULK is in a war-ravaged far future, where he's captured, then, recruited to help save the city against "The Evil One". Except HULK ain't havin' none of it, SEE??? He smashes his way free, he smashes his way out of the city, then, he confronts head-on the walking tripod tank squadron (straight out of H.G. Wells' "War of the Worlds") to demand that somebody, anybody, find a way to send him back to his own time. WHY he thinks anybody there might have a time machine is beyond me, but the whole thing-- without actually saying so-- seems a set-up-- or perhaps, DELIBERATE misdirection-- to suggest to the readers that, like THE AVENGERS only last month (!!!!!), that HULK is about to face KANG THE CONQUEROR. Guess again!!!!! (THiS, CLEARLY, is another example of where the "editor" was NOT PAYING ATTENTION, and missed a perfect opportunity for some "continuity" references. HOW did that guy keep his job? Oh yeah, he married into the family...)

JACK KIRBY supplies story & layouts, ye "editor" does dialogue, and GIL KANE makes his Marvel debut (under the psudonym "Scott Edwards") doing pencils over Kirby's layouts, while Mike Esposito does inks, likewise under an alias. This particular episode has really grown on me over the years, despite my general disdain for Gil Kane's art, perhaps because the mixing of Kirby designs & Kane drawings is so "interesting".
     (3-7-2014)


AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 33  /
cover by STEVE DITKO
Review  (coming soon)


TALES OF SUSPENSE 74  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Sol Brodsky
"IF THIS GUILT BE MINE--"
IRON MAN has rescued Happy Hogan, but an even worse fate awaits as an experimental device meant to save his life winds up turning him into the HULK's 2nd cousin once removed. GENE COLAN supplies story & art, ye "editor" returns for dialogue, and JACK ABEL (who, like Gene, was in hiding from DC), provides some of the sharpest, cleanest inks Colan ever received. Wow.

"THE FINAL SLEEP"
This brings this 3-parter about a really, really clunky robot to a close. JACK KIRBY supplies story & layouts, ye "editor" does dialogue, and GEORGE "blunt instrument" TUSKA does pencils & inks.
     (3-7-2014)


JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY 125  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Vince Colletta
"WHEN MEET THE IMMORTALS!"
from the GCD: nothing again. How can they ignore a milestone of this magnitude? Allow me to quote ye "editor" from the FOLLOWING issue to summeth up this one:

"HERCULES has come to EARTH! He's got the BIG EYE for Thor's CHICK. Goldilocks is BUGGED, but GOOD! So, they're FIGHTING IT OUT! (There-- that's as painless as we can make it.)"

Didn't I SAY I was the ONLY guy out of 5000 members at the other group who REGULARLY quoted that guy's work?

THIS was one of the earliest stories from this run I was able to read back in the 70's, when it was reprinted in MARVEL TREASURY EDITION #5 (1974). SIX 16-page episodes, forming ONE collosal story arc, all at near the size of the original art. WOW! This begins the big sequel to JIM ANNUAL #1, but instead of being an extended "Tales Of Asgard", it takes place in the present day. YEP! Arnold Schwartzeneggar once starred in a movie called "HERCULES IN NEW YORK" (1969). This predated it by over 3 years!!

From the IMDB site: "After many centuries, Hercules gets bored living in Olympus (the home of the great Greek gods) and decides to move to... New York. But obviously, it is not easy for a man who lived in ancient Greece to get used to modern life. So, things get a little tricky, especially when Zeus sends a few gods to bring his semi-god son back to mount Olympus."

Well, that story and this one clearly don't have too much in common, other than the title character, time and place. But I bet it'd be fun to see. (I have a fondness for "tacky" films.)

JACK KIRBY, reaching ever new peaks of his powers, supplies story and art! Ye "editor", stretching his bombastic B***S*** to greater & greater lengths, does dialogue! And Vince "What time is it?" Colletta, makes with the scratchy lines. NOT TO BE MISSED!!! Part 1 of 6.

"THE QUEEN COMMANDS"
from the GCD: "Indexer Notes: Odinsword Quest Part 8." Hmm.

JACK KIRBY supplies story & art; ye "editor" maketh with the words; and Vince "Who else would you expect?" Colletta gives it that old-fashioned veneer so many have come to adore or despise so much, depending.
     (3-6-2014)



THE AVENGERS 25  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Dick Ayers
"ENTER... DR. DOOM!"
Remember when series had their OWN villains? This one starts off on the WRONG foot, as we see Doom observing the heroes and KANG from afar, and contemplating the "mystery" of whether or not he & Kang MIGHT be one and the same person. As I figured out by IGNORING the dialogue in FF ANNUAL #2, the ONLY way the scene that came up in the first place makes the slightest bit of sense at all, is if Doom suggested it to make Kang DEPART to the future, and get out of his way. But then, the guy writing the word balloons here doesn't even seem to read his own stuff, let alone figure out what anyone else is doing (that would hurt his po' little head).

Doom tricks The Avengers into coming to Latveria, specifically so he can challenge, beat & capture them, to "prove" he's top dog in the super-villain game. BAD move. The most positively INSANE idea in this entire issue (apart from that Kang-Doom speculation scene), is when we see Doom has created an impervious, retractable DOME which can extend from the ground and cover THE ENTIRE COUNTRY. There's just no way that's even the slightest bit believable.

DON HECK supplies story & art (presumably working from a Jack Kirby story springboard gone terribly wrong-- heh), ye "editor" does dialogue, and Dick Ayers does disappointing inks. Ah well, the best thing I can say is... things DO get better next issue.
    (3-7-2014)


SGT. FURY & HIS HOWLING HENCHMEN 27  /
cover by Dick Ayers & John Tartaglione
"FURY FIGHTS ALONE!"
DICK AYERS supplies story & art, ye "editor" does dialogue, and John Tartaglione does inks.
     (3-7-2014)


DAREDEVIL 13  /
cover by Jack Kirby & John Romita
"THE SECRET OF KA-ZAR'S ORIGIN!"
So continues one of the most MIS-BEGOTTEN stories in all of 60's Marvel. I suppose this was somehow intended as some kind of a tribute to Edgar Rice Burroughs (both "The Return of Tarzan" and "The Land That Time Forgot") but the published result doesn't have the charm, the style, the intelligence or the coherence of either of those. It's just a MESS, the kind that happens when too many writers dip their feet in the water, and none of them seems to have a clear vision of what they're trying to do. JACK KIRBY supplied story & layouts, BUT, JOHN ROMITA totally discarded said layouts, and RE-WROTE the story his own way (I've seen samples-- he should have stuck closer to Kirby) while doing full art. Then ye "editor" wrote really AWFUL dialogue (hey, you don't see me saying this here often, do you?). Just about the ONLY good thing about this is Jack Kirby's cover. Part 2 of 3.
     (3-7-2014)


X-MEN 17  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Dick Ayers
"...AND NONE SHALL SURVIVE!"
Magneto returns, far too quickly, and tries to OFF the team. JACK KIRBY supplies story & layouts, ye "editor" does dialogue, WERNER ROTH makes with the pretty pencils & Dick Ayers makes nice with the inks. This will never be one of my favorites, but at least it's not "awful".
     (3-7-2014)


(Continued in March 1966)

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

January 1966

(Continued from December 1965)

STRANGE TALES 140  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
"THE END OF HYDRA"
Synopsis:
Fury just barely manages to stop the "Hunter" robot. Surrounded on all sides by HYDRA's "Tiger" squad, Dum Dum, Gabe & the SHIELD squad use a "Flying Wedge" formation with an "Electro-Jab" weapon to push thru. HYDRA retaliates with "Skate Board Units". Meanwhile, Tony Stark arrives at the Heli-Carrier via the flying Porche 904, then takes off with the Braino-Saur via a 2-stage Atlas booster rocket. Fury joins up with Dum Dum and turns the tide of battle, causing Imperial Hydra to realize he must use "Operation Last Resort". In space, Stark manages to disarm the Betraton Bomb, and SHIELD orders the arrest of all HYDRA agents worldwide. Fury & co. blast into HYDRA's "Nerve Center", while its leader slowly walks up the stairs leading to Imperial Industries International's boardroom. As he prepares to hit the "destruct" button, we finally learn his real identity...

SHIELD has located & invaded Hydra's NYC base of operations, and a full-scale battle zone erupts. As the daughter of the Imperial Hydra leads NICK FURY to her father's stronghold, we learn the identity of the man is NOT the obvious suspect, but that little guy in the corner of Imperial Enterprises who was posing as a secretary. Realizing he has no choice but to kill his own daughter along with his enemies, he propares to push the destruct button. JACK KIRBY supplies story & layouts, DON HECK steps in on pencils, and Joe Sinnott continues on inks. Oh, yeah, and the "editor" fills in the word balloons while taking credit for all of it. Part 6 of 7.

Don Heck, while a slight step up from Joe Sinnott in the pencils department, and looking very SHARP under Sinnott's inks, is, frankly, WASTED here, wedged in as he is between Kirby's layouts & Sinnott's inks. Was there some kind of disagreement, a minor falling-out between him and the "editor", or was it simply a total lack of respect on the guy's part that saw him shove Heck off of IRON MAN and into this slot? It sure seems like an insult to me. Heck would only do this one episode at this point, but would return for more later-- and without the benefit of Sinnott's clean, sharp inks.

Indexer notes:
Part 6 of 7. Arnold Brown revealed as Imperial Hydra in this episode. The "Flying Wedge" and the "Skate Board Units" must rank among the most outrageous ideas ever from Jack Kirby. In this episode, Nick Fury is a dead ringer for Ralph Meeker, who played Mike Hammer in the film KISS ME DEADLY (1955), while Arnold Brown bears a resemblance to Warren editor Archie Goodwin!

"THE PINCERS OF POWER"
Part 11 of 17  /  Synopsis:
Dormammu sends Strange, Mordo & The Ancient One to a "neutral" dimension. He then uses a sleeping potion on the Mindless Ones, so his domain will be safe from them temporarily. He then summons various rulers of nearby dimensions. Then, he arrives to challenge Strange in person to battle, for total mastery of Earth! Strange accepts, then Dormammu declares they shall fight using only the "Pincers Of Power", and no other spells or incantations. This way, it will be a battle of skill, not power. The battle is fierce-- but when it appears Strange is about to overcome his adversary, Mordo strikes Strange from behind...

DR. STRANGE & The Dread Dormammu squaring off one-on-one without either of them using their magic. STEVE DITKO supplies story & full art, ye "editor" does dialogue. Part 11 of 17.
     (3-5-2014)


FANTASTIC FOUR 46  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Joe Sinnott
"THOSE WHO WOULD DESTROY US!"
Following a free-for-all between the two fightin' "families", the FF are confronted by an overbearing character called "The Seeker" who informs of them of just enough to make sure they'll ignore his deadly serious warning to "back off and leave things alone". Dragon Man escapes, and Triton, his water system damaged, is in danger of dying. JACK KIRBY supplies story & art, ye "editor" does dialogue without bothering to really pay attention to what the hell the REAL writer is doing, and JOE SINNOTT does the slickest inks ever seen on Kirby this side of Wally Wood. WHOA! Part 3 of 5.
     (3-4-2014)

It's been pointed out over the years that there are a number of severe plot holes in the Inhumans story. Some-- "MMMS" types mostly-- have said, this is "evidence" that Kirby was taking more control of the stories, and clearly was a very sloppy writer. This, of course, is B***S***. As one friend of mine has pointed out on numerous occasions-- and as it proved itself to me, when I recently re-read all those early-70's DCs of Kirby I have in my collection-- Kirby is a BRILLIANT writer, his stories and the character personalities in them are consistent, and there are NO plot-holes. Clearly, his "editor" at Marvel-- who has admitted in interviews that he "hated" writing, that he had no interest in the business, the stories, the characters, that he "raced through writing dialogue to get it done as quickly as possible", was NOT paying attention to the stories he CLAIMED he wrote in the first place. THAT's where the plot holes and inconsistencies cropped up.

Something I found amazing was when I watched the early-90's tv cartoon adaptation of the Inhumans story. I hated the designs, the animation, the dialogue, the voices, and the music. But whoever worked on that show must have been paying attention. Because they FIXED the plot-holes. That's right. Those half-baked tv adaptations made MORE SENSE than the original comic-books. And it didn't take much fixing. A few lines of dialogue was all that was required to set things straight.

See? A "real" editor-- or a real "writer"-- would have done this. Marvel's "editor".... DIDN'T.
     (3-5-2014)


TALES TO ASTONISH 75  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Sol Brodsky and Gene Colan & Vince Colletta
"THE END OF THE QUEST!" 
SUB-MARINER's quest for Neptune's Trident reaches a climax, courtesy of GENE COLAN on story & art, ye "editor" on dialogue & Vince "What's with all the fish?" Colletta on inks.

"NOT ALL MY POWER CAN SAVE ME"
The Leader is DEAD! The Watcher uses the brain-machine to send HULK a message that his friend Rick Jones is in trouble, so Hulk heads to Washington, DC. Ross has had Bruce Banner's "T-Gun" built-- without having the slightest idea what the thing does. And, as Hulk approaches The White House, Ross has the thing FIRED!!! Suddenly, Washington DC is in ruins. But it's not the city the weapon has affected-- but its target, as Hulk realizes, he's been zapped into the FAR FUTURE!! (Just like Charlton Heston in that movie about those hairy guys.) JACK KIRBY supplies story & layouts, ye "editor" does dialogue, and MIKE ESPOSITO (who, like Gene Colan, it quivering in fear that DC might find out he's working for Marvel) does pencils & inks.

This was actually my very 1st HULK story, which I read in the HULK ANNUAL reprint. I don't know about anyone else, but I PREFER when Hulk can THINK. The "editor" seemed to prefer to do things the "Hollywood" way-- DUMBING DOWN the character, just like the Boris Karloff FRANKENSTEIN, the Johnny Weismuller TARZAN, and the Nigel Bruce DR. WATSON.
    (3-4-2014)

I had actually done a longer review several years earlier.  Well, here it is... 
"NOT ALL MY POWER CAN SAVE ME!"
For many years, I heard about The Leader, but all I knew was he was this DEAD guy. Seems almost a shame somebody "had" to bring him back to life, for endless inferior sequels, doesn't it?

More of "Jack Kirby" shows thru this time than the last time it was just him and "M.Demeo", so I'm guessing Jack did fuller pencils, though still not as "full" as when he & Esposito teamed up for one episode of SHIELD. People who kvetch and complain about Vince Colletta should take a good CLOSE look at this. It's clear that Esposito is STILL murdering Kirby's work, even though this is lots better than what it had been a few months earlier. The storytelling and the POSES Kirby put down are SO good, SO inspired, it's like nothing could really "kill" it... but Esposito sure seems to be trying. Never mind THOR-- this episode gets my vote for one of Kirby's stories MOST deserving to be RE-INKED by someone who actually knows and cares what the hell he's doing.

Maybe it's because this is exactly where I came in, but as far as the writing goes, this is my FAVORITE version of The HULK. Halfway between smart and stupid, tough but well-meaning. Had he been a bit more like this, his absurdly-brief time in THE AVENGERS might have lasted longer. When I started reading the "dumb" HULK, the one who was always moaning about wanting to be left alone, and who almost talked like something out of a bad DC comic, I was disappointed. I don't see how THAT version of the character ever lasted so DAMN long.

Page 3: "Now all I gotta do is figure out what to do next." This line could ALMOST have inspired Arthur C. Clarke's repeated line in the novel 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, first regarding "Moon-Watcher", later Dave Bowman when he becomes the "Star-Child".

The T-Gun: even something so absurd in its design has a "real-world" believability about it when Kirby designs it. The way the thing is mounted looks like something out of a machine-shop. Leave it to the army to build something when they have NO IDEA what it is, what it does, and somehow expect to find out when they fire it. (WHICH-- THEY DON'T!!! Find out, that is.)

Page 4: those close-ups are making with wish for Vince Colletta-- or better yet, DICK AYERS.

Page 5: The Ultimate Machine sure reminds me of "The Teacher" from the much-maligned STAR TREK story, "SPOCK'S BRAIN".

Page 6: Paul Frees has another cameo... "I have sworn never to interfere in the affairs of others, and yet..." YEAH RIGHT.

Page 7: I love the bit where HULK LEAPS, hits the ground, then keeps going. Siegel & Shuster's SUPERMAN he ain't. My question might be, how does he do this without causing massive destruction to every one of his "jumping-off points"?

Page 8: Here's the big one: HOW did Ross get the T-Gun to WASHINGTON, D.C.??? Isn't he-- and Banner's lab-- in the southwest? And WHY would he think to transport it and test it anywhere near the nation's Capital, without advance knowledge that The HULK might show up there? This scene is SCREAMING for a "no-prize" explanation!!!

Page 9: Hey, didn't we see this scene in PLANET OF THE APES? Oh, wait-- that was 2-1/2 years later. And actually, the bit with The Mall and The Lincoln Memorial was in the movie LOGAN'S RUN, where the film-makers were clearly trying to visually reference POTA. (Unless, of course, they had instead READ THIS COMIC...??)

Page 10: I might wonder how a bunch of marauders in the far future so quickly recognize The HULK and comprehend that he's travelled from the past to their time... but considering everything else, I guess it's one of those things you just gotta take on faith.

Finally-- HOW COME on the splash page, the "editor" is the ONLY one with his FULL name spelled out? Was he trying to side-line everybody else??? (Oh, don't answer that...)
     (12-28-2010)


AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 32  /
cover by STEVE DITKO
Review  (coming soon)


TALES OF SUSPENSE 73  /
cover by Gene Colan & Jack Abel
"MY LIFE FOR YOURS"
Shockingly, a whole new era begins for IRON MAN without any warning (if you don't count the SPECTACULAR cover by the current SUB-MARINER artist). Happy Hogan, still on the verge of death, is kidnapped out of the hospital, and Shellhead is in hot pursuit, finding it's the work of former Master Of Evil card-holding member and former GIANT-MAN baddie The Black Knight. A fight turns deadly when BK falls off his horse and... well, we never DO find out what happened to him in this issue.. or in this SERIES, for that matter. Talk about SLOPPY writing!!

GENE COLAN steps up to the plate (still using his "Adam Austin" psudonym to try and hide the fact he's moonlighting from DC-- if their editors can't recognize his style here, they must be BLIND as well as STUPID), supplying story & art, while Flo Steinberg-- ALLEGEDLY!!!-- actually got the ball rolling with a story idea. Roy Thomas fills in for ye "editor" on dialogue, and must use 3 times as much dialogue per panel as his boss normally does. Finally, Jack Abel does inks-- GORGEOUS, SHARP, CRYSTAL-CLEAR inks you wouldn't think would look this good over Colan-- BUT BOY THEY DO!! I only wish Abel had inked Don Heck instead of Esposito, Colletta & Ayers.

I still think it's criminal that Don Heck should be so unceremoniously KICKED OFF his own series. He may not have created the character, but he'd done superb work on it almost from the beginning. This total lack of respect is a serious black mark against the comics industry in general, I think.

"WHERE WALKS THE SLEEPER"
Part 2 of this 3-part CAPTAIN AMERICA thriller, as the various components of the most clunky robot ever seen in comics is slowly assembled. JACK KIRBY supplies story & layouts, ye "editor" does dialogue, and GEORGE TUSKA does pencils & inks.
     (3-4-2014)


JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY 124  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Vince Colletta
"THE GRANDEUR AND THE GLORY!"
from the GCD: "Synopsis: Thor reveals his secret i.d. to Jane Foster (she believes him this time)."
"Indexer Notes: First appearance of Atlas.
"

THOR tackles The Witch Doctor. But meanwhile, Hercules decides to go to Earth, for the first time in ages. This COULD mean trouble... (heh)

JACK KIRBY supplies story & art, ye "editor" does dialogue, and Vince "When do you need this by?" Colletta does inks. Oh, joy!

"CLOSER COMES THE SWARM!"
from the GCD: "Synopsis: While the Asgardians are licking their wounds after a battle with a dragon, Queen Ula sends out the Flying Trolls of Thryheim to finish them off."

Something I never noticed before is how much Queen Ula and her "swarm" of flying trolls resemble "Lightning Lady" and her insectons (or whatever they were called) in CAPTAIN VICTORY. Variations on a theme!

JACK KIRBY supplies story & art on this latest installment of "Tales Of Asgard". Ye "editor" does dialogue & Vince "Where are the white women?" Colletta does inks.
     (3-4-2014)


THE AVENGERS 24  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Dick Ayers
"FROM THE ASHES OF DEFEAT"
The team actually joins forces with Kang to put down the rebellion, mostly to save the lives of countless innocents in the future city. And, for once, we see a semi-decent side to the world-conqueror, but of course, it ends in tragedy. DON HECK supplies story & art (no doubt working from Jack Kirby's springboard), ye "editor" does dialogue, and because Romita is now busy on D.D., Dick Ayers returns on inks. Too bad...
     (3-5-2014)


SGT. FURY & HIS HOWLING MANIACS 26  /
cover by DICK AYERS
"DUM DUM DOES IT THE HARD WAY!"
DICK AYERS does story & art, ye "editor" does dialogue, and Carl Hubbell does inks.
     (3-5-2014)


DAREDEVIL 12  /
cover by John Romita & Vince Collett   (from a design by Wally Wood)
"SIGHTLESS, IN A SAVAGE LAND"
A whole new era begins, and BOY, is it a mess. Matt Murdock has quit his job, decides on a whim to take a sea voyage, finds the ship he's on attacked by a modern-day ocean-going pirate with a hi-tech submarine, and, most insanely of all, finds himself in The Savage Land of KA-ZAR. Frankly, this is one of the worst-written Marvels of the whole of the 1960's, and although it's nowhere near as bad as DD #2-4 were, it's getting there. I actually did some research on this and figured out there were no less than 5 different writers involved, although only one took credit (and pay) for the whole mess. It breaks down this way, as I see it...

Wally Wood came up with the idea of starting the SUB-MARINER series with a story set in a dinosaur-infested "lost world". But when he had his falling-out with his "editor", Gene Colan got the job instead, and did something else entirely. Dick Ayers was briefly considered for the job, and apparently is the one who came up with the idea of DD on a sea voyage, which may even be why Wood's story idea got used here instead, where it makes very little sense. JACK KIRBY actually wrote 2 full issues and did layouts. But then JOHN ROMITA, who'd worked on CAPTAIN AMERICA back in the 50's, and who'd gotten sick to death of doing endless romance stories for DC, came looking for some work inking, he was shoved on here instead, where the "editor" hoped he could get him to do WRITING (unpaid, uncredited, as with everyone else doing it at Marvel). Romita took Kirby's story, ignored most of the layouts, and RE-WROTE the thing almost from scratch in his own style, while doing full art. Frankly, after Wally Wood, this was a MAJOR, major come-down on every single level.

After that, the "editor" wrote the dialogue and took pay & credit for the entire thing. It's positively mind-boggling that he should somehow act like he was proud of the story here-- or that his fans should actually praise "his" efforts. This thing is almost UNREADABLE.

Oh yeah-- and I didn't even notice at first, the cover-- which is also awful-- actually has a layout very similar to Wally Wood's rough sketch which started the whole mess. Which only confirms what I'd already suspected.
     (3-5-2014)

For MORE detail, go to Professor H's Wayback Machine!


X-MEN 16  /
cover by Jack Kirby & Dick Ayers
"THE SUPREME SACRIFICE"
The lunatic nutcase scientist who created The Sentinels (who then turned against HIM) winds up paying the supreme penalty for trying to reinvent Nazi Germany's racial policies. This might have been a lot more impressive if JACK KIRBY had been able to do full pencils instead of "just" story & layouts. Ye "editor" does dialogue, WERNER ROTH does pencils, and Dick Ayers does inks. I also think I'd have been a lot happier if this had been a stand-alone storyline, without the ENDLESS, interminable sequels done over the years, as first Roy Thomas, and then Chris Claremont, and then who knows how many other writers, kept bringing back The Sentinels over and over and over and over, clearly having no original ideas of their own.
     (3-5-2014)


(Continued in February 1966)

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