Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Fifty years ago today - April 1964.

Ex-Genesis front-man Peter Gabriel once sang, "Red rain is pouring down all over me." And we certainly know that feeling right now, as the UK is deluged with sand blown in from the Sahara.

How we've battled today, through the newly created sand dunes, merely to make a few yards' progress. "Water! Water!" I've cried. "Must have water!"

It's been like the human drama of Carry On Follow That Camel made real.

Well, I say that. So far, I've not seen any signs of it whatsoever.

But were our favourite Marvel heroes of exactly fifty years ago building their plans on shifting sands?

Or were they instead aiming to cement victory over their deadliest foes?


Amazing Spider-Man #11, Dr Octopus

Dr Octopus is back and causing all kinds of mischief on a boat.

And that cover has to feature the wordiest caption ever to appear on the front of a comic.

But is this the one with Betty Brant's brother?
Daredevil #1

Hooray! The Man Without Fear makes his debut.

After fifty years of existence, he's still the only human being I've ever encountered who has a billy club.

For that matter, he's still the only human being I've ever encountered who I've ever heard use the term, "Billy club."

In fact, he's probably the only human being I've ever encountered who even knows what a billy club actually is.
Fantastic Four #25, The Hulk vs the Thing

It's the fight we've all been waiting for, as the Thing takes on the Hulk while the rest of the gang hand in their sick notes.
Journey into Mystery #103, Thor vs the Executioner and Enchantress

The Executioner and the Enchantress make their debuts.
Strange Tales #119, the Human Torch vs the Rabble Rouser

It's the Rabble Rouser!

To be honest, I don't have a clue who the Rabble Rouser is.

I'd assume, from his name and the front cover, that he's a less celebrated equivalent of the Hate Monger. Though, looking at him, there are hints of the Molecule Man about him.

No disrespect to the Torch but I'm more interested in Dr Strange and what lies beyond the Purple Veil.
Tales of Suspense #52, Iron Man vs the Crimson Dynamo

The third greatest super-villain ever to feature in a Wings song makes his senses-shattering return.

Perhaps more importantly, the Black Widow makes her first appearance.
Tales to Astonish #54, Giant-Man and the Wasp

Giant-Man's desperate quest to find a super-villain who's not completely forgettable brings him face-to-face with El Toro.

Sadly, I suspect his quest is not yet over.

7 comments:

Colin Jones said...

The Hulk is twice as big as the Thing on that FF cover - his size was never fixed and just depended on who was drawing him but he looks about ten feet tall on that cover !

Steve W. said...

His size is indeed noticeably exaggerated on that cover.

Joe S. Walker said...

I just read that Rabble Rouser story. You're not missing much.

Anonymous said...

The Hulk was also exaggerated on the cover of Captain America #110.

I thought police in Great Britain commonly carried billy clubs.

I remember that Return of the Crimson Dynamo/first appearance of Black Widow story from when it was reprinted in Marvel Collector's Item Classics, and/or from the Marvel Super Heroes cartoons on TV. I think June Foray may have voiced "de Block Veedow." She sounded so much like Natasha from the Rocky & Bullwinkle cartoons that I kept expecting her to say, "Look, dahlink. Iss moose and squirrel!" For that matter, she even had a partner named Boris. I don't know if Jay Ward was an influence on Stan Lee, or vice versa.

Steve W. said...

Anonymous, you're right. I'd forgotten about the Hulk's humongous great size on that Cap cover. He seems to have been helping himself to Hank Pym's growth serum.

As for billy clubs; the police in Britain carry truncheons. Exactly what the difference is between a truncheon and a billy club, I must confess I don't know.

Anonymous said...

Merriam-Webster defines both "billy club" and "truncheon" as "a policeman's club." Maybe "billy club" is an American slang term, unfamiliar to anyone outside the US.

IIRC, Moon Knight carried some sort of club, and called it a truncheon.

Anonymous said...

According to Wikipedia, Peg Dixon was the voice of the Black Widow in the Marvel TV cartoons in 1966. (I guess one Eastern European spy sounds pretty much like another.) She also voiced Pepper Potts, Jane Foster, the Enchantress, Lady Dorma, Betty Ross, and the Wasp.

iirc, Amazing Spider-Man #11 or #12 was the one with Betty Brant's brother. He got killed by gangsters or something and she blamed Spider-Man. And Peter Parker must have thought, "Just my luck."

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