As we all know, one of the great joys of life is trying to work out which songs should have been on the Beatles' White Album if it had been released as a single LP.
Admittedly, when I say, "Joys," I do, of course, mean, "Trials," as, no matter how you try to do it, the track listing never actually works in the real world.
Still, I'm not going to let that stop me tackling its comic book equivalent.
And that's trying to decide just which stories should have been included in that seminal 1970s tome Origins of Marvel Comics.
Famously, as well as the origins of our favourite heroes, the aforementioned book contains later examples of each strip, in order to give us a sense of how each title has progressed since its inception.
While this is clearly a good thing, it has to be said that people often complain that some of the choices seem quite arbitrary, if not downright perverse. So, here's where I select the stories that would have gone in it if it had been up to me.
For me, the first problem is the inclusion of Fantastic Four #55. While it's a perfectly good tale, the obvious failing is the Fantastic Four aren't in it.
Instead, we get the Thing vs the Silver Surfer.
Presumably, this tale was included in order that we get a fix of the Surfer as well as the FF, giving us twice as much Marvel goodness for our money but it's a frustrating selection, nonetheless.
Most of the FF's greatest tales from the Lee/Kirby era are multi-part stories, reducing the possibilities. So, I'll go for issue #64 and its introductory tale for the Sentry. It gives us all four heroes in action, a bit of Erich von Däniken and our first exposure to the Kree. What more could one want from a comic?
The Hulk vs Sub-Mariner tale is fine and gives us a chance to see Prince Namor in action but, personally, I'd go for the Captain Axis tale from Incredible Hulk #155 because, with its sub-Atomic setting, World War II references and the debut of The Shaper of Worlds, it's a much more interesting and offbeat tale.
The chosen Thor story has always baffled me, mostly because it's part of a longer epic, which means that, at its climax, we're suddenly lumbered with a cliffhanger and the dreaded words, "To Be Continued."
No one who's not a lunatic wants to see the first half of a multi-part story in a standalone book. Therefore I'd go for the Replicus tale from issue #141 which seems to me to be the best of the few single-issue Thor tales from Lee and Kirby's peak period.
The Spider-Man vs Shocker story's okay but it's not one of the classics and it's atypical in having been drawn by John Buscema. Therefore, I'd go for the legendary issue #50 in which our hero decides to throw his costume in a convenient dustbin and give up being Spider-Man.
The third Dr Strange story, I'd dump altogether, as it's not in the slightest bit memorable and, using the space created, I would, between the Fantastic Four and Hulk tales, shoehorn in The Man in the Ant Hill, from Tales to Astonish #27, seeing as Origins of Marvel Comics currently completely ignores the existence of Ant-Man, despite him being one of Marvel's earliest and longest-serving Silver Age heroes.
Granted, this wouldn't be ideal, as the story doesn't feature Hank Pym in costume but I do feel it'd be a better use of the pages than the Dr Strange tale and, if extra pages can be added, we could include Ant-Man's first costumed appearance as well.
Anyway, those are my picks. If you think other tales should have been chosen instead, the Comments Box is available for your suggestions.
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