Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Your favourite cover of all time. The Results.

There are times when you wonder if the Internet can possibly take the strain.

And this is one of them.

Mere days ago, I asked you to name your favourite comic book covers of all time. And you gave me your answers! So, without further ado, here is what you came up with:



Fantastic Four #72. Jack Kirby.
The Silver Surfer shows his peaceful intent by randomly zapping the Earth.
Wasn't this used as the cover for issue #1 of Marvel UK's Super-Heroes comic?
Nominated by Ronnie Poore. 



Action Comics #402. Neal Adams.
This is one of the very first comics I ever bought. I'm glad I did. After all, there was a lot at stake.
Nominated by cerebus660.



Action Comics #406. Curt Swan.
Superman loses his head in a crisis.
Nominated by cerebus660.



Adventure Comics #336. Curt Swan.
At last we find out who Starfinger is. I wonder if it's Clark Kent? I've never trusted that boy. I always felt he was hiding something.
Nominated by Stevenw888 (no relation).



Amazing Spider-Man #50. John Romita.
Spidey turns his back on a life of crime-fighting. Personally, I have a feeling it won't last long.
Nominated by cerebus660.



Amazing Spider-Man #59. John Romita.
Mary Jane Watson's first ever cover - and she's determined to make the most of it.
Nominated by cerebus660.



Conan the Barbarian #24. Barry Smith.
Barry Smith might bow out with this issue but Red Sonja certainly doesn't.
Nominated by cerebus660.



Defenders #16. Gil Kane.
The Defenders vs Magneto and his chums. Clearly, things are in the balance.
Nominated by Ade Salmon.



Fantastic Four #1. Jack Kirby.
Each of the FF gets to demonstrate his/her powers on their debut cover.
Nominated by cerebus660.



Fantastic Four #4. Jack Kirby.
The Sub-Mariner makes his Silver Age return and tries to make off with the Invisible Girl. The Invisible Girl? Personally I don't know what he sees in her. Or have I made that joke before?
Nominated by cerebus660.



Fantastic Four #46. Jack Kirby.
When Black Bolt waves his arms around, you know he means business.
Nominated by cerebus660.



Fantastic Four #51. Jack Kirby.
When Reed Richards starts to get sucked into the Negative Zone, Sue Richards shows her value to the team by just standing there asking the Thing to save him, instead of using her force field to do it herself. No wonder they replaced her with Medusa. Medusa would've saved him.
Nominated by both cerebus660 and Ade Salmon.



Fantastic Four #52. Jack Kirby.
The Black Panther makes his debut.
Nominated by cerebus660.



Fantastic Four #106. John Romita.
Is there any hope for our heroes?
Nominated by cerebus660.



Fantastic Four #5. Jack Kirby.
Dr Doom makes his debut and instantly wrecks the atmosphere. 
Nominated by cerebus660.



House of Mystery #195. Bernie Wrightson.
"Bat Out of Hell!" And not a Meatloaf in sight.
Nominated by cerebus660.



Luke Cage, Hero for Hire #15. Billy Graham.
Nominated by Ade Salmon.



Superman #233. Neal Adams.
Anything Luke Cage can do, Superman can do better.
Nominated by McScotty.



Superman #252. Neal Adams.
I'm totally showing my ignorance here but just who is that man with the bare chest and blue cape?
Then again, who's the man with the flying skis?
Nominated by McScotty.



Swamp Thing #4. Bernie Wrightson.
Nominated by Ade Salmon.



Teen Titans #16. Nick Cardy.
A genuinely wonderful composition from DC's cover maestro.
Nominated by McScotty.



Teen Titans #26. Nick Cardy.
Nominated by McScotty.

Thanks to everyone who took part.

Monday, 26 December 2011

Daredevil's greatest ever foe - Poll Results!

Daredevil #1, black, red and yellow costume
As Noddy Holder once so famously declared, "It's Chri-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-istmas!" - and that's always an exciting time of year.

But it's just got even more exciting, as the results are in from our sensational poll to discover just who is Daredevil's greatest ever enemy.

There was a wide spread of voting but a surprisingly clear winner.

In joint sixth place, with one vote each, we find Mr Fear, Stilt-Man and the Mandrill.

In joint fourth, with two votes each, we find the bovine-tastic duo of Man-Bull and Bullseye.

In joint second, with three votes each, we find the Kingpin and Death-Stalker

But the winner, with a massive six votes, is the Gladiator, a man who, despite being able to give you a close shave any time he wants, won through by much more than a close shave.

So, congratulations to the Gladiator - even though he doesn't really exist and therefore can't read this message to him - and thanks to all who voted, including myself because it's Christmas and I think one should always take the time at Christmas to appreciate one's self.

Merry Christmas to you, the Reader. And here's looking forward to our no doubt equally thrilling gallery of our all-time favourite covers, which is due to be posted in the next couple of days. It's still not too late to nominate one if you haven't done so already.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Your favourite cover of all time.

Weird Adventure comics #436, the Spectre looms over a giant squid as it kills a nazi field marshal and his men, Jim Aparo, my favourite comic book cover of all time
ABC front-man Martin Fry once said  you should never judge a book by its cover - or the look by the lover. Then again he also said that when Smokey sings, he hears violins. But we all know a good cover can drastically affect the level of fondness we have for a comic.

In a couple of earlier posts [1][2], I gave some examples of my favourite covers of all time, and it'll possibly come as no surprise to the sharp-eyed that my all-time favourite's probably Jim Aparo's for (Weird) Adventure Comics #436. The thing's plain beautiful and proves the Hulk is right, and green and purple really can mix.

But even I realise the Internet's not just about me. So, what's your favourite comic book cover of all time?

In a few days' from now, when everyone's had the chance to nominate their favourites, I'll post them on here and, wearing my awesome Steve Does Art Appreciation hat, I'll have a see what I think of them, and invite the comments of you, the cognoscentus* that is the Steve Does Comics Reader.


*Warning! "Cognoscentus" may not be a real word, and Steve Does Comics cannot be held responsible for any humiliation you may suffer if you try to use it in educated company.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Who is Daredevil's greatest ever foe?

Daredevil #100, Daredevil swing around, in front of a gallery of his greatest foes
Steve Does Comics' endless quest to find the greatest super-villain of them all moves on, as its ghastly gaze settles on the man they call Horn Head.

Clearly, when it comes to villains, Daredevil's always had a blatant problem.

He doesn't really have any super-powers.

It's true he has heightened senses but, for the most part they've barely done more than compensate for him being blind. This has often meant the quality of foe he can be pitted against hasn't always been up to that of Marvel's other crime-fighters, and the man without fear's often found himself in two, or even three, part epics trying to overcome foes Spider-Man could defeat in a single panel.

Sometimes this weakness has become an asset. Daredevil #7, where he found himself getting flattened for page after page by the Sub-Mariner, made his physical feebleness into a selling point, demonstrating his never-say-die spirit in the face of hopeless odds. It's easy to be heroic when you're Superman. It's a whole lot more impressive when you're just some bloke.

However, despite all this, Daredevil still managed to acquire a villain's gallery of his own. Among others, the comic gave us the Owl, Stilt-Man, the Jester, Man-Bull and Mr Fear. Later on, the Kingpin was drafted in from The Amazing Spider-Man, and, of course, the strip eventually gave us a Bullseye deadlier than Jim Bowen could ever have envisaged.

Personally I've always had a soft spot for the Gladiator - mostly for the basic nastiness of his weaponry. But ultimately, when it comes to my favourite, I think I have to go for Death-Stalker. This is probably down to my long-standing desire to be the Shadow and run around in a big hat, laughing for no reason.

But of course, what I think doesn't matter. What matters is what you think. So, nominate your favourite Daredevil villain and, as always, in a couple of days' time I'll construct a poll from your nominations.

Then at last the world shall decide just who is Daredevil's greatest ever foe.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Captain America #110.

Captain America #110, Cap watches on as Rick Jones, dressed as Bucky, flees from a giant Hulk, cover by Jim Steranko
As we all know, within the last few days, comics legend Joe Simon has died. I would write a glowing tribute but my knowledge of his life and work is probably too limited for me to get away with it. I will say though that it's always a sad day when a comics great dies, especially as - even though their creations are frequently household names - the creators themselves have often lived their lives completely unknown by the general public.

It does however give me an excuse to look at his most famous creation - Captain America - and take a look at one of that strip's most celebrated phases, the short period when it was drawn by Jim Steranko.

I have to admit I've not always been sold on Steranko's work, sometimes finding it too like an exercise in graphic design rather than heart-felt story-telling but even I have the taste to have always appreciated his stint on Captain America. And issue #110 was where it started.

Captain America #110, Jim Steranko, Rick Jones takes over from Bucky as sidekick of Cap
It's a significant issue for other reasons too because this is the tale in which Rick Jones officially becomes Captain America's sidekick and gets to run around dressed as Bucky. Luckily we're spared the horror of him being referred to as "Ricky" but not the necro-something-or-other of seeing him dressed as his 1940s' predecessor.

It all starts when Steve Rogers is roaming the city at night, minding his own business, when none other than the incredible Hulk smashes through a brick wall. During Cap's tangling with the monster, Rick Jones shows up, gets injured and - unconscious - has to be taken back to Cap's flat. Once recovered, Rick declares he wants to take Bucky's place, and goes with our hero on his next mission, a subterranean battle with Hydra who're out to contaminate the city's water supply. Needless to say Cap sees off this threat to New York - and a new partnership is born.

What leaps out at you about this issue is what a complete and total weener Rick Jones is - and, frankly, what a nut-job. Upon waking in a strange apartment, his first reaction to seeing a dead crime-fighter's costume is to put it on and parade around in it in front of that dead man's guilt-stricken ex-partner. Not only is this presumptuous but plain weird. Who upon finding a dead man's clothing feels compelled to put it on? He then whines and grizzles his way though the rest of the tale, managing to mess up everything Captain America does, and leaving you wondering why Cap doesn't just smack him in the mouth like he's asking for.

Captain America #110, Jim Steranko, Madame Hydra maked her first appearance, whip, skin-tight, leather

Cutting a far more impressive figure is villain-of-the-piece Madame Hydra, who shares the Valkyrie's love of having her hair hanging over one eye. Unlike the Valkyrie, she also has a taste for carrying whips and wearing skin-tight green leather which I suspect can never be a bad thing in a woman. From what's said in the story, it appears to be her first-ever appearance and she certainly makes her d├ębut in style.

Captain America #110, Jim Steranko, as Steve Rogers watches, the Hulks gigantic hands smash through a brick wall in a back alley

But if Rick Jones and Madame Hydra are the characters who drive the tale, overall it's dominated by Jim Steranko and his work. Aided by Joe Sinnott's clean inking, it's a beautiful thing to look at. But, also, Steranko's determinedly stylish layouts lend the story an atmosphere that, for some reason, brings to my mind the classic 1950s' sci-fi flick Invaders From Mars. Not because there's any similarity in either the look or content of the thing but because it shares the strangely surreal air of that movie. It seems odd to speak of sound when reviewing a story told in purely visual terms but there's a strange silence to Steranko's work, that lends a sterilising and haunting feel to things, almost as though what we're reading is some twenty page dream that Captain America's going through.

Captain America #110, Jim Steranko, after smashing through a brick wall the Hulk confonts Steve Rogers in a back alley

Perhaps a sign of how much Steranko's thinking's dominated by style rather than story is that, when we first meet Cap in the back alley, he's lighting a cigarette and having a smoke. It makes no sense at all in terms of character. Does the most physically perfect specimen of manhood, whose body is a presumably a well-honed temple, really smoke?

Of course he shouldn't and of course he doesn't but it looks stylish, so it gets used. Such liberties with the basic nature of a character should be unforgivable but the story's surreal air allows Steranko to get away with it, thanks to the feeling that we're seeing some sort of alternate version of Captain America to the one we're used to.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Desert Island Comics.

British readers will no doubt be familiar with the national institution that is Desert Island Discs, which the Internet tells me is the world's second longest-running radio show. But, for those not in the know, each week a well-known guest's invited in to talk about their life and choose eight songs they'd most like to have with them if stranded on a desert island.

Well, I'm not going to talk about my life here. I fear such Lovecraftian terror would chill the soul of even the hardiest explorer  in the land of Blog. I am however going to risk choosing eight comics I'd want to have with me if the world finally sees sense and banishes me to a desert island.

Given the zillions of comics that've been published over the last century, this is no easy task but that's not going to stop me trying.

Origins of Marvel Comics, Stan Lee


Origins of Marvel Comics.

I know it gets stick because of Stan Lee's tendency to fill it with anecdotes about how he single-handedly thought of everything while the likes of Jack Kirby could only sit and gawp, in no-doubt slack-jawed awe, at his limitless creativity but I don't care. The thing features the first appearances of the first round of Marvel's Silver Age heroes - and even flings in samples of their later appearances too.

Not only that but, unlike the Essentials, it's all in colour.

Spider-Man Comics Weekly #1, Thor, Marvel UK


Spider-Man Comics Weekly #1.

I never had Mighty World of Marvel #1 but I did have Spidey's equivalent Marvel UK issue - and the free red paper bag that tried to pass itself off as a Spider-Man mask.

I have no memory whatsoever of what the Spider-Man story was in that fateful issue but I know it introduced us to Thor and the Stone Men from Saturn, so that's good enough for me.

Not only that but it revealed at last the startling secret of FOOM!

Conan the Barbarian #24, Red Sonja


Conan the Barbarian #24.

Barry Smith's last issue, as Conan and Red Sonja decide to go stealing things that aren't rightfully theirs.

I first read this in Marvel UK's weekly Avengers comic, which meant I got to see it reproduced on a larger scale than the original. Having read a reprint in the Essential Conan, I know Smith's detailed art suffers when seen on the smaller page but that can't take away from the lusciousness of it all.

Marvels Greatest Comics #34, Fantastic Four, Inhumans and the Great Refuge


Marvel's Greatest Comics #34.

A comic that certainly lived up to its title for me, as the mag reprints the Fantastic Four's first ever meeting with the Inhumans. It's still arguably my favourite Fantastic Four story of them all, even though it doesn't make much sense.

And dig that Gil Kane cover. He's doing that visual depth thing again.

X-Men #137, death of Phoenix/Jean Grey
X-Men #137.

While the original X-Men never appealed to me at all - even when drawn by the likes of Steranko and Adams - there's a whole bucket-load of tales to treasure from the Dave Cockrum/John Byrne era.

Personally I preferred the Cockrum run to Byrne's, as his art was less cartoony, but the Byrne stuff was all pretty fab too.

For my favourite, I have to choose the one where poor old Phoenix, having turned evil, gets to pop her clogs, by order of Jim Shooter.

Of course, some might argue the whole thing was made redundant by Marvel later bringing Jean Grey back to life in typically unlikely fashion, but I still remember how great it was at the time.

marvel Spotlight #12, Son of Satan, origin, first appearance


Marvel Spotlight #12.

I don't have a clue just what it is about the Son of Satan's first appearance that grabs me so much. Maybe it's just because I'm a corny old horror fan or maybe it's just the melodrama of Herb Trimpe's tortured-looking pencils but it still has a strange allure for me after all these years.

Thor #130, Hercules, Pluto, Hades


The Mighty Thor #130.

Thor and Hercules team up to take on Pluto and the hordes of Hades. What more needs be said? It's all epic stuff and I love Vince Colletta's inks on the title.

Silver Surfer #3, first appearance Mephisto


Silver Surfer #3.

I can't deny I've never been a Surfer fan - all that hanging around whingeing and whining about everything - but I love this tale.

My Satan fixation's clearly taking me over again, as the Surfer finds himself tackling the Devil while doing his usual pining for Shalla Bal.

Mephisto's a cut above the usual super-villain, and what kind of madman could fail to be grabbed by John Buscema's art on this issue?

Monday, 12 December 2011

Iron Man's greatest ever enemy - Poll Results!

Iron Man #1, Gene Colan
It's time to plug your metal chest plate into the mains, hit the bottle and don a cravat because the results are in for our poll to find Iron Man's greatest ever foe.

Perhaps it comes as no shock that the winner - with a walloping 46% of the votes - was none other than the man with more rings than a nine-year-old sycamore; the Mandarin. The man they call Mandy picked up seven votes.

Second, with three votes, was a surprise to me. It's Man Bull, who, back in the days when I used to read Iron Man, was nowhere in sight. He was always too busy beating up Daredevil.

Third was that perennial wrong-doer Jack Daniels, with two votes.

Joint fourth were Titanium Man, Limited Battery Life and Dr Doom, with one vote each.

Sadly, Hypno-Robo-Neanderthal failed to register a single vote. He wuz robbed I tells ya. Robbed. And if he hadn't exploded, I've no doubt he'd say so too.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Fatal Inheritance. Bunging up the Plug Hole.

stephen walker, fatal inheritance, kindle, amazon, pentacle, pentagram, dripping blood, black, novel, liz sanford, occult investigation, download
With my recently plugged short stories doing so well that they're actually matching sales of my hot cakes step-for-step, it's the perfect time to announce I now have a full-blown novel on Kindle.

In Fatal Inheritance, when her flatmate is left a house that brings death to all who own it, occult investigator Liz Sanford goes into action.

Can she find out what deadly secret the house contains?

And, if she does, can she stay alive long enough to celebrate that success?

Personally I think it'd make the ideal Christmas present.

That is of course assuming you know someone who likes spending their Christmases reading about people being killed by the forces of evil.

I know I do.

That's why I'll be reading Fatal Inheritance.

Actually I won't. I've already read it, so I'll be watching Mary Poppins.

But don't let that put you off.

The might and majesty of Fatal Inheritance can be downloaded at the following places:
Amazon US   Amazon UK  Amazon Germany   Amazon France   Amazon Italy   Amazon Spain.

Thank you for your time. And please don't forget to vote for Iron Man's greatest ever foe.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Fantastic Four #7. Kurrgo and Planet X.

Fantastic Four #7, Kurrgo, Planet X, flying saucer, wanted, dead or alive, baying mob, worlds greatest comic magazine
Fasten up your seat belts, check your oxygen tank and hit that booster because it's time to dip once more into the 1972 Fleetway Marvel Annual, for the Fantastic Four's big day out in Space.

Confronted with the inevitable destruction of his world at the hands of a stray asteroid, Planet X's ruler, the beach-ball headed Kurrgo sends his own personal robot to Earth to turn mankind against the Fantastic Four so they'll consent to flee to Planet X where Kurrgo hopes Mr Fantastic'll be able to concoct a plan to save his world.

When they get there, Reed Richards, being Reed Richards, takes just hours to invent a potion to shrink the entire population of Planet X, so it can climb aboard the planet's only spare space ship and flee.

As they flee, Kurrgo - refusing to leave behind the potion that'll make him full-size again and thus leave him dwarfing his fellow X-ians - is left behind to die, a victim of his own megalomania.

Fantastic Four #7, the giant robot of Kurrgo looms over the Fantastic Four on the roof of the Baxter Building, new york
One of the things that always strikes me about Marvel stories from this era is just how long they seem. For years I labelled under the misapprehension that this and the annual's other tales were much longer than later outings, but a quick check tells me it's only 22 pages long. So much does it cram in.

I complained in a recent post that Jack Kirby seemed to be basing his later Fantastic Four tales on whatever he'd seen most recently on TV - but clearly there was nothing new about that because, with its giant robot and its abducting of our heroes to a doomed world, it's pretty obvious this tale's inspired by the 1950s movies The Day the Earth Stood Still and This Island Earth. And it's great, filled with splash pages and divided into chapters, just to really add to that feeling of a 12 cent epic.

Fantastic Four #7, a free ride on the anti gravity ray of planet X
Kirby's depiction of Planet X - and its destruction - are great too. But I also love the earlier scenes on Earth, covering the FF's discomfort at having to attend an official dinner in their honour, and the squabbling and bickering that precede it. It's easy to see in these scenes the reason for Marvel's 1960s' success. Can you really imagine Batman, Superman and the Flash of this era fighting amongst themselves about having to attend a dinner engagement? Marvel's heroes simply had a life and a character that DC's more socially adept stars couldn't match.

Of course, in the end, it's a very silly tale. The idea that a super-advanced civilisation needs the scientific know-how of an Earth-man to solve their problem - and the idea that Reed Richards can knock up a shrinking potion in a few hours - is ludicrous. But then silliness is half the fun of a Silver Age comic book. And, if you don't want fun, why are you reading about people in spandex?

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Lies! Lies! Buy your cheap lies here!

While the world queues up to nominate its favourite Iron Man villains, I might as well take this lull in blogging proceedings to shamelessly plug my alternative ventures.

As you may know, in the past I've been known to dabble in fiction. My novels Danny Yates Must Die and Mr Landen has no Brain (HarperCollins/Voyager) are still spoken of in hushed whispers wherever people have laryngitis. Likewise, my short stories were once scattered around genre periodicals, like chaff.

Years ago, however, I gave up the lure of lying for a living, to concentrate on telling the unvarnished truth in blogs like this one.

But a man can only resist making things up for a limited spell, and now I'm back in the making-things-up department, with three short stories available for download on Amazon's Kindle Store. At last I know how Stan Lee and Jack Kirby felt all those decades ago when they started a shocking new era in publishing by launching issue #1 of the Fantastic Four on the world.

Not only do these stories have words in them but they're as cheap as the bloke who wrote them. Who says this isn't the Steve Age of Bargains?

Stephen Walker, Waiting for the Wireman in 1974, 3rd alternative, short story, dark fantasy, moon, crow, amazon, kindle, download
First published in the award-winning The 3rd Alternative magazine, the dark fantasy Waiting for the Wireman in 1974 discovers just what two children might get up to on a dark October night when the scarecrow fails to scare and there's a storm a-brewing.

Available for download at:
Amazon US.  Amazon UK.  Amazon Germany.  Amazon France. Amazon Italy.  Amazon Spain.

Stephen Walker, Carrying, short story, moon, relentless heliotrope, dark, fantasy, amazon, kindle, download
Carrying sees a "woman" known only as the Relentless Heliotrope stumble across a mystery on the thirteenth floor of a building that's only meant to have twelve.

Just why has the man she finds there been sat alone for so long?

Why has his expected visitor never arrived?

And what is the secret of the shoebox he's meant to have delivered all those years ago?

Available for download at:
Amazon US.  Amazon UK.  Amazon Germany.  Amazon France.  Amazon Italy.  Amazon Spain.

Stephen Walker, Liz Sanford, department of occult investigation, the weakest link, pentacle in a circle, amazon, kindle, download, short story
In a lighter vein altogether, a complimentary sausage and her boss's incompetence plunge occult investigator Liz Sanford into an unlikely mystery involving a big night out, her self-declared arch-enemy, and a cabinet minister.

Just who is behind the least likely award nomination of all time?

Will Liz Sanford finally get to use that coffin with her name on it?

And who is that woman in the cupboard?

Available for download at:

Thank you for your time - Steve.

Cover image credits:
Carrying:
Self-Portrait by Moonlight by Alessandro Zangrilli (self-made for wiki) [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
&
Moon at its Fullest a Few Minutes Before the Lunar Eclipse of 20 Feb 2008 by Thom Rains [CC-BY-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Waiting for the Wireman in 1974:
Noche de luna llena by Luz A. Villa from Medellin, Colombia (Noche de luna llena - Full moon night) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The Weakest Link:
by moi.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Iron Man's greatest ever enemy.

Tales of Suspense #67, Iron Man
"Iron Man! Iron Man! Does whatever an iron can!"

Now you know why they don't let me write super-heroes' theme tunes.

Still, if this blog takes musical and lyrical incompetence to a level never before seen, that doesn't stop it having an opinion on matters more pictorial.

And that means it's time for Steve Does Comics to tackle the burning question; "Who's Iron Man's greatest ever foe?"

Despite being one of Marvel's most powerful heroes, Iron Man had a surprisingly modest start to his crime-fighting career, coming up against the likes of the Scarecrow, the Red Barbarian and of course the never-to-be-forgotten Mr Doll.

Personally, of these early foes, I always had a soft spot for his first ever super-powered opponent, Hypno-Robo-Neanderthal.

Iron Man vs Gargantus, the hypno-robo-neanderthal
Sadly, after that one classic appearance, Hypno-Robo-Neanderthal never again returned to threaten the world - possibly because of his fatal vulnerability to fridge magnets.

Later, however, Iron Man did start to meet foes that even magnets couldn't stop, as he came up against the likes of Titanium Man, the Crimson Dynamo and the Mandarin.

And of course, technically, Thanos is an Iron Man villain; as rock-face made his first appearance in the pages of that self-same title.

So, who is your favourite ever Iron Man villain? As always, after a couple of days. I'll put your nominations into a poll and at last the world shall decide, just who is Iron Man's greatest ever foe.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Marvel's heroes. On the wall. Off the wall.

Marvel UK super-hero posters, 1970s, Iron Man, Spider-Man, Thor, Hulk, Captain America, Daredevil, 6 for 90p
I've bemoaned in the past my lack of childhood super-hero wall stickers but, thankfully, stickers aren't the only things we can stick to our walls.

We can also stick posters to them.

The truth is that, somehow, despite my voracious comic-reading habits, as a child I only ever had two comics-related posters on my bedroom wall.

One was the one that came with Marvel UK's Planet of the Apes #1, and the other was the John Buscema poster that came with the first issue of The Titans. I'm proud to say I still have both those posters.

There were, however, another set of posters that always impressed me greatly.

And those were the six that frequently appeared on the back of Marvel UK's weekly comics in the early to mid-1970s. I can't remember ever seeing them advertised in the American comics and, therefore, what the story was behind them, I have no idea.

All I know is they were things of beauty, with a level of anatomical accuracy not always found in super-hero figures, suggesting that real-life models may have been used.

Who painted them?

I don't know.

The Hulk's face has a touch of the John Romita about it. The Thor figure's lean build, and pose, looks to be in the Neal Adams envelope - although I'm not convinced the painting style is. The mad thing is that, despite their obvious desirability to any true lover of the radiation-affected, I never nagged my dad into buying them for me, even though we could have had the lot for a mere 90 pence.

Then again, for all I know, taking inflation into account, 90 pence could probably have bought you a semi-detached house in the middle of London back then.

Still, if I missed out on such treasures, at least I have my Titans and Planet of the Apes posters to keep me warm at night.
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