Tuesday, 1 February 2011

February 1971. This Month in History.

Blow me down if it's not the start of a whole new month. And that means just one thing - it's time to look back at what our favourite Marvel heroes were doing exactly forty years ago.

It might've been February, the month of St Valentine, but there was little love in the air for our heroes as they yet again found themselves under siege from all sides

Amazing Spider-Man #93 Prowler

"He's back! More dangerous than ever!" declares the cover of Amazing Spider-Man #93 but the genius of Stan Lee and John Romita is that once inside the mag they make no attempt to convince us the Prowler's at all deadly. The tooled-up window cleaner is merely an obstacle, slowing Spidey down as he tries to get to Gwen Stacy before she leaves the country.

So outclassed is the Prowler that, in the end, Spider-Man doesn't make it to see Gwen in time purely because he has to rush his opponent to hospital after almost accidentally killing him.

I love every single Spider-Man tale from this era. With Peter Parker's private life in endless turmoil, how could I not?
Avengers #85 Squadron Supreme

After escaping the world of Arkon, a group of Avengers find themselves in an alternate world where they have to help the Squadron Supreme defeat an evil child genius.

I have to say I preferred the Justice League of America lookalikes when they were the Squadron Sinister but, as a Marvel fan, it's nice to see the Avengers putting the JLA in their place by being a whole lot smarter than they are.
Conan the Barbarian #3 Grim Grey God

The early days of Barry Smith's Conan continue as he comes up against the Grim Grey God. It's good to see the word "grey" being spelt with an "E" instead of an "A" - an attention to detail that appeals - but I must confess I remember nothing at all about the story itself.
Daredevil #73 Nick Fury and Iron Man

I must've read this in the Mighty World of Marvel but have no recollection of it. This could be because Iron Man's in it and I've remarked before on my strange amnesia when it comes to Iron Man yarns.
Fantastic Four #107

John Buscema takes over the art chores. This is a good thing as he's probably my favourite Marvel artist of all time and I always dug the way he drew the Thing's pebbles.

It quickly becomes obvious to the reader that Mr Fantastic's attempt to cure the Thing has turned Benjamin J Grimm evil.

By this stage, the Thing had turned against the Fantastic Four more times than you could shake a FOOM subscription at but, this time round, the idea was given a fresher feel than it deserved by having the Thing's descent into evil be drawn out over a number of issues.
Incredible Hulk #136 Xeron Klaatu

How could anyone not love this tale, as the Hulk comes up against Xeron and the giant space beast Klaatu? Not only that but we get the thrill of the Abomination finally returning to the strip that spawned him. Let's face it, at this stage in its history, the Hulk's mag could do no wrong.
Iron Man #34 Spymaster

Nope. Don't have a clue what happens in this one. Were Iron Man stories really that unmemorable post-Gene Colan or is it just that I have something wrong with me?
Thor #185 evil Odin

From the cover I'm betting this is the one where Thor finds himself up against an evil version of Odin. It has to be said, given the trouble Odin caused at the best of times, I'm not sure an evil Odin would be any bigger a threat to the universe than the normal one was.
X-Men #68 Sentinels

Never having been a fan of the original X-Men, I've not read this one but it's clearly involves the Sentinels and that has to be good news.

Was this one of the Neal Adams stories?


cerebus660 said...

A great month for Mighty Marvel! Five of the above comics ( plus one reprint ) fester in the depths of the Glass Walking-Stick's comic catacombs...

The Daredevil story is a crossover with Iron Man, but it follows IM #35, which has a March cover date - huh? Anyway, the chronology makes about as much sense as the story, which starts off with Spymaster blowing up Stark Industries and Iron Man, before Daredevil, Nick Fury, Scorpio and the Brotherhood Of The Ankh (!) get involved, and much dimension-hopping takes place. Mad stuff but fun...

The Thor issue is indeed the start of the Infinity/World Beyond/Evil Odin/Hela epic - for my money the best Thor story post-Kirby, with some beautiful Buscema artwork.

The X-Men issue is a reprint of X-Men #15. The last Neal Adams issue was no. 65, with no.66 being the last all-new issue before the advent of Wolverine, Storm, Colossus etc. Whatever happened to them?

Steve said...

I love The Brotherhood of the Ankh. "Save All Your Kisses For Me" is one of my favourite songs.

Gasp! "Love is Like Oxygen" by the Sweet is on Radio 2 right now. I fear that the fact that I'm excited about it says little for my street-cred.

cerebus660 said...

You get too much, you get too high
Not enough and you're gonna die
Love gets you high

Steve said...

Words of wisdom that I still live my life by, to this very day.

Taranaich said...

"Conan and the Grim Grey God" is loosely based on the fantastic "The Grey God Passes," a Robert E. Howard story that casts the historical Battle of Clontarf as the final battle between Pagan and Christian, with heavy mythological elements like the Tuatha de Danaan, Odin and the like making an appearance. Sort of like 300 in Dark Age Ireland.

Steve said...

Interesting. Thanks Taranaich.

MtlWebhead said...

While the real Zodiac was terrorizing San Fran, it seems there was always a bad guy taking the name; wonder if it was a coincidence or Marvel/DC cashing in.

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