Tuesday 29 November 2011

The X-Men's greatest ever foe! Poll Results!

X-Men #4, Magneto and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants
It might soon be X-mas but there's a whole heap more X-citement in store for us than that, as the results are finally in from our poll to find the all-time greatest X-Men villain.

I'd like to say it was a close-run thing but the truth is that, to possibly no one's surprise at all, one candidate ran away with it.

Thirteen might be unlucky for some...

...but not for Magneto who came out on top with a mammoth total of exactly that many votes.

Second were the Hellfire Club with four votes.

Joint third were the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, Dark Phoenix and the mighty Juggernaut, with two votes apiece.

Joint sixth were Apocalypse and Mr Sinister who scraped together one vote each.

Everyone else got no votes - which is no doubt a comfort to the Toad who can now feel he can look the likes of Deathbird in the eyes as an equal.

So, it's well done to Magnus, or Erik or whatever his real name's supposed to be and, as always, thanks to all who voted.

Saturday 26 November 2011

When did Spider-Man's Classic era end?

Amazing Spider-Man #185, Spider-Man looms large over proceedings as Peter Parker graduates, watched by his regular cast
Fate is a magnificent thing. Just as I was wondering what I should write about tonight, R.W. Watkins has come to my rescue by suggesting I throw out a question.

That question is; when did Spider-Man's "Classic" era end and the adventures of everyone's favourite web-spinner become just another comic strip?

Of course, it could be that Spider-Man was never special for you.

Alternatively, it might be that Spideyness is the gift that keeps on giving and, for you, it's never stopped being 20 pages of Purest Awesome every month since it first started.

For myself, it's an easy question to answer.

For me, Spider-Man's Classic era ended with Amazing Spider-Man #185, when Peter Parker graduated from university. I'm sure there were plenty of perfectly good Spider stories after that date but somehow it doesn't feel like real Spider-Man to me if Peter Parker's not a student.

Of course, this is only my ten pence worth and you may well be tearing your hair out at such ludicrous opinions - knowing, as you do, that Peter Parker graduation was only the start of the strip's goldenest ever Golden Age.

Or perhaps you think it lost its pizazz somewhere halfway through issue #2.

Or perhaps a little part of you died when the Clone Saga finally ended and you had to live with the knowledge that never more would clones be traipsing through your favourite mag.

If so, here's where you can get it all off your chest. It's practically psycho-therapy but, unlike a visit to Dr Bart Hamilton, it won't charge you a fortune and won't turn into the Green Goblin and try to kill you when you've finished.

Wednesday 23 November 2011

Fantastic Four #94. Dare you enter....?

Fantastic Four #94, the Frightful Four, including Medusa, attacks the Fantastic Four at night, outside the house of Agatha Harkness who makes her first appearance this issue
Children. What a nuisance they can be, always getting in the way when you're trying to kick a super-villain in the nadgers.

Fortunately there're people in this world you can turn to, to look after your children while you're busy with such matters. And so it is that Marvel's answer to Mary Poppins - Agatha Harkness - makes her debut.

I've complained in the past that the last two years of Jack Kirby's tenure on the strip saw what for me was a marked decline in quality. But, in the interest of fairness, I should say that a quick glance at my battered old copy of Essential Fantastic Four Vol 5, suggests that, even during this period, there was a short-lived upturn, as that volume kicks off with The Prisoner-inspired Dr Doom tale before giving us the Thing's first encounter with Torgo and then this outing.

Admittedly, in between the Doc Doom and Torgo tales, there's a truly woeful Mole Man two-parter that makes no sense whatsoever but it's probably best we draw a veil over that one.

In Fantastic Four #94, Reed and Sue Richards decide that, as their lives are in constant danger, they should temporarily leave their baby Franklin with someone who can look after him.

During her first ever appearance, Agatha Harkness raises her arms and threatens the Frightful Four
That someone is Agatha Harkness who seems creepy and sinister enough on first appearance but, on closer inspection, turns out to be even more creepy and sinister.

To make matters worse, after God knows how many years' absence from the strip, the Frightful Four decide to make a comeback and attack the FF as they stay at Harkness's house.

The Thing, Mr Fantastic and the Human Torch are quickly taken out by the Frightful Four's sneak attack and deadly powers, while the Invisible Girl's defeated by their dramatic act of... ...locking her in her bedroom. No doubt the house promptly reverberated with cries of, "Help! Help! Let me out of my bedroom!" And to think people have accused Stan Lee and Jack Kirby of not being able to create empowered females.

Still, as General Thunderbolt Ross once remarked, the Invisible Girl was really only there to keep everyone's morale up by looking nice.

Fortunately, with the Fantastic Four helpless, Medusa's on hand to look nice tackle the villains, who've re-hired her without grasping she's the sister of sometime Fantastic Four member Crystal. Sadly, despite having a fair bit more spunk than Sue, Medusa turns out to not be much more use in a fight and is also captured.

This, of course, should mean our heroes are doomed. But the villains haven't counted on the presence of Agatha Harkness who promptly unleashes her sinister powers on them.

Fantastic Four #94, the Wizard flees a giant pair of cat eyes
Given that later Jack Kirby FF tales frequently seemed to have been based on whatever it was he'd just watched on TV, I suspect this issue may have been inspired by the classic 1950s horror movie Night of the Demon. Like the villain in that movie, Agatha Harkness has a cat that turns into a much bigger cat, a big creepy house in the middle of nowhere, and a demon to set on those who offend her.

Another clear parallel is how the tale's ending leaves it noticeably ambiguous as to whether the supernatural threats the Frightfuls face in her home are real or just products of their imagination - exactly the same approach Night of the Demon director Jacques Tourneur tried to take with his film before the producers decided such ambiguity was bad for box office, and added a bunch of decidedly unambiguous shots of a giant demon.

Fantastic Four #94, the Trapster is crushed by a giant demon
What's great about this tale is how atypical it is for a Fantastic Four adventure. We're used to seeing the FF inhabit a world of super-science, of men in high-tech armour, of big machines, big planets, big people and even bigger concepts. Seeing them plunged into a world of the strange and supernatural - and a claustrophobic setting - is a welcome change of tone and, while Kirby's celebrated for his technology, the issue does remind us he was equally adept with the occult as with the pseudo-scientific.

Of course, not all's perfect. There is the question of how the Frightful Four knew about the secret passages in Harkness's house in order to use them for their attack and, while Agatha Harkness can clearly defend her latest charge, you do wonder at any parents who'd happily leave their child with someone so blatantly involved with dark forces.

But we all know this blog likes to be so hard-hitting that even Frank Miller daren't look at it for fear of its controversy, and so I'll say that, in my opinion, Fantastic Four #94 was Jack Kirby's last genuinely outstanding Fantastic Four tale.

But then again, what do I know? You may have other ideas. So, here's your chance to share them. What do you think was Jack Kirby's last outstanding FF tale?

Monday 21 November 2011

The X-Men's greatest ever foe!

Giant-Size X-Men #1, the new X-Men make their debut. Wolverine, Storm, Colossus and Nightcrawler burst through the cover as the original X-Men look on in shock
After a distinctly shaky start, the X-Men went on to dominate Marvel Comics' output to such a degree that the various X-titles practically became a comics company in its own right, and long-standing readers had to suffer the sight of even venerable old scrappers like the Sub-Mariner and Spider-Man suddenly being labelled mutants in an attempt to cash in on that success.

But, of course, no matter how mighty those mighty mutants might be, they'd have been nothing if they'd had no one to smack in the gob.

So it is that the likes of Magneto, Apocalypse, Juggernaut, the Shadow King, Deathbird, Dark Phoenix, the Sentinels and, erm, Unus the Untouchable were foisted on an ever-eager public.

That means it's time for Steve Does Comics to discover just who is the X-Men's greatest foe. And that means I'm inviting you to nominate your all-time favourite X-Men villain.

As always with these things, once the nominations are in, I'll use them to post a poll, in a couple of days' time, and the world can at last decide the issue once and for all.

Or at least until the next lunch-time.

Saturday 19 November 2011

Johnny Hawke!

Beano Annual 1973, Johnny Hawke goes fishing down the docks, with his pet osprey and kestrel
While America gave us heroes who could do such magnificent feats as flying, running at the speed of light and bending things, the comics of 1970s' Britain gave us their own brand of heroes. I've already looked at Billy the Cat and Katie. And who can forget the adventures of Bella Barlow belle of the bar, who, if memory serves me right, managed to win a gymnastics bronze medal at every Olympics for about forty years?

I do like to feel there was an endearing Britishness in her tendency to win bronze medals instead of the gold ones her American comic book equivalent would no doubt have won while simultaneously dealing a death-blow to communism.

Then again, in fairness to the girl, she did usually have to compete with both legs in plaster after having them smashed by her evil coach just days before competition.

Another such low-key hero was Johnny Hawke. I must admit I have no memory of him from the weekly Beano comics, so I assume he was created specially for the 1973 Beano Annual in which he appears.

Which of us wasn't thrilled to hear that next year's London Olympics (at which Bella, in traction, will no doubt win a bronze medal) will have surface-to-air missiles on stand-by just in case they're needed? What a fun event it threatens to be. But one person who won't be thrilled by news of surface-to-air missiles is Johnny Hawke, because all his friends are airborne.

That's right. Johnny Hawke isn't like other boys. Other boys can't talk to birds.

In this story, an anaconda escapes when a crane drops the crate it's being transported in. Luckily Johhny's on hand to save the day by summoning his avian allies to pick it up - before it can eat any children at the local school - and drop it off at the nearest zoo.

I don't have a clue who drew the thing but has there ever been a more stirring comic panel than the double-page spread below?

Despite it all, there are certain worries. Such as why isn't Johnny Hawke in school at the tale's outset? Instead he's down the local docks, fishing.

I'm also worried about Mr Hicks the cop with the gun. Since when does what appears to be barely more than a local village bobby happen to carry a rifle around with him? Since when does British law permit him to just start shooting it at will? And just why is he so keen to use it? My God, I hope they don't stick him in charge of those surface-to-air missiles, or I suspect we'll all be in trouble.
Johnny Hawke, a school full of children and an armed policeman watch as birds of prey lift a giant anaconda into the air, Beano Annual 1973

Wednesday 16 November 2011

The Hulk's greatest ever foe: Poll Results!

Incredible Hulk #200
It's time to split your shirt but not your jeans and lift up a mountain because the results are in from Steve Does Comics' sensational poll to find the Hulk's greatest ever foe.

As always it was a hotly contested vote, with opinions swinging this way and that but in the end the winner was the man who must've known all along he was going to triumph because he called himself the Leader.

That's right, the man who's as high-handed as he is high-headed came in first with a Gamma-tastic six votes.

Second was Thunderbolt Ross with a Hulk-Busting five votes.

Joint third were the Abomination and, "Himself," with two votes each.

Fifth place was a three-way tussle between the Missing Link, Wolverine and the Glob with each claiming one vote.

I'm proud to say I voted for the Glob, as you can't beat a good old pile of mud when it comes to enemies. That's why I've now decided my back garden is my deadliest foe. Grargh! Puny garden is strong but puny Steve is stronger!

Thanks to all who voted. And remember; within each of us, ofttimes there dwells a mighty and raging fury.

Tuesday 15 November 2011

Sheffield's Most Wanted. Part 12: Ghosts Limited Collectors' Edition.

Ghosts DC Comics Limited Collectors Edition, two children enter a haunted house as a skeleton watches from behind the door
As I roam the amusement parks of Sheffield, going, "Wooooooooooo," and pretending to be a monster so I can scare away the locals and help myself to the pirate's treasure that rumour has it is buried beneath them, people often say to me, "Steve, as Sheffield's acknowledged master of fear, which was your favourite 1970s' DC horror mag?"

And I say, "Much as I loved the likes of House of Mystery/Secrets, Weird War Tales and the Witching Hour, there's one that stands out head and shoulders above them all."

That comic is Ghosts.

I think the reason it stands out is obvious.

You see, reader, as its cover blurb told us, every single tale in it was true.

Yes, all of them - even the ones that only involved one character who ended up dead at the end, with no witnesses, meaning there's no way anyone could ever have known what had happened in order to recount the tale. The fact that such events still managed to make it into print shows you just how thorough the DC writers were in their research.

And that meant I always wanted the Ghosts Limited Collectors' Edition.

As far as I'm concerned, a comic can never go wrong with a skeleton on the front of it, nor with a haunted house on the front of it, nor with curious but imprudent youngsters on the front of it. I assume this cover's drawn by Nick Cardy, and it gives us all three of those features.

Not only that but it promises ten Halloween spine-chillers, four tense tales of haunted houses, a midnight maze puzzle and a 3-D Trick-or-Treat cut-out. Obviously, as an Englishman, I have no idea what this Trick-or-Treat thing is of which they speak but it certainly sounds exciting and I can't wait for it to catch on in this country.

Saturday 12 November 2011

Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #199.

Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #199, Superboy turns against the legion
As anyone who ever sat though the Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop show way back in the 1970s can tell you, there's no sight more nightmarish than that of a human being talking to their own hand.

So it is that the Legion of Super-Heroes have plenty to worry about as issue #199 sees the return of Tyr, the big, red alien warlord with the talking metal gun-hand, who was last seen in issue #197.

When Tyr was captured at the end of that tale, his gun-hand flew off into outer space, vowing vengeance.

And now it's back, determined to rescue its master by trapping the Legion in their own HQ.

Unfortunately, when Superboy turns up to try and rescue them, it gets ideas above its station by taking control of him and deciding that, with Superboy under its spell, it doesn't need Tyr any more.

Happily, it's all sorted out by Princess Projectra and Chameleon Boy doing their thang, to trick it into giving itself up. It's all nicely drawn by Dave Cockrum, while Tyr, despite being a bit futile in this tale, does look good, with his bright red skin, gratuitous height and mohawk.

Superboy thinks he has killed the Legion of Super-Heroes

But of course what really makes this issue stand out from the pack is that its back-up strip gives us a wrong-doer of such unique awfulness that I once voted him the worst super-villain of all time.

Otto Orion Jr (Adam). The worst ever super-villain? Legion of Super-Heroes 199. Bouncing Boy
Yes, strangely familiar....
Not only does he look like a refugee from Dr Hook's taken to rummaging through Kraven the Hunter's dustbins and stealing any clothes Kraven's thrown out for being too lame, but he has a great plan - to defeat Bouncing Boy.

Now, I don't like to teach my grandmother to suck eggs but my advice to any would-be super-villain would be that if your ambition's to defeat Bouncing Boy then you should probably give it up as a bad job.

Regardless, while he's flying back to Earth from some mission or other, Bouncing Boy's space shuttle's captured and taken to an asteroid where his abductor Otto Orion Jr declares he's going to set Bouncing Boy loose on the asteroid, hunt him down like a dog and kill him.

Is this the end for the man who convinced generations of children that obesity is a super power?

Bouncing Boy and (Adam) Otto Orion Junior. Legion of Super-Heroes #199
When the villain puts down his weapon and has his
hands occupied tying his boots, our hero bursts into action
by, erm, just standing there, watching.
Of course it isn't.

Why? Because Bouncing Boy saves himself by hiding in a puddle until he catches a cold, so he'll sneeze, causing him to ricochet off a wall and knock Orion out on the rebound.

Yes, that's how hopeless Otto Orion Jr is, that he can be defeated by a plan that pathetic.

Oh well, what can you do? As anyone who's ever tried talking to their hand could tell you, not everyone in life can be as sinister a presence as Shari Lewis. And, as anyone who's ever worn leopard-skin tights can tell you, not everyone can be Kraven the Hunter.

Thursday 10 November 2011

The Incredible Hulk's all-time greatest foe.

Incredible Hulk #139, the Hulk vs a whole army of his deadliest foes, thanks to the Leader and his deadly mind-machine
Rargh! Steve smash! Puny Internet is strong but puny Steve is punier!

No, wait that's not right.


All that matters is Steve Does Comics' insane quest to find the greatest super-villain of them all has reached Marvel's mightiest marauder, the incredible Hulk.

Film critic Mark Kermode once claimed a Hulk movie can't work because the Hulk has no great enemies. Pshaw! What kind of madman could turn his nose up at the Abomination, the Glob, the Rhino, the Space Parasite, the Leader, Umbu and the Galaxy Master?

But of course those're only a small selection of the myriad foes Jade Jaws has fought over the years. So, who's your all-time favourite Hulk villain?

As always, after a couple of days, I shall gather your nominees together and put them in a poll.

And then the world can at last decide just who is the Hulk's greatest ever foe.

Wednesday 9 November 2011

Les Daniels, RIP.

Les Daniels, Five Fabulous Decades of the Worlds Greatest Comics. Spider-Man climbs a wall. John Romita Cover
As has already been reported on various other sites, including Bronze Age Babies and Rip Jagger's Dojo, writer and comics historian Les Daniels has passed away.

I must confess I only really knew Les Daniels from his book Marvel: Five Fabulous Decades of the World's Greatest Comics which I bought almost exactly 20 years ago. It's a scary thought that if he wrote it now it'd have to be called Seven Fabulous Decades of the World's Greatest Comics.

But that just reveals how much time's passed since then. These days, thanks to the Internet, one can find out pretty much anything one wants to about comics, with the press of a button. But, back then, when such limitless resources were barely more than a twinkle in the eyes of some mad scientist, reading such a book was like finding a horde of buried treasure, packed with pictures, anecdotes, info and quotes from famous creators.

It really was a joy to behold, and still is. And for that, although I knew next to nothing about him, I shall always be grateful to Les Daniels. You can read what I had to say about that book by clicking on the picture above.

Monday 7 November 2011

Forty years ago today. November 1971.

Thanks to the Steve Does Comics' time machine, we've already seen what our favourite Marvel heroes were up to fifty years ago this month, but just what were they up to ten years later?

Obviously they were all ten years older and had therefore, no doubt, learned to be calmer, less ready to use their fists, and to sort things out by reason and logic.

Nope. They were still hitting anything that couldn't run away fast enough.

Amazing Spider-Man #102, the Lizard and Morbius, six-armed Spidey

Spider-Man finds himself having to deal with both the Lizard and Morbius.

Still, at least he turned up well-armed.

Avengers #93, Neal Adams, the Skrulls disguised as the Fantastic Four

It's the Avengers vs a herd of cows, and Ant-Man vs the Vision's tonsils, as Neal Adams arrives and the Kree/Skrull War steps up a gear.

Captain America and the Falcon #143, Power to the People

For the first time in living memory, a Captain America cover doesn't feature the Grey Gargoyle. Instead it features a mystery villain.

Could it be the Red Skull?

Could it be Baron Zemo?

Could it be Irving Forbush?

Conan the Barbarian #11, Barry Smith, Rogues in the House

I'm assuming from the cover that this is where Barry Smith and Roy Thomas give us their adaptation of Robert E Howard's  Rogues in the House.

I seem to recall that the sorcerer in this has a living-room lined entirely with mirrors. If only I had a living-room lined entirely with mirrors, so I could look at myself all day long and appreciate my beauty as others can.
Daredevil and the Black Widow #81

I read this a couple of years ago, after acquiring a pile of old Daredevil comics. I should therefore be able to tell you exactly what happens in it.

I don't have a clue what happens in it.

Fantastic Four #116, Dr Doom leads the FF, Over-Mind

Hooray! First he wins our poll to find the greatest ever Fantastic Four villain and now Dr Doom takes over leadership of the FF as they look to take on the latest threat to mankind.

I also read this a couple of years ago and believe the villain to be the Over-Mind. Or was it the Stranger? Or was it both?

Incredible Hulk #145, Ancient Egyptian gods and the Sphinx

The Hulk takes on a giant statue and a bunch of Ancient Egyptian gods.

Bah! Puny gods have no chance against Hulk!

Iron Man #43, Mikas

Iron Man tangles with someone called Mikas.

I know nothing about Mikas but assume, from his implied MO, that he has something to do with the villainess of last month's story.

Thor #193, the Silver Surfer and Durok

It's Thor and the Silver Surfer vs Durok the Demolisher.

I love this story. Not being a great fan of the Surfer and his endless whingeing, I love that his surfboard gets smashed.

Was Durok ever seen again? I hope so.

Saturday 5 November 2011

Dan Dare. 2000AD Annual, 1978.

2000AD Annual, 1978, Dan Dare cover
Whoosh! Whizz! Bang! It's Guy Fawkes Night!

And that can only mean one thing


And that can only mean one thing.

Dan Dare!

While America may have had the likes of Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers to protect it from interplanetary menaces, 1950s' Britain had the mighty Dan Dare, a square-jawed, pipe-smoking, rock-fisted defender of the British Empire and Commonwealth, guaranteed to save us all from dastardly aliens and their foreign ways.

Actually I don't know if any of that's true, as I've never read any of the original tales. For all I know he might, back then, have been a rampant communist who spent all his time telling his youthful readers that resistance is futile and we should surrender at once to our rightful Soviet overlords.

None of that matters because I first encountered Dan Dare in the 1970s, in the pages of 2000 AD where he was revived and revamped. Appropriately for such a national institution, it was Dan Dare who kicked off their 1978 Annual.

Dan Dare slime, spaceship, Massimo Belardinelli, 2000AD Annual, 1978
And what an action-packed tale it is. Our hero rushes to stop a spacecraft from crashing into the Earth, discovers its crew are dead, its bridge full of deadly floating slime, then finds himself and the ship transported via black hole to an alien world where a criminal called Mytax has lumped his lot in with a giant, green, winged alien called Solan who appears to be virtually all-powerful.

Mytax might sound like something you'd buy for Athlete's Foot but it soon turns out he's a first-rate heel and, having no sense of good old fashioned English decency, tries to have Solan kill Dan. Pausing only to slaughter a giant monster, Dan ruins everything for everyone before Solan's father turns up to take him away.

Yes, in a twist we've never seen before in any story ever, it turns out the all-powerful alien is only a naughty child who needs a good spanking from his parents.

Dan Dare vs Solan, Massimo Belardinelli, 2000AD Annual, 1978
It might not be the most original tale ever, and its ten pages of non-stop action don't exactly allow an awful lot of room for character development but it does look appealing. There're no credits that I can see but the finely-honed critical instincts that bought you this post, tell me the art's probably by the redoubtable Massimo Belardinelli who was apparently not to everyone's taste on the strip and was dropped from it after a while.

As his art always looked fine to me, I can only assume people's problem was that, in Belardinelli's hands, Dan Dare didn't look overly like Dan Dare. But who cares about that? A pretty picture's a pretty picture and, as Guy Fawkes could've told you...



No. I can't think of anything Guy Fawkes could've told you that has any relevance to this story. But happy Bonfire Night anyway.

And remember, kids, don't blow up Parliament. It's naughty.
Dan Dare is taken home by Solan and his dad while Mytax gets his what-for, Massimo Belardinelli, 2000AD Annual, 1978

Wednesday 2 November 2011

The Avengers' all-time greatest villain: Poll Results!

Avengers #24
Well, the Greek Prime Minister might be trying to put everything to a referendum but he's well and truly behind the curve, as this site's already done the only referendum that counts.

That's right; the results are in from Steve Does Comics' poll to find the all-time greatest Avengers villain. Could it be the Grim Reaper? Could it be the Space Phantom? Could it be Attuma?

In fact it was none of the above because the runaway winner was Ultron with eleven votes.

Second was Kang with six votes.

Joint third were the Squadron Sinister and Count Nefaria, with one vote each.

Joint fifth was everyone else in the entire world, with a walloping zero votes.

Who'd have thought a mother-fixated patricidal robot could prove so popular? Well, the Greeks probably could. They did after all invent the Oedipus Complex. It just goes to show there's no such thing as a coincidence in this world.

As always, thanks to all those who voted.

Tuesday 1 November 2011

Fifty Years Ago Today! November 1961.

It's no secret that one of the most popular features on this blog is the one where I post the covers of various old comics, in order to find out what our favourite Marvel heroes were up to exactly forty years ago. So popular is it that people who've never even heard of comics - or even of me - bang on my door at night demanding, "Steve, what were our favourite heroes up to exactly forty years ago?"

But now that fateful moment has arrived when it's actually possible for me to do the same for our favourite heroes fifty years ago.

Granted, right now that doesn't take much doing as, in November 1961, Marvel had just one super-hero comic out but, as time goes by, such a feature will no doubt enable us to see how the company grew and developed as the 1960s progressed.

Fantastic Four #1, Jack Kirby, monster

The Mighty Marvel Age of Heroics kicks off with The Fantastic Four #1. And what a great cover it is. With just one image, Jack Kirby lets us see at a glance what our brand-new heroes are all about. Instantly we can see that Mr Fantastic can stretch like knicker elastic, the Human Torch can burst into flames and fly, the Thing is big and ugly and can crush cars, and that the Invisible Girl's completely useless.

One thing that's always baffled me about the cover though is that Reed Richards is shown stretching free of ropes whilst declaring, "It'll take more than ropes to keep Mr Fantastic out of action!" That may be true but who exactly has tried to tie him up? I assume it's not the monster - it's clearly only just arrived. And, besides, why would you waste time trying to tie people up if you were a giant monster?

I can only conclude that, the moment he saw a monster appear, Mr Fantastic tied himself up so he could demonstrate to it that ropes cannot hold him.

What a complete and total berk.