Friday 4 October 2013

Forty years ago today - October 1973.

We may all be reeling from the news that Twitter is to launch on the stock market for $1bn but I can promise you that Steve Does Comics will never float on the stock exchange for a billion dollars, no matter how much Warren Buffett might beg me to do it.

And that means it's time to slide down the index of History to this month's events of forty years ago and to take stock of what our favourite Marvel heroes were up to back then. Who was feeling bullish? Who was feeling bare?

And who was in danger of getting their assets handed to them on a plate?

Amazing Spider-Man #125, Man-Wolf

Man-Wolf is still causing trouble - and flashbacks ("Gwennn!").

I believe this is the first Spider-Man issue Ross Andru ever drew. As Andru was my favourite Spider-Man artist when I was a lad, I regard this as a good thing.
Avengers #116, Silver Surfer vs the Vision

The Avengers/Defenders Evil Eye saga gets into its swing as the Silver Surfer takes on the Vision and the Scarlet Witch.
Captain America and the Falcon #166, mummies

I don't believe I've ever read this one - but my eagle eyes tell me mummies may be involved.

Upon seeing this cover - and its title - I wondered if the tale within might have been inspired by DC's Shadow story Night of the Mummy but it seems that that came out a year after this one. So, clearly it wasn't.
Conan the Barbarian #31, John Romita

John Romita does a substantial amount of reworking to a Gil Kane cover.

Much as I love Jazzy John, I can't help feeling his Conan really doesn't look very barbaric.
Daredevil and the Black Widow #104, Kraven the Hunter

Good to see Daredevil's radar sense being as much use as a stainless steel tennis ball.
Fantastic Four #139, The Miracle Man

Hooray! I bought this issue from Sheffield's late lamented Sheaf Market and, thanks to the return of the Miracle Man, the artwork of John Buscema and the presence of Medusa, it's still a comic I love.
Incredible Hulk #168, the Harpy

After all those years in the comic, Betty Ross finally stops moping and starts blasting.
Iron Man #63, Dr Spectrum

Dr Spectrum's back.
Thor #216, Mercurio

Mercurio and Thor are still at odds over a big, talking jewel that's captured Sif and Karnilla.

I do feel that "Karnilla" is one of the greatest names in literature. It's a source of great regret to me that I've never met anyone in the real world who has that name.
X-Men #84

Apparently, Mekano lives.

Presumably, Leggo's feeling quite well too.

Stikklebrix is, however, well and truly a goner.


Joe S. Walker said...

That X-Men story (a reprint, as you probably know) was drawn by Ross Andru, and was possibly his first work for Marvel? I always thought of him as a DC artist, from Metal Men and Wonder Woman, both of which were perfectly suited to his style.

Anonymous said...

I liked Ross Andru too but John Romita was probably my favourite Spidey artist, he was the one I started with (SMCW No. 103, The Kingpin vs. The Schemer). It's funny how for me Conan seems like the archetypal Marvel character even though they didn't invent him, these days he belongs to Dark Horse comics which seems all wrong.Conan #63 was my first ever U.S. Marvel comic bought on a school day trip in July '76 (actually I bought about 10 altogether but Conan is the only one I definitely remember out of the lot of them).

Kid said...

Steve, remind me some day to introduce you to my Aunt Karnilla.

Anonymous said...

Ahhh now there's a set of comics that I have some strong memories of - 3 stick out Capt America 166 was a cracker and still one of my favourite comics to this day , he story was part of larger Yellow Claw story line in this issue he transplanted the soul of some evil ancient Princess into his nieces body, the mummies were simply reanimated (along with Zombies) to try and stop Cap and the Falcon as this all happened in the Museum of Natural History - Iron Man 63 was a strange one I seemed to recall loving this a a kid first time around and actively tried to pick this up again a few years ago, when I did I have to say I was really disappointed it was a pretty (below) average story - the Avengers v Defenders storyline was also hit and miss and this issue as I recall wasn't great considering at the time these type of story-lines were rare (and exciting to a fanboy) the art was pretty rushed as I recall although subsequent issues were well drawn - have to say I'm a Romita Snr (and Ditko) fan when it comes to Spider-man art Andru was a fantastic artist but something about the way he drew Peter Parker etc never clicked with me to many jutting jaws and starring eyes - I agree Conan just seems at home at Marvel to me as well although Dark Horse did some good stuff at the start of the series .McScotty

Anonymous said...

Steve. I notice you don't have a Facebook page. I'd like you to write for us at Superheroes At War Comicdom

I love the stuff you're doing and it would be a great fit. We just posted one of your articles, and linked to your blog, but would love to have you write for us. I couldn't find any contact info, hence the comment here.

You would be able to plug your blog as much as you like. Let me know by posting on our FB page.


david_b said...

SO MANY OF THESE were my very FIRST comics... Especially the CA&F, FF 138/139 (silly villain but my first FF's and my all-time favs..), the awesome Avengers-Defenders saga and that DD cover..?

Seeing the Widow tied up in her skin tight outfit in the background.., humble to say made me a DD fan.


Steve W. said...

Ronando. Thanks for the praise. I shall look into it. :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Steve,

Ross Andru's very first Spider-Man work actually appeared in Marvel Super-Heroes #14, in 1967.

Michael T.

Steve W. said...

Hi, Michael. Thanks for the info. Am I right in thinking John Romita did a lot of redrawing on that issue, so the art looks like a weird kind of mishmash of styles, or am I thinking of a totally different comic?

Anonymous said...

Hi again Steve,

You are probably right, I can see John Romita's influence particularly in the faces of Peter, Mary Jane, Gwen and Harry. Overall, I also always felt that somehow there was something weird about the artwork. Anyway, this story was a type of experimental-inventory story, so maybe Stan was really looking for something that would set this story apart from the regular Spider-Man title at the time, and he succeeded.

By the way, thanks for the web site, it brings back a lot of memories for me.

Take care,
Michael T.

MikeS said...

All the books cover dated October back then were actually on sale in July. ASM # 128 was actually on sale in October.

Dougie said...

The only one here that I bought at the time was the Conan issue. My mum worked in a solicitor's office back then and I can picture sitting at reception, waiting for her shift to end.

That issue sticks in my mind because I'm pretty sure there's a letters page ad for the Son of Satan, which seemed pretty transgressive when I was a kid.

It's also the 2nd last US Conan comic I'd read for the next three years. There seemed to be an embargo on colour Marvels up here until the autumn of '75.

Anonymous said...

That X-MEN #84 was the first US Marvel comic I ever bought! I had started reading UK's The Might World of Marvel weekly comic, the summer of 1973. Some newsagents in my English town sold the American DC and Charlton comics, but American Marvels were non-existent, that X-Men issue was the only I ever saw in 1973, I bought it in the October. I never realised it was a reprint.

Anonymous said...

Steve - It is nice to meet a fellow Medusa lover.

Steve W. said...

It's nice to meet you too, Anon.