Sunday, 4 May 2014

Fifty years ago this month - May 1964.

Well, blow up my death star and call me a scruffy looking nerf herder! It seems today is International Star Wars Day, where we're all supposed to dress up as our favourite Star Wars characters and celebrate the magical world of George Lucas.

And so it is that I'm typing this while dressed as Chief Chirpa, king of the loveable cannibal teddy bears.

Suitably unimpressed by their, "Magic tricks," I've just eaten the main cast and forged an alliance with the Empire, as would happen if Star Wars had taken place in the real world, or if its final instalment had been written by Terry Nation.

But were our favourite Marvel heroes of exactly fifty years ago making a meal of seeing-off their opponents?

Only a trip in my own personal Millennium Falcon of Nostalgia can tell us.

And it won't even take us twelve parsecs to get there.

Avengers #5, the lava men

The Avengers have to take on the might of the Lava Men.

They can do what they like to the Lava Men. All I care about is that they don't damage their lava lamps. Lava lamps are a thing of miracle and wonder and should be revered as the gods they are.

If Luke Skywalker's light sabre had been a three foot long lava lamp, I'd have been much more impressed by those movies.
Fantastic Four #26, the Hulk and the Avengers

The Hulk is on the loose but the Avengers and Fantastic Four seem more interested in fighting each other than in fighting him. It's saying something when the teenage sidekick seems like the most mature person at a gathering.
Journey into Mystery #104, Thor

Thor's up against giants.

Hold on a moment. The one in the background looks like Surtur. Does that mean the other one's Ymir? If so, he doesn't look like the Ymir I know and love from such tales as The Avengers #61.
Amazing Spider-Man #12, Dr Octopus

It's the story you thought you'd never see. Peter Parker's secret identity revealed!

Only, no one can believe Peter Parker could be Spider-Man, so they decide to ignore the evidence of their eyes.
Tales of Suspense #53, Iron Man and the Black Widow

The Black Widow's back - and firing strange, Magneto-like things from her hands. Did she ever use her magic tingle fingers ever again?
Tales to Astonish #55, Giant-Man vs the Human Top

I don't care what people say about him. I always knew the Human Top was a foe to be reckoned with. And, at last, he proves it by coming back for more.
X-Men #5

Magneto and his rag-tag bunch of evil mutants are still trying to cause trouble for our heroes.

I don't fancy their chances, as the cover suggests they're cowering in terror at the sight of a snowball being flung at them.

You do wonder at what point in the training process did Professor X tell Iceman that his Number One tactic when going into battle with insanely powerful enemies would be to throw snowballs at them.
Strange Tales #120, The Human Torch and the Iceman

For the second time this month, Marvel gives us the powers of fire and ice combined. Only, this time it's not Ymir and Surtur. It's the Human Torch and Iceman.

Brace yourself, Iceman, I get the feeling it's going to take a fair few snowballs to stop that mob.


Colin Jones said...

My favourite story here is mentioned on the cover of Strange Tales - Dr. Strange enters "The House of Shadows" which was a haunted house that was alive. Doc Strange sends it back to its' own dimension in a big puff of smoke and the watching crowd thinks it's all a trick for the cameras. Those early Lee/Ditko Dr. Strange stories were terrific and all wrapped up in about seven pages too.

John Pitt said...

Really love these 50 year old covers, Steve. Getting pretty close now toy very first Marvel comic. Will tell you when it crops up.

Steve W. said...

Thanks, John.

Colin, that Dr Strange story was the first Dr Strange story I ever read, in one of the early Marvel UK Avengers weekly comics. In fact, the first post I ever wrote on this blog was about that very issue of the Avengers weekly comic.

Colin Jones said...

Steve, I've read your very first post (curiosity always makes me seek out the first post of every blog I read) so I'll have another read of that.

Anonymous said...

These were a little before my time, but I remember several of them from reprints in Annuals (aka "King-Size Specials") or in Marvel Collector's Item Classics.

The Lava Men story might be the one where the Hulk's alter ego was referred to as "Bob Banner," which later led to an explanation that his full name was "Robert Bruce Banner."

The other giant (besides Surtur) in the Thor story was named Skagg. Don't know if he ever made any more appearances.

afaik, the Black Widow never used magic tingle fingers with Magneto-like powers again. In fact, she didn't have them in this story, either. She stole an anti-gravity weapon (it looked like a camera) from Tony Stark and used it to levitate stuff. I guess the cover scene was symbolic.

Suspense #53 also had the origin of the Watcher, which was also reprinted in MCIC. His people once tried to help a less advanced civilization by giving them nuclear technology, but the recipients used it to make bombs, then wiped out their population in a war. So the Watchers adopted their policy of only watching, never getting involved again. (Wasn't there a Doctor Who episode in the late 1970's that gave a similar explanation for the Time Lords' non-interference rule?)

I wasn't able to find a Jar Jar costume in time for Star Wars Day.

Steve W. said...

Thanks for the info, Anon. I think that has to be the most comprehensive and informative comment ever posted on here.

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