Monday, 1 December 2014

Fifty years ago this month - December 1964.

Being the dedicated sci-fi buff that I am, I've been watching the repeats of Day of the Triffids on BBC4. How I've thrilled at the sight of post-apocalyptic unpleasantness.

Well, those triffids might think they're hard but they wouldn't last five seconds against Marvel's fightingest heroes.

And here's where we find out just what those heroes were up to exactly fifty years ago.

Avengers #11, Spider-Man

I've never read this one but suspect that the scene on the cover never actually appears in the comic.

If it does, it does suggest the Avengers are a rather sorry bunch, considering they're supposed to be Earth's mightiest super-team.
Daredevil #5, the Matador

It's the senses-shattering debut of the Matador, the villain whose deadly super-power is owning a cape.

With a power like that, it's no wonder Daredevil had so much trouble with him.
Fantastic Four #33, Sub-Mariner and Attuma

I love this one; especially that moment when Attuma reveals just what those things on his hat are actually for.

Is this the issue where the Human Torch uses his underwater napalm power for the first time?

Did he ever use his napalm power again? You'd sort of hope not.
Journey into Mystery #111, Thor vs Mr Hyde and the Cobra

I've not read this one since I was a kid and thus have no idea at all as to just what's going on on that cover.
Amazing Spider-Man #19, the Human Torch and the Sandman

I do have a soft spot for the Enforcers, even though they're basically just there for Spidey to beat up on whenever he's feeling bad about himself because he has a cold.
Strange Tales #127, The Thing and the Human Torch

I seem to remember a similar looking villain turning up in a 1970s issue of the Fantastic Four. Did he turn out to be Reed Richards in disguise or am I just going mad?

Whoever he is, he must be a major villain indeed if he can relegate Dormammu to such a small portion of the cover.
Tales of Suspense #60, Iron Man and Captain America

Does the Iron Man tale involve him being suspected of murdering Tony Stark?

The Captain America tale looks to be one of those strange, early generic ones that consisted of him spending ten pages fighting a huge gang of people while delivering a lecture to them on how to use leverage.
Tales to Astonish #62, The Hulk and Giant-Man

Speaking of leverage; poor old Giant-Man could definitely use a few lessons in how to use it. Not content with struggling to defeat his usual hopeless opponents, he's now fighting desperately not to be killed by a woman who is arguably Marvel's feeblest ever super-heroine.


cerebus660 said...

Steve, that Strange Tales story was reprinted in FF #154 ( Jan '75 )when the Dreaded Deadline Doom had struck yet again. It turns out that "The Man In The Mystery Mask" is not Reed Richards but your favourite hero ( heh, heh! ) Nick Fury...

Steve W. said...

Thanks, Cerebus. That's definitely the FF issue I was thinking of.

John Pitt said...

This bunch of comics took at least 6 months to get over here. 49 years ago I went into my local village store to buy a DC comic off the spinner rack only to find all of the above amongst them - strange comics featuring heroes I had never heard of before! I had to try ONE of them, so I plumpted for the top one, as it contained a lot of the characters together. But when I read the story ( the Avengers vs. Lang) I wasn't all that impressed in comparison to my beloved DC comics and for a about a year I didn't bother with any more Marvel comics! It wasn't until the Hulk entered Smash that I really got into Marvel. Perhaps I just needed to be that one year older, but I soon realised the appeal and then I began buying more Marvel than DC.

John Pitt said...

Make that KANG, not Lang - I hit the wrong key!

Kid said...

Steve, just out of interest, what percentage of the comics whose covers you publish do you actually still own? (And can can you use 'whose' for an inanimate object?)

Steve W. said...

Kid, I can announce that I currently own none of the comics listed above, other than in reprint form.

I currently own the above Captain America, Spider-Man and Fantastic Four stories in reprint form, thanks to the Essentials books.

I used to have the Iron Man, Hulk and Daredevil stories in Essential form but no longer do.

I used to have an original copy of the Spider-Man issue but no longer do.

Unknown said...

In the Avengers issue (11) Spider-man does appear, but the story hinges around Kang attacking the Avengers (minus a "missing in action" Iron Man, despite him being on the cover) Kang uses a robot Spider-man for some reason to attack the Avengers but the real Spidey beats the robot version etc. The Iron Man tale is indeed the one where Iron Man is suspected of killing Tony Stark as Iron Man for a reason I can't recall) decides that he needs to wear his armour full time (heart attack number 101 no doubt).

Strange but unlike John (Pitt - cool superhero name there John)) I can't actually recall a time when I first saw Marvel comics on the racks, I remember DC of course even Charlton, Mighty, Archie, Harvey and (possibly) Tower but my first real recollection on Marvel was probably circa 1969/70 when they were really (ihmo) at their best as I recall buying a friend a Marvel (UK) thick comic / annual for Christmas waaaay back

Steve W. said...

Thanks for the Avengers and Iron Man info, Paul.

As for me, the first time I recall seeing Marvel comics was in Sheffield's old Rag and Tag open-air market which had a stall that sold them. This would probably have been sometime in 1972.

The Rag and Tag was a very strange place. Even photos of it taken in the early 1970s look like they were taken in the 1950s.

Unknown said...

Had a wee look on line at the "Rag and Tag" it looks brilliant I love these type of places. In Glasgow we have The Barras that used to be out of this world ans covered a large area of the East end of the city, you name it they sold it (not always legally) - and of course they had lots of US comic stalls (and record stalls also) that I used to get a lot of US comic in. Sadly from my last (depressing ) visit a few weeks ago there is only one dedicated (and very good) comic stall but the Barras is just awful now dirty, cheap and loud (full of fake CDs, tobacco and offensive Rangers/Celtic etc so called gag gifts)I cant see it lasting much longer as its being squeezed out by cheaper shops like Primark, Dunnes etc and with the area now becoming a desirable place to live in (previously it was pretty rough,,,I'm being kind there ) . I recall a few markets in Blackpool (I think Abington and St Johns ) that were great for comics and I bought loads of US comics when we were on family holidays down south.

John Pitt said...

I can even remember the first time I saw DC in the shops, McS! It was early '63 and 2 schoolmates told me where I could buy them. Prior to that I had been buying Dell and Classics Illustrated from my local newsagents. But when I discovered the superheroes I only had enough to buy a B&W Miller Marvelman. But the next time I bought my first ever DC - Batman #148.
Yeah, Avengers #11, as I recall Kang wanted to rule the world in several time eras and Spidey was invited to join the Avengers, but declined the offer.
Yeah, it has made me so smug every time my name has cropped up in comics! - A fitting tribute for all my years of love for all things comics!

Anonymous said...

That really is a beautiful cover on Journey into Mystery 111.

As I recall, Steve, the story inside was some nonsense about Thor fighting Mr Hyde and the Cobra, with Jane Foster as damsel in distress. Not exactly inspirational stuff, but there are some interesting goings on with Balder and Odin in an Asgardian sub plot. Actually, you could say this is (roughly) the point where the Tales of Asgard approach starts to make it into the main feature.

Along with that FF cover - early collage sighting - you're basically getting the first signs of Kirby's phenomenal midlife creative surge here.