Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Fifty years ago this month - April 1966.

In this month of 1966, The Sound of Music won five Oscars, including the one for Best Picture.

This is exciting news for all Marvel fans as, famously, one of the Von Trapp children in that movie was played by Nicholas Hammond who went on to play the amazing Spider-Man in the legendary 1970s TV show of the same name.

The Sound of Music also featured Heather Menzies who went on to star in the TV version of Logan's Run and Christopher Plummer who went on to star in that classic Star Wars knock-off Starcrash.

Good Lord! It turns out that that musical was a veritable smorgasbord of future sci-fi stars!

But what was happening in the world of comics while singing nuns were soaring to such triumph?

Avengers #27

I believe this was the story that first introduced me to Attuma.

I am struck by how often the Scarlet Witch was depicted wearing purple on covers from this era. Did the colourist miss a memo or was Wanda merely stricken by a colour blindness that her colleagues didn't have the heart to tell her about?

Daredevil #15, the Ox

If I remember rightly, the Ox is the victim of a brain swap in this tale and it all ends rather tragically.

Fantastic Four #49, Galactus

Galactus is causing yet more trouble on a cover that I remember inspiring Chris Achilleos' cover for Target Books' adaption of the Dr Who story The Three Doctors.

Amazing Spider-Man #35, the Molten Man

It's a somewhat odd cover whose Spider-Man figure doesn't really strike me as looking in the slightest bit Ditkoesque.

I must confess the Molten Man was a character who made no impact at all on me until he returned during the Ross Andru years when he was a much more compelling individual with major life problems.

I think that being permanently on fire counts as a major life problem.

Just what did the Molten Man regret in this tale? I don't recall him regretting much at all.

Is this the tale in which Peter Parker and his classmates graduate from high school?

If so, is this the one where JJJ calls Liz Allen, "Miss Brant," for no good reason?

Strange Tales #143, Nick Fury agent of SHIELD

Those bad guys clearly don't mess around. It's a time bomb - and it seems to have a lit fuse attached to it. Some might call that overkill.

Come to think of it, is the man on the right holding a detonator as well?

Tales of Suspense #76, Captain America vs Batroc

Batroc Ze Leapair is causing, 'ow you say, trouble for America's finest. Zut alors!

Is this the one where they chase each other around town trying to find an unexploded atom bomb or some such?

Tales to Astonish #78, Sub-Mariner vs the Puppet Master

There's a Marie Severin Hulk story where Subby and Greeny fight each other, thanks to the machinations of the Puppet Master. So, was that tale the Puppet Master's revenge bid for being foiled by Namor in this one?

Thor #127

Odin nearly gets his son killed and then decides to feel bad about it.

Still, not to worry. I'm sure he'll do exactly the same thing all over again just a few issues down the line. The mad old duffer never did learn from his mistakes.

X-Men #19, the Mimic

My only experience of the Mimic comes from having read that issue of The Hulk that takes place in Canada and has the Beast as a guest star.

From this, I can draw few conclusions about his value as a super-villain.


Russ said...

Actually that was a good catch on Spider-Man. If you search around you'll find that the cover figure was redrawn, perhaps by a guy named Carl Hubbell, though I may be misremembering that latter part. Ditko's original had the figure more straight on, with his derriere in our faces. Pretty odd.

The Artistic Actuary said...

This page claims to show Ditko's original concept for ASM #35:
With an ass like that, It's a wonder he didn't take out a light fitting ever time he bent over to do up his laces.

And Peter Parker's high school graduation (something they never had in Baldock but clearly had in Sheffield) was in tecsame tale as the Molten Man's previous appearance: ASM #28. It probably also has the Brant/Allen typo you mention too; I think there's also a Brant/Allen mixup in ASM #17.

Steve W. said...

Thanks for the info, Russ and dangermash. :)

Anonymous said...

The Mimic wasn't so much a villain, he was more like a pain in the ass the the X-men. Their encounters were more like brawls between obnoxious teenagers. He did have an interesting battle against the Super-Adaptoid; their power-absorbing, er, powers cancelled each other out and they were both left standing there with nuthin' to say. to each other.

I always wondered what "the molten man regrets" meant too. I can only assume it's based on the title of a book, song, or poem, like "trapped in a world he never made!"
Like "Cry Havoc!" with the X-man Havoc, or "Send for the Scorpion!" with that Spider-man villain Scorpion.

Anonymous said...

I do know "cry havoc" was from Shakespeare's Julius Ceasar. "Trapped in a world I never made" was from a poet named Alfred Houseman.
We've all felt like Howard the Duck at one point or another.
The other ones, I have no idea.

Steve W. said...

I've always assumed that, "The Molten Man Regrets," is a reference to the song Miss Otis Regrets but why it's referencing that, I have no idea.

Anonymous said...

I had never heard of that, so I looked it up, and it's a good a guess as any, I suppose.
I think sometimes the writers at Marvel just threw things in there to baffle and bewilder their readers; keep 'em guessing, that sort of thing.
One of my favorites was, "Whomsoever Harms the Hulk!!" or "Lo, There Shall be an Ending!" or "Suffer not a Warlock to Live!!"