Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Fifty years ago this month - May 1966.

It would appear that it was in this month of 1966 that Bob Dylan was famously booed for using electric instruments on stage.

He could at least console himself with the knowledge that he wasn't alone in facing such hostility. I think we all remember the nightmare furore that erupted when Marvel Comics' artists were booed for using electric pencil sharpeners.

Let's see to what use they were putting the lead in those pencils.

Avengers #28, Giant-Man is back

Hooray! Giant-Man is back in the Avengers and calling himself Goliath!

I recall being strangely pleased by this development when I was a lad. I think I was impressed by the visual imagery of a man towering above all others, and the human drama of him being permanently stuck at that height.

Fantastic Four #50, Silver Surfer

The power! The drama! Hold onto your sanity as best you can as the Human Torch goes to college!

Hold on a minute. Shouldn't the fact that the FF are fighting a fifty foot tall alien who wants to eat the world be deemed a slightly more cover-worthy plot strand?

Amazing Spider-Man #36, the Looter

Yet more attempts to sell a comic by mentioning College on the cover. Stan Lee really was fixated with trying to get students to read his comics in this era, wasn't he.

If I remember rightly, the villain in this tale is The Looter, even though I suspect that everyone thinks his meteor-spawned powers should have seen him be called Meteor Man.

Tale of Suspense #77, Iron Man vs Ultimo

Sadly, Stan fails to find a way to mention College on the cover of this mag but we do at least get another giant.

I always liked Ultimo. He had an air of unstoppability that appealed to me. I wonder how he'd do against the Hulk. He'd flatten Hulkie, wouldn't he?

Thor #128, Pluto

It's another classic as Thor literally goes to Hades, and Hercules learns a lesson he'll never forget.

Obviously, Ultimo would flatten the pair of them.

X-Men #20, Lucifer

I've never read this issue but it all looks very dramatic.

I do always wonder if there's an issue where the Angel actually does fly into that giant X, like he's threatening to, and brains himself.

I'm not sure why Marvel Girl's balancing a bag of money on her head.

Daredevil #16, Spider-Man

Hooray! Spider-Man shows up, as Stan tests out Jazzy John's suitability for taking over the Spider-Man strip in the unlikely event of Steve Ditko leaving anytime soon.

And you could get it all for the bargain price of 10d.

Tales to Astonish #79, Hulk vs Hercules

Hercules is a very busy man. Not only does he have to take on Pluto and the hordes of Hades this month but he also has to tackle the Hulk as well.

I think this tale may have been the first time I encountered Marvel's take on the Obstreperous Olympian. I seem to recall that he struck me as being a bit of a wally.

Strange Tales #144, Dr Strange, SHIELD

How little the reader of 1966 could have suspected that a character who could barely make the cover of his own mag would one day have a big budget Hollywood blockbuster made about him starring Lord Benedict Cucumber Patch, while SHIELD would have to settle for a mere TV show starring that woman from Meadowhead.

I don't like to boast but I think I can theoretically see her old house from where I am right now. You can't accuse me of not mixing with the stars.

Stay tuned to this blog for future news of which celebrities' houses I can theoretically see.


TC said...

1966 was at or near the peak of the spy-fi boom, so I guess that's why Doctor Strange got pushed into the background in favor of Nick Fury Agent of W.H.A.T.E.V.E.R.

IIRC, Peter Parker's high school classmates all graduated at the same time that he did, and all ended up attending the same college in the same city where they already lived. So having Peter (and Johnny Storm) start college was a way of creating an illusion of progression when nothing really changed.

Maybe if Ultimo had gone to college, he could have gotten a better job instead of being the Mandarin's flunky.

dangermash said...

Ooo no, TC. It was only Flash that ended up at the same place. Liz Allen disappeared for a long time afte school. And no matter what the films and fox cartoons say, Pete didn't meet Gwen and Harry until ESU. The introduction of Harry and Gwen (and soon MJ) at the expense of Liz and Betty was definitely a change.

Steve W. said...

I wonder what Johnny Storm actually studied at University? I can't remember them ever saying.

Aggy said...

Just a reminder that you can spell Bedledick Crumblesnatch completly wrong but everyone will know who you mean

Anonymous said...

Steve, as I recall Johnny Storm majored in being a pain in the arse.
Other than that, I'm not sure what he did at Metro U apart from play football - well, ok, not football but that game Americans play that they call football - with Wyatt Wingfoot.
They can go to college just to play football/not football in the US, right? Maybe thats it.


TC said...

American "football" is more like Rugby than it is like Soccer (which the rest of the world calls "football").

I had a boss whose father was a professor at Harvard. I asked her if they pressured him to give passing grades to the varsity football players no matter what. She laughed and said, "Well, it didn't really affect him much, because he taught advanced physics, and the athletes didn't take hard courses."

Somehow I thought that Liz went to the same college as Peter Parker. But I was more of a DC (and Gold Key/Western) fan in the Silver Age, anyway.

Doug said...

Hooray! Avengers #28 = my favorite comic book. It was one of the toughest books to part with when I sold my collection a couple of years ago. In retrospect I should have hung onto it (but couldn't think of a good reason other than sentimentality).


Steve W. said...

It's weird the associations that comic covers can have. Every time I see that Avengers cover, it reminds me of being in my local library, when I was ten, and being stood there at the counter, thinking about that cover. Why I was thinking about that cover while standing at the counter in my local library, I have no idea. I think it's just a symptom of how deeply Hank Pym's plight was affecting me.

Come to think of it, I also recall thinking about Ant-Man's cybernetic helmet once when I was in that library, as well.

Steve W. said...

I'm starting to think I can't go in a library without thinking of Hank Pym.

Anonymous said...

That guy menacing Dr. Xavier wearing the stunning crimson skirt, pants, cowl, and purple cape combo is Lucifer. Not THE Lucifer, just a guy from another dimension. Nobody was quite sure what his powers were, apart from sartorial splendor. Not able to return to this dimension, he divided his brain powers between two small-time Earth criminals, causing them to appear in the same outfit he had been wearing.
Armed with half a brain each, they were quickly clobbered by the Falcon and his bird.

John Pitt said...

Hiya Steve, sorry I've been out of touch again for a while, been MILES behind with the blogs again! Just got up to date with yours, ( had quite a few to go through!).
Out of this batch, I bought TTA, Strange Tales and FF on release, but recognise the covers of X-Men and Avengers from Fantastic and Terrific, which I bought at the time.
Anyway, hope you're well.

Steve W. said...

Hello, John, it's nice to know you're still alive and well, as am I. Sadly, I don't think I've ever owned any of this month's comics, except in reprint form.

Phil said...

Harvard doesn't give sports scholarships.
Giant-man eh? Funny you mention that with the new Captain America movie out......I must admit to always being a Hank Pym fan seeing as how he was a founding member of the Avengers and Wasp was the one who recognized Captain America when they rescued him.

Never liked the Titans sideways reprint, it made the first too small and hard to read.

Steve W. said...

I always loved the smallness of the pages in The Titans. The compactness appealed to me, even though I don't know why it did.

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