Sunday, 4 December 2016

Fifty years ago this month - December 1966.

December 1966 wasn't a good week for those who liked to stay alive, as it saw the death of Tara Browne, London socialite and heir to the Guinness fortune, who died in South Kensington after ignoring a red light and crashing into a parked lorry. While that might have been a tragic occurrence, it might not sound a historically significant one, until you realise it was the event which inspired the first verse of the Beatles' A Day in the Life.

Elsewhere, Walt Disney died and - despite urban myths claiming that he's cryogenically frozen and awaiting revival - was cremated.

But they weren't the only ones to depart this world in that month, because legendary music show Ready Steady Go! was broadcast for the final time, with its last performers being The Who.

Does this mean that month was all about departures?

No - because in this month of 1966, The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly made its debut.

But what of the good, the bad and the ugly of the comics world? Just how were they getting on in the month that featured that cover date?

Avengers #35

I'm trying to recall what the big change in Goliath is. Is it that he regains his ability to change his height?

Is that the Living Laser on the cover? I do hope it's not his light that's failed or it's not going to be much of a story, with the Avengers having to spend twenty pages fighting a non-super-powered man who has no weapons.

Daredevil #23, the Gladiator

I believe this is the one in which our hero has to fight the Gladiator, for the entertainment of the Maggia, and the Gladiator reveals himself to have a surprisingly honourable streak - one that I can't remember ever surfacing again.

PS. Don't forget to vote in our all-important Maggia poll which you can currently find at the top of this very page.
Fantastic Four #57, Dr Doom steals the power of the Silver Surfer

Does that cover mean we've reached the epic in which Dr Doom steals the Silver Surfer's powers and goes on a global rampage?

I love that story. How could I not love it? After all, without it, we'd never have had that unbelievably brilliant second Fantastic Four movie that everyone loves.

Amazing Spider-Man #43, the Rhino

My main memory of this story is that Mary Jane gets to dance to records and the Rhino's clothes fall off. These two events are not related.

Strange Tales #151, Nick Fury

I have no idea what's going on in here.

Tales of Suspense #84, Captain America vs the Super-Adaptoid

Hooray! The plain old Adaptoid becomes the Super-Adaptoid!

Like all villains who can copy the powers of their opponents, the Super-Adaptoid was remarkably useless at taking advantage of his seemingly unbeatable abilities.

Tales to Astonish #86, Sub-Mariner

Krang's up to no good again.

Exactly what no-good, I couldn't say.

Aren't he and Dorma the wrong colour on this cover?

Thor #135, The Man-Beast looms over our hero

One of my favourite Thor stories is in full swing, as one of my favourite super-evolved wolf villains is still causing trouble.

X-Men #27, the Mimic is back

As I've mentioned before, my knowledge of the Mimic comes entirely from reading that issue of The Hulk in which he appears. Therefore I can offer few thoughts about this tale, other than to wonder what would happen if he had a fight with the Super-Adaptoid.


TC said...

Henry Pym regained his size-changing ability in this issue. He then sabotaged the Living Laser's cannon. So, yeah, that was presumably the "light that failed," but it happened at the end, so they weren't stuck with twenty pages left to fill after the battle was over.

In Suspense #84, the Adaptoid gained the powers of the Avengers, and became the Super-Adaptoid. He dropped Captain America into the Hudson River, and flew away. Cap survived, which, according to the captions, was a great victory.

The Super Adaptoid next appeared in The X-Men #29, where he fought...the Mimic.

TC said...

BTW, there is also an urban legend that Walt's decapitated head is on one of the figures in the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction at Disney World.

Steve W. said...

TC, did the Super-Adaptoid really fight the Mimic? Who won?

And did the winner then have to fight the Absorbing Man?

TC said...

It was a draw. Their powers were so similar that they cancelled each other out. The Super-Adaptoid tried to absorb the Mimic's power (even though it was basically the same as his own?) and the energy backlash knocked them both out. The Angel rescued the Mimic, and the Super-Adaptoid fled, while making the usual threats to return and get revenge. His next appearance, IIRC, was in Avengers #45.

Anonymous said...

Here we see some classic examples of the old Marvel cover blurbs.
"Enter Dr. Doom!" or The "Maddening Menace of Super Beast!"
But, lo, shall there be an ending? Shall Earth endure? If this be doomsday, that is? Cry havok! To challenge the gods! And men shall call him hero!

The Artistic Actuary said...

Maggia rhymes with baggier. Couldn't see that as an option so thought I'd mention it here.

And MJ is definitely on something in ASM #42. Stan and John must have had some ideas that they never followed through on (not entirely unconnected with MJ's hooker outfit in an issue somewhere around #60 to 67. There's a long break of a year or two in which she just doesn't appear in ASM, presumably in an attempt to make us forget all those hints and the permed hairdo. When she comes back, it's as if she's cleaned up her act.

Joe S. Walker said...

Since the Maggia are of Italian origin (presumably), wouldn't "Madge-ear" be closest to correct? Then again, why did Marvel bother with the name at all? If the Mafia didn't like being in comics, presumably changing one letter of their name (to the next one in the alphabet, too) wouldn't have dissuaded them from making it known.

Steve W. said...

I think we can only wonder at Stan's reasons for the rename. On a similar matter, it's only recently occurred to me that the name A.I.M. may be based on I.B.M. Two of the letters are the same and the other letter is only one place further along on the Alphabet.

Anonymous said...

Steve, I am reminded that the letters that come before IBM are HAL, and that it has been suggested the homicidal computer from 2001 was named as a reference to the company. Both Clarke and Kubrick have denied this, but then they would, wouldn't they?
Where would we be if odd coincidences turned out to be exactly that, and not evidence of the secret connections that shape how the world really works?


Steve W. said...

I remember first reading about the HAL/IBM thing in Atlas/Seaboard's short-lived movie monster magazine whose title now escapes me. I do believe that magazine was my favourite publication of theirs.