Sunday, 1 January 2017

Fifty years ago this month - January 1967.

Hooray! It's the first day of a brand new year!

That can only mean one thing!

That it's the time for making fresh starts and resolving to do things we've never done before, in bright new ways we've never previously considered!

And that can only mean one thing!

That I carry on doing exactly what I was doing before.

In January 1967, however, two things did happen that were brand new. Dr. James Bedford became the first person to be cryonically preserved with the intent of future resuscitation, and Milton Keynes was founded.

Clearly, those were heady days. But what of our favourite Marvel heroes in the comics that bear that historic cover date? Could any of them live up to the excitement of the foundation of Milton Keynes?

Avengers #36, the Ultroids

Didn't this story involve the Avengers having to find a surgeon to operate on the Wasp or the Scarlet Witch or something? How this led to them fighting aliens, I cannot remember or even guess at.

Daredevil #24, Ka-Zar

I seem to recall this involving some sort of plot to frame Zabu for some crime or other.

I've no doubt that where there's a plot to frame Zabu, that dastardly Plunderer can't be far away.

And possibly a submarine.

Fantastic Four #58, Dr Doom

It's one of my all-time favourites, as Dr Doom continues to abuse the Silver Surfer's powers.

Amazing Spider-Man #44, the Lizard

I'm fairly sure this is only the Lizard's second ever appearance.

Bearing in mind his status as one of Spidey's arch-foes, it seems amazing that, after his debut, he disappeared without trace for around four years. I mean, even the Chameleon managed more appearances than that.

Strange Tales #152, Dr Strange

I don't have a clue what happens in this one but, in line with the festive season, Dr Strange seems to be being attacked by Christmas trees.

I suspect that might be Umar who's waggling her fingers around but I couldn't swear to it.

Has it ever been explained why Umar doesn't have a fiery head like her brother does?

Tales of Suspense #85, Iron Man vs the Mandarin

Can it be? Can Tony Stark really be helpless in the clutches of the Mandarin?

Well, no, it can't be true. It's all a trick to lure us into buying the comic but it was quite a dramatic tale anyway, with what I recall to be a stylish car teleportation scene.

I saw Iron Man 2 on the TV again last night. It was alright.

I saw Captain America: The Winter Soldier the night before. I felt that was the better of the two movies.

Tales to Astonish #87, the Incredible Hulk

I have a feeling that thing on the cover might be one of the Leader's leftover humanoids that's causing trouble for our hero.

Thor #136

Thanks to Odin, Jane Foster fails her goddess test by being scared of a creature that it's made clear all Asgardians are terrified of. Yes, Odin's being a pain in the backside again.

Still, if I remember right, at least we get to meet Sif in this story.

X-Men #28, the Banshee

Other than that the Banshee appears in this tale, I don't have a clue what happens in it. It's always intriguing to see a red cover though.


TC said...

In Avengers #13 (1965), they were lured to the castle of Count Nefaria. They defeated his henchmen, but, in the fight, the Wasp was injured. In #14, they rushed her to a hospital, where the attending MD said that the only surgeon skilled enough to save her was a Dr. Svenson, who was missing. The Avengers tracked him down, and rescued him from alien kidnappers. Then he performed the surgery and the Wasp recovered.

In #36, the Scarlet Witch returned to Avengers HQ and asked them to help rescue her brother, who had been kidnapped by space aliens while visiting their home town in Transylvania or wherever. When the Avengers arrived, they found it was a trap. "Wanda" was an imposter, the real Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver had both been captured, and the Avengers had been lured there so that their powers could be absorbed into the aliens' android army (the "Ultroids").

And, yes, Ka-Zar was framed by the Plunderer, so Daredevil flew to England to help him. Then it was the usual paint-by-numbers plot: heroes had a misunderstanding, fought each other, then realized the truth (IIRC, they fell in the castle's moat and found the Plunderer's submarine or something), and teamed up to defeat the real villain.

I remember Odin locking Jane Foster in a dark room with the Asgardian bogey man creature. Then, she just screamed, instead of punching it in the nose. So Odin ruled that she was unworthy to marry a thunder god, and sent her back to Earth with no memory of having known Thor. Then Thor met Sif, and seemed to forget about Jane Whatsername.

Steve W. said...

Thanks for all the info, TC. You are truly the fount of all comic book wisdom.

Anonymous said...

That's a great cover on Tales of Suspense. By Gene Colan surely - who else could pull off that unusual rear view perspective shot of Iron Man so effortlessly?

Personally, I find a Colan drawing intrinsically more interesting and stylish than Robert Downey Jr, so found it hard to get enthusiastic about the first Iron Man film, let alone the sequel.
Caught Cap First Avenger on tv the other day, but without madly inventive and energetic Kirby or Steranko drawings it all seemed a bit silly.
Possibly that may be a minority view round these parts though.

Happy new year, Steve and everyone.


dangermash said...

Lizard's second appearance - yes. Although I think Curt Connors popped up in the ASM #31-33 Master Planner storyline. Very odd looking back at this and not seeing the lizard popping up very soon after.

Lizard's long break from Spidey is nothing, though, compared to people like Electro ( Annual #1 to ASM #82), Sandman (#19 to MTU #1), Vulture (#64 to an early SSM), Mysterio (#67 to #141, or to #198 if you want the original) and Scorpion (#29 to #145).

With the Avengers, I'm wondering whether you're thinking about Avengers #14 where the only surgeon in the world that can save the wasp has been kidnapped by aliens at the North Pole. Or maybe they repeated the theme this month. I wouldn't put it past them.

Steve W. said...

Happy new year to you too, Sean.

Dangermash, I'm pretty sure you're right and I got the two stories mixed up.

Brendan said...

I'm most impressed by the in-depth knowledge displayed by contributors this week.

My sole (and frankly pernickety) point is to grumble - as a person of the Irish persuasion - that "Banshee" is actually a very silly name for a male super villian (later to be hero) as it literally means "woman of the spirit people".

It's rather as if the Juggernaut had named himself the Scarlet Witch.

Though maybe he always secretly wanted to.

Steve W. said...

What always got me was, "Tigra the Were-Woman." Did no one at Marvel know what the prefix, "Were," actually meant?

John Pitt said...

This was a good month for me, as out of the above, I had the Avengers, FF, Spidey and X-Men ( and reprints of Iron Man and Thor in "FANTASTIC!" )
In the X-Men, I THINK that the Mimic had been promoted to the team leader, being as how he was the most powerful, but he was soon to lose his mimicking ability once again ( perhaps by the end of this ish? ) The Banshee was not a villain and would join the team in time

Anonymous said...

Electro did appear in Daredevil Annual (or maybe it was "Daredevil King-Size Special") #1 in 1967. That's still a hiatus of two or three years, though. And it's odd that he didn't have a rematch with Spider-Man a lot sooner.

So, was Tigra a guy who turned into a woman during the full moon, or what?

dangermash said...

Electro also appeared in DD #2. Sandman appeared in Human Torch, FF and Hulk. And Scorpion appeared in Captain America, maybe in DD too. Ditko villains were being used to bulk out other heroes' villain galleries.

Actually, to be fair to Steve, I've just seen that he referred to long breaks after a villain's first appearance, not just long breaks. So none of my examples are great comparisons anyway. Best I can come up with for long breaks after first appearances are Shocker and Spencer Smythe, but neither had a break as long as the Lizard. And the Terrible Tinkerer and Living Brain don't count as classic villains.

Dougie said...

IIRC, the Avengers go to Transia with the Scarlet Witch. This is actually a trap and the real Wanda & Pietro are captives of the Ultroids. Ultrana has impersonated Wanda and I think it's a scam to steal the Avngers' powers. Their king is a giant cyborg-y being called Ixar. I was confused as a kid whether they were connected to Ultron.
They're not.

Black Widow tags along- this is the beginning, I think, of the process that transforms her from Avengers villain to on and off member ( possibly leader in the 90s?). She is depicted as more ruthless than the other Avengers. Brian Bendis calls her a lizard or some other reptile in his faux- Avengers biography.

I have a surprising number of these comics; almost all of them came to me from other kids in our village and several years later, circa 73-77.

Dougie said...

Oh, sorry. I see TC has actually outlined the Avengers plot already.
John Pitt is right about the Mimic taking over from Cyclops temporarily but he lost his powers in the next issue, with the Super-Adaptoid. It's one of the earliest comics I can remember being read to me by my mum. I just got it for the third time in the X-Men "Lonely Are The Hunted " collection.

David Brumley said...

Concerning the X-Men Banshee cover, is it just me, or does Prof X have the worst headache ever?

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