Sunday, 5 February 2017

Fifty years ago this month - February 1967.

Well, here's a strange thing. In February 1967, Pink Floyd signed their first record deal, with EMI. In exactly the same month, the US space probe Lunar Orbiter 3 sent back the first detailed pictures of the dark side of the moon.

Could this be mere coincidence?

Or is it proof of some cosmic plan beyond our mortal comprehension?

I can only respond to it by seeking refuge in the dim days of the past and hoping the fickle fingers of cosmic fate don't find me too.

Avengers #37

My memories of this tale are highly limited. Was the bad guy some sort of out-of-control computer?

Daredevil #25, Leapfrog

It's an epic day for all lovers of comics, as both Mike Murdock and the Leap-Frog make their debuts in one senses-shattering comic. Who wouldn't want to pay twelve cents to see that?

Well, admittedly, probably everyone wouldn't want to pay twelve cents to see that. I think we can only conclude that Stan was having an off-day when he came up with this issue.

Fantastic Four #59, the Inhumans

The Fantastic Four are busy fighting Dr Doom and his newly acquired cosmic powers but the cover shows us the Inhumans and their escape from the Great Refuge. Truly - whatever the failings of the Daredevil issue - with this tale, Marvel was more than making amends.

Amazing Spider-Man #45, the Lizard is back

I seem to remember that, in this issue, Stan the Man left a speech balloon blank so we could fill it in ourselves.

I'm ashamed to say that, after more than forty years, I still haven't got round to filling it in.

Strange Tales #153, Nick Fury

Can it be the end for Marvel's monocular mayhem causer?

Tales of Suspense #86, Captain America

I have no idea what happens in this one, unless it's the issue where he enters Vietnam in order to rescue a captured America soldier.

Tales to Astonish #88, the Sub-Mariner

I've read this tale online somewhere in recent years but can't recall what happens in it, other than that it may have been drawn by Bill Everett and that some sort of space robot shows up.

Thor #137, Ulik

Hooray! Ulik makes his senses-shattering debut!

I do feel his potential for thuggish menace was never fully exploited outside of this issue.

X-Men #29, the Mimic vs the Super-Adaptoid

It's the scrap I've been demanding for years! The Super-Adaptoid vs the Mimic!

Now we just need the Absorbing Man and Rogue to join in and we've got the perfect recipe for total chaos.


j said...

I wonder how many CGC points that Spider-Man issue loses for having the blank word balloons filled in?

Anonymous said...

"...My super hearing tells's the Leap-Frog!"


TC said...

The Avengers issue was the conclusion of the "Ultroids" two-parter. The heroes had been lured to the Balkans, where space aliens captured them and planned to absorb their powers into an android army, the Ultroids. The bad guy on the cover may have been the alien leader; I don't remember offhand if he was a giant to begin with, or if he had absorbed Goliath/Giant-Man's power. At the end, Black Widow threatened to kill the leader if he didn't surrender and release the Avengers. When the alien scoffed that the Avengers had a code against killing, she pointed out that she was not officially a member of the team. (Last month, commenting on part one of this story, Dougie mentioned that BW was portrayed as ruthless in it.)

The Astonish issue looks familiar. IIRC, the robot fell out of a UFO, and conveniently landed near Atlantis, where the villain (I think it was Attuma) found it and planned to use it against Namor. I think the story may have been adapted for the Marvel Super-Heroes TV cartoon show.

In Suspense #86, Captain America went on a mission "behind the Bamboo Curtain" to stop a secret weapon that the enemy was developing. There was a SHIELD (or maybe CIA or MI6) agent who was having a nervous breakdown from what Cap called "combat fatigue" (what today would be called PTSD). He recovered in time to get killed helping Cap.

The Iron Man story in that issue had him going to Manchuria or somewhere to rescue Happy Hogan, who had been kidnapped by the Mandarin, who mistook Happy for Iron Man (long story). The villain was plotting to launch an ICBM at the USA and make it look like it came from Red China. That would start WWIII, and then the Mandarin could take over the world (or what would have been left of it). Iron Man sabotaged the guidance system so that the missile boomeranged on the Mandarin.

I'm certain that there was a story a few years earlier, where Cap went to Vietnam and rescued a friend, a USAF pilot who had been shot down and captured by the NVA. It must have been in Tales of Suspense, but I don't know the issue number offhand.

Anonymous said...

Whats wrong with the Leap-Frog or Mike Murdock, Steve?
Or are we supposed to take all the other super villains and secret identity subplots seriously..?

Sure, Stan Lee might have been having an off day - funny how he had those when he wasn't working with Kirby, isn't it? - but all the same, it was drawn by the mighty Gene Colan, so while its rubbish at least its stylish rubbish, which I would quite happily pay twelve cents - even at the post-Brexit exchange rate - to read.
Or at least look at.


Steve W. said...

TC, thanks for all the info. I am impressed that the Mandarin was clearly conceiving his plans by watching James Bond movies.

Sean, I can only apologise to all fans of Mike Murdock and the Leap-Frog.

J, I suppose the odd thing is that, once the comic's been graded by the CGC, it won't matter that the balloon's been filled in because no one'll ever read it again, thanks to it having been slabbed and sealed, meaning it's effectively rendered unreadable from that point on.

TC said...

When I was eight, Mike Murdock and the Leap Frog didn't seem any sillier than 90% of the stuff going on in DC and Marvel comics.

Then again, when I was eight, I (and my third grade classmates) didn't realize that the Batman TV series was a campy comedy. It seemed just as dramatic to us as Gunsmoke and Dragnet.

When I was was twelve, I saw the James Bond movie "You Only Live Twice" when it was re-released on a double bill with "Thunderball." I wondered if SPECTRE got their ideas from reading Marvel comics.

But, reading Tales of Suspense #86 when I was eight, I wondered if Stan got his ideas from watching episodes of "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea."

Anonymous said...

The Sub-Mariner story in Tales To Astonish #88 was drawn by Bill Everett, although the cover was by Gene Colan.

Steve W. said...

Thanks for the info, Anon. :)

Anonymous said...

Tales of Suspense #61 was the one where Captain America went to Vietnam and rescued a friend, an American military pilot who had been shot down and captured by the communists. Cap fought and defeated their champion Sumo wrestler.

In Avengers #18, the Kooky Quartet went to "Sin-Cong" and fought the Commissar, a Sumo-type brute.

Both issues were published in 1964 or '65, and both proved that Stan didn't know Vietnam from Japan.

Steve W. said...

Thanks for the info, Anon. I think the Robo-Commissar was the first Kooky Quartet story I ever read.

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