Sunday, 7 January 2018

Fifty years ago this month - January 1968.

January 1968 was a great month for all fans of mysteriously fast toys, as Mattel's Hot Wheels were launched. How I recall the sight of them whizzing around and looping the loop, thanks to tracks attached to door handles. God alone knows what children who didn't have door handles did. Their childhoods must have been in tatters.

Speaking of iconic cars, it was also the month that saw the launch of the Ford Escort. I don't know if there was ever a Hot Wheels version of the Ford Escort but, if there was, I'm sure it was suitably awesome.

Elsewhere, Daniel Day-Lewis' dad was made Poet Laureate and Harold Wilson launched the, "I'm Backing Britain," campaign.

That campaign may not have changed the world but it famously inspired Paul McCartney to write a song called I'm Backing Britain which he then renamed I'm Backing the USSR and then renamed Back in the USSR. How one person's intentions can lead to another person's totally unpredictable outcomes.

Avengers #48, the Black Knight returns

The all-new, all good Black Knight reveals himself to the world and tries to recruit the Avengers' help in evicting Magneto from his house.

Needless to say, they're in no mood to listen to him and are more interested in engaging him in fisticuffs.

It's a miracle that any super-villains ever got thwarted, the amount of time Marvel's heroes spent fighting each other.

On the art front, I'd say this is my favourite George Tuska drawn Avengers tale.

Daredevil #36, the Trapster

If Daredevil thought he was having problems with the Trapster, he didn't know not nothing, as the story climaxes with the arrival of Dr Doom and his nefarious body-swapping plans.

Fantastic Four #70

I do believe that that creature is one of the Mad Thinker's evil androids, though I don't know quite what his plan is.

Is there a scene in this issue where Ben and Alicia are ambushed by it in a restaurant?

Putting my fashion hat on, I really didn't like Sue's costume in this period. As Coco Chanel once said, "Never wear a skirt over your gender-neutral overalls."

Amazing Spider-Man #56, Doctor Octopus

It's the shock of the century, as Spider-Man loses his memory, thanks to a stolen nullifier short-circuiting his spider-sense, and Doc Ock convinces him he's his partner in crime. Will our hero discover the truth before it's too late?

Strange Tales #164, Dr Strange

I don't know what's going on there but that doesn't look like Nightmare.

For that matter, that machine doesn't look like something Nightmare would use.

Tales of Suspense #97, Iron Man vs Whiplash

It's a tale familiar to all readers of Son of Origins of Marvel Comics, when Shellhead finds himself up against the villain who believes in giving everyone a fair crack of the whip.

He was also, of course, in the movie Iron Man 2, in which he demonstrated a remarkable ability to survive being run over by cars, in a way that was never explained. Even a Ford Escort would have been useless against him.

Tales to Astonish #99, the Incredible Hulk

It's one of my favourite Marie Severin covers, as the Hulk finds himself up against that secret organisation whose name I've forgotten, whose evil plan was something or other.

Weren't they the people who were responsible for inflicting the Boomerang on us? I'm not sure they were the highest level secret organisation ever.

Thor #148, the Wrecker

Hooray! The Wrecker makes his wall-shattering debut!

I always liked the Wrecker. For some reason, I always liked it when Thor came up against thuggish opponents like the Wrecker, Crusher Creel and Ulik. They always seemed more compelling than more sophisticated villains.

X-Men #40, Frankenstein's Monster

It's one of my least favourite comic book stories of all time, as the X-Men come up against Frankenstein's Monster, who turns out to be a robot built by aliens, over a hundred years ago, as some sort of space ambassador.

All in all, it feels more like a Marvel story from the early 1960s than the late 1960s.


TC said...

The bad guys in Astonish #99 were called the Lords of the Lightning or the Legion of the Lightning or something like that. They took over that military base where General Ross was the commander, and they zapped the Hulk with a ray that turned him back into Bruce Banner. He used a gamma ray device to turn back into the Hulk, and fought them. At the end, he and the villains were all buried in an avalanche, and everyone assumed the Hulk was dead.

IIRC, the Sub-Mariner story also ended with Namor missing and presumed dead. The next issue was a book-length Hulk vs. Sub-Mariner fight.

Iron Man was knocked out while fighting the Grey Gargoyle in Suspense #96, and, in #97, Jasper Sitwell was trying to remove his helmet with an explosive gadget. (Security guard: "Nuts! You can't help him breathe by blowing his head off!") Then Tony Stark's shifty cousin kidnapped him and delivered him to the Maggia, who locked him in a room with Whiplash.

The Captain America story ended with him boarding an aircraft and flying to Wakanda to help the Black Panther.

The same month that Doc Ock tricked an amnesia-stricken Spider-Man into becoming his partner in crime, DC's Plastic Man #8 had a story where a crook tricked an amnesic Plas into helping him commit robberies.

Steve W. said...

Thanks, TC. You've performed services to the internet that are above and beyond the call of duty with all that info.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Would it be politically incorrect to still refer to the Trapster as Paste-Pot Pete?

Would it be politically incorrect to refer to the Maggia as the Mafia?

Did it seem like the theme of the month to have someone in the center of the cover, legs spread apart, kind of looking up at them?

Steve W. said...

I've always preferred, "Paste Pot Pete," to, "The Trapster." It has an appealing quirkiness to it.

Charlie Horse 47 said...


But should not Paste-Pot be hyphenated since together they are describing Pete? Paste-Pot Pete would be correct?

I only saw a paste pot once and that was when some folks were doing wallpapering in our house about 50 years ago. That's about the time PPP became the Trapster. Coincidence?

PPP beats Glue-Tube Pete or Caulk-Gun Pete don't you think?

Anonymous said...

That is an awesome Avengers's cover. I can't recall many George Tuska covers that striking. The Tales to Astonish cover looks familiar. Was this re-coloured for a local annual (I believe Steve may have previously posted on this)? I think Stan may have missed a trick by not re-wording the narrative box "When wakes the Monster!", but I may be channeling some inner Yoda. TC is correct in that the following issue was an 'epic' 22 page book-length Hulk/Subbie battle. I remember this from the Hulk treasury edition and couldn't, at the time, understand why the comic was referred to as Tales to Astonish.


Anonymous said...

Steve, that is actually Yandroth the Scientist Supreme on the cover of Strange Tales, so "nightmare" is presumably intended as a title in the general sense.
Although it seems no one told the colourist that.


Steve W. said...

Charlie, I never have a clue which heroes and villains should be hyphenated and which shouldn't. Why is Spider-Man hyphenated and Superman isn't? Why is Batman one word and Iron Man is two? It's a grammatical minefield.

DW, the Tales to Astonish cover was reproduced as a pin-up in the 1975 Marvel Annual.

Sean, thanks for the Yandroth information.

Anonymous said...

Somehow I've never seen that Hulk cover before but it immediately reminded me of the painted cover of Rampaging Hulk #1 (or Rampage monthly #1 for us in the UK). Did one inspire the other ?

Sort Of The Atom said...

Hi, Steve. That is one of The Mad Thinker's androids. The cover is a different view of the very last panel in the book (with Sue and the android facing each other in profile). But as far as the scene with Ben and Alicia - that had already happened a couple issues back. In this issue, Ben is hypnotized and tearing his way across the city, rippin' the motors out of taxicab and such......

Steve W. said...

Colin, I'm afraid I don't know whether the cover of Rampaging Hulk #1 was inspired by the above Hulk cover. It's possible.

Sort of the Atom, thanks for the FF info.

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