Sunday, 30 September 2018

Fifty years ago this month - October 1968.

They can't accuse this site of not being ahead of its time. It's still only September and I'm already dealing with October.

Admittedly, it's October of 1968 and the comics I'm looking at came out several months before even that but, still, I'm not going to let it prevent me feeling proud of myself.

And someone with reason to feel proud of themselves that month were the zombie population of the United States because that was when their movie Night of the Living Dead had its US premiere.

Not to be outdone by his old rivals the walking dead, William Shakespeare was hitting back with Franco Zeffirelli's movie version of Romeo and Juliet which was celebrating its US release, seven months after its London premiere.

Also not to be left out when it came to first appearances were Led Zeppelin who were making their live debut under that name, at Surrey University.

Avengers #57, the Vision

Speaking of first appearances, it's a classic cover for a classic story, as the Vision has his Avengers introduction.

Is he hero?

Is he villain?

Is he man or machine?

Who can know?

All we can know is he's the coolest Marvel character of the 1960s and things will never be the same again.

Captain America #106

I do believe Captain America's fighting a robot replica of Steve Rogers. Why and how, I have no idea but I suspect that SHIELD and their love of LMDs are probably involved in it all, somehow.

Daredevil #45, the Jester

The Jester's nightmarish plot to frame Daredevil for murder continues apace and our hero finds himself in jail.

Can he escape - and will he bump into Spider-Man while he's at it?

Fantastic Four #79

If I remember rightly, the Fantastic Four are having trouble with the Mad Thinker's latest android, and bashful Benjy's feeling anti-social again, thanks to Reed's latest attempt to cure him.

Incredible Hulk #108, the Mandarin

The Hulk's first encounter with the Mandarin comes to a fortress-flattening conclusion, thanks to the help of Nick Fury and SHIELD.

Iron Man #6, the Crusher

Was the Crusher a scientist who got carried away with himself during an experiment or was he a wrestler who a scientist got carried away with during an experiment?

Did he come from Cuba?

Was Fidel Castro mixed up in it all, somehow?

Frankly, confusion is claiming me.

Amazing Spider-Man #65, jail break

I love that cover and I love this story.

Not to be outdone by Daredevil, Spider-Man's also attempting to break out of jail.

Is it the same jail?

I suspect it might be. I shall have to re-read both stories to see if there's anything in either of them that hints that both jail breaks are happening simultaneously.

Thor #157, Mangog

Mangog is still out to unsheathe the Odin Sword and destroy the universe, and Thor's still not managing to do anything about it.

X-Men #49, Jim Steranko

It's a Jim Steranko drawn cover but a Don Heck and Werner Roth drawn interior.

I've no idea who the Demi-Men are but I've reason to believe Mesmero's mixed up in it all.


dangermash said...

An absolutely fracking set of covers this month, I have to say.

That issue of Spider-Man has a few panels that suggest (to me at least) that Mary Jane is on the game. If that was Romita's idea then I'm guessing it’s quickly poopooed by Stan as (apart from the Goblin story in SSM #2) MJ doesn’t appear for about about another 20 issues after this, by which time her hair is back to normal.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

It was a good month for solid-colored backgrounds: Avengers, Hulk, FF..

Kirby and Colan are just drawing out of their minds, man oh man!

Hey - anyone recall the Cap 106 cover also being a poster offered for sale in Marvel Comics?

Lastly - Steranko is just forking, lights out, berserking, awesome on that XMen Cover!

Lastly, Lastly - THanks for posting in alphabetical order. This type of attention to detail makes your blog a cut above and the standard by which others should be judged!

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Some of you art experts out there like Sean... HELP!

Why does Iron Man 6 seem so Colan-ish to me, more so that the DD cover? Or am I just in a world of my own?

Steve W. said...

Dangermash, I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who assumed MJ was earning her money on the streets in that issue.

Charlie, as always, any kind of alphabetical order is pure accident.

As for the DD cover, I think the fact that most of it's a photo reduces its aura of Colanness. I also suspect that John Romita may have touched-up DD's face but I can't be sure.

TC said...

Was there more than one Crusher? One a wrestler, the other a scientist?

I remember a reprint of the one with the scientist. He came from an unnamed Latin Amwrican communist country that was obviously Cuba, ruled by an unnamed dictator who was obviously Castro. His experiment turned him into a Hulk-like creature. Or something like that.

I do seem to remember that Cap cover being advertised as a poster or t-shirt.

Killdumpster said...

Night of the Living Dead was made in my "neck-of-the-woods". Evans City ( the town where the folks were trapped in the house & the cemetery were/are located there) now has a museum/gift shop dedicated to it. Every weekend in October is "Zombie Days". Street vendors, celebrity signings & classic car cruises plus different events each time. Great fun

Killdumpster said...

For years the city "fathers" had a stick up their butts because they felt George Romero (who's from Pittsburgh) took advantage of them when he made Dead & The Crazies, because they were dumb hillbillies.

Now that they have younger people running the show, they embrace the films.

I'm sure it's a big cash cow for the little town now. Its packed every weekend. Like I said, great fun. I'm going next weekend

Killdumpster said...

It helps that they have 2 pubs in town. When I finally get kicked out of one, I go to the other. Lol!

Killdumpster said...

I don't know about a t-shirt, but I had the poster.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Wow KDumpster... You had the Cap poster? Was it quality?

Killdumpster said...

I remember that month explicitly. My family had to pickup a birthday cake for my aunt at a bakery where there was a small general store across the street.

I had all the pennies I could scrounge in my pocket ( I KNOW you can relate to this, Charlie).

While my dad went to get the cake, I begged my mom to let me jump out for comics. I got a sneering "YOU BETTER MAKE IT QUICK!!"

I dashed out of the car, into the shop, to the magazine display at a speed that would've impressed the Flash. Grabbed the Spidey, Hulk & X-Men books on this post.

The old biddy at the counter counted my pennies 3 TIMES and said I was short a penny. I left the Spidey cuz there were no supervillians on the cover, and ran out the door.

I got to the car just seconds after my dad got in with the cake and closed his door. I jumped in the car and my mom shrieked "I TOLD YOU TO BE QUICK!!" and back-handed me across the face.

Stan Lee probably didn't know what some of us had to go through to get our Marvel fix.

Killdumpster said...

Oh yeah, man. Till we had to move and my mom tore it off the wall, shredding it. Along with my pain-stakingly hand-made giant reproduction of the FF/Hulk cover.

Killdumpster said...

Now that I think about it I think the posters came in sets, and my neighbors (in the sticks they're 1-3 miles away) went splits with me to order them. We did mail-order like that all the time.

Killdumpster said...

Finally was able to pull up the original ad, Charlie.

It was A membership to Marvelmania International. It cost $1.75 +.25 s/h. I got the Cap poster & my buddy got the big Hulk decal, and I got a few stickers from the decal sheet for my lunch box.

Killdumpster said...

Man, now that I remember, we virtually had turf battles over how far each of us could search the banks along side the road for returnable soda bottles! Lol!

Oh the glories of being told you're poor by stingy parents. Lol.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

How old were you when you "mailed away" for this stuff?

I was too young to understand all the complex forms, writing a letter, etc. LOL. I mean, I had my mom write a letter asking Stan Lee to send me the first issues of Spidey, FF, etc. Apparently, from what I read a few months ago, Marvel was getting deluged with letters like that, LOL, and I read a Stan Soap Box basically telling Marveldom to stop sending letters! Marvel didn't save back issues. I have to wonder if this spurned Stan to start doing reprints like Marvel Tales, etc.? Seems obvious, no?

Charlie Horse 47 said...

I still have yet to understand why folks threw pop bottles out? There was a deposit of like $.02? Plus the broken glass...

Well I grew up in the butt hole of Lake Michigan - Gary, Indiana. Mercifully I lived on the far east end so it was mostly all sand dunes and woods.

Huh... just occurred to me that the Pet Shop Boys song "East End Boys and West End Girls" would be backwards for Gary, Indiana. If you lived on the west end, you would have been breathing and swimming right in the toxic brew of cyanide, chromium, etc. the steel mills were dumping in the Lake and thus definitely poorer.

(You know how the USA works with capital punishment... no capital you get punished.)

Yep, my dad would tell me how his company daily dumped 2.5 tons, 5,000 pounds, of cyanide into the lake. Cyanide is a by-product of making Coke. But not that kind of coke, lol.

Anonymous said...

Ah, October '68. The very month I was brought forth howling, born into a world I never made. My mother told me the delivery cost only fifty bucks. I'm not sure if I believe that or not, even taking inflation into account, but she says it was the best fifty bucks she ever spent. I was delivered by a country doctor who had a cigarette hanging out of his mouth the whole time, squinting and mumbling, "Yeah, I see the head. Give it another push." My dad was nervously drinking in a bar around the corner. He knew trouble was comin'.
It was also the month of Mangog, and his relentless quest for the Odinsword and universal destruction.
Mangog was actually rather scary, like Ego. The idea of a planet with a giant face on it scares the hell outta me, as does a giant monster with the head of a bull, bad teeth and a long tail, who can backhand Thor like he was a bug. There seemed to be the suggestion that he could even pound Odin into the ground in a fair fight, but they brought out this Deus Ex Machina way of ending the battle. To wit, Mangog was the incarnate hatred of an alien race which had been defeated by Odin and the Asgardians long ago. Once the hate burned out, Mangog fizzled out.
Maybe the message is that hatred seems big and scary, but is inherently hollow and empty. But it also raises questions about Odin, who I always thought was rather sinister. He certainly was in Norse mythology.


Killdumpster said...

Due to my love of comics, and Thor, I read every book on mythology that was in our school's library both Norse and Greek.

Odin always could be a prick.

In a way it makes sense though, being a religion that was of a people who fought nature, wars, & personal hardships on a daily basis. Minute by minute. What a hardy bunch.

Makes me want a flagon of mead.

The real kind. With hunks of oats and wood chips in it. Kinda syrupy.

Killdumpster said...

Guess I'm just going to settle for a cold Miller Lite. Lol

Killdumpster said...

I was about 5-6 when I'd send away for stuff. If I had enough change, my mom would write out a check.

Killdumpster said...

I was a card carrying member of the MMMS when I was 5 1/2. Wish I still had the "diploma".

Killdumpster said...

I never thought about writing Marvel for back-issues. Nice try though.

Yeah, that probably was the catalyst for Marvel Tales, Marvel's Greatest Comics, Marvel Triple Action, etc.

I loved those reprint books. I got a taste of the history of Marvel I missed because I was a toddler when their gates burst. Also the annuals.

That's why I'd get their Essentials. Color didn't matter to me, just art & story I might have missed between issues.

Killdumpster said...


I believe you were being sarcastic about the Vision.

I remember my first experience encountering the Vision. 2nd grade, recess time. A kid brought comics to school and invited me to read'em. He had an Avengers & I said "Who the he'll is this guy?"

Like I said before, there were long periods between issues when I was a tyke.

Anonymous said...

You're right about Captain America #106 Steve, as it was about a Chinese plot to nick LMD technology from SHIELD.
The issue included a guest appearance from the great helmsman himself, Mao Zedong; add to that the Crusher making his return in Iron Man and it would seem that this month marked something of a return to the anti-communist propaganda of early 60s Marvel comics.

Hey MP - you're turning fifty this month? Hope you enjoy hitting the big five-o!


Anonymous said...

Charlie - can't see much of Gene Colan in that Cap cover myself; if you can, maybe its something to do with the perspective, the way Cap's fist is foregrounded...?


Anonymous said...

Thanks, buddy! I always figured I was gonna be rich and smart at this point, but I guess I just gotta rely on my charm. May God help us all.
Hello to my friends across the pond!


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Hi Sean, it was the Iron Man cover credited to Tuska that I would have guessed was done by Gene the Dean. Probably because I see resemblance to the Iron Man 1 cover in this one?

Anonymous said...

Sorry Charlie - I think I must have scrolled up the comments when replying and just caught the reference to Cap 106. It did seem a bit weird you'd think it was by anyone other than Kirby.
Yeah, the Iron Man figure looks like a swipe from Colan.


Colin Jones said...

Steve, you didn't mention that the love theme from Romeo & Juliet was also famous as the music for Simon Bates's "Our Tune" on Radio One in the '80s - surely you endured Our Tune like the rest of us?

MP, happy upcoming 50th birthday! Here in the UK healthcare has been free since 1948 so my parents didn't pay a penny when I was born. Long live socialist healthcare!

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Colin because the UK, France, Germany, et al. are insuring 100% (!)!of Your population at 50% the cost per person of the USA is indeed worth being proud of! Lucky guys!

Steve W. said...

Colin, I had successfully excised Our Tune from my memory. Now nightmares of it are flooding back.

Sean, thanks for the LMD confirmation.

KD, no sarcasm was intended. If I had to be a 1960s Marvel hero, it would definitely be the Vision. Who wouldn't want to control their own density and shoot death rays from their eyeballs?

Happy birthday, MP.

TC, I can shed no light on the Crusher. I have two totally different memories of him, which may mean there was more than one of him. Then again, perhaps he was just the world's first quantum super-villain, who could be both a wrestler and a scientist simultaneously, depending on the mind-set of the reader.

Then again, perhaps he was just a wrestling scientist?

Killdumpster said...


Ok, but cool powers aside, you'd be a relatively cold, emotionless android that really wouldn't enjoy them. Now if you throw snagging Wanda in the mix, different story.

Killdumpster said...


Just keep in mind, it's not the years, it's the mileage.

Killdumpster said...

As far as thinking about being a superhero, I remember all my superhero dreams from when I was a kid.

I dreamt I was Spidey twice. I was fighting the Hulk, and took a punch to the chest. I woke up hyperventilating. The other time I was swinging after the Torch chasing after Morbius (Marvel Team-Up #3 must've really left an impact)

I also dreamt I was the Human Torch. A tank was coming up my driveway, but the only fire I could generate were little cigarette lighter flames on my arms.

I was the Beast bouncing off of telephone lines.

I was Thor, but a more mythically correct version. I was battling the Destroyer and got knocked off a building. Fell to the ground, making a big dent, but got right back up ( dispelling the "falling dream" theory.

Here it goes! Last but not least.... I dreamt I was..................


Unfortunately it wasn't the original gear, but the 2nd more streamed-lined suit. Man, I love flying dreams.

Anyone else have similar dreams?

I dream in color. Someone once told me that's a sign of insanity. Lol!

Killdumpster said...


There's usually nothing good about hitting 50. Unless you take care of yourself, don't overwork, can excersise, eat relatively healthy, don't overindulge in various vices, have no previous conditions, never had any broken bones that may promote artheritis, etc, etc....

Like the Stones said ,"What a drag it is getting old".

Good luck. MP.

One word. Supplements.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Killdumpster, Steve, and all.
As Steven Tyler once said. "It's not the cough that carries you off, it's the coffin they carry you off in."
I have no idea what that means, but it seems somehow relevant.


Steve W. said...

KD, I don't think I've ever had a dream about being a super-hero. I do occasionally dream about being able to fly but I do it by basically swimming through the air, breast-stroke style, which isn't the most super-heroic way of taking to the air.

Mike Davies said...

Some great covers here! None better than the Avengers. I remember buying the UK reprint of this issue and it cemented my love of Earth's Mightiest Heroes - and introduced me to my new favourite character.

Steve, (apologies if you've already covered this in a post I haven't read yet) are you excited about the new Sheffield-based Dr Who on Sunday? I'm really looking forward to it (although a bit miffed that they've moved from my hometown of Cardiff!


Steve W. said...

I am indeed very excited about the new Sheffield-based Dr Who. It's so rare for the city to get on the BBC that it feels virtually miraculous. But don't worry; I do believe that most of the non-Sheffield filming for it's still been done in Cardiff.

Mike Davies said...

I was only joking about the location - although it was great to take my son (as an excuse) several times to the exhibition whilst it was here. The Tardis was also in a neighbour's garden once and we saw Matt Smith and a Sontaran strolling past our house (north of Cardiff)!

I'm really looking forward to seeing Jodie Whitaker knock it out of the park!!

Sort Of The Atom said...

I'm a little late to the party, but I remember some of these, most of them vaguely. One thing I'm certain of - this month was the very last time X-Men would bear that generic logo; #50 would introduce the all-new, all-too-familiar Steranko-designed one... And Lorna Dane!

Steve W. said...

Hi, Son of the Atom, thanks for dropping in - and for pointing out the logo change. I shall definitely make reference to it when it appears.

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