Sunday, 4 June 2023

Fifty years ago today - June 1973.

Thanks to Charlie Horse 47 and Killdumpster for their sponsorship of this post, via the magic of Patreon

It's time to tangle with the forces of time and see just what the past has to offer us rIght now.

Avengers #112, the Lion-God lives

Hooray! The Lion-God shows up!

Forget the likes of Thor and Odin. If I was going to be a god, this is the kind of god I'd want to be.

Then again, as far as I can remember, Mantis defeats him by dazzling him with her dancing skills, allowing him to be punched in the bracket, which suggests he's not the brightest deity in the pantheon.

Conan the Barbarian #27, Bel-Hissar

I've never read this issue and don't have a clue what happens in it.

I'm, therefore, going to predict there's a sorcerer, treasure, magic, and a wench in need of rescuing. The word, "Crom!" will be uttered at some point and Conan may be out to steal something.

I do know for a fact that Gil Kane's back on the artwork.

And that it appears to feature the first appearance of Khitai.

Captain America and the Falcon #162, Cap Goes Mad

Oh God, he's at it again. Cap's doubting his sanity once more!

Expect plenty of mithering about Bucky and World War Two.

I'm also going to predict there'll be a recap of his origin. Steve Rogers is, after all, the man who put the Cap into recap.

Also, expect Dr Faustus to show up because his presence is the one thing I know for certain about the contents of this yarn.

Daredevil #100

DD hits the big ton and does it in style by returning to San Francisco and granting an impromptu interview to Rolling Stone magazine.

Meanwhile, the world goes mad when Angar the Screamer makes his literally senses-shattering debut.

Fantastic Four #135, Dragon Man

Looking at the cover, I don't have a clue what's going on in this one.

All I know is it features the return of Gregory Gideon and Dragon Man. So, it clearly has plenty occurring.

Incredible Hulk #164, Captain Omen

Are there no depths the Hulk won't sink to?

Well, in this one, he sinks to the depths of the ocean and encounters the not-at-all-Nemo-like Captain Omen!

Needless to say, it's not long before our hero's spearheading a rebellion against the submersible scoundrel's autocratic rule.

Iron Man #59, Fire-Brand

Looks like Iron Man's about to find himself in a grave situation.

Firebrand shows up. That's all I know about this issue.

Amazing Spider-Man #121, the death of Gwen Stacy

This is it! The big one! Spidey's back from Canada, and the Green Goblin's back from amnesia. That means one of Spidey's closest friends is about to die!

But who can it be?


Looking at that cover, my money's on Randy Robertson.

Thor #212, Sssthgar

Here it comes. One of my least favourite Thor tales of the era. It's always been hard for me to accept that the whole of Asgard, including Odin, could be captured by a bunch of ants with ray guns.

But it's happened! And Thor has to put it right!

For that matter, ants with ray guns don't even feel like they belong in the same universe as Asgard.

X-Men #82, Tyrannus

I've genuinely not the slightest what happens in this issue but it's clear Tyrannus is back.

And he's got a huge robot on his side!

I hope it has a happier ending than Mogol did.

Ghosts #15

That's Marvel's big hitters wrapped up.

But what about a random sampling of DC comics that happen to bear the same cover date?

Hooray! I had this one!

Those are words you'll be seeing a lot in the rest of this post.

Ghosts #15 hits us with The Ghost That Wouldn't Die, A Phantom in the Alamo, Who Dares Cheat the Dead? and Hand from the Grave, brought to us by the pencils of Buddy Gernale, Sam Glanzman, Alfredo Alcala and Rico Rival.

And, remember, every single one of those tales is true.

Kamandi, the Last Boy on Earth #6

Hooray! I had this one too! In fact, it might be the first issue of Kamandi I ever read.

Kamandi and Flower are captured by Sultin and his fellow lions and taken to a wildlife sanctuary.

However, it's not all good news because two naughty pumas try to kill Flower!

100-Page Super Spectacular #DC-17, Justice League of America

The Justice League gets one hundred pages of action, mostly involving a queen bee and the Injustice Society of the World.

However, in sensational solo spills, the Sandman must protect a  scientist who's discovered a way to extract magnesium from the sea. Heaven only knows what his sister Death will make of it all.

And, finally, the JLA fights the Royal Flush Gang.

Supergirl #5

Hooray! I had this one!

As far as I can remember, Supergirl loses her powers, then finds herself in an alien dimension ruled by Satan's brother.

Fortunately, she soon motivates the locals to rise up and overthrow him.

And, of course, along the way, she gets her powers back.

Superboy #195

Hooray! I had this one too!

In our main tale, Smallville's in trouble when a local radio station uses its Rock and Roll broadcasts to generate thunderballs that are wrecking the town.

Fortunately, Superboy and his blind friend - who might be called Don Blake - are on hand to thwart them.

But, of course, what really matters is the back-up tale in which ERG-1 auditions to join the Legion of Super-Heroes but is rejected by them until he reveals his greatest power of them all.

Sadly, it's a power whose only ever use causes his death.

This means we've endured the demise of Gwen Stacy and ERG-1 in the same month. I feel like we're going to need psycho-therapy after all this.

The Amazing World of Superman, Metropolis Edition

No, I never had this one. In fact, up until now, I didn't even know of its existence.

Regardless, inside, as thousands of people flock to the opening of brand-new theme park Superman Land, Lex Luthor sets up a Kryptonite trap for our hero.

We also discover how a comic book's created.

We also get the origin of Superman, as drawn by Carmine Infantino, a text article about Metropolis. a rogue's gallery and a whole lot more, crammed into just 68 pages.


Anonymous said...

Steve - Iron Man # 59 was in Captain America Weekly, as a Tuska fill-in, between David Michelinie instalments. 'Big counter-culture issues' were explored, with Firebrand (clever, eh?) vs his pacifist sister, with Sis taking a blast intended for Tony's girl (?), in the end, to prove pacifists aren't cowards.

Also, featured was a macabre scene, with Iron Man flying underground beneath the graveyard, to get the jump on Firebrand!

Captain America # 162's floating heads vaguely remind me of Captain America # 215 (my first, and therefore favourite Cap comic.) Admittedly, # 215 was also a recap of Cap's origin, plus Steve Rogers having yet another identity crisis, too! But it being my first Cap comic, this time-honoured staple was still a novelty, to me!


Daredevil # 100's art was truly abysmal. Colan had produced absolutely stunning Daredevil art, only a few issues before this garbage!

Anonymous said...

As this was Colan's last Daredevil issue, with Rich Buckler taking over in # 101(& doing an absolutely sterling job, incidentally), could # 100 be Colan making a two-fingered gesture to Marvel, as he was being canned? Or was Gene canned because of # 100's bad art? Who knows?


Anonymous said...

Thinking about it, like the counter-culture personifications in Iron Man # 59, Angar's very much a counter-culture figure, too. And an even darker personification of late 60s terror, will be the Mandrill, with his female death-squad (c.f. the Manson gang), in subsequent Daredevils. It's all very 60s obvious subtext, in other words!


dangermash aka The Artistic Actuary said...

Can't remember how Lion God is defeated in that Avengers issue but it's not with the help of Mantis who's not yet turned up at Avengers Mansion. She might appear in a couple of panels in this issue with a mysterious friend. The "end of an avenger” refers to Black Widow quitting the team after just one issue as a member.

Lion God will return in a few issues' time and this will be the one when Mantis does throw her sexy shapes. He's not punched out though - while he's distracted Iron Man traps Lion God in some Reed Richards like container.

ASM #121 might be my favourite ASM ever. Great artwork and a sense of foreboding and dread that slowly builds up over the issue. I'm still in two minds about whether it was the right move (I'm talking artistically, not commercially) to reveal on the cover that a supporting character was to be killed off. Did it ruin things as a semi spoiler or did it contribute to how the tension builds?

X-Men will be a repeat of an earlier issue - it's still in a run if about 30 issues of reprints before the new team debuts in Giant Size X-Men and continues into X-Men #94.

Anonymous said...

Charlie remembers perusing the spinner 50 years ago… it was still quite cold outside, since it was like March/ April and he’d just moved from Gary Indiana (which may hold the record for “murder capital of america” the most times) to Crown Point Indiana, the bucolic county seat in the boonies. For some reason dad gave me a few minutes to run inside to the News Agency to buy comic books (???)!

Charlie got the DD as he had been following it for a good year (since the Electro issue maybe 18 months earlier) and remembered being very disappointed by the art like Phillip mentioned.

Charlie got the Spidey. He was crushed. Never recovered. Conway and Romita… Cant believe Romita copped to that being his idea. Maybe he had a potential royalty stream from m MJ?

And for some reason Charlie didn’t buy anything else… nope… not from what he recalls. Need to look at Mikes Amazing World of Comics to jog the memory!

Anonymous said...

I am unfamiliar with Amazing Spider-Man #121.

Still, never mind Gwen Stacy - what about Flower?
That was my first issue of Kamandi too, Steve. What a brilliant comic #6 was, straight in at the deep end with that splash and double page spread of the lions on dune-cycles - like wow, as Kirby put it - all the way to the unforgettable ending. "Too bad. She was a pretty little thing... for an animal!"
It baffles me why some people say Jack Kirby couldn't write.

Supergirl #5 is pretty good too, the best issue of the Maid of Might's 70s solo run. Not only does Supegirl lead the other-dimensional proletarian uprising against the dictator Dax - who only looked like Satan's brother - but the back-up reprints the early 60s classic 'Girl Who Split In Two' from Hawkman #4, the first appearance of everyone's favourite magickal fishnet fetishist Zatanna.
From the lost Chinese city of Yin, and the Hill of Tara in Ireland to Hawkman and Hawkgirl's orbiting Thanagarian spaceship and Absorbascon in just seven pages... Yeht t'nod ekam me' ekil taht eromyna.


Colin Jones said...

Charlie, I saw a video on YouTube recently which asked "Is Gary, Indiana The Most Dangerous Town In America?" but it was just clickbait and I didn't proceed to watch.

Two of the artists on DC's Ghosts #15, Alfredo Alcala and Rico Rival, later drew three of Marvel's five adaptations of the Planet Of The Apes movies - Alcala drew 'Beneath' and 'Conquest' while Rival drew 'Escape'.

Redartz said...

That Conan cover is pretty handsome; don't remember much about the story though.

I do remember the story from ASM 121, however. Only belatedly, as I wouldn't be reading the book for another 9 months. But over the next couple years, you could hardly go an issue or two without a reference to the events of that issue and its successor. Whatever one's take on the story, you sure couldn't fault the artwork. Kane and Romita were really at the top of their game...

Steve W. said...

Phillip, thanks for the Iron Man info.

Dangermash, thanks for the Lion God/Mantis clarification.

Sean, I take it this is the issue in which Flower dies? Am I misremembering or did Kamandi promptly replace her with a lookalike?

Colin and Red, thanks for your comments too. :)

Anonymous said...

Is Spidey # 121 important as Spidey's arch-enemy (previously Dr.Octopus) becomes the Green Goblin? Or does Spidey's knocking 7 bells out of the Goblin (Dr.Octopus would be tougher) preclude the Goblin from arch-enemy status (discounting the Lizard, of course)? To me, the Green Goblin in the 60s Spidey cartoon seemed more disturbing, appearing to be supernatural, in nature. When I learned the Goblin was just a bloke wearing a goblin mask, it killed the vibe!


Anonymous said...

Yes, Steve, Flower dies in Kamandi #6. I wouldn't say she was promptly replaced by a lookalike exactly, but her sister Spirit does turn up about half a dozen issues later, which is probably what you're remembering.

I once observed here that for someone not particularly known for horror comics, Jack Kirby was pretty good at getting some fairly gruesome stuff past the Comics Code. So its interesting to note that Flower and Spirit were topless throughout their appearances in Kamandi, which was unusual - to say the least - for female characters in mainstream comics back then.

On the subject of scantily clad wenches, your predictions about Conan #27 are largely correct, but it was drawn by John Buscema with inks by the artist formerly known as Ernie Chua (Gil Kane just pencilled the cover).
Its one of the more suspect Conan stories. When everyone's favourite misogynist barbarian rescues a wench he has very definite ideas about how she should show her appreciation, and she doesn't get much of a say in the matter...


Anonymous said...

Charlie, you should have got that 100 Page Spectacular - with 40s JSA and Sandman reprints, as well as the 'silver age' JLA - instead of the DD and Spidey.
Perhaps your life would have been completely different...?


Anonymous said...

The only one of these that I held in my hot little 12-year-old hands was AVENGERS 112. The artwork is pretty nice. Doesn’t Lion God get taken out by a some Thor-summoned lightning zapping his spear?

According to Roy Thomas, CTB 27 was the first Conan story pencilled by Big John Buscema, but the third published (I don’t remember why). I bought two pages of original art from it in the mid 1990s via a classified ad in the COMICS BUYERS GUIDE, for very reasonable prices.

I never realized Gwen Stacy and Flower got wiped out in the same month.


Anonymous said...

Mid-1980s actually — not 90s.


dangermash aka The Artistic Actuary said...

I think you're right about Lion God b.t. I had that issue in a U.K. hardback annual along with the Magneto two larger that came just before but all my memories of that one probably come from a PPOC post.

Phillip - I've never bought into this whole arch enemy/deadliest enemy thing. They're for comic strips that don't have a huge villains' gallery to pick from. Who's Thor up against in JIM this month? Ok, Loki again. Yawn!

Anonymous said...

dangermash - I think, for heroes, arch enemies pop up early on, whilst their villains bench is still quite light. There's often a reverse commonality - of some sort - with the hero (with exceptions). Then, later, to fans, the arch enemy seems quite dated. Against most of these criteria, I suppose the Green Goblin doesn't qualify.


Anonymous said...

Following on from previous discussion, its now official - Ange Postecoglou is the new Spurs manager! Oh dear.
What is the world coming to? Ffs, Declan Rice will be going to Arsenal next...


McSCOTTY said...

On dear half of Glasgow isn't going to be very happy at that news. Saying that it was the worst kept secret in football, well up here in Glasgow at least. He's a good manager all the same but not sure if he can turn Spurs expectations around unless he is given time.

Steve W. said...

Phillip, I think that, after various characters adopted the Green Goblin guise, it was floated about that the Green Goblin is a spiritual force that takes possession of people and, therefore, does have a supernatural element to him.

Sean, thanks for the Flower/Spirit and Conan confirmation.

Bt, thanks for the Conan info.

McSCOTTY said...

That ERG-1 tale in Superboy Issue 195 is one of my all time favourite Legion strips.

I was genuinely gutted when Marvel killed off Gwen Stacey, and even more annoyed when they brought her back as part of that awful clone sage tale, for me that was the end of "my" Spider-Man.

Colin Jones said...

Never mind the Green Goblin - Marvel is currently publishing RED GOBLIN and #5 is out this week. Also new this week is LOKI #1 - apparently Loki is a good guy nowadays.

On the subject of topless ladies - Belit was topless in the original story "Queen Of The Black Coast" but Marvel provided her with a furry bra which nicely matched Conan's furry pants.

McSCOTTY said...

Isn't there a Gold Goblin as well ?

Anonymous said...

Red, Gold and Green? Seriously? Jah Goblin inna Rasta style...


Charlie Horse 47 said...


Goblin was just a "bloke with a mask"???

Brother - that little bit of yours really struck me. I mean, that sort of sums up a whole lot of heroes and villains!

I mean, we should do a list of blokes, blokes with masks, blokes with blokes with mechanical assists...

As I now ponder the gravity of what you said, weren't The Enforcers the ultimate sad-sack villains because they could not afford masks?

Though, Kraven the Hunter was a bloke without a mask too. But he had a costume.

Not sure why but "bloke with a mask" grabbed me by the hypothalamus and got me thinking!


Charlie Horse 47 said...

WOW! I was forced to declare a name due to new EU regulations before posting! A big fat screen popped up and said "declare your name!" Hence, the "Charlie Horse 47 said..." above b/c I am not logged into my google account and just posting, until today, anonymously.

Also, after looking at Mikes World of Comics, I realized I bought Luke Cage HERO FOR HIRE, MARVEL TALES # 43, and MARVEL TEAM UP #10, and BATMAN 249. Can't believe I missed the JLA 100-pager, though!

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Newcastle? Anything wrong with cheering for Newcastle next season?

I mean the coach did a great job getting them into top 4 after they spent hundreds of millions unlike Chelsea, Tottenham, Everton...

I mean, one does not automatically buy success as those teams prove so... Plus, I never heard of Newcastle but for "taking coals to Newcastle" on some sitcom here in the USA in the 1960s... So it has this cache of being mysterious! Like Sheffield!

Anonymous said...

Charlie - Yes, Osborn's face was particularly 'ordinary looking', in contrast with his garish costume. Maybe that was the idea.

For Newcastle in the 70s, see the Likely Lads opening:,vid:LjXCKTWUEOM

That's a big link!

Also, Charlie, if you've ever seen 'Get Carter' (the original Michael Caine one), that features the area around Newcastle (and coast not far away.)


Anonymous said...

'Jack's Return Home' by Ted Lewis, the book 'Get Carter'was based on, was set in Doncaster, Phillip. South Yorkshire was culturally appropriated by Geordies! Its an outrage.

Re: 'just some bloke in a mask'. Wasn't that Steve Ditko's original idea for the Green Goblin? That the Goblin should have been some random geezer, whereas Stan Lee decided he ought to be a character that had already appeared in Spider-Man?


Anonymous said...

You had to declare who you were Charlie...? So Steve Does Comics is in the EU then?
Tsk tsk Steve, don't you know that Brexit means Brexit?


Anonymous said...

That's very interesting, Sean! I wonder whereabouts in Doncaster Get Carter's climactic beach scene took place, in the original story?


Colin Jones said...

So we still have to follow EU regulations even though we've left (until we go crawling back begging for re-admission).

Colin Jones said...

Even Nigel Farage has admitted that "Brexit has failed" - he said it on Newsnight a couple of weeks ago.

McSCOTTY said...

Seriously Colin????