PE: I'm assuming here, Professor Jim, but Robert Bernstein, aka R. Berns, was writing both Iron Man and Thor strips at the same time. Seems as though he may have mixed his Blakes with his Starks?
JS: The only thing more ridiculous than Blake making Androids in his spare time is Zaxton's multiplier machine. And what does he do with it? Find himself a beautiful woman (not Jane Foster) and duplicate her? No. He increases the feral cat population in the Marvel Universe. Surely that's going to come back to haunt someone.
JS: Make that three longest Mjolnirs (there's a line I never imagined I'd write in my lifetime). They seem to be more of the sledge hammer variety.
JS: I think someone turned in a 12 page story and were told they needed 13.
PE: Sinnott's art here is dreadful but, incredibly, the writing is worse. I know this is aimed at kids but the dialogue elicits groans. "R. Berns" must have assumed his audience would either be looking at the pretty pitchers or skimming. My pessimistic side tells me he really didn't care. Marvel couldn't have been paying much in those days and, put in his position, would anyone have given their all? Two words: Steve Ditko.
PE: But does anyone in the Marvel Universe stay dead?
|"Just deserts" Early example of punning?|
"Fighting to the Death with the Asbestos Man"
Professor Orson Kasloff, a brilliant scientist, wants to profit from his genius by teaming up with criminals. He decides that the only way to be taken seriously is to defeat the Human Torch! He fashions a suit of asbestos and becomes The Asbestos Man. His first battle with the Torch is a success, but Johnny soon figures out a way to beat him and the rematch doesn't go so well for Professor Kasloff.
JS: What's with the Dick Tracy villains this issue? Did Dick Ayers outsource those panels to another artist?
Jack: I think we can credit those to Ayers, as well as Sue Storm's fetching beehive hairdo.
JS: Kids, don't try this at home. Asbestos is bad. Later in his short-lived career, I believe he came to be known as Cancer Man.
Jack: Next time I'm on Long Island, I plan to look into the real estate market. There are an awful lot of mansions and castles that must be up for sale, what with their owners incarcerated after trying to take down the Human Torch.
"Face-to-Face with the Magic of Baron Mordo!"
Baron Mordo, former pupil of the Master, wants to be the most powerful magician of all. Entering a trance, he sends his spirit image to Tibet, where it causes the Master's servant to poison him. Dr. Strange senses that the Master is in trouble and sends his spirit image to help. Strange and Mordo's images battle each other until Strange tricks Mordo and wins the battle.
JS: So I'm getting the sense that Stan and Steve were still getting a handle on the whole astral projection thing. I just don't quite envision two sorcerers' astral projections engaging in a virtual fistfight.
Jack: This is not as good as the first Dr. Strange story, but it's still very different from everything else going on in the Marvel superhero line at the time.
JS: I find it somewhat amusing that all three characters basically spend the entire story sitting in their respective locations.
Jack: I think I'm going to start sending my spirit image on business trips. I am not sure how to do the expense reports, though...
JS: This issue marks the first appearance of a presidential forehead.
JS: I don't think this is much different than some of the consecutive Sub-Mariner stories we saw earlier on. I assume the first real multi-parter is still a ways off.
JS: To be fair, we've got what, like 25 Human Torch appearances, none of which are particularly memorable either.
JS: You really need to get out more.
PE: I really need good stories to talk about is what I need! Which brilliantly segues into---
PE: Another titanic script from the pen of H. E. Huntley. A shame his reign was so short. But, realistically, could I expect better from another writer? There's no excitement in anything Ant-Man and The Wasp do. I'm sure the powers that be came to that assumption 48 years before I did since... well, just keep tuned.
JS: Do I have to? I know of at least one reader who admits to being a fan of the Ant-Man & Wasp. Anyone else out there? Can you at least let us know when and if the good stories start?
|and her brother aint half-bad neither!|