Wednesday, October 26, 2011

July 1964: Marvel's Answer to The Joker?

The Amazing Spider-Man #14

Our Story

There's a new super-villain in town, a costumed nut named The Green Goblin, and he seems to have a very short fuse when it comes to Spider-Man. In an effort to capture the wall-crawler, The Goblin enlists the aid of The Enforcers (last seen in ASM #10-Pesky Pete) and the unwitting assistance of a Hollywood producer to convince Spidey he'll be paid fifty thousand bucks to star in a movie blockbuster about his life. Our teenaged hero naively goes along with the scheme, thinking about all the things he can do for Aunt May with the dough, but it's not long before he puts two and two together and it equals four bad guys. And that's not even including guest star The Hulk, who Spidey stumbles on deep in a cave. Will The Goblin get the upper hand with his Spidey-Sense altering pumpkin bombs or will Peter Parker triumph against the forces of evil once more?

PE: I suspect that comic fans picking up the latest issue of Amazing Spider-Man had no idea that the funny looking green guy on the cover would become, arguably, Marvel's most famous villain. As with Doctor Doom's first appearance (back in FF #5), this future Hall-of-Famer isn't given much to swing at in his first at-bat. It's another of those "My Gosh, isn't Spider-Man the most gullible super-hero? Oh wait, he's just a teenager!" storylines. The Enforcers weren't all that interesting four issues ago and they're still a collective yawn.

JS: It is somewhat interesting when what will become such an iconic character has a lackluster debut. The whole, "let's make a movie" deal is really stupid.

PE: First evidence The Goblin is insane: he flies into the headquarters of The Enforcers (Fancy Dan, Montana, and The Ox) and announces "I'm now ready to give the four of you your orders."

JS: That certainly helps set the tone of the character. Of course the one thing I was always disappointed in was that it was a costume. Growing up I always thought he was actually a green goblin.

PE: Ditko needs to stay miles away from The Hulk. It's just not his character. But, for me, no one would actually "get" The Hulk until Herb Trimpe in the late 1960s. Anyway, The Hulk's cameo is nothing special, just a way to keep his name out there in front of fans. I suppose that Stan was still trying to gauge whether this brute was popular enough to garner his own zine. The answer would come, in a way, three months later.

JS: So I guess I'll take it as a positive that you're implying I might actually get a 'good' Hulk story before the decade is out? I agree that you could cut those pages out of this story and never notice they were gone.

PE: Oh, but we were talking about The Goblin, weren't we? It's no secret (to me, at least) that The Green Goblin is my favorite Marvel villain, Stan Lee's answer to The Joker, I'm sure. I could scan the hundreds of interviews with Stan Lee I have in my library and I'm sure I'd finally come across the one where he admits as much. Or maybe not. The Goblin's career very much mirrors that of The Joker. Both started out as mischievous clowns but slowly evolved into homicidal maniacs, eventually becoming the biggest draw in the company's flagship title. Of course, what cemented The Green Goblin's place in this fan's heart was that double jolt staged by Gerry Conway in 1973. It was (and, to me, remains) the biggest shock ever in comics. The saga of The Goblin should have ended with his death in ASM #122, but greed tends to bring the dead back to life easily in comic books and, thanks to sons and clones and cyborgs and bastard children and, inevitably, a resurrection, The Goblin goes on to this day. I've spoiled events in 1973 for you but I won't spoil the true identity of The Green Goblin until we all find that out together in ASM #39.

Journey Into Mystery #106

Our Story

With his hammer out of his reach in the viselike grip of a powerful machine (as we saw last month), Thor must face the Cobra and Mr. Hyde with his bare hands. He tosses them aside long enough to dash into the crowd, so as to come up with a way to get his weapon back. Before the evil pair can bring harm to the crowd, Don Blake (60 seconds have passed) “betrays” the Thunder God in front of the crowd, promising to reveal his whereabouts in exchange for the return of his cane. When Cobra finds but can’t reach the walking stick by slithering inside the device, Hyde promptly tears it apart. In the ensuing chaos Blake becomes guess who, and dispatches the Cobra into the hands of the waiting police. Hyde transforms back into Calvin Zabo and escapes. Thor soon finds him, and Hyde (back again) knocks his hammer from his grasp. A hand-to-hand battle results in the same result for Hyde as his partner. Meantime, Jane Foster walks out on Dr. Blake again, disgusted at how he turned on  Thor.

Balder the Brave is the subject of our Tales Of Asgard. Odin is displeased that our brave friend felt returning a bird to it’s nest was important enough to pause from battling the storm giants, and orders Balder smitten by his fellow Asgardians. The love all living things feel for him reveal Balder’s gentleness to be the equal of his power.

PE: This story exists only to find out how many times Thor can be separated from his hammer. It could just as easily have been condensed into a one-parter. Nothing happens! As I noted during our discussion of the last issue, Thor is a God and he's facing two third-tier villains. Why can't he mop the floor with them in a couple minutes flat? Miles away in quality is the Tales of Asgard this issue.

JB: It is getting a bit tiresome with the "separation anxiety". If Hyde is only as strong as a dozen men, Thor must be a lot more than that. At least it was pleasing to see Thor get some guts and face Hyde hand-to-hand. Finally we get confirmation on Hyde's method of transformation to Calvin Zabo and back.

JS: Thor started off as one of the biggest surprises for me, as I had never really read the title growing up, but the further along we get, it seems to be blending in with some of the lesser titles we're subjected to each and every month.

JB: I'm a big fan of Balder, and it was great to see him the central character in the Tales Of Asgard. Soon Vince Colletta will be with us all the way in Thor, giving JIM a whole new look. No offence to the inking of Chic stone, but Vince offers a sharper edge.

The X-Men #6

Our Story

Simultaneously, coincidentally, Magneto and Professor X decide that adding Sub-Mariner to their team might be a good idea. Magneto lures Namor to his "secret, hidden island" and tries to romance him into becoming an ally but the Sea Prince is wary of the super mutant. Just in the nick of time arrives The X-Men and battle lines are drawn.

PE: Finally, Stan and Jack have dumped the obligatory "danger room" intro. Now we have The X-Men bickering at the dinner table and using their powers in amusing fashion to irritate each other. Speaking of mutant powers, is the Dr. Strange trick Magneto uses (his mind leaves his body in an "illusory figure") something new or did I miss this in a past issue? I wasn't aware that the big guy could do anything other than command big hunks of metal.

JS: While Xavier does it all the time, this was the first such out of body experience for Magneto. But when Xavier normally does it, he uses his Cerebro Mutant finding machine to do it; not just have his astral self hop up out of his wheelchair.

PE: Whoops, I spoke too soon. It took Stan four pages to get to the Danger Room this issue.

PE: Professor X hires out a boat to sail the X-People (Is Jean Gray an X-Girl? X-Person?) to Magneto's island. So, I guess, to save some bucks, he hired out a pirate ship (complete with gangplank)?

JS: Duh, everyone knows she's Marvel Girl (of course how she got the company name in her moniker is beyond me).

PE: Sub-Mariner notes that Magneto's secret island is hard to find, even with directions. Yeah, but do you think the gigantic magnet might give away the secret? If Magneto really is The Scarlet Witch's pop (as we'll find out years down the line, mind you), he's really creepy using her as sexual bait for Namor.

JS: Good call on that. A pretty clear sign that this wasn't a known backstory element in the beginning.

PE: I guess Stan ran out of ways of using Namor in the Fantastic Four's title and had to branch out (much in the way he does with The Hulk). It'll be another year before Subby gets his own book (well, half of his own book, that is) so get used to these occasional pop-ins.

PE: "Let's Visit the X-Men," the new letters page, makes its debut.

The Avengers #6

Our Story

In a remote South American jungle, Baron Zemo finds out that his World War II enemy, Captain America is still alive. Still saddled with the headgear that Cap unwittingly attached to Zemo's head with Adhesive X, Zemo decides that twenty years is long enough and the dish shall be served at last. He enlists the aid of three super villains (The Melter, The Radioactive Man, and The Black Knight) and heads to town with several barrels of Adhesive X and a plan to bring Captain America out in the open. The bad guys begin spraying Ad-X all over town but with a little help from Rick Jones and his Teen Brigade, The Avengers manage to round up most of the bad guys and head them off to the pokey. Baron Zemo may or may not have escaped. Stay Tuned.

PE: For an evil genius, Baron Zemo ain't so bright. He enlists nothing but fourth-stringer henchmen. The Avengers fight back by enlisting the aid of Paste Pot Pete for an antidote to Ad-X.

JS: The X-Men had their Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, so I guess it's only fair that the Avengers get the Masters of Evil...

PE: At his Teen Brigade headquarters, Rick Jones busts in through the door, telling his fellow Cub Scouts that they've got a "double red alert emergency" on their hands. Are there degrees of emergencies with The Avengers? If so, why hasn't Stan been kind enough to diagram those for us.

JS: Just wait until there's a double-secret red alert emergency, mister smarty pants.

PE: More fun from The House of Coincidence. "I really would like to avenge Bucky's death and get hold of that Zemo. I wonder if he's still alive." Meanwhile, in a remote South American jungle, Zemo reads a newspaper announcing that Cap is alive.

PE: The shadow of Peter Palmer and Bob Banner arise again as we learn that Rick Jones is now Rick Brown, Cub Scout! I still find it a bit farfetched (yes, even in tales of knights on flying horses) that The Avengers would allow these semi-trained teenagers to put themselves in the line of fire.

JS: I guess if it's any consolation, at least Rick Jones and the Teen Brigade never got their own title (they don't, right? Tell me they don't!).

The Melter doing what he does best
PE: The Black Knight seems astonished, even a bit offended, that The Avengers are not going with The Masters of Evil game plan to attack their respective superhero. As Thor's hammer comes sailing at him, he cries out: "Thor's hammer!! But he was not supposed to be my foe!!"

JS: I think he's got a point. I think there's an unwritten rule that states one must take out their own nemesis before engaging someone else's. "Hey, guys—who's responsible for The Melter?"

PE: We finally get an acknowledgement from Stan that taking pill after pill is going to wear a guy out. At one point during the battle, Giant-Man must "pull himself together after his physically exhausting ordeal of changing size so quickly and so often..." Imagine the strain on his heart going from big to small back to big again in a matter of seconds.

JS: We've been raising that for months! What took him so long?

PE: These Marvel artists are still struggling with the size of Giant-Man from panel to panel (even when he's not taking a bottle of pills hourly). One panel he seems to be a bit larger than a man (perhaps nine feet at the most) and in the next, his arm appears to be as big as a vehicle. And when did Thor stop talking like an Asgardian and more like a Yancy Streeter?

Tales to Astonish #57

Our Story

That nutty Egghead is back with a new invention designed to ruin Ant-Man's perfect day. Hank has just created a wonderful new weapon for The Wasp that will make her the most powerful little female heroine in the Marvel Universe, an air gun strapped to her wrist. But Egghead's invention is another story altogether (and we here at Marvel University wish this tale were being told over at the Distinguished Competition), a miniature transmitting tower plopped on an anthill that feeds bad info to Ant-Man. First up from the faux Ant-enna: news that Spider-Man is going to attack Giant-Man and his luscious little winged insect girl. Shrugging off any questions as to why Spidey would be attacking the duo, Giant-Man and The Wasp head out to pick a fight with the wall-crawler. In the end, it's just a misunderstanding.

PE: I'd call Egghead the most one-dimensional villain in Marvel Comics but, for that honor, there are several other Strange Tales and TTA villains standing in line. Here though, Eggy shows a bit of brains in developing a transmitting tower, stationed near an anthill, that will broadcast a bogus call to Hank Pym. Have you stopped ot wonder why these super villains go to extremes to develop such niche weapons? How about a bomb planted in Hank Pym's pocket protector drawer? Seems that might be a bit much easier and final.

JS: Where's the fun in that? Can I make a pitch for anyone not following our 1966 Batman-a-day blog to check that out? Particularly if you're interested in seeing what a classic Egghead should be...

PE: The Wasp shows why we here at Marvel University consider her essential: Hank Pym sends her to look for Spider-Man and explicitly tells her not to use her new super weapon (an air gun on her wrist). Next thing you know she's cruising the skies, spots Spidey and thinks "I have got to use this new toy on my arm!" Whoops!

JS: Women!

PE: Another of Stan's shameful "cameo comics," designed to pump up rotten sales on this title. Sorry, Stan, Spider-Man can't help put oomph into this dead horse. Not even three years into the Marvel Universe and the "misunderstanding battle between heroes" has already been bled dry. Next gimmick, Mr. Lee? I think at this point in the series, a super-villain team-up of Egghead and The Human Top is inevitable. Cross your fingers.

Tales of Suspense #55

Our Story

Concluding the Mandarin storyline from last issue, Tony Stark must find a way ot stop the ringed villain from stealing Stark Industry's missiles. Iron Man "accompanies" Stark to The Mandarin's castle to destroy the ray that's being used to nab the missiles right out of the air.

PE: In the opening panel, not only does our narrator say that "a smile appears on the iron countenance of" Iron Man, but The Mandarin rages "How dare you smile in the face of death?" How, indeed, does a smile show across Iron Man's metal mask?

JS: Unstable molecules?

PE: At one point in the battle royale, The Mandarin drops a huge chunk of steel on iron Man and it pushes him right to the lower level, leaving a Three Stooges-esque Iron Man hole in the ceiling!

JS: Thank goodness the ceiling was made of cookie dough.

PE: Curiously, Iron Man doesn't even attempt to capture The Mandarin. He's able to release the Stark missiles and then escapes the mansion, leaving the evil dude spouting profanities at the sky.

JS: Peter, you forget that if our hero actually captured or god forbid took out his foe, they'd run out of things to do.

PE: Sometimes these Marvel romances seem to blossom overnight, sometimes it seems they pop up between the panels. On his ride home from the airport, Tony Stark is sitting in the back with Pepper Potts. Actually, it looks as though she's sitting on his lap. When the car gets a flat, Happy's forced to fix it while Tony and Pepper go off for a romantic look at the moon. I think maybe Stan forgot where these romances were at times, how developed (or underdeveloped) they were. One issue, for instance, Jane Foster knows that Don Blake loves her, and the next they're back to the "I wish I could tell her I love her" games.

JS: Or perhaps Stan just had relationship issues of his own. Of course, I guess now is a good time to thank him for the Pepper Potts Pin Up Page. Yowza!

PE: There's also a helpful "all about Iron Man" featurette designed to answer questions that fans have brought up about Shellhead. The question "Why can't you write good Iron Man stories," curiously, is not answered.

Fantastic Four #28

Our Story

The Mad Thinker has returned for revenge against The Fantastic Four. To aid him in his plot, he has enlisted The Puppet Master to craft a doll of Professor X. Once this is done, Puppet Master gets into X's head and commands him to have his X-Men attack The FF. All kinds of superhero battle ensues.

PE: 28 issues in and still no sign of intelligent life. If I hadn't read a big batch of FFs when I was a kid, I'd never know now that the darn thing gets better sometime in the future. This is just the same-ol', same-ol', one team attacks another team for some reason or another, they figure out the misunderstanding (or in this case, the plot), and join forces to defeat the real enemy. This is yawn-inducing stuff, I'm afraid to say. It's not as bad as The Torch solo stories or Ant-Man but it's not something that keeps the reader engaged.

JS: I know there are some great issues of FF just around the bend... unfortunately they can't get here fast enough.

PE: I'll give credit to Stan and Jack on one point: when The Puppet Master crafts his X doll, he follows The Thinker's imagining of what X would look like. Why he would conjure up the image of a bald man, I have no idea (coincidence?) but at least he didn't fancy the Professor handicapped. I was waiting to see a clay wheelchair but no dice, the doll is standing erect.

JS: I will admit a certain fondness for the Puppet Master, but even he's getting tiresome after so many appearances.

PE: Big No-Prize boner on Page 6, Panel 6: Cyclops notes that Reed's response is "just what the Thinker predicted it would be." Cyclops has no knowledge that The Thinker is behind this attack. He's been told, by Professor X, that The FF has turned evil and plan world domination. Hey, in a story this boring, you latch onto anything that holds your interest!

JS: Or hope that the letters pages offer something to get excited about...

PE: The letters page brings a rave for the lettering of FF by writer Robert ("I Am the Cheese") Cormier. In the announcement section (now informally called "the bullpen" by Stan, our editor fesses up to the big mistake they've made a few times lately, calling Bruce Banner "Bob." To avoid any further flubs, they rechristen him Robert Bruce Banner. Ah, a bit of history!

Strange Tales 122

The Human Torch

Our Story

Returning from another dimension after having been sent there in Fantastic Four #23, the nefarious trio of Handsome Harry Phillips, Yogi Dakor and Bull Brogin decide to go after the Fantastic Four one at a time, starting with The Human Torch. They trap him at home and hide him in a trailer on the edge of town. He sends smoke signals that get the fire department to come to the rescue, then quickly defeats the trio, returning home only to be chastised by sister Sue for leaving the house a mess.
Jack: You know it's bad when the cover says these three were last seen in FF #23, but on the splash page it says FF #22. "Rapidly written by Stan Lee" indeed!

PE: It's even worse when the level of villain in Strange Tales dips down to "remember when Doctor Doom, the most fearsome enemy of the Fantastic Four, brought the team to its knees with a super-plot? Well, forget Doctor Doom for a moment. Remember those three guys he had in the background during that story? Wouldn't you like to know more about them?" Is there such a thing as sixth-tier villains?

JS: Sorry sir, sixth-tier is booked. You'll have to try the seventh-tier.

Jack: Four pages of intro in a 14-page story--as Stan's caption says, "One thing you've got to admit... you've probably never read a longer introduction before!"

PE: Bizarrely, the first two pages have not a bit of dialogue. It's all expository narrative.

Jack: There's so much to ridicule in this story it's just not fair. Only one more year of Torch in Strange Tales.

JS: If that didn't mean 12 more issues, I'd be excited.
PE: Dick Ayers may be highly regarded in many circles and, to be fair, maybe I haven't seen the stuff he's being hoisted for. This art (along with the art for Two-Gun Kid #70, see below) are strictly by the numbers. In places, characters speak to each other facing the reader rather than each other. There's no dynamic, no angles, it's all told flat as a board. We know the story's going to be crap, they haven't surprised any of us yet, but at least give us some purty pitchers, right?

Dr. Strange

Our Story

Not Ditko's best work!
Exhausted from his unending battle against the supernatural forces which menace mankind, Dr. Strange dozes off, only to be captured in his sleep and drawn into the Nightmare World by his enemy, Nightmare. Nightmare messes with Dr. Strange like The Amazing Kreskin with a kid on stage at a local high school, until the good doctor turns the tables by summoning the creature Nightmare fears the most--The Gulgol! Nightmare agrees to give Dr. Strange back his powers if he'll get rid of The Gulgol; Dr. Strange does so and reveals that he hypnotized Nightmare and tricked him into seeing an enemy who was never there. Strange returns home and awakens as dawn breaks over Manhattan.
Jack: I don't know who inked Ditko on this story, but the art is below his usual standards.

JS: How is it that you guys didn't notice Iron Man in this issue?

PE: And the story is nothing to holler about either, Professor Jack. It seems as though Stan (or Steve) came up with this fabulous idea, a Master of the Mystic Arts, but really didn't know how to run with it, at least for the first handful of issues. We're getting recycled "ectoplasmic force" stories or "Baron Mordo Returns" over and over. Make no mistake, it's not unreadable like our Torch stories but it's not classic material either. Not yet at least.

Also this month

Kid Colt Outlaw #117
Millie the Model #121
Sgt Fury and His Howling Commandos #8
Two-Gun Kid #70


Nick Fury and his Howling Commandos are sent to Germany to destroy "The Death Ray of Dr. Zemo" (Sgt Fury #8), alongside new Howler Percival "Percy" Pinkerton (replacing fallen Howler Junior Jupiter). Percy shows he's capable right off the bat with his combat skills and deadly umbrella. The Howlers make it to the castle of Zemo and disarm the mad genius but he manages to make a getaway. Since we're all Monday-morning quarterbacks here, we knew that not only would Zemo escape, but that he will play a big role in the World War II Marvel Universe as well as in the "present day" mythos. This story is a prequel of sorts to the story in Avengers #6 this month. Stan Lee explains to us in the brand new letters page (with the unimaginative title of "Tell It to Fury") that readers' requests for a monthly dose of Fury have been answered but it comes at a high price: Dick Ayers replaces Jack Kirby as full-time penciler on the strip. Ayers' work here isn't bad but it's nowhere close to the type of intricate battlefield detail we've become spoiled by in the first seven issues. Perhaps Ayers will grow on me.

Kid Colt, Outlaw is offered a pardon by the governor if he'll catch "The Fearsome Fat-Man (#117). In a story that could only have been told in the hazy crazy non-politically correct world of the early sixties, our hero faces down the 300-pound Australian who packs a mean boomerang and can roll himself into a ball and roll over his enemies like "ten-pins." The Kid manages to overcome the overweight menace but, as usual, something comes between him and his pardon. He proves that once again he has a heart the size of a full-grown bull.

Stan Lee continues his attempts to drag the Marvel Western kicking and screaming into the Marvel Age of Superheroes in "The Amazing Mr. Hurricane" (Two-Gun Kid #70). Two-Gun is tracking a ruthless hombre named Harry Kane (Harry Kane= Hurricane, I get it), when the two men are caught up in a tornado and the outlaw makes his getaway. Left without a horse or food, Kane happens upon a medicine man practicing black magic and loots him of his booty. While taking a sip of what he thinks might be hoch, Kane is struck by lightning and becomes the world's fastest man. He can run really fast but more importantly, he can draw real fast. He makes himself up a really silly costume (with bolts down the front) and goes on a crime spree until his career is curtailed by Two-Gun. Stan's cruising here but then penciler Dick Ayers is stuck at the starting gate. Really awful art.


  1. I always liked Baron Zemo and the Masters of Evil, especially the Black Knight. I must confess a fondness for the Back Knight's big soup can of a helmet--I did not like his later, sleeker helmet quite as much. It's interesting that the title of Journey Into Mystery has now become small and The Mighty THOR has become very large--almost as if it's Thor comics. Which leads me to a question--why does Tales of Suspense feature The Power of IRON MAN? Why not just Iron Man? Does every title have to have an adjective? Mighty Thor, Uncanny X-Men, Amazing Spider-Man--but The Power of IRON MAN?

  2. I've yet to peruse my copy of ESSENTIAL THOR VOL. 1 containing these stories (which I was going to do for my blog a little while back, but you guys certainly seem to have rendered that redundant!), so I only know some of them from scattered reprints read years ago. But what JB said about Thor's "separation anxiety" just confirms my feelings about the recent film, which I quite liked. Normally, I prefer a comic-book film--particularly the first in a presumed series--to stick as closely as possible to the earliest issues of the comic. But in this case, I wasn't upset that they largely eschewed the secret-identity thing, which always seemed a little rinky-dink for a thunder god. It made him too much like other, mortal super-heroes and, as these stories demonstrate, got somewhat ridiculous at times.

    Jack, you can take heart--or not--in the fact that the adjective-challenged Iron Man will become officially "Invincible" at some point down the road.

    Y'know, taken individually, these stories may not have been brilliant, but examined together, which is one of the benefits of M.U., they sure show what an amazing box of toys Stan & Co. had already created for themselves, even at this comparatively early date. Almost every issue is chock-full of stuff: AMAZING gives you not only the introduction of the Goblin but also the Enforcers AND the Hulk. JIM brings us the always-fun odd couple of Cobra and Hyde. X-MEN offers Magneto AND the Brotherhood AND Subby. The Assemblers meet Zemo AND his Masters of Evil. Hank gets a Spidey guest-shot (a double-dose this month), while Shellhead faces his arch-enemy. The FF encounter the X-Men (another double-dose) AND the Puppet Master AND the Thinker AND his android. Passing quickly over the Torch's multiple villains, who probably didn't even add up to one decent one, we get Nightmare, a great Doc villain for sure, even if this wasn't his best appearance. And then Zemo is at it again with Fury! You see what I mean? Quantity doesn't always equal quality, but man, are there a lot of shiny objects to attract our attention this month! Just sayin' is all.

  3. I must concur wholeheartedly with Professor Bradley regarding this month's issues being an exciting mishmash of new villains, guest-stars, team-ups, and battle royals!

    Very cool X-men cover! It's nice to see Subby freeloading in another title besides FF for the hundredth time. Especially since I never really associated Namor hanging out with Magneto.

    While I still feel that these 60's comics are dated compared to the later 70's and beyond product, the Avengers from this month was awesome. Those old-school gang fights between heroes and villains are better then what's currently in the Avengers title today.

    Peter- At first I wasn't too sure about your opinion regarding the Green Goblin as the Marvel equivalent of the Joker as that is a pretty high honor to bestow. At further introspect you are right on the money. Especially when you look at where the character is at now, in the Marvel Universe.

    Even though I'm usually against resurrecting dead characters, the company did it right with making the Green Goblin a powerful Captain of Industry tyrant, and for a short time the President of the United States! All the while having him struggle internally to keep his psychotic impulses in check. Hell, he's a cross between the Joker and Lex Luthor!

    Being a child of the 80's I'm a bit more of a Hobgoblin fan.

    Jack Seabrook- Baron Zemo, one of the most underrated villains ever. And why the Black Knight wasn't ever in the villain elite class is a puzzle to me.

  4. Jack- Iron Man loses his "Power with #58, when Cap joins the title, probably because there wasn't enough room on the marquee.

    Matthew and Tom- I think that some of these stories might have gotten a bit more sympathy from me if I wasn't reading so many of them at once. The Fantastic Four, for example, is a title I remember loving as a kid and yet, now, it's a chore. Spider-Man holds up for the most part. Giant-Man is almost a guilty pleasure. I'm not sure what kind of crazy crap Stan will throw at us next in that strip although I preferred it when Pym was the world's smallest hero rather than the largest. It's lost a bit of that WTF? factor for me. I personally cannot wait to get to the 70s. There are a few logistical nightmare bridges to cross before we nail that down (do we cover Conan? Tarzan? Rom? Tower of Shadows and the other horror titles?). In the middle of the 70s, Marvel was publishing upwards of 40 titles a month!

  5. Peter-

    I think it's almost going to be impossible to handle all those series from the 70's that didn't last long, especially the horror. Some of those titles I remember owning retold the Invisible Man and Dr. Jekyll classics. Stuff like that would be unnecessary IMHO.

    Conan would be a pain in the ass, but hard to ignore such a long running title even though he was off in a separate world. 'Rom' can go pound sand as far as I'm concerned. Maybe give him a blurb or two like Rawhide Kid but that's about it.

    The Tomb of Dracula, of course, is a no-brainer. I was a little disappointed the Blade Trilogy wasn't included in our upcoming movie project, but that's more then understandable considering we got a long way off until we reach the series.

  6. I nominate John Scoleri to read and write the Dazzler comic summaries !!!!!

  7. I don't know how you could skip ROM (or The Micronauts), since those were clearly part of the MU. Conan, like Star Wars, was a licensed property, and can be more easily extracted from the Superhero Universe that has been our primary focus.

    If there's one 70s title I'm actually anxious to re-read, it's Shang-Chi, Master of Kung Fu. Of course, I'd vote for just doing that. Watch for it at

  8. I'll take Dazzler, and Tom can take Shogun Warriors.

  9. >>I'll take Dazzler, and Tom can take Shogun Warriors.

    And I'll take a nap :>

  10. Dibs on SVTU and/or THE INVADERS--assuming Pete has the scans; my originals are semi-inaccessible at the moment. The fun we can have with MTU and MTIO...ooh, I'm getting flushed already.

    And, dare I say it, Starlin?

  11. Remember, you said that Matthew! MTU should have been called MM (Marvel Misunderstanding). Each month I sat at the edge of my seat wondering whether it would be an alien possession of The Hulk or The Puppet Master controlling The Thing. Poor Spider-Man was attacked at least 150 times by his peers for no reason at all.

  12. Not gonna argue with the fact that MTU and MTIO could be formulaic and repetitious and had their share (if not more) of bad issues. But hell, I doubt there's a single book Marvel ever published that didn't have its off days. On the team-ups' plus side, you got a lot of fun combinations, some interesting interactions, and occasionally a final resting place for dangling plot threads (Warlock, anyone?). And the multi-part stories that I prized there--most notably Mantlo's time-travel saga--at least reduced the number of misunderstandings, since the heroes were together for more than one issue at a time and thus did not have to be re-re-introduced in every single installment...