BLOGROLL

Ant Man Collected Editions

BLOGROLL
September 13, 2019

Marvel Masterworks Ant Man Volume 1(Vol. 59 in the Marvel Masterworks Library)
Reprints: Tales to Astonish, #27, #35-52

Miscellaneous Creators

BLOGROLL
September 11, 2019

WRITERS:

Larry Lieber

Larry Lieber is the younger brother of Stanley Martin Lieber, better known to Marvel fans as Stan Lee. Larry was an artist and writer for early Marvel anthology titles as well as some of the popular superhero comics, including writing the scripts for the origin stories of Thor, And Man and Iron Man based on plot outlines given to him by his older brother. Lieber also penciled some Amazing Spider-Man annual issues. In the 70s, Leiber became editor of Marvel UK, which re-packaged Marvel Universe comic books for the British market. He also wrote the adventures of Captain Britain for Marvel UK. In the 80s and 90s, Lieber wrote and drew for the Amazing Spider-Man and Incredible Hulk newspaper strips. He finally retired from the Spider-Man strip in 2018.

ARTISTS:

LETTERERS:

Artie Simek

Art Simek was a well-known letterer in the comics industry. He designed logos and lettered some of Marvel Comics’ greatest issues such as the Fantastic Four #1 and Amazing Fantasy #15. Simek died on February 20, 1975 at the age of 59.

COLORISTS:

Stan Goldberg

Stan Goldberg was 16 year old when he joined Timely Comics, which would become Marvel Comics, in 1948. He was the color designer for all the classic Marvel heroes including the Fantastic Four, The Hulk, Spider-Man, and the X-Men. It was he who decided that in order to visually distinguish between the heroes and villains, he would color the heroes bright blues, reds, greens and yellows, and leave the olive-drab greens and burnt hombres for the villains. Because his first name was the same as his boss, Stan Lee, people usually referred to him as Stan G. Stan was born in the Bronx, NY in 1932 and died there on August 31, 2014.

INKERS:

Dick Ayers

“Darlin'” Dick Ayers was one of the first artist in the Marvel Comics’ Bullpen, specifically known for being the primary artist for the adventures of Marvel’s WW II comic, Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos. But he is better known as the inker for much of Jack “the King” Kirby’s 1960’s Silver Age work, particularly many issues of The Fantastic Four. Ayers passed away on May 4, 2014.

PRODUCTION:

Sol Brodsky

Sol Brodsky was one of a handful of artists who did covers for Atlas Comics, which would become Marvel Comics. He left to launch Cracked magazine in the 50s but returned to Atlas, now Timely Comics, in the early 60s to do production work just before it became Marvel Comics and the Marvel Age was launched. A master craftsman, Brodsky designed logos, drew, inked, and finally became production manager in 1964. He left Marvel in 1970 to form a new company called Skywald, but returned to Marvel in the mid-70s where he would stay until his death in 1984.

The Third Musketeer

BLOGROLL
September 9, 2019

The formation of Marvel was truly a three-pronged attack. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby had already established themselves with the Fantastic Four and The Incredible Hulk.

So, when Stan Lee wanted to do a comic book for a third hero he had thought up, he went to Kirby again. But according to Stan, Kirby’s work was too beautiful. His heroes were powerful and majestic-looking. Stan wanted his new hero to be a teenage boy and he wanted him to be on the scrawny side and not very attractive.

At the time, Marvel’s other output consisted of westerns, romance books, and anthology titles such as Strange Tales, Tales to Astonish, Journey into Mystery, Tales of Suspense, and Amazing Adult Fantasy. One of the artists on these books was a balding, unassuming man named Steve Ditko.

His work was almost the exact opposite of Kirby’s. His characters were rail-thin, unattractive even when they weren’t meant to be, and appeared more miserable than happy most of the time – perfect dynamics for what Lee had in mind for his third hero.

Ditko took the assignment. Though not as popularly prolific as Kirby, Ditko was nonetheless a brilliant visual storyteller. He brought a moodiness and atmosphere that was starkly different from Kirby’s clean, techno-futuristic elements. Ditko designed the costume for the new hero, whom Lee had decided to call Spider-Man. The costume was red and blue and had a mask that completely covered his head, and even had white one-way lenses that hid his eyes. Ditko also gave Spider-Man devices that he wore on his wrists that could shoot out webbing which he could hang or swing from.

Lee had trouble convincing his boss, Martin Goodman, that this new creation was a good idea. Goodman couldn’t imagine anyone being interested in reading a story about a kid and besides, no one liked spiders.

But undeterred, Lee chose to put his and Ditko’s Spider-Man story into the final issue of Amazing Adult Fantasy. And for the last issue, Lee dropped the ‘Adult’, and just called it Amazing Fantasy. Issue #15 hit the stands in August of 1962.

Within weeks, the mail started pouring in. Readers loved this new superhero. But it wasn’t just the character they loved. The art work was strikingly unique from anything else on the news stands. Ditko’s style is hard to describe but you definitely know it when you see it.

Very soon, it became clear that Peter Parker was a fictional alter ego for Ditko. He was a near dead-ringer for Ditko when the artist was in high school. He also included some of his own experiences in his portrayal of the character.

The only other hero Ditko famously created and drew for Marvel was Dr. Strange. With this character, Ditko really expanded his sense of the wild and weird. Dr. Stephen Strange was an arrogant surgeon who lost his livelihood when his hands were irreparably injured in a car crash. Seeking a way to heal them, he traveled to Tibet and got an audience with an ancient figure in a mysterious temple high on a snow-swept mountain.

As Strange realized that he had not found what he had hoped to, he also realized that the Ancient One’s shifty protege, Baron Mordo, was trying to secretly overthrow his master. Strange overcame his own selfish tendencies and his eyes were opened to something more important than his own needs.

He agreed to become the Ancient One’s pupil and learned the dark secrets of the Mystic Arts. In doing so, Dr. Strange was carried away into fantastic worlds the likes of which had never been seen in comics before, thanks to the incredible imagination and artistry of Ditko.

While he was at Marvel, Ditko helped create some of the most iconic characters and drew some of the most memorable covers and interiors.

With the Amazing Spider-Man #33, “If This be My Destiny..!”, Ditko drew what may be his most iconic and talked-about piece. Spider-Man, trapped under tons of debris underground, may have finally met his end. But over four agonizing pages, Ditko shows the true heart of the hero.

Ditko left Marvel in the late 60s due to a dispute with Stan Lee over a plot choice in The Amazing Spider-Man. He would return in the seventies and draw many, many characters for Marvel through the 1990s, even creating some.

Ditko will go down as one of the most important and influential figures in comic book history. With a style all his own, he was one of the three influential men who started The Marvel Age of Comics.

COMPREHENSIVE LIST OF DITKO’S WORK FOR MARVEL

  • Journey into Mystery #33, 38, 50–96 (1956–63)
  • Mystery Tales #40, 45, 47 (1956)
  • 2-Gun Western #4 (1956)
  • Journey Into Unknown Worlds #45, 51 (1956)
  • Strange Tales #46, 50, 67–146 (Doctor Strange in #110–111, 114–146), Annual #2 (inking Jack Kirby) (1956–66)
  • Marvel Tales #147 (1956)
  • Spellbound #29 (1956)
  • Strange Tales of the Unusual #5 (1956)
  • Astonishing #53 (1956)
  • World of Mystery #3, 6 (1956–1957)
  • Strange Worlds #1–5 (1958–59)
  • World of Fantasy #16–19 (1959)
  • Battle #63, 68, 70 (1958–1960)
  • Tales of Suspense #1–49 (Iron Man in #47–49) (1959–64)
  • Tales to Astonish #1–48, 60–67 (The Hulk in #60–67, Giant Man in #61) (1959–65)
  • Gunsmoke Western #56, 66 (1960–1961)
  • Amazing Adventures #1–6 (1961); becomes
  • Amazing Adult Fantasy #7–14 (1961–62); becomes
  • Amazing Fantasy #15 (debut Spider-Man) (1962)
  • The Incredible Hulk #2 (inking Jack Kirby), #6 (1962–63)
  • The Amazing Spider-Man #1–38, Annual #1–2 (1963–66)
  • The Fantastic Four #13 (inking Jack Kirby) (1963)
  • Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos #15 (inking Dick Ayers) (1965)
  • Tower of Shadows #6, 8–9 (1970–1971)
  • Machine Man #10–19 (1979–81)
  • Tomb of Dracula magazine #2 (1979)
  • Micronauts #39, Annual #1–2 (1979–1982)
  • Daredevil #162 (1980)
  • The Incredible Hulk #249, Annual #9 (1980)
  • Marvel Spotlight vol. 2 #4 (Captain Marvel), #5 (Dragon Lord), #9–11 (Captain Universe) (1980–81)
  • Marvel Preview #21 (Shroud) (1980)
  • Crazy Magazine #68 (1980)
  • Marvel Team-Up #101 (1981)
  • Fantastic Four Annual #16 (1981)
  • Iron Man #160 (1982)
  • What If? #35 (Tigra) (1982)
  • U.S.1 #12 (1984)
  • Rom Spaceknight #59–75, Annual #4 (1984–86)
  • The Avengers Annual #13, 15 (1984–86)
  • The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones #21, 25–28, 32–34 (1984–86)
  • Chuck Norris: Karate Kommandos 1–3 (1987)
  • What If Special #1 (Iron Man) (1988)
  • What The–?! #1 (1988)
  • The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #22 (debut Speedball), #24–25 (1988–1991)
  • Marvel Age Annual #4 (Speedball) (1988)
  • Speedball #1–10 (1988–89)
  • Marvel Comics Presents #7, 10, 14, 54, 56, 58, 80–81, 83 (1988–1991)
  • Web of Spider-Man Annual #5 (Captain Universe) (1989)
  • Iron Man Annual #11 (1990)
  • The Destroyer #4 (1990)
  • The Destroyer vol. 2 #1 (1991)
  • Marvel Super-Heroes vol. 2 #1–3, #5–8 (#8 debut Squirrel Girl) (1990–1992)
  • Phantom 2040 #1–4 (1995)
  • Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #2, 4 (1995–96)
  • Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Ninja Rangers/VR Troopers #4–5 (1996)
  • Heroes & Legends #1 (1997)
  • Shadows & Light #1 (Iron Man) (1998)
  • Incredible Hulk and the Human Torch: From the Marvel Vault #1 (story created in the 1980s) (2011)

Amazing Fantasy #15

BLOGROLL
July 5, 2019

August 1962

Amazing Fantasy#15 (vol. 1)

“Spider-Man!”

EIC: Stan Lee

Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko

Writers: Stan Lee

Pencilers: Steve Ditko

Inkers: Steve Ditko

Colourist: Andy Yanchus

Letterers: Artie Simek

Editors: Stan Lee

Cover Date: August 1962

Release Date: June 1962

Pages: 11

Cover Price: $0.12

First Appearance and Origin of:

  • The Amazing Spider-Man/Peter Parker

SYNOPSIS:

Peter Parker is the biggest wallflower at Mid-Town High School in Queens, NY. A brilliant science student, he is ostracized by nearly everyone, especially the more popular kids who delight in making fun of the frail, bespectacled teenager.

But he is respected by his teachers and adored by his elderly Aunt May and Uncle Ben, who Peter lives with since his parents are dead.

While attending a lecture and demonstration in nuclear science, Peter is bitten by a spider that has been exposed to the radiation. Peter begins to feel unwell and wanders aimlessly out of the exhibit and into the street. Suddenly, a car careens around a corner and nearly hits Peter, but at the last second, he leaps and in seconds, is clinging to the bare surface of a building facade. Amazed at what is happening, Peter climbs up the side of the building to the roof, where he grabs a steel pipe for support and winds up crushing it in his hand. He also crawls down a taught wire, balancing on it like the spider that bit him.

Unsure of the extent of his powers and eager to test them, he sees an ad offering $100 for anyone who can stay in the ring for three minutes with a professional wrestler. Not wanting to embarrass himself, he wears a mask to hide his identity.

The bulky, muscle-bound wrestler mocks his skinny masked opponent before the match starts, but Peter quickly overpowers him and wins the match. When he collects his money, the promoter tells him he is a television producer, gives Peter his card, and tells him he’ll put him on t.v.

Back at home, Peter fashions a skin-tight red and blue costume. He also uses his scientific ingenuity to concoct a fluid that acts as super strong webbing that he can use for all sorts of different things. He also creates devices to wear on his wrist that will contain the web fluid and shoot it out through a nozzle under pressure. The webbing will adhere to any surface and enable Peter to hang or swing from it.

The last thing Peter does is come up with a name for his costumed alter ego – Spider-Man!

In no time, Spider-Man has become a television sensation. Millions of people watch in awe as he climbs up walls, sticks to the ceiling, and does all manner of amazing tricks with his fantastic webbing.

Backstage, after the show, Spider-Man sees a man running frantically towards him as a police officer pursues him, calling him a thief and yelling for him to stop. Spider-Man does nothing as the man runs past and into the waiting elevator which closes before the policeman can reach it.

The policeman chides Spider-Man for not stopping the thief. Spider-Man tells him that stopping thieves is the policeman’s job, not his, and that he no longer lets others tell him what to do. “From here on,” Spider-Man says, “I only look out for number one – me!”

But, one night soon after, Peter returns home from a television appearance to find police cars in front of his Aunt and Uncle’s house. A police officer tells him that a burglar broke into their house and shot his Uncle Ben.

Furious, Peter rushes off, changes into his Spider-Man costume, and swings off to the old abandoned warehouse by the docks he overhears one of the police officers say the burglar is hiding out in.

The police are being held off, unable to get into the warehouse without being picked off by the burglar. But Spider-Man sneaks inside and surprises the burglar, crawling creepily down the wall of the darkened warehouse towards him.

The burglar tries to run but Spider-Man leaps over him to block his way. He fires his webbing at the man, incapacitating his pistol. Then, he knocks the criminal out with one powerful punch to the jaw.

But as he picks the unconscious form of the burglar off the floor, Spider-Man is shocked to discover that it is the man who was running from the policeman at the t.v. station, the one he didn’t stop when he had the chance.

And now he knows that if he had only acted, his Uncle Ben would still be alive.

As he wanders aimlessly through the night-darkened streets of the city, he is aware at last that with great power, there must also come–great responsibility.

The Terror of the Toad Men!

BLOGROLL
July 5, 2019

July 1962

The Incredible Hulk #2 (vol. 1)

“The Terror of the Toad Men!”

EIC: Stan Lee

Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko

Writers: Stan Lee

Pencilers: Jack Kirby

Inkers: Steve Ditko

Letterers: Artie Simek

Editors: Stan Lee

Cover Date: July 1962

Release Date: May1962

Pages: 24

Cover Price: $0.12

SYNOPSIS:

The issue opens with the Hulk emerging from a swamp and being spotted by troopers who run to warn the nearest town of his presence. The police attempt to subdue the Hulk who easily overpowers them. Rick Jones shows up to calm the Hulk enough to lead him away from the town while we are treated to flashback of how Dr. Banner became the Hulk.

The Toad Men are then shown advancing towards Earth using a magnetic source far beyond what the Earth is capable of. The Toad Men land on Earth and track down the smartest man on the planet so that they can know what technologies the planet has to defend itself from invaders.

Bruce Banner and Rick Jones are now on their way to a secret hideout where Bruce has set up a chamber, with 10-feet thick concrete walls that extends slightly under a lake, in order to hold the Hulk during his night-time transformations.

Before Dr. Banner can get into the chamber, the Toad Men shoot both Banner and Rick to immobilize them and transport them back to their ship.

The Toad Men then tell their prisoners what will happen if they don’t cooperate such as making cities float off into space, draining the oceans, or making the people unable to move. They send Rick back to Earth. The ship then orbits to the dark side of the Earth, making Banner transform into the Hulk.

The Toad Men are caught off guard when the Hulk escapes his confinement and locks them in a room. The Hulk decides he will use the ship to wipe out mankind. General Ross order the ship shot down, which they are able to accomplish.

When the troops approach the ship, the only person they find is Banner who is taken into custody being labeled a traitor. The Toad Men escape underground away from the wreckage and send an invasion signal for the remainder of their fleet. The Toad King then jams all broadcasts around the world to send a message that they are planning to cause the moon to collide with the Earth, destroying it.

As night falls onto the cell holding Bruce Banner, he transforms in the Hulk, breaking out of the cell and destroys everything in his path towards General Ross’ house since he blames him for imprisoning him. The General has troops surround the house and attempts to storm in to take the Hulk. They rush the Hulk and attempt to tackle him, but he throws them off.

The Hulk takes Betty hostage, escaping into the darkness towards his secret lab with Rick following close behind. Rick confronts the Hulk so that he doesn’t hurt Betty as the moon gets ever closer; causing an earthquake that knocks the Hulk out until the morning when Bruce regains control. Bruce and Rick make their way to a Gamma Ray Gun so that they can reverse the attraction of their magnetic rays.

Bruce fires the gun just as the soldiers break in and are held back by Rick spraying them with a powerful fire hose. Since Bruce was able to save the world, the charges against him are dropped and he heads back to his secret lab with Rick, where the Hulk tries his best to break out of his temporary cell.

Prisoners of Dr. Doom!

BLOGROLL
February 18, 2019

July 1962

The Fantastic Four #5 (vol. 1)

“Prisoners of Dr. Doom!”

EIC: Stan Lee

Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Joe Sinnott

Writers: Stan Lee

Pencilers: Jack Kirby

Inkers: Joe Sinnott

Colourist: Stan Goldberg

Letterers: Artie Simek

Editors: Stan Lee

Cover Date: July 1962

Release Date: April 1962

Pages: 23

Cover Price: $0.12

SYNOPSIS:

Doctor Doom, in his hideout, states he alone has the power to defeat the Fantastic Four. He then storms away and boards a helicopter.

Meanwhile, the FF are relaxing in The Baxter Building. Johnny and Ben quarrel, forcing Sue and Reed to intervene and stop them. Reed begins to lecture the pair as the lights are cut.

Outside, Doom, in a helicopter, drops a massive net over the building. Reed recognizes the assailant’s voice and proceeds to tell the story of Victor Von Doom, a student he knew while attending college.

Von Doom was a brilliant scientist with a penchant for the occult, often conducting “forbidden” experiments. His research continued until he eventually unleashed uncontrollable powers which horribly disfigured him and led to his expulsion from campus.

Outside, Doom announces that the FF are his prisoners and demands that Sue be held as a personal insurance plan for the team’s obedience. Sue climbs to the top of the building and offers herself as a hostage.

Doom brings the team to his castle fortress. Once inside, Doom informs them that he has perfected a time machine and demands that they travel to the past and find the treasure of the pirate Blackbeard. Reed convinces the others to take Doom at his word and they agree to accept the mission.

The team fades from view and reappears in a 17th century colonial setting. They are forced to scramble for period clothing before their presence is discovered, Ben donning a large black beard to hide his rocky appearance. The trio are then drugged and thrown in the hold of a pirate ship.

Awakening, a furious Thing smashes his way from below decks, allowing the team to use their powers and subdue the crew. Suddenly, the ship is fired upon by another vessel and a battle ensues. The fight is quickly over and Ben is anointed “Blackbeard” by the victorious pirate crew.

Reed splits the treasure among the sailors and hatches a plan to bring only “the chest” of Blackbeard back to Doom. Ben proclaims his intention to remain in the past as a “somebody” and orders Reed and Johnny off the ship on a life boat. A freak sea tornado then destroys the pirate vessel and maroons the trio, treasure chest in tow, on an island. Ben laments his rash behavior just as Doom returns the group to the present.

Back in his castle, Doom informs the FF he was actually after the gems of Merlin, which give their owner the power of invincibility. Upon opening the chest, Doom discovers the bogus treasure, and lashes out at Ben, who strikes back, smashing Doom to bits, and it’s revealed he was actually a robot.

The “real” Doom then attempts to suffocate the team from a room above. Sue is able to use her powers to invisibly get away and save the others. The team then escapes from confinement and The Torch attempts “smoke” Doom from his castle, using rings of flame. The limit of The Johnny’s power is reached and Doom is able to escape at the story’s end using a jet-pack, vowing future conquests.