Merry Christmas to everyone out there! This week I’ll keep with the theme of anthology books, but with a holiday story! One of Marvel’s most beloved characters is definitely Ben Grimm. His kind heart and love for his friends is one of legend, his fights with Johnny notwithstanding! This story opens up with a gorgeous splash page that really sets the holiday mood. This wild tale involves the Puppet Master, Ben, and Alicia. You see, the Puppet Master is fresh out of prison, and the shenanigans must ensue. He convinces Alicia that he’s no longer evil, and then the two of them, plus The Thing head to his homeland (Transia) as a Christmas present from the FF. It doesn’t take long for the trio to get into trouble, as Bova and Modred the Mystic join the cast in this crazy holiday issue!
Written by Mark Gruenwald, art by Frank Springer (pencils and cover) and Chic Stone (inks), colors by George Roussos, letters by Michael Higgins, and edited by Jim Salicrup! This is a very wacky issue, but so much fun. The holiday backdrop is perfect for this story and for today’s post! Merry Christmas!
After searching far and wide (OK, not really), I’ve finally purchased a book I’ve been wanting to buy for years! Why this book? Because I love N’Kantu, The Living Mummy, that’s why! With a backstory along the same lines as Imhotep, this former warrior prince of an African tribe was put down by politics. They embalmed him alive and with a special fluid that has kept him alive for centuries! In this story, we see Ben Grimm and Alicia Masters get caught up in an Egyptian-style caper with magic and mayhem!
This issue was scripted by the very capable David Anthony Kraft. He was one of those guys that was ready for anything, and even though he didn’t have many extended runs on any specific title, the work was there and on point. The recent passing of Alan Kupperberg (pencils) was quite a shock for me. Having been friends with him on social media for a couple for years, I found him to be very friendly, and always positive. The inker, Jon D’Agostino, is someone I know nothing about, but his work with Kupperberg looks very nice to my eyes. The cover was brought to us by the awesome Bronze Age duo of Ron Wilson and Chic Stone! Veterans Diana Albers (letters), George Roussos (colors), and Tom Defalco (editor), round out the team!
I love vampires! From the first time I saw Bela Lugosi, and most certainly once I saw Sir Christopher Lee as the fearful Count Dracula, I was hooked. The first vampire I saw in a comic book though, was Morbius! His origin story was foreign to me, but it didn’t matter. He was scary, and more than a match for Spidey. In this issue, Morbius and Spidey clash at a costume party, and we also see the vampire attack a group of kids! His blood lust knows no boundaries, and he will not stop until it is satiated!
The creative team on this book is comprised of some of my favorites! Bill Mantlo (writer), is one of the most underrated writers of all time. He gets a nod for ROM from hardcore fans, but not much else. That needs to change, because when you look at his work as a whole, you can get more of a grasp on his wonderful contributions over the years. Not to be outdone, is the art team of Sal Buscema (pencils) and Chic Stone (inks). Both men are very skilled and were absolute pillars in the comic book industry for a long time. Bob Sharen is another name that everyone who’s a fan of the Bronze Age should recognize. He has a huge list of color credits, and his work always solidified the art. Veteran letter Diana Albers, and editor Jim Shooter round out the team! And let us not pass over this awesome cover by Mister Al Milgrom!
I figured with Ant-Man still on people’s minds, we could journey into the past, and check out an appearance of this eccentric character. Not only do you get him, but also the blue-eyed Thing! The Thing gets sucked into a Microverse, and it’s up to Ant-Man (with an assist by Reed Richards) to bring him back in one piece. But what if Ben doesn’t want to come back? Just think about it for a minute. What if Ben is whisked away to a world where he’s adored, and not feared? Would anyone want to come back to a world where you feel tormented?
This was a great phase of this title, when you had regular artists like “Rampaging” Ron Wilson (pencils) and “Cheerful” Chic Stone (inks) bringing you fantastic interior work. Still fairly young in his Marvel career (but not comics in general), Tom Defalco (writer) gives us a solid story that emphasizes what Ben Grimm is really all about. Colors are by Christie Scheele, letters by Rick Parker and Michael Higgins. The editor is one that was an absolute rock for Marvel throughout the years, Mr. Jim Salicrup!
In keeping with the horror theme, I thought I’d throw out another issue featuring that patchwork fellow, Frankenstein’s Monster! In this issue of The Invaders (#31), we see the machinations of the Nazis, as they’ve not only captured the monster, but brainwashed him as well! Their goal (lofty as usual) is to replicate the process by which he was made, and create an army of undead soldiers to conquer the world! They’ve not only captured Cap and Bucky, but also the Human Torch and Toro, too.
This issue (along with the previous two) was written by Don Glut, with pencils by Chic Stone, inks by Bill Black, colors by George Roussos, and letters by Tom Orzechowski! A quirky little story that just adds to the mystique of The Invaders! Overall this series was quite entertaining, especially when under the guidance of Roy Thomas! We saw a couple of Kirby covers, as well as Gil Kane. Interior work by names like Kupperberg, Robbins, and even Don Heck! Check out that awesome cover by the incomparable Joe Sinnott!
In this double-sized post, I’ll be showcasing a two-part story featuring the Thing, as he takes on the menace of Ultron! The good news is, he wont have to face him alone. The bad news is, that even with Machine Man and Jocasta, he’s still in over his head! The entire series of Marvel Two-in-One was just something to marvel at (no pun intended). The myriad of stories and creators was a melting pot during the Bronze Age for some of Marvel’s best, and most talented creators. Especially when you look at the fact that most don’t get the recognition they deserve. Names like Ron Wilson, Chic Stone, Tom Defalco, David Anthony Kraft, Jo Duffy, Alan Kupperberg, and so on. These professionals gave it their all, and whether you want to admit it or not, were just as big a part of the industry as some of the more recognized names at that time. They kept characters roles expanding, as well as keeping them in-line with continuity and moving forward.
This great two-part story was given to us by Tom Defalco (writer), Ron Wilson (cover and interior pencils), Chic Stone (cover inks) Joe Rosen (letters), Don Warfield and George Roussos (colors), and edited by Jim Salicrup! The inking was done by committee, but at no time did the work suffer for it. Sometimes when you get too many hands in the pot, you have a recipe for disaster, but not here! Some really good character interaction plus great humor as well. Feast your eyes on these two books!
As promised, here is the second part of the Thing/Yancy Street Gang/Jack of Hearts story! At the end of the last issue, we saw the Thing get captured by the Machinesmith, and his robots. Now, Jack of Hearts enters the fray, and the plot thickens! Everything actually looks like it’s going to get better, as Ben Grimm escapes his bonds, and attempts to attack the Machinesmith. He gets mind-controlled though, and is then sent to kill Jack of Hearts! A great brawl between both heroes ensues, and then more craziness with the Yancy Street Gang, as well!
Another great one from Bill Mantlo, and pencils by Chic Stone (RIP),but sadly, Stone doesn’t ink his pencils again (as he did in the earlier issue), and no offense to Tex Blaisdell (RIP), but the artwork was definitely sub-par compared to last issues brilliance. Not that it’s bad, but it’s just not up to the level that Stone gave us before. The colorist is Mario Sen, letters by Elaine Heinl and Gaspar, edited by Roger Stern, and the cover once again, by Chic Stone! Enjoy!
As we all know, the Yancy Street Gang is usually the type to tease, heckle, and even try to injure their former friend, Ben Grimm. But in this issue, they actually lend a hand in helping the Thing defeat the menace of the Machinesmith! Well, the issue in question doesn’t actually hold good tidings by the end for Mr. Grimm, but I can tell you that there are gangsters, and a game played between the members of the FF, including Agatha Harkness, and Franklin Richards. Also, a special appearance by that loveable letter carrier, Willie Lumpkin!
With a great story by the incomparable Bill Mantlo, pencils and inks by Chic Stone (great inker, and incredibly underrated penciler- just look at this issue!), colors by Bob Sharen, letters by Diana Albers and Gaspar, and edited by Roger Stern! And let us not forget the awesome cover by Ron Wilson, Joe Sinnott, and Irv Watanabe! This is one of those kooky issues that really is a great read. You get a fantastic heart-warming scene in the beginning with the FF and Ben, then some solid action with the Yancy Street Gang and robots, which are operating under the influence of a quirky villain like the Machinesmith. It’s all just perfection. It’s a no-brainer to grab this issue! Enjoy (and since I’m a day late with this post, look for part 2 of this story, later today) !