Two enemies, that have seemingly forever been locked in combat. One, a science geek barely out of high school, that was endowed with spider-like powers due to the bite of a radioactive spider. The other is a scientist that was a victim of his own experiments, and through them turned into a vampire like creature that feeds on human blood. Spider-Man and Morbius. Both men with their own problems, and no solutions other than to do what they must. In these two issues, you get to see a fierce battle between these two, but also some interesting moments with MJ and Aunt May.
I’m not a big fan of the surprise “villain” or the deus ex machina in this one. That being said, I am a big fan of Archie Goodwin (writer/editor), and all the work he’s done over the decades. Whether it was his work for Warren Publishing, DC, or Marvel, he was always a reliable scripter. Next we have penciler Sal Buscema. Most people probably think of his run on Spectacular Spider-Man (with J.M. DeMatteis, and rightly so), but definitely seek out his work on The Defenders. His style fit that strange book perfectly. Inkers Jim Mooney (7), and Mike Esposito (8), are both a good fit for Sal’s pencils as neither takes away from them but adds their own touch. Letters on both issues were by John Costanza, and colors by Don Warfield (7) and Marie Severin (8), all add their usual talents to the books. The covers are both very good, as number seven has Dave Cockrum and Al Milgrom show the absolute ferocity of Morbius. The next issue has a young artist you should recognize in Paul Gulacy. He’s mostly heralded for his Master of Kung Fu work.
Slowly but surely I’m making the effort to collect all of Marvel’s magazines from the 1970s. They’re getting steep in price overall, but if you look closely, you can usually find them here or there in decent shape for a bargain. When I saw the chance to pick up this issue for a reasonable price, I grabbed it immediately. A cover with a werewolf, and advertising the Frankenstein Monster is awesome, and high on my buy list for sure.
In this awesome mag, you get a great little one page story inside the front cover by Tony “The Tiger” Isabella and Pablo Marcos! Next we switch gears and see the ongoing story (chapter two) of a tale involving the Frankenstein Monster, by “Groovy” Gary Friedrich and “Big” John Buscema! The story and artwork are absolutely incredible in that one! Next, the book provides a reprint of a story called “The Hands (Adventures into Terror 14, 1951).” The writer is unknown, but the artwork is by Gene “The Dean” Colan! An interesting little 4 page story that has a twist ending. A prose story called “Our Martian Heritage” by Chris (Mr. X-Men) Claremont that has some photos accompanying it (most notably from Invasion of the Saucer Men- 1957). A new tale about Gullivar Jones Warrior of Mars (continuing from the pages of Creatures on the Loose), is nothing short of short of awesome. Brought to you by Tony Isabella and “Dynamic” Dave Cockrum! A zombified story by Steve “Baby” Gerber and Pablo Marcos keeps the book rolling, and then we get another Atlas Age reprint (The Killers- Adventures into Weird Worlds 10, 1952), artist unknown and art by Bernie Krigstein! And finally, we see a gorgeous story by “Dapper” Don Perlin and Chris Claremont! A werewolf story that is one of the most (if not the most) beautifully penciled stories by Perlin I’ve ever seen! Cover by Albert Pujolar!
Unlike most comic book readers, I’m not a huge fan of the gritty era that eventually engulfed the 1980’s. Yeah, I like Watchmen, Swamp Thing, and V for Vendetta (especially this last one), but that’s about it. I like my comics to have more of a lighthearted tone or just not as hardcore as say the works of Frank Miller. The importance and place in history of his work aren’t lost to me, but those stories just don’t get me excited to read comics. Miller is a guy that I like the early work of on titles like The Punisher, and his Spider-Man work. One character that everyone raves about though, as far as Miller is concerned, is Daredevil. Now that is the one character that I can really get into when it’s Miller for some odd reason. I just feel he’s a character that Miller was born to write/draw. Honestly though, I love the material that came out in the years earlier to his legendary run even more.
One issue in particular that I absolutely love is #143. It’s part two of a story that features DD up against his old enemies, Mr. Hyde and the Cobra! These two villains have plagued DD on several occasions, and always give him a run for his money! We get to see a lot of action in this one but also some intrigue as well with Heather Glenn’s father and his “business” ventures. Some jungle action, a man-eating lion, and the usual DD butt-kicking fight scenes are all packed in this comic book!
Marv Wolfman (writer), had a decent run on this title as writer and editor (about 2 years). We all know his ability to write a good story, whether it be a one and done, or a lengthy story over a few issues, he can get it done! Artists Bob Brown (pencils) and Keith Pollard (inks) are two guys that don’t get a lot of airplay, but when you look at their bodies of work, you’ll be impressed nonetheless. The cover art was done by none other than Dave Cockrum, and his exploits on the X-Men, and Legion of Superheroes is well documented, as it should be! John Costanza provided the letters, and Janice Cohen the colors, to round out this solid creative team!
With the recent release of the Guardians of the Galaxy movie, the name Jim Starlin is being brought back to prominence, and with good reason. He single-handedly revolutionized Marvel’s cosmic scene with his trippy space odysseys, and thought-provoking story lines. Of course there were others that did justice to the cosmic stories back in the day (Neal Adams & Roy Thomas come to mind with their epic Kree/Skrull War story), but Starlin could write, pencil, color, and ink a story by himself, and it wasn’t schlock. One character in particular that he brought out of the darkness so to speak, was Captain Marvel (Mar-Vell). In Iron Man #55 (1973), Starlin gave us the dreaded Mad Titan, Thanos, and what he gift he was for the cosmic universe. We also see the Blood Brothers, and of course, Iron Man.
In 1985, Marvel released this book of three issues that were reprints of Iron Man #55, Captain Marvel #25 & 26 (1973). All three issues have Starlin’s imprint on them, and that cannot be denied. Mike Friedrich scripted the Captain Marvel issues, with Jim Starlin plotting (and coloring all three issues possibly as well?) where we see intrigue with the Skrulls, Thanos, and Captain Marvel punch out Ben Grimm! Take my word for it, and grab this reprint series (5 issues total), and catch up on some of Marvel’s greatest cosmic stories! Other credits include- Mike Esposito (inks- Iron Man #55), John Costanza (letters- Iron Man #55 & Capt. Marvel #26), Chic Stone (inks- Capt. Marvel #25), John Duffy (letters- Capt. Marvel #25), Dave Cockrum (inks- Capt. Marvel #26), and Roy Thomas (editor)!
I just started to grab some of these X-Men reprints, and wow, are they something! I love the X-Men, and wanted to find a way to get my hands on some of their older material without breaking the bank, and this title was just the way to go. Typically, with reprint titles, Marvel stays pretty close on the cover artwork to the original work. For some reason they really went in the opposite direction with some of these books. Not that I’m complaining mind you, because I’m a big fan of the work of Mike Mignola and P. Craig Russell. He really stands out with his style, but also “gets it”, when it comes to being faithful to the source material. Check out the awesome work by Chris Claremont, Dave Cockrum, Bob Wiacek, Tom Orzechowski, Glynis Wein (Oliver), and Louise Jones (Simonson)!
In this issue we see the first meeting (via flashback) between Xavier and Magneto from way back in the day! Also, we see the Brood, Gabrielle Haller, Cyclops and Storm having a power struggle, albeit a brief one, and then a battle with Xavier and Magneto on one side, and Baron Strucker and Hydra on the other!
There are lots of names that pop into my head when I think of this title, but the first arc (4 issues), definitely stands out in my head. Why? Chris Claremont and Dave Cockrum, that’s why! Just look at this awesome cover, and the interior art is just as incredible. The story by Claremont is also one for the ages, but don’t take my word for it, get out there and either buy the single issues or the trade paperback! The X-Men, Spider-Man, Ka-Zar, and Sauron, all fighting it out in the Savage Land! Enjoy!