Marvel Triple Action 17, 1974 (originally Avengers 23, 1965) “Once an Avenger…”

 

Things have been quiet here at Magazines and Monsters, especially on the podcasting front. Well, there is one big reason and I shall reveal it now! I was asked recently to participate in the Super Blog Team-Up event! Some of you may know of this event, and some not, so I shall attempt to educate you on the matter. Simply put, it’s a quarterly event where bloggers (and podcasters) get together to share each other’s love of comics, through blogging about a certain subject (or story line), and share said content throughout the online community. An exercise in building up a community, and as we all know this is needed on social media. On Twitter, you can follow along by searching the hashtag #SBTU or #SuperBlogTeamUp. And these are some of the most interesting and fun blogs you can find anywhere! And needless to say, I feel honored to be among these fine people (links at the bottom to the other blogs/podcasts).

 

Now, on to the main event! The subject this time around is Immortal! For me, being a long time Marvel zealot, there is one character that pops into my brain right away when I hear that word. His name is Kang…or Immortus…or Rama-Tut if you prefer. But why the three names? Because each represents the same character but at different times in history. Kang first appeared in The Avengers 8, 1964, and announced he was from the far flung future, where he discovers the time travel technology of Dr. Doom, and uses it to travel to ancient Egypt, to rule as Rama-Tut (first appearance was in FF 19, 1963). After ruling there for a spell, he encounters the Fantastic Four (they time traveled into the past to find a cure for Alicia’s blindness :D). The FF defeat him and send him packing. In his time travel vehicle, he encounters Doctor Doom, but the two part ways without any shenanigans. Immortus, who first appeared only two issues after Kang in the pages of The Avengers. He wasn’t more than a schemer with time travel abilities initially, but he is the future version of Kang, that grew weary of battle and was eventually entrusted with being a time keeper of sorts by a “higher power” (Avengers Forever, see below).

The next time we see Kang, is in this story! After the bout with the FF, Kang is back in the future (Avengers 23, 1965), and pining for Ravonna (his love interest, and her first appearance). She’s the daughter of a king, whom Kang defeated in the 40th century. Kang let her father live and stay in power only to try and earn her hand in marriage. She rebuffs him constantly, though, and this infuriates Kang. He sees that Captain America has left the Avengers (in the previous issue), and knows this is the time to strike! He easily captures Hawkeye, Quicksilver, and the Scarlet Witch, and places them in “oversized pickle jars,” to quote Hawkeye. The Scarlet Witch uses her Hex power to bust them out, but this is meaningless to Kang, because he can easily defeat these inexperienced heroes (Wanda and Pietro are very young at this point, and Hawkeye is no match for Kang). Before Kang can unleash the final blow, he’s interrupted by none other than Captain America! With Cap back as their leader, the Avengers manage to stop Kang. But, before he’ll accept defeat, he whisks them all away to his future, where his army awaits to destroy them, and the disobedient king and even his daughter!

There was one more piece of info about this story I’d like to quickly mention. When Cap quits the team, he sees an ad for a sparring partner for a boxing champ. Upon arrival, he’s rebuffed by the champ’s tough guy buddies that are apparently screening the candidates? Cap makes quick work of the meatheads after they not only insult him, but try to assault him thinking he’s a wimp. Hilarious on all levels, with classic Stan Lee banter.

Over the years, Kang hasn’t changed very much, and that’s a good thing. His raison d’être (purpose) is always to either conquer or just simply better himself. This can be by killing someone else, enslaving people, or whatever other nefarious scheme he’s plotting. I’d have to say without much hesitation, that Steve Englehart and his Celestial Madonna story from the 1970s is probably the best Kang I’ve read. The Kurt Busiek and Carlos PachecoAvengers Forever” epic and the Roger Stern, John Buscema and Tom PalmerUnder Siege” tale is awesome as well. Look those up for further readings on the Immortal villain, Kang!

Credits in this issue are as follows: Cover by Jack “King” Kirby (pencils), John Romita (inks) and Sam Rosen (letters), “Smilin” Stan Lee (script), “Dashing” Don Heck (pencils), “Jazzy” John Romita (inks), and Artie Simek (letters)!

 

 

Super Blog Team Up!


https://benjaminherman.wordpress.com/author/benjaminherman/

https://charltonhero.wordpress.com/tag/charlton-hero/

http://davescomicheroes.blogspot.com/

https://comicscomicscomics.blog/

https://www.chrisisoninfiniteearths.com/

https://chrisandreggie.podbean.com/

https://betweenthepagesblog.typepad.com/between-the-pages-blog/

http://blackwhitebronzecomics.blogspot.com/

https://theunspokendecade.com/

https://comicreviewsbywalt.wordpress.com/

http://www.dcinthe80s.com/2019/08/sbtu-immortal-forager-second-life-of-bug.html

Pop Culture Retrorama Podcast Ep. 08 – I Am Legend

TDR 459: Super-Blog Team Up: Immortal!

Tower of Shadows 1, 1969 “At the Stroke of Midnight!”

After searching far and wide for an affordable copy of this book, I found it at a small show for a few bucks. The guy I bought it from actually gave me a deal on multiple books, so the price was definitely right. I already knew some of the contents, and was pumped to read it. When the first story of the book has work by a legendary creator, you know it’s gonna be a good time. Honestly, the entire book is filled with giants of the industry. The cover is by “Jazzy” John Romita!

Right out of the gate, you get “At the Stroke of Midnight.” This one has been reprinted a couple of times, and once you check it out, you can see why. A creepy tale about a haunted castle, brought to us solely by Jim Steranko! He wrote, drew, and colored this amazing story! As usual, Steranko sets a mood immediately, and this is one of his calling cards when creating a comic book. He knew exactly what he wanted to convey to the reader, and executed it flawlessly.

The second tale in this nightmarish book (“From Beyond the Brink!“) is one by a classic horror artist that worked for the best in the biz at the genre. Johnny Craig was a mainstay at E.C. comics during their heyday (pre-Wertham, and the Senate hearings of the 1950s). What’s astonishing is that not only was he the artist, but also the writer of this one. A story that involves a man that attempts to expose mediums for the fakes they are, but a twist ending is chilling!

Lastly, Digger introduces us to “A Time to Die!” This one brought to you by Stan Lee (script) and “Big” John Buscema (art), and involves an old scientist that wants to find an elixir that will allow him to live forever. The scientist has an assistant that also has eyes on the elixir! No matter what the genre, John Buscema always looks like a pro. His skills are unparalleled in the Bronze Age.

 

 

Sub-Mariner 66, 1973 “Rise, Thou Killer Whale!”

Everyone knows there isn’t a more pompous, self-aggrandizing hero than Namor, the Sub-Mariner! It’s part of his charm, apparently. Personally, his exploits on land as an Avenger are much more intriguing to me, but every so often, we get gold in an underwater adventure. As always, the story is lifted up beyond its hero by the proper villain. And Subby doesn’t have a better villain than Orka–The Human Killer Whale! And if he wasn’t enough, throw in Virago as well!

An issue that’s a straight up fight with a villain of the week, for sure, but also an entertaining one. You get Subby with his usual grandstanding, shouting, etc., also a ton of panels featuring Atlantis and it’s inhabitants. Plus, Orka is just a crazy villain (he’s definitely in my top ten), you can’t help but love this issue. There’s also a neat little back-up story (also written by Gerber) “Tales of Atlantis” with an all-star creative cast as well!

Written by Steve “Baby” Gerber, art by “Dashing” Don Heck (pencils) and “Dapper” Don Perlin, colors by Petra Goldberg, letters by Charlotte Jetter, and edited by Roy “The Boy” Thomas! And let us not forget the outstanding cover by Gil “Sugar”  Kane (pencils) and “Mirthful” Mike Esposito (inks, with some slight alterations by John Romita)!

 

Adventure Comics 486, 1981 – Dial “H” for Hero “Hell on Earth”

Without going into extensive details, Adventure Comics has a long history which includes runs of Supergirl, members of the JSA, Superboy and the Legion of Superheroes, The Spectre, and Dial H for Hero! This unlikely team of heroes (the 2nd iteration), fights crime as any good hero does, and sometimes things get a bit crazy, like when Grockk (son of the devil) shows up and decides to take over the Earth! It’s up to Vicki Grant (Puma/Sulphur) and Christopher King (Enlarger Man/Brimstone) to stop him!

These new stories were written by Marv Wolfman (who’s no stranger to the macabre having written the Tomb of Dracula!). Wolfman is one of those writers who can tackle any genre, and he’s proved it over the decades continuously. The art is by none other than Silver Age stalwart, Don Heck (co-created Sunfire, Hawkeye, Black Widow, etc.)! The letters are by John Costanza. The cover is by the always awesome George Pérez!

 

 

The House of Mystery 192, 1971 “Dare You Enter?”

Eight simple words, that’s all it takes to get my blood pumping. Do you dare enter The House of Mystery? An anthology title from DC comics that started in 1951, the book went on for an amazing 321 issues! The stories were all over the place of course, as the times changed (and the comics code), so did the material. Honestly though, it wasn’t until the Bronze Age that the book had some of the best creators on it.

The cover to this book is by none other than Neal Adams (pencils and inks). He proved that no matter the genre, he can produce incredible work. The inside brings three different stories (along with some extras). The first is “The Gardener of Eden” by John Albano (writer) and the exquisite work of Jim Aparo! A doctor learns a new lesson the hard way! “Image of Darkness” brings a tale of terror when a husband and wife are having domestic problems. Written by Robert Kanigher, and art by Gray Morrow! Finally, “Nobody Loves a Lizard!” shows a boy with a pet lizard that has an incredible secret. Writer Virgil North, with art by Don Heck!

 

Spider-Man vs Dracula (Giant-Size Spider-Man 1, 1974)!

Back in the 1990s, there was still a good bit of material being reprinted from decades earlier. Case in point, Marvel Tales ran until 1994 (starting in 1966)! Almost thirty years of reprinted material, and that feat is nothing short of…dare I say spectacular? There were also one-shots, oversized books, etc., including this one from 1993/4. “The Spider and the Bat” recounts the first ever meeting between the 1970s king of monsters, Dracula, and your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man!

The cover for the original book is pretty good (John Romita, cover at the very bottom, borrowed from the interwebs), but the reprint isn’t the greatest. I’m not the biggest Joe Mad fan, (so keep that in mind) but I can’t imagine too many people thinking this is one of his (or anyone else) best. The story is by perennial comic book great, the late Len Wein. The man was seemingly one of the nicest men to ever grace the industry ( I met him once at a NYCC and he was cool), and created some very good content in his day, plus was editor on some of the best works in the industry. For the artistic duties, we have the team of Ross Andru (pencils) and Don Heck (inks). A solid team as far as this book goes for sure, and they tell a great visual story together.  John Kalisz (colors) John Costanza (letters), and Roy Thomas (editor) round out the creative force behind this cool book! There are also two reprints from the Silver Age in the back as well and both are about vampires!

 

Marvel Triple Action 17, 1974 “Once an Avenger”

Let’s face it, villains are much cooler than heroes. Their ability to make us think, to challenge the hero, to explore boundaries, etc., is way beyond that of their counterparts. Take Kang the Conqueror for instance. He’s without a doubt a top-tier villain in any universe, and has proved that since 1964 (Avengers 8). This mag is a reprint of The Avengers 23, 1965, and the fourth appearance of the character in under two years! For any era, that’s pretty good, and shows what kind of staying power Kang would have for years to come!

In this issue, we see Cap leaves the team after some turmoil (he was a bit temperamental back then!), and attempts to take a job as a sparring partner for a boxing champion. That lasts about two seconds, and he returns to the team afterward. Just in time, as the rest of the team has been subdued by Kang! And immediately after taking down Earth’s Mightiest Heroes…Kang attempts to take Ravonna out on a date but her dad says no (panel below). No joke!

This epic tale was brought to you by Dashing Don Heck (pencils), Jazzy John Romita (cover and interior inks), Stan “the man” Lee (writer), Artie Simek (letters), and Jack “King” Kirby (cover pencils)!

 

 

Adventure Into Fear 10, 1972 “Cry Monster”

After getting an incredible deal on this comic, I figured I’d share this gem from the Bronze Age. This book contains the fourth appearance of the muck monster from the Florida Everglades! In this early appearance, Manny is caring for a baby that some animal threw over a bridge! After taking the child to a doctor’s home, he seeks revenge against the heartless man. We also get a quick two page recap of Manny’s origin. Gerry Conway (writer), and the art team of Howard Chaykin and Gray Morrow (cover art by Morrow as well) bring us this gruesome tale!

There are also two awesome back-up stories in this one too! “The Spell of the Sea Witch” (Allyn Brodsky writer, art by Jack Katz and Bill Everett!) is a tale about a crook that commandeers a boat that two young lovers are aboard. They run into some ghost pirates and then things really get crazy! Then we take a trip down to Davey Jones’ Locker, brought to you by Stan Lee and Don Heck!

 

Marvel Collectors Item Classics 6 and 11, 1966/67

The Silver Age is when it all turned around for Marvel comics. The company went from vanilla books starring monsters, western heroes, and cheesy romance characters, to exciting titles like the Fantastic Four, The Incredible Hulk, The Amazing Spider-Man, etc. After just a few short years, Marvel had bona-fide hits on their hands, so they began to issue reprints of these stories (just 4 years after they were first printed!). These books are great, and you get four stories in each one! Classics starring the Fantastic Four, Iron Man (Tales of Suspense), The Incredible Hulk, and Dr. Strange (Strange Tales)! You get the best from Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Don Heck, Stan Lee, and more! Rather than droning on about how great these books are, I’ll just let the images do the talking for me!

 

Defenders: The Coming of The Defenders 1, 2011 “The Return”

After a short break from posting (due to that absurdity called “work”), I’m back with a look at one of my favorite books of all time! Yes, and even though it’s a reprint, it still holds a huge place in my reading trophy case because it shows the formation of my second favorite team, The Defenders! To help pump up readers for the new series that came out that year (2012), Marvel reissued some of the classics that showed what an awesome team The Defenders were! The story shows how Dr. Strange faced an almost impossible situation, and called upon Namor and The Hulk to help him combat it (he actually peered in on the Silver Surfer, but he was knocked unconscious).

From the mind of Roy Thomas (writer), we get the beginnings of a most unusual, but also incredible teams in Marvel comics. Once the tam got their own title, and Steve Gerber began writing, it really went to another level. For now though, Thomas delivered the goods, as he just about always did in his career. The penciling chores were handled by two masters, in Ross Andru and Don Heck (Heck did the backup story in issue 1 of Marvel Feature, showing us the return of Dr. Strange, Andru penciled the rest). As if those two giants weren’t enough, you get inks by Bill Everett, Frank Giacoia, and Sal Buscema! Letters by Sam Rosen and Artie Simek, and edited of course, by Stan Lee (cover by Neal Adams).

 

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