Marvel Fanfare 20 and 21, 1985 “The Clash!”

For anyone that’s not aware, Marvel Fanfare is an incredibly awesome title. A sixty issue run that included a plethora of legendary creators, plus some up-and-comers as well. The stories varied from the macabre to straight up superhero tales, then sprinkle in some holiday themed narrative , and even the bizarre. There are certain names that in the comic book industry that are synonymous with the term bizarre (in a good way), and one of them for sure is Jim Starlin (story and pencils). In these two issues, he’s partnered with his oft time collaborator, Allen Milgrom (inks and some pencils/finishes).

The two-part story features Dr. Strange being accosted by his long time nemesis, Xandu! This powerful mage also has a multitude of minions in this story to help him carry out his devious doings. The good ol’ Doc reaches out to summon help in the form of the ever-lovin’ blue-eyed Thing! The Doc is in a bad way, and only Ben Grimm and his power and bravery can help. The second part (issue 21), finds Dr. Strange trying to fight Xandu and referee a fight between The Thing and his long time antagonist The Hulk!

This story is one that features really cool artwork from Gemini (“Jim and I”, I being Al Milgrom,). All the characters look great, and these two creators work very well together. There are also some fantastic pin-ups in the back of issue twenty, most by Charles Vess, with a few by Carl Potts! Don’t sleep on this series, pick up the issues when possible!

 

Marvel Team-Up 104, 1981 “Modok Must Triumph!”

Another “wacky villain” post here, and this guy probably isn’t considered wacky by most, but only because he’s a little more mainstream than the others I’ve typically spotlighted in my blog. Just on appearance alone though, you’ve got to admit that M.O.D.O.K. is weird. Now, throw in the Hulk Ka-Zar, and a boat-load of Dinosaurs, and you’ve got magic! You even get to see Ka-Zar take down a T-Rex*!

With all that’s going on in this book, it’s kind of a “can’t miss” for me personally. The Savage Land is a great setting for a comic book story, and Roger McKenzie (writer) delivers a good one. He completely understands how to articulate the way the Hulk and Ka-Zar communicate, fight, etc. Ka-Zar referring to the Dinosaurs as “thunder lizards” and the Hulk calling MODOK “big head,” are just two examples. Although Jerry Bingham (pencils) isn’t a well recognized name, he does a fine job in this book, and especially with MODOK. Mike Esposito (inks) is a Marvel stalwart from the Silver and Bronze Ages, as he kept books looking consistent and clean. Diana Albers (letters) and Christie Scheele (colors), round out the creative team on the interiors! The cover is by none other than Mr. Al Milgrom, and his rendition of the dinosaurs is awesome (edited by Denny O’Neil)!

(*note from the editor: no dinosaurs were hurt during the making of this comic book)

 

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The Defenders #34, 1976. “He’s Back! Nebulon, The Celestial Man”

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Being a huge fan of Dr. Strange, this title is obviously on my radar. The issues written by the eccentric Steve Gerber, were crazy, but so good. In this particular issue, a powerful enemy, Nebulon, has returned, and it’s up to the Doc, Hulk, and Valkyrie to take him down! Written by Steve Gerber, art by Sal Buscema & Jim Mooney, and letters by Irv Watanabe, and colors by Irene Vartanoff! And what an awesome cover by Rich Buckler & Dan Adkins! Enjoy!

Marvel Super Heroes #55, 1976. “Where Walk The Immortals”

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Today’s cover is one that initially appeared back in 1968 (Tales to Astonish #101), but in this reprint, it was in the mid 70’s. Story by Stan Lee, and pencils by Marie Severin! The inks by Frank Giacoia, and letters by Artie Simek. One story features the Hulk, as he travels across Bifrost (the rainbow bridge to Asgard), tossing Heimdall off in the process! The second tale about Prince Namor of Atlantis, was brought to us by Archie Goodwin, Gene Colan, and Dan Adkins! Imperious Rex! Cover by Jack ‘King’ Kirby! Enjoy!