Thor Annual 6, 1977 “Thunder in the 31st Century!”

It took me quite a while to obtain this annual, and with the soaring prices of certain back issues, it was no small feat. Especially with the Guardians of the Galaxy craze following the release of the films. Most of this issue has nothing to do with the films of the MCU, but there is one scene that was an obvious steal from the book (I’ll include the page below).

This era for Thor doesn’t get mentioned very often (especially if you exclude me) and it’s a tragedy. The creators that worked on this title in the Bronze Age were great. Sometimes the stories were a little one-note, but sometimes they were epic in scope and took your imagination to new places. It’s widely known that the John Byrne zealots will attack if you don’t revere his FF run, but the Bronze Age is very comparable if you read it thoroughly. Tons of the Asgardian mythos, stand-alone stories, adventures with the Avengers, space travel, etc., you get it all.

This annual is very interesting as it shows Thor getting transported to the future (via an explosion at some nuclear facility…). He ends up drifting through space, and becomes like a frozen rock. He’s then picked up by a band of misfits that call themselves the Guardians of the Galaxy! Small talk ensues, then, they must face Korvac and his Minions of Menace!

The creative team on this one reads like an all-star team from comic books! Co-plotter/Editor Len Wein, co-plotter/scripter Roger Stern, Sal Buscema and Klaus Janson art, Glynis Wein colors, and Joe Rosen letters.

 

 

 

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Marvel Team-Up 12, 1973 “Wolf at Bay!”

IS there a video montage out there with Werewolf by Night panels while Warren Zevon’s “Werewolves of London” is playing? If not, could someone get on that asap please? Alright, so October is one of my favorite times of year, simply because it reinvigorates my love of horror comics and gives me renewed energy to blog about them. One of the best from the Bronze Age is most definitely Werewolf by Night. Most of that is thanks to Doug Moench and Don Perlin, but there is also Mike Ploog and a few others that did the hairy side of Jack Russell justice over time.

In this fantastic issue, we see Werewolf by Night and Spider-Man in San Francisco, as the two super-powered characters go at it! Jack is under the sway of Moondark (his first appearance), and maybe with Spidey’s help, he can shake it! Hopefully they can accomplish this before the Werewolf tears Spidey into ribbons!

The credits for this issue are a who’s who from the Bronze Age! Scripted by Len Wein, plot by Gerry Conway, pencils by Ross Andru, inks by Don Perlin, colors by Glynis Wein, letters by Charlotte Jetter, and cover by Gil Kane (pencils) and John Romita (inks)!

 

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Daredevil 124, 1975 “In The Coils of The Copperhead!”

Back again, and this time I have another shot of Daredevil for you! The silly villain this time around is called “Copperhead.” It seems that Daredevil has competition out there in the form of a person imitating a character from a pulp book from the 1930s. This man has no regard for life (sort of like the Punisher), and lays down judgement on wrongdoers all over the city. It’s up to Mr. Murdoch to try to stop this renegade, if he can! Copperhead is no joke…OK, he is but he does have poison tipped darts that he shoots out of his gun, and a diamond hard mask to protect his identity! Plus, we get some political drama with Foggy as well in this issue!

I’m not quite sure why, but the issue is written by Len Wein and Marv Wolfman (he was the steady writer around this time, and Wein the editor). No matter though, as both guys gives us the straight forward dialogue you came to expect from this title in the Bronze Age. The artistic team is one that I’m torn over. Gene Colan (pencils) is without a doubt my favorite penciler of all time. He’s so uniquely talented, you’ve got to love the guy’s work. The inks are provided by Klaus Janson. His work with Frank Miller on Daredevil in the 1980s is fantastic, as is his solo work. He just doesn’t seem like the best match for Colan’s pencils. The colors are provided by Michele Wolfman, and the letters by Joe Rosen. We also get a great cover by the team of Gil Kane (pencils) and Frank Giacoia (inks)!

 

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Tales of the Zombie 6, 1974 “Child of Darkness!”

The Marvel black and white magazines from the Bronze Age are nothing short or astonishing. The painted covers, great creators, and over-sized goodness are just a few reasons why I’ve decided to make a concerted effort to grab more every time I hit a convention. One of the books at the top of my list, is Tales of the Zombie. This particular issue only has two stories (most had more), but they’re great ones! The first is a Simon Garth tale, and as you can imagine, it involves something eerie. A prominent couple that leaves all their wealth behind to move into a voodoo infested swamp! The second tale involves Brother Voodoo! Yes, Jericho Drumm himself, as he battles The Black Talon!

As far as creative teams go, this book is tough to beat. The Zombie story has Steve Gerber (writer), and Pablo Marcos (art)! Both men made their names in the 1970’s, and their work still resonates to this day. The second story is brought to us by Len Wein (plot), Doug Moench (script), and the art team of Gene Colan (pencils) and Frank Chiaramonte (inks). The fabulous cover is by the late Earl Norem. He did a few of these great covers for Marvel’s magazines, and really seems to have been an unsung hero of the industry.

 

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The Incredible Hulk 197, 1976 “…And Man-Thing Makes Three!”

Since October is now upon us, my blog will feature nothing but horror comics. Although it does feature this genre often, I couldn’t wait for this month to come because I love horror comics! Honestly, I love comics period, but even when a horror character makes an appearance in a superhero book I love it! This is the case with this book, as the Incredible Hulk must fight not one but two horror characters that actually prove that not only can the Hulk be beaten, but knocked completely unconscious! And you know when the Collector is involved, things will get cosmic!

I usually don’t start talking about the creative team by mentioning the cover. Not because I’m a heel or anything, but typically, an issue overall offers more from the inside. There’s no way possible for me to not start with “Bashful” Bernie Wrightson (cover art). He didn’t do that much work for Marvel Comics, but, wow, this one is amazing! When you open this book, you’ll quickly learn why I love the writing of “Lively” Len Wein. No matter who the characters, or the setting, scenario, etc., the guy delivers a solid story/script. When you also then get an interior art team like “Our Pal” Sal Buscema (pencils) and Joe Staton (inks), it’s quite a treat. Glynis Wein (colors) and John Costanza (letters) add their talents to this great book, that was edited by “Marvelous” Marv Wolfman!

 

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Worlds Unknown 7 and 8, 1974 “The Golden Voyage of Sinbad”

Being a huge fan of Ray Harryhausen, I’m always delighted to see a comic book that was influenced by work of his. Well, there were at least books I know of that were straight up adaptations of his stop-motion work. One is Marvel Spotlight 25, and the other two are Worlds Unknown 7 & 8! Both of these comics showcase a film “The Golden Voyage of Sinbad,” condensed, of course. We see Sinbad and his crew battle mythical monsters, evil sorcerers, and the like!

Len Wein (writer) is a guy who’s probably most known for being a part of resurrecting the X-Men franchise, and rightly so, but if you look at the entire body of work, he deserves much more credit. It doesn’t take a writing wizard to adapt a movie into a comic book, Ill give you that, but seeing his name in the credits of any book puts my mind at ease. The art team of George Tuska (interior pencils and cover pencils to issue 7) and Vince Colletta (inks- interiors and covers) is one that some might malign. I understand when people complain about Colletta rushing jobs and putting out substandard work. He has done some good work though, and I think issues like these two prove it. Glynis Wein (colors) and John Costanza (letters) both were always very solid and deserve kudos. On issue number eight, we get a cover by one of the masters of the comic book industry, Gil Kane!

 

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Thor 253, 1976 “Chaos in the Kingdom of the Trolls!”

Some of my favorite comics are those of Thor, volume one. Especially the issues in the mid-200s. I really enjoy the way each story seems self-contained but also connecting to the previous and following issues in a way that wasn’t inconvenient. In this second part of a three-part story, Tor must team-up with his sworn enemy, Ulik the Troll. These two absolutely hate one another, but they must work together to defeat a dragon and then a giant! By story’s end though, Ulik and his minions are laughing at the Prince of Asgard!

I’m a big fan of “Lively” Len Wein (writer/editor). From his work as an editor (Watchmen, New Teen Titans), and vision in reviving the X-Men franchise (along with Dave Cockrum), he really should be recognized a lot more than anyone seems to give him credit. Artist “Big” John Buscema (pencils), is a master that let us too soon. His work on books like Conan, The Avengers, and Silver Surfer are the stuff of legend. Of course, as with most artists, some inkers suited his style better than others, but honestly, his pencils were strong enough that they typically would show right through. One of the inkers that did suite him quite well, was Tony DeZuniga (Jonah Hex, Black Orchid). He’s another one of those guys that rarely gets enough airtime, as an inker or penciler, and that is a travesty. Colors were by the ever-present Marie Severin. She’s someone who should definitely be on your radar simply because not only was she a great artist, but also because she was one of the few women in comics since back in the Silver Age. Letters were by Condoy (?). The cover was by Jack “King” Kirby, and even though there appears to have been some alterations, you can still see the weight that Kirby’s pencils carry.

 

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The Incredible Hulk Annual #6, 1977 “Beware The Beehive!”

This recent grab was…grabbed mostly for one reason- the appearance of Dr. Strange! Not that I don’t like the Hulk, I do, just more so in the pages of books like The Defenders, and The Avengers. I also love the “Beehive” and their insidious plots! In their second attempt at creating a god-like being, they unleash an even more powerful creature that initially tries to kill Dr. Strange! The old Doc has a difficult time with the man-made entity, but the Jade Giant is on his way to smash!

With a plot by editor, Len Wein, David Anthony Kraft (writer) gives us a story that is fairly simplistic but also solid in its delivery. No frills, just a slight mystery followed by straight up action! The art work by Herb Trimpe (pencils, the interiors and cover), Frank Giacoia (inks) and Mike Esposito (inks), give the reader a less rigid look than you typically get from Trimpe pencils (he usually has a more block-style, a la Kirby), and the inkers get credit for that, no doubt about it. Colors by Janice Cohen, and letters by Gaspar, round out the team!

 

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The Defenders #15 and 16, 1974 “Panic Beneath the Earth”

There are just a few series that really stand the test of time. You have perennial favorites like The Avengers, X-Men, and so on, but for me The Defenders is right there at the top. The book started out with the outstanding writer, Steve Englehart at the helm, but after eleven issues, he stepped aside. We all know that the greatest stories in this book were from the mind of Steve Gerber (RIP), but sandwiched in-between, are a few issues from Marvel staple, Len Wein. Marvel had a problem back in the 1970’s, of how to de-age their older characters. They found a way to do it to Professor Xavier, but Magneto was also one of those aged characters that needed to be brought back to his younger days. This story was the solution, and while it may be wacky, it was a throw-down between two awesome teams!

The two issues pit Professor Xavier and The Defenders against magneto and his Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. This isn’t just some wishy-washy group of villains either, because when you have Unus the Untouchable, and the Blob on the same team, you’ve got the muscle to do just about anything. Throw in Mastermind and Lorelei (from the Savage Land), and the team is extremely formidable with Magneto leading them! Len Wein – writer, Sal Buscema – pencils (Gil Kane did the cover to #16, Sal #15), Klaus Janson – inks, Glynis Wein – colorist, John Costanza – letters, and Roy Thomas – editor! Don’t blink, or else you’ll miss baby Magneto at the end of the story!

 

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Marvel Team-Up #19, 1973 “The Coming of Stegron The Dinosaur Man!”

You know, I don’t remember being a huge dinosaur enthusiast as a youth, but my son definitely is/was. He knows more facts about them than I’ll ever know or understand, and his love and knowledge of dinosaurs is something that not only fascinates me, but is utterly endearing as well. In this especially awesome issue of MTU (Marvel Team-Up #19), Spidey must journey to the Savage Land, and of course almost immediately meets up with the Lord of the Hidden Jungle, Ka-Zar! The trip ends up being a bit more complicated than Spidey wanted (of course, that Parker luck!), and we are introduced to a new villain, Stegron the Dinosaur Man!

A story that has two parts (continuing in the next ish of MTU), was brought to us by Marvel super-scribe, “Lively” Len Wein! Everyone that is a fan of Marvel Comics in the Bronze Age knows of Len’s legendary contributions, and they would continue for a long time after that as well. If you’re going to have a story like this one, you need top-notch talent on the artwork, for sure. One of the all-time masters, Gil “Sugar” Kane penciled this one, and the inks of “Fearless” Frank Giacoia match up perfectly with Kane’s work. Not to be left out, are colorist Glynis Wein, and letter Dave Hunt! Sprinkle in the editorial wits of “Rascally” Roy Thomas, and you have a Bronze Age classic! Enjoy!

 

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