In the July 1974 issue of Creatures on the Loose, we saw a switch from the Sword and Sandal genre, starring “Thongor, Warrior of Lost Lemuria” to the horror genre starring the Man-Wolf! After the death of Gwen Stacey (and Norman Osborn), John Jameson was brought back into the Spider-realm. Marvel put him in Marvel Premiere as well for a short story-line, but once the horror craze finally died off, so did Wolfy’s career for quite some time. In these issues, we see him battling Simon Stroud, the police, Kraven the Hunter, and his own father, J. Jonah Jameson! Covers by Gil Kane, John Romita, and Rich Buckler (inks by Klaus Janson), respectively.
Right smack in the middle of the horror explosion of the 1970’s, Marvel began to more regularly put its macabre characters into the mainstream superhero books as well. Of course, there are good points and bad points about saturating books with certain characters, but I’ve always come down on the side of enjoying it. Honestly, how can you not like a book that pits Spidey against Man-Wolf and Morbius? You don’t get much of the classic conflict with Morbius in this issue (his original problem of not wanting to be a monster, you know a tortured soul type). We do however get that with John Jameson, as he’s been recovering from his bout with Spidey and his inner conflict.
At this point, Gerry Conway (writer) was firing on all cylinders. Whether it was Spidey or any other book, he was consistently churning out good scripts for Marvel and DC comics during the Bronze Age. There aren’t many art teams that can supersede Gil Kane (pencils) and Mike Esposito (inks). These two creators worked great together, and you can really see their willingness to put forth their very best efforts. John Costanza (letters), Linda Lessmann (colors), and Roy Thomas (editor) round out the creative team (John Romita inking the Gil Kane pencils on the cover)!
I wanted to get back to some classics from the Marvel titles Marvel Two-In-One and Marvel Team-Up, but I couldn’t stop looking at this issue of Marvel Tales. Early issues of Spidey are at a premium, so this reprint title is still pretty affordable, so grab them while you can! As I write this, I’m preparing for my trip to the Baltimore Comic Con this weekend (September 5-7). The list of creators is staggering, and I don’t know how I’ll be able to get to see all of them on Saturday. But, while there, I’m definitely going to search out more of those two other Marvel titles I mentioned, but also more issues of Marvel Tales!
Just look at the fine work by Gil Kane, John Romita Sr., Tony Mortellaro, and company! Great story by Gerry Conway as usual, too. The relationship and wild interaction between Spidey and Jameson is always funny, but throw in the Man-Wolf, and things crazy! Enjoy!