It has been too long since the Man-Thing was spotlighted on this blog! Not to mention the awesome title Marvel Team-Up and Spidey! Of course the overwhelming majority of issues featured the web-slinger (some had the Human Torch), and he was the franchise at that point without a doubt. The creatives behind this one, were names that are synonymous with Bronze Age comics, but specifically the X-Men, and the greatest run that title has ever known (let’s be honest, will ever know).
But back to Manny and Spidey- in this issue, we see these two heroes that couldn’t be more different, working together to achieve a greater good. These two must put an end to the fearful villain known as D’Spayre, and to vanquish him, is to conquer your own fears. This is obviously a very challenging thing to do for anyone, even a superhero. We know that Man-Thing can sense and exploit fear, but what happens when he must face an adversary that can instill fear in his opponent? And we all know Spidey has doubts and fears even without any prodding, so an easy fight this will not be!
Now, onto this great creative team! We all know Chris Claremont (writer) is “Mr. X-Men” and rightfully so, as he crafted so many of the personalities we love(d) for a very long time. He also created a few new characters that have stood the test of time. His frequent collaborator, was John Byrne (pencils, cover and interiors). His pencils and creativity helped the duo raise the bar for all the titles at Marvel, but specifically the X-Men. But, don’t sleep on this material, because both men were at the top of their game on this run of Marvel Team-Up as well! Inks by Bob Wiacek (cover inks by Josef Rubinstein), colors by Phil Rachelson, letters by Bruce Patterson, and edited by Archie Goodwin!
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)
Every good comic book has several elements in it. A solid story is the first thing, and a great art team is a big boost, but you absolutely must have at least one comedic moment within the pages. When Spider-Man is involved, the writer has plenty of opportunities to make this happen. Throw in Power Man and Iron Fist, Daredevil, and Moon Knight, and the story has now the chances of being not only humorous, but also have pathos, and of course, altruism. Now, take all of those heroes, and add the nefarious Purple Man and the Kingpin of crime! Having these characters in the same book is all but a guarantee it will be good (it helps that the book is from a great era of comic books as well).
The name Frank Miller means different things to different people. Some immediately think of Daredevil (count me as one of them), some of The Dark Knight Returns. He’s done so much to transform the industry, I don’t think we’ll ever be able to appreciate fully the impact for years to come. He wrote this hilarious story (which shows he can do more than just gritty), and also penciled the cover, along with Josef Rubinstein on inks! The interior art is by the team of Herb Trimpe (pencils) and Mike Esposito (inks). This was a very good team that is very rarely talked about, and that is a bit of a travesty. We see Diana Albers letters, and George Roussos on colors, as was the case with many books from this era (which gave an immense amount of consistency). Editing was none other than Tom Defalco (check out his work with Ron Frenz on Thor)!
I love team books, if not for just the different characters, then just because you get more “hero” bang for your buck! But if I had to choose between Marvel Team-UP and Marvel Two-in-One, I’d take the latter. 2-in-1 was just more quirky, or off-beat, if you will. I do however love Dr. Strange, and no matter what title he appears in, I’m going to buy it! In this two-parter, the Doc is somehow turned into a werewolf, and runs amok in NYC. It’s up to Clea, Spider-Man, and Satana to stop him! Throw in a guest appearance by Marie Laveau, and the ever faithful Wong, and you get an issue packed with excitement!
Although Chris Claremont isn’t really known for his work with the macabre, but if you dig, you’ll see he wrote a few different stories in the genre. He does a fine job in this story, showing the great concern Clea has for her mentor/lover! In the art department, we have guest penciler, Mike Vosburg, and he does an outstanding job! Assisting with the art (inks) are Gene Day (#80) and Steve Leialoha (#81)! Both men are solid inkers and have a nice resumé! Letters and colors are both recognizable names as well (colors for #80 are Petra Goldberg, and letters by Denise Wohl– colors in #81 are by Ben Sean, and letters by Rick Parker). Both issues have great covers, and Rich Buckler and Bob McLeod gave us the first one, then followed by Al Milgrom and Steve Leialoha on the second!
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!
October is here, and the Halloween season is upon us all, so what better way to celebrate than with horror themed comic books! The first one I’m going to spotlight is an appearance of the Frankenstein Monster in Marvel Team-Up #36 & 37! The second issue actually gives us a Man-Wolf appearance as well, so you get double the monster fun! You get some good cop/bad cop from the monster, and that’s always cool, because the monster maybe be considered a villain by most, but honestly, he’s just misunderstood most of the time.
With the same core team creating both books, you get a consistency that really gives the book a strong foundation. Story by Gerry Conway, pencils by Sal Buscema, and inks by Vince Colletta, are the team for both parts of this two issue scare-fest! You also get two covers from Ed Hannigan (pencils) (Mike Esposito inks on #36, John Romita on #37), and both show some awesome action between Spidey and these two perennial horror icons! Keep your eyes open all month-long for comic books featuring iconic horror characters!
You can try to contain him, but you cannot even hope to stop the Tatterdemalion! Sorry for giving away the villain…as if the cover already didn’t! There were many goofy or one-off villains from the Silver and Bronze Ages, but there’s no doubt that one of my favorites is this guy! Created by the artistic genius of Tom Sutton (RIP), and Gerry Conway, this quirky character didn’t make many appearances, but when he did, it was hilarious! You cannot help but laugh, when a character’s profile page has statements like this in it…”He is an expert tap dancer, and a highly proficient bottle-cap collector” or my favorite…”He wears a long scarf, which is tipped with lead weights, as a weapon” or the coup de grâce…”Due to his lack of proper hygiene habits, the Tatterdemalion emits a harsh offensive odor at all times.” Folks, when you have abilities/powers like that, everyone fears you.
The story was written by Steven Grant, and although I don’t own many stories written by him, I do know that he’s a capable writer that also wrote some good Avengers stories back in the 1970’s/80’s. The pencils are by the exceptional Tom Sutton and the late, great Carmine Infantino, and I love Sutton’s pencils on Dr. Strange from the Bronze Age, as well as his inks on many other books. Speaking of inks, the incomparable Jim Mooney (RIP), inked this issue, and you get the consistency he always brought to the game! Colors by Ben Sean, letters by Rick Parker, and edited by Denny O’Neil! The awesome cover is by Don Perlin and Al Milgrom! Spider-Man, Werewolf by Night, “Cat’s Jazz Club”, and the Tatterdemalion…what else could be asked for in a comic book?
During the 1970’s, Marvel was bursting at the seams with creative talent. The wide array of creator ideas, titles, and characters, pushed them far above DC in the opinion of many a comic book aficionado. They leaped forward due to the fact that their characters were much more unique, the settings were in the real world, and the creative teams were newer, younger, and had fresh ideas. Just one example of all that was Marvel Team-Up.
This title was basically a book for Spider-Man to gain even more presence in the Marvel Universe, and spotlight some more minor characters as well. Whether they were heroes or villains, the book always had a different perspective that helped the characters leap off of the pages and into the reader’s minds.
This team up with Spidey and the Human Torch is no different. We see the two heroes battle alone and then together, with the threat of a multitude of villains ranging from Montana, to the Big Man, to the Sandman! Story by Bill Mantlo, art by Sal Buscema and Mike Esposito (cover by John Romita Sr.), colors by Don Warfield, letters by Karen Mantlo, and edited by Marv Wolfman! Enjoy!
In this, the last installment of my John Byrne tribute, we’ll see some of his spectacular work on Captain America (with collaborator Roger Stern), his brilliant X-Men (with partner Chris Claremont) work, and a couple of nuggets from the mid-1970’s, in Marvel Team-Up! Whether it was Josef Rubinstein or Terry Austin on inks, you cannot deny the power of Byrne’s pencils. He really knew how to grab the readers eyes, and have them glued to the panels! So, get ready and strap on your seat-belt, because we’re getting cosmic and crazy with this post! Enjoy!
This is one post I’ve been looking forward to for a while now, and it’s about time I got around to spotlighting one of the creators that has always had me glued to the panels of comic books! His name is ‘Dandy’ Don Perlin, and I’ve never met him in person, but I have had contact with him on social media, and he’s nothing short of a gentleman! He has some of the most unique pencils I’ve ever seen (I can easily spot his Werewolf by Night!), and some very eerie stuff as well from early in his career (as you’ll see in the first set of images below). This artist has been a contributor in the comic book industry for over forty years! His place in the comic book community cannot be denied, and co-creating Moon Knight, is certainly proof of that fact!
Oh, and just a quick side note -Don Perlin is responsible for the best comic page in history, just to set the record straight (5th image down from the top). Whether it was Joe Sinnott, Pablo Marcos, or Vince Colletta inking, the consistency of his artwork is on a solid level! So, here’s to you, Don Perlin, thanks for your tireless efforts to the comic book industry over the decades!