Spectacular Spider-Man 7 and 8, 1977 “Menace is the Man Called Morbius!”

Two enemies, that have seemingly forever been locked in combat. One, a science geek barely out of high school, that was endowed with spider-like powers due to the bite of a radioactive spider. The other is a scientist that was a victim of his own experiments, and through them turned into a vampire like creature that feeds on human blood. Spider-Man and Morbius. Both men with their own problems, and no solutions other than to do what they must. In these two issues, you get to see a fierce battle between these two, but also some interesting moments with MJ and Aunt May.

I’m not a big fan of the surprise “villain” or the deus ex machina in this one. That being said, I am a big fan of Archie Goodwin (writer/editor), and all the work he’s done over the decades. Whether it was his work for Warren Publishing, DC, or Marvel, he was always a reliable scripter. Next we have penciler Sal Buscema. Most people probably think of his run on Spectacular Spider-Man (with J.M. DeMatteis, and rightly so), but definitely seek out his work on The Defenders. His style fit that strange book perfectly. Inkers Jim Mooney (7), and Mike Esposito (8), are both a good fit for Sal’s pencils as neither takes away from them but adds their own touch. Letters on both issues were by John Costanza, and colors by Don Warfield (7) and Marie Severin (8), all add their usual talents to the books. The covers are both very good, as number seven has Dave Cockrum and Al Milgrom show the absolute ferocity of Morbius. The next issue has a young artist you should recognize in Paul Gulacy. He’s mostly heralded for his Master of Kung Fu work.

 

Fear 20, 1973 “Morbius the Living Vampire!”

The title “Fear,” was one that started out as a reprint vehicle for the giant monsters of the Atlas Age Comics. These stories featured work from some giants of the industry- Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Russ Heath, Gene Colan, and more. The book eventually morphed into one that contained all new material, starting with issue ten, and the Man-Thing, the book took a turn. We now saw new material, and material with an edge that had previously been unseen in the title (and most mainstream comics). In this story, Morbius is in the midst of a blood-lust, and attacks a woman. He then recounts his last few adventures (against the X-Men and a solo story), then meets two holy men. He seems to be calmed by their presence, but we soon find out why, and that one of these two men is not quite what he seems!

He doesn’t get much credit, but Mike Friedrich (writer) has made a few very nice contributions to the comic book industry over the years, and deserves a high-five for them!  I’m not sure, but this has to be one of the first works of Paul Gulacy (pencils) in the biz. He’s one of those guys that’s done a wide variety of work on both sides of the street. Jack Abel (inks) is a name I know from his contributions on Tomb of Dracula. He was active in the 1950’s and didn’t let up until the 1990’s. Marvel staples Tom Orzechowski (letters) and George Roussos (colors) are two more reasons that most of what Marvel published during the Bronze Age was incredibly consistent (plus Roy Thomas – editor). King of the covers, Gil Kane (pencils), and his oft collaborator, Frank Giacoia (inks), bring this fabulous cover to life!

 

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