Saturday, 23 June 2018

Marvel Years 03.08 - August 1963

One of my readers has complained that I've omitted the name of the inker in the list of comics in my Marvel Years posts to date. This was a deliberate omission, because I consider the person who draws the lines more important than the person who paints over the lines with ink or fills in the colours. Some artists, such as Steve Ditko and Dick Ayers, always inked their own drawings. Jack Kirby almost never did his own inking. It was usual for Marvel comics to name the inker and the letterer, but I don't want to give the full credits here in my blog. The writer and the artist are all that most people are interested in. If you want the full details, refer to the Marvel Database.

Fantastic Four #17

Title: Defeated by Doctor Doom

Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Jack Kirby

Villain: Doctor Doom

Regulars: Alicia Masters

Guests: Ant-Man

First, I'd like to point out an innovation in this story. It begins immediately after the end of Fantastic Four #16 with Ant-Man leaving the Baxter Building. This makes it the closest to a continuing story that Marvel has published so far.

There are a few details in this issue that show that Stan Lee intended his stories to take place in our world, i.e. the real world, not in a fictional Marvel Universe or Earth-616.

After Ant-Man departs the Thing reads an Ant-Man comic to find out more about him.

America's president is John F. Kennedy. His face isn't revealed, maybe out of respect, but he's still recognisable. He refers to his daughter Caroline.

The Russian leader is Nikita Khrushchev, but his face is shown clearly, probably because he didn't deserve any respect in the eyes of Jack Kirby. He isn't named, except as Comrade K.

Here's yet another power developed by the Human Torch. Stan is getting carried away. Before now we saw him creating duplicates of himself as flaming images. Now he says he can paint exact pictures of anyone or anything with his flames. That sounds highly infeasible.

Susan Storm claims that Reed Richards is one of the world's greatest experts in Judo. If that's really true he doesn't need his stretching powers to defeat most opponents. It's possible that Susan just had an exaggerated opinion of him because she loved him.

This comic once more shows Reed Richards turning Ben Grimm back to his human self, but this time he deliberately takes advantage of the cure only being temporary. He does it to get him past Doctor Doom's sensors without being recognised as the Thing.

In case you're interested, Dick Ayers was the inker for this comic. For all the other comics the artists (Don Heck, Joe Sinnott, Dick Ayers and Steve Ditko) did their own inking.

Tales to Astonish #46

Title: When Cyclops walks the Earth

Writer: Stan Lee, Ernie Hart
Artist: Don Heck

Villain: Aliens from A-Chiltar III

Ant-Man and the Wasp take a vacation in Greece. There they encounter a giant robot from another planet disguised as Cyclops, the creature from Greek myths.

This issue also contains two short anthology stories.

Journey into Mystery #95

Title: The Demon Duplicators

Writer: Stan Lee, Robert Bernstein
Artist: Joe Sinnott

Regulars: Jane Foster, Odin, Heimdall

Villain: Professor Zaxton

Professor Zaxton is a scientist who has invented a duplicating ray. He creates an evil copy of Thor.

This issue also contains three short anthology stories.

Tales of Suspense #44

Title: The Mad Pharaoh

Writer: Stan Lee, Robert Bernstein
Artist: Don Heck

Villain: Pharaoh Hatap

A pharaoh awakes who has been in a deep sleep for 2000 years. Using a magical artefact he travels back in time to conquer Egypt, taking Tony Stark with him as a scientific adviser. Tony changes into Iron Man and defeats him.

This issue also contains two short anthology stories.

Strange Tales #111

Title: Fighting to the Death with the Asbestos Man

Writer: Stan Lee, Ernie Hart
Artist: Dick Ayers

Villains: Asbestos Man

Regulars: Susan Storm, Reed Richards, Ben Grimm

Asbestos Man is a flashy name for a villain who only appeared once. He's impervious to flames, but he could be defeated by indirect attacks, such as melting the floor beneath his feet.

Title: Face-to-face with the Magic of Baron Mordo

Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Steve Ditko

Villain: Baron Mordo

Regulars: Ancient One (unnamed)

This is the second story about Doctor Strange, still in a five page anthology format. The Ancient One is once more only referred to as the Master.

This issue contains a further short anthology story.

Other comics published this month:

Modeling with Millie #24 (Stan Lee, Stan Goldberg)
Patsy Walker #108 (Stan Lee, Al Hartley)
Patsy and Hedy #89 (Stan Lee, Al Hartley)
Kathy #24 (Stan Lee, Stan Goldberg)
Rawhide Kid #35 (Stan Lee, Jack Davis)

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