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Some, like The Witching Hour, only got one 100 page giant. Unfortunately the horror titles tended to have really bad reprints in them when they went giant sized. Both Marvel and DC seemed convinced that readers in the 70s wanted to see late 50s science fiction stories. And Marvel kept retelling the same stories, almost as if Stan was saying back around 1960 "Let's see...I already had Kirby and Ditko draw this story, but I haven't had Heck draw it yet so I can reuse it one more time!"

Stories were easier to reprint when they had the original production materials. I'm using this vague expression because I'm not sure exactly what they would have needed. 70s DC reprinted some stuff for which it's unlikely they had that, such as some Quality stories, but that may have shaped what got reprinted to some extent. The Simon and Kirby Blog has an article that discusses how some of the reprints in Black Magic were likely prepared here.  

Does anyone remember what the missing production materials were that had to be redone for the reprint of The Amazing Spider-Man #29 in Marvel Tales #168?  My recollection is there was talk of the "film" still existing for DC Silver Age material when the Archives or Showcases reprinting it began, but my memory might be playing tricks.

Stan said in Fantasy Masterpieces that they couldn't reprint a story from Marvel Comics#1 because of the way that comic had been printed. Since the series did reprint the Torch origin, either they fixed the problem or he was talking about the Namor story in #1.

Roy Thomas's text page in The Saga of the Sub-Mariner #1 says the reprint in The Invaders #20 of the first eight pages of the Sub-Mariner's intro. was from the Motion Picture Funnies Weekly version. I think I've read somewhere that the way the story was coloured in Marvel Comics #1 made that version hard to reproduce back then.

Ron M. said:

"Let's see...I already had Kirby and Ditko draw this story, but I haven't had Heck draw it yet so I can reuse it one more time!"

I think those kinds of repetitions potentially provide some information about who came up with what ideas. For example, in one of the stories someone hides the Earth from an alien invasion, which recalls the Watcher's hiding the Earth from Galactus in Fantastic Four #48. That could mean that element was a Lee contribution to the Fantastic Four issue (but I can't say it's certain, as it might instead be e.g. that there was an earlier Kirby story that used it). Kirby repeated his ideas too. The Eternals were partly recycled from the Inhumans (both were patterned after figures from Greek mythology, have a remote hidden city, and are linked to aliens who played a role in the creation of their people). Lightning Lady and the Insectons from Captain Victory and the Bugs from New Gods were recycled from Ula and Stone Hive of Thryheim in Tales of Asgard.

Changing the subject, I think the issue of New Gods about the Bugs - #9 - was quite remarkable for its time. There's some stuff in it about Orion recovering from the events of #8, but the main story was a depiction, running through the whole issue, of a very alien society. When I read the continuation of the story from #10 I found it a complete letdown.

Ron M. said:

Stan said in Fantasy Masterpieces that they couldn't reprint a story from Marvel Comics#1 because of the way that comic had been printed. Since the series did reprint the Torch origin, either they fixed the problem or he was talking about the Namor story in #1.

The main reason for reprinting old stories few people were clamoring for was that they were cheaper than paying for new material. Because of this, which reprints were chosen in some part depended upon how reprint-ready they were. If they had microfilm or original art that could be photographed it was cheaper.

If they had to shoot from an actual comic book there were disadvantages. For one, the comics were much smaller and if detail was lost in printing it was just gone. Also, if they shot from a four-color specimen they had to figure out how to separate the colors or whether to remove the color and only have the black to work with. Something to be reprinted from Marvel Comics #1 might involve finding a clean enough copy to be usable (which would probably make it pretty valuable) and then destroying it by bleaching out the color.

There was a Ditko story where Earth was hidden from invading aliens. Ditko also did a story of intelligent, talking planets. And Heck had a shapeshifting alien land on Earth more than once. One was a Watcher like character, at least one other was an invader. All ideas Kirby would later do. Maybe Stan actually created more of the Marvel Universe than people give him credit for, if he was the one that gave them those earlier stories.

I think that, and he must have supplied a lot of the characterisation in the dialogue, which is crucial anyway. There's the complication that comics creators also borrowed from each other. I compared the Big Man in Amazing Spider-Man #20 to Mister X from "The Secret Life of the Catwoman!" Another example is "The Mystery Villain!" from Strange Tales #127, which has a lot in common with "The Raid on Blackhawk Island" from Blackhawk #109.

I'm inclined to think that if Kirby repeated an idea in his solo work it was probably one of his, but I suppose that mightn't always be true. The Celestials were obviously a repeat of Galactus, and Galactus was somewhat like the Watcher. I would've guessed the Watcher was Kirby's but it could be e.g. the giant size and godlike power were from Kirby and the non-interference element from Lee. I always assume that they worked together more closely early on than later.

 

A recurring element I've noticed in Kirby's work is characters who can do anything, including the Silver Surfer, the Eternals, and the "Homo Geneticus" people from Silver Star. The Cosmic Cube fits that pattern.

The story from Fantastic Four #97 was recycled, post-Kirby, in Fantastic Four #124-#125. I think that might be an indication that was a Lee plot. But you could argue that doesn't follow, as #120-#123 recycled the original Galactus story.

Something I've noticed: Kirby's interest in SF is already apparent in his pre-Silver Age work, but most of his earlier superheroes were non-powered ones. The exceptions I can think of are Blue Bolt (who Joe Simon created before they teamed up), Mercury/Hurricane from Red Raven Comics and Captain America Comics and the Vision - all pre-Captain America characters - and, from the 50s, Captain 3-D (who was somewhat like the Vision; he came and went and could fly). So the men-like-gods element in his work wasn't so much present in it then. His two superheroes from the late 50s, the Shield and the Fly, were super-powered, but the Fly was certainly a Joe Simon creation and I'd guess the Shield was too.

(Corrected.)

I'm watching Where Eagles Dare, and got to the part where a general arrives at the castle in a helicopter. I wanted to know to know whether the helicopter is anachronistic, so I googled and found this Youtube video, which also has notes.

Ron M. said:

There was a Ditko story where Earth was hidden from invading aliens. Ditko also did a story of intelligent, talking planets. And Heck had a shapeshifting alien land on Earth more than once. One was a Watcher like character, at least one other was an invader. All ideas Kirby would later do. Maybe Stan actually created more of the Marvel Universe than people give him credit for, if he was the one that gave them those earlier stories.

As much as I love Ditko's Atlas work, I suspect that these ideas were previously explored in the heyday of the science fiction pulps.

Difficult to tell since those aren't the sort of stories they tend to reprint in collections. I'm sure there were a lot of conventional ghost stories in Weird Tales, but we never see them because they're more interested in reprinting Lovecraft and Howard over and over. I've passed on several WT collections because they all have the same two or three Solomon Kane stories in them and picked up two books just last year with the Shadow over Innsmouth in them. Great story but the last thing I need is yet another copy of it.  

On p.114 I wrote about the try-outs in Showcase. Here are some notes on the try-out period of The Brave and the Bold.

The title became a try-out title with #23, featuring "The Viking Prince". This had been a feature in the title since #1 (skipping #6), but in #23 it became the sole feature and had a logo larger than the title on the cover. Showcase was a bimonthly at that point, and in the subsequent period The Brave and the Bold alternated with it. The previous issue of Showcase was #19 (the last Adam Strange try-out).

The try-outs were

The Viking Prince

Suicide Squad

Justice League of America

Inside Earth

Hawkman

Suicide Squad

Inside Earth

Hawkman

Strange Sports Stories

Of these, only "Justice League of America" and "Hawkman" got titles in the Silver Age, and the latter only did so after a run in Mystery of Space. "Strange Sport Stories", which ran five issues (=most of a year), got a series in the 70s with the same editor, Julie Schwartz. He also edited the "Strange Sports Stories" issue of DC Super-Stars, #10.(1)

The Brave and the Bold was a try-out title for four and a half years. During this period The Brave and the Bold was edited on a round robin system (like Showcase), as it partly was during the early part of the team-up period which followed (Robert Kanigher did the war story in #52 and Julie Schwartz the Starman and Black Canary team-ups in #61-#62).

With #50, in 1963, the title became a team-up title. The preceding issue of Showcase was #46 (the second-last Tommy Tomorrow issue). Two more try-outs appeared subsequently. The first was Metamorpho's debut in #57-#58, written by the title's usual writer at that point, Bob Haney. The second, "Teen Titans" in #60, was simultaneously a team-up story, and a sequel to the team-up in #54.

Showcase went to an eight-times-a-year schedule with #74, starring Anthro. This was during the period when the try-outs were one issue.

(1) According to the GCD he also edited three "Strangest Sports Stories Ever Told" issues of DC Special (first series) in 1970-71 which reprinted stories from the Brave and the Bold and the Schwartz SF titles, and the reprint digest DC Special Series Blue Ribbon Digest #13.

(Corrected.)

It's interesting such ideas as Viking Prince and Black Knight were still being pushed so late. I know Prince Valiant was a huge influence on artists but it had passed its heydey before then, and movies were starting to poke fun at the knights in armor idea with films like the Magic Sword, a movie I have trouble watching because the witch and the two headed guy that talk in stereo are so over the top campy. Basil Rathbone as the villain looks like he wishes he'd passed on the movie sometimes. I'm sure he hated being in The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini.

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