AVENGERS. “And There Came Another Day…”

There are some interesting threads on this forum, already covering issues of Marvel’s early series – ‘re-reading’’ of the Avengers and Journey into Mystery/Thor and so on and there was quite a good issue by issue thread on the Invaders around too, until it caught up with the present.
What is more rarely discussed are the later periods when these series were in full flow and while perhaps less iconic still number among them some classics…

I therefore present to you an issue by issue critique/discussion forum for one of these mainstay Marvel titles.
Not beginning at the very debut – as others have that covered well – but (and I hope I don’t step on anyone’s creative toes here!) – I would like to pick up the Avengers title after a watershed/bookend issue provided an opportune point at which to begin …
Issue #100 featured all Avengers to that point together in one tale and everything that goes before it is pretty well easily contained by then. The next issue launches the title into its second century of publishing and its next phase of greatness…

What has gone before…?
And so there came a Day…

The formation of the team.
The Hulk leaving. Captain America’s return. The Original members giving way to Cap’s kooky Quartet.
Goliath and Wasp returning. Hercules coming and going. The creation of Ultron. The arrival of the Vision.
Yellow jacket Hawkeye as Goliath II and then back again. The Squadron Sinister/Supreme. The Kree-Skrull War and of course…the Lady Liberators!
(I’m sure you’ll have your own highlights!)

And so there came ANOTHER Day…

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Not that long after the end of Quicksilver as a regular member. And we're about to lose yet another Avenger, permanently.  

“Why does Solarr have two ‘R’s?” I dunno… so it can be trademarked?

The country of Rudyarda is, of course, named for Rudyard Kipling (according to Roy Thomas in a intro to one of the MMW FF editions).

I don’t recall the answer to the “curious No-Prize,” but I suspect it has something to do with the two characters’ respective last previous appearances.

MMW places Giant-Size Avengers #1 before #126 (and I think it actually “occurs” somewhere between panels or pages), but this raises the question, “Do you intend to deal with GSA #1 within the context of this discussion?” It is a special comic for me and I was looking forward to your treatment. Now, on to…

STEVE ENGLEHART ON AVENGERS #126:

“That same month [as Giant-Size Avengers #1], back in Avengers, we’re not even pretending that this book isn’t built around the quadrangle. I show you the villains on page 1, to get you in the tent, but when the story picks up, it’s ‘Young Heroes In Love’ (or, as Richard Howell and I called it later, when we did Vision & The Scarlet Witch, ‘Mutant Romances’). But that’s not all! We get Captain America, on the verge of becoming the Nomad in his own book. We get the Black Panther as lead Avenger. This book is not just about the quadrangle; it’s still Avengers.

But Wanda is growing into her power.

It all spins together quite nicely.”

AH so many different ideas of continuity eh?

I'm working with the 'Official Index to the Marvel Universe' books AND the Essential Avengers #6 which put GS1 between this ish and #127  - so, yes Jeff....it's next!

Jeff of Earth-J said:

“Why does Solarr have two ‘R’s?” I dunno… so it can be trademarked?

The country of Rudyarda is, of course, named for Rudyard Kipling (according to Roy Thomas in a intro to one of the MMW FF editions).

I don’t recall the answer to the “curious No-Prize,” but I suspect it has something to do with the two characters’ respective last previous appearances.

MMW places Giant-Size Avengers #1 before #126 (and I think it actually “occurs” somewhere between panels or pages), but this raises the question, “Do you intend to deal with GSA #1 within the context of this discussion?” It is a special comic for me and I was looking forward to your treatment. 

well, nearly two years after Pietro's last appearance as a member, in #104, even if he didn't tell any of his teammates he wasn't coming back until #112. 
 
Ron M. said:

Not that long after the end of Quicksilver as a regular member. And we're about to lose yet another Avenger, permanently.  

And I'm sure Thomas picked that name due to Kipling's (in)famous poem, "The Whiteman's Burden", and was also riffing on the African nation still named for uber-British Imperialist Sir Cecil Rhodes and ruled by a white supremacist minority in 1974, Rhodesia, since re-named Zimbabwe, after the Euro-Africans were knocked out of power by the majority black natives.
  
Jeff of Earth-J said:

“Why does Solarr have two ‘R’s?” I dunno… so it can be trademarked?

The country of Rudyarda is, of course, named for Rudyard Kipling (according to Roy Thomas in a intro to one of the MMW FF editions).

Thomas was also the one that called T'Challa the Black Leopard.

Thomas was overly afraid of Marvel's Black Panther being associated with the militaristic black power group when he wrote FF#119, but the change didn't take and he didn't push it too hard even after he took over as editor.  Englehart never used the name Black Leopard to my knowledge.


Fred W. Hill said:

Englehart never used the name Black Leopard to my knowledge.

Only in order to change it back to "the Black Panther".

I did some checking through my stacks, and it appears that the only time T'Challa, or anyone else---including the narrative text---referred to him as "the Black Leopard" was in the story in which he announced the change:  "Three Stood Together", from Fantastic Four # 119 (Feb., 1972).

After that, he appeared in The Avengers # 99-100 (May and Jun., 1972).  In the former, he makes a one-panel cameo on a televisor; he takes a more active rôle in the latter.  In both issues, the narrative text does not mention him by name at all, and the characters refer to him only as T'Challa.  Both of these issues were written by Roy Thomas, as well.

Then came "On the Eye of the Talon", from Daredevil # 92 (Oct., 1972), written by Gerry Conway. T'Challa appears as himself for only a panel or two at the end of the piece.  (Earlier, he participated in the events of the story disguised as Daredevil, in order to divert suspicions that Matt Murdock was the Man Without Fear.)  In his closing dialogue, he refers to himself as "the Black Panther".

And that brings us to The Avengers # 105 (Nov., 1972), written by Steve Englehart.  Herein, T'Challa rejoins his fellow Assemblers, making an off-hand reference to the Daredevil tale.  Following a can't-keep-track-of-the-players-without-a-scorecard wisecrack by Hawkeye about the "Panther vs. Leopard" business, T' Challa tells his teammates that he has returned to using the moniker "the Black Panther" and explains why:

I did not want my personal goals and tribal heritage confused with political plans made by others.  But in the final analysis, I decided that made as much sense as altering the Scarlet Witch's name---because witches are generally thought of as ugly.  I am not a stereotype.  I am myself.  And I am---the Black Panther!

Sounds like Hawkeye had already forgotten by #105 that he'd been calling himself Goliath until #98. (Unless he's including himself in the joke.)

Makes me wonder if Thomas made the switch with T'Challa guest-starring in an FF tale just to test the waters with fans rather than try it out in the Avengers where he'd been a regular for over 4 years by that point.  If so, I"d guess fan reaction wasn't positive and so it was dropped.  BTW, given that even early on in the FF it became rare for anyone to refer to Reed or Sue by their superhero names -- pretty much the only the character that ever referred to Reed as Mr. Fantastic was Reed himself! -- and that in the Avengers, Pietro and Wanda were only rarely referred to as Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch, it's not particularly odd that several issues might go by without anyone referring to T'Challa as the Black Panther, although I'd guess in this instance it was purposeful rather than incidental while Roy & Stan tallied up the responses to the proposed name-change.

Calling himself Mr. Fantastic and the team the Fantastic Four makes it sound like he named the team after himself. Since he kept calling himself Fantastic after everyone else stopped it says something about how he felt about himself. Once Hank and Jan told everyone who they really were they didn't go by Wasp and Goliath/Yellowjacket/Ant-Man that much.

ROY THOMAS on the BLACK LEOPARD, RUDYARDA and FF #119:

“The story I wrote—set in the fictitious African country called Rudyarda (after Rudyard Kipling, he of “the white man’s burden”)—was based on one I planned to write with artist Alex Toth, a couple of months before, as a back-up feature in the 48-page Avengers. That hadn’t worked out, and so with #119 Rudyarda became a part of the FF milieu.

“Perhaps I should have set the tale of apartheid in South Africa and had done with it. After all, Rudyarda was clearly meant to be a stand-in for South Africa of 1972 (with maybe a touch of Rhodesia in the actual naming). But I felt that, never having even visited that actual nation, it wouldn’t be quite fair for me to set up my own version of what I felt South Africa was like, only to criticize it. I preferred to add Rudyarda to that nonexistent world globe that’s dotted with places like Ruritania, Fedonia, and the Duchy of Grand Fenwick. The atory attracted some attention, and I was happy to see it included in the Marvel Visionaries: Roy Thomas hardcover a couple of years back.

“(My only regert re #119 was that, while still winding up his screenplay, Stan decided T’Challa, the Black Panther, should be rechristened the Black Leopard to sidestep the ongoing confusion with the controversial Black Panther Party. That change didn’t last long, but I did have to introduce and justify the name change in that issue.)”

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