Just added a new post to my blog, this one spotlighting the often-maligned JOHNNY STORM, THE HUMAN TORCH series.  The first 5 covers (so far), lovingly restored, in all their 4-color glory.
 

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Yeah, Dorrie Evans was a puzzler. But then, terrible girlfriends were fairly common in those days, especially at DC. The Atom's girlfriend put her career before their relationship (and was something of a cold fish), Lois Lane was always trying to expose Superman's identity, Carol Ferris swooned over Green Lantern but barely tolerated Hal Jordan (and was too stupid to see they were the same guy, even though she'd been on dates -- and kissed -- both.) I wasn't too bothered by Iris West's constant nagging of Barry for always being late, because he WAS always late. Still, she did go on with it more than is polite. And it seemed like their entire relationship consisted of going to lunch, where Iris nattered on about her job while Barry thought about Flash stuff.

 

In retrospect, it seems fairly amazing to me that all us Silver Agers weren't poisoned against women forever!

 

At any rate, the Terrible Girlfriend Syndrome is one more way that the Human Torch strip was, as someone said above, more like a DC strip than a Marvel one.

Just checked... if I got this right, Doris Evans was introdueced in ST #113, "The Coming Of The Plantman!"  Guess which writer is listed on this story?  JERRY SIEGEL!

 

(Not to offend anyone, but, SURE, Stan is listed as "plot", I just don't believe he really contributed much, if anything... especialy not when DICK AYERS was generally plotting HIS own stories.  As I said, when Dick took over from Jack, the tone of the series became more humorous.  Siegel only worked on 2 HT stories, and I get the feeling it was mostly dialogue.  What kind of job is that for a "real" writer? That's like when Jim Lawrence worked on Dr. Strange... HE didn't stick around, either, since Dan Adkins was definitely plotting THOSE.)

 

Yep, there's something "DC" about this series... (heehee)

 

And, if you read between the lines in FF #36 and #44...Torch starts to fall for Medusa (It would never have worked...think of the split ends and frizzies from the heat!  He's have burned her at every touch!)  So that's FOUR of the frightful four connected to Johnny!

Craig Boldman said:
The Torch also fought the Sandman in #115, so you can say that three-fourths of the Frightful Four came to the FF by way of their grudges against Johnny.

Philip Portelli said:

Also that half of the Frightful Four (The Wizard and Paste Pot Pete) debutted there as well.

I always read that Captain America story (reprinted in Marvel Tales) as a teaser that was labled a "try-out" for something Stan knew was coming.

As far as the timing of the guestars and replacement of the Human Torch in Strange Tales, look at the length of time, guys.

If Johnny was in the book from 101 to 134, that's roughly 36 issues, with 12 per year... that makes it two years "on his own" and then another year with Ben.

The more and more I look at the early Silver Age history of Marvel and it's characters, the more apparant it becomes to me that they were written (make that plotted or scripted) in one year arcs.  Maybe that's all that Stan would plot out on a yellow lined tablet at each stragegy session... but it's pretty clear when you've got a Hulk book cancelled at issue 6, when it's bi-monthly... and X-men, also bi-monthly until issue #12 or 14... and DD bi-monthly, but changing color of uniforms and artists at issue #5 or 7, and then again at 11...  That the publisher would lower the boom or tell Stan to change up things when sales weren't stellar enough...

Look at Captain Mar-vel....  Marvel Superheroes #12 & 13, then 1-4 all with Gene Colan artwork.  Then a change, and the book circles the drain until issue #18.  Even the golden age of the X-men...#54 to 66.. 12 issues, and one full year.


The same analysis can be done on the Avengers... looking at 12 issue story arcs or shake-ups in the line-up ever year or so on the anniversary.

I recall that, too. But then Medusa was one sexy Inhuman! The Sandman and ol' Paste Pot Pete wanted her affections. Maybe even the Wizard, for that matter!

Probably one reason Pete renamed himself the Trapster was to reinvent his image for Medusa!

It was all a moot point when Crystal showed up anyway! Surprisingly a Stan Lee female with real power! Must be one of Kirby's!

BTW, did we ever see the "evil" Medusa before she joined the Frightful Four?

Kirk G said:

And, if you read between the lines in FF #36 and #44...Torch starts to fall for Medusa (It would never have worked...think of the split ends and frizzies from the heat!  He's have burned her at every touch!)  So that's FOUR of the frightful four connected to Johnny!

Craig Boldman said:
The Torch also fought the Sandman in #115, so you can say that three-fourths of the Frightful Four came to the FF by way of their grudges against Johnny.

Philip Portelli said:

Also that half of the Frightful Four (The Wizard and Paste Pot Pete) debutted there as well.

No, Medusa's first appearance was in the debut of the Frightful Four (to round out the "team") in FF #36 (one of my first seminal issues).    The Wizard is rescued from certain death, floating in the upper atmosphere by the escaping Sandman and Paste Pot Pete (who apparantly knew how to fly a jet, and were moved by compassion to rescue a floating man before he suffocated!)   He mutters that he'll have his revenge on the Torch, and they want it too, and he begins to dream about a "wild woman" he saw in france..."she was magnificent!"  I think the original concept was for Medusa to be French (see her disguise as a French Fashion designer) and only later did she get changed into an Inhuman.

The story of the Inhuman's creation has been documented by Mark Evanier as an attempt to come up with ideas to counter a rumored explosion in superheroes from the Archie Comics camp (and possibly also Tower comic's Tower Agents...)  So, a number of concepts Jack had thrown out, got tied into the FF's story arc...and thus, Inhuman's were born.

But, it's not that hard to imagine why Medusa linked up with the Wizard and company... She's a stranger in a strange land  ("Why does he not have a costume?" pointing at the Sandman.), running from the French Police, befriended by a dapper, intellegent man, the Wizard, and trying to learn the ways of the outside world... albet from the worst possible element....criminals.

You'll also note that she appears only three times before running for her life from the Gorgon...sent to retrive her at the order of Mad Maximus....  Medusa shows up in FF #36 for a one-shot adventure that sews the seeds for the six part arc of loosing their powers...36-40.  She returns in FF#38 (and barely an off-camera cameo in #39). and then in the magnum opus three issue "Why must I kill You to Save You: The Saga of Ben Grimm"  story arc with the Wizard's ID machine.

It becomes apparant that the wizard has no qualms against using the machine on anyone... Ben, Johnny, Sandman....who's to say that he hasn't used it to mold Medusa to his will?  She's fisty, but has never been shown to have the killer instinct like in those first three appearances.  It fades, and fast, in #44...the start of the Inhumans arc...44-48, co-incidentally with the arrival of Joe Sinnott on inks!

(I've always thought that Vinnie Colleta was the wrong inker for the FF, but I can't imagine anyone else having done those three or four issues of the evil FF's last gasp!   I've checked my records and found that Vinne starts with #39 (shock, as it was also one of my seminal issues!) AND #40 as well... but the cream of the crop is the three issue arc where the evil FF fight in a suburban house that seems to have no walls and no backgrounds filled in.  And now, I can't imagine it any other way.  Imagine if Joe Sinnott had started earlier... or Chic Stone had continued.  I just can't. (Stone inked from #27-38, or roughly a one year contract.)

"I recall that, too. But then Medusa was one sexy Inhuman! The Sandman and ol' Paste Pot Pete wanted her affections. Maybe even the Wizard, for that matter!"

 

I dunno, I'm beginning to wonder if he didn't have a thing for Johhny...   (heehee)

 

 

"It becomes apparant that the wizard has no qualms against using the machine on anyone... Ben, Johnny, Sandman....who's to say that he hasn't used it to mold Medusa to his will?  She's fisty, but has never been shown to have the killer instinct like in those first three appearances.  It fades, and fast, in #44"

 

HEY!  That actually makes sense.  The other two had never met her until Wiz introduced her, he may have tricked her and used the machine on her the way he did on Ben.

 

The 90's cartoons that adapted the story, if memory serves, actually FIXED the plot holes regarding her and the rest of the royal family.  The comic has contradictory and unexplained stuff, which I now put down to ONE guy plotting solo and ANOTHER guy dialoging solo with NO IDEA what the other writer was doing.

 

 

"Are you sure you're not related to Gary Groth?"

 

You know, I try to be polite at this board, but I've learned too many things in the last few years, and I just have no patience left, and cannot bring myself to excuse certain bad behavior (nor tolerate others making endless excuses for it).

Here he is, MY choice for the actor who should have played The Wizard (based on his 2nd appearance in the comic, they kept drawing him different from story to story)...

 

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_F9LNLdXKCIs/S-BvUZwwIkI/AAAAAAAAAkI/B2Cwd...

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-VGFprVOrjHI/TqShYxjuaHI/AAAAAAAAALA/gLmO9...

 

 

Given that Medusa's name, like Gorgan and Triton, came from Greek mythology, it seems reasonable to surmise that Medusa was always meant to be an Inhuman. But........

It's just as plausible that Stan and/or Jack didn't plot that far in advance and came up with the Inhumans and needed something or someone to link them with the Fantastic Four. "Hey Jack, who have we used recently that doesn't have an origin?" "How 'bout Medusa?" "Yeah, run with that!"

Inhumans and mutants....no origins required!

You know, based upon that enlongated face, yes, that's a good candidate.

But frankly, I grew up with FF #36, 39 and FF #55-61... and so my image of him is somewhat different.  Think Liam Neison (played Raz a Gul in Batman Begins).

Henry R. Kujawa said:

Here he is, MY choice for the actor who should have played The Wizard (based on his 2nd appearance in the comic, they kept drawing him different from story to story)...

 

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_F9LNLdXKCIs/S-BvUZwwIkI/AAAAAAAAAkI/B2Cwd...

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-VGFprVOrjHI/TqShYxjuaHI/AAAAAAAAALA/gLmO9...

 

 

If you think the introduction of Medusa was odd, consider that she should have been a Gorgon, but instead, the minator charcter gets that name...

And stranger still, look at the introduction of Black Bolt.

He looks completely different from his surprise entrance at the end of FF#45 to his fight sequence in 46.  I'm told that Stan hadn't decided to make him mute until the next issue... although the concept of Black Bolt had been worked up for a second line of superheroes to compete with THUNDER agents and the aborted Archie series. (Sorry, I called them by the wrong name earlier.)  Even the exact nature of Triton was a mystery for a long while in the FF fight as well... an element of the unknown...

If you'll pardon me, Kirk, Gorgon is Pan (or a faun) rather than the Minotaur. It looks to me like there was an idea that the Inhumans would be SF versions of figures from Greek mythology, like Kirby's later Eternals (who likewise were a secret, powerful race with a hidden city). It may be Medusa was made an Inhuman because she fitted in with that idea, or that she suggested it.

 

Crystal was originally drawn and handled in such a way as to suggest a witch, which is a similar idea.

 

I only just realised that Black Bolt's name might derive from Blue Bolt's. The latter's series, when Kirby was working on it, involved a hidden civilisation (a whole underground world), and a romantic attraction between its hero and a witch character.

 

When Johnny meets Crystal he thinks that the Inhumans can't be mutants living below New York, or the X-Men would have found them. I have a theory this line inspired the Morlocks.

 

(corrected)

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