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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The decision to remove the Falcon's name from the annuals, giants and issue #200, but Kirby did use the Falcon throughout his run. The "character" he didn't use was Redwing.

Kirby did use the Falcon but did not understand him. He was a heroic figure but not that interesting. If he was replaced by the Angel or Nighthawk or even a generic "Guy With Wings", the stories would have been the same. Everything Steve Englehart established (Falc becoming more independent, confident and the truth behind his origin) was ignored. And while Kirby was adept at portraying the 40s Bowery, the 70s Harlem, not so much. But then Jack was living in California at the time.

The dropping of the Falcon was just as shocking to me as when DC removed Green Arrow from the 70s Green Lantern. No one like partners anymore, it seemed!

Yeah. Look how many deacdes DC's spent trying to downplay Batman AND ROBIN.


I'm afraid I tend to think of that "truth behind the Falcon's origin" as one of Englehart's brain-freezes. I put it in the same category as the shocking revelation that The Predator was really Carol Ferris!!  (NO REALLY!) Thank goodness Gerard Jones fixed THAT years later. I believe I read that someone also tweaked the Falcon thing years later, too. I think it just proves nobody's perfect... not even Englehart.



Of course, I might have been able to accept the Falcon thing more if Sal Buscema had drawn it... instead of Frank Robbins!

Henry R. Kujawa said:
I believe I read that someone also tweaked the Falcon thing years later, too.

That was J.M. DeMatties and Mike Zeck in the back-up feature "Snapped!" (named for Sam's nickname, "Snap" Wilson). Essentially, Sam Wilson was a good man deep down when he was young, but invented the personality of "Snap" for himself when he fell in with the wrong crowd. When he fell into the Red Skull's hands, the Nazi uncovered both personalities. Whereas Englehart's story was that "Snap" was the true personality, DeMatties revealed that the Skull layered "Sam" on top of "Snap" on top of his true self. When Sam ran for Congress, all of these [personality conflicts come to the surface and were resolved.
Got to agree with this statement: 

"Of course, I might have been able to accept the Falcon thing more if Sal Buscema had drawn it... instead of Frank Robbins!"

I confess I hate Frank Robins's artwork, almost as much as Don Heck, George Tuska, Arnold Drake  and Bill Everett's work.

I know that will provoke some ire, but I always find the style of art greatly influences my appreciation of the story, or ruins it for me.  On the other side, someone like John Byrne, Gene Colin, Jack Kirby, Jim Steranko, Neal Adams, Tom Palmer, John Romita Sn, John Romita Jr or  Terry Austin can carry just about any story, in my book. Ditko, not so much, because of the stylized artwork.  But I can always follow it clearly.

I know that will provoke some ire, but I always find the style of art greatly influences my appreciation of the story, or ruins it for me.

I'm not sure why it would upset anyone, I think everybody likes stories better when they're drawn by someone that appeals to them. Comics are a marriage of story and art, and if one is off because you don't like that creator's style, the story won't work for you.

I actually like Frank Robbins art for the most part, especially on Batman, whereas I would tend to agree that Heck and Tuska are harder for me to like, at least on super-hero stories. I don't know who you meant when you said Arnold Drake, though, he didn't draw anything. (I'm also one of the few that likes Bob Brown's Superboy. I'm not sure if I can explain why, I just do).

I disagree on the others, too. There are times I've thought each of them wasn't the best artist for a particular story (likewise Nick Cardy, Curt Swan, Carmine Infantino, Murphy Anderson and others that are revered). They each have pros and cons and are suited for certain stories--at least to my taste, on which we may not agree. Certainly, I would expect a far different story if I gave it to Byrne, Colan, Kirby or Steranko.

For instance, JR SR vs JR JR is not even close for me. I don't think I've ever seen a JR JR Spider-Man that I thought looked good. His art is way too scratchy and blocky for my tastes. I'd put him in the top group before I put him in the bottom group. Although I can't say I *hate* any of their work.

Back on topic, the Torch's Strange Tales stories really lived up to that billing. He's won a bunch of Mopee Awards for those stories, because they're hard to ignore. He's won for ST #121 when the Plantman put him out of action by throwing moist acorns at him, for ST #101 for his goofy secret identity that only he thought was secret, and for #107, when he fought Namor, who suddenly developed the capabilities to mimic sea creatures. No doubt he could win a bunch more, too, especially for those Beatle wigs. It's a series that many fans remember as pretty wonky for coming from Marvel.

-- MSA 


It's funny because, in the long run, Robbins has more "style" than Sal (who may be the blandest penciller to ever work for Marvel, and his stuff got slowly less interesting over 30 consecutive years).  But the Robbins art I've seen from the 50's is WAYYYYYYY better than his CAP or INVADERS stuff (kinda like how Dick Ayers' 50's stuff is better than anything he did since).  Then again, Robbins seemed okay on MAN FROM ATLANTIS.  Maybe some guys just shouldn't do superhero books.


On the INVADERS ANNUAL, I liked all of the guest-artists' work BETTER than Robbins-McLaughlin, which looked like somebody coughed something up onto the paper.  Especially the cover by Alex Schomberg, which was amazing!

Oops.  Sorry about dropping Arnold Drakes name into the mix.  The name popped into my head when I was scratching it, trying to remember the George Tuska art from Iron Man (1968) series... Nobody could replace Gene Colan, though whoever did prior to George Tuska at least held my interest for about a year or two.

Just before Gene left Iron Man, Johnny Craig started inking him.  BAD match.  Craig has these ULTRA-FINE, MACHINE-LIKE precision lines, totally at odds with Gene's "dark shadows".


So Johnny Craig started doing full art.  But it wasn't working out (or so I've heard, I've never read those issues yet, though I DO have one of his stories from CHAMBER OF DARKNESS, which is a classic!).


In comes George "BUCK ROGERS" Tuska, inked by Craig... WOW!!!  I never saw them together until about 10 years back, and it blew my mind, because Craig turned out to be one of the BEST inkers Tuska ever had. (Tuska solo was also right up there.)


It's amazing, for decades, I had no idea Tuska was a genune "Golden Age" artist. No wonder HERO FOR HIRE had a "Golden Age" feel to it, especially when Billy Graham was inking.


George was apparently one of those guys who didn't like doing his own plots, which explains why he didn't get a regular pencilling gig at Marvel until someone like Archie Goodwin was available. He wound up being one of the most prolific pencillers of 70's Marvel, even if half the time I couldn't stand it (depending on the book, and the inker).


A couple years back, I wrote a long-winded review of HERO FOR HIRE #1 that was like a love letter... I really regretted not being able to have Tuska read it, he passed away before I could find out where to send a copy of it.


Arnold Drake & George Tuska did work together (more or less) on at least one comic... the KA-ZAR story that turned up in MARVEL SUPER-HEROES.  (I figured out that, based on the contnuity, it really should have come out 6 months to a year before it did.  It details how Ka-Zar returned to The Savage Land after spending time in England.)

Yep, that would make sense. I think that's where I picked up the name Arnold Drake linked to George Tuska.

I remember that bizarre Ka-Zar story, and thought the Plunderer was never handled worse.  I loathed it.

It seems to my memory, that that was one of the straws that broke the camel's back, and I left comics shortly thereafter for about 8 years...  but I'm glad that I hung out long enough to see Avengers #100 & 101  and the end of the X-men series....and superior story in Marvel-Super-Heroes #20, that defines where Doctor Doom headed for years and years...

George Tuska drew the Buck Rogers from 1959 to 1967, so I doubt he was looking for comic book work in the earlier 60s.


I don't have anything against Bob Brown's work on Superboy. The inks by Wally Wood and Murphy Anderson played a big role in the look of the art.

George Tuska did one TALES OF THE WATCHER story (Oct'64), and several episodes of CAPTAIN AMERICA (plot & layouts by Jack Kirby / Oct'65-Feb'66).

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