I'm continuing my project to read the Marvel comics of the Silver Age in the order they were published and I'm still discovering "new" things. For instance, when I started reading them in the mid-1960s, continued stories were the norm and part of their appeal. Early Marvel Age stories were all done-in-one, which made them perfect for the casual reader who often couldn't find the rest of the story.

So, what was Marvel's first continued story?

Unless I missed something earlier, it is the Giant-Man story in Tales to Astonish #50 and #51. Each chapter is 13 pages, as was standard in the anthology books. Apparently Stan, who had just taken over as full writer on the series the previous issue, decided that the introduction of arch-foe The Human Top was worthy of the extra pages. Despite the turnip-shaped helmet,Top was a good villain for Giant-Man. Hank had just taken on the identity and found it difficult to adjust from fighting at ant-size to tackling foes in a giant form. Top was fast and continually taunted his large, slow, clumsy opponent. This forced Hank to train to become a better fighter and was an important progression of his character.

Anyway, I just thought it was interesting that my favorite SA Marvel character gets the distinction of setting the trend for continued stories at Marvel.


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Thanks for that milestone, Hoy! It's not surprising that one of the anthology books would have the first continued story, since there was less room to work with. That's also pretty early in the Marvel Age, before a lot of guys had many adventures under their belt, so there's not much other competition.

He didn't do that a lot--early the next year, Doc Ock appeared in ASM #11 and then returned in #12, but Stan set it up as two discreet adventures, or at least the second building on the first, with the first not really continuing. I wonder if he did it as a test of that style or just had a story he wanted to continue?

Later on, Stan seemed to think that cliffhangers were the way to go to draw back in the audience. I'm not sure how well that worked, as many people steered clear of those books because they never knew what the chances would be that they'd see the next issue. In many cases, though, Stan set up a cliffhanger and resolved it in the first page of the next issue and then proceeded to another adventure, so it wasn't a continued story in the way we usually think of them.

-- MSA

Fantastic Four #3 ended with Johnny leaving the team and #4 started with the others searching for him. They didn't reunite until the middle of #4 so does that count as a continued story? I think it does!

I stayed away from Marvel in the Silver Age precisely because by the time I started looking at them (mid to late 1960s), every single issue seemed to have those tormenting words, "To Be Continued." It was rare that I would ever get two consecutive issues of the same title. I remember being annoyed at DC for continuing the Zha-Vam storyline in Action # 351 and continuing the Imaginary Tale of Jimmy Olsen marrying Supergirl -- two continued stories in the same issue!

Some time later that summer, well past the time when I figured the second part of the Zha-Vam story would appear, I saw an issue of Action in one of those comic book vending machines (which meant I couldn't give it the ol' flip test). The cover had nothing whatsoever to do with Zha-Vam, but Action was one of my favorite comic books anyway, so I bought it. Lo and behold, it was the exact right comic I needed it to be!

But while the Jimmy-Supergirl story was wrapped up neatly, the Zha-Vam story was continued into a third issue! Aaaarrrggggghhhhh! But somehow, more by luck than plan, I found part three as well.

DC started doing a lot of that in Action in the late 1960s, with the Virus X storyline taking up something like five issues. That was just too much for me, so I stopped buying Action as frequently as before, and stuck with Superman and other DC titles that didn't have continued storylines. Never really started following Marvel until I got my driver's license in the mid 1970s.

It seemed to be the Action plan to continue one or the other of the stories in each issue. The Superman stories continued so much that I was able to do a 10 Best Continued Action Comics Stories column way back when, and I had to choose among them. I'm beginning to understand how I could have found things to write about for 20 years with a column topic like that.

That Supergirl story was the classic Jimmy-Linda adventure I mentioned over in the Birthday thread being used as a "Hall of Fame" reprint. It's interesting that the first half said Part 1, but the second part doesn't say Part 2 so you wouldn't feel cheated out of the first part if you didn't see it.

There were times when I read the second half of one of DC's continued stories and didn't even realize there had been a first part, because the stories often zipped along so fast that an initial panel or two summed up the plot and that was so typical of a DC story that it seemed normal.

-- MSA

...ACTION was not only an anthology title , it was a monthly , which back then , IIRC , only anthology titles were at DC ( barring BLACKHAWK , which apparently had something to do with the fact that the title/concept was liscenced from whatever remained of Quality at that time , not bought outright ) .

Yer' spoiling the Virus X , howevs !!!!!!!!!

Kirk G said:

The odd thing about that Virus X storyline was that it attracted me, a confirmed Marvel fan to pick up those Superman stories and flip through them.  i thought it was a clever solution to see how the White K was actually a cure not a taunt...and wondered how many fans caught it, cause I sure didn't, but I did remember it when they trotted out that solution!


Also, on the issue of wether FF #3-4 is a continued story, I would say no, only because the stories are completed in one, but the overall storyline continues.  If that were true, then Avengers #2-3-4-5 are all continued stories because the Hulk left...and was not returned to the group and finally dropped from the corner box when he didn't fall in line in issue #5, and that was his final appearance.  I wouldn't say that was a continued story... but a continued storyline thread.

Am I splitting hairs?  I think not.

...Flag , I guess .

Kirk G said:

Sorry, I thought that was so obviously out there already that I wasn't spoiling anything new.

What should I do? Delete the message?  Edit it?  Change it to white lettering?  Flag it as spoiler?
Help, calling Mr. Silver Age....

Wait a minute... the Hulk left the Avengers?!?


Or, to put it another way, we're talking about 40-50 year old comics. I vote no "spoiler alerts" needed.

Wait a minute...the Hulk was an Avenger?!?


Or, to put it another way, anything posted in the Mister Silver Age section should be discussed openly without fear of "spoiling" old comics, a great deal of which has been reprinted multiple times! If you want, consider a Silver/Bronze Age freedom of information act in constant place!

Anyway, you'll NEVER guess who the Avengers found in a block of ice.....

..There.s different ways of seeing this . I am on my smartphone now . I wrote a " %The ethosof spoilets ? " post a a ways back OfSpoilers? " post 

Dave Blanchard said:

Wait a minute... the Hulk left the Avengers?!?


Or, to put it another way, we're talking about 40-50 year old comics. I vote no "spoiler alerts" needed.

Wait....the Hulk was found frozen in a block of ice in Antarctica?  !!!!!  SPOILER ALERT!

Thanks, Dave. 

Seriously, I guess it's a matter of degree.   In the case of Cap or the Hulk as part of team membership, it's a matter of early Avengers history.  And though there may be alsorts of fans who didn't know Hulk was a founding member... it doesn't really spoil anything to mention it.

I, on the other hand, had thoughtlessly blurted out a major plot point in a classic storyline that might conceivably be of interest to someone's enjoyment of the story... not that we don't know that Supes survives... but that it was the mystery point or big reveal...and for that, I am sorry.   It COULD affect someone's enjoyment of that arc.

I don't know if that storyline has been reprinted, or is readily available, but even I, a non-DC fan, recalled from the Virus X reference enough of the detail of the story that I could reference it....so I assumed that it would be in the collective memory and fair game.  Probably not the best move a non-DC fan could have made.

It might be as if I revealed that the vision was destroyed at the climax of the Kree-Skrull war when he was torn in half by the Growing Man....  those of us familiar with the history wouldn't bat an eye, but those who have not read the trade WHICH IS STILL IN PRINT and is being re-released again, might be extremely annoyed to have spoiled, since it was a stunning reveal and a major plot development for the story.

See what I did there?

Dave Blanchard said:

Wait a minute... the Hulk left the Avengers?!?


Or, to put it another way, we're talking about 40-50 year old comics. I vote no "spoiler alerts" needed.

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