A ‘Giant-Size’ beginning, 41 regular issues ,one Annual, from the 1970s, a follow up 4-issue mini-series and some significant tales in Captain America and Namor before a mini revival in the new millennium…!

 

We will be starting in June 1975 – with Giant-Size Invaders #1 , a 30 page special written by Roy Thomas with art in the individual style of Frank Robbins and inked by Vince Colletta.


World War Two heroes Captain America and Bucky, the android Human Torch and partner Toro and Namor the Sub-Mariner find themselves thrown together against the Nazi villainy of Master Man and no less a figure than Winston Churchill helps form the …Invaders!

 

I’d love to know what memories anyone has of this series before I summarise it issue by issue….anyone up for it? (I’ll wait a bit for people to locate their issues if you’d like…)

 

(First question I’ll throw out there – anyone else notice the mistake on the cover of Invaders classic tpk #1)

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Richard, the spirit is willing but I'm swamped this week! But please continue, I'll catch up when I can!

P.S. When the debate comes (and it will), put me down as liking Frank Robbins' work!

I agree that it was great Frank Robbins work and Roy did a great job with the series I think because this series as opposed to say, Avengers or All-Star Squadron had a solid and ongoing core group of Cap, Namor and The Torch with Toro and Bucky for the first part and Union Jack and Spitfire for the second. The small groups work best because you know before to long how they will interact and you get a feel of 'Oh, Cap wouldn't ask The Human Torch to do that because..." sort of thing. My first issue was # 17 with Warrior Woman front and center on the cover...It was an awkward summer, we'll say and leave it at that. LOL!

(Actually - it appears the mistake may have been made on the original cover of G-S Invaders AND repeated for the trade...?)

Not quite sorted how to add pictures - but ...

 

I'm trying to illustrate how Bucky was coloured wrong, here!

Because he was coloured wrong originally!! Here.

And of course should have been coloured like this!

(I think I'll just stick to text!).

Anyway - call back later - I promise I'll actually start talking 'Invaders' ish-by-ish!

It must be a matter of personal taste (or something), because try as I might, I never warmed up to Frank Robbins' art on this book.  I've seen some of his earlier work on various newspaper strips, and LOVED all of it, but his work at Marvel just wasn't clicking with me at all.

As an extreme example, when (not long ago) I found myself flipping thru INVADERS ANNUAL #1, I loved ALL the art in there by the varous artists... except the chapters by Robbins & Frank Springer.

I also remember picking up several of the final issues when they came out, and even liking those better.  The art on those was by Alan Kupperberg (whose work, generally, I HATED!!) with inks by Chic Stone.  Stone was a VERY sharp inker, but he also made a point in an interview of saying he felt it was his job to be "faithful" to the pencils he was inking. Which makes me wonder if, like, everyone else who was inking Kupperberg around that time had just been murdering his work? Or, was Stone doing finished pencils and inks over Kupperberg's layouts?  (Which does seem a very strong possibility.)  Of course, I have read some VERY negative comments about those last issue... so maybe personal taste is a big factor here.

Alan was a VERY sloppy inker, and he murdered other pencillers' work as well... notoriously, a short run on THE FURY OF FIRESTORM, when he was replaced following a storm of protests from readers,. all complaining about how AWFUL the "new inker" Gerry Conway had been promoting turned out to be.  Then again, creatively, that whole book was on a steady downward spiral from the word go...

The debut issue for the Invaders was actually a ‘Giant-Size’ and indeed the entire series was originally planned to be in that larger format until the experiment failed and Marvel pulled it’s output back to mere ‘regular-sized’.
The Invaders therefore did get a kind of instant relaunch with the byproduct being a second number one issue, decades before they became all the rage!

Let’s talk ‘Giant-Size Invaders #1 ‘ then…
Editor/Writer Roy Thomas. Artist Frank Robbins. Inker Vince Colletta

It should be noted there is a opening dedication here to Stan Lee, Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, and a ‘special thanks’ to John Romita. (now I get that that praises the creators of Captain America and Bucky…and I think maybe the Torch and Toro…but didn’t Bill Everett- ‘create’ Namor?- infact he’s even mentioned as such in a text piece from Thomas explaining how he came to putting this team together at the end of the issue – but no ‘credit’ in the story.!? Why’s that? And just what did John Romita bring to the party?)

 

We begin with a wonderfully action packed symbolic splash-page heralding ‘The Coming of the Invaders!’ and featuring the lead heroes against a swastika-backed visage of Hitler himself. This splash is basically the Invaders in one page! The team’s raison-d’etre, the action and drama – and the art!- that warped perspective and anatomy that so underpins this book!

 

Let’s say it right from the outset - Frank Robbins’ art is one of those ‘Marmite’ tastes – you either love it or hate it – there’s no middle ground.
His panel layout and storytelling was incredibly frenetic and dynamic – every now and then veering way off the conventional path. He drew well detailed backgrounds, buildings, vehicles and planes populated by delightfully evil and ugly Nazis – but also dropped in the most ridiculously boggle-eyed heroes when depicting ‘shock/emotion’ and was never restrained by the confines of realistic physical anatomy.!
He sounds like everything I hated about Rob Liefeld – but for some reason, for me, it actually worked wonderfully!!
It may be the time frame of these adventures that helped Robbins’ work. I might accept the art-style here, as this feels like Marvel’s version of DC’s Earth-X – a separate dimension where the war is still being fought and this art fits the flashback era.
It may be that I cannot remember ever seeing Robbins’ art on any other Marvel title which helps give the Invaders their identity. I don’t know.

 

Ok so we open on December 22nd 1941 at 3am– (which knowing Roy Thomas is not only a significant date but a significant time check on that date too!?)
Captain America and Bucky break-up a sabotage operation only to be confronted by an FBI man who shocks Cap with a name from his past that sends him off, conveniently for the new reader, recalling his origin – codename ‘Project Rebirth’ and the significant part played in it by a ‘Dr Anderson’ who introduced the famous Dr Erskine to Steve Rogers (– although Erskine used the codename Dr Reinstein just to confuse matters! ) – (It’s Thomas – it’s continuity – it’s important!?)
Anyway, we get a good re-enactment of Cap’s origin and find out that Dr Anderson was there – and now he’s recovering in hospital – where Cap and Bucky visit him.
Anderson had been captured and witnessed a German attempt to recreate Cap’s genesis – as the Nazi Super-Soldier ‘Master Man’ was born .

The Human Torch and Toro are introduced as they had saved Anderson and meet up with Cap and Bucky as they also visit the good doctor.

Curiously we get a reference to when Cap and the Torch met (vs the Red Skull in ‘Young Allies’ #1 actually published in 1941) – but no reference to the origin of the Torch or Toro.
(I say ‘curiously’ as surely most readers in the ‘70s would have been aware of Cap’s origin but most likely not the Torch’s ?).There’s no proper introductions to any of the team members, other than Cap at all in this origin tale! – not exactly ‘new-reader-friendly!

 

The next chapter pits our four friends against the powerful figure of Master Man at the scene of a mysterious British battleship and the prince of the seas Namor the Sub-Mariner wades in to assist, until the Master Man process fails and he reverts to his previous puny weakling state, significantly defeated by powerless- Bucky. (In one of the most physically unlikely poses ever seen in a comic frame!)

The mystery of the British Battleship is revealed to be a VIP on board in the figure of Winston Churchill himself , who convinces the five heroes they have a future together as his ‘unofficial Invaders’ of Hitler’s Fortress Europa… and the rest is…history!

 

Coming soon…Invaders #1 “The Ring of The Nebulas!” and # 2 “The Twilight of the Star –Gods”

I came into the Invaders when Cap, Namor, Toro and the Torch were mind controled by the Red Skull and Bucky assembled a new force to battle them. I'm not sure I remember much else about the team.

Mark - They're Invaders #5 - #6 and crossover issues #29 & #30 of Marvel Premiere.

Very memorable - and not too far into the series - bear with me we'll get there! Maybe you'll remember more as we go along...?

Mark S. Ogilvie said:

I came into the Invaders when Cap, Namor, Toro and the Torch were mind controled by the Red Skull and Bucky assembled a new force to battle them. I'm not sure I remember much else about the team.

I do remember being a little surprised that there were that many people with powers on the allies side and very few on the axis side.

I enjoyed The Invaders and am missing something like 8 of the first 10 issues. I do, however, have Giant-Size Invaders #1! It was a good start, from what I remember. My Marvels are being blocked by my DC's right now because I'm working on the stairs to my basement but I hope to be able to get at them soon.

Yes, Frank Robbins' Art took some getting used to. Those wide, funky eyes used to creep me out! They still do, to be honest. Roy Thomas was the right Writer for the series and did a great job!

I do remember seeing a contemporary timed Cap America tale by Robbins - something about Steve on a plane - I can still picture the splash of Steve rushing through the airport - clear Robbins art. (the issue number escapes me as I saw it in a British Marvel Annual reprint I believe.).
But other than that I cannot recall seeing Robbins work ANYWHERE ELSE!

Frank Robbins did do the art on a bunch of Cap America's in the 180's and 190's but, checking with the GCD, he seemed to be pretty prolific with Batman in what seems like a 4+ year run on Detective Comics as a Writer! He did do the Art on a couple issues here and there, inking his own pencils, too.

Oh and The Human Fly! Let's not forget about the Human Fly where he did pencils on a bunch of issues.

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