With The Amazing Spider-Man about to be released, I thought let's ask some wall-crawling questions:

  • If Peter was sixteen when he became Spider-Man, how old was Betty Brant, his first girl-friend? She never seemed like a teenager to me!
  • Was Peter known to be a genius? Not just smart but brillant because you would think someone would make a big deal about him!
  • Did Aunt May ever tell Peter about his mermaid "cousin"? Yes, I'm being silly but still, what if...?
  • If his webbing stuck to everything, why not to his hands? And don't say it's the gloves because he swung bare-handed, too.
  • What was actually wrong with Aunt May? Was it just her heart?
  • Did Joe Robinson ever suspect Peter? He did discuss Spider-Man with Captain Stacy who figured it out.
  • Why didn't J. Jonah Jameson ever get in trouble for all those Spider-Slayers? Isn't that being as much of a vigilante as he accuse the Web-Head of being?
  • And did The Daily Bugle decree the other Marvel heroes as "menaces"?
  • There were a LOT of crimebosses and would-be crimebosses in that book over the 60s and 70s (The Big Man, Crimemaster, Doctor Octopus, the Green Goblin, Silvermane, Hammerhead, the Disrupter and, of course, the Kingpin). How much territory was divided up in NYC? And why were they largely ignored by the other heroes?
  • Was Norman Osbourne ever a good man? Even in non-Goblin stories, he seemed cold and harsh? Poor Harry!

Well, there you go! Compliments of Your Friendly Neighborhood Fan of Bronze! With hopefully more to follow!

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Was just talking about CAPTAIN MAR-VELL earlier today at another board...

"I don't know how you can "prove" he's the writer without credits though."

Read enough stories by enough writers, and sooner or later, you can really begin to recognize a writer's style.

I've seen instances of this, for example, when Gary Friedrich took over CAPTAIN MAR-VELL from Arnold Drake-- almost 2 issues before his name turned up in the credits. (I figure it was a very late, last-minute substitution, judging by the utter PLUNGE in both the story and artwork, and I'd even bet Drake did write and was paid for those 2 issues-- but except for the first several pages, what he wrote was not what they published.)
The CAPTAIN MAR-VELL example I cited, I read all the issues involved 3 times in a few short years.  By the 3rd time around, I had noticed certain "tics" in Arnold Drake's dialogue, which were definitely there in the first 4 pages of issue #11.  But NOT there afterwards.  Also, page 5 was then the story abruptly changed direction, and cotinued with the new (nearly-incoherent) direction for the next 5 issues.  The style of #11 & 12 were very much "Gary Friedrich"-- who was credited for #13-15.  Arnold actually told me he had a payment voucher for one of those 2 issues, which meant he must have written and got paid for it.  But with his abrupt dismissal from all his Marvel work at once, the impression I got was, he may have written for those issues, but whatever he wrote was not what they printed.

Adding to this was the completely non-sensical replacement of Don Heck (who, under a decent inker, was actually doing much better in the "storytelling" and "design" department than Gene Colan had been doing-- YES, that's what I said!!), with Dick Ayers.  The editorial claimed "Dick Ayers was getting tired of doing 2 war books a month, so he swapped titles with Don Heck".  I read that and thought... WHAT??? That's completely insane.  However... Dick Ayers was known as one of the FASTEST and MOST DEPENDABLE guys at Marvel, one of those you'd go to if you needed an entire book done over a weekend. And that book (#11) LOOKED like it had been done over a weekend.  Vince Colletta was actually doing better work than usual for him on the previous several issues, but that issue looked like the single WORST ink job he did in his entire life.  It would not surprise me if the editor hadn't desperately needed almost the entire book redone from scratch, in a few days' time. Which would explain why the story makes no sense, is horribly written, horribly pencilled, and horribly inked.

There really seemed to be a curse on that series.  No doubt a result of it being a mandate from the publisher (create a series called "Captain Marvel"), and the alleged hoped-for tie-in with a toy line that never materialized (when I heard about this, it explained the clunkiness of his original costume).

I talked about Captain Marvel's strangely presented last few appearances here.  Interesting for lots of reasons.  You wouldn't really know that the artist on Marvel Spotlight #8 was Miller if not for the credits listing!

 

I still can't believe they haven't hoaked Mar-Vell out of the ground after all these years.  A few close calls, yes, but he's still dead.  Not for long, apparently, but its still along time to be dead in the MU!

I guess you're not reading Avengers Vs X-Men, Figs? Though the jury is still out on if it's really Mar-Vell.

Figserello:

"These 4 issues all star Captain Marvel, and would seem to be leftover material from that character's own terminated series, which ended earlier that year.  Issues 1-3 have the same creative team as the final issues of the original Captain Marvel series, and they seem to tie up a storyline from there dealing with the cosmic gods of Titan.  It seems strange to cancel that series and then pick up where it left off in an anthology series later on.  Possibly the thinking was that a comic with #1 on the cover would be picked up by more readers than had been picking up the regular Captain Marvel comic."

"Seem" nothing. That was a 7-part story by Moench & Broderick. I don't know what kind of screwball idea they thought it was, cancelling the book and putting the last 3 chapters in a "new" anthology (WHY "Vol.2" anyway?) but it was idiotic. The proper thing to have done would have been to just let the story finish out, and then end the book at the end of the story. Actually, there was one more Moench-Broderick episode, a stand-alone (which I recall didn't make a damn bit of sense-- was Doug taking "Englehart" pills at the time-- I recall Steve's CM became very non-sensical just before he jumped ship, one episode before ending a 6-part storyline of his own).

Just looking back over my CM index, it's clear the "every 6 issues" thing is more true than it should have been.  The book was always a mess from the beginning, until Jim Starlin came along and no doubt shocked everybody by turning it into something worthwhile. But then he left to do the same to WARLOCK, and CM, while it never quite sank to the levels it had been under Friedrich, Kane, or Boring, never attainted the heights it had.  Steve Englehart was probably the best writer on it after Starlin, but while Al Milgrom did some fine storytelling, he could have really used better inks. Then Conway happened... after which, Scott Edelman was a big improvement. (I noticed EVERY book Gerry Conway took over around then improved drastically as soon as he left.) I'd have thought Moench & Broderick could have worked miracles-- they certainly seemed to be consciously trying to retread Starlin's era. But it didn't have the "spark". Ah well.

Perhaps this is what happens when just about nobody involved has any personal stake in a character.

By the way, I noticed you mentioned "Byrne-Claremont STAR-LORD".  Byrne only worked on the 2nd story. After that it was Carmine Infantino & Bob Wiacek, Bill Sienkiewicz & Bob McLeod, and Gene Colan. The only one who stuck around was Claremont, but for some reason, they never found a regular artist for the character.  Maybe that's why, after so much flash, it fizzled so fast.

At his website Englehart says he co-plotted his issues of Captain Marvel with Milgrom with Milgrom, and in the latter part of their run together Milgrom did more of the plotting because Englehart was now living in California. he also lists the issue that concluded their storyline (#46) as plotted by himself and Milgrom and just scripted by Claremont.

 

(corrected - Milgrom remained with the title a while longer)

Interesting. I don't recall if Steve was even listed on #46 at all (and you'd think he should have been, if only for momentum, as it was the finale of a 6-parter). Personally, I don't think it's ever a good idea to do a long, continued storyline in a bi-monthly book. That can't help sales. And yet there Steve did a 6-parter, Jim Shooter started a 9-parter in DAREDEVIL and Don McGregor did a 13-parter in JUNGLE ACTION (and was in the middle of another one when the book was cancelled).

Milgrom did some nice inks back then, but needed much better inks than he usually got for his pencils.  On CM, there were 3 issues with Klaus Janson (dark & ugly), 3 Al inked himself (sloppy), 7 with Terry Austin (not bad) plus 2 more he did some of, plus other inks by Alden McWilliams, Berni Wrightson, Craig Russell, Bob McLeod & Bob Wiacek.  Come to think of it, I think he had a different inker on almost every GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY episode he did.  Don't you hate when that happens?

I don't think I've read any of these books (except the ones Starli did) since they came out.  Looking forward to reading them again one of these days.

You Know it.... almost as bad as having a different artist every issue... no consistency....

Henry R. Kujawa said:

 .  Come to think of it, I think he had a different inker on almost every GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY episode he did.  Don't you hate when that happens?

 

Not to let cats out of the bag, but in the latest Avengers issue, it's pretty clear  that it is...

Philip Portelli said:

I guess you're not reading Avengers Vs X-Men, Figs? Though the jury is still out on if it's really Mar-Vell.

Kirk G:

"almost as bad as having a different artist every issue... no consistency...."

One of the worst instances I can think of was DC's RICHARD DRAGON, KUNG FU FIGHTER (1975).  The first 4 issues were pencilled by Leopold Duranona, Jim Starlin (layouts), Alan Weiss (finishes), Jack Kirby & Ric Estrada-- who wound up doing 15 issues in a row. The crazy thing is, the first 4 issues (each done by different artists) were all parts of a 4-part adaptation of a novel. That would be like having 4 or 5 directors working on a single 2-hour film (CASINO ROYALE, anyone?). Denny O'Neil was BOTH editor and writer... so I guess we can blame him!!!

Henry R. Kujawa said:

"Seem" nothing. That was a 7-part story by Moench & Broderick. I don't know what kind of screwball idea they thought it was, cancelling the book and putting the last 3 chapters in a "new" anthology (WHY "Vol.2" anyway?) but it was idiotic. The proper thing to have done would have been to just let the story finish out, and then end the book at the end of the story.

 

My thoughts on that, from another thread:

" ... there's no gap between CM 62 and Marvel Spotlight 1, as in if there had been a CM 63 it would have had a July 79 cover date just like MS 1 did. My theory is that CM wasn't selling well (pretty obvious, as it was cancelled) and Marvel thought giving CM a new issue #1 - even under a different title - might give it enough of a boost to save the title. On the cover, "Marvel Spotlight (on)" is in much smaller type than "Captain Marvel", and there is a promo caption saying "All-New! 1st Collector's Item Issue!"; a bit of a bait and switch if you ask me, as this wasn't a true relaunch (same creative team, continuation from CM 62) and easily could have been CM 63-66 ....."

As for why it was Volume 2, there was a previous Marvel Spotlight series in 1971.  Werewolf By Night and the Johnny Blaze Ghost Rider debuted there, and they starred in the book for a time (WBN in #2-4, GR in #5-11), as did Son of Satan (#12-24).  After that, it became a try-out book, mainly for existing characters (except for the debut of the Jessica Drew Spider-Woman, in #32) and was cancelled with issue #33.

Kirk G said:

Not to let cats out of the bag, but in the latest Avengers issue, it's pretty clear  that it is...

Philip Portelli said:

I guess you're not reading Avengers Vs X-Men, Figs? Though the jury is still out on if it's really Mar-Vell.


Me? The fourteenth Earl of Worcestershire? Peer of the realm, Rhodes scholar and good judge of fine port..... Read AvX? The very idea!

Either Captain Mar-vell has been dug out of his well-earned rest to pass on his mantle to Ms Marvel and legitimise her in the eyes of the fifty-somethings who read The Death of Captain Marvel in the 80s, in which case he can soon frak off back to his grave, or they will keep him around as founding Father of the Captain Marvel Corps which will be manned by every character who ever had the title.

They will all think that Carol Danvers is the bees' knees.
Didn't it turn out he wasn't Mar-Vell? Which seems to make him (and Gwen) today's Bucky. (Until one of them actually does come back.)

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