Is there something about the fourth issue of a team book that means you have to (re) introduce a new character? Let's consider ...

  • Justice League of America #4 and Green Arrow
  • Fantastic Four #4 and Sub-Mariner
  • Avengers #4 and Captain America
  • Teen Titans #4 and Speedy
  • X-Men #4 and Quicksilver & the Scarlet Witch (I know it's a cheat, but I couldn't resist it!)
  • Defenders #4 and Valkyrie

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This pattern has been noted before.....and is the basis of the joke in She-Hulk #4 where the Blonde Phantom is returned to active status.

I don't mind that you included Wanda and Pietro in X-men #4... but I think the intro of the entire Brotherhood is a better call.

The fact about the fourth issue in an ongoing series is that it's the first issue with a letter page, more importantly, the first issue that can be made AFTER THE SALES FIGURES start rolling in (on the first issue, in the case of a monthly.)  So, if you were planning something startling (like the return of Cap America) you might want to include in that issue letters from fans that say "Gee, this team is great" or "Why have you included the HULK, he doesn't fit" or "Why don't you bring back Captain America to join the team".   After all, we have no proof that some of those letters in the silver age weren't plants.

Stan has all but admitted that he wanted Cap in the Avengers right from the start...and that he included the Hulk just cause he would stir things up and give them a foil to work off. (It certainly helps that his color scheme is completely at odds with the red, white, blue and gold that marked the other heroes.)

Kirk G : don't mind that you included Wanda and Pietro in X-men #4... but I think the intro of the entire Brotherhood is a better call.

I think Sub-Mariner is an exception too, come to think of it. As he also didn't join the team. Interesting though, thanks for the added info.

I did attempt searching the forum but I couldn't find anything. I was also looking for further examples of this pattern, but didn't find anymore.

Interesting that Stan wanted Cap from the start. I like how the team developed right up to issue 15, by which time I think Stan was tired of having one character in two places at the same time - their own book/strip and the Avengers.

It might be relevant that titles (including Defenders) started out as bimonthlies, and the fourth issue was the one that came out six months after the first.

 

It's not impossible that Lee tried to repeat with Avengers #4 what had succeeded with Fantastic Four #4. Note that the end of Avengers #2 (the Hulk quits the Avengers), repeated the end of Fantastic Four #2 (the Torch quits the FF), I would think probably deliberately. (Come to think of it, there's even a similarity between the Space Phantom and the Skrulls; like them he was a round-eyed shape-changer with pointy ears who masqueraded as members of the title's team.) The team-member-quits idea turned up a third time in X-Men #3, when the Beast quits the X-Men.

 

Speedy's appearance in Teen Titans #4 may have been a deliberate echo of Justice League of America #4, although he guested instead of joining the regular cast. The cover designs of the two issues are quite similar.

Found a few:

Amazing Spider-Man #4: first appearance of Sandman, first appearance of Betty Brant, first identification of Liz Allen by name

Hawkman #4: first appearance of Zatanna

Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos #4: first appearance of Pamela Hawley and death of Junior Juniper (only Howler to die, ever?)

I realize they're not team books (unless you count Sgt. Fury) but think it's just as interesting.

Oh, I meant that the pattern of the fourth issue has been discussed elsewhere in fandom for years!

I think Stan was more annoyed or tired of constant questions from kids/fans on how Thor could be with the Avengers, when he was in Asgard over in his book...or similar questions that kept pouring in. It just became a nightmare to try to keep explaining, and justify, and he had bigger fish to fry.  Plus, if the theory that each artist was writing the books is correct, then anything that Kirby wasn't drawing and coordinating would be extremely difficult to coordinate (at that time) between Larry Leiber, Kirby, Don Heck, Ditko, etc.   


By the time a year had passed, the stories being told in the Avengers had taken a nose-dive, and there were a couple of lame filler issues before the move to wrap up Zemo & Cap's storyline dovetailed into the reorganization issue #15.  So, my guess is that Stan had a year of stories laid out in one plotting session....and then either decided to change up the team because of coordination problems or that he wanted simpler, less complicated stories.  Or a cast of characters that didn't duplicate elsewhere.

The funny thing is Cap not only was in his own adventures, but also in the Avengers, and also trying to join SHIELD, and so would show up in THREE series.


Dandy Forsdyke said:

Kirk G : don't mind that you included Wanda and Pietro in X-men #4... but I think the intro of the entire Brotherhood is a better call.

I think Sub-Mariner is an exception too, come to think of it. As he also didn't join the team. Interesting though, thanks for the added info.

I did attempt searching the forum but I couldn't find anything. I was also looking for further examples of this pattern, but didn't find anymore.

Interesting that Stan wanted Cap from the start. I like how the team developed right up to issue 15, by which time I think Stan was tired of having one character in two places at the same time - their own book/strip and the Avengers.

"By the time a year had passed, the stories being told in the Avengers had taken a nose-dive"

And when did this happen?  When Jack Kirby left.  If the same guy was really writing ALL those issues, this would NOT have happened.  I mean... look at Steve Englehart's run.   He had some TERRIBLE artists!  It never made any difference in the quality of the stories (only the enjoyment of the books as a whole).

SPOILERS:

Junior Juniper was NOT the only Howler to ever die.  I can't tell you who without spoiling it all for you, but by issue 18, there's another issue totally drawn by Kirby that has one of the most emotional punches of the series!  I'm pretty sure it's titled either "Death of a Howler" or "Death Without Warning".

Richard Willis said:

Found a few:

Amazing Spider-Man #4: first appearance of Sandman, first appearance of Betty Brant, first identification of Liz Allen by name

Hawkman #4: first appearance of Zatanna

Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos #4: first appearance of Pamela Hawley and death of Junior Juniper (only Howler to die, ever?)

OK, I was right. It IS in Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos #18 that it happens.  The cover blurb is "Killed in Action"!

But according to the GCD, pencil chores were by Dick Ayers, with only the spash page and the final page 20 figures drawn by King Kirby.  Maybe that's why they have such power!



Kirk G said:

SPOILERS:

Junior Juniper was NOT the only Howler to ever die.  I can't tell you who without spoiling it all for you, but by issue 18, there's another issue totally drawn by Kirby that has one of the most emotional punches of the series!  I'm pretty sure it's titled either "Death of a Howler" or "Death Without Warning".

Richard Willis said:

Found a few:

Amazing Spider-Man #4: first appearance of Sandman, first appearance of Betty Brant, first identification of Liz Allen by name

Hawkman #4: first appearance of Zatanna

Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos #4: first appearance of Pamela Hawley and death of Junior Juniper (only Howler to die, ever?)

Also without spoiling the story, the character who dies is not one of the Howlers. Look at the GCD details for issue 18 to see who it is.

OK, I can't argue with that distinction, but one of the promotions of this issue suggested that the person was part of the Howler cast of characters, and since their introduction, they have been considered as part of the "troup"... but I won't argue the point.  Technically, I can see that you're right.

Here's a number 4 that no one mentioned. I forgot about it myself but they did introduce - or re-introduce - a lot of characters here.

Andy

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