Over the years here at the Comics Cave there have been a large number of re-reading threads.  Several different Legionnaires have tackled various series, across the ages:  Golden, Silver, Bronze, modern, and current.  Many fine discussions, and links can be found here:


For myself, I'm currently doing four threads, all set in the Silver Age: Avengers, Iron Man, Spider-Man, and Thor.  I have a pretty full plate but that doesn't stop me from thinking of doing other threads in the future.  However, I'm not pleased with my own pace and at this time doing additional threads is simply not going to happen (check back in a few years).  But certainly Legionnaires like Randy Jackson, Richard Mantle, The Baron, Philip Portelli, Jeff of Earth-J, Chris Fluit (just to name a few) and many more have started many great re-reading threads.  I would like to encourage these fine folks - and indeed all members of this board, even if you haven't ever started such a thread before - to consider beginning new discussions.  Since Silver Age Marvel threads are what's in my wheelhouse at the moment, I'm going to share my thoughts on threads we haven't had yet .... but hopefully may see in the future.

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Well, I wrote about FANTASTIC FOUR #6 here!

Richard Willis said:

John Dunbar said:

Fantastic Four

Fantastic Four #1-102, FF Annual #1-6

I could have sworn we had a discussion thread of the early Fantastic Four, but I haven't been able to find it.

John reviewed some early issues here.

Commander Benson posted a column on the Hulk/Avengers story from #25-#26 here.

As Luke said, I started a thread several years ago - "Some random thoughts on Essential FF Vol 1".  It was unfocused, I stopped and re-started it at least once, didn't say much at all about several issues, and didn't complete it either.  Not a thread I'm overly proud of.  I think a proper re-reading thread examining each issue would be much better - not that I'm volunteering!


Incredible Hulk 1-6 (May 62-Mar 63), Fantastic Four 12 (Mar 63), Avengers 1-3 (Sept 63-Jan 64), Fantastic Four 25-26 (Apr-May 64), Avengers 5 (May 64), Amazing Spider-Man 14 (July 64), Tales To Astonish 59-101 (Sept 64-Mar 68), Journey Into Mystery 112 (Jan 65), Amazing Spider-Man Annual 3 (1966)

The Hulk was Marvel's first comeback kid of the Silver Age.  He was the first character to get his own book after the Fantastic Four, pre-dating the debuts of Ant-Man (although not Hank Pym), Thor, Spider-Man, and the rest, and the first to get his book cancelled, after six issues.  But Stan and Jack did not let old Greenskin languish in limbo for long.  The same month that the Hulk's last issue came out saw the first Silver Age Marvel crossover, with Hulk guest starring in Fantastic Four #12.  Six months after his comic was cancelled, the Hulk reappeared and was a charter member of the Avengers in their debut issue.  His time with the super-team was chaotic; he quit at the end of Avengers #2, and then joined forces with Namor and attacked his former teammates in Avengers #3.  After being abandoned by his amphibian ally, he then took on both the FF and the Avengers in Fantastic Four # 25 & 26.  He shows up again in Avengers #5, where he is tricked into helping the team against the Lava Men, guest stars in Amazing Spider-Man #14, and then battles Giant-Man in Tales to Astonish #59, which leads into the Hulk getting his own series again in TTA in the next issue.  There's only 13 months between Avengers #1 and Astonish #60; clearly Stan and Jack had a certain fondness for the Hulk and did not want him to just fade away.  I think subsequent guest appearances in Journey Into Mystery #112 in 1965 and ASM Annual #3 in 1966 spoke to the popularity of the character really taking off after he got his own series again.

One interesting thing about the Hulk as a property is that for most of the issues I've mentioned above, it was almost always Stan and Jack that worked on him, except for Incredible Hulk #6 and ASM #14, which featured art by Steve Ditko.  But no Don Heck, Bob Powell, or (until TTA #59) Dick Ayers.  Ditko also does the cover for Hulk #6, which is significant as Kirby was doing most of the superhero covers, even when the interiors are handed off to the likes of Heck.  I wonder if the Hulk series had continued beyond #6 if Ditko would have stayed on?  It's the same month as ASM #1 and only a few months before the Dr. Strange strip.  That would have been a lot on his plate.

Once the Hulk's strip begins in Astonish, Ditko provides the pencils on #60-67 and then Kirby follows and stays until #82.  After that, there's a few different artists: Bill Everett, John Buscema, and then Marie Severin, who stays on the book through the name change from Astonish to Incredible Hulk up to #105.  And of course, following Severin was the legendary Herb Trimpe, who was the regular artist for several years, right up to 1975.

The Hulk had an amazing journey through the Silver Age, and given the popularity of the character and the creative talents involved, I think a Hulk re-reading thread would be one well worth having.

My interest in seeing a Hulk re-reading thread of the issues mentioned above: 10/10.

Stan knew that #6 was going to be the last issue so he had Ditko draw it so Jack could start on Sgt. Fury.

Philip Portelli said:

Stan knew that #6 was going to be the last issue so he had Ditko draw it so Jack could start on Sgt. Fury.

....and,  IIRC, the limit on Marvel titles that DC was willing to distribute forced them to choose between starting Sgt Fury and continuing The Hulk. Obviously, they intended it to be a temporary end to Hulk's adventures, hence his several guest appearances.

I have the recently published Epic collection (Man or Monster) which covers everything you list except TTA 60-up and ASM Annual #3 (which I have separately), so I'd be happy to read along on this and comment.

Human Torch

Strange Tales #101-134 and Annual #2  (Oct 62 - July 65)

Almost a year after the debut of the Fantastic Four, Johnny Storm was given his own solo series.  That is, it was supposed to be his solo series.  However, there were frequent guest appearances by the other members of the FF, and after two years, the Torch had to share his section of Strange Tales with the Thing.  However, adding Ben Grimm to the mix just didn't pan out, as the duo lost their spot to Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. with #135.

It was a coincidence (I think) that Johnny headlined a book called Strange Tales and so many of his stories were just odd.  Despite the FF comic showing the team living in their headquarters in the heart of New York City, the Torch's series showed him and his sister Sue living in the suburbs by themselves.  Not only that, in the FF's mag, it's public knowledge that Johnny is the Torch, but in the pages of ST, he has a secret identity.  Except that everyone knows his sister is the Invisible Girl and that the Storms are siblings.  This was eventually explained as Johnny wanting to have a secret identity and his friends just humoring him.  There were lots of lame villains, some of whom gave Johnny much more trouble than any regular reader of Fantastic Four might expect.  And not just some sad sack rogues; Johnny often found himself in situations where wet leaves or acorns, or heck, just a bit of wind, rendered him helpless.  The highlight among Johnny's foes were 3/4 of the original Frightful Four:  the Wizard, the Sandman, and Paste Pot Pete; ok, to be fair, Pete was a loser too, although he would redeem himself somewhat once he was renamed the Trapster.

The Human Torch was a hit in Marvel's Golden Age, so it made sense to try again in the Silver Age.  But there wasn't much interesting about Johnny Storm.  There was little conflict and less tragedy in the character.  He was good looking and into cars; girls loved him and guys looked up to him.  In Strange Tales, he felt like a DC character stuck in a Marvel book.  Stan Lee did most of the writing but it felt very dry and humdrum compared to his other work.  Jack Kirby did the art for the first 5 installments and came back for a few more afterwards.  Dick Ayers inked Jack's work, and followed him as the regular artist for most of the run.  Ayers was a great inker for Kirby, but his own artwork didn't compare.  He just wasn't the storyteller Jack was, and his art looked stiff and drab.  All talented creators, but this was a series that just never clicked.

My interest in seeing a Human Torch re-reading thread of Strange Tales #101-134 and Annual #2: 2/10.

John Dunbar said: 

"In Strange Tales, he (the Human Torch) felt like a DC character stuck in a Marvel book."

Which is ironic since Strange Tales #112-113 (S-O'63) were written by Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel who was credited as "Joe Carter".

True, but from the very start, the Torch was a squeaky clean protagonist, almost completely lacking any flaws.  Which says Silver Age DC to me rather than Silver Age Marvel.  Jerry Siegel didn't break any new ground for Johnny Storm.

My interest in a Human Torch discussion would go up if it was done in a "so bad it's good" vein.

John Dunbar said:

My interest in a Human Torch discussion would go up if it was done in a "so bad it's good" vein.

It pretty much would have to be. How many of us have access to the stories? I know I don't.

Lacking any flaws? Ask the Thing that!

John Dunbar said:

True, but from the very start, the Torch was a squeaky clean protagonist, almost completely lacking any flaws.  Which says Silver Age DC to me rather than Silver Age Marvel.  Jerry Siegel didn't break any new ground for Johnny Storm.

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