As promised, at the end of last year, this Silver-Age Challenge covers Marvel Comics. Frankly, coming up with ten interesting, suitably difficult, Google-resistant questions proved to be a lot tougher than I expected. I had set my target time for posting a Marvel quiz for June of this year, roughly six months following my DC quiz, and I felt, certainly, that ten decent posers would occur to me just naturally, in my scheme of thought.
Instead, by the time May rolled around, I had only four worthwhile questions, and for the last couple of weeks, the part of my brain devoted to comics trivia has been working on overdrive. Finally, yesterday, I came up with the last one.
As I explained in the prologue to my DC Silver-Age Challenge, to me, it’s not enough to simply gin up questions about comics trivia. Ideally, they should be questions that, when the reader discovers the answers, they should make him think “Wow, that’s interesting! I didn’t know that!” Then, there is the matter of technology; a good question should be one that isn’t readily solvable by plugging it into a search engine. I must have tossed out a dozen or so because of that consideration.
I’m not really sure why it was more difficult for me to come up with ten Marvel-related trivia questions. I suspect, though, that it has to do with the internecine nature of the Marvel universe. Where DC’s Silver-Age comics were segregated into fiefdoms, under different editors, over at Marvel, Stan Lee ran the whole show. And he did the bulk of the writing for the first several years. Because of that, he was forced to constantly revisit old ideas and spruce them up for new stories. Few items of information were left unplumbed, and lack of reminder is the very nature of trivia. That required me to really get down in the weeds to come up with forgotten items that met my criteria.
For those of you who came in late, or passed on the last one, here are the guidelines for tackling the quiz. All of the questions, and the answers, germinate from the Silver Age of Comics, as I define it. So the only material that counts comes from comics cover-dated September, 1956 to December, 1968. Any answers that contradict mine and are based on information introduced before or after that period will be considered wrong.
Each question has a ten-point value, with no points removed for an incorrect answer. After all, you don't win anything here. The points are for parceling out bragging rights.
And, of course, all of these questions have to do with Marvel Comics.
All set? O.K., here we go! As usual, I’ll start off with a lob . . . .
1. Which two super-heroes attended Metro College at the same time, though they never met on campus?
2. Not counting Captain “Happy Sam” Sawyer (or, for the nitpicky, his temporary relief, Captain Flint, either), which regular member of the Howling Commandos was actually a commissioned officer during World War II?
3. On her twenty-third birthday, Janet (the Wasp) Van Dyne received her complete inheritance. How much money did her father leave her?
4. What Fantastic Four supporting character was based on the star of a syndicated comic strip?
6. During his ten-century space flight to Alpha Centauri, Major Vance Astro survived by spending the entire time in suspended animation. When he arrived on the closest planet, he discovered that Earthmen had beaten him there because, two hundred years after he left Earth, man had learnt how to go faster than light. Who was the physicist who perfected faster-than-light travel and rendered Major Astro’s flight pointless?
7. The original line-up of Avengers lasted for only the first two issues of The Avengers. In only one story outside of its own title was this group of five depicted (not counting flashbacks). What tale was that?
8. The international terrorist organisation Hydra named its various departments after animals. What was the animal name by which its supply division was known?
9. Speaking of suspended animation, when Merlin the Magician awoke after a centuries-long slumber, he decided to offer his services to the President of the United States, as he had to King Arthur. However, after entering the White House and seeing the Chief Executive, Merlin did not believe the man was the President. Why?
Being the sporting fellow that I am, there is no bar to researching the answers. In fact, it will be at least two weeks before I run the answers. That should allow plenty of time for anyone to dig out his old Marvel comics and take a shot at it.