Deck Log Entry # 155 The Silver-Age Challenge---Marvel Edition II . . . Answers!

Man oh man!  I don’t know if it’s because my questions were a bit too easy or because Jeff of Earth-J is a dyed-in-the-wool Silver-Age Marvel expert (I suspect it’s an admix of both), but he nailed most of the correct answers right out of the gate.  And of the two he missed, Philip Portelli picked up half the slack by correctly identifying the right name in question number three.


One proper response, however, eluded them both.  I’ll talk about that one last.  In order to do that, I have to get the other six out of the way.  The suspense is gone, due to Jeff and Philip being so sharp, but I’ll go ahead and post the correct answers, anyway.



2.  Sgt. Fury King-Size Special # 3 told us what the surviving members of World War II’s Howling Commandos were doing in 1967.  What position was held by former Howler Robert “Rebel” Ralston at that time?


I thought this one would be a lot trickier.  Even several “authoritative” websites about Nick Fury and the Howlers insist that Reb Ralston became a U.S. senator after his military service.  He did, but all of these sites---and his official biography on the Marvel Wiki---miss the fact that he was a congressman in the House of Representatives long before he subsequently was elected to the Senate.


Fortunately, Jeff didn’t pay any attention to those sites.  He was spot-on in stating that Reb was a freshman congressman.


When Ralston makes his first appearance in Sgt. Fury King-Size Special # 3 (1967), the text makes it clear that he was a “newly elected southern congressman”.

And he was a member of the House of Representatives for quite a while.  He was still a congressman in his next modern-day appearance, in Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos # 100 (Jul., 1972).  It wasn't until Captain America # 273 (Sep., 1982) that we saw Reb as a senator.



3.  Long before using his super-powers as a force for good, which Marvel hero fought in the Korean War as an ordinary U.S. Army soldier?


It was Professor X---Charles Xavier---who saw action as an Army infantryman during the Korean War.  This was established in The X-Men # 12 (Jul., 1965), which told us Professor X’s origin as well as that of the rampaging super-villain, the Juggernaut.  Xavier’s bullying step-brother, Cain Marko, was also a ground-pounder in Korea and he was transformed into the Juggernaut after deserting under fire.

I don’t think Xavier’s military service was ever mentioned again, but that one time was all Philip needed to chime in with the right answer.



4.  Sam, Slim, and their blonde associate were the gatekeepers and first line of defence for what important facility?


Silver-Age “Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.” fans know that a barber shop near Fifty-ninth Street and Madison Avenue served as the front for the entrance to S.H.I.E.L.D.’s underground Manhattan headquarters.


The shop’s staff---Sam, the barber; Slim, the bootblack; and Not-Given-a-Name, the manicurist---were actually trained S.H.I.E.L.D. agents whose responsibility was to screen official visitors and defend the hidden HQ from intrusion.  A prime example of this was seen in Strange Tales # 136 (Sep., 1965), when they captured two disguised Hydra agents who had trailed Colonel Nick Fury into the shop.


While researching material for this quiz, my initial thought was that a question about Sam and Slim and What’s-Her-Name would be too much like asking “What was the name of Clark Kent’s teacher in Superboy # 116?”---an insignificant one-time appearance.  But I checked it out, anyway. 


I was a little surprised to discover that Sam, Slim, and Miss No-Name were not one-shot wonders, but appeared several times, not just in Strange Tales, but in The Avengers and Captain America, as well.  That’s impressive consistency for three characters whom were essentially there just to provide background.


Incidentally, I had a brain neuron misfire when I wrote that question.  The anonymous manicurist was obviously a brunette, not a blonde.  My gaffe didn’t keep Jeff from determining the correct answer, though.



5.  Shortly after Captain America’s revival in 1964, Tony Stark outfitted the Star-Spangled Avenger’s shield with a number of magnetic gimmicks.  In Tales of Suspense # 62 (Feb., 1965), Cap disclosed that he got rid of the gadgets because they disrupted the shield’s delicate balance.  Obviously, not everybody got the word because sometime after that issue, a villain attempted to steal Cap’s shield to obtain the magnetic devices he believed it contained.  Who was this misinformed villain?


I chose my words carefully when I posed this question.  I wanted to make it clear that I was referring to a baddie who appeared after the Captain America story which appeared in Tales of Suspense # 62.  That way anyone who offered the answer of “the Deacon” couldn’t call “foul”.  And being the fellow of integrity he is, Philip did not call foul when he replied with just that response.


The answer, of course---from Tales of Suspense # 82 (Mar., 1967)---is the Planner.  Either a Peerless one or a Master one, depending on where one encountered the story.


To answer Fraser Sherman’s question as to whether “Peerless” was simply a descriptive term or actually part of the villain’s sobriquet, I went through my copy of that story carefully.  To be sure, both “Peerless Planner” and the simple, unadorned “Planner” appear several times throughout.  However, it’s how each is referenced that makes the difference.


It’s only the criminal mastermind’s gang, and later, Captain America, who refer to him as “Planner”.  The villain himself always gives his name as “the Peerless Planner”, as does the one time the narrative text mentions him by name.  I read that as “the Peerless Planner” being the nom du crime he has chosen for himself, while his henchmen simply speak to or of him as “Planner” for short.  Much in the same way the Wingless Wizard is almost always addressed as “the Wizard”.



 6.  Doctor Strange had Wong, but who was the Ancient One’s faithful man-servant?


Hamir---more formally known as Hamir the Hermit---is correct.  I had thought that this one would be more of a stumper.  Though seen in nine Silver-Age stories of Doctor Strange, beginning with Strange Tales # 111 (Aug., 1963), he was such a fringe character that he wasn’t even given a name until his sixth appearance, in Strange Tales # 136 (Sep., 1965).



7.  What was the name of the exclusive private gentlemen’s club of which J. Jonah Jameson was a member?


It was, indeed, the Midtown Business Executives Club, first seen in The Amazing Spider-Man # 23 (Apr., 1965).  Though rarely shown again---I believe only one other time during the Silver Age---the scenes taking place there helped define the character of J. Jonah Jameson by depicting him among his peers.  (He didn’t get any more pleasant to be around.)




And that brings us to question number one on this quiz . . . .


What was the name of the small village in which Pietro and Wanda---Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch---lived as children and called home?


Jeff of Earth-J replied “Dragorin”.


I have to rule that answer as incorrect.


That wasn’t a decision made out of hand.  I researched Dragorin as deeply as I could on line.  I spent hours on it and found several references listing Dragorin as a village in the Marvel universe’s European nation of Transia.  I also discovered several references to Dragorin being the birthplace of Philip Masters, the Marvel villain known as the Puppet Master.  But I couldn’t find anything directly linking Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch to Dragorin.


But that’s not my basis for determining that Jeff’s answer was wrong.


My basis was the timing.    Remember, as always, if it wasn’t shown in the Silver Age, then it doesn’t count.  Try as I might, I was unable to find a citation for the earliest reference to Dragorin in a Marvel comic.  It would have been nice to have such a citation; it would have made things cut and dried, since I’m pretty sure that “Dragorin” didn’t appear until after 1968, my cut-off for the Silver Age.


You see, in researching this question, I started with Pietro and Wanda’s last appearances in 1968 and worked my way back to their introductions in The X-Men # 4 (Mar., 1964), and I found no mention of “Dragorin”.  I did, however, find a specific reference to the village in which the mutant siblings were born and lived as children.  This came in the two-part adventure appearing in The Avengers # 36-7 (Jan. and Feb., 1967).


Here, the childhood home of Wanda and Pietro was stated to be the European village of Transia---as seen in the panel from The Avengers # 36 below:


And just in case anyone concocts the idea that the ellipsis between “Transia” and “the village where Pietro and I were born” suggests that they are two different things, this panel from the last page of the story conclusively establishes that Transia was a village, not a country.



Therefore, at least in the Silver Age, the correct name of the village where Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch lived as children is “Transia”.


Sorry, Jeff, but obviously Marvel Earth’s geography got mixed around a bit post-Silver Age and that did you in.


(I’m not immune to oversight, my friend.  As always, if you can find a specific Silver-Age reference to Dragorin being the place, then I’ll gladly reverse my call.)


Even with that lapse, Jeff logged in an impressive number of correct answers in record time.  I suspect (or at least, I hope) that is the reason why no-one else but Philip took a stab at responding.  So bravo zulu to him for demonstrating his thorough Silver-Age knowledge, and to Philip, as well, for nailing that largely forgotten detail about Professor Xavier’s tour of Army duty in Korea.


You two guys made it look too easy.  As far as my next trivia quiz goes, it seems that I’ll have to follow the unofficial credo of the U.S. Navy’s Surface Warfare community---“Nothing is so difficult that we can’t make it tougher!”


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Comment by Doctor Hmmm? on April 26, 2013 at 10:43am

Considering that (a) I have a head full of useless junk (an admission I make to The Lovely and Talented often enough that I ought to just get it printed on a business card) and (b) I love Silver Age Comics more than a grown man should, I'm surprisingly terrible at these things.

The only one of these I would have gotten was the one about Professor X in Korea ... and that's only because Action Lad was reading The X-Men #12 last week.

Comment by Kirk G on April 15, 2013 at 8:20pm

Holy crap!  You guys decided to hold a silver age marvel trivia contest, and didn't even invite me????

I could have given you a run for your  money on a few of these questions, but I can't come close to your record...

It would have been easy picken's for you to have abscounded with my entry fees!

Comment by The Baron on April 11, 2013 at 6:21am

Thanks, Commander. Fascinating stuff, as always.

Comment by Richard Willis on April 11, 2013 at 2:53am

Commander Benson said:

When you ask someone who happens to be an Army veteran what service he was in, he will respond "the United States Army" or, simply, "the Army". He won't reply "the U.S. Army Cavalry" or "the Army Artillery". That's because there never was a service named "the Army Cavalry" or "the Army Artillery". The cavalry and the artillery are combat branches of the particular service the U.S. Army.

I've also been annoyed by references to the "U.S. Cavalry" in movies, as if it was a separate service.

Another slightly less annoying thing is when (in the movie THE HORSE SOLDIERS) John Wayne refers to "the Union Army". I think he would have said the United States Army. I don't know who at the time (except perhaps the press) would have used the term Union Army.

Comment by Commander Benson on April 10, 2013 at 4:55pm

"So, when we start fighting wars in space, who will the US Space Force split off from?"


Originally, the U.S Air Force was responsible for outer space as a theatre of operation.  In 1985, the Department of Defense established the United States Space Command (USSPACECOM) as a unified combatant command.  What that meant was USSPACECOM could draw assets from any service to meet its responsibility for defending America when strategy and tactics require going above the Kármán Line (sixty-two miles above sea level).  However, command and control of USSPACECOM fell under the Air Force. 


In 2002, Federal budget revisions limited the number of unified combatant commands in the Defense Department to ten, and USSPACECOM didn't make the cut.  That resulted in the loss of its "purple suit" (joint service) status.  Its name was changed to the Air Force Space Command (AFSPC) and it was assigned to the United States Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM).


This is where things get a little tricky for the uninitiated, and even sometimes for the initiated.  The Air Force is responsible for maintaining the equipment and weaponry for use in outer space and for developing the strategic and tactical plans for operations up there.  But it's USSTRATCOM that is now responsible for outer space as a theatre of operation, and USSTRATCOM is a joint command.  That means outer space is now the responsibility of the Department of Defense and not one service in particular.


So, theoretically, if our operations in space every reach the point when we have to have assets dedicated to it full-time and on station, I imagine instead of turning a component of the Air Force into its own space service, it will simply call for volunteers from all the other services to inter-service transfer to the Space Force.




Comment by The Baron on April 10, 2013 at 3:28pm

So, when we start fighting wars in space, who will the US Space Force split off from?

Comment by Jeff of Earth-J on April 10, 2013 at 2:57pm

Thanks, Adam! That's a clear and concise explanation, which I've hard-copied to keep with my "Terry & the Pirates" volumes. I read that whole run recently, and I encountered some of the same confusion I displayed today while reading the introductory material.

Sometimes my workload keeps me off the board for weeks at a time and unfortunately I missed your previous Marvel quiz.

Comment by Commander Benson on April 10, 2013 at 2:14pm

". . . the Air corps was 'abolished as an administrative entity in 1942 [but] remained as one of the combat arms of the Army until 1947.'"


What that means, Jeff, is the Air Corps (no more "Army" in front of it) became a combat specialty within the U.S. Army, like the infantry or the cavalry or artillery or intelligence or the quartermaster corps.


When you ask someone who happens to be an Army veteran what service he was in, he will respond "the United States Army" or, simply, "the Army".  He won't reply "the U.S. Army Cavalry" or "the Army Artillery".  That's because there never was a service named "the Army Cavalry" or "the Army Artillery".  The cavalry and the artillery are combat branches of the particular service the U.S. Army.


What blurs the distinction is the fact that, while there never was an Army Cavalry or an Army Artillery, there was once an Army Air Corps---before it was subsumed by the Army Air Forces and demoted to a combat branch, as simply the Air Corps.


And people being creatures of habit, many veterans who had been members of the Army Air Corps before it became simply "the Air Corps", under the Army Air Forces, a component of the Army, probably still continued to refer to themselves as members of "the Army Air Corps".


So, it breaks down like this:


Until 20 June 1941, you had the service---the Army---and under it, the Army Air Corps, as a component.


On 20 June 1941 until early in 1942, you had the Army, with the Army Air Forces as a compenent, while the Army Air Corps lingered on as a component on paper, for administrative reasons involving allocation of assets and operating target funds from the previous fiscal year.


By the spring of 1942 until 17 September 1947, you had the Army, under which was the Army Air Forces, and under that was the (no-"Army") Air Corps, a combat branch within the Army/Army Air Forces.


On 17 September 1947 until the present, you had the Army and its former component, the Army Air Forces, became its own service, the U.S. Air Force.  The Air Force absorbed most of the Air Corps assets held by the Army.


However, helicopters and certain light fixed-wing aircraft remained as Army assets.  (That's why the chopper pilots you occasionally see in M*A*S*H are commissioned or warrant officers in the Army.)  Administratively, the aircraft and pilots of the Army were attached to the infantry branch of the Army until 12 April 1983, when they were designated as their own branch---the aviation branch of the Army.


Hope this helps.

Comment by Philip Portelli on April 10, 2013 at 12:08pm

That was a question from the Good Commander's last Marvel quiz. I, too, was mistaken about who exactly did Ben fly for during WWII. I mentioned the Army Air Corps as well and got some props as a consolation prize! ;-)

Comment by Jeff of Earth-J on April 10, 2013 at 11:39am

According to Wikipedia (I know, I know) the United States Army Air Forces was established in 1941. It goes on to say that the Air corps was “abolished as an administrative entity in 1942 [but] remained as one of the combat arms of the Army until 1947.” I thought the Air Corps morphed into the Air Force in 1947, but apparently I was mistaken. Generally I would hang my “head in shame,” but I am genuinely confused. I’ll have to delve a little further into that article when I have more time.

AGH! Ben was in the Marines! [headslap smiley]


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