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 Commander Benson on April 10, 2013 at 9:55am

I don't mind folks using the Internet to help them with my quiz questions.  In fact, I expect some will go to it anyway, so why prohibit it?  That's why I try to select questions that are the most Google-proof as I can make them.  In the case of Transia and Dragorin, Jeff, it appears that this was a unique situation where resorting to a search engine actually made answering a question tougher.


You still done good on most of them, my friend.  But your quiz answers were more accurate than your follow on post, heh.


". . .  from Ben being a pilot in the Army Air Corps . . . ."


1.  There was no Army Air Corps during World War II;


2.  Ben Grimm was a fighter pilot in the Marine Corps.

Comment by Jeff of Earth-J on April 10, 2013 at 8:52am

The first three of my answers I posted without looking them up, or, in the case of #1, I should say without looking them up properly. The first thing that popped into my mind was “Transia,” but then I second guessed myself because that was the country. I blush to admit I found “Dragorin” on the internet. Let this be a lesson to you kids at home: don’t try to take the easy shortcut and always do your homework!

The answer “Reed Richards” was a kind of a brain fart on my part, but because the question specified “U.S. Army soldier” I thought the Commander was differentiating Reed from Ben being a pilot in the Army Air Corps (but that wouldn’t have been the Korean War, anyway, would it?).

The answer “barbershop” was a guess, but I know the Commander to be a fan of Nick Fury in both his Silver Age incarnations, and besides, I couldn’t think of another “important facility” which might have needed “gatekeepers” and a “first line of defense” and who might have been named Sam and Slim and had a blonde (or brunette) assistant.

The other ones I had to look up, but I knew (generally) in which issue the answers were to be found.

You once had to look up the name of Thor’s ship to answer one of my questions in the old “I Ask, You Answer” contest thread, so I consider this quiz to be payback with interest.

Comment by Philip Portelli on April 6, 2013 at 2:09pm

More Kudos to Jeff than me, Commander! He did the heavy lifting. And I thought it was a hard quiz myself.

As for the answers,

1) "Dragorin" probably was Post Silver Age. I scanned The X-Men #4 too and left empty. Transia (a play on Translyvania) became the name of the country, instead of the village because of either wrongly taken info or it was the only name given at the time.

2) I was going with "Senator" but hesitated. Most Senators start off as Congressmen anyway. I read those King-Size Sgt. Furys and thought they were great comics with some real emotion and patriotism. The guilt Nick felt about literally forcing his old unit back into duty bled off the pages.

3) Believe it or not, that was almost subconscious. Professor X's name jumped out of my mind as the only possible candidate as Reed Richards and Ben Grimm's WWII adventures were well-documented. And may I be so bold to say that in any Silver Age discussion, they did serve in WWII. Besides had Charles Xavier fought in WWII, he would have made a guest appearance in Sgt. Fury!

4) Of course, I remember the barbar shop but not the people but then I still have to read those Silver Age SHIELD stories!

5) Thanks for the kind words, Commander though I could easily be described as the idiot who misread the question! ;-) And thanks for explaining why I argued about the Master Peerless Planner!

6) My first answer would have been Wong, Sr! Tough one!

7) What I found more interesting are the panels you chose, Commander. The nameless guy in the purple suit (were there really purple business suits in the 60s?) evolved into....Norman Osborne, Post-Ditko, of course!


Still waiting for a Legion quiz, though given how much we discuss them, it would have to be really obscure!


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