Deck Log Entry # 218 The Silver-Age Challenge---Marvel Edition III . . . Answers!

So, how did you do?

 

Actually, by my tally, you all---the four of you who participated:  Philip Portelli, Jeff of Earth-J, Fraser Sherman, and my old pal, Eric Sofer, the Silver-Age Fogey---did very well, which hasn’t surprised me for a long time.  You fellows are a dogged bunch.  Nothing shows that better than the fact that it’s been a few years now since any of my quiz questions have gone unanswered.

 

For a while it looked like it might happen this time.  Technically, it did, because no-one replied to one of this year’s questions with the answer I had in mind.  But Jeff provided a response which prompted me to reëxamine my references.  I’ll save the results of that for later.  Jeff kept me busy, as he wasn’t done coming up with answers that sent me back to my stacks to review the pertinent stories.

 

Jeff also emerged as the player who got the most correct answers---seven!  And that includes two that no-one else got right.  But the rest of you can all pat yourselves on the back, too.  You weren't that far off the lead, and you each got at least one of the toughest posers correct.

 

And just to confirm that self-actualisation you’re feeling right now, here are the answers . . . .

 

 

1.  The Hulk was awarded a Presidential pardon for defeating which villain?

 

In issue # 6 (Mar., 1963) of his short-lived original title, the incredible Hulk goes up against the Metal Master, an alien from the Astra galaxy bent on taking over the Earth single handedly.  It looks like he might do it, too, after his control of all things metal means that the U.S. Army can't use its tanks and guns and missiles to stop him.  Fortunately, the Hulk's brawn, abetted by a gimmick devised by Bruce Banner's scientific smarts, upends M.M.'s planet-conquering plans and sends him scurrying back to Astra.

 

In return for saving the world from the Metal Master, the Hulk is awarded a pardon.  However, as we see. Ol' Greenskin is less than thrilled by the gesture.

Philip and Fraser and Eric each correctly identified the Metal Master.  Jeff, however, went in a different direction.  He recalled that Hulk sidekick super-hero groupie Rick Jones had gone to the President of the United States to get Bruce Banner out of the military jail in which he was currently being held, and how, eventually, after a battle with the Leader's humanoids, that led to the Hulk being offered amnesty.

 

I remembered that initial sequence of Jones using his Avengers I.D. to muscle his way into the Oval Office from Tales to Astonish # 64 (Feb., 1965).  But before following the thread of Presidential orders spinning out of that scene, I took the trouble to learn the difference between a pardon and amnesty, just in case it mattered somewhere down the line.  The essential distinction is that amnesty is awarded to those individuals who have broken the law but whose guilt has not been confirmed in a court of law, while pardons are granted to those who have been convicted of their crimes.

 

The problem is comic-book writers tend to use "amnesty" and "pardon" interchangeably.  The story in The Incredible Hulk # 6 is an example; the President awards a pardon to the Hulk, though clearly he had never been tried, nor convicted.  This blurring of pardon and amnesty isn't limited to fiction.  President Ford issued a pardon to former President Nixon for "all offences against the United States which he, Richard Nixon, has committed, or may have committed . . . ."  So, for the purpose of evaluating Jeff's answer, I treated a pardon and amnesty as the same thing.

 

"The Horde of Humanoids", from TTA # 64, begins with Bruce Banner sitting in a jail cell, charged with treason.  Rick Jones flies to Washington and gains a private meeting with President Johnson, during which the youngster reveals that Doctor Banner is the Hulk and L.B.J. promises to use his office to get Banner released.

 

The next scene shows Major Glen Talbot informing Banner that he's been cleared of all charges.  There's no mention of a pardon.  Possibly because one wasn't needed.  It can be logically presumed that the President, in his capacity as Commander-in-Chief, ordered the military to drop the charges.  Something similar occurs in "Back from the Dead!", from TTA # 68 (Jun., 1965), when Banner is once again arrested for treason.  This time, it's Major Talbot who goes to Washington, petitioning the President to order Banner's prosecution, and Johnson refuses.  Again, there's no mention of a pardon or amnesty.

 

The idea of clemency doesn't arise until the scene Jeff mentioned from "Boomerang and the Brute", TTA # 88 (Feb., 1967).  Here, L.B.J. cables the Hulk's gadfly-in-charge, Lieutenant General "Thunderbolt" Ross, about the matter of amnesty, but not---and this is an important not---granting it to the Emerald Behemoth out of hand.

 

What the message from the Commander-in-Chief specifically states is that he's passing the responsibility for pardoning the Hulk to Lieutenant General Ross.  The general is authorised to grant the Green Goliath amnesty if he, Ross, sees fit to do so.  The big snarl with that instruction is that the power to pardon or grant amnesty (for Federal crimes) is invested in the President of the United States and it cannot be delegated.  And, sure, one could interpret the President's cable to Ross as actually meaning:  "Hey, general, I want to pardon the Hulk---if it's O.K. with you."  But it wouldn't have mattered, anyway, because, as to be expected, Lieutenant General Ross doesn't agree with the notion of pardoning Ol' Jadejaws.  So amnesty or a pardon for the Hulk never attaches.

 

Because none of these sequences depicts an actual pardon being conferred upon the Hulk, I had to disallow Jeff's answer.  (He does better with the next question, though.)

 

 

 

2.  When he is in top shape, what is the maximum distance Mister Fantastic can stretch his limbs without discomfort?

 

The answer I had for this question was five hundred yards.  Stan Lee was specific about this, in a one-page feature, "Spotlight on Reed Richards, Mister Fantastic", appearing in Fantastic Four # 16 (Jul., 1963).  This piece establishes that Reed can stretch any of limbs "about 500 yards with comparative ease", but any further distance is difficult and painful.  Seems pretty clear, doesn't it?

 

Unfortunately, a couple of months later, when a piece titled "Questions and Answers About the Fantastic Four" appeared in Fantastic Four Annual # 1, Stan was equally specific in stating that Richards can stretch "over one hundred yards before it begins to grow painful."

 

I discovered the contradiction during my research for the quiz, but I couldn't come up with a way to elegantly merge the two stated limits within a single question.  So I restricted my question to just the matter of Mr. Fantastic's limbs.  My thinking was, should anyone bring up the piece in Fantastic Four Annual # 1, I would argue that one hundred yards was the limit that Reed could stretch his body

 

Jeff was the only one to take a shot at that question and, of course, he took his answer from F.F. Annual # 1.  Going back to that issue, I read the Reed Richards section of "Questions and Answers" more closely.  I concluded that the commentary on Richards' stretch limit was too general; it didn't say anything about his body stretching.  I couldn't even fairly argue that it was implied.

 

Jeff's response fits the required guidelines for an acceptable alternate answer, and I determine it to be correct.  BZ, Jeff!

 

 

 

3.  When Aunt May wants to make Peter Parker’s favourite breakfast, what does she prepare?

 

Jeff and Fraser and Eric knew this one right off; Philip overthought it, suspecting I was pulling a fast one.

 

Not really.  I figured that this would be one of those questions to which one either knew the answer, or one didn't.  In other words, there was no specific issue in which one could expect to find it.  And it was tough to find in a Google search; I tried and didn't come up with it.  So you either knew it already, or you had to get lucky enough to stumble across the answer of wheatcakes in Amazing Fantasy # 15 (Aug., 1962).

 

Not being a regular Spider-Man reader, and particularly not a contemporary one, I didn't know that this had become something of a running gag about Peter Parker.

 

 

 

4.  Three men attempted the same feat.  One man did it to get a job with a carnival; another did it to impress his girl friend; and the third, to prove to his co-workers that he was as athletic as a super-hero.  They all failed miserably and drew the attention of the N.Y.P.D.  What were they trying to do?

 

When his marriage proposal is rejected by Agent 13 in "A Time to Die---a Time to Live", from Tales of Suspense # 95 (Nov., 1967), Steve Rogers blames his failure to find happiness on his life as Captain America and publicly forswears his identity.  The next issue's tale, "To Be Reborn", finds the New York Police Department dealing with the fall-out of the announcement.  Various individuals, for various reasons, have gotten themselves injured attempting to impersonate the Star-Spangled Avenger.  Three of those imitators, the ones with the reasons stated in the question, were brought before Steve Rogers to illustrate the severity of the situation. 

 

Jeff and Eric and Fraser remembered this one.  They probably also remembered how the misconception that anyone with athletic skill could take Cap's place was revisited seven years later, in Captain America # 178-9 (Oct. and Nov., 1974), after Steve Rogers once again abandoned his costumed identity.

 

 

 

5.  Who trained the crows used by the Scarecrow to commit his crimes?

 

Phillip and Jeff and Fraser all knew this one.  In "The Sinister Scarecrow", from Tales of Suspense # 51 (Mar., 1964), a vaudeville performer known as the Uncanny Umberto decides to put his escape artist talents to crime.  Basing his nom de crime on a costume he steals for a disguise, Umberto enhances the motif by absconding with the trained crows belonging to fellow performer, Thornton.  Subsequently, the Scarecrow adapts the tricks that Thornton taught the birds to criminal purposes.

 

This was a pretty straightforward question.  I was hoping that your references, nor your memories, went back that far.

 

 

 

6.  Every year, for one day, Thor’s costume changes in what distinctive way?

 

In "If Asgard Falls", from The Mighty Thor King-Size Special # 2 (Sep., 1966), warriors take part in the Tournament of Titans, Asgard's version of a last-man-standing competition, the winner of which is awarded a suit of golden armour.  The spiteful god of mischief, Loki, disrupts the tourney by sending his spirit to inhabit the form of the Destroyer.  Originally created as a doomsday weapon by Odin, the Destroyer is virtually unstoppable.  However, Thor and the warriors of Asgard are able to hold the dreadnought at bay until Loki's influence over it can be neutralised.

 

In recognition of his warriors' bravery, Odin decrees that at this time, each year, their raiment will turn to gold for a full day.

 

Thorophiles Philip and Jeff knew this one.

 

 

 

7.  How does ex-Howling Commando Percival Pinkerton make his living as a civilian?

 

There was a snare in this question, a small-but-important distinction which I had seen overlooked in most places that referred to Percy Pinkerton's civilian occupation shown in Sgt. Fury King-Size Special # 3 (Aug., 1967).

 

When we are introduced to the then-modern-day Percival Pinkerton, he occupies a position of authority in the London franchise of the Key Club.  As Philip intimated, the Key Club was Marvel's version of Hugh Hefner's Playboy Club.  This has led most folks to assume that Percy fulfils the Hefner rôle in the club, as its owner.  And to be fair, there's nothing in the two-panel vignette to indicate otherwise.

 

However, those assumers failed to pay attention to the rest of the story.  In the next act, after the civilian-ised Howlers have been reunited with Nick Fury, Dum Dum Dugan, and Gabe Jones for a covert, the-U.S.-government-can't-have-its-fingerprints-on-it mission, there's this exchange during the flight overseas:

So, you see, Percy doesn't own the Key Club; rather, he manages the London establishment.

 

I gave Philip credit for a correct answer; his response that Percy "ran" the club would be true of the club's manager.  Unfortunately, Jeff went with "nightclub owner", which I could not accept.

 

 

 

8.  For a time, Giant-Man and the Wasp swallowed capsules to alter their heights up and down.  But how could they tell if it was a shrinking capsule or a growing capsule before popping it into their mouths? 

 

Philip and Jeff both had seen the germane panel from "The Birth of Giant-Man", in Tales to Astonish # 49 (Nov., 1963)---and, yes, I gave Jeff credit for the correct response, even though he mistakenly cited "Tales of Suspense # 49"---in which Hank Pym gives Jan a PowerPoint lecture on how the size-changing capsules are stipulated according to colour and size.

 

Eric left off the "and size" part, so I gave him only half credit.

 

 

 

9.  By curious circumstance, the Marvel universe’s analogue for the real-world spy show The Man from U.N.C.L.E. became a television series in real life, too, with virtually the same title.  Name it.

 

This was the neatest question of this year's quiz, in terms of that "Wow, I didn't know that!" factor that I like to include.  It was also the most obscure poser, but damned if Fraser and Eric didn't nail it!

 

In Daredevil # 10-1 (Oct. and Dec., 1965), the Man Without Fear runs up against the Organizer, a hooded criminal bent on controlling New York City, and his chief lieutenants, the Ani-Men.  In the climax, the Organizer's evil scheme is revealed when DD manages to rig the closed-circuit television, through which he dictates orders to his henchmen, to override a network broadcast, thus airing in thousands of New York living rooms.  The result is this panel:

 

Agent[s] of S.H.I.E.L.D.---that's one topical reference that won't have to be deleted in future reprints.

 

 

 

10.  The cosmic cube is the most powerful object in the Silver-Age Marvel universe.  It converts any wish of its possessor into reality.  Yet, upon coming into possession of the cube, who discarded it as a “worthless bauble”?

 

 

Jeff was the only one to provide the correct answer to this poser.  The rest of you were kinda sorta close when you answered "Namor", but evidently only Jeff remembered the ending to The Avengers # 40 (May, 1967).

 

In "Suddenly . . . the Sub-Mariner", a submarine inadvertently destroying underwater wildlife puts Prince Namor in one of his surface-people-are-no-damned-good moods, again.  He heads off to destroy the sub's base, which coïncidentally also happens to be the destination of the mighty Avengers, tipped off by Captain America that it's the last-known location of the omnipotent cosmic cube.  Subby manages to get his hands on the cube first, leading to a literally earth-shattering battle.  As the conflict draws to an end, the cosmic cube is swallowed by a fissure.

 

The last page shows the cube's landing point in a subterranean corridor of the Earth, where it's found by the Mole Man, who proves to be short-sighted in more ways than one.

 

* * * * *

 

 

Hope you enjoyed this year's effort, fellows.  If you did, the good news is that I already have next year's quiz done!

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I didn’t participate this time, but always enjoy them.
…..from TTA # 68 (Jun., 1965), when Banner is once again arrested for treason. This time, it's Major Talbot who goes to Washington, petitioning the President to order Banner's prosecution, and Johnson refuses.

Besides the fact that military prosecution can’t be Major Talbot’s concern, as Banner is not a member of the military, Federal prosecution can not be ordered by a U.S. President. A Federal crime can only be charged and prosecuted by the Justice Department and its various U.S. Attorneys and investigating agencies, which are supposed to proceed without prejudice in charging crimes.

Clemency, as I understand it, is when and executive (the President for Federal crimes or a Governor for State Crimes) decides that a sentence was too harsh and shortens it, sometimes to ‘time served.’ A pardon means that the prisoner likely was convicted properly but that the conviction is being wiped out of existence. A prisoner who receives clemency is still a convicted felon, but with a shorter sentence.


In recognition of his warriors' bravery, Odin decrees that at this time, each year, their raiment will turn to gold for a full day.

This would have been a bad time for a coloring error.

Commander Benson said:

3.  When Aunt May wants to make Peter Parker’s favourite breakfast, what does she prepare?

 

Jeff and Fraser and Eric knew this one right off; Philip overthought it, suspecting I was pulling a fast one.

 

Not really.  I figured that this would be one of those questions to which one either knew the answer, or one didn't.  In other words, there was no specific issue in which one could expect to find it.  And it was tough to find in a Google search; I tried and didn't come up with it.  So you either knew it already, or you had to get lucky enough to stumble across the answer of wheatcakes in Amazing Fantasy # 15 (Aug., 1962).

 

Not being a regular Spider-Man reader, and particularly not a contemporary one, I didn't know that this had become something of a running gag about Peter Parker.

AARRGH! The one question that I actually, definitively knew the answer for, and I talked myself out of it! I hate when that happens!

Interesting reading, as always. Particularly on #8 — I'd always vaguely assumed that once they took the pill, they shrunk to whatever size they focused on (not out of line with comic book science).

I actually misunderstood #9, not realizing the analog for UNCLE meant an actual TV show in the MU rather than SHIELD.

Spidey's origin was one of the few Spider-Man stories I had as a kid (in reprint) or I'd have missed that one. I didn't know it had become a running gag.

GREAT! I had such a good time participating, and even better one reading the answers! 

I don't know if you noted relation, but question eight involves the size and color of Giant-Man and the Wasp's capsules. I know you have a bit of penchant for British spelling, occasional phrasing, etc. So I wonder if you considered that British currency also alters in size and colour. (It was REALLY tough to find information on it - and you thought it was hard finding Snapper Carr's real first name!

I'm a bit embarrassed that I didn't recall that Thor's armor goes gold once a year. I believe I replied black... maybe not so heroic.

I also try to get every question right, and hope that I was the sole correct answer for at least one of them. Didn't happen this year, but considering the competition, I'm glad that I even got ONE answer right. (Must have been the wheatcakes question...)

Commander, please be sure that I appreciate the effort that you put into this (remind me to show you one of my quizzes sometime - it pales in comparison.) I always enjoy these, and I have a big ol' THANKS for your efforts every year.

I remain,

  Sincerely,

Eric L. Sofer, the Silver Age Fogey

Yes, thanks. I know finding questions that aren't instantly answerable via google isn't easy. The work is appreciated.

Fraser

Eric L. Sofer said:

GREAT! I had such a good time participating, and even better one reading the answers! 

I don't know if you noted relation, but question eight involves the size and color of Giant-Man and the Wasp's capsules. I know you have a bit of penchant for British spelling, occasional phrasing, etc. So I wonder if you considered that British currency also alters in size and colour. (It was REALLY tough to find information on it - and you thought it was hard finding Snapper Carr's real first name!

I'm a bit embarrassed that I didn't recall that Thor's armor goes gold once a year. I believe I replied black... maybe not so heroic.

I also try to get every question right, and hope that I was the sole correct answer for at least one of them. Didn't happen this year, but considering the competition, I'm glad that I even got ONE answer right. (Must have been the wheatcakes question...)

Commander, please be sure that I appreciate the effort that you put into this (remind me to show you one of my quizzes sometime - it pales in comparison.) I always enjoy these, and I have a big ol' THANKS for your efforts every year.

I remain,

  Sincerely,

Eric L. Sofer, the Silver Age Fogey

Your explanation of the difference between amnesty and a pardon was interesting to read.

I’m kicking myself over not being able to answer #9. I just read Dardevil #10-11 not too long ago.

The 1980s Suicide Squad played fast and loose with the law too, having the federal government offering to commute what would have been state-level offenses in return for Task Force X service.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

Your explanation of the difference between amnesty and a pardon was interesting to read.

I’m kicking myself over not being able to answer #9. I just read Dardevil #10-11 not too long ago.

Read and enjoyed.  I am amazed at your and the other members knowledge. 

I knew the first one, but that was it. 

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