I remember this so clearly! When I was growing up Marvel's Top Five (strength wise) were Thor, the Hulk, the Thing, Sub-Mariner and Hercules. As Marvel added heroes, especially to their teams, the category of "strongest" changed.
My feelings at the time, IIRC:
No way Iron Man was a super-heavyweight, at least not at that time. This was before his Hulk-Buster armor.
Wonder Man gradually was placed on this tier. When he was revived, he initially wasn't that powerful.
Sorry, Spidey but you're no "super-mediumweight". The Silver Surfer, She-Hulk and Colossus are far stronger than you. Even the Valkryie, who wasn't portrayed like it until the 80s, had 4x your strength. I think Marvel was unsure about where to place Power Man as he once replaced the Thing but he was probably as strong, if not stronger than Spidey!
Spider-Woman and the Aquarian (the former Wundarr) should be higher and Captain Britain would become far mightier by the time of Excalibur, as would The Beast's.
Nice to see Ka-Zar (who was once thought to have super stength) and the Shroud among the "normal strength" heroes. How many of us even noticed Ant-Man was there as well?
So he is! I missed him.
Thanks for posting these Travis. Got a great kick out of seeing them again.
Aren't Layton's finishes great? Very slick and of their time.
I've only just read Iron Man 'World's most wanted' where he backtracks through his old armor. What was glossy and new in 1981 got much scoffing in-story when he came to wearing it. :-( So based on that, it couldn't have been capable of reaching Hulk level strength back then, even for 2 seconds!
It's a testament to the effect of these comics on young minds, that my memory of what Iron Man said, stated on Travis 'Comic A Day' thread at the weekend was
"Iron Man stating that he was able to be in the Hulk class for 2.5 seconds if he uses all his power in one go..."
Only half a second out after 30 years isn't bad...
What is Nighthawk on about - being an invalid?
(Isn't Invalid an unfortunate term? To say that someone is not valid as a human being...)
Speaking of Political Correctness, notice that the women here are either complaining that they've been under-estimated - probably rightly in most cases - or being letched after by the males in the group. "Hubba Hubba", indeed! (The Beast is perhaps trying too hard here... heh heh!)
Hulk probably should be in a class by himself! He could certainly knock Hercules into a cocked hat if it came to it!
Ghost Rider has all the social grace and temperament one would expect from a guy whose head is on fire.
Regarding Nighthawk, when he first appeared in Avengers #70, he was given an alchemical serum that doubled his strength and agility at night. This was when he was a member of the Squadron Sinister and a thinly veiled Batman ripoff homage. In Defenders #13-14, he turned against the SS and was mortally wounded. Doctor Strange saved him by augmenting Kyle's lifeforce with a small piece of his own, along with the other Defenders. He would join them, get a new costume and jetpack and became the mediocre hero we so fondly remember.
During the battle against the Six-Fingered Hand from Defenders #92-100 (a really great story, BTW), he was mystically attacked and was only kept alive by that augmentation but he was left paralized. He soon found out that he regained his mobility at night due to the serum but as soon as the sun rose, he was paralized again. But he wasn't inflicted long as he was killed in #106. The circumstances of his return are fuzzy but I think Mephisto was involved, and Kyle wasn't even married!
In Greg Pak's modern Hulk/Herc stories, Herc is shown as no match for the Hulk. (Which admittedly is neither here nor there in regard to the 1981 status quo.)
It feels like Herc is less strong than Thor because Herc has so much bluster. Thor just walks the walk... One of the reasons why Thor is a wonderful hero and presence in modern comics, but seemingly so much harder to write well than Hercules.
Thor has the advantages of being an actual god, his mother is the personification of the Earth and there's that hammer of his. He was portrayed as a star and was far more effective than Hercules who was one of the most physically powerful beings in the Marvel Universe but was never a headliner.
Even Hercules' godhood was in question. He may be immortal but he was born a man. In his legend, he died and ascended to Olympus and promptly vanished from mythology. He was never the god of anything, his function was said to be the gate-keeper of Olympus. No wonder he kept getting himself exiled!
Plus he was probably hampered by all those campy Italian Hercules movies!
Wow, it's fun to see these again!
I remember when I first saw this questioning putting the Hulk in the top class (yes, I know), but I think it's based on his potential maximum -- the madder he gets, the stronger he gets, y'know -- and he's never been angry long enough to his his limit, whatever it its.
I agree that both Spider-Man and Iron Man are ranked higher than they should be. If Iron Man, with a potent enough power source, can last at that level for only two seconds then that hardly counts!
This is a pretty cool spread. I wasn't reading comics at this time so I'm unaware of how each character's strength was displayed. If this was before 1982, then I wasn't even born yet.
I have always based their strength of the collector cards of the early to mid 90s. I remember the strength, intelligence, stamina and a few others were all on a scale from 0 to 7. I don't remember the attributes for each ranking though. I do remember that Spidey was a 4. Hulk and Silver Surfer were both a 7. Iron Man in the armor was a 5 or 6. Thing was a 6. This is strenght rating, i don't remember where they ranked on the other skills. I'll look at my collection tonight.
See, I always thought Silver Surfer was way stronger than he was depicted here, even back then.
Who is the Lady in Red (and yellow) speaking under the heavyweight?
I also agree that Spidey and Iron Man are placed to high. I remember way back when I played the Marvel Superheroes RPG, Spidey's limit was a city bus.
Jason, this was printed back in '81.
She's Thundra. She came from a future in which women were the dominant sex, and somehow ended up in the Frightful Four as a replacement for Medusa who could take on the Thing. She fell in love with him, broke with the villains, couldn't win him, and eventually returned to her own parallel future. I've seen it suggested that she was a Marvel imitation of Barda and I think that's likely right. In the 70s she mainly appeared in Fantastic Four and Marvel Two-in-One, but she did also turn up in an issue of Spidey Super Stories.
The Lady in Red is Thundra, a super-powerful Femizon fron an alternate reality. She briefly was a member of the Frightful Four before she became an ally of the Fantastic Four. She also decided at the time that she and the Thing would make a good match. She even questioned his relationship with Alicia constantly.
She was later paired with Arkon the Imperion and the "bad" Hyperion. Now she is the mother of the All-New Savage She-Hulk whose father was the Hulk!
Though she's not mentioned here, Rogue was said to possess Class 70 strength which she got when she permenantly absorbed the powers of Ms. Marvel. That's why in the first X-Men cartoon, she was the team's muscle. But if that's true, then Ms. Marvel was way stronger than Captain Mar-Vell whose powers she copied!
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