Just added a new post to my blog, this one spotlighting the often-maligned JOHNNY STORM, THE HUMAN TORCH series.  The first 5 covers (so far), lovingly restored, in all their 4-color glory.
 

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Millie the Model was humour title originally. Dan DeCarlo had a long run on the feature, starting (Wikipedia tells me) in 1949. He also did other titles for Marvel. Wikipedia's bio says he only started working for Archie in the late 50s. As far as I can tell Millie debuted in the first issue of Millie the Model in 1945; DC Indexes indicates the second issue came out around nine months after the first.

 

Marvel's other long-running girls' franchise was "Patsy Walker", which debuted earlier, in the first issue of Miss America Magazine in 1944. This was v.1 #2, as it continued the numbering of Miss America Comics. Patsy's eponymous comic started earlier than Millie's in 1945 and got off to a quicker start. Both franchises had other titles. (Miss America was converted back into a comic for a run as a Patsy title 1953-58. Marvel gave Chili, a foil character from Millie's feature, her own title for four years starting in 1969.) In the early 60s the thinking apparently was it was better to have two bimonthy titles with the characters than one monthly one. Patsy Walker lasted to the latter part of 1965, Patsy and Hedy, which started in 1951, survived it by a bit over a year.

 

The original artist on both features was Ruth Atkinson. According to Wikipedia she didn't remain on Millie the Model after the first issue. The covers of the first issues of Patsy Walker and Millie the Model are attributed to Mike Sekowsky; you'd never know it from their styles.

 

Marvel published the first Millie the Model Annual in 1962; this was also the year of the first Strange Tales Annual, but it was a reprint issue, whereas the Millie annual's cover says it has "all new stories". The first Marvel superhero annuals, Strange Tales Annual #2 and Fantastic Four Annual #1, didn't appear until the next year, when Patsy and Hedy also got one.

 

In the mid-60s Marvel took the Patsy and Millie titles in a more realistic direction, with more soap-opera elements. As far as I can tell from the covers the movement towards the new format started in 1963, but the change wasn't complete overnight. In 1964 Patsy's boyfriend Buzz went into the army and Patsy graduated from high school. (Note the parallel to the graduations of the X-Men and Spider-Man, and to Flash Thompson's going into the army.) The covers of the subsequent issues of Patsy and Hedy styled them Patsy and Hedy: Career Girls.

 

In the mid-60s the Millie titles were apparently on an eight-times-a-year schedule. Around the start of 1966 Millie the Model went monthly. Modeling with Millie was cancelled in 1967. Millie the Model #154, the cover of which George posted, was the first issue back in a humour comics format, this time around clearly imitating the Archie style.

 

My information has been drawn from DC Indexes, the GCD, Toonopedia and Wikipedia. Corrections welcome.

I had to stay up a little last night, but I dug out my Masterworks volumes that reprint both halves of IM/SM  and skimmed the several installments before and after the issue in question. I was looking for padding, or obvious decompression. What I found didn't really support that theory, although I did see at least one full page spash that I felt was unnecessary in the IM story. and felt there might have been a similar one page pad in Subby.

But when Iron Man #1 was reprinted as part of Marvel Triple Action (I think), I found there was at least one more spash inserted, and the story seemed pretty vacuous to me in that form.  I don't recall liking IM #1, but thought the flashback in Sub #1 was pretty cool, cause it told his whole story.

 

Now, after the fact, something occurs to me that I didn't  think of while reading the Iron Man serial. The character of Whiplash is first introduced in TOS and he give the weakened IM a run for his money, using his steel cable to lash and damage Iron Man's shoulders and various parts of his suit. As the story continues and the fight shifts to the AIM ship, Iron Man is put into an "image duplicator" which quickly and inexplicitly creates three perfect duplicates of the armor.  However, the suits all malfunction due to a "refractory coating" that confuses the X-rays, etc.  But my point is that even with that amount of structural damage, that damage is not replicated in the duplicates AND even more amazing, all the damage from Whiplash seems to vanish even though I.M has not had any "dry dock" time to repair or fix up his suit. It just disappears from view. Did Gene Colan forget it?

I always thought having the "first issue" of a book contain the wrap-up (or some random chapter) of a long-running story to be the height of absurdity.  Yet this happened with IRON MAN, CAPTAIN AMERICA, HULK, SUB-MARINER, CAPTAIN MAR-VELL, and, years later, IRON FIST (heehee).

On the other hand, STRANGE TALES #168 wrapped up everything so neatly, the 1st DR. STRANGE and NICK FURY issues could start fresh.

Of these, note that NICK FURY #1 was the only one that didn't contain any kind of origin flashback.  Which may explain why Frank Springer's 1st SHIELD story (NF #4)was a (3rd-rate) retelling of ST #135.

IRON MAN #1 was double absurd, as it was actually the LAST issue of Gene Colan's UNBROKEN run on the series.  He allegedly came on as a temporary "fill-in" (so it said in the editorial), but he never missed an episode, until he left.

One could argue Gene missed the end of the IM-Subby fight, but, that was in ASTONISH, not SUSPENSE.  (Jack Kirby wound up doing 2 Subby episodes in a row!)

Between the two of them, I think Kirby and Colan were my favorite silver age Marvel artists...and to have lucked into both halves of that fight in Suspense and Astonish in my initial comics purchase...wow...whoever had those comics certainly had good taste in artists!

DC's Terrible Trio (The Fox, The Shark and The Vulture) appeared several times in the late 50s and early 60s. They were inventors who used weapons and vehicles based on the land, sea and air to commit crimes. As you can see they wore goofy masks! They were abandoned like other Early Silver Age Bat-foes like Cat-Man, Doctor Double X, Clayface II and Mirror Man during Bats' "New Look" phase. However the Trio were never revived until the recent DC Retroactive: Batman--the 70s with one of them being linked to a longtime supporting cast member.

They had better luck in cartoons appearing in Batman the Animated Series, The Batman and Batman:The Brave and the Bold.

OTOH, Marvel's Terrible Trio (Bull Brogin, Handsome Harry Phillips and Yogi Bear Dakor) were given their "powers" by Doctor Doom to help him destroy the Fantastic Four. They didn't. But they did reappear to battle the Human Torch both seperately and with The Thing. They vanished until Marvel Two-In-One #60 (F'80) when they attacked the Thing again. What they didn't know was that the Impossible Man was around!

As for their powers, Brogin had 12 times normal strength, Phillips had hyper-hearing and Dakor was fireproof. And that's all though Dakor later developed some minor mystic powers seperate from those Doom gave him.

Minor villains, true but they added a neat dimension to their respective universes.

Thanks for the link. Will watch it as soon as I can.

George Poague said:

Also check out the BBC documentary, "In Search of Steve Ditko," on YouTube.

Also check out the BBC documentary, "In Search of Steve Ditko," on YouTube.

I saw it. I found it rather a rip off. Doesn't really say anything you couldn't find on his Wikipedia page. It does however tell you where his office is, so I guess you could go up and see him. Assuming, that is, that he would open the door and let you in.

Andy

I was impressed that the BBC would put so much effort into gigantic blow ups of Ditko artwork and fund this documentary to find Ditko.  Guess it must have been in the wake of the Spider-Man movies...

 As for the terrible trio, I was not aware of them until one of the Torch/Thing repeat appearances made mention of them. I always found it unbelievable that Doom would give powers to anyone and have someone else attempt to defeat the FF. His ego wouldn't allow that.    Also, they should have expected the disposal to another dimension when their task was done.

Kind of makes you think that there was no intention of ever having them repeat again...just done in one, and good riddance!

"I always found it unbelievable that Doom would give powers to anyone and have someone else attempt to defeat the FF. His ego wouldn't allow that."

You'll have to pardon me here, but this sounds like the kind of thing John Byrne would say. He seemed to think he knew characters better than the person who created them-- including Jack Kirby.

I'd be quicker to disavow anything that ANY writers did with Jack's characters after he left than try to second guess Jack's own work.

Was it Byrne who wrote the story that Doom energized Terrax and set him against the FF.....only to have the Silver Surfer swoop in and engage him, and take Doom out when his armor froze in place?  That was a cool story, and well paced. I didn't get the escape for Doom at first, until I re-read it, and then it seems very clear after all.

Yes, that was one of Byrne's stories. There's a thorough recounting of the storyline, with images, here.

 

Terrax had come to Earth, fleeing Galactus, earlier in Byrne's run. When Galactus caught up with him he depowered him. That was the story in which Frankie Raye became Galactus's herald Nova.

 

I think the storyline of Terrax's fleeing Galactus started in Dazzler. The character was originally introduced in one of the Wolfman/Byrne issues of Fantastic Four.

How close was the cancellation of Tales to Astonish to the first issue of Astonishing Tales? A couple of years?

Dandy Forsdyke said:

It was a shame that there was no value at Marvel for these anthology titles as Strange Tales, Marvel Tales, Tales of Suspense/to Astonish and Journey into Mystery were discarded or hijacked by Doctor Strange, Spider-Man reprints, Hulk, Captain America and Thor. I would have preferred that each promotion to their own book started with a more honest #1.

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