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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Just posted at Masterworks.  Enjoy!
 
 
 
Remember those 2 volumes of THE GOLDEN AGE OF MARVEL COMICS in the late 90's?  Fun books. Nice sampling of a whole pile of different series, and artists' work.

And just about all I need of most of it.

Call it personal taste, but to me, there were only TWO creators who worked for Marvel around 1941 that I really liked at all.  Jack Kirby was the 2nd-best artist.  Bill Everett was the 1st.

I was really, really hoping that Marvel would follow the example of DC's WONDER WOMAN ARCHIVES.  After the confusing debacle of having SUPERMAN and BATMAN split up into 2 or more series of ARCHIVE books apiece, with WW, they finally got it right.  All the stories from SENSATION and WONDER WOMAN in a single set of books (plus her debut from ALL-STAR to boot.)

I was really, really hoping they'd do the same thing with SUB-MARINER.  Especially as his first storyline pretty much ran without a break for 12 chapters (just like a typical movie serial).

Instead, they did SUB-MARINER MASTERWORKS, with only his solo book-- and MARVEL MYSTERY COMICS for his regular monthly installments-- as well as "ALL THE OTHER STUFF" that I couldn't give a rat's A** about.

And since then they've also been doing the OTHER anthologies (which I won't bother to name).

As of a year ago (I haven't kept up since), there were no less than 22 Masterworks books featuring SUB-MARINER stories!  22!!! Who the F*** can afford all that???


Oh yeah... as for The "Human" Torch (not really)...  I've read a number of stories about the guy, from the 40's, and from the 50's.  Apart from the couple of book-length cross-over team-up epics (which also featured Subby and other heroes), I didn't care for ANY of them.  Not one.  Which is kinda sad, considering The Human Torch was considered by publisher Martin Goodman to be his "flagship" character.

I mean... I know it's constantly dismissed and derided and made fun of and put down and what have you... but by comparison, I genuinely LOVE the JOHNNY STORM HUMAN TORCH series from the early 60's!!!  Dick Ayers, who worked on the original character in the 50's, worked on most of the 60's run --inking Jack Kirby's episodes, and plotting and pencilling most of the rest himself.  I don't know who was writing those stories in the 50's, but the ones in the 60's were wayyyyyy better.  Of course, it could have been the difference in characters.  Jim Hammond never seemed to have any personality at all to me, and while I tend not to mind kid sidekicks, Toro never did anything for me, either.  But Johnny's fun. Maybe it's him being a teenager.  Like Peter Parker, but without the poverty angle. Johnny was probably the closest thing Marvel had to Archie Andrews. (The very thought of that makes me laugh.) I suppose that makes Doris Evans Marvel's version of Veronica Lodge.  She was always a stuck-up B****. (What the hell did Johnny ever see in her anyway?)

You're right, Henry... the Puppet Master and the Mad Thinker both didn't  make much sense after a  while... so why did they bother to team up?   and then, they get their come-up-ance once and for all in FF #100 when they get in each other's way!

Henry R. Kujawa said:

I think it was the Corvette...

 

I'd have to check, but I know The Puppet Master deliberately underwent plastic surgery at the time to completely change his appearance. Then, in the same story we learned this, he BLEW his secret, which made it all a waste of time.  He stayed that way for some time, but eventually returned to his original "Howdy Doodie" look.  Generally, I long ago came to HATE that character. He doesn't seem to have any sensible motivations, and 98% of his stories are nothing more but revenge schemes.  Yeah, revenge for things HE started in the first place. Someone should have put that loser out of his misery long ago. (But then, I got to feel the same way about The Mad Thinker, by the late 60's.)

FF #100 had more problems than I cojld imagine... but most notably, the villains' M.O.s being totally wrong (probably because the guy writing the dialogue got confused as to what was going on-- after all, he didn't write the story).

George here strikes me as the sort of maniacal "Stan Lee fan" who would go around the internet joining "Jack Kirby yahoo groups" just to be rude and obnoxious.  He's certainly been that way here for months on end.

Sigh. 

I have only recently found this info. It fascinates me that there could have been an Inhumans title so much earlier on in the Silver Age. I think a team of Fandral, Hogun and Volstagg would have worked well in their own title too.Only thing is, I always 'see' these these titles as drawn by Jack Kirby and even he didn't stretch that far. :)


Kirk G said:

The story of the Inhuman's creation has been documented by Mark Evanier as an attempt to come up with ideas to counter a rumored explosion in superheroes from the Archie Comics camp (and possibly also Tower comic's Tower Agents...)  So, a number of concepts Jack had thrown out, got tied into the FF's story arc...and thus, Inhuman's were born.

Wait.  Jack Kirby DID draw the Inhumans strip.

First, the seven or so back-up features that appeared in Thor (roughly #146-152), replacing Tales of Asgard...and then, when the new Amazing Adventures and Tales to Astonish were relaunched as split books, Kirby had two full issues of the Inhumans mag drawn, and then it was busted down into only a 10 page split book.  So those two issues (the first Kirby was credit as writing AND drawing) ran for the first four installments of the Inhumans....before Neal Adams took over for the next (and final) four installments, and then the Inhumans expanded to two full sized issues before being mercifully discontinued.

The Tower Comics/Archie Superhero line scare produced the concepts of Black Bolt, Inhumans, Coal Tiger, and then they were folded together and introduced in the FF over the next year or so.  This was again documented in Marvel Comics: The Untold Story" but not in as much detail as Mark Evanier has supplied in The Jack Kirby Collector.

So, Kirby DID draw an inhumans series, twice!

My recollection I've read that the 70s Inhumans title was created, along with some other titles, because the higher-ups at Marvel wanted an expansion of the line.

If you'll pardon me, Marvel was putting out more than eight titles a month by 1965. One can follow Marvel's month-by-month output in the period using the galleries at DC Indexes. For a period of a couple of years at the end of the 50s it apparently had a cap of eight (or an average of eight). When I looked into this a couple of years ago I thought the cap was raised in 1960 and again in 1961. Marvel's standard size issues (as opposed to annuals or giants[1]) for 1964 average(2) 12.5 issues per month. Those for 1965 add up to one issue over the number that would average to 13 per month.

 

I have to doubt the Inhumans were ready-to-go in their own feature before they appeared in Fantastic Four. If a feature called "The Inhumans" had been proposed, but no story had been created, its details need not have been worked out. (I'm wondering if the name was originally proposed as a possible title for X-Men.) It might be that an Inhumans title was contemplated in 1967, and they ended up in the back slot in Thor instead due to the cap (I don't know at exactly what point Marvel's new distributor deal started; the splitting of the split books came only a few months later). A Medusa story appeared in Marvel Super-Heroes #15 in April 1968, the same month (DC Indexes tells me) that Medusa guested in Amazing Spider-Man #62. That could mean that a Medusa series was contemplated at that time.

 

(1) Marvel also published 4 annuals in 1964 and 9 annuals or giants in 1965. I haven't counted Monsters to Laugh With/Monsters Unlimited because I doubt the distributor would have counted it as a comic. Goodman was still publishing magazines in the period; I don't know if these were handled by the same distributor that handled the comics.

(2) In both 1964 and 1965 Marvel published more issues in the second half of the year. Possibly the rules were changed mid-year, possibly Goodman was able to distribute part of his quota from one part of the year to another.

I think the original title of the X Men was the Mutants, but it's certainly possible that the Inhumans may also have been considered - it's a great title.

I'd forgotten that, but I believe you're right. I should stress that the "Inhumans" alternative is just my wild speculation. I offered it in case it fits with something Mark Evanier or Marvel: The Untold Story says.

 

Since it's sort-of on the subject, as I wrote once before I think Trask's anti-mutant article in X-Men #14 may have been based on the Otto Binder article described in this instalment of Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed, as they seem similar to me (the fictional article was also fancifully illustrated, the mutants in its illustrations are also big-headed and of one type, Binder's article likewise speculates that the mutants might enslave our kind although it's not exclusively alarmist, like Trask's). If that's true, it could mean that the Binder article was one of the inspirations for X-Men (but not necessarily, since someone who knew of the article might have brought it to Lee and/or Kirby's attention due to X-Men's mutants theme).

Regarding my first paragraph above, according to DC Indexes X-Men #1 went on sale in Jul. 1963 (contemporary with Fantastic Four #19). I have no reason for supposing a feature called "the Inhumans" was being discussed at that stage - Evanier's report, on Kirk's account, is apparently concerned with a later period - so I shouldn't have speculated.

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