1970: Sam Wilson Becomes Captain America Sooner Than You Think

A racially-sensitive trip to Harlem ends up still being sorta racist.

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Sam Wilson in the red white and blue. Looks good.
No, he’s not talking about condescending comics written by white men … but we will be!

This issue presents the fifth appearance of Sam Wilson. The first four all came in a longer story that introduced him and turned him into the Falcon, so this is his first real non-origin adventure. It’s a speedy thrill ride and a racially-complicated visit to Harlem. It’s Captain America shutting up and punching bad guys and then being a little patronizing. It’s Sam Wilson’s first shot at putting on the Captain America uniform, way way earlier than you thought he did. It’s another Cap flashback with tricky racial implications. All this and Redwing, too! Continue reading “1970: Sam Wilson Becomes Captain America Sooner Than You Think”

The Fantastic Four Save Apollo 11

Cheap attention-grabber or respectful celebration? Baby we can do both!

Frightened Sue. Could be from any FF issue, sigh.Eight months after Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin (and Michael Collins and several thousand NASA geeks) wowed the world with a real-life moon landing, the Marvel Bullpen feels it’s time to tell the story of how the Fantastic Four helped make it happen. Treading the line between celebration and exploitation with exquisite care, Mr. Lee and Mr. Kirby reveal that that one small step couldn’t have been taken without a wham-bam robot fight being won back on Earth. Continue reading “The Fantastic Four Save Apollo 11”

Loki Takes The Throne Of Asgard

Really it’s because Odin has the Universe’s Worst Guards.

Loki rules in *style*So it’s taken me like a month to get around to writing this post. Taking a second read through Thor #175 reveals a probable reason: Loki gets his day on the throne through a plot contrivance that a moderately intelligent dog would consider unrealistic. Despite the fact that suspension of disbelief gets murdered on page 14, I think this is a pretty good comic. Let’s talk about why.

Continue reading “Loki Takes The Throne Of Asgard”

The X-Men Beat a Graceful Retreat From Marvel Unlimited

We’ll struggle on without them for four years

So the X-Men, perennial underdogs of the Marvel lineup, breathed their last – temporarily – in March of 1970. Though the title continued for another 26 issues, those books were filled with reprints. Things turned around at #94, when a fella named Chris Claremont was allowed to start telling new X-Men stories. Let’s take a peek at where Mr. Thomas and the rest of the Bullpen left the mutants before sticking them on ice.

Jean Grey's psychic mojo at work

Continue reading “The X-Men Beat a Graceful Retreat From Marvel Unlimited”

Iron Man Confronts Death and Loss

(and also lots of Commies)

The Crimson Dynamo tells it like it is
Crimson Dynamo just tells it like it is.

I don’t know exactly how, but I developed the impression that Tony Stark’s story was mainly happy-go-lucky heroics up until the “Demon in a Bottle” arc. Though I shouldn’t have been, I was surprised to find that everybody’s favorite billionaire playboy weapons designer was actually grappling with Peter Parker levels of angst well before the Bullpen decided to make him an alcoholic. Iron Man #22 is a perfect example. It forces Tony Stark to watch his primary love interest die as a direct result of her relationship with Tony and Iron Man. He’ll feel considerable guilt over this death, and in point of fact he deserves to. Continue reading “Iron Man Confronts Death and Loss”

Reed Richards Cures Bruce Banner

Will Banner get permanent control? (No. The answer is no.)

Hulk ready for operationIt’s time for Reed Richards to start putting that big brain to use for constructive purposes. That always works out well! Thanks to 1970 Marvel editorial policy, you won’t be lost if you decide to pick this book up without reading Incredible Hulk #122. That issue isn’t too bad on its own – it features the Hulk beating up a train. The Incredible Hulk closes out 1969 being subdued by the Fantastic Four and strapped into some classic Richards gizmos. That’s where our story opens…

Continue reading “Reed Richards Cures Bruce Banner”

School Daze With The Fantastic Four

We’re off to State U. Here be dragons! (Okay, just the one.)

The good part of the coverIt’s time for our first peek at Reed and Ben’s alma mater, State U. Not to be confused with Empire State U. Although confusion seems inevitable. Good going, Mr. Lee!

Anyways, there are Shenanigans with Diablo, a b-grade Fantastic Four villain making his second appearance, and cameos by Professor Xavier and Peter Parker. And of course, the FF have to throw down with the Dragon Man.

Continue reading “School Daze With The Fantastic Four”

She Got 99 Problems But A Thunder God Ain’t One

Let’s take a closer look at Jane Foster’s tumultuous story.

Gwen don't know WTF
Don’t worry, GP, most of the comic-reading public forgot about Jane for a good 30 years.

So as per the sensationalistic cover (below the jump), Journey Into Mystery #113 features Thor revealing his secret identity to long-suffering nurse Jane Foster – for realsies. Does it actually happen that way? And is that our old pal the Grey Gargoyle lurking in the corner? Let’s dive in and find out how much it sucks to date a Marvel hero in 1965. (Not as bad as it sucked later for women like Karen Page or Gwen Stacy. It still sucked, though!) Continue reading “She Got 99 Problems But A Thunder God Ain’t One”

Daredevil Teams Up With … Fearless Foggy Nelson!

Mr. Fear Takes Issue With DD’s “Man Without Fear” Motto

Man without fear or fashion sense

Wally Wood’s brilliant, brief run on Daredevil is well under way. In this issue, Daredevil and the whole Nelson & Murdock crew get together to fight Mr. Fear and a brace of c-list villains on loan from other Marvel titles.

The Man Without Fear vs. Mr. Fear … wow, I just realized how low-effort the elevator pitch for this issue sounds.

Continue reading “Daredevil Teams Up With … Fearless Foggy Nelson!”

WW2 Captain America Was Racist In Unexpected Ways

A Cap story from 1942 takes some nasty racial potshots.

 

 

Cap # 14As is his wont in 1942, Captain America is vigilantly protecting the home front from fifth columnists and other threats. Unfortunately, in this particular case, those threats show up in the form of Native American traitors. It’s time for Cap to flex his racist muscles against someone other than the Japanese for a change!

 

 

 

Continue reading “WW2 Captain America Was Racist In Unexpected Ways”