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A Human Torch Story That’s So Bad It’s ‘Van Vile’

Journey Into Marvel – Part 81

Van Vile paints a 3 headed ape to terrorize us.

Van Vile paints a 3 headed ape to terrorize us.

Extremites, I have discovered the best way to enter a story in the Strange Tales solo Human Torch issues is to expect the worse. Today, my expectations were lived up too and then some. This is the most terrible Human Torch story I have read thus far. Read the rest of this entry

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Stan Lee Answers Who Would Win in a Fight Between Namor and the Human Torch

Journey Into Marvel – Part 74

The CHALLENGE!

The CHALLENGE!

Extremites, it’s hilarious that I find myself in a loop discussing Johnny Storm’s ego. Last issue was the official moment when the Human Torch’s ego became his comeuppance. In today’s issue the two greatest egos of the Marvel Universe face off: Submariner and Johnny Storm.

A well crafted character, even one who has a large ego – maybe especially one that has a large ego — shows some vulnerability on occasion. Even a massive dick like John Constantine, Frank Castle or Bruce Wayne is shown to have some vulnerability. But Johnny Storm is just a punk kid, and to this point in the Marvel Universe, Stan Lee, and the others who have written him, paint him only as a punk kid. Read the rest of this entry

The Official “Human Torch is a Jerk” Article

Journey Into Marvel – Part 73

The Arrogance of Johnny Storm in one panel.

The Arrogance of Johnny Storm in one panel.

Extremites, Johnny Storm is a jerk. It’s official.

Since I started reading the Fantastic Four, I’ve concluded that the Four’s weakness is their egos. Whenever a villain wants to destroy the Four, all he or she need do is appeal to their arrogance. This tactic works well with Ben Grimm, sometimes Reed, but is most successful with Torch. Torch is a bully.

Carl Zante and the manipulation

Carl Zante and the manipulation.

Carl Zante, the Acrobat — the villain of this issue — is a pretentious bonkers cartoon of a man. He has a thick Tony Stark moustache, a gaudy Cruella DeVille cigarette — complete with holder — and a beret. Honest to God, a beret. I love Lieber’s villains. They always have such panache and what they lack in depth is made up in star power.

Remember, that secret identity Johnny maintains in Glenville (Strange Tales issues) but doesn’t even mention in New York (Fantastic Four issues)? The writers put an end to that discrepancy.  Read the rest of this entry

Meta-Marvel is Born: What Happens When The Fantastic Four Drop the Fourth Wall

Journey Into Marvel – Part 71

Was Willi Lumpkin drawn like Stan Lee or Did Stan Lee age into Willie Lumpkin?

Was Willi Lumpkin drawn like Stan Lee or Did Stan Lee age into Willie Lumpkin?

Extremites, ‘meta’ is an overused word. You’ve probably heard it used in front of everything from ‘humour’ to ‘phone call.’ No one knows what it means and let alone the proper time to use it.

Today, I’m using the word properly in reference to the Fantastic Four. Today’s story is the second half of Issue #11. It’s not a proper Fantastic Four story per se, more of an appendix to the earlier story. Read the rest of this entry

The Fantastic Four’s Jar Jar Binks Moment: Why It Was a Blessing In Disguise

Journey Into Marvel – Part 70

No name? 'Paul Lynde from Outer Space'

No name? ‘Paul Lynde from Outer Space’

Extremites, what do you think when you hear ‘Jar Jar Binks?’

‘Racist stereotype?’

‘Child exploitation character?’

Perhaps, ‘terrible CGI?’

Whatever you think of that character — which Lucas infected his return to Star Wars with — we it was a low point in fandom.

Every fan institution has one. Marvel its fare share of Jar Jar moments. According to modern Marvelites Fantastic Four #11 is one of the worst. I hold a different opinion. Read the rest of this entry

The Human Torch is a Punk Ass Kid

Journey Into Marvel – Part 68

Sue Storm being a 'mom.'

Sue Storm being a ‘mom.’

Extremites, I am once again confused as to why Human Torch is considered not only a hero but one of Marvel’s greatest heroes. He’s a prideful, arrogant, and rude character that has more in common with the villains he is defending humanity from than the heroes that are watching his back.

Sensationalism matchup issues are sometimes just too much. I love sensationalism as much as the next guy but I also love story. This story is a standard of matchup issues. Read the rest of this entry

Getting In Touch With “The Doomside” of Mr. Fantastic

Journey Into Marvel – Part 66

Stan and Jack cower at the face of Dr. Doom.

Stan and Jack cower at the face of Dr. Doom.

Extremites, since his first appearance, where he was upstaged by pirates, Doom has never felt like a decent threat to the Fantastic Four. Although in later years he became that way, Doom began as just another comic villain. However, it’s clear that Dr. Doom and Reed Richards have a special conflict that transcends  personality clash. They personify the battle between magic and science. Read the rest of this entry

Examining The Human Torch’s Paste Pot Pete

Journey Into Marvel – Part 65

Look at this guy...Gimmick.. gimmick, gimmick.

Look at this guy…Gimmick.. gimmick, gimmick.

Extremites, the costumed villain is an absurd idea. A criminal coordinates a theme and then commits said theme into a plan of criminality. Although megalomaniac serial killers like San Francisco’s Zodiac or New York’s Son of Sam do resemble this in their crimes, most crime is faceless and brutal. Comic books embellish criminal acts and put an absurd character behind them. Strange Tales #104 has one of Silver Age Marvel’s most absurd villains at the centre of its story.

Modern Marvel readers will know the name Trapster. He’s a character that has featured in some story in each of the modern flagship line, with the exception of X-Men. In 1963, he went by the name Paste Pot Pete. Pete got his name from the fact that instead of using a fire arm he opts for a hose the shoots paste. This guy threatens people with a gigantic glue dispenser. Read the rest of this entry

How the Debut of Amazing Spider-Man Signalled a Coming Change At Marvel

Journey Into Marvel – Part 61

The Official First Spider-Man

The Official First Spider-Man

Extremites, up until now — aside from the tangent into 1963 when I couldn’t find the early issues — we’ve been progressing through the Marvel universe chronologically. The Marvel Universe doesn’t work like this. Some issues and stories occur before each other; regardless of date. This is why Amazing Spider-Man #1, which is issued March 1963, happens here even though my last review was issued December 1962.

SO TO SPIDER-MAN! Read the rest of this entry

The Fantastic Four Explain What Superheroes Do For Cash

Journey Into Marvel – Part 58

Fantastic_Four_Vol_1_9Extremites, if you’re like me, and I assume you are because you follow this blog — and if you don’t follow it you should — you have found yourself sitting reading a comic wondering two things: one, ‘where do these superheroes find all this spandex’ and two, ‘how do these folks afford all of this?’ It must be expensive to keep up a multitude of gadgets. Insurance payments on crazy building collapsing battles must be through the roof.

Some characters are billionaires. Batman has endless cash to fund the latest mobile or new grapple hooks. Tony Stark is the heir to a massive military supply shop.

What about the ‘average joes?’ Read the rest of this entry

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