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Joe Sinnott’s Fairy Tale Thor

Your appeal has reached my ears Thor! What trouble besets my favorite son? – ODIN

Journey Into Marvel – Part 87

The fairy tale panel.

The fairy tale panel.

Extremites, if you’ve followed this series with fanatical vehemence, and some of you have, you’ll be familiar with ‘Marvel Rush Job;’ those issues that don’t cut the mustard. They rely on hackneyed villains, convenient plots, caricatures.  Every early Earth-616 — main Marvel Continuity — title was helmed by comic book artist extraordinaire: Jack Kirby. Imagine you are Jack Kirby and had to crank out seventy or so pages of high quality work every month — and also the occasional  new creation. The task is daunting. In the summer of ’63 Stan Lee auditioned other artists to take over some of the titles. Sometimes this was a huge success. Look at the work of Don Heck. Sometimes this was a great failure — Al Hartley I’m looking at you. Whatever the result, it’s neat to experience other names take Jack Kirby creations and making it theirs. Today’s issue is the audition piece of long time Marvel mainstay Joe Sinnott and his fairy tale interpretation of Thor. Read the rest of this entry

Iron Man’s Second Issue: Abandon All Logic Ye Reader!

Any girl who’d stand you up, darling, would have to be stark, raving ma-a-ad! – Marion

Journey Into Mystery – Part 86

Even Iron Man has to do the talk show rounds.

Even Iron Man has to do the talk show rounds.

Extremites, in Silver Age Marvel, reputation is everything. When the Fantastic Four were created they were thrust into fame. They had to navigate super villains and bank robbers but also fan mail and paparazzi. Iron Man, too, must navigate the dreary annoying world of public relations. Read the rest of this entry

Monkeying Around On The Moon: The Fantastic Four and the Space Race

Only a genius such as I, Ivan Kragoff, could have trained a gorilla to operate a space-ship! – Red Ghost

Journey Into Marvel – Part 84

The Transparent Space Race

The Transparent Space Race

Extremites, I am obsessed with space; the idea of travelling beyond the clouds, into nothingness, enthrals me. I keep Apollo 13 on repeat. Glow in the dark stars bedeck my bedroom ceiling. The ingenuity of  the Space Race inspires me. I wonder what it felt like to witness the nightly news in 1963.  In today’s issue we get a glimpse into what that feeling was. Read the rest of this entry

Saying Good-Bye to the First Hulk: Examining the Failure of the Incredible Hulk Line

Journey Into Marvel – Part 77

You will surrender this entire base to me immediately, and the planet Earth itself must accept me as supreme ruler within twenty-four hours! – The Metal Master

Steve Ditko's Hulk

Steve Ditko’s Hulk

Extremites, all good things come to an end. The mediocre confused things also do that too. This is the last issue of the first Hulk line. The first Hulk had a tough go at it and today’s issue shows why the Hulk failed the first time.
Read the rest of this entry

Carbon Copy Crap: Al Hartley’s Thor

Journey Into Marvel – Part 76

Other men reveal their feelings! Why don’t I? Why don’t i just up and tell Jane that I love her?? What am I afraid of?? Blast it!! Am I a man or a mouse?!! I, who possess the greatest strength on Earth…who would battle entire armies…who would defy the heavens themselves! I fear nothing!…Nothing! Nothing…except the mocking laughter of a beautiful woman, upon learning that afrail, timid doctor is hopelessly in love with her! – Dr. Blake/Thor

It's all discombobulated.

It’s all discombobulated.

Extremites, Journey Into Marvel is bi-polar. One moment I’m reading a historically significant issue, that has far reaching repercussions for fandom, and the next I’m neck deep in  crap. After the last issue where Hulk crossed over with the Fantastic Four and changed comic book history, I return to a Marvel rush job with Journey Into Mystery. Read the rest of this entry

Fantastic Four #12: The Birth of Western Culture’s Greatest Creative Achievement

Journey Into Marvel – Part 75

The historic picture signalled a titanic event.

The historic picture signalled a titanic event.

Extremites, we take for granted, in this post Tolkien/Lewis world, the intricacy of a comprehensive fictional world.

You may have noticed that I keep using the term: “Earth – 616.” This is the name the fandom has given to the collective world that all Marvel characters exist in. As time has gone on, there are other continuities that have been created, but 616 is the main one, and the one that Journey Into Marvel concerns itself with. I believe that Earth- 616 is one of humanity’s greatest expressions of collective creativity, far more vast and comprehensive then Narnia, and with even more complexity than Middle-Earth.  It all began with today’s issue. Read the rest of this entry

Ant-Man’s Scooby-Doo Formula

Journey Into Marvel – Part 72

One of the finest villain lines in history.

One of the finest villain lines in history.

Extremites, like most North American children of a certain age, I grew up with Hanna-Barbera cartoons: the most famous being Scooby Doo. Doo was not a favourite of mine. When my sister flipped it on in the morning I complained. The idea of a semi-sentient dog unsettled me. All though I had great disdain for all things Doo I did learn how the stories worked. I’ve referred to it before, in these articles, as the ‘Scooby Doo Formula.’ This formala appears often in Silver Age Marvel stories: today’s Ant-Man being one of them. 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

What the Great Marvel Insect Rebellion of 1963 Shows Us About Henry Pym

Journey Into Marvel – Part 67

The Scarlet Beetle readies his forces.

The Scarlet Beetle readies his forces.

Extremites, mark this down. Tales to Astonish #39 is where Ant-Man jumps the shark. Stan Lee and Larry Lieber present us a story, that is so ‘off the wall’ hilarious, the world of Ant-Man has nowhere left to go.

In this story, we see what happens when the human world and the insect world collide. Read the rest of this entry

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