Dedicated to the definitive superhero non-team.


Monday, November 10, 2014

Daimon and the Duck

Before they became heroes in Marvel Comics Super Special #1, the founding members of the rock band KISS materialized from a young woman under psychiatric supervision.

Called to investigate, Daimon Hellstrom determined that evil forces were not responsible for the unusual occurrence. Rather, the young woman had latent psychic talents that may have caused her to tap into a parallel universe. But Hellstrom assured doctors that the phenomenon was unlikely to reoccur (Howard the Duck #13).

Convinced nonetheless that the young woman was possessed by evil spirits, the misguided Revered Yuc kidnapped her. When Hellstrom came to the rescue, Reverend Yuc mystically removed the hero's chest pentagram and demonic powers. Hellstrom was relieved at first, until he saw that emblem unexpectedly branded on Howard the Duck (#14).

Along with Hellstrom's pentagram, mystic trident, and superhuman powers, Howard also inherited a volatile personality hellbent on retribution (which Hellstrom struggled long to control as the Son of Satan).

Hellstrom chased after the demonically driven duck, and then grabbed the mystic trident from Howard's hands, returning things to normal (or rather, as normal as they had been).

Howard the Duck. Vol. 1. No. 13. June 1977. "Rock, Roll Over, and Writhe!" Steve Gerber (writer/editor), Gene Colan (penciller), Steve Leialoha (inker), Jim Novak (letterer), Jan Cohen (colorist).
Howard the Duck. Vol. 1. No. 14. July 1977. "A Duck Possessed!" Steve Gerber (writer/editor), Gene Colan (penciller), Klaus Janson (inker), Jim Novak (letterer), Irene Vartanoff (colorist).

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Power Rings

While most issues of Tales to Astonish (Volume 2) ran only reprints of Sub-Mariner adventures, #13 included a new back-up story.

Still sour after his losing battle against Sub-Mariner, Silver Surfer, Valkyrie, and Dr. Strange (Defenders #6), evil magician Cyrus Black decided to direct his anger against just one member of the Defenders.

To accomplish his goal, Cyrus Black offered three children magic rings that promised to fulfill their wildest dreams—turning them into versions of Hulk, Captain America, and Spider-Man.

Following the wizard's commands, the transformed children attacked Nighthawk, who was flying nearby. Taking off his own ring (a family heirloom worn under a glove), Nighthawk coaxed the transformed trio to follow his lead and remove their magic rings. The idea worked, and the children returned to normal.

Tales to Astonish. Vol. 2. No. 13. "Deadly Game!" Naomi Basner (writer), Alan Kupperberg (penciler), Bill Wray (inker), Christopher Warlock (letterer), Gaff (colorist), Jim Shooter (editor).
The cover story ("Death, Though Shalt Die!"originally appeared in Sub-Mariner #13 (May 1969).

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Runners-Up

The monthly calendars that ran on the back covers of Marvel Age magazine often pictured comic book characters in the squares for holidays—along with many in-jokes.

As a call back to his unsuccessful presidential campaign in 1976, Howard the Duck appeared in the Election Day square for November 6, 1985.

The content in other squares was often random. Meet the Hulks… on November 23, 1985, pictured the Incredible Hulk, She-Hulk (Jennifer Walters), Xemnu (a recurring foe of the Defenders), wrestler Hulk Hogan, and a fifth character who I do not recognize as a "Hulk" from that era.

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