The Defenders Fansite

Dedicated to the definitive superhero non-team.


Thursday, January 2, 2020

Turning to Tarot

Since the time I started this blog twelve years ago, I've witnessed numerous attempts to revamp the Defenders. None impressed me as much as Tarot #1.

Bringing together Hulk, Namor, Valkyrie, Silver Surfer, and Dr. Strange, the mini-series features five of the earliest and most iconic members of the original non-team … with a seasoned sense of camaraderie.

The premiere issue found the heroes facing Cyrus Black, one of the team's oldest foes. Within the story, Namor remembered a surprising moment in 1944 when Captain America turned into a green-skinned Hulk. A visit to Avengers Mansion, however, found that Captain America had no memory of this dubious event.

Pual Renaud illustrated this variant cover of Tarot #1 (March 2020). Alan Davis wrote this issue.

Monday, December 30, 2019

Signaling Sunfire

Numerous skirmishes filled the pages of Defenders #8-11 and Avengers #115-118, as members of both teams fought over an artifact known as the Evil Eye.

My favorite chapter in the multi-part drama came in Avengers #117 (Nov. 1973), when Sub-Mariner and Captain America battled on the coast of Japan. The setting made a fitting backdrop to remind readers how the the two heroes had been allies during World War II.

The modern-day conflict became all the more heated with the surprise appearance of Sunfire. The patriotic hero warned Sub-Mariner and Captain America to take their feud away from Japanese shores. While acting as both outsider and antagonist, Sunfire was symbolic in numerous ways:

  • Like Captain America, Sunfire wore his nation's flag as a costume, drawing attention to the world at large.
  • Sunfire's flame powers contrasted with Sub-Mariner's water-breathing … and were reminiscent of the original Human Torch who had teamed up with Cap and Subby during the Golden Age of comics.
  • Having first appeared in X-Men #64 (Jan. 1970), Sunfire's presence in the midst of the Avengers/Defenders War furthered the presence of mutants at a time when only reprints appeared the pages of the X-Men (#67-93).

In other words, Sunfire was the perfect guest star for Avengers #117.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Paint Monk's Library Referral

Thanks goes out to Paint Monk's Library for promoting The Defenders Fansite as a featured blog on their site. The accolade is much appreciated!

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Shrouded Cover Versions

The cover of Marvel Team-Up #94 impressed me with its stylized black-and-white ink to depict the powers of Shroud, Master of Darkness. This is my favorite cover from the series, including all the issues that guest-starred members of the Defenders. A similar artistic treatment appeared five issues later on #99 but with less oomph than before.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Friends of Ol' Defenders

Short for Friends of Ol' Marvel, FOOM ran for five years in the mid-Seventies as a periodical for comic book enthusiasts.

FOOM #19 (Fall 1977) was a special issue devoted to the Defenders. Highlights included a history of the non-team written by Ralph Macchio, along with reflective essays by Roy Thomas, Steve Englehart, Len Wein, Steve Gerber, and David Kraft about their work on the series.

A detailed checklist included publication dates, page counts, and credits for Defenders #1-60 plus the giant-size issues.

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