Dedicated to the definitive superhero non-team.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Rhyme and Reason of Dr. Strange

By the Vapors of Valtorr! Dr. Strange was known for his colorful catch phrases. And from time the time, the master of the mystic arts even cast his spells in rhyme.

For example, in Defenders #1, Dr. Strange used these magic words to revive a dehydrated Prince Namor:

Omnipotent Oshur,
From beyond thy nameless sphere--
Let the captive lie immersed!!!

The sorcerer supreme had plenty of poetic license when it came to rhyming. Although he spoke no magic words when protecting Sub-Mariner and Hulk with crimson bands of Cyttorrak in #1, he chanted the following rhyme in #109 to encircle a duel between Valkyrie and the Enchantress:

By the crimson bands of Cyttorrak
which kept Polymeth chained,
I conjure strands of primal force
to keep this clash contained!

On the debut mission of the Defenders, Dr. Strange recited the following timeless words to halt the Omegatron doomsday device (Marvel Feature #1):

List, ye powers that rule the Fourth Dimension…
Rise--Your sceptres herald time's suspension…
Save this world--this jewel--this blessed terra--
Let each moment's flight become an era!

And let's not forget the spell Dr. Strange cast to erase traumatic memories from the minds of Philip Le Guin's parents (Defenders #117):

In the name of Cosmic Mercy
and the Lotus heart of peace
Let remembrance of this vanish
Let your pain now find release

By the Hoary Hosts of Hoggoth! The non-formulaic approach to magic worked to the benefit of Dr. Strange. Since he was not bound by rhyme, the magician came across as all the more commanding when he chose to speak in verse.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Fansite Hits #100

To celebrate this 100th post of the Defenders Fansite, I've decided to list when Marvel's earliest superhero titles reached their centennial issues, as originally published in Marvel Age #100 (May 1991).

As the star of Journey into Mystery, Thor technically tops the chart. Hulk and Sub-Mariner tie for second place, as the featured heroes from Tales to Astonish.

  1. Journey into Mystery #100 (January 1964)
  2. Tales to Astonish #100 (February 1968)
  3. Captain America #100 (April 1968)
  4. Fantastic Four #100 (July 1970)
  5. Amazing Spider-Man #100 (September 1971)
  6. Avengers #100 (June 1972)
  7. Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos #100 (July 1972)
  8. Daredevil #100 (June 1973)
  9. X-Men #100 (August 1976)
  10. Iron Man #100 (July 1977)
  11. Conan the Barbarian #100 (July 1979)
  12. Marvel Team-Up #100 (December 1980)
  13. Master of Kung-Fu #100 (May 1981)
  14. The Defenders #100 (October 1981); this centennial cover appeared in the fansite's second post.

As Fred Hembeck pointed out in Marvel Age #100, Patsy Walker (the future Hellcat) reached issue #100 (April 1962) of her own series before any of the superhero titles above.

Patsy Walker #100, appropriately enough, highlighted her fan club.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Howard the Defender

In one of their classic adventures, the Defenders foiled an assassination attempt against Howard the Duck, the 1976 presidential candidate for the All-Night Party (Marvel Treasury Edition #12). Even by then, of course, the Defenders were well accustomed to offbeat occurrences.

Nighthawk: We specialize in weird villains--

Led by Dr. Angst, the self-described master of mundane mysticism, the band of assailants parodied several comic book clichés.

Reminiscent of an early Valkyrie, the powerhouse Tillie the Hun boasted that she could beat any man—and even promised to marry the Hulk if she lost the fight. The green goliath refused to smash a woman but wasn't romantically interested either way.

After he was knocked unconscious early into the adventure, Dr. Strange managed to telepathically guide Howard the Duck to use magic against his would-be assassins. The duck demonstrated such promise that Dr. Strange offered to tutor him in the mystic arts. But Howard wasn't interested.

Marvel Treasury Edition. No. 12. 1976. "The Duck and the Defenders." Steve Gerber (writer), Sal Buscema & Klaus Janson (artists), Joe Rosen (letterer), Marie Severin (colorist).

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Sub-Mariner, the Sea-Monkey?

Prince Namor's half-human heritage explains why his skin is pinkish instead of blue. Or so we're led to believe.

But recurring ads from 1970s comic books suggest another clue into the hero's unique appearance. Could the legendary Atlantean have been born of sea-monkeys instead?

The passing resemblance is hard to ignore. And the embarrassment of sea-monkey ancestry could explain Namor's persistent moodiness and temperamental ego. It's an idea worth entertaining on April Fools' Day.