Dedicated to the definitive superhero non-team.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Invaders: No-Prize?

The following letter from Invaders #6 (May 1976) asked artist Frank Robbins and writer Roy Thomas about inconsistencies in the way Sub-Mariner appeared in publications from the 1950s and his appearances in the Invaders (retroactively set in the 1940s).

Dear Frank and Roy:
One question that keeps cropping up in THE INVADERS' letters pages is this: Should the Invaders be part of the regular Marvel Universe? I say that, as of now, they cannot without at least two contradictions. Those two are: Sub-Mariner's wings on his feet, and his ability to fly. He did not get the wings and flying power till SUB-MARINER #38 (February 1955). Do I get a no-prize or anything? I like most anything that is relatively free.
H. Keating DuGarm, Jr.

Then you'd better take to breathing deeply, lad—'cause the petulant Prince Namor did indeed possess those nutty little wings on his feet (which somehow, astoundingly to us all, give him the power to fly for short distances like a flying fish) when he first appeared in the pages of MARVEL COMICS (later MARVEL MYSTERY COMICS) #1, 1939. It was only in the 1950's that, for a few months, he was drawn without them—and that's a period which, despite our reprinting those timeless tales from time to time, we prefer largely to ignore. Or, if you prefer, you may assume that he lost them (along with much of his once superhuman strength) for a few years, only to regain them in the issue of SUB-MARINER you mentioned. You paid your money, H. Keating, so you can take your choice. But a no-prize? It looks as if this isn't the month for readers of THE INVADERS to rake those in, friend!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Before Brunnhilde

At the request of Winston Churchill, several Golden Age heroes joined forces to battle the Axis Powers in Invaders #1, retroactively set in late December 1941.

Although Captain America and the original Human Torch had second-thoughts about calling themselves the Invaders, proposing alternate names ranging from the Protectors to the Revenge Squadron, Sub-Mariner convinced the team to use the term that Churchill suggested.

Soon after they arrived in Europe, the Invaders encountered a mysterious woman with golden eyes and only a vague recollection of her past. But the woman soon recalled that she was a marooned extraterrestrial who had escaped from the clutches of Nazi villain Brain Drain (Invaders #2).

As an homage to the Richard Wagner opera, Brain Drain had called the extraterrestrial woman Brunnhilde. But her actual name was MCM-XLI (the Roman numeral MCMXLI translates to 1941), and she despised being objectified as a legendary valkyrie.

Lacking the willpower to escape on their own, three male extraterrestrials still remained under Brain Drain's mental control. They answered to the names Donar (god of thunder), Froh (god of lightning), and Loga (god of thunder).

Though set in the past, Invaders #1-2 were published the same months as Defenders #26-27 (August-September 1975). The superhero Valkyrie was well-established by this time, but her identity as the real Brunnhilde went unrevealed until Avengers Annual #11.

Roy Thomas wrote Invaders #1-2. Frank Robbins illustrated those issues.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015


Following a jaunt through some of the most absurd corners of the multiverse, She-Hulk and traveling companion Howard the Duck encountered a band of villains who originally battled the Defenders (Marvel Treasury #12).

Led by the mystical Dr. Angst, the reunited team of villains also included Tillie the Hun, Black Hole, Spanker, and Sitting Bullseye—but with updated costumes (Sensational She-Hulk #16-17).

Together, the obscure criminals sought to dominate the Insipiverse, a world of all-pervasive spiritual torpor, aesthetic monotony, and intellectual inertia.

She-Hulk and Howard foiled the plot.

Steve Gerber wrote The Sensational She-Hulk #16-17 (June-July 1990). Bryan Hitch pencilled those issues.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Postmortem Mall

In the midst of a near-death experience, She-Hulk found outside a 67-story-tall purgatory called the Postmoderm Mall (Sensational She-Hulk #53).

Touring this comedic afterlife with Bucky Barnes (Captain America's sidekick during World War II), She-Hulk spotted heroes and villains alike. Mimic retained the iconic powers of the original X-Men, which he had lost by the time of his apparent death (Incredible Hulk #161).

Several adversaries of the Defenders perviously targeted by the Scourge of the Underworld also occupied the entertainment complex, including Ringer, Miracle Man (now working in the mall as a hairstylist), and Melter (taking a fitness class along with Nighthawk, mourned in Defenders #107).

The Sensational She-Hulk. Vol. 2. No. 53. July 1993. "Death Becomes Her." Michael Eury (writer), Darren Auck (guest penciler), Mike DeCarlo (inker), Brad Joyce (letterer), Glynis Oliver (colorist), Renée Witterstaetter (editor), Tom DeFalco (editor in chief).

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