Dedicated to the definitive superhero non-team.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

You Can't Judge a Comic Book by Its Cover

According to the cover blurb, Marvel Two-in-One #34 was the shocker of the year! Though not particularly shocking by comic book standards, the story within the issue made for a worthwhile read.

The protagonist of this introspective tale was a tendrilled extraterrestrial long frozen in ice. Unbeknownst to the creature, the others of its kind who had embarked on Earth died in 1908 when their spacecraft crashed in Siberia. Narrating portions of the text, the revived extraterrestrial had peaceful—even selfless—intentions toward humanity yet was met by fear and hostility.

Ben Grimm, the orange hero called Thing, understandably sympathized with the misunderstood extraterrestrial. Nighthawk, too, was sympathetic while also reflecting on his own life circumstances, Nighthawk recognized how much more comfortable he felt helping others as a costumed hero than attending to weighty financial responsibilities as millionaire Kyle Richmond.

Marvel Two-In-One. Vol. 1. No. 34. December 1977. "A Monster Walks Among Us!" Marv Wolfman (writer/editor), Ron Wilson & Pablo Marcos (artists), Bruce Patterson (letterer), Sam Kato (colorist).

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Powergirl Parallels

Of all the Rutland Halloween Parade tie-in comics during the Seventies, the most prophetic was Thor #207 (Jan. 1974). The story's splash page depicted a parade float carrying two men dressed as Superman and Batman (illustrating an awareness of DC characters within the world of Marvel Comics). As with some other Rutland stories, Thor #207 featured guest appearances of Marvel staff, including colorist Glenys Wein (née Glynis Oliver). One panel spotlighted Glenys wearing a Superman-inspired Halloween costume with the insignia G. Her husband at the time of the story, Len Wein, mentioned that she was dressed as Powergirl.

This scene becomes historically intriguing when considering that the DC character Power Girl would make her debut two years later in All-Star Comics #58 (Feb. 1976). Introduced as Superman's cousin on Earth 2, Power Girl wore a unique costume absent of any insignia. Gerry Conway, who scripted Thor #207, also wrote All-Star Comics #58, making it all the more noteworthy to see a Powergirl costume that visually resembled Superman before the creation of a Power Girl character with familial ties to the hero.

Glynis Wein (pictured below in Powergirl costume) was the colorist on Thor #207. The panel also shows Len Wein and Gerry Conway. John Buscema illustrated this issue.

Friday, October 23, 2020


During the Defenders' run-in with the Zodiac, the villain Scorpio led the astrological organization. The true identify of Scorpio was Jake Fury, the complicated brother of S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Nick Fury.

Spidey Super Stories #34 presented a friendlier version of the Zodiac. In this story, three extraterrestrials with animal-like features returned to Earth after visiting the planet thousands of years ago. Upon their return, the extraterrestrials named Leo, Aries, and Taurus encountered the super-villain Scorpion, a long-time nemesis of Spider-Man. Although the extraterrestrials initially trusted Scorpion because he resembled their crew mate Scorpio, they soon grew wise to Scorpion's plans to dupe them into committing crimes.

Spidey Super Stories. Vol. 1. No. 34. May 1978. "Spidey Meets the Zodiac People." J.M. Salicrup/Nick Cuti (writers), Win Mortimer, Ron Perlin & Mike Esposito (artists), A.J. Hays/Julie Mishkin (editors), David Kraft (Marvel consultant), Marie Severin (art director).