Dedicated to the definitive superhero non-team.

Saturday, October 22, 2022

Friendly Neighborhood Vampire

Spidey Super Stories #14 teamed up the web-slinger to a vampire who had made cameo appearances in previous issues of the series. Physically resembling Blacula from the 1972 horror film, this mid-mannered vampire was in fact the nephew of Dracula. The story delivered a subtle message against prejudice. J. Arthur Crank, president of the Better Neighborhood Club, wanted the vampire out of town. Spider-Man, however, was more interested in stopping wanted criminals.

Spider-Man: Unless your vampire does something wrong … I can't touch him.

While investigating strange occurences in the area, Spider-Man discovered that the evil inventor known as the Mad Thinker had been using using the vampire's attic as a secret hideout. Since the vampire slept until sunset, he was unaware of the Mad Thinker's activity.

Spidey Super Stories. Vol. 1. No. 14. Dec. 1975. "Haunting Season." Jean Thomas (writer), Winslow Mortimer (penciler), Mike Esposito/Tony Mortellaro (inkers), A.J. Hays (editor), John Romita (art director).

Friday, October 21, 2022

The Best of All Possible Worlds

Defenders: Beyond #4 explored a version of reality where Blue Marvel prevented the assassination of John F. Kennedy and Galactus was the "life-Bringer" rather than a devourer or worlds. The utopia wasn't all it was chalked up to be, however. Tigra, for example, was now the trusted leader of the Avengers, which amounted to Earth's mightiest heroes asking her to watch their belongings or run errands. Ultimately, the Defenders sought to escape this superficially idyllic realm and return to the world they knew.

Defenders: Beyond. Vol. 1. No. 1. December 2022. "The Land of Couldn't-Be-Shouldn't -Be." Al Ewing • Javier Rodríguez • VC's Joe Caramagna • Wil Moss • Michelle Marchese.

Friday, October 14, 2022


Thing consistently headlined Marvel Two-In-One. But after Black Goliath (later Giant-Man) became a supporting character, the series effectively became a Three-In-One when another superhero also appeared. Nowhere was this more clear than in Marvel Two-In-One #76, guest-starring Iceman. In the story, the three heroes defeated Ringmaster and his Circus of Crime, who had infiltrated an ordinary carnival.

Giant-Man's diagnosis of cancer was a subplot not only in this issue and throughout much of the series. A massive blood transfusion from Spider-Woman would eventually save his life, but Spider-Woman would lose her superhuman Immunity Factor as a result (#85).

Marvel Two-In-One. Vol. 1. No. 76. June 1981. "The Big Top Bandits." Tom DeFalco (plot), David Michelinie (script), Jerry Bingham (pencils), Chic Stone (inks), Michael Higgins (letters), George Roussos (colors), Jim Salicrup (editor), Jim Shooter (editor-in-chief).
Marvel Two-In-One. Vol. 1. No. 85. March 1982. "The Final Fate of Giant-Man!" Tom DeFalco (writer), Ron Wilson (penciler), Chic Stone (inker), Joe Rosen (letterer), George Roussos (colorist), Jim Salicrup (editor), Jim Shooter (editor-in-chief).

Saturday, October 8, 2022

Reconstructing the Construction Worker

A citation at the end of Defenders: Beyond #3 (Nov. 2022) noted that the construction worker within that story previously appeared in Classic X-Men #43 (Jan. 1990). In comparing both issues, I prefer the rendition of the character in the Defenders over his portrayal in the X-Men. Among other physical differences, this latest depiction gives the character a construction helmet and reflective lenses—with a mustache replacing his classic stubble. Additionally, the construction worker's entire dimension now appears in black-and-white instead of full color.

It is indeterminate if the surreal character still whistles while he works, as he had in the X-Men vignette.