Saturday, August 16, 2008

Marvel's Olympics of 1972

Welcome back, culture lovers! You've behaved so well (and you ate all your broccoli!), that Ol' Groove decided to lay yet another load of magnificent Marvel medals on ya! So, let's travel back to 1972 Munich, Germany to see what Olympic-sized wonderment Marvel published that summer. Stuff so good that Mark Spitz dried his hands and read 'em between swim meets!

The Bronze Medal for greatest non-Conan pulp adaptation of the summer goes to: Doc Savage #1 (natch)! Now, this was Marvel's color comic entry into the Doc Savage sweepstakes; don't confuse it with the later (and admittedly more satisfying) black and white magazine. Adapting Lester Dent's novel are Steve Englehart and Ross Andru, two pros whose work you can always depend on. They didn't quite stick the landing with this series as they were pretty much forced to adapt full-length novels into two 18 page comicbooks, but they gave a valiant effort!

The Silver Medal for managing to get Stan Lee to let someone besides himself or Roy Thomas to write the Silver Surfer goes to: Defenders #2! Somehow writer Steve Englehart (him again!) and editor Roy managed to coax Stan into allowing them to use the Skyrider of the Spaceways in a Defenders mini-epic (one that includes cosmic possession and split personalities, brrrrrr). Artist Sal Buscema showed that he could not only ink the daylights out of the Surfer (as he did over his brother John's pencils in many an issue of the Surfer's own short-lived series), but he could draw the heck out of him as well. Englehart proved so adept at writing the Silver Surfer that he was actually given the job of writing the Surfer's second series in 1987!

The Gold Medal for best Golden Age creator still truckin' on his classic creation goes to Bill Everett on Sub-Mariner #55! It's been well documented that Sub-Mariner was editor Roy Thomas' favorite childhood superhero, and that he and Subby creator Bill Everett struck up a real friendship when they met in the 1960s (even rooming together for a time), so it's no surprise that Thomas handed Everett the reins back to his brainchild once he assumed the editor-in-chief job at Marvel. What was a surprise was how fantastic Everett's art would look and how well he was able to adapt to the Marvel version of his character (Everett's Subby was a wise-crackin' smart-mouth more akin to Spider-Man, while Marvel's version was a neo-Shakespearean, just this side of Thor, himself, on the corny dialogue dial.

You just knew a guy in swimming trunks would get the gold, didn't you?

1 comment:

  1. Hey Groovy one
    I loved 1969- 1979, but 1972 was indeed one of the best years at Marvel!



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Special thanks to Mike's Amazing World of Comics and Grand Comics Database for being such fantastic resources for covers, dates, creator info, etc. Thou art treasures true!

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As for the rest of ya, the purpose of this blog is to (re)introduce you to the great comics of the 1970s. If you like what you see, do what I do--go to a comics shop, bookstore, e-Bay or whatever and BUY YOUR OWN!