Friday, January 6, 2012

Famous Firsts Week: "Encounter at Land's End!" by Thomas, Buscema, and Sinnott

FAMOUS FIRSTS WEEK winds up right here, Groove-ophiles! Ready to go for a swim? Here we go...

A mere six months after the Sub-Mariner's final issue, writer/editor (#1 Namor Fan) Roy Thomas found a way to bring our Prince of Atlantis out of the mothballs--and as usual, Roy came up with a unique way of doing it...

Ol' Groove can remember that dreary December Saturday morning in 1974, trucking out to the Ben Franklin's section of Mack's Superstore to get some paint for my Aurora Incredible Hulk model. Naturally, I had to stop by the ol' spinner rack and what would jump out and almost literally grab two quarters out of my stubby fingers? Giant-Size Super-Villain Team-Up #1! Subby was indeed back, teaming up with Marvel's #1 baddie, Doctor Doom! The first 68 page ish was made up of an extremely cool framing sequence by Thomas and artists supreme John Buscema and Joe Sinnott (and man, were they ever at the top of their game here!) with reprints (from Sub-Mariner #20 and Marvel Super-Heroes #20)  featuring our extremely odd couple as background/explanation of why they should team up. Roy's ca-razee idea was a hit, with GSSVTU becoming plain old Super-Villain Team-Up after two issues, where it would run (under a variety of writers and artists like Mike Sekowsky, Tony Isabella, George Evans, Sal Buscema, Jim Shooter, Bill Mantlo, Herb Trimpe, Steve Englehart, Keith Giffen, and Bob Hall) for a solid 14 issues (May 1975-July 1977), plus three "special" issues in 1978/79.

The series ended quite differently than the first ish of GSSVTU would have lead you to expect. After Roy's departure from the title, Subby became almost a supporting character as Doom took the lead and many other characters from the F.F. to the Avengers to the Champions--and even a new character created just for the series, The Shroud, took turns trying to take down old Metal Mouth. Still, the sheer momentum of the series and the variety of creators made the mag a fun (if confusing) one to follow.

And now for your reading pleasure, here's the framing sequence from that fab first ish! Enjoy!

Ahhh, could royal hero-villains ever look and sound more regal than when Roy, John, and Joe were workin' on 'em?


  1. Epic! Simply Epic! My favorite issue besides GS #1 was issue #12. Where we saw the Red Skull go to steel booted toe to Dr.Doom! I agree I wish the series had stayed more focused equally on Subby.

    Never thought all those decades ago. Like yourself groovster going GagGa for these books, GS Invaders#1, Nova #1,etc. I'd be good friends decades later with Rascally Roy, Jolt'in Joe , Herb Trimpe & Frank Brunner. Sadly I never got to meet or chat with Big John! It was too bad he hated drawing superhero comics so much! He wasto me Marvel's #2 guy after Kirby, right up there with Romita SR & Sal Buscema. John Romita SR is a great guy too!

    He gave me 80 pages of old Marvel drawing paper a few years ago! To my shock, I was maybe expecting 10-20 pages. Marie Severin is another classy old Marvel Bulpenner. Those people were not all just simply super talented. But Super people as well.

  2. Man, Big John and Joe Sinnott's art is fantastic! I for one loved the 70's Namor costume. WAY cool! and GROOVY!!!


  3. I purchased the Essencials Marvel Super Villian Team-Up that started with this story. I remember those days in 1975. The Shroud was the only one I saw that went up against ol' Doc Doom. Loved the Bucema art. Herb Trimpe also contributed to this epic too. I just read the whole saga a couple of years ago and remember Wally Wood drew some issues with the Essencials Volume I mentioned. That B & W volume enabled me to read the entire saga from beginning to end. Something I couldn't do back in 75'.

  4. i know that Big John hated super-heroes and i think that his and Joltin' Joe's art here was some of the best they produced together.

    i loved this quirky series when i read it back in the '70's - but i think it would have been better if it stayed with it's original concept of Doom and Subby.

    Herb provided some nice work on this book also.

  5. Heh. Page 5, Panel 1 reminds me of "I have 100 pairs of stretch socks!" from Not Brand Ecch! ;)

  6. Boy, do I still hate that black costume!!! LOL GREAT framing sequence that John probably penciled in a day! Goddamn, he was so good!



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