Monday, July 3, 2017

Groovin' Back In the Summertime, 1972

The Summer of 1972! The Godfather, The Poseidon Adventure, Deliverance, The Biscuit Eater (it was out at the drive-in, don'tcha know), and Sounder came out. Of course, Young Groove only got to see a couple of those flicks at the time (can you guess which ones?).

The Olympics, as well as reruns of All In the Family, Mary Tyler-Moore, M*A*S*H*, and best of all, Sonny and Cher kept Young Groove glued to the boob tube.

And when I was drawing (well, actually tracing), playing games, or just chillin', the sounds of The Eagles, Alice Cooper, Dr. Hook, Neil Diamond, and even Sammy Davis Jr. came pouring out of my radio.

It was a magical time for  Young Groove with cousins staying over here and there, a fun vacation (long drives were a great excuse to read a pile of comics) to visit even more family, the ol' swimming pool in the back yard, trolling the grounds of more houses being built in our subdivision for spare lumber to use to build a clubhouse...but still, it's all about the comics, baby! Let's rap about a few faves...

The Avengers (aren't they always at the top of Ol' Groove's lists?). Roy Thomas' Avengers swan song pitting the Awesome Assemblers against the Sentinels wrapped up during that summer. The story was so cool, especially the romantic tension with Scarlet Witch, The Vision, and Hawkeye, Quicksilver stepping into the spotlight (ironically, to end his time in the Avengers), the flashbacks to the Thomas/Neal Adams X-Men era, and haaaave mercy, that gorgeous Rich Buckler/Joe Sinnott art! The summer ended with that new Englehart guy taking over the writing. He wound up being pretty good! (More on him below!)

Batman. Over at DC, the dream team of Denny O'Neil and Neal Adams were wrapping some things up in Batman, too. The final chapters of their massive and immortal Ra's al Ghul saga came out in the Summer of 1972, and man, did they ever make a mark on Young Groove (a lot of us Groove-ophiles, I'm sure)! O'Neil crafted a tale that would have made the producers of the James Bond movies jealous, and Adams' art, inked by Dick Giordano, was just the pinnacle of what The Batman should look like. Modern, slick, sophisticated--and yet, an eight year old like me could totally dig it!

Captain America. Remember "that Englehart guy" I mentioned up there in the Avengers paragraph. Of course I'm rappin' about Steve Englehart. He'd already won me over with the Beast feature in Amazing Adventures, but man, he took over Cap's mag and immediately made it the "must read" mag of the week! He started off with sending Cap on vacation, then, boom, out of left field we got another Cap giving the Falcon fits. This Cap, it turned out, was the "forgotten" Cap of the 1950s--and he was bonkers. Man, Sterling Steve gave us a cracking-good action/adventure story (its magnificence heightened by the equally action-packed art of the great Sal Buscema), but he also managed to give us history lessons in both Cap and real-world history, some social studies, and civics lessons all at the same time. It was the coolest school ever--and it happened in the summer!

Marvel Feature Presents the Astonishing Ant-Man: Issue #5, where writer Mike Friedrich and artist Herb Trimpe pit our stuck-at-ant-size hero against the evil Egghead just blew Young Groove away. The battle with the hawk that started the comic off was downright scary to me back then. The introduction of Trish Starr (who'd become sort-of important in The Defenders a few years later) and Ant-Man's oh-so-Seventies outfit (white pants, boots, and a red turtleneck!) seemed so cool back then. And this series showed me that the best Herb Trimpe art was when he could ink it himself. I loved him on the Ant-Man strip even more than on Incredible Hulk. Weird personal aside: I'd been looking forward to the new Ant-Man series, but somehow I thought I'd missed MF #4 (the debut ish, natch). I found #5 and, as you can see, loved it. Imagine my surprise when a few weeks later, on the same spinner rack I'd found ish 5--I found ish #4! I was puzzled but very happy!

Those are just a few of the mostly Marvel-ous mags that took my twin dimes that simmering summer. Which ones turned you on? Some of these? These? Or perhaps, these? (Don'tcha just love Mike's Amazing World of Comics' Newsstand?)

Rap about 'em in the comments, okay?


  1. You have many of my faves already. I'd add DD and Black Widow in San Francisco by Colan and Palmer, Conan by Windsor-Smith, and the revival of Captain Marvel by Wayne Boring of all people. It was also the summer Marvel chose put out a little comic called Doc Savage, which woke me up to his greatness.

    Rip Off

  2. Loved all these and much more from both DC & Marvel. LKoved those epic TV movies too. Like the Night Staler & Night Strangler TV movies. The Gargoyles, Cyborg aka the $6 Million Dollar Man Steve Austin/Lee Majors! Epic time! Michael Douglas in When Michael Calls too! Have a Great 4th of July!!

  3. Agreed with all of the above -- and seconding Rip's nominations as well -- but I particularly want to note that anyone who sees the greatness in the Mike Friedrich/Herb Trimpe Ant-Man series is my kind of comics fan.

  4. I loved, loved Marvel Feature, Marvel Premiere & Marvel Spotlight. I just wish Antman, the Beast, Scarecrow in 75 & a few others. Had simply gotten their own monthly titles right from the start. 1970-79 was my Golden Age of comics to me. Especially 1970-77. Loved all the DC & Marvel Ghost, Weird & SF books too. Color & B &W magazines. Was bumbed out when so many got canceled way too soon.THe Summers of 1975 & 76 for annuals & new titles were the very best!Keep on Groovin Groovy ones!

  5. Wrightson's Swamp Thing and Neal Adams' Batman-Ra's al Ghul issues were the highpoint of '70s comic books for me. The Warren mags were great, too, of course, and Heavy Metal came out just in time as mainstream comics shrank in page count, hideous candy colors, and horrible printing on plastic ("flexographic") plates.

    Chris A.



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