On “I Slay The Stars” in August 1972’s The Defenders #1 by Steve Englehart, Sal Buscema, Frank Giacoia, Artie Simek et al. From the very first page of I Slay The Stars, there’s an acute sense that newly arrived writer Steve Englehart had analysed the strengths and weaknesses of The Defenders’ rather underwhelming try-outs in […]Read More Steve Englehart Sorts Things Out: On 1972’s The Defenders #1.
The Defenders first appeared in the debut issue of Marvel Feature published in the third full week of July 1971. The title’s initial quarterly schedule meant that the second Defenders tale wouldn’t appear until mid-October of the same year, with the non-team’s final tryout appearance arriving in January 1972. The sales must have shown some […]Read More 10 Key Superhero Titles From 1971/2: What Else Was Around When The Defenders Debuted? (Part 1 of 2)
On The Defenders: A Titan Walks Among Us in 1972’s Marvel Feature #3, by Roy Thomas, Ross Andru, Bill Everett et al. At the end of A Titan Walks Among Us, the Sub-Mariner quits his admittedly informal alliance with Doctor Strange because human beings are ungrateful, suspicious and violent. Why should he continue to respond […]Read More The Rule Of Law? The Sub-Mariner in Marvel Feature #3
The great myth of Doctor Strange’s first origin, by Steve Ditko and Stan Lee, is that a previously “proud, haughty” surgeon who “cared but little for (his) fellow men” was transformed through sacrifice, study, and, eventually, enlightenment into a fully realised human being. There’s absolutely no doubt that Strange’s experiences with the Ancient One in […]Read More The Henchmen Of Stephen Strange.
It isn’t true that every new comic book needs a distinct identity to set it apart from its many fellows. Through the decades, success has, of course, frequently arrived from the cloning of the appeal of existing titles. A little copyright-outflanking here to avoid the lawsuits, a slight change in detail and emphasis there to […]Read More The Worst Super Team In The World: The Defenders In Marvel Feature #1.
I had never come across the phrase ‘dead-catting’ until a few weeks ago. The last thing I had expected from Emma Smith’s (quite magnificent) This Is Shakespeare was an introduction to contemporary slang, let alone a phrase associated with the loathsome political operator Lynton Crosby. But a term to describe a deliberate distraction that obscures […]Read More That Dead-Catting Dr Strange
A lifetime ago, I wrote a string of blogs about Steve Ditko and Stan Lee’s Doctor Strange. As I did so, I felt absolutely sure that, despite my best efforts, I was doing nothing more than showing respect for my deadlines at Sequart Publishing. I wished I could do better, but they were all I […]Read More On Messages In Bottles & Marvel Comics’ “The Defenders”.
continued from here; Atlas Comics never seemed to me to have been a well-run venture. Even as a twelve year boy, its titles seemed doomed to failure. Some of them were, briefly enough, captivating, as with The Scorpion’s first issue. Others were faintly alluring in their sheer strangeness, as with the potpouri of exploitation cliches […]Read More On The Surprising Competency Of Wulf The Barbarian #1: 31 Days Of Atlas #31
An unexpected and unavoidable family responsibility has arrived on my doorstep this morning. Which is absolutely fine, because it’s a privilege to have a family that I’m glad to feel a responsibility towards. As a consequence, I’ll delay finishing my piece about Wulf The Barbarian until tomorrow, on what will also be the last of […]Read More Spider-Man! Kamandi! The X-Men! – 9 Fine Comics From Atlas’ Competitors During Its Underachieving Lifetime: 31 Days Of Atlas #30
It would be wrong to suggest that Atlas Comics was the only company in its day to struggle to come to terms with America’s speedily changing comics marketplace. Yes, Atlas went about its business with such hubris and such incompetence that it had in effect euthanised itself within a year of the announcement of its […]Read More Wulf The Barbarian #1 & The Fantasy/Adventure Craze That Never Was: 31 Days Of Atlas # 29