A post from my long-ago Marvel blog in which I react to the first Avengers novel and plus some issues that are about to see print.
April 28, 2007 | 1:00 AM | By Tom_Brevoort | In General
On a lighter note, after revisiting the 1968 novel CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE GREAT GOLD STEAL a couple of weeks ago, I’ve since gone back and reread the other Marvel novel of the period, THE AVENGERS BATTLE THE EARTH-WRECKER, which was the first prose interpretation of any of the Marvel characters ever done.
It was awful.
Written by Otto Binder, who both wrote some excellent vintage science fiction (including the Adam Link robot stories) as well as being the man who single-handedly wrote about half of all of the golden age Marvel Family stories, sadly this novel is not his finest hour. Binder tries his best to emulate the Stan Lee style of Marvel story, but he fails on almost every conceivable level. The dialogue is strained, the characterizations are wooden, and the plot (liberally borrowed from AVENGERS #8, with Kang the Conqueror changed into the less-interesting Karzz the Conqueror) is almost nonsensical.
No, really, this was not a good book. Even the cover painting is weaker than the one on the later CAP novel (and features Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch, who aren’t in the book, while Iron Man is.) I generally am not a big fan of prose interpretations of comic book super heroes, but even by my standards, this was a bottom-of-the-barrel affair, capturing noting of the charm of the series it was patterned upon.
On a more positive note, today is Wednesday, which means it’s time for this week’s Marvel heroes Hot Pick for the week. And while I’m sorely tempted to go with the beautiful STAN LEE MEETS DR. STRANGE, it immediately loses points for having cameos by myself and the Heroes Office crew in it. So instead, I’ll have to select CIVIL WAR FRONT LINE #7, in which the saga of Speedball takes a bad bounce, Sally Floyd comes to a dramatic epiphany, lots of things blow up, and we offend some more people by comparing our fictional war to a real-life conflict of the past. It’s your interim hit of CIVIL WAR goodness while you wait for CIVIL WAR #5, on sale in a few short weeks.
5 thoughts on “Blah Blah Blog – A Hot Pick and a Review”
If it were on Kindle I would have bought it just now. How could I resist with a description like was given?
I have it. I gave up a few pages in. It was that bad. Not even melodramatic-bad, but cardboard-bad.
I think prose interpretations of superheroes can work, but it depends even more heavily on the writer since strong art can’t carry a weak story. For example, “Superman, Last Son of Krypton” is quite good. But, per Sturgeon’s law, there’s a lot of very poor hack-sales-product.
I remember having this book when I was a kid.
Now I have to delve into your 2007 posts to find your review of the Great Gold Steal. Because as bad as Binder’s Avengers wreck is (which I wasted 45¢, on in junior high) , that’s how good the Captain America novel was. As I recall, Ted was angry that the Avengers novel killed the sales of his Cap novel, and probably led to a drop in the reading skills of American youth of the Sixties.
The cover is actually painted by Robert McGinnis (yup, THAT Robert McGinnis) and the Cap by Mitchell Hooks. Despite McGinnis’s early background at Disney Studios, this really seemed out of his comfort zone by this point in his career. I’ve always thought they were odd choices for the cover art, though McGinnis made a bit more sense.