Lee & Kirby & Everett & Grandinetti & Friends – The Messy Story of Tales to Astonish #84

Even with the limited output allowed to them under the terms of their distribution deal with Independent News (which only permitted the Marvel of the 1960s to release a certain number of titles every month), Marvel often ran into situations where the talent they had on hand in order to complete everything wasn't enough. During … Continue reading Lee & Kirby & Everett & Grandinetti & Friends – The Messy Story of Tales to Astonish #84

Lee & Ditko: The Non-Prototype of Uncle Ben and Aunt May

As the back issue marketplace for certain key old comic books began to truly heat up in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and sums undreamed of were beginning to be demanded for and gotten for comics of a relatively recent vintage (comics that are in much greater supply than the Golden Age books that … Continue reading Lee & Ditko: The Non-Prototype of Uncle Ben and Aunt May

5BC: Five More Mean Caricatures of Comic Book Creators

Comic books are a petty business, it must be said. And the same freedom to imagine and play that allows for the creativity in conceptualizing new stories about characters who, let's face it, were designed to appeal to children also somehow invites the darker side of itself--the version where grown-ups behave like petulant children on … Continue reading 5BC: Five More Mean Caricatures of Comic Book Creators

5BC: Five Best Forgotten Early Marvel Story Developments

Not every idea that gets published in a comic book story is a good one. Especially over the long periods of time that most of the mainstay comic book heroes have been in existence, there have been any number of developments that turned out to be a bad instinct, and which were subsequently either overturned … Continue reading 5BC: Five Best Forgotten Early Marvel Story Developments

5BC: Five Best Dopey Marvel Silver Age Villains

Let's face it, lightning doesn't strike every month, and sometimes inspiration can be difficult to come by. But comic books still had to come out, ready or not. And so, occasionally, our favorite heroes of Marvel's silver age would find themselves contending with opponents who--well, let's just say they weren't quite up to the usual … Continue reading 5BC: Five Best Dopey Marvel Silver Age Villains

Lee & Kirby & Goldberg & Hartley: The Unlikely Cameos of Jack Kirby

Reader Steven Thompson asked me a question about this recently, so this piece exists entirely due to his interest--you can thank him if you find anything here of value. There was a time-honored tradition of writers and artists inserting themselves into their stories, and Stan Lee and Jack Kirby were no different. In general, the … Continue reading Lee & Kirby & Goldberg & Hartley: The Unlikely Cameos of Jack Kirby

Lee & Kirby & Ayers: More on the Strange Case of STRANGE TALES #119

Thanks to an observation by reader Ben Herman we can take a bit of a closer look at the question of the lead story in STRANGE TALES #119, which appeared to have been retooled from being a Hate-Monger adventure into one pitting the Human Torch against the new-but-similar villainy of the Rabble Rouser. After yesterday's … Continue reading Lee & Kirby & Ayers: More on the Strange Case of STRANGE TALES #119

Lee & Kirby & Ayers: The Strange Case of STRANGE TALES #119

This is a sort of an odd situation, as I haven't even completely worked out an operating theory on just what was behind the decisions I'm about to lay out for you all. So this is still a bit of a puzzler. But it concerns a significant change that was made to the lead story … Continue reading Lee & Kirby & Ayers: The Strange Case of STRANGE TALES #119

BHOC: HUMAN TORCH #7

This was another book that I got out of the local drug store's Big Bin of Slightly Older Comics. I'd had no idea that there had even been a HUMAN TORCH series--and in truth, it turned out to have been a short-lived reprint title. Still, it was another Fantastic Four-related book--and as the Torch was … Continue reading BHOC: HUMAN TORCH #7