Tag Archives: stan lee

CCL Podcast #360 – Motor City Comic Con 2013 Wrap Up

DC Special Blue Ribbon Digest #18 featuring Sgt. Rock
DC Special Blue Ribbon Digest #18 featuring Sgt. Rock

Collected Comics Library Podcast #360
19.7Mb; 21m 28s

This past weekend was the 24th Annual Motor City Comic Con. I had a great time with my kids on both Saturday and Sunday and I even ran into a few old friends. I bought several back issues of Robin, Nightwing and Punisher War Journal, but two collected editions that I picked up for $1.00 each are worth discussing today on the show: DC Special Blue Ribbon Digest #18 featuring Sgt. Rock that features origins stories (more or less) of Easy Co. and Punisher Classic which reprints, not only his hard to find black and white magazine appearances from Marvel Preview #2 and Marvel Super Action # 1, but also the original 8-page story Kites, which still, to this day, has never been reprinted!

I also talk about Mikel OD’s new music (and comics) zine Digital Racket, and two solicitations from Marvel: Inhumans: The Origin Of The Inhumans TPB, that reprints all their early appearance from Fantastic Four and S.H.I.E.L.D. By Steranko: The Complete Collection TPB that collects every early appearance by Nick Fury as done by the great Jim Steranko. Both books are a must have!

Cheers!

Chris

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CCL Podcast #355 – Why Marvel Masterworks Fantastic Four Volume 5 Is The Greatest Collected Edition Ever

Marvel Masterworks Fantastic Four Volume 5
Marvel Masterworks Fantastic Four Volume 5

Collected Comics Library Podcast #355
34.3Mb; 37m 22s

Back in the day The Fantastic Four was dubbed The World’s Greatest Comics Magazine. No such truer words were written when in 1965-1966, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby not only wed Reed Richards and Sue Storm but introduced characters like The Inhumans, Galactus and The Silver Surfer who have had impact in the Marvel Universe for 50 years and in today. Today we explore this comic that have been collected in Marvel Masterworks Fantastic Four Volume 5.

Also on today’s show: Marvel’s New Epic line of what are turning out to be colorized versions of the Essentials, thoughts on Carmine Infantino, DC’s New 52 Villains Omnibus due in December and the Eisner Awards.

Cheers!

Chris

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CCL Podcast #351 – Still Uncollected Stan, Jack and Steve

Just Imagine Stan Lee's Superman
Just Imagine Stan Lee’s Superman

Collected Comics Library Podcast #351
28.1Mb; 30m 34s

When one looks at the work of Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko you can see that nearly all of it has been reprinted in some form or another. But some of the comics have slipped through the cracks and has yet to be collected at all. On today’s show I take a look a few of the comics most notably Just Imagine Stan Lee Creating the DC Universe, which was collected in a 3-volume trade paperback set, but was promised a complete Omnibus edition and was canceled for no apparent reason; Jack Kirby: Genesis from Dynamite Entertainment, an incomplete reboot of Silver Star, Captain Victory and other Kirby characters as envisioned by Alex Ross and Kurt Busiek to name a few; and finally what adds up to about 40 pages worth of comic book material by Steve Ditko that was haphazardly not included in the three recent DC Comics hardcovers: The Creeper, Ditko Omnibus 1 and 2.

Also on the show: God Hates Astronauts HC on Kickstarter, Black Mask Studios, Valiant $1 comics and the 7th EC Comics reprint from Fantagraphics titled Sucker Bait and Other Stories by Graham “Ghastly” Ingels and Al Feldstein.
Cheers!

Chris

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CCL Podcast #346 – Adopt A Character 2013

marvel masterworks fantastic four volume 6
marvel masterworks fantastic four volume 6

Collected Comics Library Podcast #346
23.6Mb; 25m 43s

It’s that time of year again! Time to pick a character or creator to immerse yourself in for 2013.

This is one of my favorite shows of the year because it forces me to read material I probably would have skipped. For 2013 I’m choosing The Fantastic Four starting with the original epic run by creators Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. I’ll be reading from my own 14 Volume set of Marvel Masterworks. In my ten years of owning these books, I have never read them! So this year I’m dusting them off, literally, and doing something that every comic book fan should do!

For fun let’s recap what I adopted the past few years:

2007: Thor
2008: Luke Cage and Iron Fist
2009: The Spirit Archives Volumes 1-27
2010: Steve Ditko’s Spider-Man
2011: Silver Age X-Men
2012: Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.

I hope you, too, pick a character(s) or creator(s) to learn more about and to let me know who it is.

Chris

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Sunday Review – Marvel Masterworks: The Human Torch Volumes 1-2

Let’s get this out of the way early, I liked the Fantastic Four movies. Yes, they were loaded with bad acting, but so are a lot of movies. But com’on we all went to the theater to see the Human Torch special effects. My son also enjoyed them (he is now 11 and we own them on DVD), and they are the types of live action superhero movies that we can watch together, unlike The Dark Knight, and he doesn’t have to follow some drawn out plot, like the X-Men movies. Speaking of Johnny Storm, he’s just plane cool. I fondly remember as a kid of the 70′s not wanting to be Spider-Man or Superman, but a guy who could fly and set things on fire at will (it was a rough childhood). As I grew older, my interests grew up with me, but Johnny stayed the same, he was even a nuisance and crybaby at times. I guess that’s his nature and the producers whole heartily incorporated his narcissism into the movies. Too bad really, because I think it’s time that Johnny grew up into the hero that he was born to be. Of course that may be a problem being that the Human Torch is “dead” now.

While Reed, Sue and Ben have seemingly moved on from Johnny’s demise to create the Future Foundation with Spider-Man (geez, how many team and solo books can he be in anyway?) this is a perfect time to get reacquainted with ‘ol Hot Head before his expected return in Fantastic Four #600 in 2012. And there’s no better place to learn about his roots then a visit, not to the early Fantastic Four comic books (which are great in of themselves), but to the Human Torch short story, solo adventures that ran in Strange Tales #101-134 and are collected in Marvel Masterworks: The Human Torch Volumes 1-2.

If you know your Marvel history then you know that the FF #1 predated the debut of Spider-Man (Amazing Fantasy #15) by about 10 months; November 1961 vs. August 1962. But let’s not forget that the FF appeared in Spider-Man #1 (Mach 1963), setting the stage for the friendly feud between Spidey and Torch, and interestingly enough there was no Fantastic Four book in that hot summer month; #6 was held off until September. But it’s October, 1963 when things really heat up.

Strange Tales was started in 1951, as part of Atlas Comics horror line. As that genre wained, thanks in part to Fredric Werthem, Stan Lee thought that a superhero should be added and since Spider-Man had his own title and the Fantastic Four was popular, there was no better character to take over, and add a bit of a rivalry, Johnny Storm, The Human Torch. Of course Johnny was the Silver Age and second Human Torch. The first being created by Carl Burgos in 1939 for Marvel Mystery Comics and ran from #1-98 and in Human Torch #1-35. Both comics were cancelled in 1949 and after a short resurrection (along with Captain America and the Sub-Mariner in the 1950′s), the Golden Age original faded into obscurity until Fantastic Four Annual #4 (November, 1966).

Johnny’s adventures in Strange Tales differed slightly from Fantastic Four as it was geared for a little younger audience. Here, Lee was more focused on action then science, more earth born street level thugs then cosmic fears from beyond. Johnny was more like his new rival Spider-Man, having to go to high school, have a girl-friend and having to fit in. I can only imagine kids in the early 60′s arguing on the playground who was the better hero (we adults do this now on our own playgrounds called forums). So just keep that in mind if and when you pick these books up.

As for the comics themselves, they are a lot of fun and full of nostalgia and loaded with some of the best talent one book has ever seen. Stan Lee and his brother Larry Lieber do the majority of the writing, but Jerry Siegel (Superman) comes by for #112-113. As for the artwork, that job is left up to Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers who at times turn it over to Steve Ditko, Wally Wood, Bob Powell and the aforementioned, Carl Burgos.

Let’s look at some of the more notable comics:

  • Issue #101 is a reintroduction to the origin of the Human Torch and the Fantastic Four.
  • Issue #106 brings the four of them together (boy, that was quick!), and Reed, Sue and Ben come back for #108-109 (and make other short appearances throughout the run).
  • Issue #107 is one of those books that can’t get reprinted enough; it’s Johnny vs. Namor, The Sub-Mariner in an epic battle that should not be missed! It’s also the fourth appearance of Namor in the Silver Age and his first outside of the FF title.
  • Sandwiched in between Siegel’s brilliant #112 and #113, there is Strange Tales Annual #2. This particular book has Stan writing and Steve Ditko inking Jack Kirby’s pencils and even features Spider-Man – you won’t find this comic in the Amazing Spider-Man Masterworks or The Steve Ditko Visionaries HC!
  • Issue #114 (November 1963) gets even better with the return of Captain America. As a reader of that time, it would have been awesome to witness his return (except his red shorts), but then be somewhat disappointed with the surprise ending. But fear not because Steve Rogers would be resurrected for good, a few months later in The Avengers #4 (March, 1964).
  • Skipping ahead, Johnny’s buddy, Ben Grim comes by and teams up for the run of #121-134. Reading the issues, I’m not sure this move was necessary. One the good side they battle Namor in #125, but this team-up concept without Reed and Sue, helped end the Human Torch in Strange Tales to make way for the super spy, Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.

As for the extras in these two Masterworks, Volume 1 only contains an introduction by Dick Ayers while Volume 2 has Bruce Canwell doing that duty. In the second volume there is cover art for the complete 8-issue reprint run (1974-75) of The Human Torch. This series collected the Silver Age, Atlas Age and Golden Age comics that featured The Human Torch. Both volume have creator biographies.

Marvel Masterworks: The Human Torch Volume 1 HC (Variant Volume 66)
Written by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Jerry Siegel, Robert Bernstein and Ernie Hart
Art by Dick Ayers, Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko
$50.00 ($55.00), 272 pages, Marvel Comics
Collects: Human Torch stories from Strange Tales #101-117 and Strange Tales Annual #2

Marvel Masterworks: The Human Torch Volume 2 HC (Variant Volume 114)
Written by Stan Lee and Larry Ivie
Art by Dick Ayers, Bob Powell, Carl Burgos and Jack Kirby
$50.00 ($55.00), 256 pages, Marvel Comics
Collects: Human Torch stories from Strange Tales #118-134

Also recommended:
Marvel Masterworks: The Golden Age Human Torch HC Volumes 1-3
Marvel Masterworks: The Atlas Era Heroes featuring Marvel Boy, Human Torch, Captain America and Sub-Mariner HC Volumes 1-3