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Which Golden Age Hero Needs More?

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  • Dean Webb <sonofvulcan@aol.com>
    Which of the many obscure and largely ignored Timely/Marvel Golden Age and/or Ret-conned heroes needs more exposure? Which one would you like to see get a
    Message 1 of 8 , Jan 1, 2003
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      Which of the many obscure and largely ignored Timely/Marvel Golden
      Age and/or Ret-conned heroes needs more exposure? Which one would you
      like to see get a push?

      For my money, the Blazing Skull was always a very dramatic looking
      chap and despite his humdrum powers, I think Marvel could get a
      slamming good book or mini out of him.

      Beyond that, I would like to see a story featuring the Whizzer and
      Miss America as a married couple and mostly-retired superteam trying
      to get along in the world. Now that we know they had a role with the
      V-Battalion, there are a host of untold tales screaming to be put
      forth.

      What do you all think?

      Dean
    • jfglade
      I don t think I d be up for a Blazing Skull revival, Dean, but I do like the idea of a mini-series featuring Miss America and the Whizzer as a married couple.
      Message 2 of 8 , Jan 1, 2003
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        I don't think I'd be up for a Blazing Skull revival, Dean, but I do
        like the idea of a mini-series featuring Miss America and the Whizzer
        as a married couple. I think the only glitch there would be the Nom
        du Costume of Robert Frank; the name "Whizzer" just hasn't weathered
        well. It made some sense in the golden age, an era of Whiz Kids and
        when the competition even had a comic named Whiz, but it doesn't mean
        much now. I guess the name could be used as a running joke, with Bob
        trying out a series of new names or someone suggesting that he call
        himself Lightning, Whirlwind, Quicksilver, or anything but the
        Whizzer.

        For that matter, the All Winners Squad themselves might be able to
        carry a mini-series. I would think there would have been
        some "Untold" All Winners stories. I also wouldn't mind seeing
        another Invaders mini-series, with or without other Timely guest
        stars.

        Despite the fact that he would have no commercial viability, I'd like
        to see something done with Timely's version of Hercules, who had no
        connection to mythology. The idea of a naive giant with a genius-
        level I.Q. is too unusual to lay fallow for so long.

        Too bad the golden age Angel, the Black Marvel, the Thin Man, Jack
        Frost, and others have fared so badly in this more cynical age. There
        may have been some life in those characters, especially because
        several of them didn't really have much history of their own, but it
        would appear the possibility of using them in entertaining and
        inventive ways has been lost.

        I wouldn't think much could be done with the Timely characters who
        haven't been seen since the golden age. Then again, if it's possible
        to take Marvel Boy and eventually get Quasar, there are things that
        could be done with the old characters that haven't been attempted yet.

        Take care,
        Jon

        --- In theallwinnerssquad@yahoogroups.com, "Dean Webb
        <sonofvulcan@a...>" <sonofvulcan@a...> wrote:
        > Which of the many obscure and largely ignored Timely/Marvel Golden
        > Age and/or Ret-conned heroes needs more exposure? Which one would
        you
        > like to see get a push?
        >
        > For my money, the Blazing Skull was always a very dramatic looking
        > chap and despite his humdrum powers, I think Marvel could get a
        > slamming good book or mini out of him.
        >
        > Beyond that, I would like to see a story featuring the Whizzer and
        > Miss America as a married couple and mostly-retired superteam
        trying
        > to get along in the world. Now that we know they had a role with
        the
        > V-Battalion, there are a host of untold tales screaming to be put
        > forth.
        >
        > What do you all think?
        >
        > Dean
      • Scott <scottenkainen@yahoo.com>
        ... Hi all, I ve been lurking here for a few days now, but that prompted me to speak up. I ve only read one story of him -- Fiery Mask? I think that was it --
        Message 3 of 8 , Jan 1, 2003
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          > For my money, the Blazing Skull was always a very dramatic looking
          > chap and despite his humdrum powers, I think Marvel could get a
          > slamming good book or mini out of him.
          >
          > Beyond that, I would like to see a story featuring the Whizzer and
          > Miss America as a married couple and mostly-retired superteam
          >trying to get along in the world. Now that we know they had a role
          >with the V-Battalion, there are a host of untold tales screaming to
          >be put forth.
          >
          > What do you all think?

          Hi all,

          I've been lurking here for a few days now, but that prompted me to
          speak up.

          I've only read one story of him -- Fiery Mask? I think that was it --
          but his origin story held up better than most of the Timely material
          I've read. The Miss America stories I've read online are pretty good
          too. Of all of Timely's stable, Sub-Mariner, Capt. Marvel, Miss
          America, and Fiery Mask are the ones I like best and in about that
          order.

          ~Scott C.
        • Dean Webb <sonofvulcan@aol.com>
          Of all the Golden Age characters I ve read, Namor easily has the most vigorous personality of any. Bill Everett was really ahead of his time in terms of
          Message 4 of 8 , Jan 4, 2003
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            Of all the Golden Age characters I've read, Namor easily has the most
            vigorous personality of any. Bill Everett was really ahead of his
            time in terms of characterization. Most Golden Age heroes were
            cyphers when it came to internal motivations, but not the Sub-
            Mariner. He was wild and unpredictable. He could be kind,
            condescending, snotty, brutal, caring, honest, deceitful, brave, and
            even cowardly at times. There is an energy jumping off the the page
            of those Bill Everett comics which is unlike anything I've seen on
            any comics page, even the vigorous work of Kirby and Simon.

            Dean
          • Scott <scottenkainen@yahoo.com>
            The only Sub-Mariner golden age story I ve read was the one re- printed in the Marvel history book -- and that was GOOD. I ve never read a golden age Capt.
            Message 5 of 8 , Jan 4, 2003
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              The only Sub-Mariner golden age story I've read was the one re-
              printed in the Marvel history book -- and that was GOOD. I've never
              read a golden age Capt. America and wonder how they'd hold up today.
              In an editorial Dave Sim once wrote in Cerebus, he said there was one
              story where Cap killed one million Japanese. Ouch.

              Timely's big three are always considered Capt. America, the Human
              Torch, and Sub-Mariner, but I've read two Human Torch reprints and
              cannot see what was so great about that character. The art is small,
              looks rushed, and is nowhere near Bill Everett's or Jack Kirby's
              level. So why does the Human Torch get held in better esteem than,
              say, Miss America?

              ~Scott C.
            • j_edwardscott
              Theres a scan of the Submariner story from Marvel Mystery 5 in the photos section of this group - its kind of dark and lo-rez but Marvel s never reprinted it
              Message 6 of 8 , Jan 4, 2003
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                Theres a scan of the Submariner story from Marvel Mystery 5 in the
                photos section of this group - its kind of dark and lo-rez but
                Marvel's never reprinted it

                In the files section of the Timely-Atlas Newsgroup is a clearer scan
                of the story from Marvel Mystery 2, also never reprinted by Marvel.
                Marvel has reprinted his first story several times.

                There is supposed to be a reissue of Jules Feiffer's classic golden
                age anthology "The Great Comic Book Heroes" coming out real soon,
                which, presuming it contains the same stories that were in the 1960s
                original, will include a real early story for each of Timely's "Big
                Three". The Captain America story that was in the original printing
                of Feiffer's book was the origin from Captain America Comics 1.


                From what I understand, one reason why the Human Torch was so heavily
                utilised by Timely was he made for visually dynamic covers. Even
                Marvel Comics 1 was supposed to have an Everett painting of the
                Submariner on the cover, but Martin Goodman (I think?) decided that a
                flaming man would attract more prospective buyers to a new comic than
                a man in a swimsuit.
                And the Alex Schomburg Torch covers that came a few years later are
                some of the most incredible comics art of the era, much better than
                the stories themselves, so far as I've seen. There's even one where
                the Torch is grabbing a japanese soldier by the arm, and the flesh is
                all melted off adjacent to the Torch's hand, which is grasping
                exposed bone, while the soldier looks back at him in surprise.

                J Edward Scott





                --- In theallwinnerssquad@yahoogroups.com, "Scott
                <scottenkainen@y...>" <scottenkainen@y...> wrote:
                > The only Sub-Mariner golden age story I've read was the one re-
                > printed in the Marvel history book -- and that was GOOD. I've
                never
                > read a golden age Capt. America and wonder how they'd hold up
                today.
                > In an editorial Dave Sim once wrote in Cerebus, he said there was
                one
                > story where Cap killed one million Japanese. Ouch.
                >
                > Timely's big three are always considered Capt. America, the Human
                > Torch, and Sub-Mariner, but I've read two Human Torch reprints and
                > cannot see what was so great about that character. The art is
                small,
                > looks rushed, and is nowhere near Bill Everett's or Jack Kirby's
                > level. So why does the Human Torch get held in better esteem than,
                > say, Miss America?
                >
                > ~Scott C.
              • jfglade
                ... never ... today. ... one ... small, ... Scott, I have scans of two golden age Sub-Mariner stories, and I ll add them to the files section soon. The text is
                Message 7 of 8 , Jan 5, 2003
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                  --- In theallwinnerssquad@yahoogroups.com, "Scott
                  <scottenkainen@y...>" <scottenkainen@y...> wrote:
                  > The only Sub-Mariner golden age story I've read was the one re-
                  > printed in the Marvel history book -- and that was GOOD. I've
                  never
                  > read a golden age Capt. America and wonder how they'd hold up
                  today.
                  > In an editorial Dave Sim once wrote in Cerebus, he said there was
                  one
                  > story where Cap killed one million Japanese. Ouch.
                  >
                  > Timely's big three are always considered Capt. America, the Human
                  > Torch, and Sub-Mariner, but I've read two Human Torch reprints and
                  > cannot see what was so great about that character. The art is
                  small,
                  > looks rushed, and is nowhere near Bill Everett's or Jack Kirby's
                  > level. So why does the Human Torch get held in better esteem than,
                  > say, Miss America?
                  >
                  > ~Scott C.

                  Scott,

                  I have scans of two golden age Sub-Mariner stories, and I'll add them
                  to the files section soon. The text is hard to read on several of the
                  pages, or perhaps I should say some of the text is hard to read in
                  both stories and is particularly annoying on some pages. When Bill
                  Everett wrote and drew the stories, they were compelling.

                  Simon and Kirby did well by Captain America, giving him interesting
                  but not particularly memorable foes (save the Red Skull), great
                  artwork, and more than a little humor. Under divers hands, Captain
                  America ranged from good to less than mediocre.

                  Sales figures explain the high esteem given the Torch. He was the
                  first Timely character deemed popular enough to carry his own title,
                  and his book was a hit. Burgos wasn't a good artist, even by the
                  standards of the golden age, and although the Torch did appear on the
                  cover of the first Timely comic book, he was drawn there by Frank R.
                  Paul, an artist better known for doing the covers of science-fiction
                  pulps (the Torch wasn't the cover feature again until issue #5 or
                  so). The Torch/Sub-Mariner battle that ran through several issues
                  of 'Marvel Mystery Comics' was one of the first such hero vs hero
                  stories (if you can call Namor a hero), and it generated lots of
                  sales revenue; granted, it was probably the Sub-Mariner that made
                  those stories so interesting but the Torch feature has to be given
                  some of the credit. The Torch had the lion's share of the covers
                  to 'Marvel Mystery Comics', mainly because his bright red form was
                  easy for readers to spot. Some of the Torch stories were good, like
                  the one that was reprinted in Feiffer's 'The Great Comic Book
                  Heroes', but most appear to have been mediocre by today's standards.
                  Feiffer credited the Torch's appeal to his elemental power and also
                  quipped that the Torch also appealed to all children who had been
                  forbidden to play with matches.

                  See you around,
                  Jon
                • Dean Webb <sonofvulcan@aol.com>
                  Subby had Everett. Cap had Simon & Kirby. Torch had Burgos. Of those talents, clearly Carl Burgos was the least impressive. I well remember reading the Torch
                  Message 8 of 8 , Jan 6, 2003
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                    Subby had Everett. Cap had Simon & Kirby. Torch had Burgos. Of those
                    talents, clearly Carl Burgos was the least impressive. I well
                    remember reading the Torch story in Feiffer's book, and wondering
                    what the heck made him choose that story. The Torch is visually
                    dynamic, maybe the most exciting visual in all of comics. As has been
                    pointed out, Schomburg in particular seemed to do a wonderful job
                    getting the flames to look distinctive. (For my money, no one has
                    ever done a better job than Russ Heath in that Young Men revival
                    story.)

                    But the one thing that the Torch had that a lot of Golden Age mystery
                    men didn't was a clear and distinctive superpower. Cap was an
                    athelete. Subby could do lots of stuff, but mostly he was just
                    strong. But for the most part the Golden Age heroes were men or women
                    in costume kicking criminal or axis butt. Their powers were vague and
                    often changing. The Torch had one power, and despite the fact he
                    could do all sorts of wild and crazy things with it, that power was
                    specific. Subby represented water, but the Torch was fire. As Alex
                    Ross made us all rediscover, the image of a man totally engulfed in
                    flame is highly dramatic. Maybe, back the Golden Age the novelty of
                    heroes was such that idea came through more readily than it does for
                    us as we are overwhelmed with supertypes of all kinds.

                    Dean
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