Young vs. Old Part I: The Debut of Spider-Man’s Vulture

Nothing I like better than taunting my enemies! – The Vulture.

The Vulture vs. Spider-Man

The Vulture vs. Spider-Man

Journey Into Marvel – Part 82

Extremites, Spider-Man’s age defines him. Most of his early conflicts centre around some disparity with age. This  is clear in this story where Vulture, Spider-Man’s first super powered villain, debuts.

Like Vulture, J. Jonah is out of step with the youth and wants to see their kind erased from the face of New York. His outrageous vendetta against Spider-Man is unexplained; it just is. In last issue Spider-Man saved his son from certain death. He should be grateful to him. Peter Parker decides to sell pictures of Spider-Man to triple J.  Peter Parker is in this game for personal gain. Read the rest of this entry

A Human Torch Story That’s So Bad It’s ‘Van Vile’

Journey Into Marvel – Part 81

Van Vile paints a 3 headed ape to terrorize us.

Van Vile paints a 3 headed ape to terrorize us.

Extremites, I have discovered the best way to enter a story in the Strange Tales solo Human Torch issues is to expect the worse. Today, my expectations were lived up too and then some. This is the most terrible Human Torch story I have read thus far. Read the rest of this entry

Loki ‘The Vice:’ Marvel’s Thor Goes Judeo-Christian

Journey Into Marvel – Part 80

A building rising in the air and then vanishing! People losing their memory for no physical reason! It smacks of supernatural mischief…and that smacks of the god of evil, my old enemy…Loki!

The Movies don't even try and pretend... Milton could see the similarities. (Joke only works if you get that JM was blind)

The Movies don’t even try and pretend… Milton could see the similarities. (Joke only works if you get that JM was blind)

Extremites, like most western fiction the comic’s roots lie in campfire stories. Religious stories, mythologies, and legends all descend from these roots. One of the recurring archetypes that comes out of these traditions is the vice character. I have brought him up before in this series; think Satan or any crux character that coaxes the hero to act against his or her nature. Thor, based out of Norse myth, is the closest Marvel line to these roots.  It’s right that his line has the strongest and most obvious vice character in Loki. Read the rest of this entry

Prisoner of the Same Plot: Stan Lee Ignores Ant-Man Again

Journey Into Marvel – Part 79

Even the title page is unremarkable.

Even the title page is unremarkable.

Extremites, I like Ant-Man. I knew Hank Pym only as a character that committed an act of domestic abuse. I have come to know him as varied and turmoiled. Alas, I have also noticed the lack of quality in construction of his stories. Sure, there are some good plots, but then there are stories that aren’t worth the paper they are printed on. Today’s issue, is an example of the latter. Read the rest of this entry

Examining the Campy Propagandist Beginning of Iron Man

Journey Into Marvel – Part 78

There he is...

There he is…

Have you never seen an Iron Man before?! 

Extremites, with the loss of one hero, the Hulk, we gain another in Iron Man. Tony Stark is by no means the most important part of the Marvel Universe, nor is he even the most popular; he has been on the forefront of big changes at Marvel. His debut comes as the larger interconnected creative universe was designed. Iron Man, like all things comic, begins as propaganda.

Read the rest of this entry

Saying Good-Bye to the First Hulk: Examining the Failure of the Incredible Hulk Line

Journey Into Marvel – Part 77

You will surrender this entire base to me immediately, and the planet Earth itself must accept me as supreme ruler within twenty-four hours! – The Metal Master

Steve Ditko's Hulk

Steve Ditko’s Hulk

Extremites, all good things come to an end. The mediocre confused things also do that too. This is the last issue of the first Hulk line. The first Hulk had a tough go at it and today’s issue shows why the Hulk failed the first time.
Read the rest of this entry

Carbon Copy Crap: Al Hartley’s Thor

Journey Into Marvel – Part 76

Other men reveal their feelings! Why don’t I? Why don’t i just up and tell Jane that I love her?? What am I afraid of?? Blast it!! Am I a man or a mouse?!! I, who possess the greatest strength on Earth…who would battle entire armies…who would defy the heavens themselves! I fear nothing!…Nothing! Nothing…except the mocking laughter of a beautiful woman, upon learning that afrail, timid doctor is hopelessly in love with her! – Dr. Blake/Thor

It's all discombobulated.

It’s all discombobulated.

Extremites, Journey Into Marvel is bi-polar. One moment I’m reading a historically significant issue, that has far reaching repercussions for fandom, and the next I’m neck deep in  crap. After the last issue where Hulk crossed over with the Fantastic Four and changed comic book history, I return to a Marvel rush job with Journey Into Mystery. Read the rest of this entry

Fantastic Four #12: The Birth of Western Culture’s Greatest Creative Achievement

Journey Into Marvel – Part 75

The historic picture signalled a titanic event.

The historic picture signalled a titanic event.

Extremites, we take for granted, in this post Tolkien/Lewis world, the intricacy of a comprehensive fictional world.

You may have noticed that I keep using the term: “Earth – 616.” This is the name the fandom has given to the collective world that all Marvel characters exist in. As time has gone on, there are other continuities that have been created, but 616 is the main one, and the one that Journey Into Marvel concerns itself with. I believe that Earth- 616 is one of humanity’s greatest expressions of collective creativity, far more vast and comprehensive then Narnia, and with even more complexity than Middle-Earth.  It all began with today’s issue. Read the rest of this entry

Stan Lee Answers Who Would Win in a Fight Between Namor and the Human Torch

Journey Into Marvel – Part 74

The CHALLENGE!

The CHALLENGE!

Extremites, it’s hilarious that I find myself in a loop discussing Johnny Storm’s ego. Last issue was the official moment when the Human Torch’s ego became his comeuppance. In today’s issue the two greatest egos of the Marvel Universe face off: Submariner and Johnny Storm.

A well crafted character, even one who has a large ego – maybe especially one that has a large ego — shows some vulnerability on occasion. Even a massive dick like John Constantine, Frank Castle or Bruce Wayne is shown to have some vulnerability. But Johnny Storm is just a punk kid, and to this point in the Marvel Universe, Stan Lee, and the others who have written him, paint him only as a punk kid. Read the rest of this entry

The Official “Human Torch is a Jerk” Article

Journey Into Marvel – Part 73

The Arrogance of Johnny Storm in one panel.

The Arrogance of Johnny Storm in one panel.

Extremites, Johnny Storm is a jerk. It’s official.

Since I started reading the Fantastic Four, I’ve concluded that the Four’s weakness is their egos. Whenever a villain wants to destroy the Four, all he or she need do is appeal to their arrogance. This tactic works well with Ben Grimm, sometimes Reed, but is most successful with Torch. Torch is a bully.

Carl Zante and the manipulation

Carl Zante and the manipulation.

Carl Zante, the Acrobat — the villain of this issue — is a pretentious bonkers cartoon of a man. He has a thick Tony Stark moustache, a gaudy Cruella DeVille cigarette — complete with holder — and a beret. Honest to God, a beret. I love Lieber’s villains. They always have such panache and what they lack in depth is made up in star power.

Remember, that secret identity Johnny maintains in Glenville (Strange Tales issues) but doesn’t even mention in New York (Fantastic Four issues)? The writers put an end to that discrepancy.  Read the rest of this entry

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