Archive for January, 2014

Strange Tales Annual #2: The Moment That Made Steve Walk Off

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on January 31, 2014 by quizlacey
Strange Tales Annual #1, page18, panels 1-2

Strange Tales Annual #1, page18, panels 1-2

Written by: Stan Lee

Drawn by: Jack Kirby

Inking: Steve Ditko

Lettering: Art Simek

So, this is the moment that made me walk off the show (thankfully, towards the very end of the story, so Andy and Jon weren’t left high and dry for too long). I’ve always found the idea that roller skates popping out of shoes make someone uncatchable to be pretty ridiculous. For the record, it’s my least favourite of Iron Man’s gadgets. The guy can fly – why does he need roller skates?

Here, a master of disguise also turns out to be a master of a miniaturisation technology, as he fits perfectly balanced wheels, a control system and actual rocket propulsion into a standard pair of shoes. To catch him, Spider-Man once again makes a connection with the speed force and overtakes him. Instead of, say, webbing him.

Stan, Jack and Steve were fairly straight-laced, but it’s hard not to imagine that this issue was cooked up after a heavy night of drinking, or some specialist smoking…

Check out our coverage of Strange Tales Annual #2 on our sixteenth episode: The Best Of Annuals, The Worst Of Annuals. It’s the one where Steve walks out over the utter ridiculousness of the story, leaving the show in the hands of Andrew and guest-host Jon M. Wilson.

[audio http://traffic.libsyn.com/ffcast/FF_Episode_16.mp3]

Strange Tales Annual #2: Flame On 45

Posted in Flame On with tags , , , , , , on January 30, 2014 by quizlacey
Strange Tales Annual #2, page 9, panel 6

Strange Tales Annual #2, page 9, panel 6

Written by: Stan Lee

Drawn by: Jack Kirby

Inking: Steve Ditko

Lettering: Art Simek

I walked out of the coverage of this annual in protest at the levels of ridiculousness achieved in the story. Of all the issues of Strange Tales, this is the one I want to re-read the least. And so, I’m sitting here, writing about this panel without a single clue as to why Spider-Man and the Torch are ready to beat the tar out of each other.

I think it’s something to do with a bank robber, but let’s face it, there are more than enough of those even in the nascent Marvel universe. I was reading Daredevil #25-26 and Amazing Spider-Man #46 for my ancillary reading for the show, and in all three issues we get super-villain origins that involve breaking into safes or bank vaults.

Anyway, there’s some sort of tenuous plot that leads to Johnny crying out his catchphrase.

Check out our coverage of Strange Tales Annual #2 on our sixteenth episode: The Best Of Annuals, The Worst Of Annuals. It’s the one where Steve walks out over the utter ridiculousness of the story, leaving the show in the hands of Andrew and guest-host Jon M. Wilson.

[audio http://traffic.libsyn.com/ffcast/FF_Episode_16.mp3]

Strange Tales Annual #2: Flamin’ ‘Eck 29 (WTF Spidey Edition)

Posted in Flamin' 'Eck with tags , , , , , , on January 29, 2014 by quizlacey
Strange Tales Annual #2, page 7, panel 2

Strange Tales Annual #2, page 7, panel 2

Written by: Stan Lee

Drawn by: Jack Kirby

Inking: Steve Ditko

Lettering: Art Simek

So, how does Spider-Man deal with Johnny’s flame duplicates? Why, by using his super-speed to run away really fast. And not in a straight line, either. Why run very quickly in one direction when you can rapidly change direction for no real reason at all.

Seriously, super speed? I know Spider-Man was a fairly new character at this point, but with the series artist providing inks, and the series writer writing, did nobody think to send the pages back to Jack with a polite ‘thank, but no thanks’ and a request for a redraw?

Check out our coverage of Strange Tales Annual #2 on our sixteenth episode: The Best Of Annuals, The Worst Of Annuals. It’s the one where Steve walks out over the utter ridiculousness of the story, leaving the show in the hands of Andrew and guest-host Jon M. Wilson.

[audio http://traffic.libsyn.com/ffcast/FF_Episode_16.mp3]

 

Strange Tales Annual #2: Flamin’ ‘Eck 29

Posted in Flamin' 'Eck with tags , , , , , , on January 28, 2014 by quizlacey
Strange Tales Annual #2, page 6, panel 6

Strange Tales Annual #2, page 6, panel 6

Written by: Stan Lee

Drawn by: Jack Kirby

Inking: Steve Ditko

Lettering: Art Simek

What have I done to deserve this? I’ve stated time and time again that my least favourite crazy power of Johnny’s is to create fire duplicates of himself to confuse an enemy (or, once, to track an enemy). Here, he not only does this, but he states the plan – to confuse Spider-Man. Presumably this will work until Spidey hits one of them and his fists pass right through them. Of course, if Johnny doesn’t shut up, it’ll be pretty easy to work out which is the real one.

Thankfully Johnny is the only person displaying crazy powers in this issue and there definitely won’t be a post tomorrow detailing Spider-Man’s new powers.

Oh no.

Check out our coverage of Strange Tales Annual #2 on our sixteenth episode: The Best Of Annuals, The Worst Of Annuals. It’s the one where Steve walks out over the utter ridiculousness of the story, leaving the show in the hands of Andrew and guest-host Jon M. Wilson.

[audio http://traffic.libsyn.com/ffcast/FF_Episode_16.mp3]

Strange Tales Annual #2: Flame On 45

Posted in Flame On with tags , , , , , , on January 27, 2014 by quizlacey
Strange Tales Annual #2, page 5, panel 4

Strange Tales Annual #2, page 5, panel 4

Written by: Stan Lee

Drawn by: Jack Kirby

Inking: Steve Ditko

Lettering: Art Simek

I mentioned a few posts ago how rare Steve Ditko inking Jack Kirby was, and this annual is (I think) the final instance of the two working together. With Amazing Spider-Man going monthly, with Ditko slowly taking over plotting the strip, the need to provide inks to maintain a regular paycheck (presumably) lessened to the point where it just wasn’t a requirement.

This lovely close-up of Johnny presents a much softer face than Ditko would provide by himself, and with a lighter touch than Ayers would give to the same pencils. I rather like it, and it’s an interesting view into another world where circumstances meant that Ditko’s inking would be more common than we saw in ours.

Check out our coverage of Strange Tales Annual #2 on our sixteenth episode: The Best Of Annuals, The Worst Of Annuals. It’s the one where Steve walks out over the utter ridiculousness of the story, leaving the show in the hands of Andrew and guest-host Jon M. Wilson.

[audio http://traffic.libsyn.com/ffcast/FF_Episode_16.mp3]

Strange Tales Annual #2: Flamin’ ‘Eck 28

Posted in Flamin' 'Eck with tags , , , , , , , on January 26, 2014 by quizlacey
Strange Tales Annual #2, page 1, panel 4

Strange Tales Annual #2, page 1, panel 4

Written by: Stan Lee

Drawn by: Jack Kirby

Inking: Steve Ditko

Lettering: Art Simek

It’s training day at the start of this annual, and a rare Sue and Johnny scene. Considering they’re brother and sister, surprisingly little time is given to this relationship, to the two characters interacting as siblings, rather than as heroes or team-members. It’s a source of drama and story that future writers would mine far more successfully than Lee and Kirby. Of course, Sue refuses to acknowledge this relationship, referring to her brother as ‘Torch’.

But all of that aside, we’re here to take a look at Johnny’s training. See how he successfully shapes his flame into that of a key. Presumably the right key, as well. Marvel at how his flame totally doesn’t melt the tumblers and pins into molten slag, forever buggering up the locking mechanism, and most likely incinerating whatever was inside the safe.

Check out our coverage of Strange Tales Annual #2 on our sixteenth episode: The Best Of Annuals, The Worst Of Annuals. It’s the one where Steve walks out over the utter ridiculousness of the story, leaving the show in the hands of Andrew and guest-host Jon M. Wilson.

[audio http://traffic.libsyn.com/ffcast/FF_Episode_16.mp3]

The Fantasticast Episode 65: Fantastic Four Annual #4

Posted in Podcast with tags , , , , , on January 25, 2014 by quizlacey

the-fantasticast-episode-65-300

It’s time to dust off a character whose copyright is about to expire, deliver a resounding beat-down to a litigious creator, and welcome back the original android Human Torch to Marvel Comics. Join Steve Lacey and Andy Leyland as they cover Fantastic Four Annual #4, featuring The Torch That Was, and take a look at the behind-the-scenes goings-on that led to this copyright-retaining revival.

Click on this link to go to the libsyn page for this episode, or listen below.

[audio FF_Episode_65.mp3]

Fantastic Four Annual #1: BollocksFish Special

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on January 24, 2014 by quizlacey

OK, we all know the deal. An unusual quirk of early Marvel-era tales featuring the Sub-Mariner was his penchant for surrounding himself with marine life, all of which have evolved in unlikely and very specific ways. We last took a look examples of his exotic aquatic menagerie back in Fantastic Four #14, and the lead story in Fantastic Four Annual #1 is full of what we have affectionately come to term BollocksFish.

Written by: Stan Lee

Drawn by: Jack Kirby

Inking: Dick Ayers

Lettering: Art Simek

Fantastic Four Annual #1, page 10, panel 6

Fantastic Four Annual #1, page 10, panel 6

The Archer Fish does exist. True, the normal size is about 5-10cm, not what would appear to be 8-10 feet as shown in the panel, but they do exist. It spews a giant gas bubble a Johnny, extinguishing his flame.

Fantastic Four Annual #1, page 11, panel 1

Fantastic Four Annual #1, page 11, panel 1

Giant-sized, I can take. Oxygen-filled… maybe, but not at that angle. Magnetic? What the…? It’s not just implausible, it’s completely unnecessary! Of course, Stan has a long history of assuming that magnetic forces attract whatever he wants them to, rather than ferromagnetic metals.

Fantastic Four Annual #1, page 11, panel 2

Fantastic Four Annual #1, page 11, panel 2

Again, it’s the scale issue here. It is plausible that a fish might exude some form of capturing ‘device’ through its mouth, but after a quick chat with an ex-marine biologist in Facebook, I was unequivocally told to stop wasting her time with crap.

Fantastic Four Annual #1, page 12, panels 4-5

Fantastic Four Annual #1, page 12, panels 4-5

When I win the lottery, I’m gonna get me a 30-foot long serpent that can pick up TV signals and project them onto a wall.

Fantastic Four Annual #1, page 29, panel 3

Fantastic Four Annual #1, page 29, panel 3

I’m sorry, Namor… undersea sprocket-fish? As opposed to all the fish that live out in the open air? Oh, and like numerous spores and fungi seen in comics, upon contact with an enemy (as opposed to anyone else), they’ll quickly smother an entire body. Not bad for three small fish that can fit in the palm of Namor’s hand…

Fantastic Four Annual #1, page 30, panel 1

Fantastic Four Annual #1, page 30, panel 1

We end on an utterly ridiculous fish. Described in the preceding panel as a huge marine vacuum-cleaner, this fish (look, it has fins!) can generate enough force to disrupt the flight of a human being and drag it inside. I have no idea why such an ability would evolved underwater – does this fish prey on fast-swimming sharks?

Check out our coverage of Fantastic Four Annual #1 on our sixteenth episode: The Best Of Annuals, The Worst Of Annuals.

[audio http://traffic.libsyn.com/ffcast/FF_Episode_16.mp3]

Fantastic Four Annual #1: Reed’s Stretchy Body 37

Posted in Reed's Stretch Body with tags , , , , , , , on January 23, 2014 by quizlacey
Fantastic Four Annual #1, page 4, panels 2-3

Fantastic Four Annual #1, page 4, panels 2-3

Written by: Stan Lee

Drawn by: Jack Kirby

Inking: Steve Ditko

Lettering: Ray Holloway

A bit more Spidey/Reed action, with inks by Steve Ditko. Here, Reed takes his penchant for spanking Sue and uses it in a less acceptable manner.

I don’t have a huge amount to say about these panels, other than the fact that some rogue Pym Particles appear to have snagged Spider-Man in the second panel – he’s teeny!

Check out our coverage of Fantastic Four Annual #1 on our sixteenth episode: The Best Of Annuals, The Worst Of Annuals.

[audio http://traffic.libsyn.com/ffcast/FF_Episode_16.mp3]

 

Fantastic Four Annual #1: Reed’s Stretchy Body 36

Posted in Reed's Stretch Body with tags , , , , , , , on January 22, 2014 by quizlacey

2014.01.22.2

2014.01.22.2

Fantastic Four Annual #1, page 3, panel 8 and page 4, panel 1

Written by: Stan Lee

Drawn by: Jack Kirby

Inking: Steve Ditko

Lettering: Ray Holloway

One of the more unique elements of the Fantastic Four Annual #1 was six pages devoted to retelling and expanding on the brief sequence in Amazing Spider-Man #1 where Spider-Man tries to join the Fantastic Four, only to end up in a fight with them. The opening caption claims that ‘countless letters’ have asked for this to happen, although it would not be inconceivable to suggest that Stan and/or Jack felt that there was more to be gained from the meet-up than had seen print.

Rather nicely, we get a rare collaboration between Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, as the Spider-Man artist lends his inks to the pencils. Ditko had provided inks for Fantastic Four #13, and this would be his final contribution to the title, if not the characters.

Check out our coverage of Fantastic Four Annual #1 on our sixteenth episode: The Best Of Annuals, The Worst Of Annuals.

[audio http://traffic.libsyn.com/ffcast/FF_Episode_16.mp3]
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