Archive for Larry Lieber

The Fantasticast Episode 93: Fantastic Four Annual #6 – Let There Be Life

Posted in Podcast with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 9, 2014 by quizlacey

the-fantasticast-episode-93-300

Ambush Bug In Judge Dredd’s Clothing

It’s a giant-sized episode of The Fantasticast for a giant-sized issue of the Fantastic Four. Annual #6 features the first appearance of the classic villain Annihilus, as well as the birth of Franklin Richards. To celebrate these milestones, Steve and Andy have invited a special guest onto the show – Al Kennedy, of the House To Astonish podcast.

Together, we examine the most in-depth exploration of the Negative Zone to date; pick holes in 1960s natal care, discover The Adventures of Night Optometrist, explore the etymology of Annihilus, take up residence in the Arenas of Crochet and Cribbage, listen to Anihilus Sings Barry White, play Star In A Reasonably Priced Fantasticar, and get the only Acrobat update  you’ll ever need to receive.

Don’t forget to answer out Listener Question – Are you currently reading Fantastic Four, and why?

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

The Fantasticast Episode 78: Amazing Spider-Man Annual #4 – The Web And The Flame

Posted in Podcast, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on April 26, 2014 by quizlacey

the-fantasticast-episode-78-300

The Ayn Rand Simile Or Metaphor Theme Song

Annual season continues and concludes here at the Fantasticast. Steve and Andy get to grips with Amazing Spider-Man Annual #4, featuring the latest team-up between the Human Torch and Spider-Man. Memories of Strange Tales Annual #2 are lingering, and with irrelevant villains, forced conflict, and leaps in storytelling logic so vast even Evel Knievel would think twice before leaping across them, there’s good reason for these to linger.

For, hidden underneath the surprisingly good artwork of Larry Lieber, is a Strange Tales story in all but name.

This decpetion has put Steve in a particularly bad mood, and he puts this bad mood to good use this episode. He also uses it to respond to listener e-mails, in a very angry feedback session. Sorry about that…

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

[audio http://traffic.libsyn.com/ffcast/FF20Episode2078.mp3]

Strange Tales #107: Flamin’ ‘Eck 19

Posted in Flamin' 'Eck with tags , , , , , , on August 11, 2013 by quizlacey
Strange Tales #107, page 11, panel 2

Strange Tales #107, page 11, panel 2

Plot: Stan Lee

Script: Larry Lieber

Art: Dick Ayers

Lettering: Art Simek

Given that there are people with serious nut allergies who have less severe reactions than Johnny does to water in later issues of Strange Tales, it does seem rather unlikely that even with his nova blast going, he would be able to dive into the sea for several minuets without his flame going out.

But that’s not what today’s panel is really about. It’s been two issues since Dick Ayers has assumed both pencilling and inking duties for this book, and yesterday’s panel and today’s really highlight the differences between his art and that of Jack Kirby. The biggest criticism that can be levelled at Ayers is the lack of detail in his art. Other than in the light patterns on Namor’s hair, pretty much everything in this panel is rendered with one thickness of line, a pretty heavy one. Johnny and his flame are depicted in outline only, and the previous panel only used a few sparse triangles to suggest his all-over body flame. When compared to Jack Kirby being inked by Steve Ditko in Fantastic Four  this very month, there really is no competition – Jack wins out by a country mile.

That’s not to say that I don’t like Dick Ayers – in the context of the Sgt Fury comic, on which he would again replace Jack Kirby, his artwork strikes a deft balances between miltaristic realism and great cartoon influences on the characters, each face saying as much about the personality of the Howlers as Stan’s hilarious dialogue. However, there he was normally inked by someone else, suggesting that he had the time to put the detail into his pencils. Here, assuming double-duty, his artwork falls short of what Kirby had established for the Fantastic Four and Strange Tales.

Strange Tales #107: Nova Time 3

Posted in Nova Time with tags , , , , , , on August 9, 2013 by quizlacey
Strange Tales #107, page 11, panel 1

Strange Tales #107, page 11, panel 1

Plot: Stan Lee

Script: Larry Lieber

Art: Dick Ayers

Lettering: Art Simek

From up-and-to-the-right to down-and-to-the-left. Dick Ayers is really showing off his amazing panel compositions here…

However, this is the first time that Johnny has gone full-on nova with his powers, despite using them to blind the Miracle Man in issue #3, and threatening to go near-nova a couple of times. The idea behind this powers is that it’s a super-hot, almost explosive blast of his powers, using all of his energy to great effect but leaving him spent.

I sure hope, based on the angle of his descent, that he doesn’t want to go into the water…

Check out our coverage of Strange Tales #107 in our eleventh episode: Red? Yes! Communist? Yes! Russian? No!

[audio http://traffic.libsyn.com/ffcast/Episode_11.mp3]

 

Strange Tales #107: Flame On 29

Posted in Flame On with tags , , , , , , on August 8, 2013 by quizlacey
Strange Tales #107, page 10, panel 5

Strange Tales #107, page 10, panel 5

Plot: Stan Lee

Script: Larry Lieber

Art: Dick Ayers

Lettering: Art Simek

Are you starting to get deja vu with this issue? The background details may have changed slightly, but this is the fourth panel we’ve had featuring Johnny flying up and to the right whilst crying FLAME ON! And, at four ‘Flame On’s so far, this is the most populous issue to date for Johnny’s catchphrase.

This time, Johnny exhibits a natural waterproofing as he manages to ignite despite being underwater.

Check out our coverage of Strange Tales #107 in our eleventh episode: Red? Yes! Communist? Yes! Russian? No!

[audio http://traffic.libsyn.com/ffcast/Episode_11.mp3]

Strange Tales #107: Flame On 28

Posted in Flame On with tags , , , , , , on August 7, 2013 by quizlacey
Strange Tales #107, page   9, panel 7

Strange Tales #107, page 9, panel 7

Plot: Stan Lee

Script: Larry Lieber

Art: Dick Ayers

Lettering: Art Simek

So, Namor beat Johnny up with his asbestos-clad fist. And then tied him to the back of a dolphin. And swam away.

So, Johnny decided to ignite small parts of his body, burning through the tethers without even gently heating the dolphin.

Which is how we get to this panel, where Johnny – presumably un-dampened by his proximity to the ocean, as we’ve seen how even the tiniest amount of dew can retard his ability to ignite – flies away from a dolphin. And, if you look closely at the artwork, you can see the dolphin’s back actually on fire.

So much for taking care…

Check out our coverage of Strange Tales #107 in our eleventh episode: Red? Yes! Communist? Yes! Russian? No!

[audio http://traffic.libsyn.com/ffcast/Episode_11.mp3]

Strange Tales #107: It’s… ASBESTOS!!! 10

Posted in It's... ASBESTOS!!! with tags , , , , , on August 6, 2013 by quizlacey
Strange Tales #107, page 7, panel 6

Strange Tales #107, page 7, panel 6

Plot: Stan Lee

Script: Larry Lieber

Art: Dick Ayers

Lettering: Art Simek

It’s a shame the remit of this blog doesn’t allow me to cover the brief trend for giving Namor ridiculous powers that started with this issue. Just prior to today’s panel, Namor was seen hurtling unstoppably towards an iceberg. To survive, he employed the powers of a puffer fish and inflated his body to three times its original size, embedding himself in the ice. He then shrank down to his normal size and easily escaped. Yes, he was pretty much Aquaman crossed with Animal Man.

Namor is scavenging around for things to use in his battle with the Torch. He grabs a statue from an ancient Atlantean ruin, and a torn bit of asbestos, presumably from an ancient Atlantean insulated wall. The statue is to mesmerise the Torch, the asbestos to wrap around his fist so that he might wail on the teenager without burning his knuckles.

Its origins aside, this is probably one of the most sensible uses of asbestos seen so far.

And as an aside, I really like Dick Ayers’ depiction of Namor in this panel. It’s very recognisably Namor without being a carbon-copy of Jack Kirby’s rendition.

Check out our coverage of Strange Tales #107 in our eleventh episode: Red? Yes! Communist? Yes! Russian? No!

[audio http://traffic.libsyn.com/ffcast/Episode_11.mp3]

 

Strange Tales #107: Flame On 27

Posted in Flame On with tags , , , , , , on August 5, 2013 by quizlacey
Strange Tales #107, page 5, panel 2

Strange Tales #107, page 5, panel 2

Plot: Stan Lee

Script: Larry Lieber

Art: Dick Ayers

Lettering: Art Simek

After a few well-earned days off, I find myself hankerin’ for a picture of a teenage boy self-immolating whilst flying, with no harmful effects. And, surprisingly enough, that’s exactly what I get.

The ridiculous conceit that Johnny’s flame would randomly run out without warning came into play once again this issue. Out for a flaming joyride, Johnny finds himself out over the sea, flameless. Landing on a handy ship, he is put to work by the sceptical sailors until the mists creep in, forcing Johnny to re-flame and help them out.

I love the sailor’s surprised reaction to the fact that they had the Human Torch aboard all this time – “Well, I’ll be! And we had ‘im manicurin’ the deck!”. Larry Lieber’s wonderful wordplay creating a great piece of speech.

Check out our coverage of Strange Tales #107 in our eleventh episode: Red? Yes! Communist? Yes! Russian? No!

[audio http://traffic.libsyn.com/ffcast/Episode_11.mp3]

Strange Tales #107: Flame On 26

Posted in Flame On with tags , , , , , , on August 1, 2013 by quizlacey
Strange Tales #107, page 2, panel 6

Strange Tales #107, page 2, panel 6

Plot: Stan Lee

Script: Larry Lieber

Art: Dick Ayers

Lettering: Art Simek

Well, we didn’t stick around long with Fantastic Four #13… So, back to Strange Tales then!

Today’s ‘Flame On’ comes after Johnny, left at home instead of joining the team thanks to his shenanigans the previous issue, starts snooping through Sue’s belongings. He soon comes across a framed photograph of Namor, the Sub-Mariner, proof that Sue still has feelings for him.

Ignoring the question of when exactly the picture was taken (maybe during his tenure as boss of SM Studios), he decides to head off and beat up Namor and prove himself worthy of inclusion in the rest of the team’s activities.

There’s not that much to say about this panel, save to note that the room must be pretty big for Johnny to be able to fly in an arc like he does.

Check out our coverage of Strange Tales #107 in our eleventh episode: Red? Yes! Communist? Yes! Russian? No!

[audio http://traffic.libsyn.com/ffcast/Episode_11.mp3]

 

Strange Tales #106: It’s… ASBESTOS!!! 7

Posted in It's... ASBESTOS!!! with tags , , , , , , on July 28, 2013 by quizlacey
Strange Tales #106, page 8, panel 5

Strange Tales #106, page 8, panel 5

Plot: Stan Lee

Script: Larry Lieber

Art: Dick Ayers

Lettering: John Duffy

Between the break in posting and the huge amount of content from Fantastic Four #12, it’s been quite a while since we saw an appearance from my favourite trope: Inexplicable usage of asbestos. Thankfully, today’s panel is an absolute classic.

Taking a leaf (and a visual) from Paste Pot Pete’s book, ZANTE extinguishes Johnny’s flame with a jet of liquid asbestos. Ignoring the fact that asbestos is a fibrous substance and liquidising it would be exceedingly difficult, if not impossible.

Ah, my favourite villain and my favourite trope. Life is good!

Check out our coverage of Strange Tales #106 in our tenth episode: Hulk? Smash!

%d bloggers like this: