Marvel, Magic and Strange Tales: Part 3
Marvel in the Silver Age
by AirPiratePress
1y ago
BACK IN THE MAGICAL DAYS OF MY YOUTH, Steve Ditko was my favourite artist and Spider-Man was my favourite comic. While I can certainly remember the earliest Doctor Strange strips in the back of Strange Tales, the later ones remain a little hazy in my recollections. This may be because the first few Strange stories were self-contained and and had punchy - if a little familiar - plots by Stan Lee. The later Doctor Strange tales were darker and labyrinthine affairs created mostly by Steve Ditko and merely dialogued by Stan. Though Doctor Strange began his run in Strange Tales 110 (Jul 1963 ..read more
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Marvel, Magic and Strange Tales: Part 2
Marvel in the Silver Age
by AirPiratePress
1y ago
I DON'T THINK STAN LEE LIKED DOCTOR STRANGE, at least not at first. In a letter to Jerry Bails dated 9th January 1963, Stan mentioned a new strip for Strange Tales, Dr Strange, with hardly a hint of his usual enthusiasm. "We have a new character in the works for Strange Tales. Steve Ditko is gonna draw him. Sort of a black magic theme. The first story is nothing great, but perhaps we can make something of him — 'twas Steve's idea, and I figgered we'd give it a chance, although again, we had to rush the first one too much. Little sidelight: Originally decided to call him MR. STRANGE, but though ..read more
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Marvel, Magic and Strange Tales: Part 1
Marvel in the Silver Age
by AirPiratePress
1y ago
SUPERHEROES WERE MY MAIN FOCUS, during the Silver Age of the 1960s. Very occasionally I'd pick up a "horror" or science fiction title. The concept of Magic in comics fiction was barely touched upon. The Justice League had battled magicians a couple of times during the 1963 - 1964 period that I was reading their adventures, and the 1940s hero Dr Fate was one of their "Crisis" allies. But no one was really doing magicians as heroes in those formative Silver Age years. Mandrake the Magician launched as a daily newspaper strip on 11 Jun 1934. A little less than four years later, Zatara made ..read more
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My Top Ten DCs of the Early 1960s: Part 2
Marvel in the Silver Age
by AirPiratePress
1y ago
IN THE EARLY 1960s I EXPERIMENTED WITH DC COMICS. It was only for a couple of years before I moved on to the good stuff - Stan Lee's Marvel Comics - but for those first tentative steps into the four-colour world, I knew only the implausible coincidences and plot-driven stylings of Mort Weisinger and Julius Schwartz. And while I still much prefer Marvel to DC, especially the comics of my youth, there are a few DCs that I still remember with love and affection. It's true ... there's a lot of Mort Weisinger books in my top five, but these stories were pitched perfectly at my age-group at t ..read more
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My Top Ten DCs of the Early 1960s: Part 1
Marvel in the Silver Age
by AirPiratePress
1y ago
BEFORE I DISCOVERED MARVEL COMICS, way back in the early 1960s, I confess that I was a regular user of DC Comics. It's not something I'm proud of, but the first step to recovery is admitting there's a problem, right? By the mid-sixties, I was a confirmed Marvel fan, but there's still a few DC Comics that I look back on fondly as a sort of guilty pleasure. And to make matters worse, most of the DCs in my Top Ten were hatched under the baleful eye of DC's Dark Overlord, Mort Weisinger. But in my own defence, I was about nine when I was reading this stuff ... Here they are ... my Top Ten ..read more
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Exposed: Myths of Marvel's Silver Age - Part 3
Marvel in the Silver Age
by AirPiratePress
1y ago
THERE'S ONE LAST MYTH of the Marvel Silver Age I want to look at before I put the subject to rest. It has been reported many times, by many historians, that Marvel's sales figures didn't match DC's until the beginning of the 1970s. And that may well be true. But in my researches for this blog, I have come across some data that throws some doubt on the commonly reported story. Legend has it that Marvel publisher Martin Goodman brilliantly out-manoeuvred DC Publisher Carmine Infantino, by first raising, then dropping, the cover price of the standard Marvel comicbook. The truth is a less d ..read more
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Exposed: Myths of Marvel's Silver Age - Part 2
Marvel in the Silver Age
by AirPiratePress
1y ago
OVER THE LAST FEW DECADES, a great deal has been written about the history of Marvel Comics, not all of it as well-researched as it could have been. And because of this, certain historians have chosen to lift anecdotes from earlier histories without bothering to check the sources of the material they're quoting. Last time, I took a look at some of the legends that have appeared in successive histories of Marvel Comics and questioned whether they had been verified by the authors or simply repeated based on faith. As with many histories, it seems that opinion often triumphs over fact ... and fa ..read more
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Exposed: Myths of Marvel's Silver Age - Part 1
Marvel in the Silver Age
by AirPiratePress
1y ago
BACK IN THE EARLY 1960s, Marvel comics was a small publishing house that no one really cared about. After some bad luck and at least one disastrous business decision during the 1950s, owner-publisher Martin Goodman, who was married to Stan Lee's mother's niece, was presiding over a company that had definitely seen better days. But before I get too deeply into that, let's first pause to expose one of the minor myths of Marvel - that Stan Lee got his job because he was related to Martin Goodman.  It wasn't publisher Martin Goodman who got Stan Lee his job at Timely (later Marvel) in ..read more
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Marvel's Weird One-Shots (or, Hey ... where's issue 2?)
Marvel in the Silver Age
by AirPiratePress
1y ago
THE SECOND HALF OF THE 1960s was a strange time for Marvel Comics. Stan Lee had established a strong line of comic books by 1966, and was less restricted by distributor Independent News' eight-titles-a-month rule. With a roster of 20 titles, many of them monthly, Martin Goodman was also sneaking in Annuals (which seemed to be exempt from the distributors' monthly limit) and some puzzling one-shots. I have no recollection of when I first saw Marvel Super-Heroes 1 (Oct 1966). And back when I was twelve, it never occurred to me to question why a comic was published. I'm sure I would have thought ..read more
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Separated at Birth 3 - more comic cover cliches
Marvel in the Silver Age
by AirPiratePress
1y ago
I LOVE COMIC BOOK COVERS, especially those of the 1950s and 1960s. And because I look at so many, I can't help but notice trends, tropes and cliches in the cover concepts of the decade of my childhood. By far the worst offender was DC Comics, the company that was my introduction to American comic books. But as they were firmly aimed at 10-year-olds, they can be forgiven for assuming readers in 1958 wouldn't be readers in 1963. For my part, I began switching over to Marvel Comics around 1964, and later back-filled the issues I'd missed, so I probably only followed DC for about three years. But ..read more
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