Saturday, December 31, 2011

Iron Man #131 Cover Art

Bob Layton has done a number of variations of the cover to Iron Man #131 over the years. One the original versions featured on the bottom right was rejected by Layton himself, who realized that he "didn't want Iron Man to look like a total wimp against the Hulk," according to a post on his web site. Layton did a fantastic re-imagining of the cover in 2011 featuring a more heroic pose for Iron Man and adding Captain America and Thor in the background. Gerry Turnbull did the colors on this piece that resides in the collection of Brian Cassner.




            

Source: Bob Layton, Brian Castner, Gerry Turnbull

Iron Man #131 (February 1980)

Title: Hulk Is Where The Heart Is!
Cover: Bob Layton
Plot: David Michelinie, Bob Layton
Script: David Michelinie
Penciler: Jerry Bingham
Inker: Bob Layton
Colorist: Ben Sean
Letterer: Diana Albers
Editor: Roger Stern
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $0.40
Cover Date: February 1980
Release Date: November 1979
Synopsis: Tony Stark and Bethany Cabe find themselves trapped in gridlock traffic caused by the incredible Hulk on the Long Island Expressway. The green goliath is sitting peacefully on the road eating apples and bananas from an overturned truck and ignoring the police presence growing around him. The police engage the Hulk and Iron Man intervenes in an unsuccessful attempt to diffuse the situation. A bazooka round shot by the police misses the Hulk and almost knocks an RV off of an overpass, but the jade giant saves the day. A young boy who was in the RV thanks the Hulk and engages him in play with his Micronauts action figures, which calms down the Hulk and transforms him back into Bruce Banner. Realizing the carnage he has created, Banner begs Iron Man to "Help me! Stop me! Or...Kill Me!" before he passes out. Iron Man brings Banner back to his lab where as Tony Stark he works tirelessly alongside Banner and Scott Lang to develop a way to prevent Banner's transformation into the Hulk. They develop a device to regulate Banner's heartbeat no matter how aggravated he becomes, which remarkably seems to be successful. As they celebrate their achievement, the police arrive to take Banner into custody. Banner flees, but is caught in a police grenade explosion, emerging from the smoke and dust not as Hulk but as Banner! Continued next issue in The Incredible Banner?!?

Source: Kraalo Archives, Marvel Comics

Incredible Hulk #244 (February 1980)

Title: It Lives!
Cover: Al Milgrom
Writer: Steven Grant
Penciler: Carmine Infantino
Inker: Mike Esposito
Colorist: Ben Sean
Letterer: John Costanza
Editor: Al Milgrom
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $0.40
Cover Date: February 1980
Release Date: November 1979
Synopsis: Incredible Hulk #244 features the Jade Giant in mortal combat against It, the Living Colossus! Wandering the streets of Los Angeles, Bruce Banner is almost struck by a car and turns into the Hulk. Leaping into the air away from the accident scene, Hulk is blinded by a flash of light from the ground and proceeds to crash a party in the Hollywood Hills in order to find the source of this annoyance. Hulk is then attacked by It, the Living Colossus, under the control of one of the party guests. Hulk defeats It and the apparent puppet master behind the attack falls dead of a heart attack.

Source: Kraalo Archives, Marvel Comics, Marvel Wikia

Howard The Duck Magazine #3

Title: A Christmas for Carol
Cover: Jack Davis
Writer: Bill Mantlo
Penciler: Gene Colan
Inker: Dave Simons
Letterer: Michael Higgins
Editor: Lynn Graeme
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $1.25
Cover Date: February 1980
Release Date: November 1979
Synopsis: Howard must restore a little girl Carol's faith in the holiday spirit on Christmas Eve and help save Santa Claus from Greedy Killerwatt and the Pinball Lizard.

Source: Kraalo Archives, Howard the Duck Index, Marvel Comics

Friday, December 30, 2011

Ghost Rider #41 (February 1980)

Title: The Freight Train To Oblivion!
Cover: Bob Budiansky, Bob Wiacek
Writer: Michael Fleisher
Penciler: Donald Perlin
Inker: Donald Perlin
Colorist: Ben Sean
Letterer: Clement Robins
Editor: Roger Stern
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $0.40
Cover Date: February 1980
Release Date: November 1979
Synopsis: Driving down a desert highway in the dead of night, Ghost Rider happens across a truck hijacking and deals out his fiery brand of justice to the criminals. Transforming back to Johnny Blaze at an old railroad yard, the biker jumps aboard a passing freight train and falls asleep. He is awoken by a pair of Laurel and Hardy-esque hobos who rob him and knock him unconscious. Blaze comes to the next morning with amnesia and jumps off the train, finding himself in the middle of a test track for a race car team. He befriends Gina Langtree, the beautiful daughter of the team's owner, who offers him a job as a mechanic. Sparks fly between Blaze and Gina, setting off tensions with one of the other mechanics. That night as the amnesiac biker sleeps, Ghost Rider manifests and drives off into the night, seeking vengeance but perplexed as to why Blaze's mind is closed to him. To be continued next issue in The Lonesome Death of Johnny Blaze!

Source: Kraalo Archives, Marvel Comics

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Howard the Duck House Ad

Marvel's Howard the Duck comic ended after three and a half years with issue no. 31 in May of 1979 and was reborn as a 64-page bi-monthly black and white Marvel magazine that debuted in October 1979. This format shift was designed to force retailers to place the book with other material targeted to a mature audience as opposed to being relegated to the "funny animal" book section.  The first issue of the magazine certainly forced that point with a very revealing look into Howard's relationship with Beverly that probably took a lot of readers by surprise just as it did with me. In light of this move by Marvel, it's somewhat curious that this house ad published in certain Marvel comics in February 1980 doesn't let readers know that Howard the Duck is not a comic, but a black and white magazine intended for mature audiences. Still, it's a cool ad, so I'll take it.

Source: Kraalo Archives

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Heroes World Toy Ad

Heroes World had retail stores popping up all over the country and had practically become a household name in comics by 1980. They were consistently one of the most active advertisers in the pages of Marvel comics during the late 70s and early 80s, so their ads make for a great journey back in time to what comics, games, toys, etc. were available during this era. In this case, Mego's Superhero Dolls, a Spider-Man ski mask, Hot Wheels for Spider-Man, Hulk, Captain America, Thor, the Human Torch and the Thing. Great stuff!

Source: Kraalo Archives

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from The Marvel Project!  I wasn't able to find a Marvel Comics holiday card for 1980, but the wreath with hero ornaments that Marvel used for its subscription ads is certainly seasonal.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Fantastic Four Wrist Signal Sender

Fleetwood produced some great toys in 1980 under its license with Marvel.  I'm not sure about the merits of this Fantastic Four Wrist Signal Sender for its stated purpose, but I give Fleetwood credit for a clever way to bamboozle unsuspecting parents into buying projectile weapons for their kids.  At 94 cents a pop, I bet this thing flew off the shelves!

Source: Kraalo Archives

Fun and Games #6

Title: Fun and Games Magazine
Written, Drawn and Edited by Owen McCarron
Cover Price: $0.50
Cover Date: February 1980
Release Date: November 1980
Synopsis: It's Dr. Doom Against the Marvel Superheroes - and Only You Can Save Them!

Source: Lonestar Comics

Fantasy Masterpieces #3 (February 1980)

Title: The Power and the Prize!
Cover: John Buscema
Writer: Stan Lee
Penciler: John Buscema
Inker: Joe Sinnott
Letterer: Artie Simek
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $0.75
Cover Date: February 1980
Release Date: November 1979
Synopsis: Fantasy Masterpieces #3 reprints Silver Surfer #3 (December 1968). The issue starts at a hospital where the Silver Surfer is trying to use his powers to heal a little girl who was injured last issue. He is driven away by the frightened hospital staff and the police who fire their weapons at him in close quarters. Frustrated and angry at the mistrust and foolish behavior of humanity, the Silver Surfer uses his cosmic powers to shut down communications and power worldwide, bringing civilization to a standstill. The evil being Mephisto senses this disturbance on Earth and decides to seek out and engage the Sentinel of the Spaceways. Mephisto is able to bring the Surfer's love Shalla Bal to Earth to serve as a pawn in his scheme. Mephisto and the Surfer battle as the Lord of the Lower Depths realizes that the hero's inherent goodness and desire to better humanity is a threat to the primal forces on which he thrives. When force fails to win the day, Mephisto tries bribery and compassion to win the Surfer to his side.  Ultimately he makes the hero choose between serving his evil agenda or losing Shalla Bal who Mephisto threatens to return to Zenn-La. The Surfer makes the difficult choice and Shalla Bal is returned home.  This classic conflict is also reprinted in the classic Fireside volume Bring on the Bad Guys.

Source: Kraalo Archives, Marvel Comics, Marvel Wikia

Fantastic Four #215 (February 1980)

Title: Blastaar!
Cover: Ron Wilson, Joe Rubinstein
Writer: Marv Wolfman
Penciler: John Byrne
Inker: Joe Sinnott
Colorist: Carl Gafford
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Editor: Marv Wolfman
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $0.40
Cover Date: February 1980
Release Date: November 1979
Synopsis: The Fantastic Four assist Randolph James with his Evolutionary Accelerator and prevent disaster when the professor's Compucord Plus control system explodes during a test. The team gets an alert from the Baxter Building security system and leave James at his lab as they to return to their headquarters. They find that none other than Blastaar has breached the portal from the Negative Zone and a fierce battle ensues. The Living Bombburst fights the Fantastic Four to a standstill and manages to escape into the sewer system after he his knocked out of the Baxter Building to the ground below. Reed Richards alerts the Avengers that the Negative Zone villain is on the loose and then gets a disturbing call from Randolph James, who has just been assaulted by a gang of thugs who robbed his lab. Reed rushes to help his friend and discovers upon his arrival at the lab that James has used the Evolutionary Accelerator upon himself in an attempt to heal his injuries. Transformed into a being with almost godlike power, James seeks revenge on the thugs, inflicting pain upon them and transforming them into rats.  Reed is clearly troubled by both the transformation and behavior of his old friend and asks James to return to the Baxter Building for examination.  To be continued next issue in Where There Be Gods!

Source: Kraalo Archives, Marvel Comics

Doctor Strange #39 (February 1980)

Title: The Old Dark House
Cover: Al Milgrom
Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Gene Colan
Inker: Dan Green
Colorist: Ben Sean
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Editors: Mary Jo Duffy, Al Milgrom
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $0.40
Cover Date: February 1980
Release Date: November 1979
Synopsis: Dr. Strange discovers that the catatonic Baron Mordo who has been living in his Sanctum Sanctorum is merely an conjured illusion. Upon further consideration, he realizes that a series of recent attacks and other events may be all part of a plot orchestrated by his old foe. The Sorcerer Supreme learns that the real Mordo has been sighted in Paris and departs with his friend Alfeo Spinosa to track him down. While Strange is away, Clea searches Chinatown for Wong, who had not returned from his errands the day before.  She is attacked by one of Dormammu's wraiths and helped back to the Sanctum by neighbor Sara Wolfe. In Paris, Dr. Strange and Alfeo are ambushed while searching for Mordo. Alfeo is shot dead and the Sorcerer is knocked unconscious and later wakes up strapped to an operating table in a hospital theater. The hero is put through a series of trials during which he is forced to confront his arrogant and greedy behavior as a former top surgeon as well the despair and drunken debauchery after the accident that ruined his career in medicine. He regains his composure and breaks the illusions around him just in time to realize that he being goaded into killing his old lover Madeline St. Germaine on the operating table. Strange learns from Madeline that the men responsible for this trap serve Baron Mordo, who is plotting to open the Seven Gates of Chaos in order to destroy the Earth!

Source: Kraalo Archives, Marvel Comics

Friday, December 16, 2011

Joe Simon R.I.P.

Comics pioneer Joe Simon passed away on Wednesday, December 14th at the age of 98. Best known as the co-creator of Captain America alongside Jack Kirby, Simon's career in comics as a writer, artist and editor spanned more than five decades. His prolific body of work and the many characters Simon created and co-created for Marvel, DC, and Harvey are an enduring legacy for one of the true trailblazers in the history of comics. The New York Times published a thoughtful obituary on December 15th and I'd recommend Simon's autobiography Joe Simon: My Life In Comics (Titan Books 2011) for anyone who wants to learn more about the renowned creator's life and work.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Defenders #80 (February 1980)

Title: Once A Defender
Cover: Rich Buckler, Joe Rubinstein
Writer: Ed Hannigan
Penciler: Herb Trimpe
Inker: Dan Green
Colorist: Carl Gafford
Letterer: John Costanza
Editor: Al Milgrom
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $0.40
Cover Date: February1980
Release Date: November 1979
Synopsis: Picking right up from Defenders #79, Aeroika, Dr. Strange, the Hulk, and the Sub-Mariner fight off an attacking army led by Ytitnedion's men on Tunnel World. Back on Earth, Nighthawk and Wasp fight alongside the U.S. Army against Mandrill's Fem-Force, which is led by Hellcat and Valkyrie under the villain's control. The heroes overcome Mandrill, who manages to escape, but the day is won and Hellcat and Valkyrie are returned to normal.

Source: Kraalo Archives, Marvel Comics, Marvel Wikia

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Crazy Magazine #59 (February 1980)

Title: Crazy Magazine
Cover Price: $0.75
Cover Date: February 1980
Release Date: November 1979
Synopsis: The magazine that "Dares to be Dumb" once again succeeds beyond its wildest expectations, says the write-up the February 1980 checklist in Marvel's Bullpen Bulletins page. Of note, this magazine is one of only two issues published by Marvel this month that featured Christmas-themed covers.

Source: Kraalo Archives

Conan The Barbarian #107 Splash Page Art

The splash page to Conan The Barbarian #107 finds Conan torn between his duty as Captain of the Royal Guard and his desire to free the beautiful slave girl from torture by Tananda the Queen of Kush. Conan's argument with his Queen continues on page 2 of the story, but it's easy to see what the Cimmerian will decide. John Buscema and Ernie Chan's work on Conan in this era is top notch!

Source: ComicArtFans Gallery of Xavier Franck

Conan The Barbarian #107 (February 1980)

Title: Demon of the Night!
Cover: John Buscema, Terry Austin
Writer: Roy Thomas
Penciler: John Buscema
Inker: Ernie Chan
Colorist: George Roussos
Letterers: Joe Rosen
Editor: Roy Thomas
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $0.40
Cover Date: February 1980
Release Date: November 1979
Synopsis: The February 1980 checklist in Marvel's Bullpen Bulletins page describes Conan #107 as "Savage sword and sorcery action with the boldest barbarian of all."  This issue features the conclusion of Marvel's adaptation of the story The Snout in the Dark by L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter that was based on an unfinished work by Robert E. Howard from the 1930s.

Source: Kraalo Archives, Marvel Wikia, Comic Book Religion

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Captain America #242 (February 1980)

Title: Facades!
Cover: Al Milgrom, Klaus Janson
Writer: Steven Grant
Penciler: Don Perlin
Inker: Joe Sinnott
Colorist: George Roussos
Letterers: Clem Robins
Editor: Roger Stern
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $0.40
Cover Date: February 1980
Release Date: November 1979
Synopsis: Captain America responds to a panicked call from Peggy Carter and finds himself lured into a trap set by his old foe Brian Muldoon. Last seen in Captain America #159 when the super-soldier outed him as the criminal mastermind the Cowled Commander, Muldoon has hired the Manipulator to extract his revenge. The Manipulator puts the living legend though a series of trials in which he fights friends and foes alike, including Nick Fury, Dum Dum Dugan, Peggy Carter, the Avengers, and the Red Skull. Each of Captain America's opponents are android simulacrums whose gruesome deaths at his hands are designed to push the Avenger's sanity to the breaking point. Muldoon grows tired of the Manipulator's psychological games and decides to kill Cap himself, but the hero overcomes him easily. He then confronts the Manipulator, who informs him that was merely playing along with Muldoon in order to test the hero. In a strange plot twist, the Manipulator is struck by a ricochet and also turns out to be an android. Unable to process this surprising revelation about himself, the mysterious Manipulator short circuits and falls dead.

Source: Kraalo Archives, Marvel Comics

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Battlestar Galactica #12 (February 1980)

Title: The Trap!
Cover: Walt Simonson, Klaus Janson
Plot: Roger McKenzie, Walt Simonson
Script: Roger McKenzie
Penciler: Walt Simonson
Inker: Klaus Janson
Colorist: Doc Martin
Letterers: John Costanza
Editor: Al Milgrom
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $0.40
Cover Date: February 1980
Release Date: November 1979
Synopsis: Starbuck reluctantly agrees to Eurayle's offer to help the fleet in exchange for him staying on Scavenge World. A funny series of panels follows in which Starbuck says goodbye to Athena, Cassiopeia, and Sheba, telling each of them in turn that they are his true love and the only one for him. Three Cylon Basestars approach, sending wave after wave of Raiders to attack the fleet. Eurayle uses her powers to awaken Adama and he returns to the bridge just in time to see a Basestar on a collision course with Galactica.

Source: Kraalo Archives, Battlestar Wiki

Avengers Assemble! (February 1980)

In lieu of the standard fan letters, Avengers Assemble! in Avengers #192 featured a detailed description of the background work that went into the Chthon Trilogy that first unveiled key elements and tied up lots of loose ends involving the origin of Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch.  The strict focus on continuity with the goal of maintaining cohesive and consistent treatment of characters is something that I love about Marvel in the 1980s.  Writers and Editors had to care a lot more and work a lot harder to maintain continuity and I think that manifested itself in better characterization and stories during this era.

Source: Kraalo Archives

Friday, December 9, 2011

Avengers #192 (February 1980)

Title: Steel City Nightmare!
Cover: George Perez, Joe Sinnott
Writer: David Michelinie
Penciler: Arvell Jones
Inker: Ricardo Villamonte
Colorist: Ben Sean
Letterers: Diana Albers
Editor: Jim Salicrup
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $0.40
Cover Date: February 1980
Release Date: November 1979
Synopsis: Tony Stark and Simon Williams visit a steel refinery in Pittsburgh that the millionaire industrialist is considering as an acquisition target for Stark International. This same refinery appeared in Journey into Mystery #120 (September 1965) when Thor stopped to repair his hammer. After this historic visit, an employee named Joseph Conroy found a tiny chip of Uru metal that he kept as a good luck charm. In a malicious attack by a fellow employee, Conroy is pushed into a vat of molten steel, setting off a chain of events that would have been catastrophic if not for the heroics of Wonder Man.  Back at the Avengers Mansion, the team is pleased to be rid of Henry Gyrich after being cleared in their recent inquiry, and they set to work recruiting additional members to the team. In Pittsburgh, a molten creature bursts from the hardened slag in which Joseph Conroy was entombed and Iron Man and Wonder Man call in the Avengers for help when they are overwhelmed by the living inferno.  To be continued next issue in Battleground: Pittsburgh!

Source: Kraalo Archives

Amazing Spider-Man #201 (February 1980)

Title: Man-Hunt!
Cover: John Romita, Sr., Bob McLeod
Writer: Marv Wolfman
Penciler: Keith Pollard
Inker: Jim Mooney
Colorist: Carl Gafford
Letterers: Joe Rosen
Editor: Marv Wolfman
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $0.40
Cover Date: February 1980
Release Date: November 1979
Synopsis:  Spider-Man intervenes in a fight between the Punisher and a group of criminals.  The Wall Crawler tries to talk some sense into the vicious vigilante after the fight, but the Punisher escapes after shooting him with his mercy bullets, knocking Spider-Man unconscious. Back as his apartment, Peter develops his photos of the fight and then visits Aunt May at the Restwell Nursing Home. While he is with Aunt May, he bumps into Robbie Robertson, who informs him that J. Jonah Jameson has had a nervous breakdown. Spider-Man subsequently confirms this situation when he spies on Jonah through the window at Beltville Hospital. Peter then goes to the Daily Globe to drop off his photos and is sent out on assignment with a female reporter named April Maye to cover the indictment of organized crime figure Lorenzo Jacobi. While on their way to the courthouse, Peter stops to talk with Mary Jane Watson, who he sees walking down the street, and a hilarious argument between April and MJ ensues while Peter sneaks away.  At the courthouse, a team of armed thugs arrives and frees the mobster. Peter changes into his Spider-Man costume and pursues them without success. Upon returning home at the end of the day, Peter finds the Punisher waiting in his apartment! "I've learned your secret!! says the killer vigilante in the last panel of the comic.  How's that for a cliffhanger?

Source: Kraalo Archives

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Marvel Girl Pin-Up

Amazing Adventures #3 features a pin-up of Marvel Girl by Jack Kirby that was originally published in X-Men #9 (January 1965). This pin-up of Silver Age Marvel’s first redheaded heroine was demure by the standards of 1980 when Amazing Adventures #3 was published, but it’s a true classic and we certainly agree that it's no wonder they call her Marvel Girl!

Source: Kraalo Archives

Amazing Adventures #3 (February 1980)

Title: No One Can Stop The Vanisher!
Cover: Bob Budiansky, Mike Esposito
Writer: Stan Lee
Penciler: Jack Kirby
Inker: Paul Reinman
Letterer: Sam Rosen
Reprint Editor: Danny Fingeroth
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $0.40
Cover Date: February 1980
Release Date: November 1979
Synopsis: Amazing Adventures #3 reprints the first part of the X-Men's initial encounter with the Vanisher from X-Men #2 (November 1963) and the third part of the origin of Cyclops from X-Men #40 (January 1968). The reprint has a great new cover by Bob Budiansky, featuring the X-Men in the Danger Room training session that precedes their fight with the Vanisher. Of note, this reprint looks like it was completely re-colored from the original, including the change in the Vanisher's color scheme from his original red to green.

Source: Kraalo Archives

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Bullpen Bulletins (February 1980)

Bullpen Bulletins in February 1980 included a checklist for the “Marvel Masterpieces on Sale This Month!” Most of them anyway... I always viewed the Marvel Checklist as the Bible of what was being published in any given month, so it’s interesting to see how many inaccuracies there were as I look back at these old issues. For example, the February Checklist lists Crazy Magazine #58 and Savage Sword of Conan #58 when both those issues have January 1980 cover dates. The Checklist also has Fun & Games #8 when issue #6 was actually published that month. But for all the errors and omissions, there’s also very useful information, especially on books like Star Wars Annual #1 or X-Men Annual #3 that don’t list any month on their covers or interiors. Click on the scan below to see Bullpen Bulletins in high-definition!

Source: Kraalo Archives

Marvel Checklist (February 1980)

Marvel published 39 comics and 4 magazines for a total of 43 issues cover dated February 1980. That number is up from a total of 36 issues in January 1980 due to a number of bi-monthly publications as well as two annuals that fell into the month. These issues would have been on newsstands in November 1979 based on the practice of three-month advance cover dating. A highlight in February 1980 was the Savage She-Hulk #1, which was the first appearance of the Emerald Amazon as well as Stan Lee’s first plot and script since 1972. Another issue of note in February 1980 was X-Men #130, which continued the Dark Phoenix Saga and had the first appearance of Dazzler.

AMAZING ADVENTURES #3 MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE #60
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #201 MARVEL'S GREATEST COMICS #85
AVENGERS #192 MASTER OF KUNG FU #85
BATTLESTAR GALACTICA #12 MICRONAUTS #14
CAPTAIN AMERICA #242 PETER PARKER #39
CONAN #107 POWERMAN & IRON FIST #61
CRAZY MAGAZINE #59 ROM SPACEKNIGHT #3
DEFENDERS #80 SAVAGE SHE-HULK #1
DR. STRANGE #39 SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN #49
FANTASTIC FOUR #215 SGT. FURY #156
FANTASY MASTERPIECES #3 SHOGUN WARRIORS #13
FUN & GAMES #6 SPIDER-WOMAN #23
GHOST RIDER #41 STAR WARS #32
HOWARD THE DUCK MAGAZINE #3 STAR WARS ANNUAL #1
INCREDIBLE HULK #244 TALES TO ASTONISH #3
IRON MAN #131 THE HULK MAGAZINE #19
MACHINE MAN #13 THOR #292
MARVEL PREMIERE #52 TOMB OF DRACULA MAGAZINE #3
MARVEL PREVIEW #20 WHAT IF #19
MARVEL SUPER ACTION #16 X-MEN #130
MARVEL TALES #112 X-MEN ANNUAL #3
MARVEL TEAM-UP #90

Source: Kraalo Archives

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Marvel Calendar (February 1980)

The Marvel Comics Calendar 1980: The Occult World of Doctor Strange has a stunning piece of art for February by Bill Sienkiewicz and Joe Rubinstein entitled "Returning to the Nightmare World" that features Doctor Strange versus Nightmare. The February calendar showcases a number of birthdays for Marvel creators as well as some well-placed humor in the open dates. My personal favorite: Saturday, February 2nd was National Take-A-Spinybeast-To-Tea Day!


Source: Kraalo Archives

Monday, December 5, 2011

Getting Ready For February 1980

Our run through January 1980 is finished, so I'm now getting ready for February 1980, digging through the comic boxes and random stacks of comics I've assembled in preparation for the new month. We'll start off with the Marvel Calendar tomorrow, then the Checklist and Bullpen Bulletins and then right into the issues starting with Amazing Adventures #3.

Source: Kraalo Archives

El Dorado Comics Original Art Ad

The Comics Journal (TCJ) archives are a fantastic resource for a historical perspective and the inside scoop on comics in an era before publications like Marvel Age were launched, so I've been reading the back issues avidly while working on The Marvel Project.  I came across this El Dorado Comics original art ad in the Winter 1980 TCJ issue while doing research for January 1980 and I immediately found myself wishing for a time machine. Aside from the amazing prices and selection for the choice Byrne and Layton original art, it's funny to see page 24 from Giant-Size X-Men #1 being offered for $55.  That page sold for $14,340 in the November 2008 Heritage Signature Auction!

Source: The Comics Journal

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Corgi Super Heroes Cars Ad

It feels mildly blasphemous to showcase an ad for toys based on characters from Marvel's distinguished competition, but these Corgi Super Heroes vehicles based on the DC pantheon of characters are too awesome to ignore.  I definitely remember having what I called the Jokermobile when I was a kid, and this whole lineup looks great. I don't think that Corgi did a series of vehicles based on Marvel properties, but I'll look into that to find out for certain.

Source: Kraalo Archives

Hostess Fruit Pie Ad: The Icemaster Cometh

Hostess ran a series of ads featuring Marvel characters in comics throughout the 1970s and early 1980s that I still indelibly associate with Cupcakes, Fruit Pies and Twinkies decades later. Penciled by Frank Miller just before he started his career-making run on Daredevil, this ad features the Fantastic Four's Human Torch against a new villain called the Icemaster. The ad brought a nostalgic smile to my face, but definitely raised some questions when I read the text. "Even you're not hot enough to melt my heart of ice, Flame-Face," quips the Icemaster. "Leaving me cold, Hot Shot?" he continues. Wow, either that's some saucy interpersonal dialogue and innuendo that was at least a decade ahead of its time in a comic or the Icemaster was supposed to be the Icemistress and Frank Miller didn't get the message! Of note, writer Kurt Busiek re-introduced Icemaster as a villain in Thunderbolts #25 (April 1999), which may be the first instance of a villain created for a Hostess ad being introduced into Marvel continuity.

Source: Kraalo Archives, Imwan Forums

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Kitty Pryde: First Appearance

Kitty Pryde made her first appearance in the pages of Uncanny X-Men #129 and went on to win a permanent place in the hearts and minds of legions of fans - myself included. Kitty was created by John Byrne in 1978 who initially conceived of her as a member of an "X-Men-in-Training" team, a concept that ultimately manifested with the creation of the New Mutants in 1982. As all of the X-Men were adults at this point, it was a smart move to introduce a teenage member of the team with whom younger readers could relate.  It was also important to bring back the concept Xavier's as a school, which had been such a fundamental element to the X-Men since the title's inception. When I first started reading the X-Men with issue #167 in 1982, I loved the fact that there were characters my own age and I definitely feel like I grew up with Kitty Pryde and the New Mutants over the years.

Source: Byrne Robotics

Friday, December 2, 2011

The White Queen: First Appearance

In addition to marking the beginning of the acclaimed Phoenix Saga, Uncanny X-Men #129 is notable for the first appearance of the Hellfire Club's White Queen. Calculating, cold and ruthless on one hand, but beautiful, blazing hot and provocative on the other, it's easy to see why Emma Frost has endured and evolved as an iconic character in the Marvel universe over the decades.  As both a fan favorite and a personal favorite, you can be sure that you'll see a lot more of the White Queen at The Marvel Project!

Source: Kraalo Archives, Marvel Comics

Uncanny X-Men #129 Cover Art

Uncanny X-Men #129 features a fantastic cover that showcases the incredible combination of John Byrne's pencils and Terry Austin's inks. The original cover art to this book is owned by collector Tim Townsend, who says on his ComicArtFans gallery "This is my art collecting dream fully realized." I can certainly understand that sentiment about such an amazing piece of original art!

Source: ComicArtFans Gallery of Tim Townsend

Uncanny X-Men #129 (January 1980)

Title: God Spare The Child...
Cover: John Byrne, Terry Austin
Co-Plotters: Chris Claremont, John Byrne
Script: Chris Claremont
Penciler: John Byrne
Inker: Terry Austin
Colors: Bob Sharen
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Editor: Roger Stern
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $0.40
Cover Date: January 1980
Release Date: October 1979
Synopsis:  The X-Men depart Muir Island after defeating Proteus, leaving Banshee, Havoc, and Polaris behind along with Moria MacTaggert and Jamie Madrox the Multiple Man.  While in flight across the Atlantic, Jason Wyngarde projects another timeslip into Jean Grey's mind, sending her back again to the 1700s when she is aboard a ship bound for New York where she will marry the knight of the realm. The illusion is broken by Cyclops who has the first heart-to-heart conversation with Jean since the two were reunited after her presumed death in X-Men #113.

The X-Men return to New York for a joyous reunion with Professor Xavier and get back to the daily rhythm of their lives. Friction between Professor Xavier and Scott emerges over the training and teamwork of the X-Men, but the teacher and former pupil are distracted from that issue when Cerebro's contact alarm sounds, signaling the identification of two new mutants. We then learn that a mysterious organization known as the Hellfire Club has been watching the whole exchange, thanks to the bug that their agent Warhawk placed in the Xavier Mansion back in X-Men #110.

A subset of the X-Men travel to Chicago to meet one of the mutants identified by Cerebro. They visit the Pryde family in their civilian guises to offer their daughter Kitty enrollment in Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters.  While Professor Xavier speaks with Kitty's parents, Logan, Ororo and Peter take Kitty to the local Malt Shoppe.  The team is attacked by a team of the Hellfire Club's armored soldiers, but overcome them after a brief skirmish. Before they can interrogate the villains, the X-Men are knocked unconscious by a mental blast from the White Queen and taken prisoner.

The Hellfire Club troops load the heroes onto their waiting hovercraft and the White Queen detonates explosive charges hidden in the armor of the units that fell in battle to the X-Men. "Oh, don't worry about them, Cutler--The Hellfire Club has ways of dealing with failures!," says Emma Frost as she triggers the explosion. Unbeknownst to the villains, Kitty Pryde phases aboard the ship and accompanies them along with the unconscious X-Men to a massive industrial complex on the outskirts of Chicago.  The story will be continued in X-Men #130 with the Debut of the Dazzler!

X-Men #129 is the beginning of what would become known as the Phoenix Saga, one of the most beloved and influential stories in the history of comics. Of note, X-Men #129 introduces key characters, the White Queen and Kitty Pryde and sets the stage for many great issues to come. This issue is a personal favorite and a Must-Read for any X-Men fan. The creative team of Claremont-Byrne-Austin is absolutely magic and the story is so compelling, intricate and well balanced between action and plot development that it truly stands out against anything else published during this time period.

Source: Kraalo Archives, Marvel Comics

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Thor #291 (January 1980)

Title: When Gods Have Joined Together!
Cover: Keith Pollard, Bob Layton
Writer: Roy Thomas
Penciler: Keith Pollard
Inker: Chic Stone
Colors: Glynis Wein
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Editor: Roy Thomas
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $0.40
Cover Date: January 1980
Release Date: October 1979
Synopsis: Thor flies to Olympia as Zuras and his fellow Eternals prepare to attack the Mothership of the Celestials in order to stave off the 50 Year Judgement that the Space Gods plan to render upon the Earth.  Thor cannot lend his support to attack, stating that he does not believe that a direct confrontation is the best course of action.  The Eternals commence the Ritual of the Uni-Mind and pool their strength in order to contend with the mighty Celestials. After the Eternals depart, Odin and Zeus arrive in Olympia with their combined forces with the goal of laying waste to the city of the Eternals and preventing their attack on the Celestials.  Thor fights to stop their attack, but Odin renders him helpless by turning him into Donald Blake.  The Eternal then return and an epic battle ensues:  Eternal vs. Immortal--Titan vs. Mutate--One brand of Olympian against another.  Odin restores Donald Blake to his godly form in order to maintain a fair fight and the issue ends in suspense with the All Father's spear at Thor's throat.

Source: Kraalo Archives, Marvel Comics, Marvel Wikia

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tales To Astonish #2 (January 1980)

Title: Cry...Triton!
Cover: John Buscema, Frank Giacoia
Writer: Roy Thomas
Penciler: John Buscema
Inker: Frank Giacoia
Letterer: Artie Smek
Editor: Stan Lee
Reprint Editor: Danny Fingeroth
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $0.40
Cover Date: January 1980
Release Date: October 1979
Synopsis: Tales To Astonish #2 reprints Sub-Mariner #2 (June 1968).  The issue opens with the Sub-Mariner destroying the Arctic Circle base of his foe Destiny following their battle in the previous issue. Namor departs to pursue the escaped villain, wondering if he can draw upon his uneasy truce with the Fantastic Four for assistance in finding Destiny. Elsewhere, Plant Man curses his luck as he spots Black Bolt flying over his submarine.  The Inhuman's monarch joins Medusa, Karnak, Gorgon and Triton on the shore of a nearby island and they set out to investigate the suspicious submarine.  Triton dives beneath the surface and Plant Man manages to provoke a fight between the aquatic Inhuman and the Sub-Mariner.  They go blow-for-blow at length, but just as Namor is about to beat Triton, the two are are captured by Plant Man who escapes the rest of the Inhumans in his submarine and sets a course for London, England where he plans to unleash his next attack.  During an interlude in this issue, Lady Dorma agonizes over whether Prince Namor is actually dead while the citizens of Atlantis start to evacuate their destroyed city.

Source: Kraalo Archives, Marvel Comics, Marvel Wikia

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Star Wars #31 (January 1980)

Title: Return to Tatooine!
Cover: Carmine Infantino, Bob Wiacek
Writer: Archie Goodwin
Penciler: Carmine Infantino
Inker: Bob Wiacek
Colorist: Carl Gafford
Letterer: Jim Novak
Editor: Jim Shooter
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $0.40
Cover Date: January 1980
Release Date: October 1979
Synopsis: Luke Skywalker returns to Tatooine to recruit blockade runner pilots to help the Rebel Alliance. While on his home planet for the first time since the beginning of the Star Wars, Luke uncovers clues to a secret Empire plot, but not enough to find out exactly what is afoot. He goes to Mos Eisley to continue his original mission, and reunites with Han Solo and Chewbacca in the same cantina where they originally met. However, the reunion is cut short as Fixer arrives to warn Luke that the Empire is aware that the young Rebel is on Tatooine and actively searching for him.

Source: Kraalo Archives, Marvel Wikia, Wookieepedia

Spidey Super Stories #44 (January 1980)

Title: Spidey And The Vision Meet Dr. Time!
Cover: Marie Severin
Writers: Alan Kupperberg, Michael Siporin
Penciler: Winslow Mortimer
Inker: Ricardo Villamonte
Editor: Deborah November
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $0.40
Cover Date: January 1980
Release Date: October 1979
Synopsis: Spidey Super Stories #44 runs 36 pages with no ads and has three feature stories. In Time for Trouble, an unknown force is making time speed up. When Spider-Man investigates, he finds that Doctor Time is behind the trouble and teams up with Vision to take on the villain. In The Wizard is Odd, the Wall Crawler has a strange Wizard of Oz-like dream that contains all of his friends from the Electric Company. In, No News is Bad News!, Spidey teams up with the Butterfly to stop Doc Ock, who is trying to sabotage the Daily Bugle.

Source: Kraalo Archives, Comic Collector Live, Comic Vine, Marvel Wikia

Spider-Woman #22 (January 1980)

Title: Bring On…The Clown!
Cover: Marie Severin, Mike Esposito
Writer: Michael Fleischer
Penciler: Frank Springer
Inker: Mike Esposito
Colorist: Ben Sean
Letterer: Clem Robins
Editor: Jim Shooter
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $0.40
Cover Date: January 1980
Release Date: October 1979
Synopsis: Spider-Woman tracks a serial killer dubbed the Killer Clown who has been preying on young women in the Los Angeles area. The heroine sees the Clown pick up a hitchhiker while she is on patrol and manages to stop the madman before he kills the girl. The hitchhiker is injured, so Spider-Woman has to take her to the hospital and the Killer Clown is able to make his escape. The murderer follows Spider-Woman away from the hospital to Lindsay McCabe’s home, breaking into the house that evening and attacking Lindsay under the mistaken belief that she is Spider-Woman. Jessica returns in the nick of time and the Clown escapes again, but they lure him out of hiding with news reports that Lindsay survived his attack.  Spider-Woman ambushes the Clown when he tries to finish the job with Lindsay at the hospital and chases him to the old abandoned circus ground where she defeats the deranged man.

Source: Kraalo Archives, Marvel Comics, Marvel Wikia

Shogun Warriors #12 (January 1980)

Title: The Moon Menace!
Cover: Walt Simonson
Writer: Doug Moench
Penciler: Herb Trimpe
Inker: Mike Esposito
Colorist: George Bell
Letterers: Jim Novak
Editor: Al Milgrom
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $0.40
Cover Date: January 1980
Release Date: October 1979
Synopsis: Kenji flies Combatra to Los Angeles to visit her fellow Shogun Richard, interrupting and further fueling a lover's quarrel between her teammate and his girlfriend Deena when she asks to stay with the couple until she straightens things out with the authorities back in Japan. At the Shogun Sanctuary, a meteor is suddenly detected and their computer models project an utter catastrophe for the Earth, so they summon the Shogun Warriors. The team flies into space and destroys the meteor, but just as they are reveling in their victory, they discover a new threat: A space station hiding on the dark side of the Moon! As they fly to investigate, the station blasts them with an energy beam, hurtling three of the Shoguns into deep space and Dangard Ace to the surface of the moon. The fate of the team will be revealed next issue in The Demonicus Scheme!

Source: Kraalo Archives

Monday, November 28, 2011

Savage Sword of Conan #48 (January 1980)

Title: A Wind Blows From Stygia!
Cover: Nestor Redondo
Writer: Roy Thomas
Penciler: John Buscema
Inker: Klaus Janson
Letterers: John Costanza
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $1.25
Cover Date: January 1980
Release Date: October 1979
Synopsis:  Savage Sword of Conan #48 features Part One of Marvel's adaptation of Conan The Liberator, a novel written by L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter featuring Robert E. Howard's seminal sword and sorcery hero. It was first published in paperback by Bantam Books in February 1979.

Source: Kraalo Archives, Marvel Wikia, Wikipedia

ROM #2 (January 1980)

Title: Second Coming!
Cover: Al Milgrom
Writer: Bill Mantlo
Penciler: Sal Buscema
Inker: Sal Buscema
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Letterers: John Costanza
Editor: Joe Duffy
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $0.40
Cover Date: January 1980
Release Date: October 1979
Synopsis: Mobster Archie Stryker breaks into the Laserium Corp. to rob the company's vault, but is thwarted by ROM. "I come seeking evil! I come to exact revenge!" says ROM as he bursts into the building. ROM kills a Dire Wraith who is collaborating with Stryker's gang in a human disguise, further fueling the fear and mistrust of ROM as an apparent killer of humans. ROM returns to Clairton, West Virginia, where he visits Brandy, but the two are interrupted when her boyfriend calls in the local police. ROM battles the police and slays Chief Rogers, who he discovers is another Dire Wraith, further solidifying the increasingly widespread belief that he is a murderous robot.

Source: Kraalo Archives

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Spectacular Spider-Man #38 (January 1980)

Title: Curse of the Living Vampire!
Cover: Al Milgrom
Writer: Bill Mantlo
Penciler: Sal Buscema
Inker: Chic Stone
Colorist: Bob Sharen
Letterer: Diana Albers
Editor: Jim Shooter
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $0.40
Cover Date: January 1980
Release Date: October 1979
Synopsis: Desperate for human blood, Morbius attacks a group of three teenagers and nearly drains the girl before one of the two boys intervenes.  The next day is Halloween and Peter Parker visits Aunt May in the hospital, stops by The Globe to drop off some photos, and then heads to Empire State University for his first day of graduate school as a teaching assistant.  That night at an ESU Halloween costume party, Morbius appears again and Spider-Man engages him in battle.  Just as he bites Spider-Man, the Living Vampire is struck by lightning and knocked unconscious, but appapparently cured either by Spider-Man's blood or the lightning...or the combination of the two.

Source: Kraalo Archives, Marvel Comics

Micronauts #13 (January 1980)

Title: Be It Ever So Deadly!
Cover: Michael Golden
Writer: Bill Mantlo
Penciler: Howard Chaykin
Inker: Al Milgrom
Colorist: Bob Sharen
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Editor: Al Milgrom
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $0.40
Cover Date: January 1980
Release Date: October 1979
Synopsis: Less than a day has passed since the combined forces of the Microverse overthrew the tyranny of Baron Karza.  Bug awakens surprised to be back on his home planet of Kaliklak, but soon restores ties with his old gang in order to lead a rebellion to take back control of his planet from the Colonial Governor and Baron Karza's Dog Soldiers. On Homeworld, Arcturus Rann grows bored with rest and recuperation and uncomfortable with the adulation after their great victory, deciding that he wants to reassemble the Micronauts to explore the Microverse.

Source: Kraalo Archives, Marvel Wikia

Master of Kung Fu #84 Page 30 Art

"It ends.  The Leopard Cultists are still...But the waters are not." Master of Kung Fu #84 closes with a dramatic stand off as Shang-Shi and Black Jack Tarr face a critical decision of whether to fight the deadly Jaguar Men on shore or retreat and face the menacing crocodiles in the river.

Source: Heritage Comics

Master of Kung Fu #84 (January 1980)

Title: The Bull and The Dragon!
Cover: Mike Zeck, Gene Day
Writer: Doug Moench
Penciler: Mike Zeck
Inker: Gene Day
Colorist: George Roussos
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Editor: Roger Stern
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $0.40
Cover Date: January 1980
Release Date: October 1979
Synopsis: The Bull and The Dragon is part two of the seven-part Warriors of the Golden Dawn saga. In this issue, Shang-Chi and Black Jack Tarr venture into the South American jungle in search of the Master of Kung Fu's evil father Fu Manchu. What they find instead is a cadre of deadly Jaguar Men. The comic ends in a dramatic stand off as Shang-Shi and Tarr face a mortal decision of whether to fight the Jaguar Men on shore or retreat and face the crocodiles in the river.

Source: Kraalo Archives, Lonestar ComicsMarvel Wikia, Mike Zeck
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