Sunday, July 28, 2013

Wolverine #1 (September 1982)

Title: Wolverine
Cover: Frank Miller, Josef Rubinstein
Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Frank Miller
Inker: Josef Rubinstein
Colors: Glynis Wein
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Editor: Louise Jones
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $0.60
Cover Date: September 1982
Release Date: May 1982
Synopsis: The first issue of the Wolverine limited series finds Logan high in the Canadian Rockies hunting a grizzly bear that has gone on a wild rampage and killed multiple innocents in its path. The serious feel of the comic is apparent from the first page as Wolverine reminds us that “I’m the best there is at what I do. But what I do best isn’t very nice.” The tone of Chris Claremont’s script and the grim and gritty look of Frank Miller’s pencils with Josef Rubinstein’s inks immediately drives home the point that you are not reading an average comic with superheroes in tights battling their standard villains.

Logan tracks the rogue bear to its den and the fight is on. Claremont is clearly enjoying himself as he piles on with the Wolverine bad-assery. “He’s big an’ mean -- a rogue grizzly bear. No more fearsome -- or deadly -- creature exists on earth. ‘Cept me. His claws gleam in the half-light. So do mine.” Logan dispatches the bear with brutal precision, putting the animal down before it can do any more harm and learning that it was driven wild by an illegal poison arrow. Logan tracks down the hunter responsible for the bear’s murder of seven men, three women and five children, turning him over to the authorities for prosecution.

Returning to the X-Men’s headquarters in New York, Logan is surprised to find a stack of returned mail from Mariko Yashida, daughter of one of the richest and most powerful families in Japan. Logan first met Mariko when the X-Men were in Japan in Uncanny X-Men #118 and the unlikely couple fell immediately in love. Mariko was mentioned in a few issues since, but was otherwise relegated to the sidelines. Logan is frustrated that his every effort to contact the woman he loves is rebuffed and decides to travel to Japan to seek her out.

Upon arriving in Tokyo, Logan is greeted by his old friend and partner Asano Kimura, who is an intelligence agent for the Japanese government. He tells Logan that his presence in Japan is unwelcome and explains the circumstances that have changed with Mariko. Long believed to be dead, Markio’s father recently returned and took over as head of Clan Yashida and all of its interests. Her father apparently incurred a debt that he paid by offering Mariko’s hand in marriage. Logan is shocked to learn that Mariko is now married and refuses to accept that her family obligation can take precedence over their love for one another.

That night, Logan travels to the ancestral stronghold of the Clan Yashida and sneaks into the palace to seek out Mariko. He finds her in the garden beneath a statue of the Buddha where he tries to speak to her. She is clearly ashamed and distraught, refusing to face him and telling him that she has no choice in her fate. Logan finally gets Mariko to face him and he sees that her face is bruised. “Who did this?” Logan asks. “It is none of your concern” Markio replies. The four wordless panels that follow are a truly remarkable expression of Logan’s rage as he realizes that Markio’s husband is responsible for beating her.

Mariko talks Logan down and persuades him to accept her decision to honor her family obligation rather than following the dictates of her heart. Logan’s resolve is tested when Mariko’s husband appears and he almost kills him, but he decides to leave and never return. However, Logan is ambushed and knocked unconscious by poisoned throwing stars, awakening to find himself face to face with Markio’s father Shingen Yashida who challenges him to single combat with wooden samurai swords in front of Markio, her husband and two enormous sumo wrestlers who serve as body guards.

Logan is in bad shape from the poison and finds that he is no match for Shingen, who is an expert swordsman despite his advanced age. Although the swords are wooden and the contest ostensibly and exhibition match, Shingen repeatedly hits Logan in key nerves and pressure points, inflicting pain and goading him into dropping his sword and popping his claws. With the poison still flowing through his veins, Logan is still no match for Shingen and the man easily defeats him in a contest that is a perfect mirror of Logan's fight with the grizzly bear. Logan is distraught as he realizes that he played right into Shingen’s hands as he intended to fully defeat and dishonor him in front of Mariko, describing Logan as an “animal cast in a semblance of human form.”

Defeated and broken both in body and spirit, Logan is dumped in an alley in Tokyo where he is woken by a group of thugs intent on doing him harm. Before Logan can try to defend himself, the men are dropped dead by a mysterious woman who comes to his aid. The issue ends with the woman declaring “You’re mine, Wolverine. Now and forever.” This issue still gives me goosebumps when I read it. While Wolverine was always a fan favorite and an incredible character, this issue was the first true solo adventure in which Chris Claremont could really plumb the depths of Logan’s true self. The epic story continues next issue with Debts And Obligations.

Source: Kraalo Archives, Marvel Comics

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Super Hero Prize Club Ad (April 1980)

Start earning $5-$10-$20 a week selling your favorite comics and magazines to your friends, parents and neighbors and earn valuable prizes, too! Click on the image below for a high-resolution copy of the ad.

Source: Kraalo Archives

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Heroes World Toy Ad (April 1980)

Heroes World was one of the most prolific advertisers in the pages of Marvel comics during the late 70s and early 80s. Marvel titles dated April 1980 featured not just one but two ads from Heroes World that varied depending on the release date.  The first ad was for toys related to the Black Hole and Star Trek movies and the second was a general add that included a Hulk Utility Belt, a Spider-Man Web Shooter and a newly discovered cache of those  1970s-vintage Marvel Bronze Medallions.  Oh, to have a time machine… Click on the image below for a high-resolution copy of the ad.

Source: Kraalo Archives

Monday, July 15, 2013

Hostess Twinkies Ad: A Hot Time In The Old Town

Hostess ran a series of ads featuring Marvel characters in comics throughout the 1970s and early 1980s that decades later I still indelibly associate with Cupcakes, Fruit Pies and Twinkies. Marvel comics dated April 1980 featured the Human Torch in A Hot Time in the Old Town in which the hero fights Flame Thrower in order to save New York City from a fiery end!  Thank goodness the Torch is able to distract the villain with Hostess Twinkies! Click on the image below for a high-resolution copy of the ad.

Source: Kraalo Archives

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Marvel Subscription Form (April 1980)

Marvel comics cover dated April 1980 featured a new subscription form.  Marvel had 33 comics in its line up available for subscription at this point, pretty much the full publishing roster with the exception of its magazines and special editions.  These subscription ads have proven to be very useful for tracking the months that comics were actually released since the cover dates are typically at least three months ahead.  This ad is dated January 1980, which is a pretty good indication of when the April 1980 comics would have been on newsstands. Click on the image below for a high-resolution copy of the ad.

Source: Kraalo Archives

Johnson Smith Company Ad (April 1980)

Marvel comics cover dated April 1980 had a full-page color Johnson Smith Company advertisement. I can remember spending hours staring pouring over these ads back when I was a kid and badly wanting the Spy Pen Radio and Pocket Spy Telescope.  Click on the image below for a high-resolution copy of the ad.

Source: Kraalo Archives

King Conan House Ad (April 1980)

Marvel comics cover dated April 1980 had a full-page color ad for the new King Conan series that debuted in March 1980, adding to a roster that already included the Conan The Barbarian comic and The Savage Sword of Conan magazine. Click on the image below for a high-resolution copy of the ad.

Source: Kraalo Archives

What If? #20 (April 1980)

Title: What If the Avengers Had Fought The Kree-Skrull War without Rick Jones?
Cover: Al Milgrom, Joe Sinnott
Writer: Tom DeFalco
Penciler: Alan Kupperberg
Inker: Bruce Patterson
Colors: Carl Gafford
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Editors: Denny O'Neil, Mark Gruenwald
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $0.75
Cover Date: April 1980
Release Date: January 1980
Synopsis: In Avengers nos. 89-97 (June 1971-March 1972), Earth’s Mightiest Heroes became embroiled in a deadly stellar conflict that men have come to call the Kree-Skrull War! Yes, battling impossible odds, they successfully spared their infant world total destruction with the heightened mental power of Rick Jones. However, consider for a moment what would have transpired if they had failed! What If the Avengers Had Fought The Kree-Skrull War without Rick Jones?

Source: Kraalo Archives, Marvel Comics, Marvel Wikia

Uncanny X-Men #132 (April 1980)

Title: And Hellfire Is Their Name!
Cover: John Byrne, Terry Austin
Co-Plotters: Chris Claremont, John Byrne
Script: Chris Claremont
Penciler: John Byrne
Inker: Terry Austin
Colors: Glynis Wein
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Editor: Jim Salicrup
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $0.40
Cover Date: April 1980
Release Date: January 1980
Synopsis: After narrowly escaping the clutches of the Hellfire Club, the X-Men head west to the New Mexico mountain top aerie of the Angel, Warren Worthington III. After a brief reunion between the X-Men and their old teammate and his girlfriend Candy Southern, Cyclops and the Angel take off to a remote butte where Scott fills Warren in the carefully designed series of attacks by the Hellfire Club and his concern about how formidable a foe they have proven. Warren is surprised and tells Scott that he’s actually a member of the Hellfire Club, describing it as a very stuffy – yet risqué – establishment club.

As Scott segues to his concerns about Jean’s recent behavior, she flies up with a picnic lunch and Warren returns to his aerie leaving the couple alone. Jean diffuses Scott’s tension about the Hellfire Club, saying “Stop being Cyclops, leader of the X-Men, for a while. Try being Scott Summers, lover of Jean Grey.  Who knows, you might even enjoy yourself.” Jean proceeds to remove Scott’s protective visor and telekinetically keeps his optic blasts in check, demonstrating the incredible power of the Phoenix. “Hush. No questions now, my love. No words.This is our moment. Let’s not waste it.”  Even Scott can’t disagree.

A week later, the X-Men return to New York to mount a counter assault on the Hellfire Club.  They plan a two-pronged attack with Scott, Jean, Peter and Ororo entering the Hellfire Club as guests of Warren while Nightcrawler and Wolverine crawl through the sewers to infiltrate the Club from the basement level.  Unfortunately for the X-Men, the Hellfire Club is onto them from the moment that they set foot in the club and prepare to put into action their plan to fully subvert Jean Grey under Jason Wyngarde’s control so that she can lead their attack on her unsuspecting teammates.

As the X-Men join the crowd of the Hellfire Club’s gala reception, Wyngarde cuts in while Scott and Jean dance, sending Jean into another timeslip so that she is cast back 200 years into a reality where she is Wyngarde’s wife and the Hellfire Club’s Black Queen. Scott is shocked and confused as Jean walks away with Wyngarde. As he follows them up the stairs,Wyngarde reveals himself to Scott as none other than Mastermind, the villainous master of illusions not seen in the pages of X-Men since he was a member of Magneto’s Brotherhood of Evil Mutants in the 1960s.

Under Mastermind’s control, Jean blasts Scott and the Hellfire Club launches their attack the X-Men.  Colossus and Storm spring into action and find themselves face-to-face with Sebastian Shaw.  Colossus underestimates his foe and finds that the Hellfire Club’s leader can absorb his every blow and transform it into raw strength.  In the basement, Nightcrawler and Wolverine are surprised by the cyborg Donald Pierce and mass master Harry Leeland. Pierce knocks Nightcrawler unconscious while Leeland drops Wolverine through the floor deep into the sewers where he is presumed dead. The issue ends with the X-Men completely defeated at the hands of theHellfire Club.

This fourth installment in what I consider to be the Hellfire Club Saga – a subset or prelude to the Dark Phoenix Saga – is a thrill ride with twists and turns that captivated my interest and kept me on the edge of my seat wondering what would come next. It’s a significant issue insofar as it introduces the full complement of Hellfire Club inner circle members, reveals Mastermind as the expertly plotted surprise villain, and sets the stage for Wolverine’s truly definitive fight with the Hellfire Club soldiers in Uncanny X-Men #133.  Claremont and Byrne stand the test of time like no other creative team in comic history!

Source: Kraalo Archives, Marvel Comics

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Tomb of Dracula Magazine #4 (April 1980)

Title: Tomb of Dracula #4
Cover: Gene Colan, Tom Palmer
Writers: Roger McKenzie
Pencilers: Gene Colan, John Buscema
Inker: Tom Palmer, Klaus Janson
Letterer: John Costanza
Editor: Roy Thomas
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $1.25
Cover Date: April 1980
Release Date: January 1980
Synopsis: Tomb of Dracula #4 is a black and white Marvel Magazine that features two stories Angelica and Death Vow.

Source: Kraalo Archives, Black Gate, Marvel Wikia

Friday, July 12, 2013

Thor #294 (April 1980)

Title: New Asgards For Old!
Cover: Keith Pollard
Writer: Roy Thomas
Penciler: Keith Pollard
Inker: Chic Stone
Colors: Carl Gafford
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Editor: Roy Thomas
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $0.40
Cover Date: April 1980
Release Date: January 1980
Synopsis:  Thor continues to question the disembodied Eye of Odin about the All Father’s past and the origins of Asgard.

Source: Kraalo Archives, Marvel Comics, Marvel Wikia

The Hulk! Magazine #20 (April 1980)

Title: The Hulk! #20
Cover: Joe Jusko
Writers: Doug Moench, Steve Swires
Pencilers: Ron Wilson, Walt Simonson, Bill Sienkiewicz
Inkers: Alfredo Alcala, Walt Simonson
Colors: Steve Oliff
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $1.50
Cover Date: April 1980
Release Date: January 1980
Synopsis: The Hulk! #20 is a full-color Marvel Magazine with three stories: Power Unchained and This Man Tell Hulk What To Do featuring the Hulk and The Long Way to Dawn featuring Moon Knight.

Source: Kraalo Archives, Comic Vine, Marvel Wikia

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Tales To Astonish #5 (April 1980)

Title: Watch Out for…Tiger Shark!
Cover: John Buscema, Frank Giacoia
Writer: Roy Thomas
Penciler: John Buscema
Inker: Frank Giacoia
Letterer: Sam Rosen
Reprint Editor: Danny Fingeroth
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $0.40
Cover Date: April 1980
Release Date: January 1980        
Synopsis: Tales to Astonish #5 reprints Sub-Mariner #5 (September1968) in which an experiment by Dr. Dorcas to restore the health of injured champion Olympic swimmer Todd Arliss transforms him into the deranged and villainous Tiger Shark!

Source: Kraalo Archives, Marvel Comics, Marvel Wikia

Star Wars #34 (April 1980)

Title: Thunder in the Stars!
Cover: Carmine Infantino, Bob Wiacek
Writer: Archie Goodwin
Penciler: Carmine Infantino
Inker: Bob Wiacek
Colorist: Petra Goldberg
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Editor: Jim Shooter
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $0.40
Cover Date: April 1980
Release Date: January 1980
Synopsis: An epic space battle ensues as the rebel fleet is lured into a trap to in an attempt to destroy the Empire’s Omega Frost before it is unleashed on their supply planet! 

Source: Kraalo Archives, Marvel Wikia, Wookieepedia

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Star Trek #1 (April 1980)

Title: Star Trek: The Motion Picture - Part 1
Cover: Steve Leialoha
Writer: Marv Wolfman
Penciler: Dave Cockrum
Inker: Klaus Janson
Colorist: Marie Severin
Letterer: John Costanza
Editor: Marv Wolfman
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $0.40
Cover Date: April 1980
Release Date: January 1980
Synopsis: Mighty Marvel unleashes the first part of its awesome adaptation of the movie of the year. Quite possibly the most incredible space fantasy you’ll ever read!

Source: Kraalo Archives, Marvel Wikia

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Spider-Woman #25 (April 1980)

Title: To Free A Felon!
Cover: Jim Mooney
Writer: Michael Fleischer
Penciler: Steve Leialoha
Inker: Steve Leialoha
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Letterer: Diana Albers
Editor: Denny O’Neil
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $0.40
Cover Date: April 1980
Release Date: January 1980
Synopsis: Spider-Woman becomes a criminal!  How?  Why? And why are there two Spider-Women on the cover? It’s a shocker!

Source: Kraalo Archives, Marvel Comics, Marvel Wikia

Shogun Warriors #15 (April 1980)

Title: The Insider!
Cover: Herb Trimpe, Bruce Patterson
Writer: Steven Grant
Penciler: Mike Vosburg
Inker: Bruce Patterson
Colorist: Roger Slifer
Letterer: Jim Novak
Editor: Al Milgrom
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $0.40
Cover Date: April 1980
Release Date: January 1980
Synopsis: Raydeen’s pilot Richard Carson is replaced with a villainous look-alike!

Source: Kraalo Archives, Marvel Wikia

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Sgt. Fury #157 (April 1980)

Title: The Big Breakout!
Cover: Dick Ayers
Writer: Gary Friedrich
Penciler: Dick Ayers
Inker: John Severin
Letterer: Artie Simek
Editor: Stan Lee
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $0.40
Cover Date: March 1980
Release Date: January 1980
Synopsis: Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos #157 reprints issue #61 (December 1968) of the same series in which the Howlers launch a mission to rescue their CO Happy Sam who is being held prisoner behind enemy lines.

Source: Kraalo Archives, Marvel Wikia, Nick Fury Homepage

Savage Sword of Conan #51 (April 1980)

Title: Satyrs’ Blood
Cover: Earl Norem
Writer: Roy Thomas
Penciler: John Buscema
Inker: Tony DeZuniga
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $1.25
Cover Date: April 1980
Release Date: January 1980
Synopsis:  The feature story in this issue of Savage Sword is Part Three 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. The story was first published in paperback by Bantam Books in February 1979.

Source: Kraalo Archives, Conan Wiki, Marvel Wikia

Savage She-Hulk #3 Cover Art

The cover to Savage She-Hulk #3 features pencils by Rich Buckler and inks Al Milgrom. Somehow the shadowed villain looks more menacing in the original black and white before he was colored purple.


Source: The ComicArtFans gallery of John Mone

Friday, July 5, 2013

Savage She-Hulk #3 (April 1980)

Title: She-Hulk Murders Lady Lawyer!
Cover: Rich Buckler, Al Milgrom
Writer: David Anthony Kraft
Penciler: Mike Vosburg
Inker: Chic Stone
Colorist: Carl Gafford
Letterer: Michael Higgins
Editor: Jim Shooter
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $0.40
Cover Date: April 1980
Release Date: January 1980
Synopsis: The Emerald Amazon is wanted for the murder of her alter-ego Jennifer Walters in a complicated case of mistaken secret identity!

Source: Kraalo Archives, Comic Vine, Marvel Wikia

ROM #5 (April 1980)

Title: A House is Not a Home!
Cover: Al Milgrom
Writer: Bill Mantlo
Penciler: Sal Buscema
Inker: Sal Buscema
Colorist: George Roussos
Letterer: Michael Higgins
Editor: Joe Duffy
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $0.40
Cover Date: April 1980
Release Date: January 1980
Synopsis: ROM takes on a surprise villain.  Hint: You’ve seen him before in the original Dr. Strange series by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. Guest staring the Sorcerer Supreme himself!

Source: Kraalo Archives, Marvel Wikia

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Captain America’s Bicentennial Battles (1976)

Title: Captain America’s Bicentennial Battles
Cover: Jack Kirby
Writer: Jack Kirby
Penciler: Jack Kirby
Inkers: Herb Trimpe, John Romita, Sr., Barry Windsor Smith
Colorist: Phil Rachelson
Letterer: John Costanza
Editor: Jack Kirby
Editor-in-Chief: Stan Lee
Cover Price: $1.50
Cover Date: August 1976
Release Date: May 1976
Synopsis: No comic book character says “Independence Day” to me more clearly than does Captain America and no single issue says it more eloquently than Jack Kirby’s masterpiece Captain America’s Bicentennial Battles. Originally published as an oversize Marvel Treasury Edition, Bicentennial Battles was released during the summer of 1976 to celebrate the 200th anniversary of America’s declaration of Independence. The story was written and penciled by Jack Kirby and features an all-star cast of inkers, including Herb Trimpe, John Romita, Sr. and Barry Windsor Smith.

Bicentennial Battles takes Captain America on a journey though time and space to visit key moments and poignant vignettes in America’s history. From the dawn of the American Revolution though two world wars and far into an uncertain future, Captain America experiences America at its best and worst and comes away with a renewed conviction in the American Dream. “Two hundred years of old thoughts in young minds—two hundred years of seeing it through. It is the way of a great country and a great people, who stand together against the slings and arrows of a threatening tomorrow,” Kirby concludes.

This story is particularly special for me as one of the first comics I remember from my childhood. I was five years old when it was first published, and I can imagine being entranced when my older brother first showed it to me. That original copy of the Marvel Treasury Edition didn’t survive our childhood, but Bicentennial Battles was one of the first things I bought after I discovered the miracle of eBay. The story was re-released in 2008 by Marvel as a trade paperback along with Captain America issues 201–205 and it’s also available online via Marvel Comics Unlimited, but it’s truly impossible to beat the original Marvel Treasury Special-size original edition if you can find it.

Source: Kraalo Archives, Marvel Comics
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