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“A” Is For …

… The Avengers! (1963)

Even as a fifty-something-year-old fart, my pulse still quickens a little at the thought of The Avengers. Not the movies — though I like those well-enough — and not the blizzard of Avengers-branded titles Marvel has spammed onto the racks these past ten years.

No, my Avengers are from the 1970s, when the team pretty much stuck to their titular book, and being an Avenger seemed like a rare honor, like being an astronaut or an Olympian. The roster was limited and membership changes felt like a big deal. If you followed a second-tier Marvel hero — like Hellcat or Ms. Marvel — then seeing that charcter get a whiff of Avengers membership felt like getting called up to the Major Leagues. And because we lived vicariously through these heroes, when they joined the Avengers, we did, too.

The Avengers was also Marvel’s event book, before they did event books (and well before, seemingly, everything became an event book). The Avengers is where the Kree-Skrull War broke out. They fought the Defenders. They crossed over with the Fantastic Four for the wedding of Crystal and Pietro. They fought Korvac and Thanos.

And along the way we had Marvel’s greatest soap operas. The romance and wedding of Vision and the Scarlet Witch. The weird Oedipal saga of Ultron and Hank Pym. The Celestial Madonna. The bureaucratic intrusion of Henry Peter Gyrich that elevated the who’s in/who’s out? roster drama of the Avengers to operatic levels.

I loved those stories. Avengers Assemble, for me.

What’s YOUR favorite “A” comic? Let me know in the comments, below. Share your Avengers memories or tell me what I’ve missed. (Come at me, “Amazing Spider-Man” fans).

Read more about The Avengers at Longbox Graveyard:

Check out the complete Longbox Graveyard Comics A-To-Z HERE!

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About Paul O'Connor

Revelations and retro-reviews from a world where it is always 1978, published once a month or so at www.longboxgraveyard.com!

Posted on February 2, 2018, in Comics A-To-Z and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. I think the two hardest letters in a comic book A to Z are A and S. I’d file Amazing Spider-Man under Peter Parker. That still leaves you Superman, Silver Surfer, Star Wars, and Star Trek under the letter S. But a little creative naming can solve that.

    I think A had to go to the Avengers. When written by Stan Lee, Roy Thomas, Steve Englehart, Roger Stern, or Kurt Busiek it was a can’t miss book. It is amazing how many great Avengers stories there are.

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  2. Yeah, the Avengers were awesome! I adored those special times when the roster was shuffled (Queue up cover image showing a dozen or more “head-shots” of prospective members. So fun to guess who would make the cut.)

    I still remember my dismay when Tigra was admitted only to be immediately waylaid into space by Moondragon for more training, so she never (?) really joined. Wha?

    “My” Avengers is centered around the Jim Shooter / George Perez era. Such a great book at that time! John Byrne art too around that time as I recall.

    Other “A” books that I enjoyed: Alpha Flight (Oh! Canada), Action, American Splendor.

    PS Spider-Man should never have become an Avenger. Luckily this happened after I stopped reading new comics regularly, so it never REALLY happened

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    • That Shooter/Perez era is probably my favorite, as well, though the Thomas/Buscema books are hard to beat.

      Alpha Flight is a book I always wanted to like, but then I read it and … well … maybe it just suffers for its connection to X-Men, which was just so much better. I liked Byrne fine on Fantastic Four and Superman, but with Alpha Flight he seemed like Art Garfunkle to Claremont’s Paul Simon.

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  3. I’d have to go with the Avengers (mostly the Bronze Age Avengers) as my favorite “A” book, but the All-Star Squadron gives it a serious run for its money – probably my second favorite all-time DC book after the Legion of Super-Heroes, and the Byrne issues of Alpha Flight are also right up there as top notch “A” books, though that series fell off cliff after Byrne left.

    Hey, we should do this for the other letters of the alphabet!

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  4. OK, but then: Avengers with the Hulk, Avengers with just Captain America and Hawkeye and Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, John Buscema Avengers – which Avengers are we talking about here?

    also, honorific mentions of Aquaman during the Jim Aparo/Steve Skeates run and Atom if only for the Gil Kane covers

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    • The upside of the downside of picking only one book per letter is you get ALL of that book … so we get them all. With Avengers, I get them right up until the book is rebooted or fragmented into a dozen series or whatever happened to it. I get Thomas and Buscema, Shooter and Perez, that Roger Stern run that was probably better than I remember — all of it. ALL OF IT ALL MINE ALL MINE!

      (Atom and Aquaman are good picks … I’m thin on DC, for sure).

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  5. Heh, no love for Archie Comics? And yes, this was the only real pick – and definitely the Avengers before Endless Franchising watered down the concept.

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  6. Count me as another huge fan of the Avengers, especially the work of Roy Thomas, Steve Englehart, and Roger Stern. The epic arc of “The Celestial Madonna” is one of my all-time favorite comic book stories.

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