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Ms. Marvel #1

Ms. Marvel #1

Ms. Marvel swoops onto the scene, sporting scarf and bare midriff, tossing around cars to foil a bank robbery and relying on her “Seventh Sense” to get out of — and into — trouble. There is a feeling of “just add water” with this first issue, with Ms. Marvel borrowing the costume of Captain Marvel, and the book borrowing the supporting cast of Spider-Man — Carol Danvers gets a job in the magazine division of the Daily Bugel, sparks up a friendship with Mary Jane Watson, and even rescues J. Jonah Jameson from the clutches of the Scorpion in the book’s second action sequence. But the book tries for something new, too, with Carol and Ms. Marvel unaware they are in fact the same person, and with the origin and dimension of Ms. Marvel’s powers left as a mystery for another issue. The action is by-the-book (John Buscema supposedly didn’t like drawing superhero books, and it shows here), but the script is loaded with more characterization than you’d expect, with one sequence where Carol Danvers barks down Jonah Jameson in a salary negotiation being the highlight.

Ms. Marvel #1, by Conway and Buscema

Ms. Marvel would go on to enjoy a rocky career, but her debut issue was competent and readable and even aware, in it’s late-70s way, of gender issues, looking at a woman’s life in the workplace, and punctuating an action scene with a little girl declaring she wants to grow up to be a hero just like Ms. Marvel. (And where else was a Marvel kid supposed to turn? All the best female superheroes were across town, working for DC!)

Ms. Marvel #1, by Conway & Buscema

  • Script: Gerry Conway
  • Pencils: John Buscema
  • Inks: Joe Sinnott

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Ms. Marvel #1

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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 August 6, 2018, in Marvel 1977 and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. John Buscema is a bit infuriating. When he started at marvel, he tried things and pushed himself with some very interesting results. After a while I felt that he pulled himself back into a confort zone, almost on auto mode. What’s infuriating? His incredible craftmanship still shines too much through his lack of interesting(?) that I feel cheated. What a talent but, too many times, what a frustration when one considers that, even on auto mode, he’s head and shoulder above most of his pairs.

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    • Word was that he just didn’t much like superheroes. His Conan work was usually pretty strong. I recall that when Roy Thomas had John on Avengers he took care to do Black Knight stories that Buscema could sink his teeth into.

      Like with most comics artists, if you give them more than four hours to draw a page, they can do a hell of a job. But the business is full of perverse incentives pushing artists to cut corners, omit backgrounds, recycle poses etc. all in pursuit of a living wage. The best cartoonists lean into this to put your attention right where it needs to go on an otherwise sparse page (thinking Ditko and Wood here), but it is still as much expedience as expression. I guess we just have to embrace it.

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  2. Need a sales boost? Just add Spider-man! We see him again in Human Fly #1, in September 1977, though I don’t see Fly on your big list of 1977 books. Did he not make the cut for Marvel Unlimited?

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    • The Fly has probably been eaten by The Spider-man…

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    • Yeah, there’s a lot of stuff missing from Marvel’s digital library for 1977. The licensed stuff, of course — Conan, Logan’s Run. But also plenty of mainstream books, like Daredevil and Ghost Rider. I’ve had to scramble a bit to backfill books as they’ve been added to the service while doing this series, too. It is a happy problem to have to see an issue of Werewolf by Night pop up and “ruin” my schedule (which is all on hold as I pause for the summer, in any case).

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Of course I bought this book back in the day – couldn’t pass up a #1!!!! I enjoyed it and kept reading for quite a while. Can I remember any of the stories … ? Um not really, except I know I liked the Cockrum redesigned costume and also his covers.

    I guess I remember a cool fight with Warbird.

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