Category Archives: FOOM Friday!
Remembering Marvel Comics FOOM fan magazine of the 1970s.
FOOM #12 was about the Vision, so it was also kinda-sorta about the Scarlet Witch, given that the two were an item at the time.
As part of that back-handed recognition, FOOM #12 invited readers to identify eight lesser-known “witches” from the Marvel Universe, circa 1975.
How many of the eight can YOU name? Post your answers in comments, below!
(And no wising off about how one of the witches is technically a warlock!)
See you back here next week for another FOOM Friday!
With news breaking last week that Paul Bettany will be playing the Vision in Avengers 2, this seemed a good time to take a look at FOOM #12, which featured … the Vision!
FOOM #12 cover from the unusual pairing of John Buscema and P. Craig Russell
The origin and nature of this new cinematic Vision are of great interest to Marvel fans, as it seems one of Marvel’s iconic characters of the 1970s can’t help but be a shadow of the original. With the Hank Pym story seemingly in flux for the pending Ant Man film, and with Ultron supposedly a creation of Tony Stark in the Marvel movie universe, the Vision’s origin will certainly be seeing revision (and to be fair, this is a character that’s always suffered a bit for muddled origins).
But back in 1975, the Vision was still a new(ish) kid on the block, and one of the most intriguing characters in Marvel’s line-up — intriguing enough to warrant an issue of Marvel’s in-house fan magazine mostly to himself.
This issue of FOOM dates to a time when Steve Englehart was developing the married relationship of the Vision and the Scarlet Witch, having taken over Avengers scripting duties from Roy Thomas. Most interesting to me were little tidbits offered by Thomas and Englehart in separate interviews about the origins and nature of the Vision.
Roy Thomas, on the pragmatic origins of the Vision:
“The Vision was created because, at certain periods, I was not allowed, because of editorial policy, to use Captain America, Thor and Iron Man as much as I wanted to … I wanted to create an Avenger that I could play around with … and I wanted to bring back a new version of Jack Kirby’s Vision character … Stan, at the same time that I went over it with him, wanted an android character. He wanted the name Android Man or something like that … since I really wanted to get the Vision I talked Stan into having the Vision but as an android …”
Thomas, on John Buscema’s character design, which in Thomas’ estimation was heavily linked to Jack Kirby’s original:
“I explained to John what I wanted and sent him a picture of Kirby’s Vision … one of the early issues where he looked very grim … and I said I wanted that but I wanted kind of a helmet feeling. And I think I probably drew a picture of the head and mentioned the jewel and mentioned the diamond on the chest and so forth. John came up with it and we changed it between the first and second book only in how the cape fastened on the front. But it was basically a combination of sort of Kirby’s and mine and Buscema’s.”
the Vision, by Jack Kirby
Steve Englehart, referencing Roy Thomas on the original nature of the character:
“The Vision was created, as far as I could determine from talking with Roy, to be Marvel’s Mr. Spock. He was going to be the mysterious guy that everybody fell in love with … the sort of untouchable but super man. You know, the guy that everybody wants because he’s so unapproachable … (Now) he’s sort of like at Stage Two, having totally abandoned the pure concept of Mr. Spock. We’re into the stage now where we see what happens when Mr. Spock gets married.”
Englehart, on the Vision’s anatomy:
“It’s always been my opinion that the Vision could not be a natural father. I had played with the idea and rejected it as being impossible to explain in a code approved comic book … that the Vision could drop around to his local sperm bank and pick up a liter of stuff … it became very logical to me that Ultron-5 would not have endowed the Vision … given the fact that he was trying to build a sort of ‘son’ … you never think of your son as being a sexually together individual. A son is not thought of in terms of his sexual prowess.”
The Vision of the mid-1970s is “my Vision,” and I’ve always resented how the character was handled by later creators … but as we prepare ourselves for this new, cinematic version of the Vision, it’s worth remember just how much these characters owe to the variable and sometimes accidental confluence of necessity, convenience, pop culture influences, and collaboration by creators who may have seen their original … uh, vision … only part-way realized — and yet somehow the whole was greater than the sum-of-the-parts. Here’s hoping Paul Bettany’s Vision catches a little magic of its own!
See you again next week for another FOOM Friday!
Central to this issue was a four-page interview with Jack Kirby, and while it is thin on details of the books Jack was doing for Marvel at the time, it does contain a remarkable digression about the nature of man, god, and superheroes:
“What happened; what’s happening; what’s going to happen. Those are the essential questions for anybody, and that’s why we create gods, create myths … And I feel that the gods are only idealized versions of ourselves … We already are super-heroes. When we prove ourselves, at the last analysis, whatever we see around us is us … You’ll find out in the end, when everything gets wiped away and you’re left standing in your underwear, all that’s left is you … And you’re all there is. So when we yearn for gods, we’re merely expressing that kind of feeling … ‘I’m all there is; you’re all there is.”
Read the entire interview, below … and be sure to check out my reviews of Kirby’s mid-70s Marvel work:
Kirby is gone, now, and those mysteries he pondered in this article have long since been revealed to him. As was so often the case during his career, Kirby is out in front of the rest of us — again!
We miss you, Jack! Rest in peace.
This week, F.O.O.M. Friday looks at F.O.O.M. #10, which featured the (then) all-new Uncanny X-Men!
The issue is actually pretty thin when it comes to the new X-Men, but a long-winded article about an FBI agent investigating the mutant phenomenon did turn up some interesting trivia by cribbing from what may have been Stan Lee’s original X-Men character descriptions from the 1960s. I don’t know if Stan was thinking about animation, or if he was just being thorough, but the character descriptions reference contemporary 1960s actors for the voices of the X-Men.
For example, did you know that Cyclops was supposed to have the voice of Anthony Perkins? According to F.O.O.M. #10, it’s true!
Hmm. Relationship issues, can be charming or a jerk … I guess it fits. And now we know that when they call Scott, “Cyke,” it’s really short for “Psycho!”
Charles Xavier had the voice of Leslie Howard (“without English accent”); the Angel was to sound like a young Gene Barry; and the fastidious Beast had the voice of the equally-fastidious Tony Randall!
That may or may not fit, but at least the Beast got a voice. Iceman and Marvel Girl were identified only as typical teenagers. Poor Jean was also described as falling “… madly in love at the drop of a hat. Presently has a crush on Professor X, Cyclops, Angel, and Lord-knows-who-else.”
Since Marvel Girl is listed as age 17 1/2 while Professor X was “Thirty-ish” that’s kind of … eww. Maybe Stan the Man was still getting over Stanley Kubrick’s 1962 film, Lolita?