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Category Archives: Marvel 1977

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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Black Panther #1

Black Panther #1

Jack Kirby hits the ground running in what was billed as the Black Panther’s first solo series, and all these years later it is still a singular accomplishment. Kirby’s Bronze Age work often seemed to stand alone — series like New Gods, Eternals, Captain America, and this Black Panther series feel siloed from the larger comics universes in which the reside, with limited points of contact to whatever events were going on at the time, and guest appearances from iconic heroes that feel oddly out-of-step with their canonical selfs. In the 70s, Kirby set everything in the Kirby-verse, and while I didn’t quite get it as a child, I am much younger now, and it suits me just fine. Here, Black Panther is on a treasure hunt, recovering the fabled King Solomon’s Frog and seeking to return it to its resting place.

Black Panther #1, Jack Kirby

The twist — the Frog is an ancient artifact that summons monsters through time to kill those who tamper with it. Panther is a bit reactive in this issue (which I recall was my criticism of this series as a whole), but the action and monster quotient forgives a lot. Panther’s weird sidekick, Mister Little, gets bumped by the imperious Princess Zanda in this very first issue (though I believe he returns at a later date), and then everything goes sideways when a bulbous-headed alien with “Hatch 22” stamped on his forehead is summoned by the frog! It has basically nothing to do with Black Panther as we’ve seen him before or since, but it is as weird and wonderful as it sounds … it’s the Kirby-verse, remember? Ready for more.

Black Panther #1, Jack Kirby

  • Script & Pencils: Jack Kirby
  • Inks: Mike Royer

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Black Panther #1

Iron Man #94

Iron Man #94

Tony Stark does his best James Bond impression, trading barbs with an industrial super villain in his secret undersea base. Problem is, instead of a suave bad guy like Ernst Stavro Blofeld, Tony is matching wits with The Kraken, a peg-legged, modern-day pirate who never-the-less talks like something out of Robert Louis Stevenson.

I like pirates as much as the next guy, but by the time Kraken got his jet-powered peg leg stuck in the floor, I was happy to see him drown. And that, dear readers, is a sentence I never thought I’d write!

  • Script: Gerry Conway
  • Pencils & Plot: Herb Trimpe
  • Inks: Jack Abel

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Champions #10

Champions #10

A pack of Soviet villains, plus a very-goofy-looking bad guy called The Griffin, have captured the Black Widow and buried the rest of the Champions in a windowless vault deep inside the San Andreas fault. The bad guys sneer that trying to break out of the vault will trigger an earthquake that will destroy Los Angeles, which doesn’t seem to bother Hercules at all, who promptly goes berserk (go Herc!)

While Ghost Rider and the rest of the Champions try to roll Hercules in a wet mattress, the Soviet bad guys go on a big exposition dump about the truth of the Crimson Dynamo’s origins. He’s got some father issues … and because the flashbacks are all set in the Soviet Union, there’s a lot of swearing by Lenin’s beard and railing against Capitalism. Bill Mantlo is as reliable a writer as Marvel ever had, but this script … yeesh. The Champions escape — through no effort of their own — then they punch it out with the bad guys and its over. Ladies and gentlemen — The Champions!

  • Script: Bill Mantlo
  • Pencils: Bob Hall
  • Inks: Frank Giacoia

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Eternals #7

Eternals #7

Kirby is in full, glorious, cosmic mode as his cast of men, gods, and madmen ramble around an ancient Incan ruin where colossal space sentinels have come to life. We witness the purposes of the Four Hosts of Celestials — the First who explore and experiment, the Second who kick ass, the Third who inspect and cultivate, and now the Fourth … who judge.

And based on behavior the three SHIELD agents who turn up in the Celestial base, I couldn’t blame them if that judgement was unfavorable. These are men of action! Who think with their fists!! Before you know it, atomic hand grenades are going off (I kid you not). My favorite character was a blonde SHIELD agent who said things like — “Jumping catfish!!” “Easy, dad!” and “I’m hip!” Arishem … is not amused. Man, Kirby was just playing a whole different game with this book.

  • Script & Pencils: Jack Kirby
  • Inks: Mike Royer

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