Friday, January 22, 2010

17: Strange Tales #101

Strange Tales #101
July 10, 1962

  • In one of the more underrated milestones of the building of the Marvel Universe, here we have the first spin-off, as the Fantastic Four's Human Torch takes over the lead slot of this anthology book (in the same way that Thor grabbed the lead story of Journey into Mystery), less than a year after FF #1. Interestingly, although the Thing seems to have been the character that resonated with readers the most, Stan Lee apparently still saw the teenaged Human Torch as the key to tapping a wider readership. By contrast, Ben Grimm wouldn't receive his own book until 1973.

    Reed Richards scoffs at EPA health concerns.

  • Wisely, Marvel decided to give the Torch's solo stories a unique flavor by furnishing Johnny with a hitherto-unseen apartment in the suburb of Glenville, New York. (So the FF doesn't live at the Baxter Building quite yet?) Bizarrely, they also endeavored to give him a secret identity - despite the fame the FF has been seen to possess on any number of occasions. The thinking is so convoluted that it's a miracle they kept it up for as long as they would....

    One suspects Johnny hasn't entirely thought this through....

  • The scripting chores once again go to Stan's brother, Larry Lieber - and if this issue's amusement park setting is any indication, we can expect to see a slew of deliberately teen-oriented stories, just as Bob Haney would famously do for DC's Teen Titans two years later. Of course, this being a Larry Lieber comic, we can't be blamed for anticipating his pet tricks of the hero using his powers in inventively improbable ways - and damn commies. Sure enough, he doesn't disappoint....

    Because wrecking a nearby theme park is always the best way to avoid drawing attention to yourself.