Thursday, December 3, 2015

Vampires Aren't For Manhandling

My "odds 'n ends" file, where I tuck away ideas that might at some point make their way into full-fledged posts, has been bulging at the seams lately--which tells me that I'm probably better off purging it, since it doesn't look like those random thoughts are going to lead to anything substantial. On the other hand, grouping all of this minutiae together might be a fun diversion in itself--let's see!

First, let's take a look at when Goliath gave himself a new costume, even if it started out as an insulated suit designed to protect him while he experimented with regaining his growth powers.

There was no general indication about a formal costume change in store for the character, nor any desire by Pym or the other Avengers to see the old costume retired in favor of the new look--but even after the need for the new suit no longer existed, the look stuck. In fact, with all the red and blue and the absence of yellow, it had more of a resemblance to his original duds (heaven help us), if inverted a bit here and there.

The odd part about the whole thing is the way the new costume was announced--not by the character, but by writer Roy Thomas, who jumped the gun a bit and spilled the beans about it due to a cover illustration mix-up.

We could only assume, then, that Pym designed the new suit earlier as a bona fide costume change. It does retain his insect motif, after all, which he wouldn't bother with adding just to wear for an experiment; and its insulation factor made it a good choice to slip on for this procedure. (Though why he went to the trouble of creating a new costume for himself when it was possible his growth powers were gone for good is another question.)

Perhaps Hawkeye's dialog could have been worded to be a little more direct on the issue:

(Or words to that effect.)

Next... some of you may be familiar with the term "manhandling," an informal fighting term which essentially means using your arms and bulk in close quarters to treat your opponent roughly by pushing, throwing, and/or dragging them. What you really need to know is that the Lord of Vampires doesn't care to be on the receiving end of the practice AT ALL--probably because his opponent is presuming to treat him as if he can be, well, "handled."

Then there's this rather startling house ad, from late 1971:

Care to name the artist? (My best guess might be Al Milgrom.)

Marvel certainly knows the power of tobacco, given the number of their characters who have lighted up over the years. Pipes and cigars seem to get a pass where our heroes are concerned, though thankfully the line is drawn somewhere:

But for some reason it still seems odd to see characters take a few puffs from a cigarette. We don't really seem to mind when villains light up--after all, they're villains, and their business is vice:

(It doesn't surprise me that Doom would indulge his nicotine habit with flair.)

But with heroes, I still raise an eyebrow. For instance, take Dr. Strange, who lit up when he was a conceited ass and whose fondness for cigarettes is something even the tutelage of the Ancient One couldn't relieve him of.

(I've often wondered why doctors smoke in the first place. Consider the conundrum: If a doctor smokes, would they propose that smoking is healthy for you?)

We know the Thing prefers stogies, but it seems he also indulges in cigarettes:

This panel also oddly saw print in a subsequent letters page, along with some obvious embellishment. The weird part is that no letter or response to a letter referenced either the panel or the subject of smoking--so why single out this panel to feature?

Tony Stark also kicks back with a cigarette in his more private moments--and if there's a man alive who has to know what's good for your heart, it has to be Stark, eh?

The Black Panther, also a man of wealth, appears to have picked up the smoking habit out of sheer indulgence:

You have to enjoy the irony of Jessica Drew enjoying a cigarette, given that she seems to be mocking health-related choices while she's puffing away.

I'd probably drop to the floor in a dead faint if I saw Peter Parker lighting up. But there are some characters for whom smoking is a little less shocking--reporters like Ben Urich, for instance, whose habit is even validated by the writer's prominent caption.

And granted, the thought of seeing Storm with a cigarette seems absurd--unless she's possessed by Emma Frost, that is.

But, come on--Captain America??

Is the Red Skull aware that, when he has Captain America tied and helpless, all he has to do is pass a pack of cigarettes under his nose until he breaks?

Finally, there's this note I once turned up on the passing of artist Wally Wood. There are a number of such asides to be found in the Bullpen Bulletins pages over the years, taking note of figures of prominence in the industry as well as unsung Marvel staff who worked diligently behind the scenes and helped to make the company into the success it became; unfortunately, I never got around to amassing a collection of them to feature in a post. This one from writer/artist Larry Hama provides a touching send-off to a very troubled fellow artist whose contribution to comics was nevertheless remarkable.


david_b said...

I've never looked on-line, but I'm wondering what the Avengers cover would have looked like if they did use the new uniform.

Just curious whether anyone ever bothered to color-correct it..?

Anonymous said...

In Marvel UK's Captain Britain #1 from October 1976 Brian Braddock is shown smoking a pipe - I remember how odd this seemed at the time because BB was meant to be about 22 years old and smoking a pipe was for old fuddy-duddies as far as I was concerned. I couldn't imagine Peter Parker with a pipe stuck in his mouth - but Brian Braddock was never seen smoking a pipe again so I guess they realized the mistake.

Comicsfan said...

david, you've got me curious--when I have some time to kill, I might just take a crack at it myself!

Big Murr said...

Three years later...

I don't know if you ever tried that colour correction, CF, but after perusing this archive, I decided to give it a whirl.

With Thor, Iron Man and Hawkeye's body, the cover is now awash with the same reds and blues. I'm almost thinking they could have colour corrected it, but realized that particular composition worked best with the blue and yellow suit.

Focused as I was on colours, I noticed the cover didn't have the Wasp's correct costume. Blue and red on the cover, red and yellow inside. So I fixed that.

Comicsfan said...

Thanks, Big Murr--I can cross this off my list! :D

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