Monday, February 15, 2016

Wasps Can Assemble, Too, You Know

Just as was the case with Marvel's Greatest Comics and Marvel Tales reprinting the adventures of the Fantastic Four and Spider-Man (respectively), Marvel Triple Action quickly evolved as the reprint mag for the mighty Avengers in the 1970s, with the "triple" coming to represent individual Avengers featured in the issue. And just as with the other reprint titles, other artists were occasionally called upon to re-style the original cover for the story being featured.

In the following example, artists Sal Buscema and Frank Giacoia give their own interpretation of the original cover from Avengers #12 by Jack Kirby and Chic Stone, an issue where the Avengers battled the Red Ghost and the forces of the Mole Man.

As with other reprinted covers, whether sticking with the original concept or refashioned using new art, the layout of the more contemporary issue reduces the available space for the art, especially if additional captions are used. It's obvious right off the bat that the MTA masthead is huge--and when taking into account the assorted captions and copy, as well as the Marvel banner and the character head shots, Buscema's art looks somewhat crowded into what's essentially a large panel.

Yet by comparison, Kirby's art could likely accommodate just about all of the MTA additions, if we were to remove the story description and Marvel promotional blurb from the original cover. There's even sufficient room at the bottom for the MTA cover's descriptive material of the issue's villains, since there's only extraneous rubble beneath Thor's hammer strike that can be partially covered. (Though the Wasp looks like she's about to get nailed by a flying boulder, regardless!)

As for the action, the Avengers are clearly taking a more active part in the battle in Buscema's rendition, with the villains and their army of "Moloids" revealed as their foes. Kirby's depiction comes across as more dramatic, signalling the Avengers' resolve to protect the planet from the story's threat; but with that threat appearing to be massing behind them, it makes little sense for the Avengers to be galvanized into action while facing the opposite direction, with only Giant-Man's index finger to indicate a threat in the opposite direction. Why is the Earth hostage--and who or what holds it thus, and how? Buscema more realistically indicates the danger and magnitude of the crisis, as well as how fierce a struggle the Avengers face to overcome it. (The Wasp appears to be M.I.A.--maybe she was clocked by that boulder, after all.)

Was that so hard? A revised MTA cover to include the Wasp! Can you spot her?


B Smith said...

One could hardly miss her!

How long have the Mole Man's minions been known as moloids? I'd always seen them simply referred to as subterraneans, but this is the second time in a couple of days I've seen this other appelation....I've led a sheltered life, obviously.

Anonymous said...

You can call a subterranean a Moloid, but don't do it to his face. These days it's widely regarded as a derogatory term deep in the Kingdom of the Mole.
I usually prefer the original Kirby covers, but this is one case where the new one's a bit of an improvement. It's a melee goin' on there, as opposed the the oddly static original. I'm sure the cover jumped out at readers from the spinner rack. Don't think I've seen this one.
I found the Wasp, and she looks like she was kind of crammed in there at the last moment. Sal was probably glad she was tiny, because that is one crowded cover.

Comicsfan said...

B. and M.P., apparently we can attribute many of the variants of Subterranean species (including the Moloids) to the Deviants, who preceded the Mole Man beneath the Earth's surface and whose experiments were unfortunately mostly trial and error in terms of creating new races.

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