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Vault has announced a charity auction for The Hero Initiative in honor of George Pérez

Vault Comics has announced their first ever live charity auction in honor of Geroge Pérez on his birthday. All proceeds from the auction will be donated to the Hero Initiative in George’s memory and honor

This Thursday June 9th at 4:00pm ET/1:00 PT, on the their Whatnot channel, Vault will auction off the original art from artists Darick RobertsonEryk DonovanLiana Kangas, and Tim Daniel. In addition to the original art pieces, CGC 9.8 graded copies of limited release Vault comics and two copies of the extremely rare JLA/Avengers trade paperback will be up for auction.

All auction items are available for pre-bids now on Vault’s Whatnot page. The live auction begins at 4:00pm ET/1:00 PT this Thursday, 06/09/2022.

Cover Art, Full Story From Robin’s 1988 ‘Death in the Family’ Shine Bat-Signal on Heritage’s June Comic Art Auction

Batman #428

Even before bidding opened for Heritage Auctions’ June 16-19 Comics & Comic Art Signature Auction, one offering made global headlines: Frank Miller and Lynn Varley’s original cover art for 1986’s Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Book One, the iconic cover from one of the most important titles of the past half century. Yet that historic lightning strike is just one centerpiece among many landmark works of original comic art featured in this historic event, which includes some swinging Spider-Man art from Todd McFarlane and the entirety of one of the most influential – and infamous – Batman stories ever told, “A Death in the Family.”

Not only does this auction feature Mike Mignola’s original cover art for 1988’s Batman #438, featuring a battered Robin, but here, too, you will find the entire 22-page story contained in that issue – the one during which the Joker killed Jason Todd’s Robin with an assist from DC Comics readers and a 1-900 number. The story, written by Jim Starlin with art by Jim Aparo and Mike DeCarlo, features one of the most indelible images in Batman’s long history: The Dark Knight carrying the bloodied Boy Wonder from the wreckage.

Miller made mention of Jason Todd’s death in The Dark Knight Returns, two years before the Joker beat him up and blew him up. And though Miller (and many others at DC) loathed the publisher’s decision to put Robin’s fate to a vote – out of more than 10,000 calls, the Boy Wonder lost by a mere 72! –Starlin’s “A Death in the Family” has gone from one of the Batman Family’s most controversial tales to one of its most enduring.

Mignola’s cover art, and Aparo and DeCarlo’s iconic interiors (which feature a cameo from Superman, essentially reprising his The Dark Knight Returns role asgovernment operative), have been in a private collection since the 1990s.

This auction also includes original artwork from another 1980s Batman book that, like Dark Knight Returns and “A Death in the Family,” had profound and long-term ramifications. This event offers two pages from Alan Moore and Brian Bolland’s 1988 Batman: The Killing Joke, in which the Watchman writer and his artist collaborator provided the Joker with a tragic origin story defined by a single bad day (and a red hood, which later became the disguise of a resurrected Jason Todd after his murder at the hands of the Joker). The Killing Joke, of course, is best known as the book in which The Joker shoots and paralyzes Barbara Gordon, who eventually morphed from Batgirl to the Oracle.

Iconic Batman covers abound in this auction, among them one of the earliest ever offered at auction. That would be the cover art for 1942’s Detective Comics #59, featuring Batman and Robin as drawn by their co-creator Bob Kane and his beloved Golden Age Batman collaborator Jerry Robinson. This is the first time Heritage has had the privilege and pleasure of offering a Kane cover.

Also featured is Jim Lee‘s triple gatefold variant cover for Batman #619, which wrapped the 12-part “Hush” epic that resurrected Jason Todd and established Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle as more than mere Bat and Cat chasing each other on rooftops. This is the Batman Family version of the variant, a roster that includes Batman and Catwoman, Robin and Nightwing, Oracle and her father Commissioner James Gordon, Huntress, Superman, Harvey Dent and Hush himself.

This event also features two Caped Crusader covers by illustration legends gone too soon: Batman #246 by Dave Cockrum and Neal Adams (Frank Miller’s mentor, who died April 28) and Batman #438 by George Pérez, who died only eight days after Adams.

One of the definitive artists of the 1990s was Todd McFarlane, who swung to stardom on Spider-Man’s spaghetti webbing. This auction features one of the more coveted covers McFarlane drew during tenure with the Web-Slinger –the final one, too: 1991’s Spider-Man #16, guest-starring Rob Liefeld’s X-Force. That cover is accompanied in this auction by individual pages, offered separately, from the same issue, McFarlane’s final fling with Spidey before launching Spawn at his Image Comics.

And to really tie this auction together, several Frank Miller pages will be offered – among them a page from The Dark Knight Returns Book Four, featuring Superman off to fight Batman. Now, as then, everyone wins.

Comics legend George Pérez has passed away

George Pérez

There’s posts you know you’ll need to write but just hope it never happens. This is one of them. It has been announced that comic book legend George Pérez has passed away after a battle with Stage 3 Pancreatic Cancer.

George Pérez’s impact on the comic industry spans decades and will continue for generations.

Born in 1954, Pérez has worked for so many including DC, Marvel, BOOM!, Image, CrossGen, and more.

He began his career in comics as an assistant to Rich Buckler in 1973 making is own professional debut in Marvel’s Astonishing Tales #25 in 1974. He went on to draw The Avengers, Inhumans, Fantastic Four, and more including some of “The Korvac Saga” and helping to create Henry Peter Gyrich and Tasmkaster.

It’s at DC where many know his work from with The New Team Titans where he worked with Marv Wolfman and the iconic Crisis on Infinite Earths. He inked the classic “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?” and drew the cover for DC Heroes roleplaying game from Mayfair Games and a cover for the Champions roleplay game from Hero Games.

He helped reboot Wonder Woman in 1987 plotting and penciciling the series that tied the character heavily with the Greek gods, something still a major part of her story today and influencing the hit film decades later.

He went on to work on such titles as The Infinity Gauntlet, Crimson Plague, Infinite Crisis, JLA/Avengers, and so much more.

His work went beyond the comics page. He was a co-chair of the board of the charity The Hero Initiative and was a champion of helping comic creators in need.

He is an icon, one who put a smile on those around him. They say to never meet your heroes. He was the exception to that.

Pérez passed away on May 6, 2022 with his wife Carol and their family by his side. An open memorial service was scheduled to be held at MegaCon Orlando on May 22.

You can read the full announcement below:

DC is Celebrating George Perez’s Birthday for All of June

During June, DC will celebrate the 68th birthday of George Pérez, one of the titans of the comic industry, with a two-page spread featuring some of his most beloved characters. Working from a layout designed by Dan Jurgens, some of the industry’s biggest names including Jim Lee, Walter Simonson, Alex Ross, Dave Gibbons, Todd McFarlane, Daniel Sampere, Jerry Ordway, Nicola Scott and many more, collaborated on the colorful spread.

In December, Pérez took to Facebook to announce that he has been diagnosed with Stage 3 Pancreatic Cancer. His doctors estimated he has six months to a year left, and rather than undergoing time-consuming treatment, Pérez decided to spend the time with his friends and family.

The tribute features the following DC characters that Pérez is most known for, as well as the man himself, drawn by a number of the top artists in the industry and colored by Hi-Fi:

DC George Perez Celebration
  • The Monitor & Anti-Monitor – Jim Lee & Scott Williams
  • Trigon – Todd McFarlane
  • The Spectre – Alex Ross
  • Darkseid – Walter Simonson
  • Firestorm & The Justice League Satellite – Scott Kolins
  • Ares & Hippolyta – Phil Jimenez
  • Cheetah & The Amazons – Colleen Doran
  • Lady H.I.V.E. & H.I.V.E. Agents – Scott Koblish
  • Vigilante – Dave Gibbons
  • Cheshire – Joëlle Jones
  • Brother Blood – Darryl Banks
  • Blackfire – Mike McKone
  • Gizmo & Mammoth – Klaus Janson
  • Shimmer – Bruno Redondo
  • Psimon – Mikel Janín
  • Neutron & Jinx – Dan Mora
  • The Legion of Super-Heroes – Francis Manapul
  • The Justice Society of America – Jerry Ordway
  • Power Girl & Huntress – Kevin Maguire
  • The Justice League of America (and the background) – Dan Jurgens & Norm Rapmund
  • Superboy-Prime & Alexander Luthor – Ivan Reis
  • Supergirl – Gary Frank
  • Harbinger – Adam Hughes
  • Pariah – Daniel Sampere
  • Jericho & Kole – Nicola Scott
  • The New Teen Titans, Deathstroke & George Pérez – José Luis García-López

Accompanying the spread on a separate page will be a key highlighting the characters and artists that participated.

In addition to being included in all of DC’s June issues, the tribute will also be featured as a variant cover for Dark Crisis #7. Each issue of the event series will feature a cover highlighting a previous crisis event from DC’s history, starting with the genre defining Crisis on Infinite Earths by Marv Wolfman and George Pérez for issue #1. Artwork and additional details on each of the covers will be announced at a later date.

A special version of the Dark Crisis #7 variant cover will be available for sale by The Hero Initiative to raise funds for one of Pérez’s favorite charities. Pérez is a founding member of Hero Initiative’s board of directors and has served as chair of its Disbursement Committee.

DC George Perez birthday Celebration

George Pérez, Dave Stevens Among Inkwell Awards’ 2022 Lifetime Achievement

Joe Sinnott Hall of Fame Award

The Inkwell Awards, a non-profit devoted to promoting the art of comic book inking, has announced the winners of their lifetime achievement awards, The Joe Sinnott Hall Of Fame and The Stacey Aragon Special Recognition Award (SASRA). 

Winners of the SASRA, in alphabetical order, are Gene Day, George Pérez, John Severin, and Dave Stevens.

Gene Day’s widow, Gale Erslavas, shared the following statement:

Gene was always practicing his inking style because he said an inker could make or break the comic book process. A good inker could make a mediocre penciller great and a bad one could ruin the pencils. I know I’m biased because I thought Gene was a great inker, but I believed his pencils were even better…I am very pleased to receive this lifetime achievement award, one that recognizes Gene’s work in the artform of inking. I can only wonder had Gene not died how much more he would have accomplished. I truly believe he would have reached the stars and beyond. Thank you so much!

In December, 2021, George Pérez publicly announced that he was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and would be living out his final months connecting with and/or visiting community friends and fans while time allows. George could not be reached for comment but Jess Harrold, author of The Marvel Art of George Pérez, made the following statement: 

This award is far from the first George has received, and it won‘t be the last, but I have no doubt it will mean a great deal to him…George knows the value of a good inker. He is effusive in his praise of those who, early in his career, made him a better artist, and those who, as time went on, were able to match him for sheer enthusiasm, hard work and painstaking detail. As an inker of other pencillers, George brings all of that to the table, with an innate recognition of comic books as a unique medium of collaboration. He will elevate your artwork to the best it can be – and you know he absolutely will not skip a single line. And when Pérez inks Pérez? Hold onto your hats…George Pérez is a true Titan.

John Severin’s daughters, Michelina Severin Van Gemert and Ruth Severin Larenas, made the following announcement not just for John but also for his sister, 2019 SASRA recipient Marie Severin, because the Inkwells did not have contact info for the estate at the time:

On behalf of the family of John Severin and Marie Severin we are very proud and honored to accept this Inkwell Awards SASRA lifetime achievement award for them. They were both pioneers in the comic book industry and we wish to thank everyone involved in bestowing this well-deserved award…Our Dad’s career spanned 60-plus years. He was referred to as an ‘artist’s artist’ known for his historical knowledge and accuracy, especially in western and military genres.

Our Aunt Marie was a pioneer, being one of the first female creators in the comic-book industry; a mentor and encouragement to future women comic-book artists. Her career spanned 50-plus years…Her talent became obvious, and she began to do pencilling and inking for Marvel Comics, with a knack for caricature…She also was a colorist, artist and inker for EC Comics, DC, Atlas and Dark Horse. 

Both John and Marie Severin (Dad and Aunt Marie), despite their enormous successes in the industry, were modest and charmingly unpretentious people, who would have been both grateful and humbled by this award. Our family appreciates the Inkwells for this and we extend our warm thanks.

Dave Stevens’ sister and trustee of The Rocketeer Trust, Jennifer Stevens-Bawcum, made the following statement on behalf of her brother:

I would like to thank the Inkwell Awards’ nomination committee for this posthumous award to Dave. Thank you for keeping his memory alive and acknowledging the phenomenal talent that he possessed. His talent was apparent even in his teenage years without any professional training…Flawless is an understatement as I still am taken aback when I look at his work. I know that he touched many lives and inspired many to enter into the art field or continue in it when doubts crept in. He left an indelible mark on the world and we are the richer for it. Thank you again!

This year there are two new recipients of the Joe Sinnott Hall of Fame Award: Brett Breeding and Bob Wiacek.

Brett Breeding said:

Thank you to everyone who voted for me for this year‘s Joe Sinnott Hall of Fame Award. I am humbled and honored to receive it…I was given the opportunity to work for Joe as his background assistant, and though it only lasted a short time, it provided me the chance to meet and visit Joe…one of the biggest thrills of my early days in comics… I think of him frequently and carry a small part of him with me every time I sit at my drawing board and start dipping ink. Having an award that carries his name will be a daily reminder of this giant of a man. I could not be more honored.

Bob Wiacek said:

Having known Joe Sinnott since 1968, I never thought I’d be receiving an award in his name, and for that I thank you. Though there are others who deserve this award more than I, like Reed Crandall, Bob Powell, George Roussos, and Bernie Sachs, who perfected the art of inking in their own way. If not for them and many others in this business, I would not have the job I love. I must also take this opportunity to thank Dick Giordano for giving me the chance to work with him and, more importantly, for opening my eyes as to what inking is all about. Thank you, Dick, and I will never forget you.

On behalf of the Joe Sinnott Estate, son Mark Sinnott said:

We are delighted and honored to welcome the two newest recipients of the Joe Sinnott Hall of Fame award…Both have contributed so much inking talent to the comics industry throughout their illustrious careers. They both have certainly improved upon and enhanced the work of many pencillers…They both bring a world of talent and class, and are two of the nicest guys in the comics industry. I am proud to call them my friends. Joltin’ Joe would also be so proud of them, knowing that they have been selected as the newest members of this elite group. As always, keep slinging ink and never let your inkwell run dry. Congratulations on a fantastic career, Brett and Bob, and a job well done.

Full acceptance statements and information on both awards are at the Inkwell Awards‘ website.

JLA/Avengers Gets a New Edition from the Hero Initiative

JLA/Avengers

Honoring George Pérez, the Hero Initiative has announced that the acclaimed JLA/Avengers crossover will get a reprint. This is the first time in decades the comic series has had a new printing. The Hero Initiative is a charity dedicated to helping comic creators in medical and financial need. Pérez in December 2021 announced that he had Stage 3 Pancreatic Cancer. He recently entered into hospice care due to medical complications. George Pérez is a founding member of Hero Initiative’s board of directors and has served as chair of its Disbursement Committee.

JLA/Avengers will be available in March from participating comic book stores and will be distributed via Diamond Comic Distributors. The book collects the original four issue series that was written by Kurt Busiek with art by Pérez and published in a joint venture between DC and Marvel.

The collection also features 64 pages of companion content, and the original introductions by Stan Lee and Julius Schwartz. The “Hero Initiative Edition” features a new afterword by Kurt Busiek.

JLA/Avengers will retail for $29.99 and is limited to 7000 copies.

Around the Tubes

It’s new comic book day! What are you all getting? What are you excited for? Sound off in the comments below! While you wait for shops to open, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web.

Screen Rant – Comic Fans Petition for Presidential Medal of Freedom for George Pérez – Hells yes. We can get behind this.

Reviews

CBR – Captain America/Iron Man #1
Geek Dad – I Am Batman #4
Monkeys Fighting Robots – Primordial #4

I Am Batman #4

George Pérez Reveals Stage 3 Pancreatic Cancer

george perez

The legendary writer and artist George Pérez took to Facebook to announce that he has been diagnosed with Stage 3 Pancreatic Cancer. His doctors estimate he has six months to a year left, and rather than undergoing time-consuming treatment, Pérez has decided to spend the time with his friends and family. The creator also stated he wanted to do one more signing event for his fans again.

Pérez is an iconic creator having working on titles such as The New Teen Titans, JLA/Avengers, and Wonder Woman. He retired from comics in 2019 due to health reasons.

Out thoughts are with him, his friends, and family. He is an icon.

You can read the full text of the announcement below.

From George to his fans, friends and extended family, please read below. This page will serve as a place to connect with George as well as receive updates. Please, respect the privacy of George and his family at this difficult time and reach out ONLY through this avenue.

Thank you and please see below:

To all my fans, friends and extended family,
It’s rather hard to believe that it’s been almost three years since I formally announced my retirement from producing comics due to my failing vision and other infirmities brought on primarily by my diabetes. At the time I was flattered and humbled by the number of tributes and testimonials given me by my fans and peers. The kind words spoken on those occasions were so heartwarming that I used to quip that “the only thing missing from those events was me lying in a box.”

It was amusing at the time, I thought.

Now, not so much. On November 29th I received confirmation that, after undergoing surgery for a blockage in my liver, I have Stage 3 Pancreatic Cancer. It is surgically inoperable and my estimated life expectancy is between 6 months to a year. I have been given the option of chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy, but after weighing all the variables and assessing just how much of my remaining days would be eaten up by doctor visits, treatments, hospital stays and dealing with the often stressful and frustrating bureaucracy of the medical system, I’ve opted to just let nature take its course and I will enjoy whatever time I have left as fully as possible with my beautiful wife of over 40 years, my family, friends and my fans.

Since I received my diagnosis and prognosis, those in my inner circle have given me so much love, support and help, both practical and emotional. They’ve given me peace.

There will be some business matters to take care of before I go. I am already arranging with my art agent to refund the money paid for sketches that I can no longer finish. And, since, despite only having one working eye, I can still sign my name, I hope to coordinate one last mass book signing to help make my passing a bit easier. I also hope that I will be able to make one last public appearance wherein I can be photographed with as many of my fans as possible, with the proviso that I get to hug each and every one of them. I just want to be able to say goodbye with smiles as well as tears.

I know that many of you will have questions to ask or comments to make, and rather than fueling the fires of speculation and well-meaning but potentially harmful miscommunication, I will be returning to the arena of social media by starting a new Facebook account where fans and friends can communicate with me or my designated rep directly for updates and clarification.

For media and press inquiries, please use the contact information on the page as well. Please respect the privacy of my wife and family at this time and use the Facebook page rather than reaching out through other channels.
I may not be able to respond as quickly as I would like since I will be endeavoring to get as much outside pleasure as I can in the time allotted me, but I will do my best. Kind words would also be greatly appreciated. More details to follow once it’s up and running.

Well, that’s it for now. This is not a message I enjoyed writing, especially during the Holiday Season, but, oddly enough, I’m feeling the Christmas spirit more now than I have in many years. Maybe it’s because it will likely be my last. Or maybe because I am enveloped in the loving arms of so many who love me as much as I love them. It’s quite uplifting to be told that you’ve led a good life, that you’ve brought joy to so many lives and that you’ll be leaving this world a better place because you were part of it. To paraphrase Lou Gehrig: “Some people may think I got a bad break, but today, I feel like the luckiest man on the face of the Earth.”

Take care of yourselves—and thank you.

George Pérez
December 7th, 2021

Marvel Celebrates Latinx Heroes with Marvel’s Voices: Comunidades #1

This October, Marvel presents Marvel’s Voices: Comunidades #1! This latest one-shot in the Marvel’s Voices series will continue the tradition of highlighting the cultural richness of Marvel Comics and uplifting new voices in the comic book industry. The comic turns the spotlight to Latinx heroes and creators from the Marvel Universe.

These all-new stories will feature thrilling adventures of some of Marvel’s most popular heroes while celebrating the range of their cultural heritage as told by fan-favorite writers and artists and those making their Marvel Comics debut.

  • Writer Terry Blas introduces a brand-new hero in an action-packed adventure spinning out of his acclaimed Reptil series. 
  • New York Times best-selling author Daniel José Older revisits the legacy of Marvel’s first super hero of Latino descent, Hector Ayala aka White Tiger, in an inspiring story rooted in real history. 
  • Catch up with the current White Tiger, Ava Ayala, when author Amparo Ortiz has the young hero confront the dark nature of her powers. 
  • Travel to the past with writer Juan Ponce to witness Nina the Conjuror, the Brazilian Sorcerer Supreme of the 1950s, battle the raging nature spirit known as Anhangá.
  • Plus an introduction by renowned comics scholar Frederick Luis Aldama about the history of Latinx heroes and creators in the comic book industry. 

Stay tuned for information on the other stories in this collection including works by Karla Pacheco, Alex Segura, Leo Romero, Edgar Delgado, Nico Leon, and more! Announced artists include Enid Balám, Vanesa Del Ray, Adriana Melo, Leonardo Romero, Nico Leon, Alitha E. Martinez, and more. It features a main cover by Joe Quesada and variants by Mateus Manhanini, Maria Wolf and Mike Spicer, Nabetse Zitro and Jesus Aburtov, and George Pérez and Java Tartaglia.

Marvel’s first Latino super hero, White Tiger, was created by writer Bill Mantlo and artist George Pérez in 1974’s Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #19. Since then, Marvel has introduced many heroes of Latino-descent from a multitude of different backgrounds including current stars such as Miles Morales, America Chavez, and Reptil. Join us in celebrating these heroes and many more when Marvel’s Voices: Comunidades #1 hits stands on October 20th!

Earth’s Mightiest Heroes: An Avengers Retrospective Part 3: In Battle Joined (Issues #36-56)

Avengers (1963) #36

Guest contributor Eugene Selassie is back with the second part of his retrospective of Marvel‘s The Avengers. He started at the beginning covering the first sixteen issues. He’s back discussing issues #36 to #56!


In this third installment of my deep dive, reading every single issue of The Avengers from the beginning, what we know as staples of Avengers lore are introduced in these issues. Some of these staples greatly enhance the reading experience, while others detracted more than I remembered them to. Legendary writer and artist team of Roy Thomas and John Buscema begin their iconic run on the title. Many new heroes, that would go on to become perennial mainstays of the roster, make their first appearance in the book during these issues. Past relationships and connections come back to haunt a few of the protagonists. Story elements that played out in classic Avengers stories decades later are seeded in these issues. Continuity becomes a double-edged sword during this run, potentially splitting the audience into “love it” or “hate it” camps.

Roy Thomas took over as writer with issue #36. With the constant in-fighting (now between Goliath and Hawkeye over Clint’s insistence that Black Widow be granted membership status) and the hyperbole used in the narration (ex: “Thus it is that, less than sixty seconds later, twin engines of a highly complex design burst into ear-shattering life and zoom with blinding, supersonic speed into the sub-stratosphere, as all passengers fervently hope they will not be too late!”) meant that the transition in scripting from Stan Lee to Roy Thomas was as smooth as possible. Issue #41 heralded the debut of the legendary John Buscema as penciler. His layouts were a bit splashier than what we’ve previously seen. Nevertheless, with George Bell remaining as the inker, making the characters look roughly the same, the transition from Don Heck to John Buscema was not too jarring. Fill in issues by Don Heck were still welcome, as was a one-off by George Tuska, whose level of intricate detail was only rivaled years later by George Perez.

Avengers (1963) #38

I waited with bated breath to see new members, one by one, added to the ranks of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes:

  • Black Widow accompanies the team, in issues #36-37, to rescue Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver from an alien threat, the Ultroids, near their village in the Balkans. Natasha turns out to be the ace up the heroes’ sleeve that they desperately needed. The Avengers, sticking to their moral code, prevented them from doing what was necessary to defeat Ixar. On the contrary, Black Widow had no such compunctions. Days after this adventure, as Widow rushes to Avengers mansion for a meeting to discuss her membership, she is abducted. However, it is not by enemies. Nick Fury, Director of SHIELD recruits her for a secret mission overseas, a mission that must remain secret from even Hawkeye and the other Avengers. When Widow recovers in the hospital after this mission and explains how the government lied about her husband’s death and duped her into training (even though they did the same thing to him), there was no mention of the infamous “Red Room” training that we know in the modern age.
  • Hercules makes his Avengers debut in issue #38. The Prince of Power is locked in combat against the God of War, Ares, due to events from Thor issue #129. The Enchantress shows up to convince them to squash their beef and offers alcoholic beverages to both. In reality, she’s working with Ares. Hercules’ drink is spiked with a love potion, making him do Amora’s bidding. Ares gets to tell Zeus of this forbidden passion, making Hercules a pariah in Olympus, while Enchantress gets to use her unwitting slave against the Avengers. During their fight, the potion wears off and Hercules helps the team fend off the Asgardian and Olympian. Due to the perceived forbidden affair, Hercules is then banished from his home in Olympus. The Avengers take him in as less of a member and more of a house guest who helps them whenever he deems fit.
  • Edwin Jarvis, the butler of the Stark family and for the Avengers, makes his first Avengers appearance in issue #38. He’s not given much of a personality until further down the road in issue #54, where he hides a deadly secret from the Avengers; he’s sold the new mansion security specs to the Crimson Cowl in exchange for a large sum of money he desperately needed. Cowl, of course, reneges on the deal.
  • The Sub-Mariner returns in issue #40. A nuclear sub tests weapons near his kingdom, which Namor doesn’t take too kindly to. He attacks the island base from where it came from, only to encounter the Avengers. Page 15…Hercules vs. Namor…HOLY $#I^! These two beat the stuffing out of each other. I am surprised that there wasn’t a giant crater left in their wake.
  • Dane Whitman, nephew of Nathan Garrett, the villainous Black Knight, debuts in issue #47. Garrett met his end against Iron Man in Tales of Suspense #73. Dane seeks to atone for his uncle’s evil actions and decides to use the science and nom de guerre of his uncle, to do good with it as the new Black Knight. He seeks out the Avengers for an alliance. Conversely, they mistake him for his uncle and get into a brawl.
  • Black Panther makes a cameo, alongside Captain America (who quit the team several issues earlier) in issue #51, where Steve requests they consider T’Challa for membership. Issue #52 features the Black Panther entering Avengers mansion for the first time, in a story where he finds what appear to be the bodies of Hank, Jan, and Clint. He’s arrested by SHIELD agent Jasper Sitwell and is hauled off into police custody. I don’t know if Roy Thomas understood how tone-deaf it was to see the imagery of the first Black superhero to be featured in the Avengers comic being shackled in the back of a squad car. Of course, T’Challa escapes so he can investigate what occurred.
Avengers (1963) #47

Several extended relationships are given more space to develop in these issues.

  • Issue #43 is the first appearance of the Soviet super-soldier known as Red Guardian, who happens to be the Black Widow’s ex-husband. When Clint finds out, he grows cold and emotionless for the first time in this series. This is the second time a villain is brought into the book that Hawkeye has an obvious grudge with, but their sole motive is to prove they can best Captain America, making the rest of the Avengers look “lesser than”.
  • Concurrent with this story is the arc of Tales of Suspense where Steve meets and falls for SHIELD Agent 13, aka Sharon Carter. It’s also where he’s contemplating giving up being Captain America, which didn’t quite sit well with me. I know Marvel was all about heroes with feet of clay, especially back then, but this was akin to Clark Kent no longer wanting to be Superman. I had no clue that Steve was a fan of Tolkien or fantasy novels in general, so it was cool to see that side of him.
  • Hercules travels to Olympus to beseech his father, Zeus, to reconsider his exile. However, the Prince of Power finds the fabled land completely deserted.  In issue #49, Hercules discovers that it is the dreaded ancient Titan known as Typhon who was responsible for what happened to the Olympians. By destroying the sacred Temple of the Promethean Flame, the immortals of Olympus just vanished. After confronting the Titan, Hercules finds himself banished to the same limbo that his people were banished to. Issue #50 sees Hank, Jan, and Clint search for Hercules, who has reunited with the Olympians. Zeus is able to send him back to Earth due to the magic holding them there not having as strong of a hold on the Prince of Power because he’s half-mortal. The team does their best to slow down Typhon, but the dude is a ten-foot-tall demigod with a battle axe that shoots lightning. Once Hercules arrives, he and Typhon have the grudge match of the ages. Whatever unidentified landmass in the Mediterranean where they brawled had to have been reduced by half. In the end, Hercules defeated him using not just brawn, but tactics taught by Captain America. He returns with Typhon to Olympus, bidding farewell to the Avengers for the time being. This leaves the roster to just Hank, Jan, and Clint…not the most powerhouse line up they’ve had.
  • Issues #47-49 feature Magneto, who was exiled to a planetoid far from the Earth in X-Men #18. This is indubitably pre-Chris Claremont Magneto. He’s not a sympathetic Holocaust survivor trying to prevent the same thing from happening to mutant kind. He is cranky, megalomaniacal, and vengeful. And he is quite abusive to his lackey, Toad. I completely forgot that neither Magneto nor Quicksilver & Scarlet Witch knew they were related in those early years. Magneto demands the UN for his own nation for mutants. When they refuse and he lashes out at one of the representatives with a microphone as a weapon, Hawkeye saves him, and the most fun, yet clunky, dialogue followed; “A diamond-tipped arrow…from out of nowhere…smashing the microphone. But who?” I love superhero comics. Hawkeye landing a kick right to Magneto’s face made me think that this is likely the only time that has ever happened.  The crux of Magneto’s plan was to cause one of the guard’s aim to go off wildly and accidentally shoot Wanda in the head (grazing her temple) just so it would send Pietro into a rage against the guards and the Avengers. Yeah, the “Magneto was right” crowd may want to tone it down a bit after this.

I found myself enthralled by the number of story elements that were just the nugget of an idea that played out on a larger scale some years, even decades later:

  • Long before the Kree-Skrull War, you could tell that both Stan Lee and Roy Thomas had the idea percolating, of a war between two alien empires with Earth caught in the middle. The Ultroids made the second time that something like this was hinted at.
  • Magneto blackmailing the United Nations into giving him his own nation was something done three decades later in an X-men storyline titled “The Magneto War”.
  • Issues 54-55 bring us a new Masters of Evil, comprised of the Klaw, the Melter, Radioactive Man, Whirlwind and the new Black Knight. They’re all working for the mysterious Crimson Cowl. However, they don’t know that this Black Knight is not Nathan Garrett, but his nephew, Dane Whitman. Dane goes undercover with the group to gather intel that he can bring to the Avengers. The mission of this new incarnation of the villain group, to storm Avengers mansion and capture the team. I never knew the Masters of Evil attacked the Avengers in their home, long before the classic Siege of Avengers Mansion during Roger Stern’s run.

I am a person that loves continuity, when used the right way. When Thor or Iron Man have to leave the team due to events in their own book that month, I loved it. Realistically, the characters cannot be everywhere all the time. That era was much better with not having characters guest starring in six different books the same month “just because”. However, when a character pops into a book, carrying over from a story in another book, it gets a bit frustrating keeping up with. While the Hercules story carrying over from The Mighty Thor was explained thoroughly, Nick Fury’s subplot from Strange Tales, where he’s essentially on house arrest, Cap leaving the team due to being duped in Tales of Suspense by Swordsman and Power Man into believing Bucky was still alive, and the most egregious one, the X-men versus Magneto fight that carried over into an Avengers comic, were not given the necessary flashbacks to really flesh out these elements. In the case of the X-men one, it would’ve helped tremendously if they just made it an actual crossover with the parts 1 and 2 posted on the covers of those respective issues.

My apologies for the gargantuan length of this post, in the future, I will do my best to make sure the articles aren’t covering twenty issues worth of content. Speaking of content, when we reconvene again, we discuss several debuts (Vision, Yellowjacket, and a guest appearance by Doctor Strange) along with trips into the sci-fi, the cosmic, and even the occult. Until next time, AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!

Zeismic
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