Friday, December 3, 2010
FOOM Fridays: FOOM #2
Karen: Back to take a look at the second issue of FOOM -Marvel's mid-70s fan club magazine! This issue was from the summer of '73, and featured a Steranko Hulk on the cover. Steranko's version of the Hulk looks less like a monster and more like an oiled-up Venice Beach muscle man.
Karen: The Hulk is the star of this issue, although that really doesn't mean much; there's a ton of other stuff to be found here. One of the big highlights of this issue was the printing of some of the first entries in the Marvel Character Contest. That's right, one lucky Marvelite would get their creation featured in a Marvel comic! Well, that's what they said, anyway. It's fun to look at the drawings that were submitted. There's some real talent, and then there's, well, people with great enthusiasm! Two future pros got their characters published: "Absorba-Man" by Steve Rude, and "Solar Boy" by Trevor Von Eeden. Oh, and how about "The Wolverine" by Andy Olsen? I bet Andy is still stewing over that one.
Karen: Once again, my favorite feature -retrospectively speaking -is "Far Out Fanfare and Infoomation" -the upcoming comics section. We lead off again with the B&W mags, learning about a new character to premiere in Vampire Tales - Satanna! Roy Thomas and Dick Giordano begin their Dracula adaptation in Dracula Lives, which I believe got shelved for a couple of decades before it was finished! It's funny, the comment reads, "Thomas hopes that, in a few years, the chapters can be collected and released in a larger, higher-priced book, possibly a hardback." I guess dreams do come true -if you wait long enough!
Karen: One paragraph discusses how Marvel is entering the British market, and how, because characters are being introduced at different times, this requires some reworking of the reprints. For example, an issue of Hulk featured the Avengers, but they hadn't been published in Britain yet! They never do explain how they fixed that.
Karen: Mention is made that Conan the Barbarian sales have risen, so that it became a "money maker" with issue 8. Little did they know....
Karen: Some cancellations were noted too: Doc Savage, Warlock, Combat Kelly, and Red Wolf were all axed in order to make room for Dead of Night, Uncanny Tales, and Weird Wonder Tales. Sort of a toss up there. I think those three new titles started out as new material and went to reprints -anyone recall?
Karen: I found this bit of news amusing: Steve Englehart and Jim Starlin would be starting a new series called Fu Manchu! It would feature the further adventures of Nayland Smith against Fu Manchu. Oh, and Fu's rebellious son would also appear! How things changed. "This title is intended as Marvel's contribution to the Kung Fu, Iron Fist genre currently sweeping the country."
Karen: We get to see the cover of Sub-Mariner 67, which featured Namor's (then-) new costume (colored courtesy of my younger self). Hard to believe that blue suit is over 30 years old! The first mention of the Avengers-Defenders War is here; "Would you believe Loki and a villain named Dorney are at the bottom of the entire thing?" Who the heck is Dorney??? Uh, Dormammu maybe?
Karen: We are told that Stan Lee is working on the Marvel Origins book and will hopefully have it ready by Christmas. I was surprised to read that Stan wanted to include the 30's and 40's origins of the Sub-Mariner and Human Torch. Also for Christmas, the hour-long show I mentioned in the first FOOM post is said to be progressing nicely...uh huh.
Karen: After the Infoomation, we get a whole page discussing the return of Savage Tales! Nearly three years would pass between the first issue and this second one, although material had been prepared for issue 2 long before, including a beautiful painted cover by John Buscema, reproduced here in black and white. Roy Thomas says that in order to keep some sense of continuity to Conan, he will only be drawn by Buscema, Barry Smith, and Neal Adams. Gil Kane's barbarian hero, Blackmark, will also get some love, and Marie and John Severin will do some King Kull stories. As an aside, I think I only had one or two issues of Savage Tales. I never had a lot of the black and white magazines, probably due to 1) price (75 cents! What a rip-off!) and 2) they were in black and white -I wanted color! But I will keep an eye out for Savage Tales, Dracula Lives, etc, the next time I go to a convention.
Karen: Rounding out this issue is a nice collection of samples from the various artists who had drawn the Hulk over the years. There are numbers written in pen next to each drawing -I seem to recall rating them when I was a wee child! A text article accompanies the art, describing what books the artists' work appeared in. It's fun seeing so many different interpretations of the same character in one place. I favor a more brutish Hulk myself. I like Kirby, and the Buscema brothers, even though Sal's Hulk often seemed like a teddy bear! That Trimpe sample in the top right looks nice too, although I felt that Trimpe varied a lot in quality, depending on his inker. His early stuff seemed best to me. There's also an index of all Incredible Hulk issues to that point -all 165 of them!
Karen: I don't want to forget the very cool Mike Ploog Frankenstein art which graces the back cover -that guy was the Monster Master!