Karen: I'm back with a look at issue 4 of FOOM magazine, originally published in winter of 1973. This issue features the infamous Doctor Doom, with very dramatic Kirby cover -unfortunately mine has lost the bottom corner, AND it has smoke marks from when we had a house fire. Believe me, if you're planning to have a house fire, you want to put all your comics away in bags first! But on to the contents.
This time the bullpen bio is of editor Jim Steranko, and the accompanying photo looks a lot like Elvis in his later Vegas years! He really toots his own horn here, discussing all of his various accomplishments. There's a follow-up on the Marvel character contest, with a picture of winner Michael Barreiro and some comments from him, including the fact that Barry Smith is his favorite artist. There's also a list of people who entered the contest, and I'm pleased to say my own name is on it. I have no idea what I sent in, but knowing my brain at that age, it probably had something to do with apes. There are 2 pages of pictures of more entries too. There's an amazing variety to them -some serious, some humorous, with varying degrees of talent. You can tell by looking at some of them that their creator had come up with a whole story for the character. Note artist Doug Hazlewood's very slick 'Deathwatch' character -I love that he drew a logo too!
Next up is a funny article, "Quotations from Chairman Doom". It's as if someone from the future were writing a thesis paper on the monarch of Latveria. After explaining that the doctor was not a villain but misunderstood, it goes on to illustrate this with dozens of quotes from Doom himself. I think my favorite is from Fantastic Four 17: "Actually my terms are modest for one as powerful as I! All I insist upon is a post in the President's cabinet!" Obviously this was a very different Doom. After some puzzles and limericks, we reach my favorite part: Far-Out Fanfare and Infoomation! So what was going on with Marvel at the end of 1973, you might ask? For one thing, Savage Tales is back. Turns out the sales figures have been good, so the mag has been given another chance. Marvel will also be launching a new mag, Deadly Hands of Kung Fu, in 1974.
The biggest news however, might be the impending price increase. Yep, unfortunately the regular books will be going from 20c to 25c. Outrageous!
Marvel will also put out some 35c titles, but these will be books with more pages. Each will be called "Giant Size". Remember when Doug and I reviewed some of the giant size titles some time back?(If you missed it, you can find it here.) As we said back then, the plan was to have a couple of giant sized titles coming out, with Giant-Size Superstars first, then Giant-Size Chillers. Each title would have a rotating cast of characters spotlighted. Of course, after those first issues, they gave up that idea, and we had Giant-Size Fantastic Four, Giant-Size Spider-Man, Giant-Size Conan, etc.
One little sentence declares that the Unknown Worlds title will soon feature the debut of a character from Doug Moench and Rick Buckler called Cyborg. Obviously that underwent some changes, as we eventually got Deathlok, not Cyborg, in Astonishing Tales.
Unfortunately for all of us readers, we're informed that Jim Starlin had penciled a complete Conan adventure, only to have it stolen when he left it in the hallway of his apartment building for a few minutes! I wonder what ever became of that original art? Sure would love to see it.
The master of the mystic arts, Dr. Strange, will once again receive his own title. Poor Doc. Seems like he's never been able to keep a title of his own for long. Another character like that would be the Sub-Mariner. Anyone care to speculate why?
There's an interesting one page article on a Spider-Man movie made by NYU student Bruce Cardozo. He and his classmates were in the process of making a half-hour, live action Spidey film, based primarily on Amazing Spider-Man 15, with Kraven the Hunter as the villain. There's some photos of Spidey, Peter, and J. Jonah Jameson that look pretty good. Apparently they did finish it, because I've read that it was to be shown at the Comic Book and Science Fiction Convention in Los Angeles in 2005. But another site says Cardozo refuses to put the film online. Has anyone out there seen it?
This issue, like the others, also includes a lot of puzzles and quizzes. I haven't spent much time on these, partly because it's difficult to really present them well, and partly because I filled in the blanks on most of them! But I like this crazy quiz, featuring a villain who is an odd amalgam of about 11 of Marvel's bad guys! It's up to you to figure out what article of clothing belongs to which villain -although the clues down in the bottom left corner give a lot away!
The last thing I'll discuss is the FOOM Forum. Here, faithful FOOM-ites write in and cut loose on any subject they please. There's a short letter by future comics writer Ralph Macchio, who is dismayed about the spotty distribution of comics. Of course, this was years before the age of the direct market. But I can understand where he's coming from. There were times where I might go to 4 or 5 different stores -mostly convenience stores and mom and pop groceries - to find a particular issue. Sometimes I never found it. You had to work hard back then to be a fan!
There's also a very long letter from a Paul Wishinsky, where he dissects what's right and wrong with every Marvel title. He says he buys sixteen titles but considers only two of them to be original concepts. He has harsh words for many titles but particularly for Ghost Rider ("the most ridiculous mag Marvel has ever come up with") and Tomb of Dracula. He feels that many books are ruined by having to appeal to youngsters. The one title he feels overcomes this problem is Hero For Hire. He feels the title breaks Marvel traditions, which he finds refreshing. He sums up his feelings by saying that, "...for the most part they (Marvel) are still in that sixties age, while I have moved on to the seventies." Hey Paul, how you like 'em now?
Our collaborators, Martinex1 and Redartz, have opened a new blog called Back in the Bronze Age... If you have liked the sorts of topics seen here on Bronze Age Babies, then you are going to feel right at home at Back in the Bronze Age... Give them a visit!
Karen and Doug
Bronze Age Babies, Unite!
On Sunday, 4/23/17, Martinex1, Doug, and Redartz gathered for a day of fun at C2E2 in Chicago. It was great to finally meet in person after years of online cameraderie.
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Karen and Doug met on the Avengers Assemble! message board back in September 2006. On June 16 2009 they went live with the Bronze Age Babies blog, sharing their love for 1970s and '80s pop culture with readers who happen by each day. You'll find conversations on comics, TV, music, movies, toys, food... just about anything that evokes memories of our beloved pasts!
Doug is a high school social science teacher and department chairman living south of Chicago; he also does contract work for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. He is married with two adult sons and a daughter-in-law.
Karen originally hails from California and now works in scientific research/writing in the Phoenix area. She often contributes articles to Back Issue magazine. She is married. She hangs out with Joe Biden occasionally.
Believe it or not, the Bronze Age Babies have never spoken to each other...
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Dig Karen's Work Here? Then You Should Check Her Out in Back Issue!
BI #44 is available for digital download and in print. I've read Karen's article on reader reaction to Gerry Conway's ASM #121-122, and it's excellent. This entire magazine was fun! -- Doug
Back Issue #45
As if Karen's work on Spidey in the Bronze Age wasn't awesome enough, she's at it again with a look at the romance of the Vision and the Scarlet Witch in Back Issue's "Odd Couples" issue -- from TwoMorrows!
Karen's talking the Mighty Thor in the Bronze Age!
Click the cover to order a print or digital copy of Back Issue! #53