Friday, February 4, 2011

FOOM Fridays: FOOM #5

FOOM #5 (Spring 1974)

Karen: Hey kids, ready for some more foomtastic fun? I'm back with a nostalgic look at issue #5, which sports a sensational Rich Buckler/Joe Sinnott Thing cover. This issue we discover that editor Jim Sternako is gone, replaced by Tony Isabella. Isabella was a Marvel mainstay in the 70s; you'd recall him from an assortment of titles, including Champions. Looking at the credits, you'll also notice John Byrne's name. This may have been his earliest work for Marvel.

Since this issue sports a Thing cover, you won't be surprised to find out that the lead-off feature of the issue is an overview of the Thing's career. There's not a lot of substa
nce to it, but there are a few nice quotes from different creators.

Next we get bullpen profiles of Buckler and Steve Gerber, complete with Marie Severin caricatures. Buckler mentions how he want
s to be a writer. Gerber held a number of jobs before coming to Marvel -he worked as a used car salesman, and at a radio station and an ad agency. Gerber says he would like to write films. I'm not sure if he ever did, although I do know he got into animation.

We get a conte
st -pick out the cover for Giant-Size Avengers #1 - and some cartoons before reaching the news section, the Department of Infoomation. This is always my favorite part of these magazines. It's fun to read what was happening -especially when some of the news items never saw the light of day, or changed significantly. First up is a couple of pages on giant-size comics. "Marvel might just come up the winner in the current paper shortage [There was a paper shortage?]...we've finally firmed up our plans to release a full line of 68 page, full color comics." Ah yes, the giant-size books! How I loved them. Fans would be able to get giant-size issues of favorites like Avengers, Conan, Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, Defenders, Dracula, and even Man-Thing (yes, the infamous giant-size Man-Thing), Shang-Chi, and Werewolf by Night. I have to say, when these books had all-new material, they were great. But later on, it seemed like they were mostly crammed with reprints -in some cases, the entire book was a reprint -and they lost some luster for me. Side note: the writer for G-S Dracula is "neo-scripter Chris Claremont" ! Another couple of years and everyone would know his name.

We're on to the Marvel magazines next. Marvel was really expanding in this area: "In addition to our 75c line, we're now preparing five $1 magazines." Man, a whole dolla
r! These new additions included Monsters of the Movies, which I grabbed as soon as I saw it! It had an article on the TV movie The Night Stalker, one of my favorites back then. Another favorite magazine was Planet of the Apes. For some reason I only had a few of these, but they included adaptations of the films, original comic stories, and articles and photos from the movies.

Marvel Previews was a try-out mag. The first issue
featured "Chariots of the Man-Gods" - gee, I wonder if Erich von Daniken knew about that? Savage Sword of Conan would be the fourth title, and the most successful. It's predecessor, Savage Tales, would make the switch to the larger $1 format.

There was plenty of news for the 75c line. For Dracula Lives, we find out that "every writer in the bullpen is trying to top the other guy's Dracula story." A lot of mainstream char
acters would appear in the horror mags, like Blade, Brother Voodoo, and Morbius. These mags were perfect venues for these horror-based characters, allowing for more mature story-telling.

One mag that I don't think ever saw the light of day was a proposed black and white Go
dzilla title. The news says that Marvel was closing a deal with Toho Studios but I think all we got was the color comic, not a magazine.

As for the regular comics, there was plenty h
appening. The titles were reviewed alphabetically this time around, which made more sense. Deathlok would be premiering in Astonishing Tales, not Unknown Worlds as stated in FOOM 4. For Captain America, we're told, "The star-spangled Avenger calls it quits...the Falcon fights alone...and Steve Rogers' brand new super-hero identity...face it, Steve Englehart's gone berserk...get it on the excitement now!"

Comments on Incredible Hulk: "Warlock reborn, a prelude to an exciting new series that will be written and drawn by Jim Starlin...exorcism for a Wendigo...the topper: a Canadian super-hero, the Wolverine!" Little did they know that 'Canadian super-hero' would take over their company!

Spidey and the Torch were still sharing the starring role in Marvel Team-Up. Funny to think that Spidey wasn't always th
e star! Speaking of Spidey, over in his own title he was dealing with the Jackal and the Punisher - those were fun times! And you know, the Torch even had his own title -although it was all Strange Tales and Golden Age reprints! I know, because I actually bought a few issues.

It's amazing the kind of variety in the books published at that time. Even as late as 1974, Marvel was still publishing War is Hell. The western books were all gone I think, their places taken by the explosion in the horror/monster titles. But that one war book was hanging on. I wonder if it will still be around by the time I get to FOOM #6?

There's a short preview of Deathlok, which really doesn't say much, but boy did I dig that drawing of the cyborg! Excuse my tracing, please. The FOOM fan art gallery had drawings by Ken Steacy and John Byrne and Duffy Vohland. I guess they actually were still fans, although Byrne would be drawing Marvel titles by the next year. Byrne and Vohland also provide the back cover, a shot of Mantis.

Towards the back of the issue is a ballot for the Irving Forbush Awards. I see that I chose Hulk as my favorite comic - which surprises me now, as I almost never re-read my old Hulks. I guess they had more appeal to a 9 or 10 year old! My favorite Marvel star was Spider-Man. Roy Thomas and John Buscema were my picks for writer and artist. Now
that's not surprising!


giantsizegeek said...

Yes, I loved this issue of FOOM as well, the Buckler cover is really great and I featured that on Giant-Size Marvel for a Thing Tuesday.

Interestingly, I always made a ref to the Deathlok article today:

Dougie said...

Oh, there was a paper shortage; it affected us here in Scotland. My dad worked in a bank and often brought home reams of headed A4 notepaper on which young Dougie drew the Forever People, the JSA and many others. Then one day, he told me he couldn't any more because of the paper shortage that came on the heels of the oil crisis. Or maybe he'd been reprimanded for pilfering. We'll never know.

Fred W. Hill said...

Hi, Karen,
I never joined F.O.O.M. -- I was mostly saving my sheckels for the comics themselves, and even then I couldn't afford all the issues I wanted, particularly those Giant-Size mags, when I could find them. Strange how old-fashioned horror became such a big thing early in the Bronze Age. During that same era I was also staying up every Friday or Saturday night to watch the Creature Feature (or variant thereof). When my family lived in Salt Lake City, one Saturday night circa 1972, when the parental units were out, I stayed up late (past midnight!) and wound up seeing Godzilla for the first time. After that, it became a family event for us to pull out the sofa bed and catch the fright fest. When we moved to San Francisco in 1974, we spent the first night in a one-room apartment at the Navy Lodge and caught Night of the Living Dead, as well as an interview with the one and only Stan Lee, pitching Origins of Marvel Comics -- the first time I'd ever seen him on tv. Alas that Stan told some whoppers, making it seem he dreamed up nearly every character himself (would it have hurt so much for him to admit that it was a far more collaborative method that shaped the creation of even Spider-Man, or that Dr. Strange was Ditko's idea??). Still, those were some fun times.

Karen said...

Hey Fred, I may live in Phoenix now, but I still consider the Bay Area home. Did you ever catch Creature Features with Bob Wilkins or John Stanley? They were a bit before my time but I got to meet them a few times while I lived there. Most of the long time BA residents I know grew up watching them.


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