Friday, February 18, 2011
FOOM Fridays: FOOM #7
FOOM # 7 (Fall 1974)
Karen: FOOM 7 continues the focus on the Avengers. Check out that cover! I love how the Hulk is messing the logo up. I keep looking at the art and trying to decide if it was John Buscema's pencils and brother Sal's inks, or Sal's work alone. The figure of Thor definitely gives me a Big John vibe, while Hawkeye and Cap have more of a Sal feel to me. Any ideas?
The second part of the Jarvis interview proves as entertaining as the first. This time we also get a writer credited: Roger Stern. Jarvis discusses his unfortunate treachery with the Masters of Evil, a story that never really made any sense under close examination. Here, we are told that Dr. Pym thinks Ultron may have exercised some mental control over Jarvis, which makes more sense than the faithful butler betraying his employers. Some interesting tidbits about Jarvis: although born in the Bronx, both parents had recently emigrated from Britain, and Jarvis served in the RAF during World War II, which explains his British accent. Jarvis also discusses the Vision, and the android's relationship with the Scarlet Witch, which veers into a discussion of intolerance... fascinating stuff!
This article also has more of those wonderful Dave Cockrum drawings of the different team members. This time around it's Mantis, Swordsman, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Black Knight, Black Panther (the last two on a centerfold unfortunately), and Captain America and the Vision. All really nice stuff. While he's lauded for his work on Legion and X-Men, the man could have been one of the finest Avengers artists, if he'd only had a run of any real length.
There are pictures of the mighty bullpen from both a 1974 comics convention and the Marvel softball team. Boy, were all the guys hairy! It's fun to see how everyone looked back in 1974. For one thing, most of them were so young. I kind of forget that a lot of these guys were in their early twenties when they started working for Marvel. Of course, all the mid-70s styles also bring back a great nostalgia. The one thing I really did not need to see was a shirtless Vinnie Colletta. But I wanted to share my pain, so that photo is included here. It seems Marvel played over 25 games that summer, with the bullpen splitting up into teams and taking each other on. Hulk penciller Herb Trimpe is named as the best all-around player, and Al Milgrom, Archie Goodwin, and Doug Moench also showed some flare. It's stuff like this that certainly made this young Marvel fan think that all was peace and love within Marvel!
The big announcement in this issue's Department of Infoomation is that Roy Thomas is stepping down as editor in chief so that he can concentrate on writing. Marv Wolfman will become editor of the black and white books while Len Wein becomes the color books editor. Of course, we all know what a revolving door that editor in chief position became.
I mentioned in a comment on one of our posts that I don't think Roy Thomas has received enough credit for what he did with Marvel in the 70s. I've read articles, and I've interviewed people who worked for Roy, and the comments you hear again and again is what a great job Roy did in the balance between letting creators express themselves, and making sure that the comics sold. His philosophy seemed to be, "Go ahead, try different things, knock yourself out. But at the end of the day, the book has to sell." Nowadays, it feels, to me at least, like so much of the artistic aspect of comics has disappeared; stories are all geared towards whatever marketing says they should be doing. In the early 70s, Marvel was trying all sorts of off the wall stuff. Sure, some of it didn't work, but some of it was great. Now everything seems so calculated. I miss those days, when I could go to the spinner rack and get several super-hero titles, monster titles, sword and sorcery, jungle adventure...the Big Two now seem so limited. But, I digress.
The Giant-Size books were still going strong; it seems like they were still mostly new material and had not become reprint oriented yet. In the regular sized books, we are told to watch out for a new costume for the Scarlet Witch, something that never materialized. The very young George Perez was assigned as artist on the Man-Wolf series running in Creatures on the Loose.
There are a lot of fill-in writers and artists on titles this time around. It seems like a number of books, such as Daredevil, were in a state of transition. I recall as a kid being bewildered at times by the numerous changes in creative teams. I had only really begun to be aware of the various writers and artists a year or two before, so to see them constantly shifting at this time was frustrating.
There's some more fan art towards the back, and a contest to draw three pages from a Spider-Man script. All in all, this issue felt a bit light on content.
The back cover features a cool Mike Ploog Ghost Rider drawing; not sure what it had to do with the Avengers theme, but hey, it looked neat! I just wish the color separations had been aligned more accurately. When I look at it, I keep trying to adjust my eyes to make the image look right!