Sunday, June 17, 2012

Another Round of Bracketology, Anyone?

Doug: Welcome to our fourth year of publication, everyone! Last winter we got a kick out of voting for key Bronze Age events, as listed in Back Issue! #49. Polls were listed on our sidebar, and you chose winners in head-to-head match-ups as we worked our way to the most significant event. Beginning today, and we'll let this run for a few days to be certain everyone who wants to participate has the opportunity, we'd like you to nominate your favorite stories and storylines from the Bronze Age. For our purposes, let's go with a broad period of 1968 to 1985. Those parameters are wide, but that may give us the leeway to include some great tales that lie just on the fringe of the period we love.

Doug: For your convenience, you can use the Comic Book Database (which we are big fans of for all of our cover images) as your resource for dates. Please list the story name ("Kree/Skrull War" for example), or the issue numbers if your particular nominee has never been collected or doesn't go by a more common name. If you want to, make up a name of your own, but still give us the issue numbers and perhaps the key event. We'll see how many nominees we get, find an appropriately sized bracket, and let 'er rip!

Doug: Last time, kids! It's now 8:50 PM Central time on the 18th, and I'd like to post the updated and final list. I've made a couple of editorial changes, Karen and I have discussed a few other issues, and I think I'll take Humanbelly's suggestion and do a play-in with four stories to get us from 66 to 64, then put everything on a 64-team bracket. This is an alphabetical list, and I've attempted to include issue numbers alongside the stories. Please correct me where I may be wrong or have incomplete information. We want to give everyone a fair shot at knowing exactly what stories are being voted on. Look for the first poll tomorrow, and then Sunday we'll hit this thing running! Thanks to all for their suggestions and input so far.

Amazing Spider-Man 1st Clone Saga ASM #'s 141-151

Amazing Spider-Man A New Goblin ASM #'s 176-180

Amazing Spider-Man Death of Gwen Stacy/Green Goblin #'s 121-122
Amazing Spider-Man Drug Issues #'s 96-98

Amazing Spider-Man Hobgoblin/Kingpin saga #'s 249-251

Amazing Spider-Man Nothing Can Stop The Juggernaut ASM #'s 229-230
Avengers Bride of Ultron Av #'s 161-62, 170-171

Avengers Celestial Madonna Av #'s 129-135, G-S 2-4

Avengers Kree/Skrull War Av #'s 89-97

Avengers Nefaria Supreme Av #'s 164-66

Avengers Nights of Wundagore #'s 185-87

Avengers Serpent Crown Av #'s 140-44, 147-49

Avengers The Korvac Saga Av #'s 167-77

Avengers/Defenders War Av #'s 115-18, Defenders #'s 8-11

Batman Annual #8 Crimson Sun

Batman Death of the Earth 2 Batman Adventure Comics 461-63
Batman Ra's Al Ghul Batman #'s 242-44

Batman The Laughing Fish Detective Comics #'s 475-76

Cap Baron Blood CA #'s 253-54

Cap Nomad CA #'s 180-84

Cap Secret Empire CA #'s 169-76

Captain America War and Remembrance CA 247-55

Captain Marvel Death of Captain Marvel GN

Captain Marvel vs. Thanos CM #'s 25-32

Conan "Red Nails" Savage Tales 2-3

Crisis On Infinite Earths maxi-series

Daredevil The Elektra Saga DD #'s 168-82

Defenders Bozo/Headmen run Def #'s 21-35, Annual #1

Defenders Guardians of the Galaxy/Badoon Def #'s 26-29

Defenders Who Remembers Scorpio? Def #'s 46-50

Dr. Strange vs. Silver Dagger Dr. Strange 1-2, 4-5

Fantastic Four Negative Zone FF #'s 251-56

Fantastic Four Reed/Sue/Namor after Franklin's mental shutdown
Fantastic Four Second Galactus Trilogy FF 242-44

Green Lantern/Green Arrow "relevancy" arc #'s 76-89

Howard the Duck Runs for President HTD #'s 7-9, Marvel Treasury Edition #12
Hulk Dimensional Crossroads Saga Hulk #'s 300-13

Hulk Fall of Dr. Banner

Iron Man Demon in a Bottle IM #'s 126-28

Killraven War of the Worlds Amazing Adv #'s 18-39

Legion Earthwar Superboy #'s 241-45

Legion Great Darkness Saga #'s 290-94

Manhunter in Detective Comics #'s 437-43

Man-Thing Nightmare Box #22

Marvel Super-Heroes Contest of Champions LS

Marvel Super-Heroes Secret Wars maxi-series

Marvel Team-Up Time Travel #'s 41-46

Master of Kung Fu, Fu Manchu and the Agent Who Died #49

Micronauts 1st arc

MTIO Project Pegasus Saga #'s 53-58

MTIO Serpent Crown Affair #'s 64-67

New Teen Titans Terror of Trigon (vol. 2 1-5)

New Teen Titans The Judas Contract NTT #'s 39-44

Panther's Rage Jungle Action #'s 6-18

Squadron Suprememaxi-series

Swamp Thing 1st Alan Moore Saga #'s 21-27

Thor Thunder Frog Thor #'s 363-66

Warlock/Magus Warlock #'s 10-11

Werewolf by Night in Marvel Spotlight #'s 2-4

Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?

Wolverine LS

X-Men Brood #'s 164-66

X-Men Days of Future Past #'s 141-42

X-Men intro. Alpha Flight #'s 109, 120-21

X-Men Magneto/Savage Land story #'s 111-16

X-Men The Dark Phoenix Saga #'s 129-138


Ray Tomczak said...

A few obvious choices leap to mind immediately:
You mentioned the Kree/Skrull war. There's also the Avengers/Defender War
The Dark Phoenix Saga
Days of Future Past
The Death of Gwen Stacy (Amazing Spider-Man 121-122)
Hard Traveling Heroes (Green Lantern 76-89 and Flash 217-219)
Batman's first confrontation with Ra's Al Ghul (Batman 242-244)
Jack Kirby's Fourth World
The Englehart/Rogers run on Detective Comics
I have a couple of less obvious nominees as well
The Death of the Earth 2 Batman (Adventure Comics 461-463)
Howard the Duck Runs for President (HTD 7-9, Marvel Treasury Edition #12)
That's all I've got for now. Maybe some more will come to me with further consideration.

Ray Tomczak said...

I also meant to mention Crisis On Infinite Earths.

Anonymous said...

"Frank Miller Ruins Daredevil" change comics 4ever. every1 imitate & it end Bronze age turn in2 Dark age, Image age.

William Preston said...

Defenders: Who Remembers Scorpio?
Marvel Two-in-One: Project Pegasus Saga

pete doree said...

Manhunter: A masterclass in how to tell a story in 8 pg installments, plus Manhunter looks really cool.

Anything by Steve Gerber.Particularly the whole Bozo / Headmen / Defenders run. Surreal, funny, intelligent, satirical, weird, challenging AND action packed.
Also the Man-Thing stories like the 3-part ' A Book Burns In Citrusville ' and the whole 'Nightmare Box' story that ended Steve's run. How did he ever get away with a character like The Scavenger?!

Starlin's Warlock / Magus run. By the way,after all these years, I finally figured out recently where the look of the Magus came from. Y'know the rock opera Godspell? Look at the guy playing Jesus in that film, he's the Magus!

Englehart's Cap / Secret Empire / Nomad run. As revolutionary in it's own way as what Gerber was doing.

And to go REALLY obscure: Stark's Quest from Star*Reach. A brilliant 4 part series that's never been collected about a future society's reaction to telepath's in their midst. Kind of a grown up X-Men if that makes sense.

Doug said...

By the way, Happy Father's Day to all of you who fall into that category!


Doug said...

In regard to Jack Kirby's Fourth World (and I'm not opposed to this as a nominee) -- do we want to focus on stories that are a bit more confined, or are sweeping series a possibility? Is there anything out there that you feel is too large and/or should be broken down?


Anonymous said...

The Englehart-Rogers Batman serial in Detective Comics #471-476 (1977) (including the classic "Laughing Fish"); the Nemesis back-up feature (actually a very long serial or story arc) in Brave & Bold # 166-193; and Superman # 233-242 (1971), in which Julius Schwartz managed to revamp and update the series without ruining the character.

Dougie said...

The Legion's Earthwar: the first time I ever saw what we would recognise as a story arc in that particular comic.

The super-villain war in Iron Man (aka the Iron Nose saga.)

The Kraft/Giffen Scorpio story had all sorts of interesting things going on. Wasn't Fury's brother a fan of Judy Garland?

Edo Bosnar said...

Some of these suggestions seem to be runs (i.e. Englehart/Rogers on Batman, Kirby's 4th World) rather than stories - I think great runs would be another fun bracketology project.
Here's my own suggestions: first, I second:
Project Pegasus
Dark Phoenix saga
Howard the Duck Runs for President
Starlin's Warlock (it's pretty much one long story)
The Headmen story in Defenders
Nightmare Box in Man-Thing
And here's some new ones, in no order of preference:
The 'Dawg' story in Man-Thing (#9-10)
The Guardians of the Galaxy story in Defenders
The Negative Zone story in Byrne's FF (can't remember the issues right now)
Panther's Rage (from Jungle Action)
The Baron Blood story in Stern & Byrne's Captain America
Manhunter by Goodwin and Simonson (the shorts from Detective Comics which are basically a single story)
The Great Darkness saga in Legion of Super-heroes
The Red Son story in Batman annual #8
The Wrath story from that Batman Special (it came out in 1984, I think)
and, since you posted a pic:
"Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?"
and also "For the Man Who Has Everything" also by Moore from Superman annual #11 (or is 10?)
Those are off the top of my head, pretty much - I'm sure I'll slap my forehead as soon as I hit the "publish" button.

joe bloke said...

Jim Starlin's Warlock/Magus.
Don McGregor's Panther's Rage.
Steve Gerber's Howard the Duck ( the complete run ).
Chris Claremont and John Byrne's Dark Phoenix Saga. and Days of Future Past.
John Byrne's Fantastic Four ( I know the run ends in mid-86, but to disbar the wonderful whole because of the last handful of issues would, surely be a bit unfair ).
not particularly ground-breaking, but a personal favourite would be the time-travel arc from Marvel Team-Up # 41 - thru - 46 by Bill Mantlo & Sal Buscema.
Denny O'Neil and Neal Adams' Green Lantern/Green Arrow.
Amazing Spider-Man # 123/122.
Frank Miller's Daredevil.
The first four or five years of The New Teen Titans.
I wouldn't say the whole of the Fourth World, but definately Jack Kirby's Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen.

Doug said...

I just took a minute to copy the suggestions made so far onto an Excel spreadsheet. I've copied them in the order you've given them, along with a couple of additions of my own --

Batman: Year One
Avengers -- Bride of Ultron and Korvac Saga

Once this has petered out, I'll do a random sort and put these on a bracket. Right now I'm at 31 stories -- I'm hoping a 48-"team" bracket is possible.

I think for the sake of this, we'll keep our voting items to stories or storylines. As some have suggested, we may do this again later with great runs (Byrne's FF, Kirby's Fourth World, etc.). So for those of you who haven't commented yet, please make suggestions of shorter arcs, as the Dark Phoenix Saga for example.

Thanks to all who've participated so far -- keep 'em coming!


Tony Gunns ( said...

These might have been mentioned before but...

The Legion's Great Darkness Saga
The Avengers Serpent Crown Affair
Mage: The Hero Discovered
Miracleman/Marvel Man- The Alan Moore series
The Squardon Supreme (original mini-series)

Fred W. Hill said...

Lot of great nominations already in. Here are some of mine, just off the top of my head and going with multi-parters and limiting to one per title. Maybe there should be a separate list for the best two-parters.
Captain America, Secret Empire; Howard the Duck runs for President and quacks up;
Defenders, Headmen, Nebulon saga; Master of Kung Fu, Fu Manchu and the Agent Who Died saga by Moench & Gulacy;
Captain Marvel vs. Thanos;
Warlock vs. Magus;
Avengers vs. Squadron Supreme in the present and Kang in the old west;
Black Panther, Panther's Rage;
Man-Thing vs. the Mad Viking;
Dark Phoenix;
Dr. Strange vs. Silver Dagger

Fred W. Hill said...

Oh, yeah, while I consider anything by Alan Moore as post Silver Age, in temperament if not by date, I definitely consider his run on Miracle Man, especially those early episodes from Warrior and the later run with art by John Totlebon, as classics, and I'd nominate his first extended story in Swamp Thing.

Redartz said...

Can't argue with the nominees so far! Here's a few that might be worth consideration:

Man-Thing 5-6; "Night of the Laughing Dead"
Avengers 129-132 and Giant Size Avengers 2-3; Kang wars/Celestial Madonna
Conan in Savage Tales 2 -3; "Red Nails"
Amazing Spiderman 249-251; Hobgoblin/Kingpin saga
Dr. Strange 1-5; Silver Dagger story

humanbelly said...

Hmm-- I may goof up on getting time-periods just right, but--

-The Squadron Supreme maxi-series
-Did Watchmen sneak in here?
-The "Fall of Dr.Banner" sequence (about 10 or 12 issues, leading up to issue #300 of The Incredible Hulk), followed by. . .
-The Dimensional Crossroads Saga, Hulk #'s 301 to 313, I believe.
-The John Byrne/Chris Claremont run on Marvel Team-up.
-1st Jackal/Spidey-clone saga (culminated at about issue #152,I think-?)
-We've got the whole Michael/Korvac Saga from the Avengers, right?
-Cap's original stint as Nomad.
-Tony Stark's crumbling under the bottle/Rhodey taking over the armor.
-In Conan, the Song of Belit the She-Pirate.
-Secret Wars 1 (But lord, not 2!)
-That first Frank Miller limited/mini-series.
-There was a solidly good Plastic Man miniseries in 1984, I believe.
-Reed & Sue's divorce (after Franklin's brain-death).
-The Fall of Hank Pym in the Avengers.
-The entirety of Simonson's Thor-- but I'm gonna put a HARD plug in for the MIGHTY THUNDER FROG storyline-! ("SIR!")

Gosh, there really are a lot. Some are more "significant" in my view than they are truly personal favorites-- but all are worthy of consideration on my end.


Doug said...

I said earlier that I'd added Batman: Year One to the list -- scratch that, as it was published in 1987.



Doug said...

I've just posted an alphabetical list on the original blog post. Check it out!


William said...

Here's a few I thought of:

1. The Avengers / Defenders War

2. Avengers: Bride of Ultron (Avengers 162-163)

3. Avengers: Nefaria Supreme (Avengers 164-166)

4. Avengers: The Peter Gyrich Affair (Avengers 181-191)

5. Spider-Man: A New Goblin (ASM 176-180)

6. Daredevil: The Elektra Saga (DD 168-182)

7. Spider-Man: Nothing Can Stop The Juggernaut (ASM 229-230)

8. Fantastic Four: The Second Galactus Trilogy (FF 242-244)

9. Captain America: War and Remembrance (CA 247-255)

10. The New Teen Titans: The Judas Contract

Edo Bosnar said...

Wait a minute, Manhunter didn't make the cut?! C'mon, that story won awards back in the day! (Also, apologies to Pete Doree for not noticing that he mentioned it first.)
Glad to see that time travel story in Marvel Team-up was suggested by joe bloke - that's one I thought of after I posted my first comment. If it's not too late, I'd also like to suggest the first story arc in Micronauts (issues #1-11, although I usually include Annual #1 and issues #12-14, which are, respectively, a prolog and epilog to the whole saga).
Regardless, that is a really great list of stories - I honestly don't know I'll be able to choose in most cases.

Doug said...

Edo, and Pete --

I am showing my ignorance on Manhunter. Are the issues you speak of a story, or are you guys talking about the complete Simonson run in Detective Comics (I assume this is the Manhunter we're discussing).

I'll add it -- just need some clarification.



humanbelly said...

Gosh, poor old Daredevil didn't have anything worth representing before 1985? I knew his book was perpetually in trouble, but. . .

-X-MEN vs. the Brood (#162-166-ish)
-Avengers first Ultron/Vision arc (#57-58).
-This probably wouldn't make the cut, but really, the Avengers run from #57-66 could almost be considered an "axis-shifting arc", or something. TONS of iconic, deep-seated lore packed into that short, fantastically drawn and written span: intro of Ultron & the Vision; "Fire & Ice" story w/ Doc Strange & the Black Knight; Panther defends his throne from the newly-introduced Man-Ape; Hank breaks down & becomes Yellowjacket/Hank & Jan's wedding; Clint takes on the Goliath mantle; Clint's origin revealed; Ultron re-builds himself w/ adamantium (and becomes unbeatable). I mean, whattaya call a run like that-? Heck, if I could name it, I know it'd get my vote over the majority of arcs we've listed so far. . . !
-Oh, did we consider the Drug Issues from Amazing Spiderman and the environmental/drug arc from Green Lantern/Green Arrow? I recall those both appeared & did pretty well on the earlier bracketology event. It seems like they should still be included here, yes?

Heck, just considering and discussing potential entrants is already fun--!


Doug said...

HB --

I suppose since Avengers 57-58 falls in 1968, and I did set that as the front end of our nominations, that we could consider that one. Just seems Silver Age to me...

Thanks for narrowing down the O'Neil/Adams GL/GA issues. Now I feel like I can add that if you give me some specific #'s. The trouble with DCs in this period is that so many stories were one-offs.


pete doree said...

Doug, Manhunter ( the Goodwin / Simonson one )is technically a series, but really it's also one self-contained story that just happens to be split into parts.
It definately fits the criteria, in my ( and Edo's! ) opinion.
I'll also echo the Spidey / Team-Up time travel serial, great stuff!

Doug said...

Thanks Pete --

It's been added.

I need one more to get to 64, and then I'll publish the updated list.

Bracketing will be random as it was back in November. I don't know any way to seed this thing, so we'll just see what we get.

Thanks to all for the wonderfully nostalgic suggestions! If we haven't created a Bronze Age reading list...


dbutler16 said...

Darn, two of my favorite stories (Legion of Super-Heroes "The Universo Project" and Avengers "Avengers Under Siege") happened in 1987, plus Batman #423 was in 1988.
Most of my faves seem to have been listed, but I've got a few to add:

New Teen Titans - The Judas Contract
New Teen Titans - The Terror of Trigon (vol. 2, #1-5).

William said...

I think these qualify to be added to the master list. They were all collected into trade paperbacks:

Amazing Spider-Man: A New Goblin (ASM 176-180)

Amazing Spider-Man: Nothing Can Stop The Juggernaut (ASM 229-230)

Avengers: Nights of Wundagore (Avengers 181-187)

Captain America: War and Remembrance (CA 247-255)

Daredevil: The Elektra Saga (DD 168-182)

The New Teen Titans: The Judas Contract

And I think these next two qualify as well.

Avengers: Nefaria Supreme (Avengers 164-166)

Fantastic Four: The Second Galactus Trilogy (FF 242-244)

vancouver mark said...

Don't think I've seen: Killraven/War of the Worlds, Kamandi,
Tomb of Dracula (esp the last twenty-odd issues),
X-Men 120/121 (intro Alpha Flight),
Captain America 153-57 (the other Cap and Bucky),
and a personal favorite that will likely get zero votes, Power Man 28-35, the Don McGregor issues.

Doug said...

If you check the original post, I've updated the list again. We are currently at 66 nominees; we need to pare it to 64 for the bracket. I am overwhelmed with the number of nominations -- I thought we'd have a 48-team bracket, but this is above and beyond. I don't want it to grow any larger, or we'll be voting till the cows come home (Midwestern saying)!

For the sake of elimination, one change I will make is the combining of the Avengers - Gyrich suggestion into the Avengers - Nights of Wundagore suggestion. They overlap.

Also, we have a lot of Man-Thing stories. I was not a reader, so don't know if there is any chaff there. I'll leave it alone for now.

As to Killraven, again -- I don't know much about him or the storylines, so can add but just am not sure of the qualifications.


Doug said...

Is there any love for Giant-Size X-Men #1/X-Men 94-95 as the inaugural adventures of the new team?


Anonymous said...

Okay, I know I’ve come late to the party, and the lid is already down, but there are some serious omissions (having said that, I got total brain overload reading all the posts as my mind veritably swirled with tremendous stories, so kudos to everyone for such great suggestions)

Avengers – both stints in Olympus (meaning #98-100 and whenever that later Stern-Buscema-Palmer story was...280’s or so? Or is that too late?)

Avengers – time travel / Legion of the lost / origin of the vision, circa #130’s.

Death of Captain Marvel graphic novel.

The Steranko Captain Americas (#110,111,113).

Beast run in Amazing Adventures (hey, these are favourites, remember).

MOKF – Mordillo # 33-35.

I want to nominate Claremont & Byrne’s run on Iron Fist, but I can’t think of a specifically favourite story.

Thor - the Ragnarok saga in the #270’s.

Xmen – the first new team / sentinels story # 98- 101. Culminating in the origin of the Phoenix. Maybe we could have that one? Or possibly the M’Kraan crystal, Lilandra, first Starjammers...all that?

Doc Strange – the Dracula crossover & Hell story #14 – 16.
Conan – the song of Red Sonja (is it #23?)

And, can I just point out, that with 1968 as the start date, that puts the entire Thomas/Adams/Palmer run on Xmen into the frame?

And Karen....hey, Karen....where’s Deathlok on this list? Seriously, Doug, can you please call Karen....I think something may have happened to her?


Karen said...

Sorry Richard, but I had a very busy weekend and this is really Doug's baby. I agree with some of the choices, but I think we have some chaff here. Really, four Man-Thing stories? I was an on-and-off reader of the title, but I still have a hard time thinking there are four that merit being on the list. I do think Manhunter should be included. How about Thor and the Celestial Quest? What about Daredevil from about 180-190? As for Deathlok and Killraven, I don't know that I could pick out a single storyline, as these books were both pretty much one long story.

dbutler16 said...

Doug, actually I love love Giant-Size X-Men #1/X-Men 94-95. I thnk they're somewha underrated, as most people seem to focus on the Claremont/Byrne/Austin issues.

humanbelly said...

Hoo-boy Doug-- you may be in trouble, as I think paring down the list will be a pretty tough row to hoe. In fact, you're almost certainly still gonna get more very worthwhile suggestions coming in-- and they will doubtless greatly outnumber any that you might safely drop. (No offense to his legion of fans, but I do echo Karen's observation that four arcs out of Man-Thing's series does seem like an awful lot. I'm also not sure the Defenders can sort all three of the ones it has.)

And, see, I'd also echo both the Killraven and Deathlok nominations (quintessential bronze age-- both runs).

The Green Lantern/Green Arrow run was the "Social Relevance" arc, from #76 to #89.

Spidey's drug issues were #96-98.

I think you're right about the 1968 Avengers run I mentioned earlier. It may be more happily at home in a "Best of the Silver Age" volume. Boy-- the very best, too.

Marvel Spotlight #'s 2-4 Intro to Werewolf by Night, and really the best that comic/character ever was. Moody, compelling, horrifying, and artistically quite out of the ordinary.

The New Mutants! Man, where are they?

Hmm. Maybe there could be an early "qualifying" bracket of contestants that you yourself might subjectively perceive as "weak", and that could pair the field down to the necessary 64 for a proper bracketing? (Otherwise, wow, we've gotta go to 128. . . good grief).


Doug said...

The final list is now posted -- be looking for some introductory polls coming by tomorrow morning.

Thanks for everyone's input,


vancouver mark said...

I enjoyed John Byrne's FF three-parter with Terrax stealing Manhatten and all those super-heroes ganging up against Galactus, sure.

But who the hell came up with the term "the Second Galactus Trilogy?"

They're just really really lucky this is a snark-free blog....

Doug said...

I was a bit confused, too, Mark, but since there were issue numbers included with the original suggestion I just went with it. It's a good story, by the way, but I also like the 4-parter we reviewed here some time ago with Gabriel as the herald.


vancouver mark said...

Wow, just suddenly noted that the first ten issue run of Swamp Thing by Wein and Wrightson didn't get suggested. Excuse me as I kick myself.

humanbelly said...

Yep, I bet we have a lot of those self-kicking moments. How 'bout the "Warriors of the Shadow Realm" series? I'm reading through MTU at the moment (it's about to go south, I'm pretty darned sure), and there was an add for it--- geeze, how could I forget??


humanbelly said...

Right out of the gate, and Doc Banner's gonna Fall smack on his face. . . AGAIN.

Ah well. . . I harbored no illusions. Heck, Doug, thanks for having the kindness of heart to include him, eh? At least. . . at least he got invited to the party.

[To be brutally honest, it wasn't exactly an "enjoyable" arc at any rate. It was slow-motion film capture of a man's dream shattering around him. It was tough to spend a year watching it happen. But it was certainly a momentous development at the time.]


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