Friday, June 29, 2012

Discuss: Nova

Karen: Have anything you'd like to say about ol' Buckethead


david_b said...

Never read any of his title.., seemed like he just came out of nowhere, like Ms. Marvel, She-Hulk and 'The Human Fly' a year later.

Looks like Marv Wolfman primarily wrote him. Anyone have more a behind-the-scene's rationale on his origins..?

Seemed to me that Marvel should have grew these characters more out of existing storylines, gained readership acceptance before launching 'em into titles. Cool outfit, he seemed initially to fill a Mar-Vell niche (Nova's helmet has the old Kree helmet feel to it..), and you can't go wrong with Big John B. drawing him.

Anonymous said...

I remember being excited that a new super hero was starting from number one and we were there at the start (I was nine, so I think this was the first ‘new’ super hero I saw). I remember it as being a bit bland, it just seemed like Spider Man rehashed, even down to killing his uncle, but I do remember the FF story that picked up the threads with the Sphinx/Galactus being good. In retrospect, I’m surprised it was Marv Wolfman, so maybe it would seem less bland reading now than I remembered.


Doug said...

I followed the book regularly and felt it took a tremendous downturn when Carmine Infantino took over the penciling.

The style in which it was written, which really tried to emulate the first couple of years of Amazing Spider-Man, seemed to fill that void as Peter Parker had become a young adult. In terms of supporting cast and teen angst, the first several issues of Nova dovetail somewhat nicely with those first ASMs.

The Sphinx subplot was good, and the new villains created for Nova were somewhat interesting. Diamondhead was very cool-looking.

Question: when Nova appeared as part of the New Warriors, was he written "younger"? From the outside looking in, that team seemed to me to have more the age of the original Teen Titans, and not 17-19-year olds.


J.A. Morris said...

Not a big fan, he works as a guest star or team member.

And I love the way he was drawn in the Bronze Age, looked like he had no legs!

Anonymous said...

That is one hideous costume.


Doug said...

Xrayman --

Really? That is one of the finer costume designs of the Bronze Age. Marv Wolfman designed it himself, by the way.


Edo Bosnar said...

I only read the last two issues, because they were tied to that space saga going on in Fantastic Four at the time. Despite the art (I agree with Doug on this: like I've said before, Infantino and Marvel just don't mix), I didn't think those two issues were too bad and I probably would have kept on reading it if the series had continued.
Otherwise, I've always been mildly curious about the earlier issues, especially since the art was done first by John and then Sal Buscema; if I ever come across a reasonably inexpensive copy of the Essentials volume, I'll probably pick it up.

Edo Bosnar said...

...and I kind of like the costume, too.

dbutler16 said...

I never followed him much, only in crossovers. The idea seems borrowed from Green Lantern. Anyway, he is one of those characters whom I think of as being very identified with the Bronze Age.

William Preston said...

I was also there for #1, in my early Marvel collecting days. The Buscema art sold me; the Infantino art was hideous. The real weakness, though, was Wolfman's writing, which was obviously weak even to my young ears. (He would then go on to write dreadful FF and Spidey runs, the FF lapsing into cartoonishness and Spidey becoming pukishly melodramatic, culminating with the fake death of Aunt May.) I was stunned when I started buying Dracula to see that, when given the right characters, Wolfman could write well.

I read the Nova sequence from the recent Annihilation Wave and enjoyed seeing how the character had turned out.

Anonymous said...

Doug, that costume looks like Matt Murdock designed it!


david_b said...

Actually, I liked the outfit more than most of the other new Bronze Outfits.

Back in the day, I really liked Mar-Vell's new red/blue outfit, but in reading the original CM stories in Masterworks Vol 1 now, I'm back to preferring Mar-Vell's Kree soldier outfit more.

Nova's outfit was certainly better than Spiderwoman, Ms. Marvel's original red/blue outfit, Black Goliath, Wolvie's original outfit, Human Fly's and a host of other Bronze heroes.

Probably liked/still like DC's Timberwolf the best new Bronze outfit.

Nova's a cool name as well.

Doug said...

Xrayman --

As a teacher, I take umbrage at your incomplete answer. You've yet to say why you don't like it. What is it -- color scheme? Chest logo? Helmet? Pinstripe on the pants? Heavy wristbands? Helmet open on the bottom of the face? The way the red antennae sticks up off the helmet (that is what the red thing is, for those who don't know)?

I don't mind your opinion, just wish we could get more out of you than the usual one-line negative comment. Let's have a conversation!

David -- agreed on the original Ms. Marvel costume, although as a waif I did find it appealing due to its naughtiness. But then, after years of watching Sonny and Cher, you'd have thought I'd be used to a bare midriff...

Human Fly -- another Infantino disaster.


Anthony said...

I only read a few issues of Nova's first series. Issue 13 with the Sandman which I think started the Yellow Claw story and issues 24 and 25 which tied into the Fantastic Four. He definitely was Marvel's Green Lantern mixed with a little bit of Spider-Man. I never really cared much for the New Warriors. I think I got the first issue because Terrax was in it.
I remember in Comic Book Artist 13 Marv said that Nova was created in the 60s for his fanzine with Len Wein and that Len designed the costume originally. The revised costume is essentially the same but the helmet is a little different.
I probably would have kept buying Nova if it didn't get cancelled after issue 25. Putting him out in space really appealed to me. I really liked the last Nova series as well as the new Guardians series and the three mini series
( Annihilation, Annihilation Conquest and The Thanos Imperative)
which tied into both. I would recommend them to anyone who likes Nova with one warning. Fans of Starlord from the 70s really don't like the new take on his character.
A Guardians movie is being announced for 2014 with Thanos so this could serve as a crash course for anyone unfamiliar with them. I wouldn't mind seeing Richard Rider somewhere in either Guardians or Avengers 2.

Karen said...

Like Doug and others, I was really crushed when Infantino came on the title as artist. I never warmed to his style and lost interest in the title because of it.

Count me as another one who likes the uniform!Simple color scheme, nice chest emblem. The way he was portrayed in flight (like a rocket,without his legs showing) would be mimicked by cannonball years later I believe.

I did read the New Warriors for many years. I think the characters were more late teens, Doug. For some reason they changed Nova's suit to red and gold -that really didn't look good.

He's certainly a combination of the Green Lantern mythos (which in itself is a version of the Lensman stories) and the teen-age angst of early Spidey. I thought it worked pretty well. I recall reading Wolfman wanted to emulate those older Spidey stories as far as having a realistic teen-age protagonist.

I really enjoyed his recent series and appearances in Marvel's cosmic books. It was a shame that they shut all those books down. Nova's situation was unresolved, but I'm sure he'll be back, maybe as a gay latina, or whatever the Marvel marketing department thinks is in.

david_b said...

To be honest, in reviewing this more, his helmet did have more than a passing resemblance to GI Joe's Bulletman.

William said...

I think I first read a Nova comic when his title crossed over with Amazing Spider-Man (a bit of an unusual occurrence in the Bronze Age).

As a result I started picking up his title, but like many others, I lost interest once Infantino came aboard and worked his magic. (His magic being to make readers disappear). Poor Carmine, I wonder if he ever realized that he is blamed for the cancelation of so many comic titles?

As for Nova the character, I always liked him. I liked his powers and his costume. I didn't like it however when he became Marvel's Green Lantern as a member of the not so subtly named "Nova Corps". I've always disliked the concept of an army of super heroes with all the same costume and powers. I mean, what's the point then of following this one guy over any other. It makes the character too expendable, IMO.

humanbelly said...

Sheesh, I thought "Ooo, I'll be the first to chime in on this topic this early morn-!"-- and then got distracted (daughter's at a dance competition in VA beach).

Count me among those who were RIGHT THERE at the launch of the original title. There was a somewhat older kid/guy who a lot of us hung out with (in retrospect, probably a trememdously creepy oddball-- who knew?) who had a mind-boggling comic collection even for 1976. And naturally, he was THE authority on all things Marvel & DC to us. And on a daily basis he would say, "I'm only going to tell you one thing today: BUY NOVA!"-- and so of course, we did. Do you folks remember? It may have been one of the most highly anticipated and heavily-hyped new character launches Marvel had ever done up to that point. Months of teasers. . . the whole "who is this man?" schtick-- that should have been the first clue. It was a textbook case of Marvel trying to MAKE something become big based solely on their own claims of HOW BIG IT WAS GOING TO BE!

It was a mediocre-to-okay comic at first. . . but even it had been the 4-color equivalent of Citizen Kane, it couldn't have lived up to its hype and manufactured expectations.

My own opinions of it? It lacked any originality at all, of course--as pointed out, it was an amalgam of Green Lantern and early Spidey. And the effort to "recreate" the early high school Spidey tone was terribly forced even to my 15 year old ears. I don't see it as a cynical dollar-chasing ploy, though, so much as it was Marv Wolfman wanting to have a hand in creating something similar to a character he himself had clearly loved. I just don't think he had a very deft hand in doing so.

Although the art was sort of J.Buscema (layouts mostly), followed by brother Sal-- it always came across as uninspired to me. Competent, certainly, and clean, and it told the story--- but it felt rather soul-less. And then, yes, Carmine Infantino clobbered it for me. His style was so completely out of synch with what had gone before that it was hard to tell who the characters were at first.

My other problem (and this was kind of a big one for me, even then) was the brand-spankin'-new rogues gallery that Wolfman created for Nova. Too many of them too soon, and they didn't seem to develop organically-- more of a "we've gotta get him a whole batch of his own foes--Pronto!" motivation. I'm afraid that, for me, The Sphinx was the height of contrivance. Suddenly there's a mega-powered foe wandering around in the MU that we'd never come across before? (Setting an unfortunate precedent for the appearance of Apocolypse in X-men a few years later.) I just didn't buy it at all. And notice the staying power that the character hasn't managed over the intervening years. Blackout, Condor, Diamondhead,Megaman, Powerhouse--- it was just. . . too many brand new "dangerous" guys to coincidentally cross paths with a brand new hero.

And then he inherited the Yellow Claw. . . (oh wait, can I legally use that name here. . . ?)

Sorry for the ramble-- been touching on this all day. . .


Roygbiv666 said...

Broken record - remember title, liked costume/character, didn't like Infantino's art, etc.

I do sort of associated him with DC's Firestorm, as they were sort of the only "new" characters I really remember from the 1970s.

Anonymous said...

The only issue I got was #1. Liked the Buscema/Sinnott art, the story was Spider-Man rehash, from what I remember, but it had potential.

I didn't get to read any other issues, but I did pick up one in the mid teens, but it had Infantino art and I put it back....I liked his Flash, but very little else, especially EVERYTHING he did at Marvel. Too many angles and stuff.


Chris said...

Bit late I know, but better late than never.

As a 9 or 10 year old Ienjoyed Nova. I could tell it was definitely done in the tradition of Spider-man but I liked the new villains and LOVED his costume. I thought the way he was depicted when flying was awesome.

UK distribution being what it was made it difficult to get amny issues but I've since got the whole original series and "grown-up" me only considers it average.

Infantino's art was also not to my taste but I got the feeling that Marv preferred writing The Sphinx rather than Nova.

The way that the Sphinx tale was concluded in FF (with great Byrne art) made the effort of reading the Bronze Age Nova run just about worthwhile.

But cool costume though...

Fred W. Hill said...

I remember getting the first issue (along with, if my memory is correct) the 1st issue of Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man and a reprint of the 3rd Spidey Annual (wherein he was invited to join the Avengers -- if he could capture the Hulk! Sheesh, even Captain America would likely have flunked that mission if he had to do it on his own). Anyhow, I loved it, and as I recall Wolfman admitted in the letters page that he was attempting to bring back the excitement of the Silver Age and initially it worked for me. Sure, it bore quite a bit of similarity to Ditko-era Spidey, featuring a hero who was still in high school, and he had to put up with a bully, just like Peter in days of yore. Of course, there were also significant differences in that Rich Rider was part of an actual family, with both parents and a younger brother (who was bright and good natured rather than malicious, unlike nearly every superhero sibling in the Marvel universe). Moreover, while Rich had his share of bad luck, he also had several friends, including a girlfriend from before he gained his powers, quite in contrast to the pre-Spidey Peter who was quite isolated from his peers. I'm sure Marv was doing all he could to recapture the feel of the early Spidey without making "the Living Rocket" too much like ol' Webhead. And that John Buscema art in the first several issues certainly helped. As with the consensus here, I wasn't too keen on Infantino's artwork during the final year but I stuck with it until that final issue and was rather sad to see it go. As a regular reader of the FF, I caught Marv's wrapup of the final storyline there and that was it as far as my following Nova went. By the time he made any sort of comeback I'd mostly quit collecting.
Not quite as interesting a failure as Gerber's Omega, which bore some surface similarities to Nova but had a dramatically different sensibility. I liked Omega too, but wasn't all that surprised when it was cancelled as unlike Wolfman with Nova, Gerber most definitely was not attempting to resurrect Silver Age delights.

johnlindwall said...

September 1976 - my birthday month, turning 11.

New super hero. #1 issue. Marvel. AWESOME costume. Teenage main character. Fantastic cover. Art good. Story ... fun.

I WAS THERE! It was fantastic! I was so excited about this character that just showed up! I mean I could see that he was like spider-man and green lantern, ok, so lets get past that, He was MINE, My new #1 character. I LOVED NOVA! Still do.

I respectfully cannot believe that anyone dislikes Nova's duds - they rock (disclaimer: IMO). His original costume was bodacious. Subsequent costumes may not have been so great -- like the red one. The mullet/tail thing during the New Warrior's era was not so awesome. The costume that he wore during the Annihilation storyline was FANTASTIC with the sharp edges and all - and the potrayal of his rocket blast / trail in those book was epic!

I could NOT wait for each issue to come out!

This is my favorite B-list (be nice!) Marvel hero! I have the Nova Toon Tumbler (you heard me!).

Seriously, I really love this guy. I agree 100% about the Infantino effect. I respect Carmine Infantino as an artist but the style clash was jarring. Poor Camine, also kinda poisoned Spider-Woman that I loved at about that same time.

Who, though, could not love the JACK KIRBY covers on some of those early issues!?! I bought a 70s Slurpee cup at a con a few years ago that had the over from Noa #5 on it-- FANTASTIC!

And what about Thor appearing early on! AWESOME! And Spider-man! Sphinx was awesome! Diamondhead was really cool and original! Condor was ... um .. wingy !? Ok they can't all be winners. At least he had scientific genius to separate himself from being an imitation Hawk-man/Angel. Powerhouse was, um, OK.

Thanks for opening up this topic! I feel 11 years old again -- ok not really but darn close.

johnlindwall said...

OK, one last comment. How much money would I have to pay to acquire the original art to THIS cover!?!


Michelle said...

I always liked Nova. I kind of stumbled upon him in the late 70's and appreciated that he was different from the main-line characters. I'm sure if I re-read that run now I would find lots of problems with him, but he seemed like a good addition to the B-list Marvel heroes.

Rip Jagger said...

I'm proud to say I always liked Nova. Right from the get-go Marv Wolfman's character spoke to my inner fanboy. The early stories had a real fun character, a light-hearted quality despite the mayhem. The artwork was bright and the villains were nicely varied. The attempt to build a real rogues gallery was immediately evident.

I was less interested alas as the series progressed, but those first dozen or so issues are real faves.

Rip Off

humanbelly said...


Absolutely loved your enthusiastic post above. It's a wonderful reminder that just about every book- every character- will find an audience they click for-- someone with whom they will resonate. All the above criticism (so much of it foisted by moi)? Believe me, it pales embarrassingly in significance to the obvious joy that the book brought to you. (I say this as a fan who, as a young teen, was at one point buying ONLY Incredible Hulk, Werewolf by Night, and Kamandi every month). Thanks much for speaking up with such enthusiasm and so forthrightly, eh?


Anonymous said...

I remember first seeing Nova in his crossover with Amazing Spider-Man (which had a neat "all the clues are in this panel" murder mystery!). Young me still didn't seek out his title.

I saw him next in a long Fantastic Four arc that I now know was done to tie up the loose plot threads from Nova's cancelled book. I remember how chilled I was by the cover where young Johnny Storm stands over the now very old bodies of his teammates!

I liked Nova in New Warriors, but his next two solo books were not impressive. I now have his entire 70s run and will read it...someday.


Edo Bosnar said...

I want to second humanbelly's commendation of johnlindwall's comment - it brought such a big smile to my face as I remembered so many of the comics back then that made me just as excited.

Karen said...

John -thank you for your post! Your enthusiasm and love for Nova is exactly what this blog is about!!

tetrahedron said...

I never read any of the original stories, but I have to say I'm surprised that so many people like the costume, I don't like it at all. Especially the helmet.

Similarly, I am not familiar with Infantino's artwork on the character, but I really enjoyed his style on the Star Wars series. I'm surprised that so many people are bashing Infantino.

Lisa S. said...

Hi everybody,

I normally don't post comments on websites but I was wondering if any of you could help a gal out.

My boyfriend is a HUGE HUGE HUGE nova fan. Before his uncle passed away a few years ago, he gave him a Nova Toon Tumbler that he absolutely loved and cherished. It was the only glass he ever drank from.

Unfortunately, last night his mother (clumsily) shattered the Nova tumbler and my boyfriend could not be any more upset.

Since finding it for sale anywhere online or in stores seems impossible since it was released in 2007, does anybody have one I may purchase off of them? Or know anyone in possession of one and is looking to sell?

I understand it is basically a collectors item but nothing would make me or my boyfriend happier than having this tumbler again.

Any help would be so so greatly appreciated!!


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