Monday, November 3, 2014

Arc of Triumph? Nova 12 and Amazing Spider-Man 171

Doug: We've obviously discussed Spider-Man a bazillion times around here, but I don't think we've ever reviewed an issue of The Man Called Nova. Today, hopefully our readers are going to take care of that! What's the collective memory of this 2-parter featuring Marv Wolfman's pet creation and ol' Webhead? Decent yarn, or merely a hopeful cross-pollination?

Doug: Just in -- Idris Elba and Tom Hiddleston will reprise their roles as Heimdall and Loki (respectively) in Avengers 2: Age of Ultron. Now isn't that good news!


Anonymous said...

Barely remember this at all. As I recall, Nova was a left over superhero created in the 60’s, resurrected in the 70’s by Marv Wolfman to somehow capture the initial magic and feel of Spider Man, so I guess a Spidey crossover was the logical thing to do if sales were waning. Presumably Spidey was riding high post-TV show.

I never read DC comics, but Nova always seemed far more like a Green Lantern rip off than a Spidey clone. I know they grafted on the family and high school and the rest of the Peter Parker starter kit, but then instead of fighting Doc Ock and the Sandman he was off defending other galaxies, which made the struggle to turn up to double math on Monday look ridiculous.

DC heads please correct me, but the whole thing where he finds the dying centurion who bequeaths him his powers and he has to learn to use them is straight out of the Green Lantern playbook. They’re even called the Nova Corps.

I do remember that whole Galactus vs Sphinx plotline that resolved in the FF was very exciting. I never finished my Nova collection, so maybe I need to finish it off and read it.


Gary said...

I don't have this but I remember it as a kid. I think. Is this the story where the clues were a bunch of papers spread out on the floor?

Anonymous said...

Nova was created in the '60s - I never knew that before !! Both those covers appeared on Marvel UK's Spidey reprint comic and remind me of the run-up to Christmas 1977 which was my first Christmas in Comprehensive school (British version of High school but you start at age 11) - I don't remember anything about the story but Nova seems rather quick to assume that Spidey killed his uncle so I guess it'll be the usual hero vs. hero slugfest till they wise up and unite against the villain. By coincidence I heard about Nova only a few days ago - there's a modern comic (it might be Guardians of the Galaxy but I can't remember) which reveals the "final fate" of Richard Ryder and the story is rather sad apparently - I'll have to investigate further.

Doug said...

I would agree that Nova was created in the 1960s by a young Marv Wolfman, but the character was not published until 1976 in the self-titled series.

Gary -- you are correct about the first half of the story.

Love on the Spidey cover how the 2-bit baddie, Photon, calls Spider-Man and Nova his "two greatest enemies". Really?


Anonymous said...

Gary, this isn't the story you're thinking of - the bunch of papers on the floor were six pages from a calendar, July, August, September, October, November, December which spelt out J,A,S,O,N,D - Jason Dean (I can't remember anything else about it but that stuck in my mind).

Anonymous said...

Oops, was I wrong ? Sorry, Doug (and Gary).

Doug said...

No, you and Gary are right, Colin -- I think the papers to which Gary refers are the calendar pages.


William said...

I remembered reading this story as a kid, and I remember really digging it. So, I actually read it again a couple of months ago. (I have in digital format on my computer). It was a pretty good story, that could have easily been done in Marvel Team-Up.

As already discussed, it's a murder "mystery" involving the death of Richard Rider's uncle, which initially gets blamed on Spider-Man, so that we can have the obligatory "superhero battle before they eventually team-up" plot device, that was a mainstay of Bronze-Age Marvel storytelling. The actual murderer was a self-styled, one-shot super villain called Photon, who's identity is eventually revealed by some scattered calendar pages (as Colin already mentioned).

Turns out that A.I.M. is behind the whole plot, and Spidey and Nova eventually start working together, solve the mystery, and round up all the bad guys, in two action packed issues, that would have been a 6 issue mini-series if it was done today.

Richard (Anonymous), you are correct in that Nova was pretty much just a rip-off of Green Lantern's origin, and status as a galactic policeman of sorts. Marv Wolfman must have been a big GL fan.

I liked the Nova series early on when he was more or less just a superhero battling super villains in NYC. I read it up to about issue #14 wherein after that Carmine Infantino took over the penciling chores on the book, and I just couldn't take it anymore. I never could stand Infantino's art growing up. It was also around this time that Nova started doing most of his "hero" work in outer space, and I quickly lost interest and dropped the book. Which was cancelled less than a year later.

Doug said...

William --

Hold that thought, and bring it back, for Wednesday. You've given us a preview of that day's topic of conversation!


david_b said...

Not much to add.., after I stopped enjoying ASM and that cover certainly wasn't memorable.

Hope others enjoyed it.

Edo Bosnar said...

I'm drawing a blank on this arc; at this point, I was still in my random picking phase of Spidey reading, and for whatever reason I never had this issue. As for Nova, the only issues I actually read were the last few which, as Richard noted, crossed over and concluded in FF. And yes, I liked that Skrull/Sphinx/Galactus space opera, too.

Gary said...

Thanks Doug and Colin. Now that you mention it, it was calendar pages and a murder mystery. That is all I remember of the story though. That and that 12 year old me really dug it.

I do have Nova 1-11 and I like them. I guess I'll have to track down 12-25 now.

J.A. Morris said...

I blogged about this a few months back and I recommend the first 'Nova Classic' tpb:

It's a decent murder mystery, with the trope of "two heroes fight briefly until they realize who the real villain is."

The first part is better, with Sal Buscema handling pencils. I like Ross Andru's 70s work on ASM, but his Nova wasn't so great.

Anonymous said...

I think Andru’s strange angles and stranger anatomy were interesting and added something to Spidey. Given that he had to follow Ditko, Romita and Kane and somehow make it his own. I remember great use of backdrops.

I think he was almost blind by the end of his career and largely dependent on inkers to save him which, if they loved him like Esposito did, he was fine, but you can imagine Golden Age artist Bill Everett’s reaction at being asked to INK a comic which included, of all heroes, the Sub Mariner, created by Everett, and being presented with Andru’s double-vision pencils. It must have been a slap in the face, which is why Marvel Feature#1 looks the way it does. Legend has it a more kindly Neal Adams quietly re-drew a lot of Supes / Spidey, which when you look at it, seems to be true.


pfgavigan said...

This information is coming second hand as it is what I remember Roy Thomas saying about the Superman - Spiderman crossover. Andru was selected as penciler as he had previous experience with both characters and their primary casts (and was currently penciling Spiderman) and Conway was writing for much the same reason. Both companies had the right to make changes to the artwork and story as long as it wasn't to the detriment to the properties that they didn't own.

As I understand it, once again second or third hand information and I make no claim to a perfect . . . what do you call it, oh yah, memory, DC had Adams redraw Superman to bring the character closer to what they were doing at the time. Marvel, for some reason, had Romita Sr. redo the faces of Peter Parker and, possibly, Mary Jane Watson.

I wish to God I could have seen the original pages as Andru did them. I will also state that I have never seen what Andru's feelings on this subject were and I feel it inappropriate to speculate.

Ross Andru was never one of my favorite artists, but he was a professional who always maintained a certain standard.

In regards to Bill Everett's work on Marvel Feature 1#, I can report that, according to Roy Thomas and my . . . uh . . . memories of what he has written, it almost resulted in Stan Lee firing him.

Thomas stated that the raw pencils for that issue were just that, raw. Very liney, very sketchy. Andru never bothered to clean them up and Everett was unhappy at being given the job. As I understand it, he was told to ink the pages as best as he could.

So he did.

Every single line.

No erasing.

No tightening.

As Is.

Lee was not amused but eventually calmed down. And as Lee was big on trying to keep major creators who had fallen on rough times employed, probably would have kept Everett around under any circumstances.

To my recollection, Marvel Features 1# was the second and last time Everett was the primary inker for Andru. In my own, personal opinion they were never a good match for each other.


Anonymous said...

I remember reading this when it came out, but it never stuck in my collection. I had both parts but the Nova cover sticks in my mind more than the ASM. The non random calendar pages being the key was the kicker that made this one stick.

And sad to say, no connection that I can see to Ghost Rider or Daredevil. Wish I had the issues in hand to see for myself.

And I think I have the Superman Spider-Man thingie.........I'll go look.

The Prowler (Sometimes it's like someone took a knife baby edgy and dull and cut a six-inch valley through the middle of my soul at night I wake up with the sheets soaking wet and a freight train running through the middle of my head).

Anonymous said...

Yeah I first read Nova in an issue where he fights a Spidey foe (Sandman). When I read how he became Nova I realized he was a mixup of Spidey and GL in terms of his origin.

That issue against Sandman IIRC featured artwork by John Buscema and Joe Sinnott which is always a treat. However, I picked up another issue not too long ago with art by Carmine Infantino. Like William, I was not a fan of Infantino at this point in his career, although his early work on the Flash was OK. Here, his art seemed literally flat, almost as if he was slanted at a 45 degree angle when he drew this stuff!

- Mike 'we gotta wait 'til 2020 to get a new GL movie??' from Trinidad & Tobago.

Ace Frehley Jr said...

I thought it was wack.

pfgavigan said...

Regarding this story arch, well, at that time I was more of a fan of Nova than I was of Spiderman and only bought the web head's comic to complete the story.

I think the cover of Nova was used somewhere as a guide as to how to design a cover dealing with crossovers. Something about keeping the main characters at a similar size so to attract the maximum amount of interest. The article had six or seven roughs showing how the editor and artist put the product together.


Anonymous said...

Hi Pfgavigan - in my niavete, I assumed that artwork was completely intentional and actually really liked it. I thought it was raw and graphic and done intentionally to make the Defenders look different to other groups/comics. Little did I know. Mind you, at the time, I thought the Bullpen was an actual office where all my favourite Marvelites laughed and joked and threw paper planes at each other all day long. Hard to imagine that some of the people who are utterly linked in my mind were probably never in the same room together and some of those I imagine to be best buddies were bitter rivals.

Wayne said...

Count me in as another one that remembers the calendar page trick. Not much more than that.

Related Posts with Thumbnails