Friday, June 10, 2016

Doug: Here's a fun drill for Marvelites of all ages. About a week and a half ago one of our Twitter friends was asking folks to mark time by events within the pages of Earth's Mightiest Heroes -- specifically, the Avengers line-up when you started reading the book. So many thanks to Greg A. (@garaujo1) for today's post idea.

Doug: For this guy, my entry to the Avengers on an ongoing basis was around #119-120: the adventure against the Collector in Rutland, Vermont and then on into the Zodiac arc. You can see from the cover below (Jazzy Johnny Romita had a hand in that one, ya think?) that our Avengers at the time were Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, the Black Panther, the Vision, the Scarlet Witch, and Mantis and the Swordsman. That's a great line-up, certainly one of the best in the history of the team.

Karen: That's a powerhouse line-up, and very similar to my first team of Assemblers, from way back in issue #92. Anyone who's been around here for more than a few months knows that I came aboard the Marvel train with the Kree-Skrull War and never shut up about how great it is. But my first exposure to the Avengers had a team divided: there was the active team composed of the later generations of Avengers, namely the Scarlet Witch, her brother Quicksilver, their comrade Clint Barton, once Hawkeye, now playing the role of Goliath, and the Vision. The Big Three -Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor -show up at the end of the issue to disband the team -although they were really Skrulls posing as those heroes. But by the next issue the real McCoys would be back, along with a brief visit from Ant-Man. So I always think of the Big Three, plus the Vision, and Wanda, as mainstays.

Martinex1: As I've mentioned before, at a young age my cousin gave me a box of various comics and my favorites amongst those were a smattering of Avengers books ranging intermittently from Avengers #45 to Avengers #91. So I received in that gift a pretty broad view of the team's assembled heroes. My favorite though was the team gathered in the battle with Grandmaster and Kang in issues #69 to #71. The final page of that arc had a marvelous Sal Buscema pin-up that defined the team for me; it included the big three plus Vision, Clint-Goliath, Yellowjacket, Wasp, Black Knight, and the Black Panther. When I purchased my first Avengers comic with my own money, it was at the start of the Nefaria Saga at issue #164. Amazingly the team had not changed much despite the big gap in issues. The main difference was that the Scarlet Witch and the Beast were in, but Clint and the Black Knight were absent. So those were essentially my Avengers! I do have to say though that I thoroughly enjoyed the second kooky quartet that Karen mentioned of Goliath, Vision, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver; their battle with Brainchild in issue #86 remains one of my guilty pleasures in following the team.

My introductory Avengers lineup is quite similar to Doug's, as we joined the Assemblers during the same era. Specifically, I began with issue # 127, the crossover with the Inhumans and the Fantastic Four. Actually, I bought the issue because of the Fantastic Four appearance, and was immediately hooked (and why not -- what a cast of characters, and Ultron to boot!). So that would be Thor, Iron Man, Wanda and the Vision, Mantis and the Swordsman. Honorable mention goes to the Beast, who joined shortly thereafter, and became my favorite Avenger.


Rip Jagger said...

I'm the old guy here since my debut Avengers team was arguably the weakest (in power terms) ever. When I jumped on board the Black Panther was becoming the fourth member along with Hawkeye, Wasp, and Goliath. Soon we'd get Cap back and the Vision and many more, but for a few issues it was a small tight team.

Rip Off

Doug said...

And Rip, I have to give Marvel all the credit for taking those chances. Before modern times, when anyone in the MU could be an Avenger, the book was quite character-driven, with creators searching for the right mix of personality and powerset. The first 200 issues of the book are just plain fun and interesting because of that.


William said...

The first Avengers comic I can ever really remember reading was #159 where they fought Graviton.

I read it in one of my middle school English classes. We would sometimes have a free reading period and there were a bunch of magazines and comics and such laying on a back table and we could pick something to read. Among those items was a copy of Avengers 159 which I snatched up and devoured with delight.

I liked it enough that I decided that I should start reading Avengers on a regular basis, and at my next opportunity I bought the latest issue, which was Avengers #161 (the first chapter in the "Bride of Ultron" saga). I pretty much picked up every issue from then on until around #200 when the quality of the art and storytelling started to decline in my eyes.

So for me, the ultimate Avengers line-up includes any combination of the following:

Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Vision, Scarlet Witch, Wonder Man, The Beast, Hawkeye, Black Panther, Yellowjacket, and Wasp.

Those are all the essential Avengers IMO.

Eric said...

Somewhat of a cheat here. My first exposure to the Avengers was Marvel Super Action 22 which was a reprint of Avengers 61. Black Panther, Hawkeye and the Vision. Stunning John Buscema art and Roy Thomas introduced me to the poetry of Robert Frost. Then I read Avengers 211. Quite a contrast.

Rick said...

My first Avengers comic off the newsstands was #114. Right before the Avengers/Defenders War. Pure enjoyment!

Doug said...

That's cool, Eric! I wondered when we'd get a comment about Marvel Triple Action. Around the same time that I began buying Avengers regularly, I was also reading MTA, and the team was the Kooky Quartet plus Goliath and the Wasp. Great times...


david_b said...

Amazingly, Doug, I came in that 'Summer of '73'. So my first line-up was the same as yours.., with Mantis and Swordsman. I feel I was certainly spoiled at that time, along with the concurrent MTA reprints.

The line-up (at that time) felt like it was at a high watermark with nice writing suspense and team dynamics ala Steve Englehart, interesting subplots like tuffle against another (temporarily) over-strengthed Defenders (with the background Hawkeye-Swordsman loyalties dilemma noticed..), and of course, everyone's favorite 'This One'.

This made it hard for me to like/accept Hank McCoy coming in because it meant a departure from the tense, yet stoic spirit Englehart had built and I had enjoyed so much.

Ahhh, well. It was my welcome to the new world of line-up changes.

J.A. Morris said...

I can't recall exactly which Avengers issue was the first I owned. But the first lineup I remember was around 1979-80, when the team consisted of Vision, Wanda, Cap, Iron Man, Beast, Wasp and Wonder Man. It was a decent team, with 2 original Avengers (I don't count Cap as an "original" Avenger) and a few who joined in the 70s.

Graham said...

My first line-up came via the Avengers reprints in Marvel Triple Action, with Captain America, Hawkeye, Quicksilver, the Scarlet Witch, Goliath, and the winsome Wasp. I tried to get on board with the Avengers, but it was midway through the Celestial Madonna arc and with me being a completist, I couldn't get on the train halfway to the destination, which is one reason it took me so long to go Marvel....all the multi-part stories. I've since received counseling and feel much better. I finally did pick it up for good with Cap, Thor, Iron Man, Beast, Scarlet Witch, Vision, Yellowjacket, the Wasp, and Moondragon around the beginning of the George Perez era.

Anonymous said...

Well, I didn't actually read Avengers as a kid, so I don't have a "classic lineup" exactly...though the one Avengers issue I remember reading back in the late 70s was #177, where Korvac kills I guess my first lineup included pretty much everyone, plus Captain Marvel and the Guardians of the Galaxy!

Having read plenty of Avengers since then, my favourite lineup was when Beast was there (which was a long time), though my favourite STORIES were probably when Stern was writing.

Mike Wilson

Edo Bosnar said...

The first issue I recall having is #149, the last part of the Serpent Crown saga, so my first line-up consisted of some heavy-hitters: Cap, Iron Man, Thor, Scarlet Witch and Vision, as well as Beast and Hellcat. That's why I always think of Beast as a natural fit for them, and I've always had a soft spot for Hellcat as well.

Doug said...

Edo --

You came in at a good time... just as Moondragon was leaving! Man, her scene in #s 150-151 where she tells Patsy that she's not ready to be an Avenger, I'll teach you, blah blah blah. You folks who hated Mantis? Moondragon was far more unlikable for me. Good riddance, I say!


BobC said...

I grew up on Marvel Triple Action! Having missed the 60's, I was so happy that I could actually read Avengers stories that preceded what I was (then) currently reading.

I don't remember specific issues as much as I remember certain scenes. RE: Mantis--I loved to "hate" her. Remember when Wanda finally got it through her thick skull that Mantis was after the Vision and there was that one scene where Wanda just straightened that red thingee on her head--and the caption read something like "The Scarlet Witch is an Avenger, and Avengers fight for what they want!!" I was like holy crap! The fur is gonna fly! The tension between those two was pretty intense. Remember when SW brought down that meteorite on the Kangbot, almost killing Mantis? Mantis whined that the meteorite could not have struck any closer than it had without killing her "comrade." I was thinking, yeah, Wanda needs to work on her aim a bit! Hee hee! Ahhh--the good old days.

Anonymous said...

Doug, this is a great topic. You could do it with any comic (what era rather than what line up), but as the Avengers had continuous changes with practically no troughs for the first 199 issues, it is the ideal candidate.

Over here in the UK, we had weekly reprints and sporadic importation of the originals, so my first line up was the same as Martinex’s – it was the classic Avengers vs Invaders fight. Yellowjacket vs the Submariner. Hmmm. Good luck, Hank.

You know, at the inception of the MCU, there must have been a moment there where Kevin Feige went ‘oh man, they’ve sold the rights to all the good stuff… the Fantastic Four, the Silver Surfer, Spider Man, Wolverine, Xmen, the Hulk…..what’s left? Hey, wait a minute….”


Humanbelly said...

Ohhhh how I've missed this topic! (A true personal favorite from another Avengers-centric site--) I've always preferred to call this the Avengers team that one patterns on, like a baby chick, y'know?

Ha--"straightened that red thingee on her head"-- I'm lovin' that description, BobC. Valentine Card? Picture frame??

My First Team (and unabashedly favorite run by far) was in that self-same huge cachet that I've mentioned a number of times: the big, read-and-cast-aside stash from my childhood buddy Bryan-- all belonging to his two older brothers. The Avengers were my 2nd-favorite run in that bunch. It was initially comprised of issues #58-63,65, and 66. And ish #57 made it into the bunch the 2nd time I borrowed everything. It's an astonishingly cluttered run of issues, with huge plot upheavals, major line-up changes, and fantastic side-track personal-growth issues (Vision, Hank & Jan, Black Panther, Hawkeye/Goliath)--- with different artists contributing, to boot (John Buscema, Gene Colan, Barry Smith). Within that stretch, it is made perfectly and appealingly clear that there are "old" official Avengers, and more current "on-duty" Avengers. And part of the appeal is that obvious informal mingling of the two. So "my Avengers" have a kind of background presence of Cap, Iron Man & Thor, while in the forefront are Vision, Black Panther, Hank (as Goliath, and then Yellowjacket) and Jan, Clint (as Hawkeye, and then Goliath), and a touch of the Black Knight. It was a breathless stretch, with so much story happening every single month, and every single character (even a guest-starring Dr Strange) was compelling and written with surprising depth and clarity.

I always rank it, of course, as one of the greatest runs of all time. So even the best of other #MyTeams will have trouble knocking it off the top o' the mountain.


Anonymous said...

Hmm my first Avengers lineup is similar to Karen's - the Big 3 along with Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, Hawkeye, Goliath and of course Vision!

- Mike 'lines up for KFC next' from Trinidad & Tobago.

BobC said...

HB--Holy crap! My story is very similar to yours! I had a friend in the 3rd grade named Francis--this was around 1972. He was my same age but had an older brother who collected comic books. I don't think I even knew what comics were at the time, but I vividly recall Francis showing me his brother's Avengers comics. These comics were from the Golden Age of John Buscema and Tom Palmer and I swear to God that artwork inspired me to become an artist/writer for life. Two scenes that got me all excited and left a huge mark in my little head were the one of the Vision just descending through a street, intangible (yup--that's how I learned what that word meant) and the second was one panel of Thor and Black Panther walking together along a NYC street (during the Arkon story). I thought, who are these people? They look so powerful and awesome!! To this day I am so thankful for having had that experience.

RE: the red "thingee" on Wanda's head. My little brother said it looked like she had a baggie on her head. I thought that was funny! But today I am going to go out on a limb and say it probably was just a headpiece that was supposed to look like a giant "W," in the same way the Black Widow felt the need to have a belt buckle and ear-rings that had "BW" on them! Talk about over advertising!

dbutler16 said...

Avengers #161, so my lineup is Captain America, Iron Man, Wasp, Vision, Scarlet Witch, Beast, Wonder Man, and the Black Ant-Man, as the villain!

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