Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Classics - Tales of Suspense #88

This issue of Tales of Suspense absolutely shocked me when it was published in 1966.

It wasn't because of the stories. Both written by Stan Lee, they were pretty standard superhero fare. The opening story has Iron Man fighting to save Pepper Potts from the Mole Man (on loan from the Fantastic Four). The second story has Captain America fighting Power Man, the Swordsman and a mysterious opponent in an action fest.

The artist isn't the issue on the Iron Man story - it features lovely, flowing and dynamic pencils by Gene Colan.

The shock was in the artist on Captain America. The 10-page story was penciled and inked by the living legend, Gil Kane.

But in 1966 - as far as 10-year-old Chuck knew - Gil had only drawn for DC Comics, turning in iconic work on Green Lantern and the Atom, among others. I was shocked that a DC artist would be working at Marvel. (And yes, I know now that Gene Colan did the same thing - hiding for a while under the Adam Austin byline - but I didn't know he had worked at DC before Marvel.)

The idea of writers or artists jumping between companies was alien to me - Marvel had always been Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko and Don Heck, while DC had always been Gil Kane, Carmine Infantino, Mike Sekowsky and Joe Kubert.

But this was just the start of a seemingly never-ending line of writers and artists jumping back and forth between the two companies. It's old hat now, but at the time, it was a shock.

The good news was, it helped prepare fans for the biggest shock - when Kirby left Marvel and moved to DC Comics.

It made the companies seem a bit less stable - but it also kept a flow of new ideas and new energies crackling, too - so despite my initial misgivings, I eventually realized that it was good trend.

But it took some time to adjust to it.

Grade: B


1 comment:

James said...

I remember having the same reaction. The idea of a "DC" artist working for Marvel just freaked me out. I felt the same when I saw the Harvey reprint of Fighting American. I had no concept yet of reprints (this was a couple of years before Marvel Collectors Items Classics and Marvel Tales) so I assumed Jack Kirby was also working for Harvey. That notion blew my 11 year old mind!