You Will Believe A Man Can Blog

You Will Believe A Man Can Blog


I’m through with all of my seminarwork, and if I ever hope to get this dissertation done, I’m gonna have to start reading superhero comics again. A LOT of superhero comics. And I’ll need your help to do it. All you have to do is egg me on (you can put egg ON me too, if you think I need it)

We’ll start right now. A Bronze Age comic at random…


Daredevil #87–May 1972–an excellent vintage…

Written by Gerry Conway, drawn by Gene Colan, inked by Tom Palmer… a classic late sixties/early seventies Marvel line-up!

And what have they wrought?

Oh yes! It’s DD vs a crazy, electrified, transgendered Statue of Liberty!

It’s a classic Colan vogue–reminiscent of the lunatic poses struck by the Sons of Satannish in Doc Strange’s pages, but that torch-blast represents the spark of new inspiration!

It’s a wonderful way to bring Marvel’s New York West… See, if Electro hadn’t impersonated the statch, we wouldn’t have had a chance to see it this issue–’cause DD’s in San Francisco! He’s moved there, in fact–or, rather, moved IN there, with former-criminal The Black Widow, whom Matt, in his lawyer-suit, had very recently gotten off (in a court of law, I mean–as Natasha keeps reminding Ivan, the chauffeur, they’re “just good friends”) Is this the first such migration (geographically AND “morally”) in Marvel lore? I think it is. But I’ll have to double-check on that…

But the real focus, this issue, is on the supervillain. Lemme tell ya, folks–Conway’s Electro is one huddled mass of neuroses! No wonder he crackles–he’s way beyond the snap and the pop.

If we are to believe this soliloquy (and who ever told you to do that?)–the man went west (in full costume?) for a break, but these panels show that it has been a psychotic one:

“Buckle your horns” indeed, “babe”–methinks Conway had been reading Dashiell Hammett–and The Glass Key in particular. He’s so right though! Hammett’s Jeff, the “big, good natured slob”, is the prototype supervillain. Motivated by pure, practically UNsublimated homoeroticism, Electro leaps into action, causing a San Fiasco earthquake that only DD and his new partner can cure.

And all of this nonsense merely provides an opportunity for our red protagonist to place his Conway-directed finger upon a very common feature of Marvel Comics in general:

Oh really? And what does this imply about Stan the Man? Plenty, I suppose. But all I can say to thee, dear reader, is: “If this be sickness–I don’t never wanna get well”

tomorrow (or sometime soon):

What about the readers, Dave?

Good Night!

p.s. don’t worry friends–Electro got away, and no one bothered to chase him–these stories aren’t about good defeating evil, remember?



  1. I just read in Wikipedia’s entry on The Amazing Spider-Man that Gary Conway was 19 years old when he commenced writing for the series. (Which was also in 1972.) I knew that Gary was young when he began on ASM – but 19 years? What an incredible and enviable way to start a career!


  2. One minute your not paying attention and you’ve already committed a faux-pas: It’s *Gerry* Conway.

    You’ve not said much about this issue’s art. It’s quite nice to like at, take for example the opening tableau with San Francisco’s typically skewed topography. Those Silver/Bronze Age artists had quite a hand in evoking interesting urban landscapes. (Ross Andru did this quite often, too.) Now wouldn’t you say that the art of your much-beloved Gene Colan isn’t a far cry from Neal Adams, who’s not quite so beloved by you – as we could read a couple of years ago on Motime? Recently I browsed through some issues of O’Neil/Adams’ Green Latern run and found them quite – how should I put it? – charming. Imagine how liberating it must have been 35 years ago to see Green Arrow trying to hammer some social consciousness into his friend’s blithe political unawareness? The art can’t be a problem, either, because, as said, Colan’s realism — at least at that point in time we’re talking about — and bold viewing angles aren’t a far cry away from Neal Adams to this layman reader (me).


  3. Franz–

    you’re quite right, I think, in pointing to the similarities in the ways in which Colan and Adams were using their pages at this time–and, of course, Tom Palmer’s strong inks create another important bridge between these two pencilers’ works…

    I’ve never been TOO crazy about the Green Lantern/Green Arrow stuff (maybe more because of Denny O’Neil, actually), but I LOVE the Thomas/Adams collaborations on X-Men and Avengers…

    My objection to Adams has never really been to his work (which I like!), it’s to his influence upon the history of superheroic art–i.e. NOT the skewed angles and film noir lighting (which, however, I would argue, Colan WAS doing first, and somewhat more interestingly), but the “realistic”, every-muscle-delineated anatomy…

    Colan certainly COULD draw this way, but just about every one of his panels (usually around the mouths–gashes of nebulousness which always threaten to rain upon the photo-realist parade of bodies he created in the 60s) proclaims a resistance to taking the path that Adams DID take… while Colan, as evidenced by things like the 70s Doc Strange run with Englehart and Tomb of Dracula, went the other way, with those off-kilter angles causing the perfectly-drawn figures to run like shaken etch-a-scketches, still epicentered upon those distinctively crooked mouths


  4. also–I feel compelled to second any praise of Ross Andru’s (and Bronze Age Marvel Comics in general’s) dark urban landscapes…

    as has been obvious since the beginning of this blog, I think–this period (i.e. 1968-1976–when Marvel was chiefly in the hands of writers like Roy Thomas, Gerry Conway, Steve Englehart, Mike Friedrich, Steve Gerber and artists like Steranko, Adams, Kane, Andru, and, pre-eminently, I would argue, Gene Colan, whose worldview really supplanted King Kirby’s–at least for a while… the Kirby template returned–with a vengeance–with Rich Buckler’s appointment to the FF, and eventually reasserted itself across the entire line–in a smoother guise that was quite different from the crazy things that the King himself did at the company during his Eternals-era return–in the mid-to-late seventies), in all of its noirish/”belated” glory, is the key to my interpretation of the Marvel metatext

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