Wednesday, July 16, 2014


's funny, but back when Marvel was thrusting themselves full-force into the Bronze Age with a slew of new storylines rotating around a cartload of pseudo if not anti heroes like Dracula, Ghost Rider and Werewolf by Night, I was more intent on keeping up with Marvel's Silver Age survivors like the Fantastic Four and Hulk. Well, I will admit that I was also a humongous fan of their scifi and horror reprints via the likes of MONSTERS ON THE PROWL and CREATURES ON THE LOOSE. Even the occasional ARCHIE or kiddie comics swipe being reprinted was fine by moi, but the new 'uns were just too weirdoid for this thirteen-year-old even if they were delineated in that classoid Marvel style that tried so desperately to ape past Jack Kirby accomplishments. Just didn't jibe with my own sense of tee-vee rerun fun ranch house kultur which, even at that stage in the game, were firmly rooted in late-fifties/early-sixties fun 'n jamz which were still lingering around the ranch houses and tee-vee playrooms I occupied!

I mean, who wanted to read about guys on motorcycles with flamin' skulls or big lumps of humanoid vegetation when they could read about green muscular men and messed up teenagers who could burst into flames, y'know??? That seemed more in line with my way of thinking, and a dozen subscriptions to SON OF SATAN couldn't make me think one iota otherwise!

But being the kinda guy who certainly wonders what he was missing out on when he missed out on these early-seventies titles, I decided to snatch up this repackaging of the early Man-Thing stories considering how the guy was actually a reincarnation (more or less!) of the Golden Age great the Heap, who in fact was a precursor to the Hulk even if the trajectory on that series certainly went off in a quite different direction!

The collection starts off with a good enough origin story from the infamous SAVAGE TALES (the first comic magazines rated "M"!) complete with a conniving if sexoid see-through nightie and more cleavage than a 600-pound Italian, and after that its on to various early appearances where the thing happens to wander about the swamplands without a semblance of intellect (he being driven by emotion and repulsed by fear!) getting into various adventures with everyone from the local redneck townfolk to some wandering hippoids (and guess where the sympathies lie!) in a way that reflects the old Heap stories updated. (Well, at least updated for the new youth clientele who used to stare at single panels from Dr. Strange under the influence of whatever psychedelics they could get their mitts on.)

And with all of the references to the environment to energy crisis you can bet these stories are just as quaint as those Marvel sagas from ten years earlier with their Cold War and space exploration themes, but as usual you readers couldn't care one bit what with the boss art and that Marvel style that was so revolutionary that it took DC about eight years to even remotely copy it.

Some bad foreshadowing of future Marvel trends that shied me away from the comic book form but good (such as the original appearance of Howard the Duck, Marvel's shark-jumping moment if I do say so myself) and there were times where I had to grab a self-produced Steve Ditko comic if only to cleanse my system after the standard anti-capitalism rant being spewed forth from an arm of the Kinney Corporation. But at least the Marvel style hadn't devolved to the point where you needed a scorecard to figure out who was what with all of the crossovers and character transfiguration going on, and maybe if you slip some Yes on the turntable, do a li'l "something" and settle back you too can emulate the early/mid-seventies teenbo experience at least before your mind turns to polenta, and hold the tomato sauce willya?

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