Saturday, August 25, 2007

Daredevil and Hostess Fruit Pies in Because

It's Saturday and time for another adventure with Hostess and Daredevil. In this episode Daredevil meets with a new hero called Clymbe in, so far, his only adventure.

Marvel Two-in-One

Marvel Two-in-One was never a book that I made it a point to read regularly. Not that it wasn't good. It was. I was just not a real big fan of the Thing at the time. I liked his character of course but he didn't excite me to follow his adventures a lot. Perhaps I would have read it more if the star was the Human Torch. He was my favorite in the FF and Ben Grimm was second. Sorry Ben but that was true at the time.
Now somethings I found out while researching this was this Marvel Two-in-One fan site and that MTO really started out when the Thing was to turn Marvel Feature in to the team up magazine after he took over from Ant-Man. It started out like the others we mentioned here. Readers had always loved seeing Superman and Flash race and Flash was his first guest star in both of his team up books. Readers loved the interplay between Spider-Man and the Human Torch and they teamed up for the first three issues of Marvel Team Up. Fans of the Thing and the Hulk loved to see them fight and so his first team up in Marvel Feature #11 was the Hulk. Sales must have been through the roof as Marvel Feature was canceled and Marvel Two-In-One was released a month later. 100 issues later it seems that it was the right decision.
In reality Marvel Two-in-One barely qualifies as a team up book. From time to time he was teamed up with members of the Fantasitc Four. So it was really an FF book some months. Ben might be be teamed with Mr. Fantastic but since Sue and Johnny would make a cameo in the issue it was really like reading the FF. Then there were the rare times when the Thing was not teamed up with anyone. Yes the story was probably good but this is a team up book not a solo book.
Most of the time I read the book because of whoever he was teamed up with. My favorite was the Marvel Two-in-One annual #1. I was a big fan of the Invaders and in the Fantastic Four Annual that year the FF went back to WWII and teamed up with them. Then I saw something I never saw before or since. The story was continued. The book was only published once a year and it had a continued story!! It was really continued into Marvel Two-in-One annual #1 that was published next month but till I read that I was surprised. Ben teamed up with the Liberty Legion to finally finish the story. I also loved annual #3 when he teamed up with Nova. The story was just ok and I don't remember specifics about it but I bought it because I was a big fan of Nova.
While the book ended with issue #100, getting more respect from Marvel then DC gave to DC Presents did when it ended with #97, to me it should have ended with the story in #86. It shows that the Thing teamed up with Sandman but it wasn't really a team up. Ben was helping Reed with some heavy lifting and wanting to get out of it. Meanwhile the now assumed dead Sandman, after a battle with Hydroman, seperates himself and Hydro and they go their seperate ways. Ben gets a call that Sandman is seen having a beer in a bar. He leaves Reed and arrives at the bar to arrest Sandy. To his surprise he doesn't put up a fight. But before taking him away he and Ben have a drink and talk about life. This was what put Sandman on the road to being reformed for awhile. This is how a series should end. Sure it isn't a big bang but it is a nice neat story to end things on. So this is how I will end the last posting of Team up week.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Marvel Team Up

This is the best of all the team up comic books as far as I am concerned. It started in the early 1970's and ,just as Superman's run at a team up book started with him teaming up with the Flash for two issues, this series started by going it one better. In the first three issues Spider-man teamed up with the Human Torch in all three issues. Soon he was teaming up with the entire Marvel Universe.
Like any good team up book the fun was seeing Spider-man team up with others that normally he would not be able to meet. The oddest team up was with the entire cast of Saturday night Live. Peter and Mary Jane had tickets to the show. Backstage John Belushi got a package that contained something that the Silver Samurai wanted. So along with the cast Spider-man tried to keep it away from him and tried to figure out why he wanted it.
The first letter I ever wrote to a comic book was to Marvel Team up telling them how much I liked issue 22 when he teamed up with Hawkeye. Over the years I grew to love this book more then any other book that Marvel published. It seems odd to me that the ones that stick out the most in my mind were the ones that I didn't really like. Perhaps it is because the book was usually so well produced that there were very few bad ones.
The one issue that I was really disappointed with was issue #30. Spidey teamed up with the Falcon but at first glance inside you may never know it. They were both tackling a crime from two different angles and didn't know that the other was also working on it. They didn't really team up till the last two or three pages. They were so surprised to see each other that it gave the crooks an advantage. Still they did save the day.
Another issue that I did like had him team up with Daredevil. They trailed the villians to Coney Island that they were using the abandoned amusement park as their hideout. I remember buying it at Denham's Drug Store in Florence, Ky. I quickly read it in the car and loved it. I was impressed with how Daredevil was able to use his super sense of smell on a simple clod of dirt to determine that it was from Coney Island and that it came from a boot of one of the villains.
I was always puzzled by why they sometimes replaced Spidey as the mainstay of the book with either the Human Torch or Hulk. Actually the Hulk was easy to understand. He now had a hit show on TV and they probably were hoping he would boost sales for his issues. Torch may not be too puzzling in hindsight. He and the Thing were always popular members of the Fantastic Four and since the Thing already had his own series with Marvel Two in One (we'll talk about that tomorrow) they may have been hoping that they could spin him off into a third team up book.
Speaking of the Human Torch team ups look at issue #22 above. Notice anything different? Thor's helmet has no wings! That observation got a letter writer a no-prize. I wish I could say that it was me but it wasn't.
Over the years MTU lost its appeal to me. I am sure that the stories were just as well done as
the others I did read. When I heard the last issue in the run that I loved was going to be issue #150 I had to have it. The X-Men were, as they are now, on a hot streak and they helped the series go out with a bang.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

New Story this Weekend on 60s Shop

Kent at has informed me that staring Friday he will have an explosive 3 part story that will concern all fans of music from the 60's. Especially fans of Peter Noone and Herman's Hermits. That is all that he was able to say at this time. So if you want in on the ground floor to hear this news e-mail Kent today at to subscribe to his news letter.

DC Comics Presents

By the end of the 1970's DC Comics decided to give Superman his own Team up series again when they gave him DC Comics Presents. The series allowed them to team up the grandfather of all superheroes with nearly every DC character in their universe. While it was a treat to see him work with some JLA heroes on a one to one basis it was more fun to see him team with others that he normally would not be with. This was rarely done while he headlined the team up version of World's Finest with a different guest star each month. Those new guest stars included Blackhawk, Blue Devil, Mr. Miracle and Firestorm right before he joined the JLA.

It started out much like World's Finest did. With one of the classic races between Superman and the Flash. It was, if I remember correctly, the only continued story in the entire series. The rest were self-contained one issue stories.

The high point of the series for me was with issue #17. It was in that issue that he met up with one of my favorites at that time. It was Firestorm. Firestorm was still fairly new to the DC universe and it was a vote of confidence for his fans that he would be around for years to come when at the end of the story Superman suggested that he should join the JLA. Firestorm jumped at the chance and soon he was shown off to the JLA who elected him as part of the team. Apparently Firestorm learned from the mistake of Black Lightning who kept turning them down until the 21st century.

I didn't read every issue of the series but I enjoyed those that I did. It was a treat to see Superman with a team up book again. His run on team ups in World's Finest gave us a taste of how well he could be with this genre. For some reason the series ended with issue #97. Why wouldn't DC just let it run 3 more issues to let it finish with 100 issues. To have let it end sooner then that is a slap in the face to a legend of a superhero like Superman.

The title was brought back years later as title that paid tribute to editor Julie Schwartz. New creators remade classic tales that Julie edited. It was a tip of the hat to the great editor.