This Week in Marvel History: October 11-October 17
See what happened at Marvel on these dates in its 80-year history!
With Marvel celebrating its 80th anniversary this year – and to scratch my own history and research itches – every week I’m digging through a whole host of important dates and details for a special segment of This Week in Marvel called… (wait for it) … This Week in Marvel History! Important comics, storylines, character appearances and moments, real world releases and special Marvel milestones—it’s all part of TWIMH! Here are just a few Marvel History notes for the week of October 11-October 17!
1977: Wendell Vaughn made his first appearance in CAPTAIN AMERICA #217 by Roy Thomas, Don Glut, and John Buscema. Wendell’s most well-known persona is Quasar, protector of the universe and best friend to the weird cosmic entity Eon. But in his first appearance, he took on the identity of Marvel Boy—the Atlas-era Super Hero—and is part of a team of S.H.I.E.L.D. Super Heroes. Texas Twister, Vamp, and Blue Streak are also on the squad—the latter two of which also debut this issue. Blue Streak? SO FEARSOME WITH HIS ROLLER SKATES.
1983: The Avengers met David Letterman and battled the frightening and furious Fabian Stankowicz in AVENGERS #239. Fabian’s a dude who just wants to be evil and famous, and he builds some gimmicks to mess with the Avengers while they’re on Late Show with David Letterman. It’s a wacky, weird, and fun issue co-starring late night legends Letterman and Paul Shaffer. It’s also part of Assistant Editors Month at Marvel, which meant the books were just a bit weirder and esoteric and let the creative teams take some more chances.
1988: CAPTAIN AMERICA #350 by Mark Gruenwald and Kieron Dwyer was the culmination of stories built up for more than a year, with Steve Rogers as the Captain, John Walker as Captain America, and the Red Skull’s manipulation of everyone. Some great Cap versus Cap action, wonderfully nasty Red Skull stuff, and a big hero moment of Steve Rogers suiting back up in the red, white, and blue for the first time in a while. It also included some great bonus pages about Cap’s allies, identities, and enemies, and the full story of Red Skull’s life, death, and resurrection by Gruenwald and John Byrne. This issue is a classic!
1965: After appearing briefly at the end of the previous issue, Black Bolt made his first full appearance in FANTASTIC FOUR #46 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. A good chunk of the issue is a big, whoppin’ battle between the Fantastic Four and the Inhumans. It’s what we call a slobberknocker!
Everyone knows about AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #33 by Stan and Steve Ditko, with Spidey overcoming incredible odds and lifting tons of rubble off his back to fight and save Aunt May. Well, issue #32 was released on this day, and is the beginning of that story.
AVENGERS #23 by Stan and Don Heck introduced Ravonna, a woman whom Kang would obsess over and proclaim his love for across time and space. She’d nearly be fatally wounded, and—look, there’s a LOT of wild Kang time-travel meshugas involved in her story—eventually take on the identity of Terminatrix, lover and enemy of Kang. It’s a WHOLE thing.
1976: MARVEL SPOTLIGHT #32 by Archie Goodwin, Sal Buscema, and Jim Mooney introduced Spider-Woman AKA Jessica Drew. She was introduced as Arachne, an agent of Hydra who was infiltrating a S.H.I.E.L.D. base to rescue her Hydra lover. But over the course of the story, she learned how Hydra manipulated her and about some of her origins through genetic manipulation by the High Evolutionary.
1982: In AVENGERS #227 by Roger Stern and Sal Buscema, Monica Rambeau (who was Captain Marvel at the time) joined the Avengers after only having her powers for a few weeks and wowing her new team members with her incredible abilities.
1970: AVENGERS #83 was the first appearance of Valkyrie! Kinda. It’s not really Val as we know her, but the Enchantress pretending to be Valkyrie because she’d messed with Brunnhilde, the leader of the Valkryior. Valkyrie’s body and essence were combined with various women for a while, and I don’t believe we actually saw Brunnhilde as Valkyrie until the early days of the Defenders a few years later.
1955: Stan Lee scripted a whole bunch of western stories for FRONTIER WESTERN #1, drawn by Gene Colan, Dick Ayers, and others. The series would run for 10 issues, until 1957.
1969: Stan Lee and Jack Kirby introduced Agatha Harkness (and her cat Ebony) in FANTASTIC FOUR #94. She was tasked by Reed and Sue to watch over young baby Franklin Richards and proved her mettle as a powerful witch and protector after taking down the Frightful Four using her magicks.
1975: Jack Kirby returned to Marvel with CAPTAIN AMERICA #193, writing and drawing the start of his epic “Madbomb” story. The King had left Marvel in 1970 and returned to produce some of his weirdest, coolest, and most influential Marvel work starting here.
Star-Lord (originally spelled “Starlord”) first appeared in MARVEL PREVIEW #4, one of Marvel’s black and white anthology magazines of the ‘70s, by Steve Englehart and Steve Gan. It’s not a typical origin story, but he’s obviously been fully integrated as part of the Marvel Universe.
1980: Denny O’Neil, John Romita Jr., Jim Mooney, and crew introduced Hydro-Man in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #212. Morrie Bench (later known more commonly as Morris, not Morrie) was a big, beefy boy working on a ship who was accidentally sent overboard when Spider-Man sprang into action to save the day when an accident happened on the ship. Unfortunately, Spidey knocked Morrie into the water while a machine went haywire in the ocean and bingo-bango – Morrie was transformed into Hydro-Man!
1951: BATTLE ACTION #1 launched, an enduring war comic by Marvel that ran for 30 issues and lasted until 1957.
1968: The original Guardians of the Galaxy—Charlie-27, Martinex, Major Vance Astro, and Yondu—debuted and joined together in MARVEL SUPER-HEROES #18 to battle the greatest evil of the year 3007: the Badoon empire. It’s a cool sci-fi story about rebellion, empires, aliens, and action by Arnold Drake and Gene Colan.
1979: UNCANNY X-MEN #129 was released, which is (for my money) one of the most important issues in Marvel Comics history. It’s part of the legendary X-MEN run by Chris Claremont and John Byrne. It’s the first official part of the Dark Phoenix Saga (though, I’d add in some earlier issues, but that’s not the point). It’s the first appearance of Emma Frost—villain, hero, teacher, leader, icon. It’s the first appearance of Kitty Pryde, one of greatest X-Men characters of all time. Plus, there’s the teases of the Hellfire Club, Sebastian Shaw, Donald Pierce, the Massachusetts Academy, and more.
2002: Sooraya Qadir, better known as Dust, first appeared in NEW X-MEN #133 by Grant Morrison and Ethan Van Sciver. Jean Grey also foiled an assassination attempt on Professor X’s life, Fantomex kept it weird, and the Imperial Guard prepped for destruction.
1978: In UNCANNY X-MEN #117, Chris Claremont and John Byrne introduced one of the deadliest and scariest mutants in X-Men history—Amahl Farouk, the Shadow King—in a story recounting some of Professor X’s backstory. Farouk was the first evil mutant Xavier faced, and the two powerful psychics battled to the death in the astral plane!
For more about these events and more Marvel news and history, tune in to This Week in Marvel every Friday wherever you get podcasts!
For more about Marvel’s 80th Anniversary, visit marvel.com/marvel80!
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