Joan Lee: The Mother of the Marvel Age

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   It’s a sad day for comics, my friends. Today Stan’s bride of 70 years, Joan Lee, passed away at the age of 93. “93?”, you may ask… “isn’t that a full and long life?” Sure it is. It’s a great run. I am reflecting on the gift that she gave all geeks, and that gift was being the impetus for bringing about the “Marvel Age” of comics.

   Stan was ready to leave his position at the company, then called “Atlas” I believe, and told his wife he had had enough. She told him to do one last story, and to tell it the way he saw fit. That cosmic nudge created a multiverse of characters, and brought a failing company back from the ashes. Not only did this ignite the creation of new heroes and titles, it also bolstered the whole industry. Even DC was feeling the pressure and some of their top characters were heading dangerously close to the chopping blocks.

   There is nothing better than competition and a great rivalry to bring a faltering industry back from the brink. We can point to Stan, or Jack, or anybody else and heap praise upon them… and we wouldn’t be wrong. BUT, if we drill down deeper we can find that Marvel Universe “Big Bang” moment in the simple words of encouragement of Joan Lee.

   Without Joan, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. The world of geekdom would probably look far different than it does now.

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   She was the Mother of the Marvel Age. She shall be missed.

   Thank you, Joan.

So You Want An Epic Fantastic Four? We Got That!

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Check out John Byrne’s run on The Fantastic Four from the 80’s.

   If you really want a good cinematic version of the Fantastic Four, you have to do yourself a huge favor and pick up the entire John Byrne run on the book. It spans issues #232 – #295, from July 1981 – October 1986. This is a real treat and it cements Mr. Byrne’s legendary role as both an artist and writer of epic comics.

By the Eye of Agamotto! Strange Days, Indeed

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Obviously designed by a fan of the old Flash Gordon serials of the 1930's.
Obviously designed by a fan of the old Flash Gordon serials of the 1930’s.

   Dr. Strange was a 1978 TV film pilot based on the Marvel’s Dr. Stephen Strange, created by Steve Ditko. Directed by Philip DeGuere, authored by him as well, it was specifically written for television. It seems that the production suffered from being over conservative and under funded.  Stan Lee served as a consultant on the film, but that couldn’t save this proposed pilot for a series. In a day and age where VFX were not up to snuff (until one George Lucas pushed them beyond their limits), and removing the more “comic booky” elements from the property.  The show aired on 6 Sept, 1978 on CBS. That network also aired The Amazing Spider-Man and The Incredible Hulk. Out of the three, only the Hulk proved to have any staying power.

   I remember staying up to watch Dr. Strange but it failed to hold my interest. I tried watching it again, and it failed to hold my interest. Some may still like it and there is nothing wrong with that. To each their own. It didn’t/doesn’t work for me. Having said this, I dig the character’s concept and a few executions of this concept really worked for me in the books. I think Ditko’s version was the best but I am biased 😉

   So now the new movie is going to be made with Benedict Cumberbatch as Stephen Strange. I cannot wait to see what crazy shit Marvel Studios has in store for us!