Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Single Issue Review: Strange Tales #120

Strange Tales was another one of Marvel's anthology magazines. It had originally been a horror comic, but after the debut of the Fantastic Four, the cover slot and main feature had been turned over to the Human Torch effective with Strange Tales #101.

Crossovers were frequent in the Marvel Silver Age, and the Human Torch's feature was no exception. It was perhaps inevitable that the Torch and the Iceman, both teens and representing the opposite ends of the temperature spectrum, would end up meeting. As it happens, Johnny Storm is on a date with his gal Doris on a pleasure boat around Manhattan, while Bobby takes the same ride solo. He tries to pick up Doris, but she's not interested:

As it turns out, and as shown on the cover, the ship is attacked by Captain Barracuda, and the Iceman and the Torch go into action:

Comments: An amusing little story with solid sequential art by Kirby, although I confess that Dick Ayers' inks leave me cold.

The backup feature is Dr. Strange, who had debuted only ten issues earlier in this magazine. This series had still not hit its stride and this story is a silly little adventure about a haunted house that a reporter has agreed to stay inside overnight. Predictably, he emerges much the worse for his experience:

Comments: As indicated, this is a pedestrian tale, lent some luster by Steve Ditko's dark, brooding artwork:

This series was about to lift off into the stratosphere, but there is little sign of it here.