Monday, November 30, 2009

Trivia Quiz #37: Solve the Puzzle Cover

I've talked a bit in the past about Mort Weisinger's fondness for what I call puzzle covers. These covers show something bizarre and unexpected, which he hoped would compel the kid to at least take the magazine off the rack and flip through it to find out why the event depicted on the front was taking place. Here's your opportunity to match wits with Mort:

1. Why is this happening?

a. It's a plot to fool some aliens
b. It's the result of Red Kryptonite
c. It's actually a Bizarro Supergirl
d. It's a plot to fool some crooks

2. Why is this happening?

a. It's a plot to fool some aliens
b. It's an effect caused by a comet
c. It's an effect of Red Kryptonite
d. It's actually Bizarro Superman

3. Why is this happening?

a. It's a plot to fool some aliens
b. It's a plot to increase the Daily Planet's circulation
c. It's a plot to fool some crooks
d. It's an effort to save Superman's secret identity

4. Why is this happening?

a. It's a plot by Mr Mxyzptlk
b. Superman really likes Jimmy's guitar licks
c. It's an effect of Red Kryptonite
d. It's a scheme by a saboteur

5. Why is this happening?

a. It's a plot by Mr Mxyzptlk
b. Jimmy really has a secret super-punch
c. It's a plot to fool some crooks
d. It's an effect of Red Kryptonite

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Welcome to the End of My Life

Or, I started another blog. This one's called Nothing But Batman, and you can probably guess the topic. I wanted to talk about all eras of Batman and with the Silver Age focus of this blog I thought it was only fair to my readers to put the discussion of the Caped Crusader and his buddies over there. Hope you enjoy it!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Unknown Spiderman Story

Ross Andru pencilled a bunch of Spiderman stories in the 1970s, starting with ASM #125 (October 1975). But did you know that he also drew one Spiderman story in 1968? Well, to be honest with you, neither did I until I stumbled across this issue in a used bookstore around 1976. Stan explains the circumstances here:

That Stan didn't want to burden Andru with the plot threads of the Spiderman series is pretty obvious. Nothing in the story places it tightly in any continuity of the time; this is a story that could be slotted in anywhere from about ASM 60-120 and nobody would notice that it was out of place. Harry and Peter are roomies, and Gwen is his girlfriend; that's about all we know.

We get the usual megalomaniac introduction:

Hey, I'll test my powers against Spidey and see if I'm as great as I think. He has some sort of mental ability to give Peter major-league headaches, and I mean that literally, not figuratively:

Fortunately, the crooks that Spidey has been following decide that discretion is the better part of valor, after a few efforts at killing off the wall-crawler, so he's able to survive the experience.

We learn a little about the villain of the piece. He had shown great ESP ability, and became a researcher on the topic. He considers contacting Dr Strange and the Ancient One, but decides they would be too difficult to locate (never mind that many people went to Dr Strange's Greenwich Village pad with their problems). He traveled to Africa, to learn juju, the art of taking control of an enemy's mind. Now he's determined to make the entire world fear the power of the Sorcerer (as he dubs himself). In an odd bit, he sends off a voodoo doll addressed to Spiderman, with this comment:

Meanwhile, Peter's headaches are so bad, that he sends for Dr Bromwell, who can find nothing medically wrong with him. So Pete skips out on a double date with Gwen and Harry and MJ. But later he feels an odd compulsion:

He arrives as Mardi Gras is getting into full swing, but finds himself entering a warehouse, where his destiny awaits:

Say what? What was the point of sending Spidey down to New Orleans to face an android locked in a crate? He turns out to be something like the Sandman, able to turn himself soft or hard at will. So we get pages of them fighting, with Peter having to deal with his headaches at the same time.

In the meantime, the Post Office has sent back the package as undeliverable, and the postman rings once:

Causing a deadly feedback which kills the Sorcerer and renders his android harmless.

Comments: Yechhhh! The story makes little sense. We can understand how the Sorcerer is able to affect Spiderman with his mental powers, but where did he come up with the android? Did he just buy it at Androids 'R' Us? The idea of sending a package to Spiderman seems weird, as well, and if the object was to let the police know that he had killed Spidey, wouldn't leaving a return address on the object be a little too good a clue as to where to find him?

Friday, November 27, 2009

Fantastic Four Fridays: Let The Supervillain Team-Ups Begin!

Supervillain team-ups had been rare in the DC Golden Age. Batman had two that I'm aware of; in Batman #2, The Joker Meets the Catwoman was published. However, it was not really a team-up as such, just a story with two different villains. Then, in Batman #25, came Knights of Knavery, featuring the Joker and the Penguin. This was a real supervillain team-up; oddly it was not repeated. Superman #77 had a story featuring Luthor, the Toyman and the Prankster, and of course there were several supervillain team-up stories in All-Star Comics tales of the Justice Society of America. The famed Flash of Two Worlds (published exactly one year before FF #6) had featured the talents of the Fiddler, the Shade, and the Thinker.

So team-ups were not unheard of, but they were uncommon. Of course, Marvel changed all that. As the story begins, the FF is reading their fan mail. Reed discovers that a young fan is recuperating in a hospital nearby, and stretches over to meet him. This gives Stan the opportunity to explain how Mr Fantastic's uniform elongates with him (some mumbo-jumbo about unstable molecules).

The fan mail segment also features the first mention of the Yancy Street Gang, a long-running gag in the series. As you can see, they specialized in tormenting the Thing:

This gives Ben the opportunity to muse that he longs for a villain worthy of his great strength, like Dr Doom or the Sub-Mariner. And speaking of that duo, Dr Doom is, at the same time, encountering Subby:

Doom is determined to goad the Sub-Mariner into resuming his campaign against the surface world:

We also learn that the Sub-Mariner is still sweet on Sue, and that his feelings for her are returned:

But almost at that moment, Namor enters their quarters, having flown through an open window. We know from an earlier scene that Namor is carrying a device that Dr Doom will be able to use to pull virtually anything on Earth to him, and that anything in this case is the entire Baxter Building:

But this is a double-cross on the Sub-Mariner, too, as we learn here:

Dr Doom tugs them out into space, apparently intending to suffocate them. The FF put on a bunch of fishbowls (although there are no apparent oxygen tanks attached to them), as does Subby. The Torch is unable to fly, and Mr Fantastic finds that the cold of space reduces his stretching power. Ben's strength and Sue's invisibility are useless. So what can be done?

Well, not to spoil the drama, but the Sub-Mariner swims around in a pool of water for a bit, then makes a leap through a meteor shower to Doom's ship. Doom tries to electrocute him, but:

In his haste to escape, Doom hitches a ride on a passing meteor, to his (apparent) death in the vastness of space. The Sub-Mariner returns the Baxter Building to its original position. Namor flies off in Doom's craft, leaving the FF in something of an awkward position:

Comments: Something of an offbeat story; the FF only survives because one of the "villains" prevents the other villain from winning. This became a common theme in the Marvel team-ups.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

I have remarked in the past how secular comics seemed to be in the Silver Age, and this was not exclusive to the Christmas season. Thanksgiving stories also were reduced quite substantially. According to the GCD, there were 16 stories published between 1940 and 1954 with the word "Thanksgiving" in the title, while from 1955-1970, there were only 8 such stories (and one of those was a reprint). I have already remarked on one of those stories, the Atomic Knights tale, Thanksgiving 1990. Here's another, from ACG's Forbidden Worlds #73, which is famous for another reason (which I'll give at the end of the post):

Harry was an ordinary guy with work pressures and not enough money to buy the things he would like for his family.

As he sits there on the park bench, he wishes that his financial problems would end. And:

Well, hey, a little idol, let's ask it for money. And a sackful of gold coins ($5,000 worth) appears in front of him. So he takes it to the racetrack, and asks the idol which horse to bet on. Sure enough, his horse comes in at 20-1 and now he's got $100,000! But you can see trouble ahead:

When his father confronts him over his changed behavior, he decides to throw away the idol. But it doesn't work; when he gets home the idol has magically returned to his pocket. So he sells his rental property and invests in the stock market, which (thanks to the idol's advice) does spectacularly well for him. But as he continues to pursue wealth:

He partners up with another businessman, and they agree that if either dies, the other will be able to buy back his share of the business. But inevitably, the partner becomes an annoyance to Harry and:

Your wish is the idol's command, and the next thing Harry knows, his partner has fallen out the window to his death. He's horrified but again finds himself unable to rid himself of the idol, or his pathological greed. His son is lonely, so he buys the boy a horse. But tragedy strikes as the boy, inexperienced at riding, is killed. His wife leaves him, and even his father, who had always expressed pride in his son:

Devastated, Harry comes to a critical revelation:

And sure enough, the idol disappears. Harry leaves his magnificent estate behind, and wanders back to his old neighborhood. He sees boys playing and realizes that if he had not found that idol, his son would be out there with them. And then suddenly, there's Bobbie, running up to hug him! And his wife, and his dad, who found the Thanksgiving turkey on the park bench. Yep, somehow Harry's been transported back to the start of the story.

Comments: Wow, what a terrific story! I confess, I got about halfway through it and wondered if it was going to be too depressing for a holiday post. Stories like these, almost certainly from the fertile mind of Richard Hughes (who wrote and edited almost single-handedly the entire ACG line of comics) are why I consider American Comics Group to be the great unknown publisher of the Silver Age.

Happy Thanksgiving Day, everybody!

Why is Forbidden Worlds #73 famous (and the single most valuable comic ACG published in the Silver Age)? It's because of this story:

Yep, it's the first appearance of Herbie Popnecker, considered by many to be the greatest character of the ACG line.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Dilemma of Superboy

I've talked about the problem that DC faced with Superboy in the past. Essentially you've got a character whose adventures are happening roughly 10-12 years in the past; how do you avoid making him seem dull and behind the times? How can he be relevant to the youth of the 1960s and 1970s while constantly living with the trends of a decade earlier?

The problem was compounded by his earthly parents, Jonathan and Martha Kent. They were always portrayed as an elderly couple, childless, who happily adopted the baby Kal-El as the son they'd always wanted. But most children did not have elderly parents unless they (the kids) were tail-enders, late surprises in a mature family.

So in Superboy #145, DC decided to do something about it. The Kents would be changed to a couple more fitting with DC's target demographic's parents, in their mid-late 30s. And in a slap at their readers they didn't even hide their reasoning. They postulated a world which waited eagerly for new instalments of a fictional character named Superboy. But (as you probably guessed) this world was not our own, since Superboy had "real" adventures there. No, it was a world in space where an unscrupulous producer was filming Superboy's adventures and selling them as dramatic entertainment.

But the producer had the same problem DC had:

Well, of course the producer hits on the idea of making the Kents look younger, thereby bailing himself (and DC) out of the jam. He manages to send a bottle of youth elixir to the Kent's well, which results in them becoming younger. Although this is of course a boon in some ways, they worry that people will suspect a connection to Superboy and thus deduce his identity. So they arrange for a group of the Kents' oldster friends to come to a party where they can also enjoy the benefits of rejuvenation. Superboy fakes a comet passing by which is credited with the amazing transformation:

The results are a nice bit in an otherwise transparent attempt to make a major change to a significant character in the DC mythos. More important, it created just as many problems as it solved. Since the beginning of Superman, Clark Kent had never had a family as a young newsman in Metropolis. We never (almost literally never) saw his parents until the advent of the Superboy series; it was certainly understood that Superman had grown up as Clark Kent with an elderly couple, who had died.

A few years prior to this story, DC had finally created the story where the Kents passed away, in The Last Days of Ma and Pa Kent. While vacationing in the Caribbean, the couple had found a buried chest. Superboy humors their desire to go back 250 years in time to see the chest initially being buried.

Later, when they become ill, he mistakenly believes it's from eating a fruit they found in the past, but actually it was a virus contained in the treasure chest, so it wasn't Superboy's fault.

What was Superboy's fault was that they died as old folks, and now we were being encouraged to believe that they could not have been old. So when DC reprinted the story in Superboy #165, they actually redrew the artwork to make it look like the Kents were still fairly young:

But of course this actually makes the tragedy of their deaths even sadder.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Flash #133

Strangest feeling, you say? You might look down at your feet and notice that you are being turned into a puppet!

As the story begins a very successful governor is finishing out his term, but he has one last thing to do. Under the influence of a beam from the prison created by Abra Kadabra, the governor pardons the malevolent magician. But surprisingly, Abra's intentions are not to resume his life of crime:

And how does he achieve his desire of fame and fortune? By putting on a puppet show that becomes all the rage. Iris drags Barry along:

And Barry is not pleased when he sees the act:

So Barry decides that the way to protect his reputation is to wage a one-man war against crime:

And before long, Abra Kadabra's former boffo show is bombing:

And in retaliation, Kadabra turns Flash into a puppet, as shown on the cover. Worse still, he incorporates the real Scarlet Speedster into his act, to complete the humiliation:

But Abra made one critical error; while he turned the rest of the Flash into wood, he left his brain intact. So Barry uses his control over his brain to send "spare" molecules down into the rest of his body, filling out enough so that he can actually walk under his own power. He gets revenge on Captain Creampuff and then decks Abra Kadabra. But how can he restore himself to normal? Simple, just reverse the polarity:

Comments: A pretty wacky tale, although as usual the Infantino and Giella artwork makes up for the weakness of the script.

The backup story in this issue is the terrific Secret of the Handicapped Boys, which I reviewed awhile ago.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Showcase Presents Reprint List

I needed this list myself, so I thought it might be useful for my readers as well. Here is a list of all the DC Showcase Presents volumes and the issues/stories they reprint:

Adam Strange V1: Showcase 17-19, Mystery In Space 53-84 (Adam Strange stories only).

Ambush Bug V1: DC Comics Presents 52, 59, 81, Supergirl 16, Secret Origins 48, Action Comics 560, 563, 465, Ambush Bug 1-4, Son of Ambush Bug 1-6, Ambush Bug Stocking Stuffer 1, and Ambush Bug Nothing Special 1.

Aquaman V1: Adventure 260-280, 282, 284 and Detective 293-300, Lois Lane #12, Jimmy Olsen #55, World's Finest 125-129, (Aquaman stories only) Showcase 30-33, Aquaman 1-6.

Aquaman V2: Aquaman 7-23, World's Finest 130-133, 135, 137, 139 (Aquaman stories only) and Brave & Bold 51.

Aquaman V3: Aquaman 24-39, Brave & Bold 73, Jimmy Olsen 115 (Aquaman story only).

Atom V1: Showcase 34-36, and Atom 1-17.

Atom V2: Atom 18-38, Atom-Hawkman 39-45 (Atom stories only).

Batgirl, V1: Detective Comics #359, 363, 369, 371, 384, 385, 388, 389, 392, 393, 396, 397, 400, 401, 404, 405-424, Batman #197, Adventure Comics #381, World's Finest Comics #169 and 176, The Brave and The Bold #78, Justice League of America #60 and Superman #268 and 279.

Batlash: Showcase 76, Batlash 1-7, DC Special Series 16, Jonah Hex 49, 51-52.

Batman and the Outsiders: Batman and the Outsiders 1-19, Brave & Bold 200, New Teen Titans #16.

Batman V1: Detective Comics 327-342 (Batman stories only) and Batman 164-174.

Batman V2: Batman 175-188 (not including annuals 176, 182, 185 and 187) and Detective 343-358 (Batman stories only).

Batman V3: Detective 359-375 (Batman stories only), Batman 189-192, 194-198 and 199-201.

Batman V4: Batman 202-215, Detective 376-390 (Batman stories only).

Blackhawk V1: Blackhawk 108-127.

Booster Gold: Booster Gold 1-25, Action Comics 594.

Brave & Bold Batman Team-Ups V1: Brave & Bold 59, 64, 67, 69-71 and 74-87.

Brave & Bold Batman Team-Ups V2: Brave & Bold 88-109.

Brave & Bold Batman Team-Ups V3: Brave & Bold 109-134 (109 overlap?)

Challengers of the Unknown V1: Showcase 6, 7, 11 and 12, and Challengers of the Unknown 1-18.

Challengers of the Unknown V2: Challengers of the Unknown 18-37 (18 overlap?).

DC Comics Presents Superman Team-ups: DC Comics Presents 1-26.

Doom Patrol V1: My Greatest Adventure 80-85, Doom Patrol 86-101, and Challengers of the Unknown 48.

Eclipso: House of Secrets 61-80 (Eclipso stories only).

Elongated Man: Flash #112, 115, 119, 124, 130, 134, 138 and Detective Comics 327-371 (Elongated Man stories only).

Enemy Ace: Our Army At War 151, 153, 155, Showcase 57-57, Star Spangled War Stories 138-152, 158, 181-183, 200, Detective Comics #404, Men At War 1-3, 8-10, 12-14, 19-20, Unknown Soldier 252-253, 260-261, 265-267 and DC Special 26.

Flash V1: Stories not specified, but presumed to include Showcase 4, 8, 13-14, and Flash 105-119.

Flash V2: Flash 120-140.

Flash V3: Flash 141-161.

Green Arrow V1: Adventure 250-266, 268-269 (Green Arrow stories only), Brave & Bold 50, 71, 85, Justice League of America 4, and World's Finest 95-140 (Green Arrow stories only).

Green Lantern V1: Showcase 22-24 and Green Lantern 1-17.

Green Lantern V2: Green Lantern 18-37.

Green Lantern V3: Green Lantern 39-59. (Note missing Green Lantern 38?)

Green Lantern V4: Green Lantern 60-75.

Haunted Tank V1: GI Combat 87-119, Brave & Bold #52 and Our Army At War #155.

Haunted Tank V2: GI Combat 120-157.

Hawkman V1: Stories not specified; presumed to include Brave & Bold 34-36, 42-44, and Mystery in Space #87-90, and Hawkman 1-11.

Hawkman V2: Hawkman 12-27, Atom-Hawkman 39-45, Atom 31, and Brave & Bold 70.

House of Mystery V1: House of Mystery 174-194.

House of Mystery V2: House of Mystery 195-211.

House of Mystery V3: House of Mystery 212-226.

House of Secrets V1: House of Secrets 81-98.

House of Secrets V2: House of Secrets 99-119.

Jonah Hex: All-Star Western 2-8, 10-11, Weird Western Tales 12-14, 16-33.

Justice League of America V1: Brave & Bold 28-30, JLA 1-16, Mystery in Space #75.

Justice League of America V2: JLA 17-36.

Justice League of America V3: JLA 37-60 (not including annuals 39, 48, 58).

Justice League of America V4: JLA 61-83 (not including annuals 67, 76).

Legion of Superheroes V1: Adventure 247, 267, 282, 290, 293, 300-328, Action #267, 276, 287, 289, Superboy 86, 89, 98, 117, Superman Annual #4, Jimmy Olsen 72 and 74 (Legion-related stories only).

Legion of Superheroes V2: Adventure 316, 322-348, 365, Superboy 117, 125 and Superman Annual 4. (Seems to be some overlap there with V1).

Legion of Superheroes V3: Adventure 349-368 (365 overlap?) and Jimmy Olsen 116.

Martian Manhunter V1: Stories not specified; presumed to include Detective 225-304 (Martian Manhunter stories only)

Martian Manhunter V2: Detective Comics 305-326 and House of Mystery 143-173 (Martian Manhunter stories only).

Metal Men V1: Showcase 37-40, Metal Men 1-16 and Brave & Bold 55.

Metal Men V2: Metal Men 16-36 and Brave & Bold 66.

Metamorpho V1: Brave & Bold 57-58, 66, 68, Metamorpho 1-17, and Justice League of America 42.

Phantom Stranger V1: Showcase #80, Phantom Stranger 1-21.

Phantom Stranger V2: Phantom Stranger 22-41, JLA 103, House of Secrets 150, Brave & Bold 89, 98.

Robin the Boy Wonder V1: Batman 184, 192, 227, 229-231, 234-236, 239-242, 244-246, 248-250, 252, 254, Detective 386, 390, 394-395, 398-403, 445, 447, 450-451, Jimmy Olsen 91, 111, JLA 50, 91-92, Teen Titans 14, Brave & Bold 83, 100 and World's Finest 195, 200.

Secrets of Sinister House V1: Sinister House of Secret Love 1-4, Secrets of Sinister House 5-18.

Sgt. Rock V1: GI Combat 68, Our Army At War 81-117.

Sgt. Rock V2: Our Army At War 118-148.

Shazam! V1: Shazam! 1-35 (New stories from those issues only)

Strange Adventures V1: Strange Adventures 54-73.

Supergirl V1: Action Comics 252-282, Jimmy Olsen 40, 44, 46, 51-52, Adventure 278, Superboy 80, Lois Lane 14, Superman 123, 139-140, 144.

Supergirl V2: Action 283-321 (missing 282?), (Supergirl stories only).

Superman V1: Superman 122-133 and Action Comics 241-257 (Superman stories only).

Superman V2: Superman 134-145 and Action Comics 258-275 (Superman stories only).

Superman V3: Stories not specified; presumed to be Superman 146-156 and Action Comics 276-292 (Superman stories only)

Superman V4: Action Comics 293-310 (Superman stories only) and Superman 157-167

Superman Family V1: Jimmy Olsen 1-22, Showcase 9.

Superman Family V2: Jimmy Olsen 23-34, Showcase 10, Lois Lane 1-7.

Superman Family V3: Jimmy Olsen 35-44, Lois Lane 8-16.

Teen Titans V1: Brave & Bold 54, 60, Showcase 59, Teen Titans 1-18.

Teen Titans V2: Teen Titans 19-36, Brave & Bold 83, 94, and World's Finest 205.

Unknown Soldier V1: Star Spangled War Stories 151-190 (Unknown Soldier stories only).

Warlord: 1st Issue Special 8, Warlord 1-28.

War that Time Forgot: Stories not specified, presumed to include the Star Spangled War Stories featuring WWII soldiers and dinosaurs.

Wonder Woman V1: Wonder Woman 98-117.

Wonder Woman V2: Wonder Woman 118-137.

Wonder Woman V3: Wonder Woman 138-156.

World's Finest V1: Superman 76, World's Finest 71-111 (Superman-Batman team-up stories only).

World's Finest V2: World's Finest 112-145 (Superman-Batman team-ups only).

World's Finest V3: World's Finest 146-173 (Annuals 161 and 170 not included), (Superman-Batman team-ups only).

Update: Thanks to commenters Lito S and Jim for corrections to the Aquaman and Supergirl entries, and to JJ for going to the trouble to find out all the Batgirl stories!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Blogroll Surfing

Aaron at Silver Age Gold covers the meeting of Tomahawk and several troglodytes and points out in a very interesting aside, why the revolutionary war character should not have known that they would be called cavemen. You learn something new every day!

Jacque at Sequential Crush covers the ironic story of a gold-digger who missed her Prince Charming. Love that little "Oh!" at the end of the story.

I've added a few new blogs to the sidebar. Al Bigley (Big Glee) covers comics nostalgia, and also seems to be a big fan of the Monkees (and who isn't?). I have "Last Train To Clarksville" on my MP3 player more or less permanently.

Ian Sokoliwski, a professional comic artist, has his own blog. Check out his photos from the Central Canada Con. Lots of very attractive gals in costumes, what's not to like?

Joyville is another artist's blog, dedicated to appreciation of some of the more cartoony artists, who don't get enough recognition these days. Check out his post on Sheldon Mayer and Dizzy Dog.

Hey! I thought Dial B for Blog had disappeared, but apparently it's back on the web. Go check out the greatest comics blog that ever was, or ever will be.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Fantastic Four Fridays: Von Doom

What do Dr Doom and the Green Goblin have in common? Answer at the end of the post.

As the story begins, Johnny is acting like a normal teenager:

As you can probably guess, Johnny makes a wisecrack about how the Hulk looks something like the Thing, and this precipitates the usual fight between the various members of the FF. But while they struggle, the lights go out as Dr Doom has already struck:

He calls out to the FF via a loudspeaker in his helicopter, and Reed recognizes the voice. It's Victor Von Doom, a former college classmate of Reed's who was into black magic. Reed tells the story of how Von Doom's experiments went awry, disfiguring the latter's face.

Back in the present, Doom demands that the FF surrender Sue as a hostage. They initially resist, but it becomes obvious that the villain has all the cards, and Sue submits to his control. Doom demands that the other three members of the FF go back into the past and retrieve Blackbeard's legendary treasure. They agree, but only after he promises to free Sue if they do not return.

They quickly obtain some costumes and are shanghaied:

I suppose we're not supposed to notice that teen-aged Johnny swills his grog just like Reed and Ben. They awake aboard a pirate ship. But with the Thing taking some initiative, it's not long before they're running things. And after their first battle:

Yep, the famed pirate Blackbeard turns out to have been none other than bashful Benjamin all along. And since they have have control of the treasure, it seems like there's nothing left to do but bring it back to Doom. But lawyer Reed Richards remembers carefully the task they were assigned:

Oh, did you say, "treasure chest", instead of "treasure"? Reasoning correctly that there must be something powerful within the chest, Reed distributes the treasure to the men, while filling the chest with worthless chains. But there's one slight hitch; Ben has discovered his true calling as a leader of pirates and doesn't want to go back to the future. But when he sets Reed and Johnny in a lifeboat and sails into a hurricane, the three of them end up on a deserted island with the treasure chest. And so Doom calls them back to their own time.

But when he learns that they have only brought back chains, they have a mini-fight, in which Dr Doom is revealed to have only been a robot duplicate. Things look pretty grim:

Hence the cover image. But Sue manages to cause a short circuit, and then locates the switch to open the door to the airtight chamber in time to free the rest of the FF. But Doom escapes and in the end:

Comments: Everything works well in this issue, although for the most part the Marvel heroes eschewed time travel stories, a marked distinction between them and the DC lineup. Coming up next: the first super-villain team-up of the Marvel era!

Answer: Doom and Gobby both start out determined to defeat their respective superhero enemies. Most other villains start out as simple crooks and only when defeated by a superhero decide to exact revenge.