Martinex1: Good day all! Sometimes when I am researching the details of a topic or searching for tidbits or art samples for this blog, I stumble across some comic book history, graphics, and stories that I previously knew nothing about. Even after more than 40 years of collecting comics (and just about as many reading about the inner workings of the industry, the artists, the publishers and all the rest), I still learn new things about the field all the time.
Today I'd like to share three examples from the history of Marvel Comics that until recently I knew nothing about. I suspect some of our regular commentators and lurkers may contend that this is old hat and some may think we are out of touch. That is okay, because I found these particular points fascinating. So I hope some of you do also.
HISTORICAL MYSTERY #1: Did you know that Roy Thomas and Barry Windsor-Smith pitched a new team to Marvel in the late 60s that would have consisted of Quicksilver, Red Raven, and Rick Jones?
I had no idea. I happened to see an internet inquiry about Quicksilver being considered for a team other than the Avengers, and I found my way to Comic Book Artist, Collection Volume 1 (which includes a CBA issue from the Summer of 1998). In that periodical, as part of an in-depth interview with Barry Windsor-Smith they reference the proposed book and even include the first few BWS' drawn pages. Take a look below.
Not much else seems to be recorded about the proposal, but if any of our faithful readers have any insight please share it with us. What I have been able to glean is that around 1969, Thomas and Windsor-Smith proposed the odd team that would possibly be named either the Outcasts or the Invaders (a name which Roy Thomas eventually used in 1975).
It is interesting to note that on newsstands in March of 1968 was X-Men #44 starring none-other than Red Raven battling the Angel; the story was written by Roy Thomas. That very same month another Thomas penned tale, Avengers #52, was published and that story introduced the Grim Reaper. The following month, Thomas' X-Men #45 featured Quicksilver. And a few months later, the full story of Bucky's life and death and Rick Jones' desire to be like the WWII hero was detailed in Avengers #56.
So to say that these characters were on Roy Thomas' mind around the key time would be an understatement. There seemed to be a juxtaposition of key elements to creatively form such a gathering. Was Thomas looking at a WWII angle for the book? Hard to say, but he had a golden age hero in Red Raven and a modern version of Bucky with Rick Jones. There was also supposition that he would bring the Whizzer into the story, but I have no hard data to support that. Though it may fit, as later Thomas would present the Whizzer as Pietro's father (prior to the Magneto revelation). It is fun to speculate about a book that wasn't; I sure would have liked to have seen what was intended.
CULTURAL COMIC MYSTERY #2: Did you know that John Byrne drew extra pages for a memorable Marvel Team-Up so that it would fit the UK page plan?
John Byrne is one of my favorite Bronze Age artists and I pay close attention to his work from his heyday in the late 70s. So it caught my attention when I saw art that I had never seen before pinned to one of my favorite stories.
I recently acquired two Captain Britain hardcover collections, Birth of a Legend and Siege of Camelot. The books collect the early UK Captain Britain stories, prior to Alan Moore's work and the change from his original costume. A side note: I am enjoying these UK stories immensely and will have to comment on them in a future Panel Discussion, as there is enough top-notch Bronze Age-iness from Claremont and Trimpe to fill a whole column.
However, in the latter volume, there is also reprinted material of the classic Spider-Man and Captain Britain Marvel Team-Up #65 and #66. I originally bought these chapters back in 1977; they were among the first 10 comics I ever purchased so I read them cover-to-cover numerous times. Aside from becoming a Captain Britain fan, I nearly memorized the books.
MARVEL HERO'S MYTHIC MISS #3: I can understand a book that was pitched and never launched, but how about a hero that was advertised as appearing in the very next issue, but instead disappeared into the ether?
Starhawk is known far and wide as a member of the original Guardians of the Galaxy. Sylvester Stallone even portrayed Stakar in the recent GotG second movie. But did you know there was another Starhawk advertised long before the space faring hero made his debut in The Defenders #26.
No, this other Starhawk appeared in a Marvel House ad promising for the character to appear in the very next issue of Marvel Super-Heroes. Alas, he never does appear. And despite some fantastic art from Dan Adkins, the story never saw print in a "normal" format.
Our friend and fellow blogger, Rip Jagger, wrote eloquently about this character back in 2009. And Rip definitely fills in the gaps and brings the story full circle. So check out this link to Rip's post and then come back to sum up the day. http://ripjaggerdojo.blogspot.com/2009/12/coming-of-starhawk.html I appreciate the art of Dan Adkins so much that I do share a few of his pages here for your perusal. Rip has even more at his site.
I like the look of this book. It seems to touch on the cosmic element blending a bit of the feel of the Silver Surfer and Captain Marvel. I like Adkins' layouts and inks. It is astounding to me that this book was written, pencilled, inked, lettered and advertised but it would not see print until much later in a less than standard format.
The modern Starhawk is a character" that fascinates me, and I wonder if there is any remnant of his namesake concept within. I guess only Roy Thomas knows if the "one who knows" comes at all from the "one who wasn't."
Well, I hope you enjoyed our brief foray into the unknown and forgotten. Please share your thoughts and musings. If you can expand on any of the these three subjects today, please pipe in. Or if you know of any other created but shelved characters - clue us in.