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Thursday, 19 May 2016

Throwback Thursday: From Latveria With Love, Comics Make The Man...


It was a British reprint (in green ink, which I remember vividly) in the early '70s of Fantastic Four issue 17 (from a decade earlier) that first introduced my young mind to the concept of superheroes.

As I recall Doctor Doom had captured the Fantastic Four and was holding them in his Latverian castle, but he individually tailored the holding cells to counter/test the specific powers of each member of the group. To my seven-year-old imagination, this was just awesome!

It's safe to say that without this issue there would be no HeroPress today (in any of its manifestations).

My next significant encounter with American superhero comic books was during a family holiday to the south coast. I remember visiting a news agents where I spied a number of brightly coloured comics in a spinner.

The ones that stuck in my mind were The Flash, Shazam (The Marvel Family), and one other...


For the longest time all I could remember was the cover illustration ... and the pun. Eventually thanks to a magnificent retro comic book blog, Rip Jagger's Dojo I discovered it was the first issue of DC's Black Magic (dated November 1973).

I suspect it was probably early '74 (or it could have been late '73, I suppose) when I saw this comic. I was still about seven at the time and either mum didn't approve or I was too chicken but I didn't pick it up.

However, the "head of the family" pun has stayed with me ever since.

I'm pretty certain that anyone who knows me will see that my dark - but cheesy - sense of humour is perfectly encapsulated in this image and I think it's fair to say that it was possibly a bigger influence on me in my formative years than I realised.

I still regard it as one of the greatest visual gags ever. Over the years I've recycled it in roleplaying games and awkward social occasions (and probably will, again, in the future).

Back in 2013, I tracked down a reasonably-priced copy of this issue (thank you, eBay), and used it as an excuse to start fulfilling a long-held design dream for the gamesroom: framed comics on the wall.

One day I'll bite the bullet and buy a vintage copy of Fantastic Four #17, to have framed, but - given the prices I've seen quoted for a good condition copy of that issue - I think I'll need to win the lottery first to justify spending that much on a comic that I'm just going to hang on the wall.

3 comments:

  1. Very cool...I love stories about how folks became lifers for comics/supers! (Mine involves Justice League #3 in a conveniece store on a family trip. Those little events...!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. *convenience (dang screwy laptop screen)

      Delete
    2. Comics (and superheroes) are such a cornerstone of my life that I'm sure there will be plenty more similar tales popping up in future Throwback Thursdays ;-)

      Delete

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