It was December 1965 when I first got my hot little hands on this copy of Fantastic Four #45 — you can probably tell from the condition it’s in. With these stress marks and creases it’s not super valuable any more, but the colors are bright, the paper is white, and it’s still worth a lot more than 12 cents.
This issue featured the first appearance of one of my favorite obscure Marvel characters: Lockjaw, the giant bulldog with antennae.
Marvel’s “Not Brand Echh” was a short-lived (13 issues) attempt at humor in the style of Mad Magazine, mostly poking fun at their own superhero characters, but occasionally taking shots at their DC rivals as well. The Lizard Collection’s copy of the first issue (published in August 1967) isn’t in tip-top condition, but then, neither was the comedy.
Tonight’s photo from the Lizard Collection is issue #103 of the resurrected Captain America series, featuring another classic Jack Kirby cover drawing of the fearsome Red Skull. This copy is in great condition, with amazingly unfaded inks, white pages, and shiny staples.
Marvel Studios is releasing their first Captain America film July 22, titled “Captain America: The First Avenger.” Here’s the official trailer:
Tonight’s cover image from the Lizard Collection is one of my favorite Jack Kirby illustrations, a great example of his “energy foam” style, with a full color Silver Surfer overlaid on a dramatic duochrome background: issue #72 of Fantastic Four, published in March 1968.
The LC copy is in excellent condition with a slight spine curl and a few marks around the edges, but with exceptionally bright colors, very white pages, and amazingly shiny 43-year old staples.
Tonight’s cover image from the Lizard Collection is a near-mint condition copy of one of Jack Kirby’s masterpieces: the angst-ridden, history-haunted dark blue illustration for issue #107 in Volume 1 of the Captain America series, published in November 1968.
A synopsis of the storyline from the Marvel Comics Database:
Captain America has been haunted by the same dream night after night: That he is being chased by demonic looking Nazi soldiers until he stumbles upon the grave of his old sidekick Bucky Barnes. Bucky would appear before him and accuse him of failing to rescue him and letting him die. Cap wakes up from this dream screaming and wondering how long he will have to endure the guilt he feels over the death of his sidekick. He decides to call his newly hired psychiatrist Dr. Faustus to tell him that he has had the same dream again. Upon hearing this, Faustus tells Steve to come to his office that afternoon at 2. Faustus is not who he seems, as he is a man who is trying to drive Captain America insane on purpose in order to be the one man who is able to defeat the Star-Spangled Avenger. To this end, he has had his minion Ferret (who has been posing as a bellhop at the hotel Captain America has been staying at) to slip him drugs that cause him to have his horrible dreams. This time, he hands him an extra-potent batch of pills, that Faustus informs will finally push Captain America over the edge.
That afternoon, as Steve Rogers walks toward his appointed session with Dr. Faustus, his mind dwells on how since he was rescued from the glacier he was trapped in he’s felt like a man disconnected from time and that he 20 years he has been in suspended animation since the war seem like ages and wonders if he will truly fit in. His thoughts are interrupted when he spots a woman he thinks is Sharon Carter but when he goes to her he finds that he has been mistaken. The woman calls a police officer out of fear of Cap’s irrational behavior, as Cap gets a hold of himself he looks up at the office and is horrified to find that the cop has the visage of the Red Skull. He flees the scene, more determined to see Dr. Faustus than ever — unaware that these are just two minions of Faustus wearing life-like masks in order to further push Cap to the point of insanity.
At his session, Steve is asked to lay down on Faustus’s couch and close his eyes and talk about the things he sees. However when he opens his eyes again he appears to be in a Nazi dungeon and is being grappled by a number of Nazi soldiers. One Nazi comes up to him with his gun and begins to shoot Cap point blank in the face. This is apparently another hallucination and when reality snaps back it is merely Faustus shining a penlight into his eyes. Faustus concludes that Cap is a very sick man and tells him to return to his hotel room and rest and that he will be sending new medication to him to deal with the dreams.
When Cap leaves, a wall flips around in Faustus’ office revealing the Nazi dungeon set and another group of loyal followers, whom he commends for their exemplary work in driving Captain America to the brink. Back at his hotel room, Captain America practices his fighting skills by grappling with a SHIELD plastoid that has been loaded to him. His session ends just as Ferret arrives to drop off the medication, and the seemingly desperate Captain America eagerly takes it and downs it all without a single question. That night, Cap finds sleep hard to come by and when he looks in the mirror he’s horrified to find that he has aged rapidly into an elderly man. Even shocking still Bucky — seemingly back from the dead — has appeared in his room and tells him that they have to stop some enemy agents. Despite Cap’s protests that he is too old to fight, Bucky convinces him to ride a motorcycle to the enemies location.
This of course is yet another ruse prepared by Faustus and at that very moment he and his men are putting the final touches on a replica of the drone-plane hanger on the day when Bucky died during World War II. When Cap arrives, history seemingly repeats itself again leaving Faustus to believe that Captain America has finally been shattered. However, when he and his minions go to inspect their work, Cap suddenly jumps to his feat and fights off all of Faustus’ minions with ease. Peeling off a mask that made him look old, Captain America tells Faustus that he saw through his plan and pretended to take the medication. Faustus then challenges Cap to one-on-one fist fight. Captain America is more than happy to oblige and knocks down Faustus with a single punch.
Published in March 1966, the cover of Strange Tales #143 is a great example of Jack Kirby’s techno-baroque style.