Tag Archives: Black Knight

Tales of Suspense #73, Jan. 1966

Tales of Suspense #73, Jan. 1966

This oughtta set some kind of record! All these bullpen buddies had a hand in this one: Stan Lee, Roy Thomas, Adam Austin, Gary Michaels, Sol Brodsky, Flo Steinberg, and merrie ol’ Marie Severin! (*whew*)

Spellbinding script by Stan Lee!
Spectacular layouts by Jack Kirby!
Sensational pencilling and scintillating delineation by George Tuska!
Stereophonic lettering by A. Simek!

I’m not exactly sure how (or why) they did it, but they managed to make the Black Knight, a former Giant Man villain, actually threatening to Iron Man! Like, all of a sudden he has a personality and character flaws and his powers are formidable? I guess getting beaten by his own powers in another dimension really reformed the guy into being kind of a bad ass. Isn’t that always the case, though?

Iron Man goes to visit Happy Hogan in the Happy Hospital only to find out that he’s been Happynapped! Shellhead finds a hoofprint on the windowsill and realizes this must be the inexplicable work of the Black Knight and his flying horse, so he goes off after him. He follows the extremely obvious trail to a medieval castle where he falls for the Black Knight’s surprisingly effective trap. A couple blasts from his laser lance and the circuitry that keeps Tony Stark’s heart working start going on the fritz, nearly killing him. For the coup de grace, the Black Knight carries Iron Man high into the air and drops him into the water, but Iron Man grabs the Black Knight on his way down and they both fall. Did they survive? Iron Man barely does, but who knows about the Knight. He manages to get a call off to save Happy while his own life slowly ebbs away…

Meanwhile, Captain America is freaking out in Germany because the “Sleepers”, giant robots designed by the Red Skull, are waking up, ready to bring the Third Reich back into power! Cap is completely unable to stop the first sleeper, a giant robot that shoots lasers from it’s claws, and doesn’t fare any better against the second sleeper, a giant flying manta ray. Even worse, the two combine to make a single, incredibly stupid-looking Nazi death machine… and there’s still one more sleeper to deal with! What will it be?!

I already know what it is, and it’s retarded, but I don’t want to spoil the surprise. I just love the implication that the Red Skull made these giant, awesome death robots back in the 40’s but decided to bury them around the country so they could eventually come out and blow shit up. I’m not exactly sure how blowing up Germany’s countryside will help bring the Nazis back into power, but I guess that’s why I’m not an evil genius.


The Fantastic Four Annual #3, 1965

The Fantastic Four Annual #3, 1965

Written by Stan Lee
Drawn by Jack Kirby
Inked by Vince Colletta
Lettered by Artie Simek
Catered by The Bullpen Gang!

The original story in this issue features a whopping 19 superheroes and 20 supervillains, not to mention Uatu the watcher, Patsy Walker (from the girl magazines they did, and a decade before she’d join normal Marvel continuity as Hellcat), Stan Lee and Jack Kirby themselves. I’m not going to mention all of them in my little one paragraph review, but I actually kept track in the tag section if you’re interested, and I’m so sure that you are.

It’s the wedding of Reed Richards and Susan Storm, the most beautiful event in any comic book person’s life. Unfortunately, they are comic book people, and that means they associate with a lot of super-powered folks. Also, Richards was mean to Dr. Doom back in college, so he’s decided to invent a machine to make every villain in the area try to kill him. After a ridiculously massive brawl, the Watcher shows up and (without interfering at all) gives Mr. Fantastic a machine that’ll send all the villains back to where they were with no memory of what happened at all. Okay, whatever. The happy wedding goes on happily and everyone is happy forever. Except Lee and Kirby, who are turned away at the door because everyone thinks they’re bums.

The reprint stories are that one awesome issue where Dr. Doom and Namor team up to throw the Baxter Building into the Sun and the two half stories from issue #11 where the Fantastic Four answers fan mail and deal with the Impossible Man. There’s usually another one in these annuals, but the huge brawl took up a lot of space, as I’m sure you can imagine.

Yeah, that’s a dumb ending to this excuse to fit every character possible into one comic book, but who cares? It’s all in good fun, and Giant Man didn’t show up at all, so I couldn’t be happier with it! Plus, his worst enemy, the Human Top, is taken out by a single punch from Quicksilver, who doesn’t even have super strength or anything. LOVE IT.

The Avengers #16, May 1965

The Avengers #16, May 1965

Dazzling script by… Stan Lee
Dashing layouts by… Jack Kirby
Darlin’ artwork by… Dick Ayers
Delicate lettering by… Artie Simek

Well hey, it’s about time the Avengers got their sophomore lineup! The original Avengers are great, of course, but they’re honestly just way too damn powerful. I think that was pretty much the idea behind this change, which is mostly just taking out Thor and Iron Man. Also Giant Man, but it’s not like THAT’S a bad thing. Hell, that’s basically giving them team a boost. FUCK YOU, GIANT MAN!

We start by ending the battle from the end of the last issue, where the Masters of Evil think they have the Avengers beat because they’re in the middle of a city, and the good guys are pledged to not hurt any innocents. To everybody’s surprise, Thor just spins his hammer around and transports them all (save the Enchantress and Executioner, who see what’s coming and run away) to another dimension, where apparently attacking hurts yourself. There, the Melter and Black Knight beat themselves up and are easily tied up and shipped back off to jail.

Thor leaves to go do his Trial of the Gods thing in his own comic, Cap’s still in Africa burying Zemo, and the remainder of the team sit down and decide they deserve to take a vacation. Lucky for them, Hawkeye just happens by and applies for membership, and they realize they can just convince some other guys to take their places and they can take a break! When Cap returns, there’s been a changing of the guard. Iron Man, Giant Man and the Wasp are all taking a hiatus, replaced by Hawkeye, Quicksilver, and the Scarlet Witch. Thor, well, who knows how long he’s going to be doing whatever crazy god stuff he’s up to, so that’s pretty much the lineup for now.

Did I mention that I’m just super happy that Giant Man is taking a break from the Avengers? The less I have to read of that asshole, the happier I am. Really, this decision to change the team up makes sense from a publishing standpoint, because the members who are leaving are all well-established in their own books, and they’re constantly having to explain why they are or aren’t with the Avengers at any given time. It’s just annoying. Cap’s fine, since his standalone comic is currently taking place back in WWII, so there’s no overlap there. Also, I think it was mostly in reaction to fan mail saying that the three new guys aren’t really bad guys, and they should join up with one of the good guy teams. Of course, from a historical perspective, the three newbies are now thought of as original or classic members of the Avengers, so it can’t be that bad of a decision.

The Avengers #15, Apr. 1965

The Avengers #15, Apr. 1965

Script: Stan Lee
Layouts: Jack Kirby
Pencilling: Don Heck
Inking: Mickey Demeo
Lettering: Artie Simek

Baron Zemo and his Masters of Evil are easily the best villains in these early Avengers issues. We’ve got most of ol’ Baghead’s team in this one, too; the Executioner, the Enchantress, the Melter and the Black Knight. All we’re missing is Radioactive Man, but that’s no big loss.

Zemo’s got the gang back together and he’s come up with the perfect plan to destroy the Avengers once and for all: Step one, kidnap Rick Jones, the young friend of Captain America. Step two, do the exact same thing they always do and just straight-on attack everybody. Step three, lose just like always. Wait, shit, there had to have been a better last step to this plan… Really, it ends up even worse than normal, because Zemo manages to get himself killed in a rock slide when he tries to shoot Cap with a ray gun. And, since this is a comic book, he is certainly dead and will always be that way forever. Poor guy. First he glues a bag on his head and now this…

I love this panel. The pretty girl that everyone’s looking at looks like a robot, the fat guy with the moustache and cop are just evilly leering unabashedly, and the other woman in the background just looks annoyed or upset for some reason. Meanwhile, Dr. Don Blake realizes that if this is really all it takes to keep people from noticing him turning back from being Thor, maybe he doesn’t even really need to bother with finding a back alley to change in. I mean, Superman changed clothes in a phone booth, and those things are like 60% windows.

Tales of Suspense #59, Nov. 1964

Tales of Suspense #59, Nov. 1964

Never has a Stan Lee script, or Don Heck artwork been better!

Stan Lee, Author
Jack Kirby, Illustrator
Inked by: Chic Stone
Lettered by: S. Rosen

Yesss, the start of a new Captain America feature! They waffle around a little bit at first, sometimes it takes place in the modern day, sometimes it’s flashbacks to WWII, but it’s all good shit, because Captain America is just a fucking awesome dude. Also Iron Man’s good, I guess.

The Black Knight, the weird supervillain with a flying horse and a lance with all sorts of electronic weapons, has broken out of jail and is out for revenge against the Avengers for putting him away. He only knows where one of them would be, as everybody knows that Iron Man guards Tony Stark’s factories (I guess he doesn’t know about that big building called “Avengers Mansion”). There’s a short fight between the two until Iron Man eventually prevails by knocking the idiot off his stupid dumb horse. However, Stark realizes his heart is too weak, and without the extra power provided by his full Iron Man armor, he may actually end up dying, so he tells Happy and Pepper that Stark left out the back way and he won’t be back for a while. Obviously, they suspect that Iron Man is actually trying to take over the company!

Speaking of the Avengers Mansion, that’s where Captain America lives now, being served by the Avengers’ butler, Jarvis. A group of thugs decide that Cap’s watch would be the best one to attack, since he’s the only one without super powers, so it’ll be easy for them to take him out! Thugs are, in general, incredibly stupid. It turns out that Captain America is more than a match for a dozen guys with machine guns and flamethrowers, and also one of the guys has a big metal suit.

Captain America doesn’t need super powers, that’s the beauty of it. Being in peak physical condition and a lifetime of experience in a horrible war have the guy prepared for pretty much any contingency. Combine that with his indomitable will and all that crazy shit he can do with his shield… I mean, there’s a reason he’s the leader of guys like Thor and Iron Man. HE COMMANDS A GOD IN BATTLE. No, no super powers there…