Tag Archives: Chameleon

Tales to Astonish #62, Dec. 1964

Tales to Astonish #62, Dec. 1964

Written– as if you couldn’t guess by now– by Smilin’ Stan Lee!
Drawn– and here’s a little twist for you– by Capricious Carlos Burgos!
Inked– as if he knew what he was doing– by Devestatin’ Dickie Ayers
Lettered– as though each syllable is a gem– by Amenable Artie Simek

Sensationally scripted by: Stan Lee
Dynamically drawn by: Steve Ditko
Impeccably inked by: George Bell
Lovingly lettered by: Sam Rosen

One of the big deals about the Giant Man adventure in this issue is that someone finds out his secret identity. Obviously this is a bad thing, so the guy has to do something about it. This generally either means the guy loses his memory in some way or another, or dies in an accident the hero can’t prevent. In this one, he gives him some memory erasing juice he had just lying around the lab. You know, if some asshole made me drink something that he said would erase my memory, I’d tell him I didn’t remember his secret identity either. Just sayin’, how are you supposed to know if that shit actually works?

Hank Pym is doing some research on a super-growth formula for plants, which is way too good. So good, it causes the plant he’s testing to become super-gigantic and start terrorizing the city. Where’s Plant Man when you need him? Anyway, the plant knocks Hank out, and it just happens to bring a thug named Second-Story Sammy into his lab. He steal Giant Man’s suit and decides to become a super-criminal, but he’s almost immediately found out by the Wasp, who beats the crap out of him, thinking that he killed her man. Hank wakes up and orders a flying ant to bring Sammy back to him, knocks him out with one punch, takes his suit back, then uses the ants to locate the taproot of the plant and pull it out.

When we last left the Hulk, he was trapped by some sort of contraption designed by Dr. Banner to apparently hold the Hulk. Some guy in a helmet who calls himself “The Leader” tells the Chameleon to go to the base and find out what happened to the spy he sent there a couple issues ago (the idiot stole a robot and fell into a hole). The Chameleon helps the Hulk break out, then steals some nuclear secrets from Banner’s lab, as well as a grenade version of the gamma bomb that created the Hulk in the first place. While he’s trying to run away from the Hulk and… you know, continue living, Chameleon throws the grenade at him, which turns him back into Bruce Banner. What’s this going to do to his powers? For that matter, what’s the deal with this “Leader” fella?

Of course, the Leader would end up being the Hulk’s main antagonist for years to come (besides General “Thunderbolt” Ross, that is), and his introduction is a major turning point in the Hulk being any damn good at all. Like I keep saying, a hero is only as good as his villains, and up to this point the only good villains the Hulk has had are other superheroes. Also, just to bash on Giant Man a little more, I’d like to remind you that his enemies in this issue are a guy who couldn’t steal a single thing with super powers, and a big plant.


Tales of Suspense #58, Oct. 1964

Tales of Suspense #58, Oct. 1964

Every word you are about to read was written by ol’ faithful Stan Lee, one of the world’s most prolific script writers!Every drawing you are about to marvel at, was created by Don Heck, one of America’s most promising illustrators!
Every bit of inking you are about to savor was done by Dick Ayers, one of the industry’s most painstaking artists!
Every sentence you are about to scan was hand-printed by Sam Rosen, one of Marvel’s most perspicuous letterers!

Jesus, what an unnecessarily long block of credits. This is an exciting issue, because it has Iron Man fighting Captain America, and you know what that means! Just like when Giant Man fought the Hulk, it means Cap is going to be the new backup feature in Tales to Suspense! Hooray for more Captain America! Speaking of which, if you haven’t seen that new movie that just came out yet, you need to get your butt into an overpriced theater, it’s worth it for once!

Our story starts as Kraven the Hunter and the Chameleon return to America, having evaded their exile at the hands of Spider-Man. They just happen to land right next to one of Stark Industries’ factories, and who else is there waiting for them than Iron Man. He knocks Kraven out without even a struggle (which I strongly disagree with, but he’s not the bad guy in this issue), but the Chameleon gets away and comes up with a plan to take out the jerk who nabbed his buddy. Soon, a battered Captain America makes his way into Tony Stark’s office and tell the Golden Avenger that the Chameleon kidnapped him, disguised himself as him, and stole all his memories using some sort of machine. Of course, Iron Man goes out to defeat the imposter.

Also of course, the real Chameleon was the one who went to Stark’s office, not the one that Iron Man finds at Avengers headquarters. They fight for a bit, and even though Cap’s perplexed at what’s going on, he’s not about to not protect himself if that’s what Iron Man really wants. As the fight rages, Happy Hogan and Pepper Potts accidentally stumble into the war zone, and Cap saves Happy from falling down a pit. Why would the Chameleon save anybody, Iron Man wonders. Hm… Suddenly, a huge machine bears down on both of the heroes, and it’s stopped just in time by… Giant Man?! Aww, dammit. He happened to be in the neighborhood with the Wasp, and they saw the Chameleon dressed as Cap. Man, the last thing I’d want is to have to thank¬†Giant Man.

Seriously, Kraven the Hunter gets his ass kicked by Iron Man in a single panel, with only one punch? I call bullshit for the sake of moving the story along! I’m sure Iron Man could take Kraven, and yeah, it probably wouldn’t be TOO hard, but I just can’t stand by and accept that it was that easy. Kraven’s a fucking badass, he deserves better than to be tossed around like some sort of Daredevil villain!

Amazing Spider-Man #15, Aug. 1964

Amazing Spider-Man #15, Aug. 1964

Written by: Stan Lee (because we couldn’t afford Mickey Spillane)
Illustrated by: Steve Ditko (because Picasso was out of town)
Lettered by: Art Simek (because his name fits the space)

Though Kraven the Hunter may not have the most impressive set of super powers, he’s definitely one of the more interesting Spider-Man villains just due to his attitude. He’s exactly that guy from The Most Dangerous Game, except he wears a crazy lion head vest and he drank a magic potion to make him strong and fast. Good shit.

Spider-Man’s doing his normal stuff of busting up gangs of bank robbers when he inadvertently stops the scheme of one of his first villains, the Chameleon. Now, the Chameleon isn’t a dumb guy, he knows that Spidey beat him the first time and that if he wants to get rid of the wall-crawler, he’s going to need some help. He sends out a wire to his old buddy Kraven the Hunter, the world’s greatest hunter (yes, better than Ted Nugent, even). Kraven saunters into town and the two of them stage another robbery for Spider-Man to foil so Kraven can study his prey.

In their first fight, Kraven’s surprised as Spidey’s strength and agility, so he poisons him with some sort of potion that gives him the shakes for the next couple days. Knowing that Spider-Man will have to find Kraven first if he wants to stay safe, the Chameleon dresses up as the hunter to lure Spider-Man out into the open while Kraven gets up from behind him and throws a net over him. He then puts on some magnetic handcuff things that attract his arm to his leg, but in the end Pete uses his powerful high school science student brain to short circuit it and catch the baddies.

I think my favorite thing about this issue is the relationship between the Chameleon and Kraven the Hunter. Like they’re just old buds who hang out in the Chameleon’s house, him in his smoking jacket and Kraven drinking some magic potion or other, idly talking about how they’ll catch Spider-Man. It’s very Imperialistic, almost to Commander McBragg levels. Plus, I think they’re the first bad guy team up I’ve seen where they don’t end up bickering and losing everything that way. They’re old friends! And friendship is awesome.

Amazing Spider-Man #1, March 1963

Amazing Spider-Man #1, March 1963

Script: Stan Lee
Art: Steve Ditko
Lettering: Johnny Dee/John Duffi

Aww yeah, it’s Spider-Man time. Before I started reading these 60’s comics and I had a much more limited exposure to comic books in general, Spider-Man was by and far my favorite superhero. And even though I’ve found more awesome heroes and villains than I expected, Spidey is still at the top. He’s pretty damn cool, you gotta admit.

Taking place right after Spidey’s origin story (Amazing Fantasy #15), Peter Parker has to deal with the fact that the community thinks he’s dangerous and that, now that his uncle is dead, his aunt has to sell her jewelry to make ends meet. He’s especially being spoken out against by a newspaper editor named J. Jonah Jameson, who has a famous astronaut son. When John Jameson’s rocket has a problem, only Spider-Man riding a jet plane can save the day. Luckily, that’s exactly what happened, so the day was successfully saved. Not that this makes J.J. any less angry at Spider-Man. Nothing can douse his beautiful stream of pure hatred.

In the second story, a villain named The Chameleon is out to steal secret government plans to sell to the commies. He has several costumes on him, and can very quickly change in and out of them, making him a very effective spy. He decides to get Spider-Man involved in his next scheme, and successfully blames the crime on him. Spidey doesn’t just sit around and get arrested, of course, and he goes after the Chameleon, finally catching up to him in a helicopter over the ocean.

Man, Spider-Man starts out pretty decent, and it just skyrockets in quality as it goes on. On the complete opposite end of this spectrum, keep an eye peeled for J.J.’s son John Jameson the astronaut, as he’ll become a recurring Marvel character in the 80’s, Man-Wolf. Yes, he becomes a wolfman. In space. And at the end of the series, he becomes “STARGOD”, who is psychic and can fly and is a space wolf man. His future is very bleak indeed.