Tag Archives: Human Top

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.

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Tales to Astonish #69, July 1965

Tales to Astonish #69, July 1965

Edited with perfect control by: Stan Lee
Written with all bases covered by: Al Hartley
Drawn with the impact of a line drive by: Bob Powell
Inked with the beauty of a three-bagger by: John Giunta
Lettered with only a few errors by: S. Rosen

Hulking story by Stan Lee
Hulksome art by Jack Kirby
Hulkish inking by Mickey Demeo
Hulkable lettering by Art Simek

There’s an important announcement at the end of this Giant Man comic… he may be retiring! Unfortunately, we all know that it’s not going to be a permanent thing, but there is a wonderful, carefree period of time where Giant Man’s spot in Tales to Astonish is replaced by the Sub-Mariner, and he’s already out of the Avengers. He’ll eventually rejoin the Avengers, but it’ll be wonderful to not have to read about Ant Man at all for a while. Ooh, it’s going to be so great, I can’t wait!

Last time, the Human Top kidnapped the Wasp to use as bait to lure Giant Man to his final doom. He’s built a fake city over a pit trap that he’s going to use to flash-freeze Hank Pym, then cover his frozen body with epoxy so he’ll have a statue of his ultimate triumph. Damn. Unfortunately, Pym is able to shrink to ant size as soon as the frost starts to form, so he and the Wasp can cuddle up in the finger of the hollow, frozen statue, then bust out when it’s removed from the pit. Hank realizes that it just isn’t fair for him to be constantly putting his girl in danger, and he talks about retirement. YAYYYY!!

The Hulk has also been kidnapped, and is whisked away to the Leader’s secret lab, along with Dr. Banner’s latest invention, the Absorbatron. The Leader keeps the Hulk sedated with sleeping gas, but for some reason that just makes him turn into Bruce Banner. The Leader was in the basement at the time and didn’t see this, so when he gets back he thinks that the Hulk escaped. He pumps in twice as much sleeping gas, which for some other reason turns Banner back into the Hulk, but not asleep. The Hulk comes out, smashes some stuff, and the Leader runs away.

What the fuck kind of sleeping gas does every convenient thing EXCEPT putting a guy to sleep? I’ll accept that Bruce Banner has some weird reactions to things, but making this same gas turn him back and forth between forms and never actually working for it’s intended purpose… I dunno, it just seems lazy. But hey, who cares? Ant Man is going away! YAAAAAYYYYY!!!


Tales to Astonish #68, June 1965

Tales to Astonish #68, June 1965

Stupefying script by: Stan Lee
Stereophonic art by: Bob Powell
Stultifying inking by: Vince Colletta
Schizophrenic lettering by: S. Rosen

Story and art by Marvel’s modern masters: Stan Lee and Jack Kirby
Inking: Mickey Demeo
Lettering: Artie Simek

I have to admit, I got really angry while reading this issue. Ant Man does that to me, and so does the Hulk lately, since there’s just NO goddamn reason people shouldn’t know his true identity by now. In fact, everybody should know the alter-ego of BOTH of these damn clowns. Henry Pym invites a bunch of construction workers to remodel his home to accommodate a 35 ft tall guy for his “friend” Giant Man, and apparently it’s public knowledge that he lives there. Nobody’s stupid enough not to figure that one out, except maybe Ant Man himself.

El Hombre Gigante (as nobody calls him, because that is more the name of a cool Luchador wrestler than fucking ANT MAN) is out in a field practicing his size changing when a plane runs right into his big dumb face. He saves the pilot before passing out, and it turns out it was his old nemesis, the Human Top! The Top feels embarrassed that he was saved by Giant Man (I’m finally starting to understand this character) and designs a new costume with pockets he’s sewn in filled with helium so he can fly (aaaand it’s gone). Meanwhile, Giant Man decides that his new optimal fighting size is 35 ft instead of 12, and he still can’t turn back to Ant Man size since that convenient alien stole his shrinking powers last ish. After his lab’s remodeling is complete, he allows a reporter in for an interview… who turns out to be the Top, and he kidnaps the Wasp. Sigh…

Bruce Banner and Major Talbot are falling off a cliff in Mongolia, but I guess Stan Lee decided he was done with that so he instantly turns into the Hulk and goes back to America. Talbot also survives (though he blacked out and didn’t know the deal with the Hulk) and asks the president to try Banner as a red spy. Lyndon B. Johnson is one of two other people who know the Hulk’s true identity, however, and doesn’t want anything bad to happen to the poor guy, instead ordering him to test his new defensive device, the Absorbatron. Unknown to anybody, the Leader has miniaturized his pink foamy Humanoids and sprayed them all over the Absorbatron. They grow like so much Shrinky Dinks and steal the machine, as well as the Hulk, which Banner turns into while under attack.

Okay, the Leader can see and hear things through his Humanoids, and Bruce Banner turns into the Hulk after a bunch of them doggie pile on top of him. THERE IS NO EXCUSE WHATSOEVER FOR THE LEADER TO NOT KNOW THAT BRUCE BANNER IS THE HULK. Everybody knows who the Fantastic Four really are, and it doesn’t matter, right? So just get it over with and “unmask” the Hulk. Otherwise, it’s completely impossible to believe that the Leader is supposed to be smarter than a normal person, or even really smarter than your average dog.


Tales to Astonish #59, Sept. 1964

Tales to Astonish #59, Sept. 1964

Rapidly written by: Stan Lee
Dashingly drawn by: Dick Ayers
Instantly inked by: P. Reinman
Lazily lettered by: Art Simek

By: Stan Lee
Dick Ayers
Paul Reinman
S. Rosen

 

This issue was designed to re-introduce the Hulk as a recurring character, after having failed out of his own solo series and also dropping out of the Avengers. Starting in the next issue of Tales to Astonish, the Hulk gets his own half-length monthly feature, sharing the spotlight with Giant Man, much like how Strange Tales is half Human Torch, half Dr. Strange. In fact, the same thing would eventually happen with Tales of Suspense, with Captain America sharing the mag with Iron Man. This format would last until nearly the end of the 60’s, when Marvel finally got enough people and money to split everyone off into their own comics. Anyway, there’s some publication history trivia for ya.

For some reason, Giant Man is obsessed with finding the Hulk so he can try to convince him to rejoin the Avengers. He and the Wasp take a trip to New Mexico, where they meet Dr. Robert Bruce Banner (they gave him the double name because they accidentally called him “Bob” instead of “Bruce” in an earlier issue), who gets angry at the fact that the Avengers just won’t leave him alone. Unfortunately, getting angry makes him turn into the Hulk!

I didn’t mention this (because he’s barely worth mentioning), but Giant Man’s old foe the Human Top also followed the super duo to New Mexico, and his goal is to get the Hulk to destroy Giant Man. As the two super heroes duke it out in the middle of an evacuated town (or, more precisely, Giant Man tries not to die), the Top contacts General “Thunderbolt” Ross and tells him to nuke the town. He either doesn’t know Giant Man is there too, or he just doesn’t care (either would make sense for him), and shoots off the powerful bomb. The Wasp tries to disarm it in vain, but she manages to warn Giant Man about it via their communicator headsets, and Giant Man tells the Hulk. Since the Hulk wants to beat Giant Man himself, he throws the bomb away, and the explosion turns him back into Banner.

There’s also a short special feature filling up the rest of the issue which just talks about the various devices Giant Man uses. Really, what’s important about this issue is that it’s the first time where the Hulk’s transformation is caused by anger, which is obviously a huge deal. Maybe that minor change (I think the last way they had him change was via a machine in his cave laboratory) was all it took to make the Hulk a lasting character, or maybe it’s the addition of a good rogue’s gallery which develops in his run in this series. Probably a bit of both, plus apparently the readers had been clamoring for more Hulk anyway. Personally, I’m for anything that means I get to read less Ant Man.


Tales to Astonish #55, May 1964

Tales to Astonish #55, May 1964

Story by: Happy Stan Lee
Art by: Heroic Dick Ayers
Lettering by: Honest Art Simek

I just realized something… why doesn’t the Wasp have a mask or something like that? She just wears a little hood thing that covers up her hair, but her whole face is exposed all the time. Doesn’t that defeat the whole purpose of a “disguise”? Maybe there is a mask, she just doesn’t want to wear it because it’ll smear her makeup or something. Sigh…

The Human Top, the first villain to beat the hell out of Giant Man escapes from prison, and for some reason he can now spin around fast enough to do stupid air stuff which lets him fly. I thought the guy was just an ice skater who was very fast, what the hell happened in prison? This time the Top’s first move is to sneak into Giant Man’s house and steal his belt with all the shrinking/growth pills in them. The Top takes one of the growth pills and becomes… really big, obviously. He kidnaps the Wasp and leaves, forcing Giant Man to become Ant Man again (ANT MAN!!!) so he can escape his locked closet, with the help of his loyal ants, of course. A final showdown between the big, dumb superguys takes place and Giant Man wins the day.

This is a really weird panel. The Human Top was listening in on Hank and Jan do their usual “I hate you” flirting, and he apparently finds it “touching” and “heartwarming”. I just… I mean, the conversation literally ended with the Wasp threatening to cry. Maybe he’s being sarcastic? Like… sarcastic in a thought bubble to himself? That also kinda weird, isn’t it? Maybe there’s just something in their tone of voice that makes it seem sweeter than the dulcet tones of bitter hatred that I read it in.