Tag Archives: Puppet Master

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.


Strange Tales #133, June 1965

Strange Tales #133, June 1965

Written in the magnificent Stan Lee tradition!
Illustrated in the majestic Bob Powell manner!
Inked in the magniloquent Mick Demeo style!
Lettered in the mortgaged Sam Rosen home!

Strange is this script by: Stan Lee!
Awesome is this art by: Steve Ditko!
Lilting is this lettering by: S. Rosen!

I still say that the relationship between the monstrous Thing and the blind Alicia Masters is the most stable, healthy relationship in Marvel, and it’s always nice to see them getting along, like in this issue. Still, when they fight the Puppet Master it just drives home the fact that Alicia is his niece, which is why her last name is Masters. Because I guess Puppet Masters is his real name or something. Oh, Stan.

The Thing and the Human Torch are coerced into going to an art exhibit with their girlfriends. Little do they know that their old foe the Puppet Master has given himself plastic surgery to make him look like Uncle Fester and also that now he just controls giant puppets that he made instead of using puppets to control people. It seems like a better solution, but the fight ends with ol’ Puppy being frozen by his own puppet-making beam… FOREVER.

Dr. Strange lost his last battle with Baron Mordo, but instead of being ACTUALLY beaten, he just travels through crazy melty dimensions until he ends up in some place where a sorceress named Shazana has taken over the throne from her sister. He reads the mind of some sort of gargoyle dog thing to see where she gets her magic powers from and destroys it, thus easily fixing the situation.

Dr. Strange uses his power to read the minds of animals an awful lot more than you’d expect. After that time he read the minds of some fish to find the Sub-Mariner, I kinda expected that the usefulness of this power would make it so he’d never use it again, but I guess I was proven wrong. Today I learned never to do anything in front of my pets that I wouldn’t want a magician to learn about via telepathy. I think that’s a pretty good rule to live by, actually.

Strange Tales #126, Nov. 1964

Strange Tales #126, Nov. 1964

Stan Lee is our inspired writer
Dick Ayers is our admired penciller
Paul Reinman is our desired inker
S. Rosen is our tired letterer

Written by: Stan Lee, prince of prestidigitators!
Illustrated by: Steve Ditko, lord of legerdemain!
Lettered by: Art Simek, nabor of necromancy!

Man, the Human Torch/Thing story in this is fucking retarded, but Dr. Strange is at his absolute best. You can’t imagine how happy I am that Ditko’s finally started drawing a bunch of his insane alternate dimension-scapes. Or maybe you can, once you see a bunch of these things. It’s like… art, man. With monsters and a dude in a cape in them. The best kind of art.

The Puppet Master and the Mad Thinker have teamed up again, with the same exact plan they always have. Puppet Master controls the Thing and has him attach the Torch, who almost dies except the Thing randomly turns back into Ben Grimm so the Puppet Master doesn’t have control over him any more, and he saves Johnny. They go to Reed Richards to see what was happening, and he immediately realizes it was the Puppet Master, because HE’S DONE THIS LIKE TEN TIMES NOW. Reed builds a fancy hat for Ben to wear which makes the Puppet Master’s next attempt backfire on him and knock him out. There’s a handy device.

The Ancient One summons Dr. Strange because of a major danger: the dread Dormammu may be approaching Earth! To give you some sort of scale here, Dormammu is one of the guys that Strange mentions while casting spells. Dr. Strange is completely fearless and just waltzes into this horrible demon of death’s dimension, fighting crazy magic enemies left and right, until he’s approached by a hot chick with some crazy alternate dimensional hair. She warns him that Dormammu wants to kill him (duh), but he doesn’t even give a shit and walks right up to the dude (who’s head is fire) and tells him to leave Earth alone. His response? FIND OUT NEXT TIME!

What the hell went through Steve Ditko’s mind that he came up with some of this crazy stuff? I can’t even come up with a funny quip about it, it’s such a weird and alien series of images that I have no point of reference to come at it with. Maybe if I knew more about abstract art, but I don’t. I can’t even imagine what sort of drugs it would take for images like that to come to your mind, but I’ll tell you one thing, I fucking want them.

The Fantastic Four #28, July 1964

The Fantastic Four #28, July 1964

Written by: Stan Lee (The Leader!)
Drawn by: Jack Kirby (The King!)
Inked by: Chic Stone (The Master!)
Lettered by: Art Simek (The Letterer!)

I think I’ve reached a conclusion: It’s only the comics where Artie Simek letters where there are jokes at the expense of the letterer, so I’m going to say that he’s the guy who, at least partially, comes up with the joke titles. Or maybe Stan Lee was more comfortable making fun of him than Sam Rosen, probably one of those. In either case, I love it.

The Mad Thinker is back, and he’s got another overly complicated master plan. This one involves the Puppet Master creating a doll of Professor X and controlling him, so he can tell the X-Men to defeat the Fantastic Four. However, first the X-Men have to bring the FF to a specific plateau where the Thinker has planted traps designed to get rid of them. Then the Puppet Master commands Professor X to put the X-Men to sleep, and then they win! Except the Beast manages to snatch the doll from the Puppet Master just before he falls asleep, freeing Professor X so he can stop the Thinker’s otherwise unbeatable Awesome Android.

This is a pretty decent issue. Unlike the team-up with the Avengers the Fantastic Four just did, this one had a pretty good reason, and a logical team-up of villains behind that reason. I can totally buy the fact that the Puppet Master couldn’t mind control Professor X without the Thinker’s calculations of using a precise amount of his radioactive clay. That not only explains why he didn’t do it before, but is also a good setup for good ol’ heroes fightin’ heroes. Plus I just like the Awesome Android and his big grey eraser head.

Strange Tales #116, Jan. 1964

Strange Tales #116, Jan. 1964

Written by: Stan Lee
Drawn by: Dick Ayers
Inked by: Geo. Bell
Lettered by: R. Holloway/Art Simek

(Dr. Strange) Illustrated by: Steve Ditko 

The Human Torch story in this issue has an interesting additional credit to it: “Based upon an idea by Tommy and Jimmy Goodkind, Hewlett Harbor, New York“. Did they get the idea for the plot from a couple kids who wrote in fan mail? That’s fucking awesome. I mean, the idea is “Puppet Master makes the Human Torch attack the Thing”, but still.

So the Puppet Master makes the Human Torch attack the Thing, and… Okay, okay. The Puppet Master has made statue of the Torch, which he uses to visit his step-daughter Alicia, girlfriend of the Thing. He makes Johnny hit on Alicia, which of course incurs the wrath of the Thing. An epic fight takes place between the two, but neither of them are obviously going all out with it, instead doing the sort of “play fighting” that they often do together. The Puppet Master thinks he can kill at least one of them if he gets closer, but is thwarted at the last minute by Alicia, who instructs the Human Torch to burn the Puppet Master’s hands and doll. Guess he’s done forever.

Dr. Strange, on the other hand, has been approached by the police to investigate the fates of some people who haven’t woken up from their sleeps. It turns out it’s due to a spell cast by Nightmare, the evil leader of the dimension of dreams. Dr. Strange takes a dangerous journey into the dream dimension to rescue the spirits of the captured people, but Nightmare attempts to thwart him every step of the way. “Attempts” being the key word.

Dammit, this is the problem with trying to keep my four paragraph format with these double feature issues, I have points I want to make about BOTH of them! Also I waste space on segue sentences! Anyway, this Human Torch story is actually a pretty good one. It’s definitely an improvement from the Puppet Master’s previous attempts to control a guy to fight other people, instead controlling Johnny Storm to be a dick so it seems less like it’s coming out of nowhere. I also like the fact that these two guy’s “tough love” relationship gets in the way of his attempts to get them to kill each other, because that shows some really good character development that’s been going on since basically the beginning.

As far as Dr. Strange goes, he’s technically in the Marvel universe with the rest of these superheroes, but he spends most of his time in these totally bizarre and alien alternate dimensions (and I’m not talking about the kind of dimension where it’s the same except everybody wears hats) that each have their own specific sets of rules. It’s similar, but different enough that it’s definitely an enjoyable part of the whole universe, the idea that our world is really goddamn complicated, sure, but this dimension is made out of pain manifested as octopi or something. Gives you more perspective on the parallel world idea. Also, fucking awesome stoner Ditko art.