Tag Archives: Red Skull

Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos #25, Dec. 1965

Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos #25, Dec. 1965

Written in rage by: Stan Lee!
Pencilled in panic by: Dick Ayers!
Delineated in despair by: John Tartaglione!
Lettered in the office by: Sam Rosen!

It’s weird getting back into the habit of doing these after spending nearly three months away, especially since this Sgt. Fury issue is actually pretty good! They didn’t use to be like that, did they? I remember a time when it was just guys blowing up tanks over and over again… Those were simpler days, children seemed to dislike Nazis more then…

The Howlers return to their base in England, cutting their furlough back home short and leaving an injured Dum-Dum Dugan behind them. They’ve gotten word that there’s a spy who’s a master of disguise who’s infiltrated the base, and since they were gone, they’re the only ones who can be trusted to deal with it. Captain “Happy Sam” Sawyer lets the commandos deal with the spy and gives Fury himself a much more important mission: he needs to deliver a package to some French freedom fighters.

When Nick meets up with the French, he notices something is weird. Part of it is that they don’t have French accents at all, and another part is that they stupidly speak German whenever he says “ACHTUNG!” He beats up the guys and blows up the boat, then swims back to the base just in time to find that the Red Skull (who had been impersonating Sawyer) is now pretending to be Fury and has set explosives all over the base. Fury lets the commandos know that he’s the real him, and together they get him out of prison and beat up the Red Skull, foiling his plans.

That’s pretty cool, that the master of disguise spy was actually the Red Skull. It really could’ve been anybody and the story would’ve worked just as well, but letting the audience know that it’s this other established character really makes the whole story feel more like it’s part of the Marvel universe. I’m still laughing my ass off at how intensely incompetent the Nazis pretending to be French freedom fighters were, though. One word and their entire ruse is destroyed. Good help is hard to find, I guess.

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Tales of Suspense #68, Aug. 1965

Tales of Suspense #68, Aug. 1965

Edited by: Stan Lee (who hasn’t slept since!)
Written by: Al Hartley (who never could sleep!)
Art by: Don Heck (who was under sedation!)
Inked by: Mickey Demeo (who couldn’t have visitors!)
Lettered by: Sam Rosen (who knows!)

Stan Lee, writer
Jack Kirby, artist
Frank Ray, inker
Sam Rosen, letterer

This is perhaps the worst issue of Tales of Suspense I’ve read so far. The Iron Man story is something of a repeat of the last issue’s, except for the incredibly stupid twist at the end that’s reminiscent of the early 60’s sci-fi stories or the really old Thor/Hulk/Ant Man things. This is one of only two stories that Al Hartley wrote in the Silver Age, so I guess it makes sense that it was more like his earlier 50’s work for Atlas (the company that would eventually be renamed Marvel).

Last issue, stupid Count Nefaria was trying to make Iron Man go crazy by making him fight dream versions of his previous enemies. That didn’t work, so Nefaria recruits Tony Stark’s ne’er-do-well cousin Morgan to try the same sort of thing on the billionaire. He starts seeing fantastical sights and everyone starts to think that he’s gone crazy… until one of the fake spaceships turns out to be a real one, carrying moon men who are all named after cheeses. Seriously. Iron Man fights them off and they decide to leave the moon because all Earthlings are obviously exactly like Iron Man, who can kick the shit out of them.

Meanwhile, in the past, Captain America’s brainwashing by the Red Skull comes to an anti-climactic end as he just snaps out of it and gets back to work as normal. The Skull either knew that would happen or just doesn’t care, and sends one of his men on a new mission: to steal “Project Vanish”, which is a ray gun that disintegrates stuff. Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes are sent to guard the Skull’s henchman, who is a POW, and have to turn into their super-powered alter-egos to defeat him once he gets the ray.

The only thing I like about the Captain America story is that the Project Vanish ray looks like one of those chest-mounted missile launcher things that you always get on action figures, which I find to be the most hilarious of all weapon designs. I was pretty disappointed that Cap’s brainwashing fizzled out like it did and the answer was just “well, he didn’t feel like being brainwashed anymore or something.” Ah well, whatcha gonna do.


Tales of Suspense #67, July 1965

Tales of Suspense #67, July 1965

Written by our roguish writer… Stan Lee
Pencilled by our prankish penciller… Don Heck
Inked by our impish inker… Mickey Demeo
Lettered by our other letterer… S. Rosen
And read by our rollickin’ reader… YOU!

Story and art by: Stan Lee and Jack Kirby
Inking: Frank Ray
Lettering: Artie Simek

Iron Man fights a bunch of old villains?! WHAT A COOL- oh, it’s a dream. A nefarious dream, mastered by the old Avengers enemy Count Nefaria (who is now going by the Master of Dreams for this issue and only this issue). I guess that explains how they got the Crimson Dynamo back, even though he’s dead. Dammit, I like the Crimson Dynamo.

At the end of the last issue, Happy Hogan decided to quit his job as a rich man’s chauffeur because he never had to work and the hot secretary kinda liked him but not as much as his boss. Iron Man follows him to Ireland where he’s visiting his stereotypical grandfather, but the evil Count Nefaria put on some mascara and built a dream machine specifically to give Iron Man nightmares that could kill him. In the nightmare, Iron Man fights several of his old foes, like the Crimson Dynamo, the Melter, Jack Frost, the Unicorn, and that alien robot that was dressed like a caveman. Iron Man beats them in his dream, but Nefaria’s plan was apparently that he was supposed to give up and just die, and he breaks his dream machine in an incompetence-fueled rage.

Meanwhile, in the past, Captain America has been brainwashed by the Red Skull to be a Nazi stooge. He’s been trained to shoot an American general and is sent with a Nazi strike team to infiltrate his base. Unknown to the Germans, Cap’s teen sidekick Bucky has disguised himself as one of the commandos and tries to wake Cap up from his hypnotic state. But, being the sidekick, nothing he does actually works, and Cap shoots the general… OR DOES HE?! TUNE IN NEXT TIME!!!

So, wait. They brainwashed Captain America to shoot an American general, that much I can understand. But why did they land him with a bunch of Nazi stormtroopers and storm the castle? Isn’t the whole point of brainwashing people that you can just sneak them back in and nobody knows they’re a traitor until it’s too late? They’re just hypnotizing out of spite in this case.


Tales of Suspense #66, June 1965

Tales of Suspense #66, June 1965

Written in the Marvel tradition of greatness by Stan Lee
Illustrated in the Marvel tradition of grandeur by Don Heck
Inked in the Marvel tradition of drama by Mickey Demeo
Lettered in the coziest corner of the room by Sam Rosen

Here and now, in the full maturity of their titanic talents: Stan Lee and Jack Kirby re-create the glory and the grandeur of Captain America!
Inked by: Chic Stone
Lettered by: Artie Simek

Great, Attuma again. That idiot couldn’t take over a seashell if the hermit crab living there was already dead. In his last appearance, he ran away from Giant Man because he kept changing his size at the Atlantean forces. How can you possibly have any respect for a villain that’s AFRAID of ANT MAN?!

Iron Man is testing out a new prototype submarine developed by Tony Stark for underwater recon when he stumbles across Attuma, the Atlantean warlord, and the GIANT-FUCK GUN he built underwater. Apparently he built a bullet out of a rare underwater metal called “nautilium” (yeah fucking right) which will turn the air above the water to be too humid for humans to breathe, then he can easily take over. There’s only enough nautilium for one shot, so when ol’ shellhead drives his sub into the gun to kerplode it, Attuma’s plans are yet again quickly and embarrassingly foiled.

As we join Captain America, he’s been captured by the Red Skull, Hitler’s right hand monster, who wants to tell Cap all about his origin story. You see, he used to be a petty criminal who sucked at everything, but Hitler noticed that he hated humanity too and trained him to be a super-Nazi. Cap isn’t impressed when the Skull tells him that even Hitler himself fears his might now, but it’s not important because the whole thing was a diversion for a drug that they injected Cap with to take effect. When he comes to, he is the complete slave of the Red Skull! UH-OH!!

Cap is one of those rare characters who can give a super-patriotic and corny speech, but you still actually kinda believe that he believes in it. There’s nothing fake about Cap’s convictions, and that’s what really makes him a hero. That and his preternatural control of his shield. That is pretty impressive.


Tales of Suspense #65, May 1965

Tales of Suspense #65, May 1965

Story by Marvel’s merriest marcher: Stan Lee
Art by Marvel’s most amiable artist: Don Heck
Inking by Marvel’s dizziest delineator: Mickey Demeo
Lettering by Marvel’s persnippiest pen-pusher: Sam Rosen

By Stan Lee and Jack Kirby
Inking: Chic Stone
Lettering: S. Rosen

This Iron Man story is a lot like what happened to Giant Man one time, when some random thug found his costume and decided to steal his powers. The difference being that Iron Man has to dress up in his old armor and fight, using the weaknesses and strengths of each design against each other, and the Giant Man one just ended with a single punch.

In another fit of playboy millionaire angst, Tony Stark decides to take a vacation and forgets his Iron Man suit at home. Unluckily for him, it just so happens to be the same day some random crook breaks into his office, and when he finds the suit, he decides to become a super-villain. Stark realizes that only he can defeat the impostor, using his original big and clunky all-gold Iron Man armor, and uses his skill and practice to win the day. When he’s arrested, the crook finally tells the world the true identity of Iron Man: It was HIM! HE’S IRON MAN! HE’S NOT CRAZY AT ALLLLL!! WOWOROROWOWORRWWWOOOOO!!

The Captain America story takes place in 1941, before America’s actually entered World War II. Not that that stops the Nazis from being bad guys, and it certainly ain’t gonna stop Cap from punching them a bunch. He and Bucky find out that someone has been sabotaging their military outposts… some weird dude in a red mask and a big shirt with a swastika on it who calls himself “The Red Skull”. Hm, sounds kinda familiar…

Oh, that’s right, the Red Skull is Captain America’s arch-nemesis and he’s really awesome for being just a gussied-up random nazi. At least, that’s the way he is here in this appearance. The letter page promises that the next issue will have the real origin story of the Red Skull, and hopefully it won’t be long before they stop doing these dumb WWII stories anymore and get back to “present” day, where they can still have the Red Skull, except he does shit with the Cosmic Cube and stuff. That stuff is way better.