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Posts Tagged ‘Stan Lee

So, we all know how much I love the old Silver Age Fantastic Four books (or, well, anything Silver Age, really). It’s no surprise, then, that I got ridiculously excited when I discovered that in the mid-70s there was a short lived radio serial based on several of the Lee/Kirby issues of Fantastic Four.

The brainchild of Ann Robinson (yes, the same one who wrote that Spider-Man/Planned Parenthood PSA comic) and Richard Clorfene and Peter B. Lewis, a couple of New York City radio DJs,the Fantastic Four Radio Show came about after the two DJs realized that a Silver Surfer radio show would kinda suck. Ann talked to Stan Lee and got the rights to about a dozen characters while Lewis turned 13 issues of comics into 600+ pages of script (most of which copied the dialogue from the comic verbatim).

He managed to get Stan Lee to do all of the narrating for the series and got together a team of voice actors for the series including Bob Maxwell as Reed Richards, Cynthia Adler as Sue Storm, Jim Pappas as Ben Grimm, and Bill Murray as Johnny Storm (which is goddamn surreal to listen to). Unfortunately, Lewis decided to cancel the series after the thirteenth episode was produced, citing the fact that the only funding they got was $25,000 from Ann’s husband’s production company (and that Marvel had kinda stopped answering his phone calls).

Although never commercially released, bootleg copies of Fantastic Four Radio Show are out there. What the hel, I’ll save you a couple eBay bucks and just upload the damn thing for you. Enjoy!

1. “Fantastic Four Meets the Moleman” (Fantastic Four #1)

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2. “Menace of the Miracle Man”(Fantastic Four #3)

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3.”Coming of the Submariner” (Fantastic Four #4)

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4. “Fantastic Four Meet Doctor Doom” (Fantastic Four #5)

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5. “Prisoners of the Puppet-Master” (Fantastic Four #8)

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6. “Fantastic Four Meet the Incredible Hulk” (Fantastic Four #13)

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7. “Spell of the Hate Monger” (Fantastic Four #21)

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8. “Return of Doctor Doom” (Fantastic Four #16)

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9. “Fantastic Four in the Clutches of Doctor Doom” (Fantastic Four #17)

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10. “A Super-Skrull Walks Among Us” (Fantastic Four #18)

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11. “At the Mercy of Rama-Tut” (Fantastic Four #19)

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12. “The Menace of the Red Ghost” (Fantastic Four #13)

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13. “The Submariner Strikes” (Fantastic Four #14)

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It always kind of bums me out when two great things come out at once and only one of them gets a lick of attention. After twenty minutes in my local shop, it seemed like everybody was singing the praises of Kick-Ass 2 and nobody was talking about (or picking up, for that matter) BOOM! Studios’ Soldier Zero #1. And, for reals, those folks are missing out.

Soldier Zero is the story of Stewart Trautmann, a former Army captain who was paralyzed after his convoy ran over an IED in Afghanistan. Attempting to go about his post-war life with his brother and prospective lady-friend, Stewart finds himself in another freak accident when a dying alien crashes into him. He gets Abin Sur’d (yup, that’s a verb now) and develops superpowers (including the ability to stand) and an admittedly bitchin’ looking suit. But the question remains, what was the alien doing near Earth in the first place?

Soldier Zero was created by Stan Lee and is the first in a series of three books from BOOM! Studios produced under his guidance (the other two being The Traveler and Starborn).Soldier Zero follows Lee’s tried and true old formula for a superhero origin: take an underdog and make him realize his full potential. Paul Cornell (Captain Britain and MI-13, Action Comics) is the man in charge of making a book out of this character and he does so eloquently, quickly fleshing out our hero’s civilian life while simultaneously showing the alien’s dramatic final space battle. Plus, Javier Pina’s (Suicide Squad, Manhunter) art is visually spectacular as well (particularly the space action shots).

For what is more or less a quick origin story, this book is a damn fine read. If you have a love of all things Green Lantern Corps or Guardians of the Galaxy related, I have a feeling that this book will be right up your alley.

OH SNAP, PREVIEW PAGES.

For writing extensively about the Silver Age, it’s a wonder I’ve had yet to touch upon anything Marvel, specifically any of the bajillion collaborations between Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. These two are responsible for the X-Men, Thor, Hercules, Hulk, Iron Man, and Nick Fury. I mean, come on, if that ain’t prolific, nothing is. And, while most of their books seemed to be somewhat more serious than DC’s books from the same era, Lee and Kirby seemed to write another of their creations, the Fantastic Four, as a bit more fantastical (hence the name, I guess). Let’s take a look at January 1963’s The Fantastic Four #10.

The issue starts out with Mr. Fantastic using his patented vibra-light process in his radioactive x-ray camera to try and help Sue control her invisibility. By the way, it’s worth noting that, while Star Trek may have perfected it, the Fantastic Four more or less invented bullshit technobabble (which this issue is full of). Anyways, he manages to take a picture of her while she’s invisible which I guess is good news or something. Before they can explain how that even begins to make sense, Johnny Storm spots the emergency signal flare out the window! To the Fantasti-Car!

Except it turns out that Reed’s nuclear lock is stuck and they can’t get into the garage. We are then treated to a full page of Reed stretching his arm under the door, trying to feel around for the Fantasti-Car. He fails, but Johnny discovers that he can “concentrate his flame so much that it burns without heat” (um, what?) and pops open the lock. For some inexplicable reason, Reed then decides that it’d be faster to walk anyways, rendering that entire sequence completely pointless. After Sue almost gets killed crossing the street and Reed almost gets his clothes ripped off by insane fans, they show up at Alicia Masters’ doorstep to discover that the Thing just wanted to show them Alica’s sculptures of various supervillains.

Meanwhile, across town, Doctor Doom shows up at the office of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Feel free to take a few seconds and let that last sentence really sink in. Turns out that Earth-616’s Stan Lee and Jack Kirby are BFFs with all the heroes. Anyways, Doom demands that Stan call up Mr. Fantastic and somehow get him to the office. Reed suits up and heads on over, where Doctor Doom hits him with some sleeping gas and teleports away with an unconscious Reed.

Later, Reed awakens in Doom’s secret lab, completely unrestrained. He just stands there while Doom talks about how he survived being shot into space on a meteor by being picked up by some weird aliens called Ovoids who taught him how to swap bodies with somebody. After he finishes his story, Doom reveals that while Reed was just kinda hanging out and listening, he’d used telepathy to switch their bodies. Doom-in-Reed then proceeds to beat the shit out of Reed-in-Doom before the rest of the Fantastic Four shows up and finishes the job. After they talk about whether or not they should bury him alive in the desert (holy fuck, that’s an option?), they decide to lock him in a plexi-glass prison in his own lab. Ben is super concerned that Reed-in-Doom will run out of air, but Doom-in-Reed convinces him that there’s tons of air in there and he’ll be fine. After they leave he then pretty much says, “Just kidding, there’s only an hour of air. See ya!”

Back at the Baxter Building, the team is shocked when they open Reed’s lab and a ton of tiny-sized animals run out. Ben notices that that day’s headline reads “Zoo Animals Missing.” Gasp! The gang rushes in to confront Doom-in-Reed but he contests that he was doing it for them, merely testing out his new reduction ray to help increase the group’s powers! This is immediately followed by the greatest example of sequential art (laced with more technobabble) I have ever seen.

Roughly the same size as this vagina.

Doom-in-Reed explains that the reason dinosaurs went extinct is that while their bodies grew larger and larger, their brains did not (bullshit). But what if they got smaller? With their brains being so large compared to their tiny bodies, those dinosaurs would be scientific geniuses and rule the world (bullshit)! Doom-in-Reed hypothesizes that if he uses his Shrinky Dink laser beam on the group, their powers will retain their intensity, yet grow when they are un-shrunk (such bullshit!). He tells them that Johnny could fly faster than a jet, Sue could turn parts of herself invisible at will, and Ben will be able to turn human again. Rather than question the logic behind any of that crap, the gang starts arguing over who’s going to get shot by the laser gun first. Doom-in-Reed tells them to come back in a few hours and, as soon as they’re gone, starts giving exposition to the empty room. Basically, he’s just gonna shrink the Fantastic Four out of existence. Surprise, surprise.

Back at Doctor Doom’s secret lab, Reed-in-Doom escapes his plexi-glass prison by blowing up the rest of his oxygen tanks. He immediately runs over to Alica’s house to get her help convincing the others that he is actually Reed. Before he can get a word in, an invisible Sue beats him over the head with a vase, knocking him out. Ben and Johnny run in and get ready to beat the shit out of an unconscious Reed-in-Doom  but Ben realizes that, for some reason, he can’t bring himself to punch him. Confused, they take him back to the Baxter Building.

Doom-in-Reed (seriously, all they have to do is look at his new evil Peter Lorre eyebrows) ties up Reed-in-Doom and tells the rest of the Fantastic Four that the ray is read to shrink them. They eagerly stand in front of it, but a desperate Reed-in-Doom runs around screaming that everybody is dumb for not listening to him. Johnny decides to test this out by using a heat mirage to make it look like there’s a stick of dynamite in the room. While Doom-in-Reed freaks out and climbs up a pipe to escape, Reed-in-Doom tries to remove the fuse. Doom and Reed suddenly switch bodies back to normal and a fight ensues. Sort of. Doctor Doom just throws himself in front of the reduction ray and starts screaming for somebody to turn it off. They don’t, he shrinks into nothingness, the end.

So, yeah. While Lee and Kirby’s other books like X-Men and Hulk were way more dramatic, Fantastic Four is anything but (pretty much til the Silver Surfer shows up). I mean, hell, this issue alone had aliens, cameos from the creators, and technobabble out the ass. Oh. And dinosaurs in spacesuits. Shit, did I forget to mention the dinosaurs are in spacesuits?

BEST. PANEL. EVER.

Day two of LBCC! Lots of important news was broken, lots of crazy moments were had, lots of drinks were downed. Let’s just effin’ get to it!

HIGHLIGHTS, Y’ALL:

  • Jon and Maggie both met Stan Lee and got autographs (on the Amazing Spider-Man #41 and #71!  Spidey vs. Quicksilver #71 went off to CGC to get slabbed and graded, 1st Appearance of Rhino #41 was a little beat up and is now proudly on display in their living room)!
  • Rob figured out what his holy grail of comics is and bought Firestorm the Nuclear Man #1-4, went to the Boom! Studios Party, and traded Mark Waid his copy of #2 (with weird reader survey in it) for Waid’s personal copy of both #2 and #5! That’s a whole run! (UPDATE: Ten days later, Rob’s got the full Firestorm run, and Mr. Waid posts scans of the weird survey to his blog.)
  • High Five! contributor Hava got her convention cherry popped and saw her comic bro-crush, Geoff Johns!
  • At DC Nation, they announced that Johns’ new Flash run will have a Wally West co-feature, that Dan DiDio and Phillip Tan are taking over the Outsiders, and that the new Speedster is a girl (something Maggie has desperately wanted to happen)!
  • Aforementioned Boom! Studios Party was tame, but fun! So much Sam Adams October Fest is in Rob’s belly!

HIGH FIVES FIVED HIGHLY:

  • Geoff Johns (again)

Yeah, so we only high fived one dude who we also happened to high five yesterday. To be fair, we were busy being all awesome and hobnobbing with people whose books we love. Plus, Jon and Maggie had non-con business to attend to and Rob had to show Hava the ropes! Rob is tired of typing in the third person! Picture time!

Maggie and the Littlest Deadpool.

Maggie and the Littlest Deadpool.

Maggie & The Man signing Spider-Man #41, 1st appearance of Rhino!

Maggie & The Man signing Spider-Man #41, 1st appearance of Rhino!

Lookit the pretty!

Lookit the pretty!

Day one of Long Beach Comic Con was short and sweet (to say the least). For only technically being open for four hours today, there was a crazy amount of shit that we managed to accomplish.

HIGHLIGHTS, Y’ALL:

  • Both Los Angeles and Long Beach declaring October 2, 2009 to be Stan Lee Day (and he thought he “was just here to cut a goddamn ribbon”)!
  • Having Geoff Johns sign the Firestorm variant for Blackest Night #3 which, apparently, he never saw before!
  • Maggie holding her holy grail of comics, the Flash #123!
  • Having a ridiculously long conversation with J.J. Kirby about Kilowog and the X-Babies (complete with a sketch of Baby Beast)!
  • Scoring a gigantic free sketch of Lieam from Mouse Guard by David Petersen!
  • Picking up a copy of Wonder Woman #214 (Flash & Wonder Woman team up!) and getting it signed by artist Drew Johnson (who also agreed to an interview)!
  • Not drowning in a sea of poor hygiene and actually being able to walk from here to there (take that, SDCC)!

HIGH FIVES FIVED HIGHLY:

  • Geoff Johns
  • Mark Waid
  • J.J. Kirby

As I said, cut us some slack for not doing that much. It was the short day! But here’s hoping tonight’s Atomic Comics karaoke party (even a hot Wonder Woman couldn’t talk too many nerds into getting on stage with a live band, bless them) doesn’t hold a candle to tomorrow’s Boom! Studios shindig. Oh, tomorrow’s going to be one full fucking day. At least it’s close enough to home that I can actually spend tonight in my own bed (instead of the backseat of a Yaris, which is what I did at SDCC this year).

Jeph Loeb reads the Proclamation of Stan Lee Day!

Jeph Loeb reads the Proclamation of Stan Lee Day!

"These things are a lethal weapon!"

"These things are a lethal weapon!"

Not gonna lie, I thought she might make a run for it.

Not gonna lie, I thought she might make a run for it.

Please, please don't photoshop Geoff Johns.

Please, please don't photoshop Geoff Johns.

We really, really need to know who drew this.

We really, really need to know who drew this.

That’s all for today High Fivers! We’ll be back tomorrow with reports from DC Nation and 50 Questions with Mark Waid! If you’re in the LA/OC area, admission is only $25 for a one day pass tomorrow, come hang out! And at the end of the weekend, we’ll post all the cool stuff in our sketchbooks!


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