The First Page
By now I’m sure that we’ve all heard about the passing of Stan Lee, the Marvel comics legend who created and honed some of the greatest heroes in the world of comics. For someone age 95, the guy still had it together mentally and physically. I honestly had no idea that Lee was that old.
One thing I really liked about him was that he was never too full of himself. He would make guest appearances on shows like The Big Bang Theory and almost always had a cameo of some sort in the Marvel Movies of the past ten years.
He never seemed to take himself too seriously and not only was a creative genius but if you read some of his work going back to the early 1960’s, you’ll see that Lee was a writer of prolific talent.
If you don’t write fiction, which is what comic books are, you may not realize just how much goes into the writing. There’s character development, backstory and making sure that you get that all into the books properly without messing any of it up. If you’re writing in a group scenario as Lee was in the Avengers, Fantastic Four and X Men series, it’s that much harder to keep everything straight, but he managed to.
He inspired countless people, both those who made it in the industry and the casual writer of comic books who does it for fun. For that, the comic world will be eternally grateful.
On Shelves This Week
Green Hornet Vol 1 Dynamite (Trade Paperback)
Ripley’s Believe It or Not #2 Zenescope
Bitter Root #1 Image
Hit Girl #10 Image
Robots VS Princesses #3 Dynamite
Ghostbusters Crossing Over #8 IDW
Catwoman #5 DC
Scooby Apocalypse #31 DC
Suicide Squad #48 DC
Wonder Woman #58 DC
Amazing Spiderman #9 Marvel
Avengers #10 Marvel
Captain America #5 Marvel
Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #38 Marvel
Venom #8 Marvel
New Series Hitting Stores Soon
Criminal #1 Image
Fight Club 3 #1 Dark Horse
Avatar Tsu Teys Path #1 Dark Horse
Halo Lone Wolf #1 Dark Horse
Jem and the Holograms IDW
My Little Pony IDW
Young Justice #1 DC
Flash Annual #2 DC
Batman & the Outsiders #1 DC
Martian Manhunter #1 DC
Guardians of the Galaxy #1 Marvel
Captain Marvel #1 Marvel
Black Widow #1 Marvel
Web of Venom Unleashed #1 Marvel
Betty & Veronica #1 Archie
J.R.’s Weekly Pull List
Flash #58 DC
Supergirl #24 DC
Superman #5 DC
Captain America #5 Marvel
Fantastic Four #3 Marvel
Uncanny X Men #1, September 1963
With the passing of Stan Lee, I thought I would go back and look at one of his first and most important comics for Marvel. To be fair, I bought the digital version for .99 instead of scouring the Internet in search of a reasonably priced physical copy, which I’m sure doesn’t exist.
The story centers on the characters Beast, Angel, Cyclops, Ice Man and Jean Grey, later known by just her name, but in the 1963 version, she is Marvel Girl. Of course, Professor Xavier is there leading the bunch against Magneto, who the cover calls “EARTH’S MOST POWERFUL SUPER VILLIAN.”
Professor X has started his school and trained his pupils to fight for not only mutant kind, but for humans as well. You see, every one of the X Men carries the X gene, the gene that gives them their mutant powers.
Magneto decides to bring the United States to its knees by taking control of, “the mightiest rocket of all,” as it leaves the launch pad, crash-landing it in the ocean. After that, it’s the typical Magneto shenanigans with his controlling guns, tanks and other assorted metal weapons, but in the end, this bunch of mutants wearing matching outfits saves the day.
But Magneto somehow disappears. What happens to him? Where did he go? Well, I guess we’ll just have to check out Uncanny X Men #2 from October 1963 to find out.
The Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps series ended with #50 back in August and the Green Lanterns series concluded a 57 issue series back in October. That means there’s a new The Green Lantern series that started on November 7.
The Green Lantern is one of my favorite comic book characters because of his story. With the two series ending (I collected Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps) and a new series starting that I’m really excited for, I figured it was a good time to spotlight the man who lets his bling do his thing.
The Hal Jordan we know today wasn’t the original Green Lantern. In 1940 that honor went to Alan Scott, a railroad engineer who was involved in a train crash. He fought mostly your run of the mill bad guy and he was out of the comics by 1951 until Julius Schwartz reinvented Green Lantern in 1959.
This is the Green Lantern we know today. The one played by Ryan Reynolds, A.K.A. Deadpool, back in 2011 and the hero who has been a mainstay of his own comic books and is a founding member of The Justice League.
So who is Hal Jordan and how did he get his powers? Hal Jordan is the son of a test pilot who as a boy watched his father die in a horrific crash. Hal grew up to be a brash test pilot with a penchant for being reckless and defiant.
Hal knows there are rules and that they exist for a reason, but sometimes he likes to push the limit and ends up in hot water. Still, for the perceived arrogance, Hal Jordan is scared and pushes those fears down to reveal a tough exterior.
An alien ship containing Green Lantern Abin Sur, a member of a universe-wide peacekeeping corps over 3,600 strong, crash landed in Coast City, the fictional location where Hal Jordan lives. Hal was drawn to the ship and was told by the dying Sur that the ring chose Hal because the ring deemed him worthy.
With his green ring and the green lantern that goes with it, not only does Hal get a cool suit, but also the world’s most powerful weapon. A ring running on nothing but pure willpower that will create whatever Hal can imagine, from a giant fist to a machine gun, to a protective barrier to shield innocents to, well, anything.
Did Hal’s fears instantly go away when he was thrust into the role of Green Lantern? Nope, and that’s the other reason I like Green Lantern as a character. He fights through his fears and doubts, just as I have to try and do every day.
If only I had a ring that helped me deal with my fears and doubts. How cool would that be?
Finally, to utilize his powers and become Green Lantern, Hal Jordan needs only stick his hand with the ring in the lantern and say these words.
In brightest day, in blackest night,
No evil shall escape my sight!
Let those who worship evil’s might
Beware my power, Green Lantern’s light!
The Back Cover
Reading Lee’s Uncanny X Men #1, along with a few of his other early works such as The Avengers, Fantastic Four and the Amazing Spider-Man, you can tell that Lee is a natural storyteller and that he has the capacity for great imagination.
One might argue that a lot of his early work was in creating or re-creating teams of superheroes such as the X-Men, Avengers and Fantastic Four, but while they’re all teams, they’re teams that are powered in different ways.
The Fantastic Four accidentally got their powers when a space accident showered them with cosmic radiation. The X Men are mutants with various powers they were born with and have learned to harness for the power of good.
The Avengers? Well, the original ones from September 1963 include a Hulk who can speak in complete sentences, Ant-Man and the Wasp, Thor and a pretty weak looking Iron Man. This group greatly differs from the other two in that Ant-Man, Wasp and Iron Man all have super suits that they wear to help them fight for justice, Thor is a God from another planet and the Hulk is who he is because of an experiment went wrong.
This comment will be in opposition to the end of this piece when I say you should always support your local comic shop, but it’s for a good reason. If you want to check out some of the original Stan Lee stories that ran for years, go to the Marvel comics website and buy some of the old books from the early 1960’s to have on your tablet or computer. At less than a dollar, they’re a bargain and something you won’t be able to get at your local shop at a reasonable price.
Going back to the Green Lantern profile, I referenced Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool. Reynolds also played Green Lantern on the big screen in 2011 for DC. As Deadpool, in the original movie, Reynolds was very clear to those getting ready to supposedly turn him into a superhero. “Do not make my suit green!” Reynolds stated with emphasis.
You have to love when the writers and the actors/actresses who play our favorite heroes on TV or the big screen can make jokes about their character or their previous work.
I’ve often thought it would be cool to figure out a way to make a purple ring and lantern along with a purple super suit and mask for me. I would be channelling the power of autism, but I haven’t figured out a way to make that happen. If anyone has any ideas, please leave them in the comments below.
It’s coming up on the end of the year, which means that the new year is around the corner and will bring with it some new, and hopefully, amazing stuff. Many of the new series listed above will start early in 2019, so if you haven’t yet, decide what you want to read and go to your local comic shop. Once there you can have them add you and your favorite books to their pull list so that when your new favorites come out, they’re waiting for you.
While I have no problem with the large online retailers, I believe in supporting your local comic shop as much as possible and giving them the chance to order something for you if possible. If comic book stores go away, so does our nerdy safe place.
Finally, Stan Lee made a brief cameo in just about every Marvel movie made over the past decade, beginning with the original Iron Man in 2008. This is just one nerd’s opinion, but I think Marvel should start using Deadpool dress as Stan Lee in all future cameos. Who’s with me on this?
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