|Growing up on a council estate, we had no sense of |
hardship - quite the opposite. It was a community.
We lived in the top left flat, 30b.
|The local kids would turn bombed-out house into dens, |
where we'd hang out with our mates and read and swap comics.
(Hue and Cry, © 1947, Ealing Studios)
I had already decided that Captain America was my favourite character and set about tracking down as many books starring my hero as I could. The next item I was able to find was the second part of the story I began reading in my first Avengers comic, with good old CA right there, almost as large as life, on the cover.
This issue was an experience of highs and lows for me. At the end of the story, after the comprehensive defeat of the Masters of Evil, some of the Avengers decided they needed a rest. Iron Man and Giant-Man elected to take leaves of absence and, with Thor exiting (off-camera) to take part in The Trial of the Gods (Journey into Mystery 116, covered in my last post) the hunt was on for replacement members. By happy coincidence, former Iron Man foe Hawkeye was looking for a new gig after his love Black Widow was wounded in battle and taken into custody by the Soviets. No sooner did he turn up at Avengers Mansion than he was sworn in. Then in far-off Europe, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, who had previously battled the X-Men under the dark influence of Magneto (more on that next post), read of the Avengers membership drive in a local Swiss newspaper and decided to write an application letter. No email in those days, you see.
So Captain America returned from his fateful battle with his arch-enemy Zemo, to find that not only were there three new Avengers on the team, but that he was in charge of them. And it doesn't take him long to discover that he doesn't especially enjoy his new management position. Then Iron Man and Giant-Man (prodded by The Wasp) take off and leave Cap to it. Thanks, guys ...
|Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver remark on how different|
the atmosphere here is compared to their last team gig.
|The split-cover design of these former |
mystery tales anthologies must have
been murder for the artists.
|A classic split-cover drawn by Jack Kirby|
and inked by Frank Giacoia.
|As Ben Grimm would say, Wotta revolting development |
this is. Cap under the control of The Red Skull.
|Now what was this all about? Did Stan think that|
leaving the colour out might save a few bucks?
More likely, it was a deadline issue ...
|The first real mission for the new Avengers |
lineup was to track down the Hulk and
persuade him to return to the team ...
|The first "classic" Marvel Comic I ever owned,|
traded from a local kid for several DC comics.
|So it was true ... The Hulk was an Avenger.|
|Though he speaks about himself in the third person,|
something later versions would also do, this Hulk
seems more like Fantastic Four's Thing ...
|Stan took some stick for mis-naming Bruce Banner "Bob" |
in two panels this issue. He explained it away later by claiming
that Banner's name was really Robert Bruce, but he was fooling no one.
By the end of the story, the Avengers are down a member, have a new enemy in Prince Namor and a savage Hulk is still at large. A great day's work for your average Marvel super-team. Within a few issues the page-length would drop, until by Avengers 10, the team had the standard 20 pages to work with, and while these stories were fun too, they didn't have the big budget feel of Avengers 3.