Hey, Mom! The Explanation.

Here's the permanent dedicated link to my first Hey, Mom! post and the explanation of the feature it contains.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #651 - My Oldest - A collection of comic books - part two

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #651 - My Oldest - A collection of comic books - part two

Hi Mom,

I am deeply immersed in multiple difficult things right now, so this blog my fly free or original content for a while. I have a couple of original posts in the works, but I want a run of easy posts while I study for my Calculus final, do the normal work I do each week, and a series of other things, like yard work, buying a new ceiling fan. KUDL registration, and of course, quality time with my wife.

So, I return to this item, as I started collecting these entries gleaned so far just from the T-shirts blog, and share part two of a series of writings featuring the oldest comic books I own, my first comics from childhood.

Here's part one -


Part Three is already in the works.

I am using the cool Doctor Strange decorations, the "Vishanti Bar," to separate the entries.

First up is my oldest X-Men comic and a bit of a rant on how Jack Kirby, the greatest of all time, was pretty screwed out of his just rewards for all the multi-billion dollars creations he's mainly responsible for. Even Spider-Man. Most people don't know this, but Kirby created Spider-Man, too.

Next, the Silver Surfer, and I added the actual first two solo issues (as my first issue with the Surfer was a Fantastic Four comic). Following the surfer, there's a short entry featuring my earliest Spider-Man comic, and my discovery when writing about it that John Romita Sr. cut his teeth on romance comics, which is something I did not know.

The last two parts showcase Captain America, and my oldest issue, which was Tales of Suspense #96 from 1967, and then Doctor Strange and a short cover gallery as I did not actually feature the oldest Doctor Strange comic I owned, which was the first of him in the mask.


I could wax on about what these heroes mean to me, beyond what I have already written. Another time, perhaps. I am planning to re-post the full Doctor Strange T-shirt post as I think it's one of my best, anyway, but I plan to make edits and additions.

That's all for now, Mom. Off to study.

FROM: http://365-tshirts.blogspot.com/2013/06/t-shirt-83-x-men-logo.html

THE ORIGINAL UNCANNY X-MEN: KIRBY TO NEAL ADAMS: I read many of the early X-Men comics in reprint in the years following the run by Neal Adams and Roy Thomas. I was also a huge fan of Neal Adams' work on Deadman, Green Lantern and Green ArrowThe Avengers and Batman. In my entry for T-shirt #43: Deadman, I refined my list of favorite artists. As I have written many times, part of this blog's function is to catalogue with lists the popular culture elements that had the greatest impact on me as a child, a teenager, and an adult.

In fairness to these artists, I surely need to group them by era. I had dropped Alex Ross from my initial list for this reason to make room for Neal Adams. Probably, I should make a separate list for the 1970s or even the 1980s that would feature George Perez and John Byrne.

If I listed the original 1960s artists with greatest impact on me in a top five, they would be:
This is a difficult occupation because I am leaving out some artists that I dearly love like Steve Ditko and Nick Cardy. But lists are exclusive by nature. Go ahead. Try to make a top five and not leave out someone beloved or important.

The cover featured here for Uncanny X-men #59 (though the word "Uncanny" does not appear on the cover) may be my first X-Men issue. It was published in August of 1969, right around the time my sister was born and might have been part of the week of gifts and special fun to which I was treated so that I would not feel neglected once my baby sister arrived and received the more majority of my mother's time and attention.

KIRBY SCREWED: I just read the first issue of a new magazine called Comic Book Creator. The issue can be read for free online. There is also a great blog article on Comic Book Justice: Taking Credit (Part One) about Jack Kirby. Though not directly related, but in keeping with my trend for recommending books, another book that I frequently recommend to my wife along with Pattern Recognition as "one of the best books on the shelves of this house" is Michael Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, which explores the ways in which comic book creators of yesteryear were not fairly compensated for all their creations. There may be no comic book creator as prolific and as poorly compensated as Jack "The King" Kirby.

Just for some quick perspective on this issue: Kirby created Captain America, the Fantastic Four, The Avengers, Spider-Man, Thor, Iron Man, the Hulk, Doctor Doom, the Silver Surfer, and The X-Men among many, many more. The total movie revenue (just movies, not the merchandising or other related revenues)  earned so far from just those creations listed is SEVEN BILLION DOLLARS ($7,310,655, 909). This figure does not include revenue from Iron Man 3 or any movie thereafter.

Jack Kirby died in 1994. The Marvel/Disney empire is reaping astronomical profits based on Kirby's creations. Kirby's family has received exactly zero compensation in profit sharing from the movies featuring these creations.

THE NEW X-MEN: WEIN & CLAREMONT & COCKRUM & BYRNE & JIM LEE & OTHERS: I really fully became an X-Men fan, like so many others, with the introduction of the new X-Men in the Giant-Size X-Men comic in 1975 by Len Wein and Dave Cockrum and the issues that followed in Uncanny written by Chris Claremont and drawn by Dave Cockrum and eventually John Byrne. I also loved the Jim Lee (as I love Jim Lee the most of all the "Image" founder artists/creators) issues circa 1991. I have many other X-Men shirts, so this is a subject I can return to later, especially since I want to refine my list of artists by era. Still, forced to make a top five of all-time favorites both Jack Kirby and George Perez would make that list.

As for logos, I just like thinking about them. I like to get other people thinking about logos. I am interested in branding and logo identification as a viral, info-pathogen spreading through our culture and our Collective Unconscious.

Still, I stand by the first statement: Logos are cool.

- chris tower - 1306.12 - 9:11

PS: As a journal of my life, I would like to note here for the record that my mother is on her way to the ER with chest pains. Prayers, please. - cbt (This was the T-shirt entry on 1306.12.)

From - http://365-tshirts.blogspot.com/2013/07/t-shirt-104-silver-surfer-daredevil.html

I almost bought the one with the Falcon and the Vision, but I was not too crazy about these two heroes being paired with Magneto.

Why the Silver Surfer with Daredevil and the Black Panther? I have no idea.

Also, I cannot identify the artist, but I do like the art. It may be Oliver Coipel.

I invite speculation.

Here, in the photo above,  I am posing with my SILVER SURFER OMNIBUS that was a birthday gift years ago from my dear friend Abigail  "Crabby" Nappier, who just got engaged to another good friend and a super person, William "BJ" Cherup.

DAREDEVIL & BLACK PANTHER: I plan to feature both of these heroes later in the blog (not today, in the future), so I am going to set them aside as subjects for this entry. Plus, the Silver Surfer is the front image of the shirt. He gets the nod.

FLYING: One of the best things about Silver Surfer is his flying "surf" board. This is such a cool feature of the Silver Surfer that I made a new category called "flying" to track all the heroes with flying as a primary ability or TV shows/movies that in some way feature flying prominently. Flying is very important. It's fantasy related. You do know what the Freudians say about flying dreams, right?

Surfing through the air is another level of cool to the flying fantasy thing. Plus, the surf board makes a great weapon.

As you can see in one of the images, I have a little Silver Surfer toy. I also have a much larger Silver Surfer toy, but it's packed in a box somewhere. If I find it, I may update this blog. Be warned!

NEW T-SHIRTS:  I also started a category to track new shirts that have been purchased or given to me as gifts since I started the blog that were specifically meant to be featured on this blog. So far out of 104 shirts, nine of them fall into this category. Two shirts were purchased since the blog began but had been ordered before its beginning and so they did not qualify.

SILVER SURFER: I could write volumes about the Silver Surfer, as he is one of my all-time favorite superheroes. But time constraints both mine (how much time I can devote to writing) and yours (I know people want to see shorter entries) confine me somewhat, though be warned, I may update!

The Wikipedia page is worth your time: SILVER SURFER WIKI.

From - http://365-tshirts.blogspot.com/2013/07/t-shirt-105-ultimate-spider-man.html

The first Spider-Man comic I owned was Amazing Spider-Man #54, published in November of 1967.

I have read ASM#54 many times. I cannot say it is my favorite Spider-Man comic, but it is the one I have probably read most often and as such Doctor Octopus is the Spider-Man villain with the most resonance for me. And so, as such, the current story line in the Spider-Man comics in which Doctor Octopus has taken over Peter Parker and Spider-Man's life--Peter is essentially dead--is fascinating to me.

I posed for the picture with today's shirt and the CD set of archived Spider-Man comics to emphasize that like Batman, Superman, Aquaman, The Fantastic Four, the Hulk, Thor, and several others from my first days in comics, Spider-Man has been a part of my life for over 40 years.

ROMANCING THE SPIDER: This issue, ASM#54, was my first experience with John Romita, Senior's art. As I wrote in T-shirt #83, John Romita is one of my top-five favorite 1960s artists. Romita had a great deal of experience drawing romance comics in the 1950s and early 1960s. The issues he drew of Amazing Spider-Man were styled in many ways like romance comics, especially in the depiction of Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy's relationship. I attribute Romita's romance-themed work as part of what sparked in me an affection for melodrama and soap opera.
From ASM #59
Romita's realistic style stood out among the many more fantastic or surreal comic artists of his time. His pencils were tight and sharp, unlike many others. His training in romance comics blended swipes from movie stills, which fueled the realism of his art, and from newspaper strips, such as Milton Canniff's Terry and the Pirates.

From - http://365-tshirts.blogspot.com/2013/07/t-shirt-106-captain-america.html


I can't really say that Captain America has been one of my favorite heroes or even one of my favorite Marvel heroes. As cool as he is, and though the throwing shield thing is very cool, he would not make my top five in either category. After all, as I have established on this blog already--and will continue to establish--I am quite a bit more fond of those heroes that are not the flagship characters, such as--at Marvel--Silver Surfer, Black Panther, Doctor Strange, Iron Fist, and the Son of Satan.

Though Captain America has not always been a favorite, I have not avoided him; I have read issues of Captain America avidly for most of my life.

The Marvel Comics Wikia Database: Captain America continues to be a great resource for information about comics and the history.

Captain America #100
My first issue featuring Captain America was Tales of Suspense #96 from December of 1967, featuring an Iron Man story by Stan Lee and Gene Colan (an artist who is in my top five faves of the 1960s), and the Captain America story "To Be Reborn" by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, in which Steve Rogers is drawn out of retirement and back into uniform as Captain America.

I did not have any Avengers comics before Tales of Suspense #96 came out. My first comic of the Mighty Avengers was #63 from April of 1969. I bought Avengers Special #3, which retold Cap's origin and return to the then present of the Marvel universe and joining the Avengers when it came out in July of 1969.

I might own Captain America #100, the first issue of his own title after the cancellation of  Tales of Suspense, but I do not have access to my comics here. (NOTE: Another reason to update the blog someday.) I know I have read the issue in reprint.

My next issue was Captain America #119, after Steranko's short run, and once again a story featuring the awesome GENE COLAN.

Art by John Cassady
Cap gave up his uniform again and fought for justice as Nomad in 1974. I was getting nearly every issue up to Jack Kirby's return to the book after his years at DC Comics starting with issue #193 (January 1976). Though I skipped out in the later 1970s, I read sporadically and started tuning in for every issue when John Byrne took on the title. I loved the mid-1980s run by J.M. DeMatteis and Mike Zeck. Though many fans criticized Mark Gruenwald, I enjoyed his tenure on the book from 1985-1995. He logged the most consecutive issues by any single author in the character's history. Gruenwald epitomized what comics are in essence: a business. It's not easy to create earth-shattering, creatively-rich, and innovative stories monthly for ten years. Gruenwald's stories may not have broken new ground, but he kept the character's story coming month after month for 137 issues. I loved Mark Gruenwald as a writer and a person, as I had the chance to know him during my brief time in the Marvel offices in 1985. Gruenwald died in 1996 of a heart attack at the age of 43.

Mark Waid's run on the book followed Gruenwald, and then there was Rob Liefeld, who did what is known as Captain America Volume 2. Not much to say about that. Waid returned with Ron Garney for Volume Three in 1998, which ran fifty issues with the wrap-up by Dan Jurgens and Bob Layton in 2002. The thirty-two issue run of Volume Four began in June of 2002 with some of the most definitive work on Captain America to date by John Ney Rieber and John Cassady. Though a great creative team like that cannot produce thirty-two issues and Volume Four concludes in 2004 with a team of The Walking Dead's Robert Kirkman and Scot Eaton. This is what comics is all about. It's manufacturing. It's production month after month after month, and few can keep it up like Kirby or Gruenwald.
Art by Sreve Epting

Volume Five began the era many praise today as the character's finest (next to classics by Kirby) with 50 issues by Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting. In this arc, Brubaker introduced the Winter Soldier, Cap's old sidekick Bucky, whom Cap thought had died in their final battle against the Nazis in World War II, but who survived and had been brainwashed and stored cyrogenically, thawed for assassinations when needed. These years also featured the assassination of Captain America with Bucky taking on the role of his departed comrade. In the end, Steve Rogers was not dead and he ultimately returned to the role of Captain America. The sixth volume consisted of nineteen issues; Brubaker continued as the writer, the initial issues were drawn by Steve McNiven and later by Alan Davis, Patrick Zircher, and others.

There are tons of great stories in these volumes, but I want to focus on Jack Kirby's legacy and on the recent set of issues (Volume Seven), which is an extended love letter to Jack Kirby and his ingenious contributions to the saga of his first and greatest creation:

Captain America (though credit must be given to co-creator Joe Simon, also).

From the Bicentennial issue? I will include this
in full size at the end.

I have created a category for Jack Kirby in the blog because he is the master and a subject I plan to return to over and over again.

I have written about Jack Kirby four times already (counting today). Most notably, I provided the basics of how badly he and his estate has been cheated in T-shirt #83: The X-Men Logo to the tune of over SEVEN billion dollars and counting. I also wrote about Jack Kirby in T-shirt #53: Agent of Shield, and T-shirt #104: Silver Surfer etc.

Two of the first comics I ever owned were drawn by Jack Kirby: Tales of Suspense #96 and Fantastic Four #69 (both published in December of 1967). I became an avid Jack Kirby fan from those very earliest days. I read Jack Kirby Fantastic Four, I read Jack Kirby Thor, I read Jack Kirby Captain America, and the Uncanny X-Men, and the Avengers, etc.

When Kirby left Marvel in 1971, I started reading his DC Comics, such as OMAC (which recently had a Kirby love letter of its own), The New GodsMister MiracleKamandi, and the most awesome Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen.

When Kirby returned to Marvel, I was in full comic-buying mode and spent my money faithfully on Captain AmericaThe Black Panther (a Kirby themed shirt will be featured in the near future in this blog), 2001: A Space OdysseyMachine ManDevil Dinosaur, and my personal favorite--one of my all-time most favorite comic books: The Eternals.

Kirby's late 1970s Marvel period began in January 1976 with Captain America #193 - "The Madbomb, Screamer in the Brain." I have featured art from this first and other issues later in today's blog entry. The Eternals debuted in July of 1976, and Kirby's The Black Panther started in January of 1977, by which time Kirby was cranking  out 60-80 pages of art per month, including covers and maintaining (as writer, artist, and editor) four ongoing, regular titles. To use "Marvel-esque" words, this kind of output is ASTOUNDING and ASTONISHING, even UNCANNY and FANTASTIC!

This is the most fertile and amazingly creative period of Jack Kirby's career in comics. Though many "comic fans" criticize this period (some feel Kirby cannot write realistic-sounding dialogue), most comic book fans and readers will be quick to agree that this period is one of the most rich and innovative in Marvel Comics history.


I own a nifty coffee table style book by Mark Evanier on Kirby called Kirby: King of Comics, which won the Eisner for best comic related boom in 2009.

Kirby: King of Comics Wiki

Kirby: King of Comics Amazon

TwoMorrows Publishing - You Can't Go Home Again - Kirby Collector Twentyninth Issue

Buying Kirby Collector magazine: at TwoMorrows

Jack Kirby | Ridiculously Awesome

Jack Kirby Interview | The Comics Journal

IO9: The true story of life at Marvel Comics in the glory days of Jack Kirby and Stan Lee

The Jack Kirby Chronology: 1970-1979

The 7 Most Awesome Moments From Jack Kirby’s ‘Captain America’

Diversions of the Groovy Kind: Making a Splash: "Madbomb"--Jack Kirby's Return to Captain America and Marvel

Author of the blog at the next link, Scott Edelman worked at Marvel Comics in the 1970s during the time Kirby returned after his years at DC. Kirby was abused by the staffers during that time, and things got so bad that Stan Lee had to intercede. These anecdotes are explained in the "You Can't Go Home Again" article
linked above.

Years later, Edelman is taking more cheap shots at Kirby by criticizing this panel from Captain America #207.

Not that I consider Kirby some saint but is this kind of criticism really necessary? Seems to me that Edelman has an axe to grind and is pulling out some obscure and forgotten panel to make the point that Jack Kirby needed Stan Lee, even though many agree that Jack's solo work is some of the most brilliant comic book work ever created. Granted his dialogue, external, or internal as seen here, is often stilted, but Kirby was not trying for "realism," which is often what comics strive for anyway (lack of realism), especially in the late 1970s.  I say, shame on you, Scott Edelman.

Read Edelman's comments here: Failing Better - Shame on you, Captain America!

from - http://365-tshirts.blogspot.com/2013/07/t-shirt-119-doctor-strange.html


Of all the heroes of the 1960s and early 1970s, Doctor Strange is probably the best example of one that embodies the psychedelic culture of the times.

I do not usually dump so much quoted material (and quotes within quotes for which I provided the Wiki reference list), but all of this is written so clearly that I can hardly improve on it. AND if I have kept your attention this far, dear reader, then I am honored to serve, much like Wong is honored to serve Doctor Strange despite the racist-laden stereotypes of the original depiction.
 "Comics historian Mike Benton wrote, "The Dr. Strange stories of the 1960s constructed a cohesive cosmology that would have thrilled any self-respecting theosophist. College students, minds freshly opened by psychedelic experiences and Eastern mysticism, read Ditko and Lee's Dr. Strange stories with the belief of a recent Hare Krishna convert. Meaning was everywhere, and readers analyzed the Dr. Strange stories for their relationship to Egyptian myths, Sumarian gods, and Jungian archetypes"[3].
"People who read 'Doctor Strange' thought people at Marvel must be heads [i.e., drug users]," recalled then-associate editor and former Doctor Strange writer Roy Thomas in 1971, "because they had had similar experiences high on mushrooms. But ... I don't use hallucinogens, nor do I think any artists do."[4]
As co-plotter and later sole plotter, (in the "Marvel Method"), Ditko would take Strange into 
ever-more-abstract realms. In an epic 17-issue story arc in Strange Tales #130-146 (July 1965 - July 1966), Ditko introduced the cosmic character Eternity, who personified the universe and was depicted as a silhouette whose outlines are filled with the cosmos.[5] As historian Bradford W. Wright describes,
Steve Ditko contributed some of his most surrealistic work to the comic book and gave it a disorienting, hallucinogenic quality. Dr. Strange's adventures take place in bizarre worlds and twisting dimensions that resembled Salvador Dalí paintings. ...Inspired by the pulp-fiction magicians of Stan Lee's childhood as well as by contemporary Beat culture. Dr. Strange remarkably predicted the youth counterculture's fascination with Eastern mysticism and psychedelia. Never among Marvel's more popular or accessible characters, Dr. Strange still found a niche among an audience seeking a challenging alternative to more conventional superhero fare.[6]
From the beginning, Doctor Strange used magical artifacts to augment his power, such as the Cloak of Levitation,[7] the Eye of Agamotto,[8] the Book of the Vishanti,[9] and the Orb of Agamotto.[10] From the first story, Strange's residence, the Sanctum Sanctorum, was a part of the character's mythos"
  1. [3]^ Benton, Mike (1991). Superhero Comics of the Silver Age: The Illustrated HistoryDallasTexas: Taylor Publishing Company. p. 63. ISBN 978-0-87833-746-0.
  2. [4]^ Green, Robin (September 16, 1971). "Face Front! Clap Your Hands, You're on the Winning Team!"Rolling Stone(via fan site Green Skin's Grab-Bag) (91): page 31 of print version. Archived from the original on September 14, 2011. Retrieved September 14, 2011 deadurl= no.
  3. [5]^ "Strange Tales #134"Grand Comics Database. "Indexer notes: Part 5 of 17. First mention of Eternity. Strange would finally find it in Strange Tales #138 (Nov. 1965)."
  4. [6]^ Wright, Bradford W. (2001). Comic Book Nation: Transformation of a Youth CultureJohns Hopkins University Press. p. 213. ISBN 0-8018-7450-5.
  5. [7]^ The blue "novice" version first appeared in Strange Tales #110 (July 1963), with the red "master" version first appearing in Strange Tales #127 (Dec. 1964).
  6. [8]^ a b Lee, Stan (w), Ditko, Steve (p), Ditko, Steve (i). "The Origin of Dr. Strange" Strange Tales 115 (December 1963)
  7. [9]^ Lee, Stan (w), Ditko, Steve (p), Ditko, Steve (i). "Return to the Nightmare World!" Strange Tales 116 (January 1964)
  8. [10]^ Lee, Stan (w), Ditko, Steve (p), Ditko, Steve (i). "The Possessed!" Strange Tales 118 (March 1964)

JUNG? Did someone say JUNG? Look for more Jungian rhetoric hereabouts soon since I already have some posts in the works. I am a huge Jungian, and I take every chance I can get to pander and promote, advocate and proffer the ideas of Carl Jung.

Surreal landscapes have always been a favourite of mine, and Steve Ditko's work in this arena is unparalleled in comics. Many great artists followed creating their own excellence with Doctor Strange, such as one of my all-time favorites: Gene Colan.

And yet, I could not include Steve Ditko, as much as I love his work, in the top five favourite 1960s comic artists, which I detailed in T-shirt #83. After Kirby, Kane, Adams, Colan, and Romita, I would surely place Ditko sixth.


I like collected editions. Back in the 1970s, there were few collected editions of comic books. Origins of Marvel Comics and the series of books that followed were among the very few.

As you know, and if you don't know it, then you are learning now, I am an extremely sentimental soul. So not only is this Pocket Book of Doctor Strange dear to me, but so is the inscription written by my mother. It was a tradition in our family to inscribe books given as gifts, as this one was for my birthday in 1979. I debated sharing such a personal thing as this inscription written by my mother. But since my mother has lost the ability to write at all, examples of her careful and beautiful cursive handwriting are very dear to me.


Cape are cool. It's a rule. Doctor Strange's cape is the special Cloak of Levitation given to him by the Ancient One in Strange Tales 126-127. It is a magical artifact that floats of its own accord.

How cool is that?


Yes, here it is, the list you have been waiting for. It was difficult to make this list. I had to confine myself to male Marvel heroes who either did not have their own books or who had/have solo books but are not considered the pillars of the Franchise (like Spider-Man and Captain America). Doctor Strange heads the list.
  1. Doctor Strange
  2. The Silver Surfer
  3. The Black Panther
  4. The Vision
  5. Adam Warlock
  6. The Black Knight
  7. Son of Satan
  8. Iron Fist
  9. Killraven
  10. Falcon
  11. Ka-Zar
  12. Deathlok
  13. Moonknight
  14. Black Bolt
  15. Ghost Rider
  16. 3D Man
  17. Machine Man
  18. Shang-Chi, Master of Kung Fu
  19. Quasar
  20. Captain Marvel

- chris tower -1307.26 - 19:06



Reflect and connect.

Have someone give you a kiss, and tell you that I love you.

I miss you so very much, Mom.

Talk to you tomorrow, Mom.


- Days ago = 653 days ago

- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1704.18 - 10:10

NOTE on time: When I post late, I had been posting at 7:10 a.m. because Google is on Pacific Time, and so this is really 10:10 EDT. However, it still shows up on the blog in Pacific time. So, I am going to start posting at 10:10 a.m. Pacific time, intending this to be 10:10 Eastern time. I know this only matters to me, and to you, Mom. But I am not going back and changing all the 7:10 a.m. times. But I will run this note for a while. Mom, you know that I am posting at 10:10 a.m. often because this is the time of your death.
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