Posts tagged ‘GreatTeamUps’

MARVEL TEAM UP #122: Spidey and Man Thing

marvel team up 122 spider-man and man thing

What’s smelly, green and a ton of fun?  Man-Thing!

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This issue has everything that makes for a great team up.  It starts with a mysterious first meeting, where the two characters don’t know each other yet, and then is followed by a long drag-out battle between them.  Spider-Man drops Manny off a building, turning him into a swampy blot, and then….

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In fact, this issue is a lot like one of the greatest Spider-Man stories of all time–and one of the best comic books of all time, period, Amazing Spider-Man #229-230: Nothing Can Stop The Juggernaut.  It’s a few pages of exposition and about 15 pages of Spider-Man trying to stop Man-Thing.

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Wonderous 1980s cartoony fun.  Not every issue of Marvel Team-Up was great, and several were rushed hack-jobs.  But every three or four issues you’d get a gem like this.  So I looked forward to this book every week.

BRAVE AND THE BOLD #67

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Continuing our salute to great team ups: The Brave and the Bold #67, from 1976: The first Flash/Batman team up (other than in the JLA).  Batman is sad because he can’t stop the sneaker bandit kids who run really fast.  So he asks for help from the Fastest Man Alive, whose speed is actually killing him.
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Turns out the villains are midgets.

Anyway, in the end being bitten by a radioactive sneaker seems to help Flash.

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Classic Golden Age Cheese.

D.C. COMICS PRESENTS #66

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This comic would be great even if all we got was a full-page Joe Kubert drawing of Etrigan.  But it gets even better.

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Len Wein got his start over at Marvel Comics, where he was a co-editor with Marv Wolfman, until both of them decided Marvel wasn’t treating them right so they went across the street to DC.  Wolfman, of course, went on to create the best-selling DC comic of the 1980s: The New Teen Titans.  Wein created Swamp Thing and wrote several other DC horror books.

DC Comics Presents was overall pretty mediocre–like most Superman comics (hell, like most DC comics in my view), but occasionally, it hit well: And this was one such time.

Joe brought his son Andy into comics as a letterer in this issue, and the two of them, with Wein, created a twisted tale of genius.  IMG_3461

And most Demon writers I’ve read fail in the speaking-in-verse department.  But not Wein….

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Great comic!

DAREDEVIL #110/MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE #3

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Steve Gerber crossed Daredevil over with the other book–a far superior book–he was writing at the time: Marvel  Two-In-One.

It’s a wild-and-wacky story in which an actor playing Hitler kills himself, and it kind of is a non-event.  Usually, suicide would garner a lot more attention.

Anyway, what made Gerber’s work so good was the way he’d create these elaborate small characters with depth and detail, and then he’d just let them go and disappear.

BRAVE AND THE BOLD #93: Batman and House of Mystery

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First of all, there ain’t no Batman like a Neal Adams Batman ’cause a Neal Adams Batman don’t stop.

Ahem.

Denny O’Neil writes one of the oddest, coolest team-ups ever: Batman meets “The House of Mystery.”

House of Mystery was a horror comic that predated the Comics Code, and later was rebooted as an award-winning series that served as the launching pad for folks like Bernie Wrightson and Len Wein.  It’s host, Cain, was a weirdo who liked to creep people out.  In Brave and the Bold #93, he and Batman team up for a wild ride.

And it all starts with Batman needing a vacation…
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Cain, as always, serves as a narrator, leading both the reader and Batman down a path…

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In the end, it’s kind of a Scooby Doo type story, but it’s classic 1971 comic books: Kitsch, camp, great art….And Batman.

MARVEL TEAM-UP #100

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For the giant-sized 100th issue of Marvel Team Up, Chris Claremont and Frank Miller teamed up to create … Karma.

The duo had already sent Wolverine to Japan, so introducing (the first?) a Vietnamese character into the Marvel Universe made a little sense–Miller has always been a bit of an Asianphile.  The character has the ability to possess the bodies of others, so we get to see Spidey fight the Fantastic Four.  Hero versus hero is always cool.

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It ends on a family note.  Karma would go on to be a founding member of Claremont’s New Mutants, and one of the first lesbians in comic book history.

THE FIRST TIME SUPERMAN USED FLASH AS A VIBRATOR

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I’m sure there are multiple laws of physics that make this impossible, but using Flash as a door seemed like a cool idea back on June 2, 1978, when Superman did it for the first time in the pages of DC Comics Presents #10.

DC Presents was the “Superman Team Up” book, the counterpoint to Batman’s team-up book “The Brave and the Bold.”

Marvel Team-Up and Marvel Two-In-One were always much, much better.

MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE #1-9

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Steve Gerber.  To see what I had to say about Marvel Tw0-in-One #1, go here.

The first 9 issues of this Thing Team Up comic were absolute joyous Steve Gerber weirdness.  In addition to the child-like Wundarr (what a great character name!), we got some pretty esoteric (at least at the time) characters like Valkyrie, Ghost Rider, and The Guardians of the Galaxy–and a loosely-connected storyline that jumped all over the place.

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Including a multi-part storyline about a magic harmonica.  And a wonderfully self-conscious Ghost Rider:

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If you can find these issues, even in the “essential” black and white reprint form, it’s well worth it–at least if you’ve ever read late 1970s/early 1980s comics and thought “they just don’t do stories like that anymore.”  Because they don’t.  Comics today are much more neo-realistic, and usually self-important.

This was kitsch and camp when it was still cool.

MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE #1

marvel two in one #1

Steve Gerber was a genius.  I’ve sung his praises many times in the past.  He was quirky, cool, character-driven, creative….And he launched a grossly underrated comic: Marvel Two In One.  As a kid, I was a “Marvel Team Up” guy because I loved anything Spider-Man.  But as an adult, reading in retrospect, I think MTIO was a better comic.  The stories weren’t “standard” superhero team-ups, they were about things.  Actually, Thing.  The series took us through the life of Thing, and we got to see him as a boxer, a prison-warden, and in many other ways.  But it was Steve Gerber’s first issues that really set the tone for the book.

Marvel Two-In-One #1 paired one of Marvel’s most recognizable characters, The Thing, with Gerber’s own oddity, Man-Thing.  And art by the great Gil Kane.
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Gerber knows that a great team up has to start with the heroes fighting, but he gets that out of the way in a few panels.  Then, he proceeds to take two of the most distinctive-looking Marvel characters and…Make them human.

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Only Gerber would have thought to do this.  The duo go through a fight with Molecule Man, it’s a great story, but then, in the end, it gets even more bizarre:

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Thing gives Molecule Man’s “magic wand” to a ginger-headed howdy doody kid.

Weird as hell.

MARVEL TEAM-UP #15

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Spider-Man and Ghost Rider team up to face the dude who, in my opinion, was the best Ghost Rider villain of all: The Orb.

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Unlike Dr. Doom, the Orb is happy to show chicks how ugly he looks.  Plus, he’s got street cred ’cause he runs a biker gang.

Marvel Team Up debuted a whole lotta wild and cheesy concepts, but this one was one of the best.  In fact, the story of The Orb is a lot more interesting than anything Ghost Rider or Spidey do during the issue.

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We don’t get comics like this anymore.  The current A+X book comes close, but it’s not campy fun like this.

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