Monday, July 17, 2017

0036: Lancer Corporeal, Part 1

As promised (or warned?) the posts on Silver Age Marvel reprints are going to take an odd turn. Until this point I've been scanning original material that appeared in Marvel's reprint titles from 1964 and 1965, leaving off in early 1966 just as they were being converted from annual or quarterly specials to ongoing bi-monthly titles. It was also a year when Marvel began multiple licensing ventures that mined what had then become a substantive backlog of super-hero images and stories. Accompanying each post was a chapter attempting to put the development of extra-length formats (DC's 80-page Giants and Marvel's 72-page Annuals and 64-page 'King-Size') into chronological context of events in Marvel's history, from 1957 to 1963. When the history chapters reached 1964, the age of mass media pop culture explosions made the leap from Andy Warhol's philosophies to bourgeoisie suburban homes with the introduction of the Beatles. Prior to them, most teen idols were nobodies crafted into trinkets by ambitious managers who tossed them and started over when the novelty wore off. Real artists carry on or move on. Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley all went into movies while their contemporaries struggled for relevance. The Beatles were introduced to most Americans on film and almost immediately became the subject of merchandise in every conceivable form, much of it pirated. Marvel was just on the verge of consolidating a roster that would carry it through the 'pop art' age of the mid-60's. Every title introduced since FANTASTIC FOUR until the end of 1964 (except HULK) would still be published fifteen years later. After SGT. FURY was cancelled in 1981 every single surviving title pre-dating 1965 would still be published 30 years later. Despite, or perhaps because, they were far newer than the commonly licensed adventure heroes of DC or King Features Syndicate, Marvel characters were suddenly everywhere in 1966.

This is the cover of one of the first two Lancer Books mass market paperbacks featuring stories licensed from Marvel and published in 1966. A close examination of it would confirm that it was not meant as a counterpart or supplement to the ongoing reprint titles Marvel had that year. First of all, it's in black and white and, in an attempt to keep the panels as close to their originally published size, they are broken up with one to four panels per page. The first page of each chapter as well as various pin-ups are upright and all others are sideways. The cover itself is a composite of images. The Reed and Sue image, as well as the buildings in the background, were taken from the cover of FF#29 (08/64). The image of Johnny comes from the cover of FF#4 (05/62) and the image of Ben comes from page 17, panel 5 of FF#48 (03/66). The interiors are just as jumbled. Although each panel is kept intact (other than relettering made necessary by the reordering), the first story is created by splicing panels from issues #1 (11/61), #6 (09/62) and #11 (02/63).
The first page uses FF#5 (07/62), p.22, panel 1 plus typeset blurbs to introduce the book.

Above, Lancer page 2 [L2] uses art from a T-shirt and [L3] looks like it might have been lettered by Artie Simek, but it's not credited. [L4] is indicia. [L5] has cameos of Sub-Mariner (excerpted from [L40]) and Dr. Doom (whose source I haven't confirmed yet). If anyone can nail down where that portrait of Doom comes from, it would be appreciated. Both appeared in the story from #6.

[L6] FF#6, p.1 panel 1
[L7] FF#1, p.6 panel 5
[L8] FF#6, p.2 panels 1-3
[L9] FF#1, p.3 panel 4
[L10-23] FF#6, p.2 panel 4 through p.6
[L24-28] new lettering and FF#11(a), p.6 panels 2-4,6-9 and p.7 panels 4-8
[L29-39] FF#1, pp.10-13 and new lettering in the last panel
[L40] FF#6, p.7 panel 1
[L41-86] the rest of FF#6, pp.8-24, except for p.10 panels 5-6 and p.20 panels 6-7

That's all the first story. The curious thing is that all three sources, plus the second story from #11, were already reprinted in the first and third FF Annuals. The pin-ups that are placed between the stories all come from Annual #2.

[L87-90] Pin-ups of Reed, Sue, Ben and Johnny
[L91-120] FF#11(b), except p.8 panels 3-4
[L121-122] Pin-ups of Super Skrull and Molecule Man

The third story hadn't been previously reprinted, but it would eventually be reprinted twice, in MARVEL'S GREATEST COMICS #23 (10/69) and #29 (12/70).

[L123-124] #31(10/64), p.1
[L125] #31, p.2 panel 1
[L126-140] #31, p.3 through p.8 panel 4
[L141-147] #31, p.8 panel 5, p.9 panels 1-4, p.10 panels 4-7, and p.11 panels 1-3 and 5-6
[L148-152] #31, p.12 and p.13 panels 1-4 plus new lettering
[L153-172] #31, p.15 panel 4 through p.21 (the end)

[L173-174] Pin-ups of The Hate Monger and Diablo

The Impossible Man was the 'villain' in #11(b). The portions from #11(a) that were spliced into the first story add details to the origin bits from issue #1.
The Mole Man was the villain in #31, meaning that none of the villains in the pin-ups appear in any of the stories. Why they didn't simply use the pin-ups from the first annual, I have no idea.

[L175] This ad (left) lists every title Marvel published during 1966, including the three double-length reprints but excluding the three westerns and three humor titles.

The other Lancer Books mass market paperback published at about the same time (Spring 1966) was advertised on the last page, [L176] (right). I don't own it but I've seen it online. The cover uses art from the cover of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #8 (01/64). It's also 176 pages for 50¢ and splices different versions of his origin into a composite story, plus stories from #13 and #16, punctuated by features from his first annual. The last two pages are the ad above and a page similar to this one plugging the Fantastic Four book.

This copy is clearly pretty acidified. I bought is used and cheap, so I'm not terribly concerned about resale value. I bought it (and three others) largely out of curiosity about what was licensed out during this time period. Most of it, either scripts or art, was used to produce animation and novelties like trading cards. The print materials include these Lancers, a set of six mini-books (5/8" X 7/8") I would love to get a hold of and the four facsimile comics produced for Golden Records (one of which was in this blog's very first post). There was much more print material licensed out to Canada and England.

In the previous blog installment I went into detail about how the Beatles managed to get to the top of the American charts after three singles failed to get in the top 100 at all. A clip played on television intending to mock them got them national exposure that fueled unprecedented sales. That's not exaggeration; estimates were that on one day in New York their first U.S. Capitol single was selling 10,000 copies an hour. That kind of volume means that they are not just impacting the lives of people who enjoy music but making a significant impact on manufacturing, shipping, advertising, fashion, media, etc. If you had a job in America in January 1964, by March 1964 the Beatles had touched in some manner without either of you being aware of it. The comics on the racks at that time had been created in the months previous, but much of what was going on in Marvel (and with DC's Annuals) was already in the process of change. Starting below is a chronology of that year:

In the last week of December, Capitol releases their first U.S. Beatles single, "I Want To Hold Your Hand" b/w "I Saw Her Standing There".
Jan. 3rd, 1964-- Captain America returns in AVENGERS #4 (03/64) and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants (including Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver) debut in X-MEN #4 (03/64). Later that month, DC's Doom Patrol would introduce the Brotherhood of Evil in #86 (03/63) of their own comic. TALES TO ASTONISH #54 (04/64) runs its last suspense back-up story. It will run Giant-Man lead stories and Wasp back-up stories that will each vary in length. That night, the BBC clip appeared on the Tonight Show.

The following week The Black Widow made her first appearance in TALES OF SUSPENSE #52 (04/64). Two part stories begin in both AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #11(04/64) and FANTASTIC FOUR #25 (04/64) and both advertised the upcoming DAREDEVIL title. The FF story involves the Avengers, now with Cap, searching for the Hulk.

VeeJay Records, who were licensed the Beatles first LP and three singles in 1963 and couldn't get any of them to chart, combine the two A-sides that they released into a new single, "Please Please Me" b/w "From Me To You". Swan, the label EMI turned to when VeeJay failed to perform, made a second pressing of "She Loves You" b/w "I'll Get You".
Jan. 18th-- "I Want To Hold Your Hand" enters the chart at 45. Next week it will be #3, then #1.
Jan. 20th-- Capitol releases their first U.S. Beatles album, "Meet The Beatles" (mostly taken from their second U.K. LP).
Jan. 23rd-- DC releases SGT. ROCK'S PRIZE BATTLE TALES (Win/64) under the banner "Giant 80 Page War Annual", which serves as an annual for all DC's war comics despite Sgt. Rock's name and picture on the cover. That makes it the only anthology annual besides SECRET ORIGINS in 1961.
Jan.25th-- "She Loves You" enters the charts at 69. Next week it'll be #21.
Jan. 27th-- MGM Records releases a Tony Sheridan single recorded in Germany in 1961 with the Beatles as his backing band. "My Bonnie" b/w "The Saints" had actually been released in the U.S. in 1962 by Decca, who had since lost (or given) the rights to MGM.
Also on the 27th, Vee Jay re-issues the LP "Introducing the Beatles", slightly changing the song selection from the version they had released in 1963. They remove the two songs that were also on the first British single (the only one not yet released in the U.S.) and replaced them with songs from the second single.
In England, The Beatles record two of their hits in German for the European market before heading to America.
Feb. 1st-- "Please Please Me" enters the charts at 68 and IWTHYH hits #1.

More Lancer in the next post.

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