Tuesday, July 18, 2017

0037: Lancer Corporeal Part 2

The second pair of Lancer Books mass market paperbacks appeared in the fall of 1966. They kept the format of the first two, 176 pages of black and white reprints for 50¢. The panels were broken up with one to four per page and mostly horizontal.

I have this one, "The Incredible Hulk".
While the Fantastic Four would get a proper cartoon produced by Hanna-Barbera and Spider-man would be produced by Grantray-Lawrence, both in 1967 for ABC-TV, the Hulk was one of several heroes arriving on TV in severely limited animation (also by Grantray-Lawrence, but with a fraction of the budget) in 1966 for syndication. Under the umbrella title "The Marvel Superheroes", it was actually five half hour shows with each episode broken into three 7 to 8 minute segments. Since each chapter had a title card, once the episodes completed their initial run the chapters could be mixed and matched in future broadcasts. Say, two Hulk chapters with a Captain America chapter between them, or one Thor, one Hulk and one Iron Man with the stories continued the next day. It sounds interesting, but the animation was done by literally making Xerox copies of published comic book art and... actually, it would be easier to demonstrate it. You know how people signify "OK" by forming a ring with their thumb and index finger? Using one eye, look through that ring at the cover on the left. Then, pick up whatever device you're using to view this blog and slightly jiggle it back and forth, saying, "Raargh, raargh!" Got it? Well, that's EXACTLY what it was like to watch the 1966 Hulk cartoon. Don't believe me? They show up on YouTube all the time. I was also able to find an example of a live host dressed in a Captain America costume introducing the show on WNAC-TV in Boston, thanks to a tip on Wikipedia.

Here's the first page, using a panel from INCREDIBLE HULK #6 (03/63), p.1.
I think the lettering is original, maybe by Joe Rosen or Artie Simek.

The second page [L2] also lifts from IH#6, p.3 panels 7-8. The third page [L3] is a title page with credits for Stan Lee, Steve Ditko and Jack Kirby; the fourth page [L4] is indicia. The stories begin with [L5] which takes art from TALES TO ASTONISH #60 (10/64), p.1 and adds new lettering.

[L6-31] reprint the first story from IH #3 (09/62), "Banished To Outer Space" p.1 through p.9 panels 1-6 and p.11 panels 5-7. It was previously reprinted without editing in MARVEL COLLECTORS' ITEM CLASSICS #3 (06/66). In the original comic the next three pages were a recap of Hulk's origin which would eventually be reprinted several times but is omitted here.
[L32-59] reprint the third story from IH #3, "The Ringmaster" pp15-24, except for the last panel. That story had been previously reprinted in MARVEL TALES ANNUAL #2 ([9]/65).
These are followed by an intermezzo on [L60-62] created using excerpts from IH#6, p.11 panels 5,7-8 and p.12 panels 1-6 plus new lettering.

The remainder of the stories are the first four chapters of the Hulk's feature in TALES TO ASTONISH.

[L63-90] reprint TA#60 (10/64),  pp1-10 except for the last panel, and with new lettering on [L63] and [L90].
[L91-117] reprint TA#61 (11/64), pp1-9 and p.10 panels 1, 3 and 2.
[L118] new lettering only
[L119-145] reprint TA#62 (12/64), pp1-9 and p.10 panels 1-2,5.
[L146-173] reprint TA#63 (01/65), pp1-9 and p.10 panels 1-4,6 plus new lettering.
[L174] Pin-up from TA#62 (12/64)

[L175] The same ad that appeared on this page in the previous two volumes (a scan appears in the previous post).

[L176] The final page (see the scan on the left) not only plugs the other volumes but offers them by mail if they can't be found "at your local newsstand". Bookstores aren't mentioned. It should be pointed out that Lancer and Marvel both felt that it would be best to emphasize distributing the paperbacks to college campuses and that many small suburban and community colleges were serviced by bookstores run by the colleges themselves and/or by student cooperatives. That doesn't necessarily mean that they would be strictly adhering to an academic guideline when ordering stock, but it raises the possibility.

The idea that mass produced popular culture could also simultaneously be or not be art, or that the thing that would determine whether or not something was legitimate art had nothing to do with how expensive or accessible it is, were both extremely controversial propositions in the early 60's, which is why the emergence of concepts about 'pop art' from critical circles and out into conversations in the general public was considered a 'movement' at all. That's where it was moving. That conversation was going to be engaged in most frequently and passionately on college campuses in the latter half of the decade. And the students engaged in that conversation had been in high school when the Beatles hit the U.S. The week ending February 1st, 1964 gave them their first #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. On the following Monday, MGM records shipped out an album that combined four songs that the Beatles recorded as Tony Sheridan's backing band with two other Sheridan recordings and six recordings by a group called the Titans, but packaged as though it were a Beatles album. Funny story? They were in such a rush to rip off the public that they didn't realize that they already had four other Sheridan recordings that actually had the Beatles playing on them.

As the MGM LP hit the shops, The Enchantress and Executioner were making their first appearance in JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #103 (04/64). Also out that week was DAREDEVIL #1(04/64). It would be the last time in a long, long while that Marvel debuted a character in their own title. Since the restructuring in 1957 this had only happened 7 times: Kathy, Linda Carter, Fantastic Four, Hulk, Sgt. Fury, X-Men and Daredevil. All but Kathy were within a three year period. The next three new titles would be the reprint titles I've been posting about. The western Ghost Rider (1967) was transparently a character done for Magazine Enterprises (since defunct) in the 1950's by the same artist but given a different secret identity for legal reasons. Peter the Pest stories were actually recycled Melvin the Monster stories. The Li'l Kids comics reprinted Li'l Willie, Awful Oscar, etc. from the 1950's. Conan wasn't an original Marvel character. As far as I can tell, the winner is... Archie knock-off HARVEY #1(10/70)? Looks like it. And the next candidate is Luke Cage in HERO FOR HIRE #1 (06//72), a full eight years after Daredevil.

Of course, plenty of new characters were introduced and new titles launched in that time, just not simultaneously. In fact, of all the characters granted their own features during that time it wasn't until Captain Marvel was introduced in MARVEL SUPER-HEROES #12 (12/67) that a character was even introduced in their own feature. And yet, this was not a creatively or commercially sluggish time for Marvel; they were thriving. By the end of the decade they would be on the verge of overtaking DC in sales. The idea of giving new features and new titles to characters who were introduced in existing features starring other characters was just contributing to their strengthening sense of continuity. This was being done at a time when there were no trade paperbacks in the sense we know them today. If you wanted to know where the character you've just started reading came from, you'd have to keep an eye on the reprint titles until they got around to reprinting it.

By the end of the week, the Beatles arrived in the U.S. (Feb.7) to rehearse for the Ed Sullivan Show. On Sunday the 9th they recorded an afternoon performance to be broadcast on the 23rd, but played live for the broadcast that night. They toured playing live shows all during the week and met up with Sullivan in Miami to do another live broadcast on the 16th. During that week Marvel released the conclusions of two-parters in FANTASTIC FOUR #26 (05/64) and AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #12 (05/64) (which ran a fan letter from Dave Cockrum). More notably, in TALES OF SUSPENSE #53 (05/64) the watcher was given an origin an on the cover, Iron Man's name was printed larger than the actual name of the comic. This was a trend that was going to be repeated.

While the Beatles toured, the B-side of their only U.S. Capitol single entered the charts at 68 while the A-side was #1. During the next moth they would both be in the top 20 for three weeks. By the end of the week, MGM's "My Bonnie" single entered at #67.
Feb. 20th-- Vee Jay Records invents a subsidiary called Tollie, which releases the single "Twist and Shout" b/w "There's A Place"
Feb. 22th-- Donna Lynn enters the singles chart at 97 with "My Boyfriend Got A Beatle Haircut"
Feb 26th-- Vee Jay Records releases an album called "Jolly What! The Beatles And Frank Ifield On Stage", which compiled the four songs from two singles the label released in 1963 with eight songs by an unrelated artist. Despite the title, none of these recordings are live.
Feb. 29th-- The Swans enter the singles chart at 99 with "The Boy With The Beatle Hair". And really, it's already desperate enough to release a single predicated on the success of another band to the extent of putting their name in the title. Did they really have to go the extra mile and name their own band after one of the five different labels hawking the other band's records?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Previously on "Sieve Eye Care"...