Saturday, January 31, 2009

Silver Surfer Saturday: The Simple Surfer

I ran into this parody while perusing the Silver Surfer Omnibus, from Not Brand Echh #13, circa 1969:

Simple Surfer splash page

The Simple Surfer by Roy Thomas and Marie Severin!  Marie was always great at drawing these types of parodies, filling in countless sight gags across the page.  Tons of easter eggs are thrown about everywhere.

Simple Surfer Shallo Gal

Roy Thomas used to love poking holes in Stan Lee’s creations in Not Brand Echh.  He’s taking a shot here at the Surfer’s penchant for whining about how isolated and sensitive he is.  We also see the real reason Borin Kadd (Norrin Radd) left his home planet—to escape his girlfriend, Shallo-Gal!

Simple Surfer Galacticus

When Galacticus (Galactus) appears in the inevitable full page spread, he’s more menacing than a planet eater, because he’s super salesman.  “Galacticus!  The no-money-down King of the Used-Comet game!”  Galacticus kind of looks like Jack Kirby under the mask, especially with the cigar.

Simple Surfer Home

The rest of the story parallels the Galactus trilogy, but the ending is truly happy, where the Surfer finds a home out in Malibu.  Here we’ve got Archie and Jughead, Frankie and Annette, Little Orphan Annie and her dog.  There is a podium with a note that reads "Return to Billy by Sunday”, which must have been a reference to the evangelist Billy Graham—someone who also gave sermons like the Silver Surfer!  Nuff said.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Marvel Double Features: The Inhumans! Black Widow! Huh?

Marvel Double Feature Special

Marvel often tried to put two characters together in a series of ads or anthologies that often left me scratching my head.  So let’s celebrate those double feature specials!

Vampire Tales 4 house ad

Morbius and Lilith.  Kind of makes sense, both vampires, right?  Wrong.  Morbius is a scientifically created vampire, while Lilith was magically created.  OK, I’m a nit-picker.

Brother Voodoo and Satan house ad

Brother Voodoo and the Son of Satan?  Competing religions right there!  The Mark of Satan was the original title for Daimon Hellstrom’s series. 

man-thing kazar house ad

Hey, we’re launching Man-Thing #1, and just because you love monsters so much, you should also buy Ka-Zar #1!  Well, both series have characters running completely naked in the great outdoors.

astonishing tales 3

How about putting Ka-Zar in Astonishing Tales along with Doc Doom?  Jungle tales combined with evil dictator conquering tales—peanut butter and jelly!  We just weren’t ready for that jelly.  I just noticed that Zabu’s head is the hyphen in Ka-Zar’s logo.  Too bad Zabu’s head was also the same color as the background!

amazing adventures

And then there was Amazing Adventures with the Inhumans and the Black Widow.  That didn’t make sense either; you would think the Inhumans and Doctor Doom would be better off sharing a title!

Amazing Adventures #7 is almost a crime, because you have 2/3 of a great cover ruined by the Widow at the bottom.  What’s more dramatic, some dude with a bionic arm threatening to burn down San Francisco or the lithe Black Widow karate kicking a fat guy?  I think I know which one Neal Adams preferred.  Nuff said.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Monster Mondays: Pablo Marcos tribute to Steve Gerber

A while back I mentioned Back Issue #31, a tribute to Steve Gerber.  This contained a nifty illustration by Pablo Marcos, Gerber’s artist on Tales of the Zombie:

Gerber's Gruesomes by Pablo Marcos

These were all of the horror characters that Gerber wrote during his tenure at Marvel.  From left to right: Simon Garth (Zombie), Morbius, the Living Mummy, Lilith, Son of Satan, and of course, Man-Thing.  You can visit Pablo Marcos’s website for more illustrations.  Nuff said.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Strange Sunday: Dr. Strange, Masked Superhero

I started reading Doctor Strange in 1970, first in reprints contained in Marvel Tales, then later in Marvel Premiere.  Always one of my favorite characters, but when I unearthed Dr. Strange #177 (volume 1, circa 1968), I was astonished to see that the good Doctor once wore a mask:

Doctor Strange 177

Not only did Doc have an earthly mask (which gave an other-worldly Spectre or Phantom Stranger type of appearance with white eye-slits), there were other improvements.  Whereas Doc’s original costume was more Eastern, with billowing robes and a sash, the new costume had removed those elements.  Now he had a streamlined costume, skintight, with new boots and flared gloves.

This cover by Gene Colan and Tom Palmer became an instant classic.  Marvel even made a poster out of it, which I managed to find and put on my wall.

Roy Thomas, who wrote the series at that point, came up with a convenient excuse for the costume change:

Doctor Strange 177 transforming

The villain Asmodeus had assumed Strange’s identity on Earth, and had trapped Doc and Clea in another dimension.  In order to escape, Doc needed to transform…

Doctor Strange 177 transformed into masked mystic

As this dynamic splash page proudly displays!  The real reason for the costume change was the downward sales spiral on Doctor Strange.  He’s never been a strong seller within his own title.   The costume lasted from Doctor Strange 177 to 183.  When the Doctor popped up a year or so later in the Defenders and Marvel Premiere, he reverted back to his original Ditko designed outfit.

There have been two attempts to bring back this costume.

Defenders, The Order 5 by Pacheco

The first was the 2002 mini-series The Order, which featured the Defenders reuniting to conquer the world (under the mind-control of Yandroth).  The story wasn’t the greatest, but it featured great covers by Carlos Pacheco.  Doc really becomes the focal point of this cover in The Order #5.

HULK Defenders poster

The next costume revival will occur just one month from now—in Hulk #10, on sale in late February 2009.  Hulk once again teams up with his former Defenders to battle Red Hulk and his team of Offenders (Baron Mordo, Tiger Shark, and Terrax), courtesy of Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness.  I can’t wait for this story arc.  I think I heard on Word Balloon that Loeb is pulling the Defenders out of different time periods.  Notice that McGuinness has made one slight alteration—he kept the Ditko curves on the top part of the cape, instead of the Colan designed spikes.

Despite the failure of the Doc’s superhero-look to ignite sales in the late 60s, I think Marvel should reconsider using this costume for the modern era.  I think there are two big barriers to Doctor Strange’s popularity.  One is the fact that he looks like a middle-aged man.  The second is that he saves the world in baggy pajamas.  Just as Thor and Iron Fist needed a little revising to make them more attractive to modern readers, I think the same can be said for Doc.  Nuff said.

Update: Comments from my old MT blog...


3 Comments

Bite your tongue! The blue period was a low for the character. Save the full mask look for Vizh and Silver Surfer. I know where you're coming from, but, as a woman, I LOVE that Doc is a middle-aged man. He's really not much older than Tony Stark or many of the others, and, gosh darn it, he's sexy.
Now, now, you guys get super-boobed babes, give us few female comic fans something to enjoy too! Thank you naked Tony Stark!
For me, it's important that Doc not be masked. Aside, from the Hello, Doctor! factor, it's important because he has no secret identity. His lack of a mask is representative of his "what you see is what you get" style. He's honesty personified, no subterfuge, no games. He's given up any other life to be the Sorcerer Supreme.
So, while I'm thrilled he's getting back together with the old gang, I hope the blue face is a brief arc. Maybe he's been walking the earth again and this is the rebirth to his newfound inner peace, the coccoon he will emerge from. Or not. :-)
Anyway, great blog. Sorry for the ramblies.
I believe there was also a brief period in the '90's when the mask made a comeback. Right around the time that a younger Dr. Strange w/ long hair and Lennon-style sunglasses became the "default" doctor, however temporarily. Don't recall the entire storyline or justification, but it wasn't very good.
-r-
The blue faced Doc Strange was a stupid idea. First, it looked as if the Silver Surfer was wearing a modified Doc Strange get up. It fact, the first I saw this version of Doc Strange was in a Defender comic, in a flashback sequence. I was totally confused as who wearing a modified Dr.Strange look, with the Surfers face.Doc Strange,s true is his costume is the original one, not blue faced version of the Silver Surfer-which I'm might had some bearing why this design was chosen. Now the look might have worked another character-an alien sorcerer, similar to Doctor Strange, but really do these major alterations work major characters, unless costumes really stink like say Thor.
The blue faced period was a low for the character. Save the full mask look for the Vision and Silver Surfer. Doc Strange work as he was originally presented. Costume changed generally isn’t the problem. It’s always bad storytelling that kills a book, not cosmetic look to attract the narrow minded boobs who need the same here that they are getting elsewhere. The thinking is to make cooler-with it, to current generation, who something is old or corny, who will start buying something they never planned to buy anyway. Often it shows desperation and stupidity on the part of the producers of the material and misguided fan boys, who become producers of such material, begin it must have cool, when was out when I was young decide to bring it back again. Well if it didn’t work then, then it won’t work now or years from now. Like the look, give it another character-maybe an alien Doctor Strange or one from alternate reality-not the standard character.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Silver Surfer Saturday: Craig Hamilton pinup

Craig Hamilton, one of my favorite artists who doesn’t get enough love.  Here’s a pinup I found on Romitaman:

craig hamilton silver surfer 2007

Nuff said.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Giant-Size Marvel Mousepads

Every once in a while, I get obsessed with a crazy idea.  Sometimes, it is related to work and that is a good thing, as I will knock myself out trying to write some C# code that makes everything work better.

And sometimes, it is something related to comics.  Like, I have to have a mouse-pad with my favorite Giant-Size cover of all time, Giant-Size Defenders #1:

Giant-size Defenders Mousepad

I'm so happy with this, a little collectible that only I have.  How did I make it?  I tried a number of websites in vain.  Zazzle rejected my content because they were copyrighted images.  Finally I just decided to go to Fedex.com's Photo Services site and create my own.  Just upload the scan of the cover and you are done.  I don't believe it is illegal as I am not selling this to anyone else.

Since you save on postage if you get two mouse-pads at the same time, I also had my favorite King-Size Conan Annual #1 made:

Giant Size Conan Mousepad

Obsession complete, my mind can go back to something resembling work.  Nuff said.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Thing Tuesdays: Barry Smith and Marvel Fanfare 15

In 1984, we were allowed to see just how much Barry Smith adores the Thing in Marvel Fanfare 15:

Marvel Fanfare 15 Barry Smith Thing cover

Smith wrote and drew a 20 page story, in which the Thing wakes up on April Fools Day, encountering one prank after another, like this one:

Marvel Fanfare 15 Thing Whiskers

Fake Whiskers, planted by Ben’s teammate, Johnny Storm.  I love that line: “Maybe I’m reverteratin’!”  The story ends with the threat of an exploding cigar, which Al Milgrom kind of telegraphs in the upper left corner box.

Pick up Marvel Fanfare back issues at a con if you get a chance, they have some real gems!  Nuff said.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Monster Mondays: Ploog Recreates Frankenstein Monster #6

I recently discovered this cover recreation by Mike Ploog on Romitaman:

Frankenstein Monster 6 ploog recreation

It's a recreation of Frankenstein Monster #6, the last issue of the series that Ploog illustrated, before moving over to Man-Thing.  This is a big improvement over the original cover:

Frankenstein Monster 6 original cover

Published in 1973, it looks to me like the original cover was penciled by Ploog and retouched/inked by Romita.  My guess would be that Romita wanted to portray that monster as being much more fierce and upset over his captivity.  It just doesn't jibe with the rest of the cover, which is clearly drawn in Ploog's style.

The story inside is pretty decent as well--the Monster has survived 100 years after his creation and discovered Frankenstein's ancestor still lives in the area.  Ploog plotted this tale in addition to providing full pencils and inks.  Pure Ploog!  Nuff said.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Duck! Gil Kane's Cover for Kid Colt 200!

I love the covers that Gil Kane did for Marvel's western titles.  Here's a great one for Kid Colt 200:

Kid Colt 200 gil kane pencil-inks

I noticed this black and white inked version over on ComicsFun.  I really like the perspective, taken from the feet of Kid Colt's enemy.  Look at how everything in the background seems frozen in time.  The horse, started by the gunshot.  The people down the street, alarmed by the bullets flying through the air.

Here's the cover in four-color glory:

kid colt 200 color cover

Notice that Gil Kane's signature,on the sign above the horse in the black and white version, is obscured by the cover blurb "Blazing Western Action."  Nuff said. 

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Strange Saturday: Michael Golden's Doctor Strange Portfolio

I used to collect artist portfolios that were published in the 1970s and 1980s.  These special items contained anywhere from 4-8 plates of special drawings/paintings from the finest comic book artists of the period.  I foolishly traded or sold these items when I needed money for college.  Big mistake!  What I would not give to still have Brent Anderson's Ka-Zar portfolio, Marshall Rogers Batman portfolio, or Will Eisner's Spirit portfolio!

The Michael Golden Doctor Strange portfolio was one of my favorites.  Here was the image on the outside envelope that contained all the plates:

doctor strange golden portfolio

Wow.  The detail on Doc is amazing, but check out how Golden renders the Orb of Agamotto! 

doctor strange golden portfolio eternity

The Eternity plate really captures the mind-bending nature of that all-encompassing entity.

This portfolio appears to have been drawn by Golden in 1982 and published in 1983.  This was during the same period that Golden drew the legendary Doctor Strange #55 in 1982.  I kept hoping that Golden would become the regular artist on Doctor Strange.  We had read rumors of this in various fanzines, but alas, that single issue would be the only one on the regular series.

Nuff said.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Revolutionary Roller-Skating Iron Man!

After Iron Man’s adventure with Benjamin J. Grimm in Marvel Feature #12, he was low on power.  How did he get back to New York City?  Wait for it true believers…

Iron Man 56 on rollerskates

…Tony Stark roller-skated his way home!  Nuclear powered roller-skates, I am sure, not like those cushy wheels in Xanadu.  I think if I saw a roller-skating Iron Man on the freeway, I’d probably flip out.

Iron Man 56 rollerskates exit

Making a sudden exit on the freeway seems like a bitch.  Do you have to give hand signals?

Steve Gerber was making a joke with this scene and most us never forgot it.  I just ran across an interview with Gerber on Comics Bulletin where he mentions this:  …we used to buy comics because comics could show us things we couldn't see anywhere else -- Weaponers of Qward, Reverse-Flashes, Iron Men on roller skates. Today, comics are still showing readers things they couldn't see anywhere else in 1963. The world has changed; comics haven't.  Nuff said.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Monster Mondays: Giant-Size Man-Thing #1, the Glob, and Richard Nixon

Marvel’s house ads in May 1974 trumpeted the arrival of their newest Giant-Size monster comic.  By this time, they dropped the pretense of calling it Giant-Size Monsters or whatever…

giant size man thing 1 house ad

Giant-Size Man-Thing!  The greatest comic title of all time!

giant size man thing 1

The cover by Mike Ploog was enough to make any Man-Thing devotee want to buy this comic.  We had never seen Manny fight another swamp creature before.  The Glob was an old character from the Hulk, but he was really a take-off on Hillman’s the Heap character.

Giant Size Man Thing 1 vs Glob

The story inside did not disappoint.  There were two slimy slug-fights superbly illustrated by Ploog.  Sadly, this was one of the last Man-Thing stories by Ploog.  He left the title soon afterward to draw the Planet of the Apes series.

Giant Size Man Thing 1 Nixon as Yagzan

Steve Gerber created a really funny set of villains called the Entropists.  “Entropy, Entropy, all winds down!”  The Entropists are the enemies of environmentalists, because they state:  “What we wish is unimportant!  Entropy is the natural way of the universe!  We are born…we expend our life energies…we die.  To prolong the life of a man, or a world, is to defy natural law, to instill false hope.”  The leader of the Entropists, Yagzan, looked remarkably like Richard Nixon!

Giant Size Man Thing 1 letter dean mullaney

Dean Mullaney commented on this in the letters page of Giant-Size Man-Thing #2.  Gerber seems to indicate in the letters column that there were targeting another president, but I think this must be a red herring.  Yagzan was Nixon. 

There was a few people who could their letter published in nearly every issue of a title, Dean Mullaney was one of them.  Later, we’d watch Dean rise to become the publisher of Eclipse Comics, where he’d publish a number of things by Steve Gerber, such as Stewart the Rat and Destroyer Duck. Nuff said.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Savage Tales #2: Conan, Red Nails, all for seventy-five cents!

I described about how I fell in love with the world of Conan the Cimmerian after buying that King-Size Annual.  I was surprised, when I started reading the regular Conan series, that Barry Smith no longer drew it.  The art was handled by John Buscema, who I also liked, but I wanted Barry Smith.  Would he ever return to Conan?  I only had a to wait a few months in 1973 to see this Marvel house ad…

savage tales 2 house ad

Whoa, big news!  I had heard fables and whispers about Savage Tales #1, which appeared two years earlier.  Apparently few people were able to buy it.  Savage Tales #2 was a very big deal indeed, as we read on the Bullpen Bulletins page…

savage tales 2, bullpen bulletins

If this did not stoke the fires enough to get us excited, there was Roy Thomas’ special editorial in Conan the Barbarian #30…

conan 30 roy thomas editorial

Note that in the editorial, Roy makes reference to a common occurrence in comics.  Whenever a popular artist leaves a series, no matter how good the replacement is, the readers always hate him and demand the previous guy come back.  John Buscema turned out to be very good indeed on Conan and drove sales to record heights.

I was on the lookout for Savage Tales #2 for at least a month, and then I saw this cover in the magazine section of The Book Cache in Anchorage, Alaska:

savage tales 2

Now there’s a remarkable thing about this cover.  It’s painted by John Buscema!  I think this may be the only painting he did for the Marvel magazines.  I thought I had read somewhere that John Romita had done a cover rough sketch and Buscema did the rest.  Now open up the cover and see the table of contents page…

Savage Tales 2 - frontispiece

This was done in the style of many Marvel magazines, with a nice illustration accompanying the contents listing.  The drawing of Conan on a moonlit night is wonderful, drawn by Pablo Marcos, who I already knew about from Tales of the Zombie.  Now let’s flip forward a few pages to see if Barry Smith is really in this issue…

Savage Tales - Red Nails intro

Oh.  My.  God.  Not only is Barry back, he’s better than ever.  The composition on this splash page is spectacular.  Smith’s detailed line work can be appreciated in full glory, without the four-color process muddying it up in any way.  I’ve seen Red Nails colored for both the Marvel Treasury and Dark Horse collected editions, but the color just seems to me to mess it up.  Red Nails must be appreciated in black and white, just like Citizen Kane or Manhattan.  The Red Nails logo and lettering are amazing.  Now as far as the story itself…

Savage Tales 2 - Conan slays a dragon

Better than most movie-blockbusters at the time.  The longer format of the magazine allowed Thomas and Smith to slow down the pacing and make the action more intense.  There’s a scene where Conan and Valeria are chased by a dragon.  Valeria stumbles and twists her ankle.  Conan carries her and runs, then when the dragon is almost upon them, hurls Valeria away, turns around and slices into that creature’s head.  Wow!  Each page of this story was worth drooling over.  The story had a kinky turn when Conan and Valeria stumble into a castle, where a witch has plans to make them human sacrifices.  And it was only part 1.  Part 2 would appear in Savage Tales #3.

When Red Nails took a break, there’s was still plenty more to read.  There was this Robert E. Howard poem, illustrated by Barry Smith.  These were reproduced from Smith’s pencils:

Savage Tales 2 - Howard poem

I don’t think I appreciated poetry until I read this.  You can judge it as a good or bad poem, but somehow Smith made poetry look cool.  I remember from this point on, wanting to explore more poetry from people like TS Elliott and Gary Snyder.  Robert E. Howard must have a been a man who suffered from depression, as he committed suicide shortly after his mother died.  The words in this poem sound very bleak, I think there is some indication here of his mental outlook.

Savage Tales 2 - Wrightson Kull

If Barry Smith wasn’t enough to set this issue on fire, there was an additional story featuring King Kull, drawn by Berni Wrightson!  It was a reprint, but I had missed it the first time it appeared in Creatures on the Loose #10.  Creatures on the Loose used to be called Tower of Shadows.  Wrightson originally drew a cover for the original title, but it had to be replaced when the title was changed.  Thomas reprinted the cover here.  It’s early Wrightson, but early Wrightson is better than most people today.  Later, Wrightson would join Barry Smith at “The Studio” where they would share space for their drawings/paintings.

Now let’s go to the end of Savage Tales #2, for the cherry on top of the cake…

Savage Tales 2 - next issue piece

Even the next issue teaser page was incredible!  I cannot get over how good this looks.  Perhaps it was an illustration that Smith did for something else and it was used here.  You can see here Marvel’s aggressive scheduling in effect, promising that the next issue would be available the end of September 1973.  Savage Tales #3 would not appear on newsstands until late February 1974.  The delay was well worth it, Red Nails was completed by Smith and turned out to be a masterpiece.

I cannot tell you how many times I read this issue as a kid!  So much entertainment, well worth the “six bits” I spent.  I have bought many different collections with Red Nails in it, but no edition is better than the original Savage Tales magazine.  Nuff said.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Barry Smith's King-Size Conan Annual Cover

I never thought I would ever read a comic about a barbarian in a million years.  I saw Conan on the newsstands and passed it by every time…until one day in 1973, I saw this incredible cover to King-Size Conan Annual #1.

Barry Smith King Size Conan Annual 1

Now that’s a cover that makes a barbarian look super mofo cool.  Conan’s glaring at the reader as if they were his enemy, daring them to take him on.  He’s got gobs of tiny nicks and cuts over his body, beads of sweat, and he is carrying an axe and a bloodied sword as well!  The detailed line work is amazing.  I love the swirling (fog or magic?) around his ankles, the cobblestone streets.  And that signature by Barry Smith!  I had never seen any artist sign his work so creatively.

Here’s another look at the cover with a different color scheme:

Barry Smith Conan Annual cover sans copy

I still prefer the original King-Size cover.  It got me to buy that annual and run home to read the stories: Lair of the Beast-Men and Tower of the Elephant!  The latter tale had a shattering ending that left me completely hooked into Conan.  I bought everything from that point on: Conan’s regular title, Savage Tales, Savage Sword of Conan, and, of course, Giant-Size Conan.

But what was this “Academy Award” that Conan had won?  Rascally Roy explains it all in The Hyborian Page!

Conan Annual 1 Hyborian Page

The Academy of Comic Book Arts existed in the early 1970s.  They did many things for the good of comic book professionals, but they also handed out awards, which Conan won, in 1970 and 1971.  What I really dig about this editorial page is Roy Thomas’ style of explaining all these things to the reader, a bit less egotistical than Stan Lee used to, but it really got me excited.  The map down below definitely peaked my interest in Conan’s world, and that red-head in the panels (Red Sonja) definitely made me want to buy more Conan comics.

Bravo, Barry Smith and Roy Thomas!  Nuff said.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Thing Tuesdays: Stan Lee Meets the Thing on Yancy Street

lee weeks the thing and stan lee 1

Desperate for a post today, feeling a bit hemmed in all sides, kind of like when Ben Grimm goes to Yancy Street and meets Stan Lee in this special from a while back.  Lee Weeks did an excellent job of drawing the Thing’s massive size against a normal human.  Nuff said.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Monster Mondays: Giant-Size Chillers and Tigra

giant size creatures thomas editorial

Last month, I wrote about Giant Size Creatures, that introduced Dracula’s daughter, Lilith.  Marvel was determined to expand their line of horror characters with female versions of their famous monsters.  Soon after Lilith appeared, Giant-Size Creatures #1 appeared on the newsstands (which was re-titled Giant-Size Werewolf with issue #2), featuring a female were-creature: Tigra!

giant-size creatures

The cover was not half-bad, it definitely peaked my interest to see a female werewolf teaming up with Jack Russell to fight a horde of Hydra agents.

giant size creatures perlin colleta

This issue was written by Tony Isabella, and drawn by Don Perlin and Vince Colletta. Now I have to say something that almost got me lynched at a con once…Vinnie Colletta is my least favorite inker in the entire world.  Some people love Colletta on Kirby’s Thor, but I do not.  One of the worst art teams that I can think of would have to be Colletta paired with Don Perlin.  I never really cared for Perlin on Werewolf by Night, he killed the book for me after Ploog left the series.  See how they depicted this dramatic scene of Tigra clashing with the Werewolf on a moonlit beach?  This is the best scene in the whole book, true believers!

tigras year by tony isabella

Tony Isabella certainly took the creation of Tigra seriously.  I was really surprised to discover that Tigra was really Greer Nelson, from Marvel’s short-lived Claws of the Cat series.  Instead of making Greer a woman with a werewolf curse, she joined an underground group of Cat People who saved her life by transforming her into a were-cat.  Unlike Jack Russell, she retained her intelligence and preferred not to change back to human form.

tigras year by tony isabella

Tigra was awarded a series try-out, starting in Marvel Chillers #3, and her artistic depiction was immensely superior.  Will Meugniot, the artist who would later go on to draw the sexy DNAgents, immediately knocked me out with this splash page.  Meugniot emphasized all of Tigra’s curves, oomphed up that bikini, and gave Tigra some nice cat-bling to go along with it.

Marvel Chillers 7 Tigra Jack Kirby

The stories in Marvel Chillers #3-7 pushed Tigra firmly into super-hero territory, although the artistic teams shuffled with almost every issue.  Marvel Chillers #4 had a fill-in story by Chris Claremont and Frank Robbins, #5 saw Isabella and Meugniot return, #6 featured a pretty good early job by John Byrne, and #7 finished things off with dynamic cover by Jack Kirby.  Even back in the 70s, Tigra was single-handedly fighting off a Skrull invasion!

Frank Cho Tigra Mighty Avengers 3

Even though Tigra lost her series, she was never forgotten in the Marvel Universe and became more well known that Jack Russell.  Tigra was a founding member of the West Coast Avengers and became a fixture of Marvel’s super-team.  Which leads to the modern era, where Frank Cho doesn’t miss a beat in depicting Tigra as a sex-kitten.  Oh that Frank Cho…exposing the dark underbelly of our Marvel consciousness!

Tigra is pregnant with Skrull

Even though Tigra and Skrull-Pym’s little love-nest got interrupted by an Ultron-invasion, we just learned in Avengers: The Initiative #20 that they hooked up later on.  Tigra confesses to Hellcat that she is pregnant and Skull-Pym was the father!  Perhaps this subplot ends here, with Tigra later saying that she will terminate the pregnancy.  But it is ironic to see Tigra in a scene with Hellcat, since the Greer Nelson started out wearing this costume in the 1970s!  Nuff said.