Vampirella #18 (August, 1972)

As regular readers of this blog may recall, I first encountered Warren Publishing’s Vampirella in the summer of 1971, courtesy of the series’ 1972 Annual — a collection of reprinted material from Vampi’s first two years by the likes of Neal Adams, Ernie Col√≥n, and Wally Wood, with the exception of a single new story, “The Origin of Vampirella”.  I enjoyed it, but for reasons I can no longer recall, my younger self nevertheless waited until March, 1972 before deigning to pick up a regular issue of the title. Still, I evidently liked what I found within the pages of Vampirella #17, since I came back three months later for more.

On the other hand, it’s entirely possible that I would have picked up issue #18 even if I’d been indifferent to, or even actively disliked, the contents of #17 — since #18’s gorgeous cover by the Barcelonan painter Enrich Torres promised an appearance by Dracula.  And in 1972, I was into any and all things having to do with Transylvania’s most famous fictional (?) denizen. Read More

Avengers #58 (November, 1968)

By September, 1968, when the subject of today’s post came out, I was buying The Avengers semi-regularly.  Of course, “semi” literally means “half” (at least in the original Latin) — which is my way of saying that though I’d bought issues #53, #56, and the 1968 Annual, I’d skipped, or at least missed, issues #54, #55, and #57.  So, not only did my eleven-year-old self miss out on the debut of the Vision (in #57), but I was also completely in the dark about the malevolent robot who’d allegedly created him, Ultron-5, introduced in issues #54 and #55 as the mysterious leader of the “new” Masters of Evil.

Thus, when I came across Avengers #58 in the spinner rack, I may have been momentarily daunted.  Even if I had no obvious way of knowing that this issue tied into the Masters of Evil storyline from several months back, it was clear from the cover that the story was a direct follow-up to the previous issue’s Vision tale.

But the cover also made it crystal clear that the book featured appearances by Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor — the Avengers’ “Big Three”, whom series writer Roy Thomas wasn’t allowed to use as regular team members by the fiat of editor Stan Lee, but whom he nevertheless shoehorned into the book every chance he got — and I had been conditioned by now to recognize this as being something of a special event (if not necessarily a rare one).  And, in the end, that must have sold me.  I’d buy the book, and trust that the creative team — which included penciler John Buscema and inker George Klein, in addition to Thomas — would catch me up.  Read More