A Final Classic Christmas Comic!

Behold!

Bronze age Christmas

Special Christmas Edition

Marvel Classics Comics #36 (final issue), December, 1978

Cover Artists Bob Hall

“A Christmas Carol”

Writer:  Doug Moench

Penciler & Inker: “Diverse Hands”

Colorists: Francoise Mouly & Mario Sen, Letterer: Diana Albers

Editors: Rick Marschall & Ralph Macchio, Editor-in-Chief Jim Shooter

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Do you REALLY need a synopsis of the plot?

CC page 1

***

The story stayed true to the original book, complete with religious references left out of televised versions.

As the name for the penciller and inker shows, this was likely drawn by committee. They did a good job, not bad, but not spectacular. This panel, depicting one of the few action-oriented scenes of the story, still seems tame compared to the typical “Marvel Manner” espoused lo, that previous decade-and-a-half.

CC good panel

Whereas the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come was as you would expect …

the final spirit

The art-by-committee is most obvious with Scrooge himself – his facial features changed from toothless and gaunt to Ben Franklin-esque. At times he looked like William Hartnell as Doctor Who!

But it was drawn moodily and darkly. It looked like it came from DC’s horror line. One expects to see Cain, Abel or Destiny bookending the chapters. It was also wordy, more akin to a DC Silver Age comic than Marvel. But this affected the entire series, if “affected” is the correct word. I certainly didn’t mind…

Carol marvel method

Like most of the series, it was a canny and thorough version of the story the issue depicted. They even did the Welsh miners and the boat. Almost every movie and TV version of this story skip the Welsh miners, the lighthouse keepers and the boat. Anyone expecting a Marvel or comic booky twist to the story (even if in just style and layout) will be disappointed.

***

I loved this series and this was its final issue. Appropriately this is also my final Christmas Edition of Behold the Bronze Age.

Look for more in the new year! Merry Christmas and, of course …

final panel

***

About the author: Michael Curry is the author of the Brave & Bold: From Silent Knight to Dark Knight, The Day John F Kennedy Met the Beatles and the award-winning Abby’s Road, the Long and Winding Road to Adoption and How Facebook, Aquaman and Theodore Roosevelt Helped.  Check his website for more releases! Thanks for reading!

 

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We wish you a Merry X-Men (Uncanny X-Men # 143, that is…)

Behold!

Bronze age Christmas

Special Christmas Edition

Uncanny X-Men #143, March, 1981

Cover Artists Terry Austin & Rick Parker

“Demon”

Writers: Chris Claremont & John Byrne

Pencilers John Byrne, Inkers Terry Austin

Colorists Glynis Wein, Letterers Tom Orzechowski

Editor: Louise Jones, Editor-in-Chief Jim Shooter

From Marvel Wikia:

Flashback – The X-Men’s first battle with the N’Garai, specifically Storm’s destruction of the obelisk which was the nexus of the gateway between their world and ours. The X-Men believed that, with the obelisk gone, the gate was sealed, but a lone demon slowly crawled from amidst the rubble, free in our world.

In the present day a couple out looking for their first Christmas tree. Quickly their happiness became ashes – the N’Garai demon killed them swiftly and then feasted upon them, body and soul.

Meanwhile at the X-Mansion Kitty was learning how the Blackbird ran, backwards and forwards, when, to her relief, Angel interrupted to let Xavier know that it was time to be going. In the entrance-way, Logan introduced Mariko Yashida to Professor X. A mistletoe prank of Kurt’s with Mariko drew Wolverine’s ire, but things were soon set aright, although the mood was tense. Kitty lightened it by playing a similar trick on Colossus, who blushed deeply. Then most of the X-Men departed: Wolverine and Mariko, Angel off to see Candy Southern, and Professor X, Peter, Ororo, and Kurt off in the Rolls. Kitty Pryde was left in the mansion alone.

Kitty, feeling lonely, tried calling her parents with no luck. Scott called to wish everyone a merry Christmas. Finding only Kitty in the mansion, he promised to call tomorrow. He then found Lee Forrester to see about taking a job as a sailor. He is a little surprised to find that Lee is a woman when he was expecting the ship captain to be a man.

Still at loose ends, Kitty decided to work out, using a Danger Room exercise program. However, her work-out was interrupted by the intruder alarm activating in Ororo’s room. Not wanting to disturb the police over what may be something as simple as a fallen branch, Kitty decided to investigate only to discover the N’Garai demon.

Kitty lead it on a merry chase through the mansion, phasing through walls with it fast on its heels. Losing it briefly at one point, she tried to make it to a phone to call the other X-Men. The demon was waiting for her, however, and while she phased in time, she still felt the claw as it scythed through her incorporeal form.

She escaped to the Danger Room, air-walking up to the control booth to use the room against her. The demon was taking its time to show, however, and she was starting to wonder just how smart it was when it entered the control booth instead of the room below. Kitty backpedaled into the Danger Room and it pursued her through the ‘unbreakable’ glass. The Danger Room came alive, and Kitty managed to barely keep just ahead of it and not get nailed by the room. Of course, the demon just tore through everything the room had to offer, but it delayed it long enough that Kitty got a good head-start, out of the Danger Room and to the rail-car to the hangar. Halfway to the hangar the demon ruptured the rail, forcing Kitty to travel the rest of the distance on foot.

Weary from exertion, Kitty got into the blackbird, its turbine engines pointed down the tunnel, the only realistic path for the demon to follow into the hangar. She started going through the ignition checklist. At the last second she ignited the engines, crisping the demon but wrecking the blackbird. She exited the plane, air-walking, confident nothing could have survived, when a burned claw arced towards her.

The X-Men returned home to a darkened house, having encountered police earlier warning them of gruesome murders that had occurred in the area. Wary, and with Professor X’s telepathy somehow foiled, they entered cautiously. Kitty was curled up watching TV with a fire, and was overjoyed that the X-Men had returned. Kitty’s parents were also with them.

It turned out that last swipe was the creature’s dying attempt to kill Kitty. It made the supreme effort and it failed.

***

This issue followed the superb “Days of Future Past” story arc and was the last issue f John Byrne’s regular run as artist.

***

About the author: Michael Curry is the author of the Brave & Bold: From Silent Knight to Dark Knight, The Day John F Kennedy Met the Beatles and the award-winning Abby’s Road, the Long and Winding Road to Adoption and How Facebook, Aquaman and Theodore Roosevelt Helped.  Check his website for more releases! Thanks for reading!

 

 

A very Spidey-Christmas! Amazing Spider-Man #166

Behold!

Bronze age Christmas

Special Christmas Edition

Amazing Spider-Man #166, March, 1977

Cover Artist: John Romita Sr

“War of The Reptile-Men!”

Writer:  Len Wein

Penciler: Ross Andru, Inker: Mike Esposito,

Colorist: Glynis Wein, Letterer: Joe Rosen

Editor: Len Wein, Editor-in-Chief Archie Goodwin

From Marvel Wikia:

Following his defeat at the hands of Stegron the Dinosaur Man, Spider-Man decides to go and seek the help of Curt Connors due to his expertise with lizards. However, Spider-Man arrives just as Connors had finished transforming into the Lizard once more and was on its way out to attack Stegron itself. Spider-Man briefly tangles with the Lizard, who manages to escape. Going back into the Connors apartment, Spider-Man learns from Martha Connors of the situation and that Stegron has her son Billy hostage. Spider-Man vows to Martha that he will save Billy and restore Curt to normal once more.

While at ESU, J. Jonah Jameson pays a visit to Marla Madison, who unveils her own take on the Spider-Slayer robots. Peter’s friends have all met at the apartment of Flash Thompson and Harry Osborn for Christmas cheer, Peter calls in and tells Mary Jane that he won’t be able to make it out. After getting off the phone with Peter, Mary Jane and the others are told by Harry and Liz Allan that they are going to get married.

At the hideout of Stegron, the dinosaur man shows to Billy Connors that his revitalization ray is now fully operational and uses it to restore the dinosaur bones back to real living dinosaurs. He’s then attacked by the Lizard, which causes the dinosaurs to break loose and flee into the city. Web-slinging around the city trying to find his foes, Spider-Man finds the dinosaurs and easily defeats them. He then tracks their trail of destruction back to Stegron’s hideout, where he battles both Stegron and the Lizard. Spider-Man incapacitates the Lizard with a chemically treated webbing which restores the Lizard back to his human form.

Stegron uses this as his chance to flee with Billy as his prisoner, and he takes control of the dinosaurs again. Spider-Man goes after the two of them, leaving Curt behind to try and figure out how to make Stegron’s device work in reverse. Spider-Man manages to rescue Billy and Connor’s work on the device allows him to change the dinosaurs back to harmless bones. Stegron manages to escape, however, Spider-Man chases after him. Succumbing to the cold, Stegron is about to go back into a state of suspended animation when he falls into a frozen river and seemingly perishes. Unable to find a trace of Stegron, Spider-Man gives up his search.

On Christmas Day, all is well and the Connors family has been reunited for the holidays, Spider-Man decides to leave the Connors a Christmas gift before departing.

***

Spidey 166

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About the author: Michael Curry is the author of the Brave & Bold: From Silent Knight to Dark Knight, The Day John F Kennedy Met the Beatles and the award-winning Abby’s Road, the Long and Winding Road to Adoption and How Facebook, Aquaman and Theodore Roosevelt Helped.  Check his website for more releases! Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

More Christmas comics: Superman #369

Behold!

Bronze age Christmas

Special Christmas Edition

Superman #369, March, 1982

Cover Artists: Rich Buckler & Frank Giacoia

“Superman’s Last Christmas!”

Writer: Cary Bates, Penciler: Rich Buckler

Inker: Frank McLaughlin, Colorist: Adrienne Roy

Editor: Julius Schwartz

After Superman saves a family and their home from a sinkhole, he delivers and trims a pine tree to the Metropolis Galaxy Christmas Tree Celebration.

Meanwhile, secret agent Cory Renwald (who was the Kent’s foster child before they adopted Clark) gets his orders for the holidays: to shadow a TV personality who is suspected of treasonous acts against the country: Clark Kent!

While relaxing in his Fortress of Solitude, Superman holds a pity party reminiscing about his parents and Smallville. He is attacked by the Parasite! Even after absorbing some of Superman’s power, Parasite cannot prevent the Man of Steel from hurling him 17 miles away.

Parasite is pleased – he has enough power to last him a few more days and his mental absorption of Superman’s state-of-mind gives him an idea to finally defeat the Kryptonian.

A hitman’s attempt at Clark Kent’s life (for exposing Metropolis’ mob) is thwarted by Renwald to Clark’s astonishment! Renwald gets more details of his assignment. Kent is betraying the US not to an enemy country – but to aliens from space! Renwald breaks into Kent’s apartment and triggers an alert.

Before Clark Kent can change into Superman and confront Renwald, the Parasite attacks again!

We learn that Renwald’s superior in his new assignment is really the Parasite in disguise. Sure enough, Renwald discovers the alien trophies in Clark’s apartment.

Parasite reveals his plan: with him attacking Superman, and Renwald investigating Clark Kent, and Superman’s blues over the holidays, the Man of Steel is physically and emotionally ripe for defeat!

Renwald and Parasite (disguised as his boss) meet; and Renwald and Superman expose Parasite’s ploy! During the battle, Parasite passes out after Superman reveals he injected himself with low-grade Kryptonite, paralyzing the Parasite more and more every time he absorbed Superman’s powers (through Parasite would say Superman was still weakened from their previous battles, when it was really his Kryptonite injections).

Renwald confronts Clark about the alien trophies. He assumes Clark is keeping the trophies on Superman’s behalf. Clark is no traitor, and the two “brothers” enjoy Christmas reminiscing about Jonathan and Martha.

***

About the author: Michael Curry is the author of the Brave & Bold: From Silent Knight to Dark Knight, The Day John F Kennedy Met the Beatles and the award-winning Abby’s Road, the Long and Winding Road to Adoption and How Facebook, Aquaman and Theodore Roosevelt Helped.  Check his website for more releases! Thanks for reading!

 

Christmas comics: Justice League of America #152

Behold!

Bronze age Christmas

Special Christmas Edition

Justice League of America #152, March 1978

Cover: Rich Buckler & Jack Abel

“2000 Light-Years to Christmas”

Writer: Gerry Conway

Pencils: Dick Dillin, Inks: Frank McLaughlin, Colors: Cornelia (Cory) Adams, Letterer: Ben Oda

Editor: Julius Schwartz

***

Following an accident in space, three alien travelers lose the contents of their mysterious “carrying pouches,” which land on various areas of Earth and cause a number of disasters. A stag becomes a rampaging creature, ecological protesters are changed into monsters, and an orphaned child in the Middle East gains supernatural powers.

The Red Tornado calms and befriends the troubled young girl, and the other heroes deal with the remaining threats. But at the same time, Major Macabre, a would-be world conqueror, plans to gather the mystery objects and use them for his own benefit.

A final battle is staged between a super-powerful Macabre and the Justice League members, which ends when Red Tornado locates the three aliens, who overcome the villain and retrieve their magical possessions. Red Tornado draws a parallel for his fellow members between the three aliens and the Christmas story of the three wise men, bearing gifts for the Christ-child.

JLA 152

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The orphaned child is Traya, who is adopted by the Red Tornado and Kathy Sutton and becomes one of Reddy’s “regular” cast.

***

The letter column praised #148 with the JLA/JSA/Legion team-up as well as results of the recent popularity poll with Green Lantern coming out on top!

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About the author: Michael Curry is the author of the Brave & Bold: From Silent Knight to Dark Knight, The Day John F Kennedy Met the Beatles and the award-winning Abby’s Road, the Long and Winding Road to Adoption and How Facebook, Aquaman and Theodore Roosevelt Helped.  Check his website for more releases! Thanks for reading!

A Bronze Age Christmas: Marvel Team-Up #1!

Behold!

Bronze age Christmas

Special Christmas Edition

Marvel Team-Up #1, March, 1972

Cover Artists: Gil Kane, Frank Giacoia, Sam Rosen

“Have Yourself a Sandman Little Christmas!”

Writer: Roy Thomas

Penciler: Ross Andru, Inker: Mike Esposito, Letterer: Artie Simek

Editor: Stan Lee

From Marvel Wikia:

While covering a Polar Bear Swim for the Daily Bugle, Peter Parker’s jolted out of his thoughts with the arrival of the Sandman on the beach. Changing into Spider-Man, Peter tries to stop the Sandman, but the villain proves to be too much for the hero to handle and he escapes.

Deciding that since the Sandman has been more a Fantastic Four foe, Spider-Man decides to pay the FF a visit at the Baxter Building. There he only finds the Human Torch, and the two agree to work together in trying to track down the Sandman. While tracking down their enemy, the Human Torch and Spider-Man stop thieves from stealing Christmas presents from Misty Knight.

Finally tracking down the Sandman, the two heroes try to stop him but are knocked out and left inside a water tower while the Sandman escapes. Breaking free, the two track the Sandman down and learn that he broke out of prison to visit his sick mother for Christmas. Telling them that his mother doesn’t know that he’s a criminal, the two heroes agree to let the Sandman visit with his mother on the promise that he will return to prison. Spider-Man gives Sandman the gift he intended to give to Gwen Stacey to give to his mother.

After the Sandman’s allotted time is up the two check out his mother’s apartment and find that the Sandman escaped out the drain pipe. The two decide to accept their loss and celebrate the holidays before tracking down the Sandman again.

***

About the author: Michael Curry is the author of the Brave & Bold: From Silent Knight to Dark Knight, The Day John F Kennedy Met the Beatles and the award-winning Abby’s Road, the Long and Winding Road to Adoption and How Facebook, Aquaman and Theodore Roosevelt Helped.  Check his website for more releases! Thanks for reading!

 

 

DC Comics Presents #67: Superman and … Santa?

Behold!

Bronze age Christmas

Special Christmas Edition

DC Comics Presents #67, March, 1984

Cover: José Luis García-López

“Twas the Fright Before Christmas!”

Writer: Len Wein, Co-Plotter: E. Nelson Bridwell, Penciler: Curt Swan

Inker: Murphy Anderson, Colorist: Gene D’Angelo, Letterer: Ben Oda

Editor: Julius Schwartz, Executive Editor: Dick Giordano

***

From DC Wikia:

The Toyman plans to make heists and destroy Superman on Christmas Eve with the help of gimmicked toys, but Santa Claus lends the Man of Steel a hand against his old enemy, and gets a hand in return in delivering toys to Metropolis children.

More details:

Timmy Dickens sneaks into his parents’ closet to look at “Santa’s” presents. A dart gun hypnotizes Timmy into robbing a store-front Santa, until he is rescued by Superman. Superman takes Timmy to his Fortress to discover the identity of the maker of the toy. While flying Timmy home, another toy (a boat) knocks out Superman, leaving Timmy alone in the frozen north until he is rescued by …. Elves?

We discover the toy maker is … the Toyman! He infused the toys with white dwarf star material to create a gravity beam to knock Superman out! (this same material powers the Atom – does Ray Palmer know what kind of stuff he has his hands on?)

This page was scanned by Batmite  -- comics@batmite.com

Superman wakes up in the workshop of … Santa Claus! As Superman is still weak and his powers fluctuating due to the gravity beam, Santa volunteers to help capture the Toyman and find his lethal pop guns throughout the country.

Santa and Superman go to Toyman’s factory (through the chimney of course). Superman, in his weakened state, has a hard time fighting off the toys sicced on him, so Santa and his elves unleash their toys to help.

Santa and Superman defeat the Toyman and find the list of all the deadly toys distributed through the country. All through Christmas Eve night the two icons swap bad toys for good.

On their way home, another of Timmy’s toys knocks out Superman, who wakes back in the arctic with Timmy. Was this adventure all a dream? Superman thinks so, until he finds a Kryptonian toy in the pocket of his cape and a Merry Christmas message from … Kris Kringle!

This page was scanned by Batmite  -- comics@batmite.com

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Len Wein apparently was DC’s Christmas go-to-guy. He also wrote the Christmas story for Justice League of America #110 ten years before!

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About the author: Michael Curry is the author of the Brave & Bold: From Silent Knight to Dark Knight, The Day John F Kennedy Met the Beatles and the award-winning Abby’s Road, the Long and Winding Road to Adoption and How Facebook, Aquaman and Theodore Roosevelt Helped.  Check his website for more releases! Thanks for reading!