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GIVE MY CREATION LIFE!
By Ed Sanchez

Although Marvel Comics is largely known for its world famous pantheon of costume clad super-heroes, before the Four were so Fantastic and Spider-Man was Amazing or the Hulk Incredible, Atlas/Marvel meant Monsters. Lots and lots of Monsters!

In May of 1949, Amazing Mysteries #33 became the 1st Marvel horror comic. For the next dozen or so years, Stan Lee and company turned out monster story after story across 25 different titles. During this period, Stan Lee wrote or edited stories by an impressive list of artists that included: Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Al Williamson, Carl Burgos, Bill Everett, Basil Wolverton, Gene Colan, Russ Heath, Bernie Krigstein, Syd Shores, and Sol Brodsky among others. Many of these artists went on to participate in creating some of the super-heroes with which Marvel would forever be associated.

The list of artists is almost as impressive as the list of titles. Adventures Into Mystery, Adventures Into Terror, Journey Into Unknown Worlds, Marvel Tales, Mystery Tales, Mystic, Mystical Tales, Spellbound, Strange Stories of Suspense, Strange Tales of the Unusual, Strange Worlds, Suspense, Uncanny Tales, World of Fantasy, World of Mystery and World of Suspense were all initially Marvel horror titles. When the comic didn't feature an attack from some hideous monster, the stories in these titles featured everything from Atom Bombs to Flying Saucers, and depicted such gruesome fair as decapitation, cannibalism, torture, electric chair executions and eye gauging -- something for everyone! One of the most fondly remembered features of these books was the seemingly endless array of colorful names Stan Lee was able to ascribe to whatever creature was stomping through his new story. Creatures with names like Manoo, Moomba, Oog, Kraa, Googam, Gorgilla, Rommbu, Vandoom, Fing Fang Foom and my personal favorite Tim Boo Baa, all terrorized the pages of at least one story.

Although it may seem easy to dismiss this era of Marvel comics as nothing more than an attempt to capitalize on the success of popular horror titles published by their competition, over the years fans would realize that there was much more going on than eye gauging and monsters rampaging. Adventures Into Weird Worlds #21 featured a story with Hitler in Hell, Astonish #18 featured a Jack the Ripper strip and Menace #7 featured a Frankenstein story. Amazing Adventures #1 (1961) featured Dr. Droom, the 1st Marvel Age super-hero, who unfortunately did not enjoy the success of some of Marvel's subsequent entries into the genre.

Many characters that would go on to play significant roles in the super-hero titles had early try-outs within the pages of some of these books. Depending upon your point of view, these stories can be seen as either early try-outs or prototypes, or just pure coincidence. Amazing Adult Fantasy #14 featured a Professor X prototype, Uncanny Tales #26 featured a Spider-Man prototype and #52 featured an Iron Man prototype. Titles like Journey into Mystery, Strange Tales, Tales of Suspense and Tales to Astonish featured a host of these prototype issues. Journey Into Mystery would go on to become the long time home of the Mighty Thor, with the title eventually being renamed for the thunder god. Early on, Journey Into Mystery featured prototype stories for Hulk (#15, called Xemnu the Hulk), Spider-Man (#73, "The Spider"), and Dr. Strange (#78, The Sorcerer) among others. Strange Tales would go on to become the sanctum for Dr. Strange and featured prototypes for Quicksilver (#67), Professor X (#69), Giant-Man (#70), Ant-Man (#73, 76), Iron Man (#75), Human Torch (#76), Dr. Strange (#79), Magneto (#84), and The Thing (#94), among others. Strange Tales #97 featured the 1st appearance of Aunt May & Uncle Ben (pre-Amazing Fantasy #15). Tales of Suspense would feature the 1st appearance of Iron Man (#39) before the title would be renamed Captain America with issue #100. The title also featured many prototype issues including Iron Man (#16, Metallo), and Dr. Strange (#32) among others. Tales to Astonish would be the long time stomping ground for the Incredible Hulk and featured the 1st appearances of Ant-Man (#27) and the Wasp (#44) - and even earlier featured prototype stories for Electro (#15), and Hulk (#21) among others.

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AMAZING MYSTERIES

ADVENTURE INTO MYSTERY

ADVENTURES INTO TERROR

JOURNEY INTO UNKNOWN WORLDS

MARVEL TALES

MYSTERY TALES

MYSTIC

MYSTICAL TALES

SPELLBOUND

STRANGE STORIES OF SUSPENSE

STRANGE TALES OF THE UNUSUAL

STRANGE WORLDS

SUSPENSE

UNCANNY TALES

WORLD OF FANTASY

WORLD OF MYSTERY

WORLD OF SUSPENSE

ADVENTURES INTO WEIRD WORLDS

ASTONISHING

MENACE

AMAZING ADVENTURES

AMAZING ADULT FANTASY

JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY

STRANGE TALES

TALES OF SUSPENSE

TALES TO ASTONISH

 

 

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