Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Angola in the Comics#7: Tarzan in Luanda!

Hello and welcome back to an occasional feature on this blog entitled 'Angola in the Comics.' In this series I investigate appearances by the nation of Angola in comic books and determine how faithfully the country is represented. The assumption is that Angola will not be well-realized, so those instances where the comic book creators get particular details correct are always worth noting.

Every entry in my 'Angola in the Comics' series has been from the pages of old 'jungle adventure' comic books, which were once a very fertile genre in the comics (plus prose & film). The few appearances of Angola which I've discovered owe a lot to the simple wealth of 'jungle comics' out there; with creators constantly needing new plots, there were bound to be a few stories set in Angola just as a matter of statistics.

But up until now I haven't dealt with the king of the 'jungle adventure' genre, the fictional character who is basically responsible for the entire brand of storytelling. I'm speaking of course about Tarzan, but before I can get to his visit to Angola, first I have acknowledge the problem of Tarzan.

THE TARZAN TALK

Created by Edgar Rice Burroughs in a 1912 pulp magazine story 'Tarzan of the Apes,' Burroughs' character became so popular that the author put out a regular series of new prose adventures throughout his life, novels which continued to be republished after his death - along with works by new authors. Tarzan was adapted into radio, film, television and - significant to us - comic strips & comic books.

Although Tarzan was initially based in the jungles of the Congo, Burroughs sent the character to various locales around the globe (and beneath it, for that matter). Although Burroughs wrote vividly about Africa, he'd never been there; his Tarzan adventures were as much fantasy as anything else and were enjoyed by both children and adults. With success came a legion of imitators; everyone in the 'jungle adventure' genre - from Sheena to the Black Panther - owes a debt to Tarzan for popularizing the tropes they use.

The sheer amount of Tarzan product means you're probably familiar with some of the recycled tropes even if you haven't watched or read a Tarzan story. Frequently these stories concern the adventures of a Caucasian person who lives in the African jungle (if it is named, it is almost certainly the Congo) and is almost definitely an orphan. This hero has a strong connection to the African wildlife and can even 'speak' to them. They battle ferocious predators, cruel hunters (usually poachers), greedy treasure hunters and 'savage' natives (possibly cannibals). When they lack for adventure they need only trek a miles to the east to find a lost outpost of ancient Egypt or trek north to find a valley where dinosaurs still roam. Africans in these stories who are not the hero's enemies are considered friendly, simple folk, regarding the hero with a kind of fearful awe; they live in modest thatch huts with no sophisticated technology, yet their women are modest enough to cover their chests; they can be easily riled up by an evil chief, a scheming would-be chief or an evil witch doctor.

As the decades passed by, the Tarzan series remained moribund, frozen in amber; while Burroughs had permitted Tarzan to grow and change somewhat in his novels, the films kept a very rigid status quo. Of course, the real world's Africa wasn't standing still - even as independence began creeping across the continent in the 1950s, Tarzan hesitated to change with the times. By 1970, Tarzan had fallen from favour; with almost all of Africa independent there could no longer be any pretense of his adventures as anything other than fantasy. The films and comic strips dropped off and scholars began questioning many of the assumptions and implications dating back to Burroughs' first story. Tarzan became a tainted brand, even racist.

Small wonder then, that Tarzan material since 1970 has almost all been deliberately positioned as a 'period piece,' set in the 1910s when Africa was firmly in the grip of colonialism. Eventually, the Tarzan brand became comfortable enough to address the truth of what colonialism had been and to downplay Burroughs' racist views of white superiority. The 2016 motion picture The Legend of Tarzan even went to the trouble of pitting Tarzan against one of history's great real-life villains from the Congo (Leon Rom) and team-up Tarzan with a historical African-American hero who was also in the Congo (George Washington Williams).

Perhaps a contemporary-times take on Tarzan could also be made to work if one simply did the homework on what Africa is like today. A white man brought up by apes in the contemporary Congo would be quite a different character than who Burroughs imagined; it would be an interesting challenge to deconstruct Tarzan by contemporary standards - possibly not one which the Burroughs estate would be interested in getting into.

Anyway, let's get back to Angola.

TARZAN IN ANGOLA

In January 1951, writer Dick Van Buren and artist Bob Lubbers had only been working on the Tarzan daily newspaper strip for half a year when they told a storyline set in Angola. It begins with a single line from a story fans have called "The Plaque" when a steamship bound for England explodes while said to be approaching 'the port of Luanda,' which is, of course, Angola's capital.

This leads to a lengthy arc where Tarzan searches for survivors of the ship and traces one of them into an underground kingdom of the 'swamp men,' reptilian men led by a beautiful woman (lost kingdoms of ugly men ruled by beautiful women were also a common trope in adventure fiction of the time). Tarzan finally escapes the underground kingdom and brings his English friend to Luanda, which is where Tarzan is at the start of the story fans call 'Senor Lazar.' Notably, Luanda is called a port of 'Portuguese West Africa,' not Angola. Portugal wasn't even a member of the United Nations at the time of this comic; in fact, this same year, Angola was officially declared a 'province' of Portugal, one of the means the country employed to try and hold on to Angola, even as other colonial powers were girding themselves to let their colonies go free.

Wandering Luanda, Tarzan saves a woman from being mugged, which draws the attention of Señor Lazar, a powerful plantation owner. Observing Tarzan had murdered the woman's mugger he has Tarzan arrested. To avoid standing trial for murder, Lazar cuts a deal: he wants Tarzan to captured an American whom the authorities haven't been able to arrest.

As Tarzan heads to the American's location, he passes 'Fazenda Lazar,' so props must be given to Van Buren & Lubbers for getting some correct Portuguese (but a subtraction for when they use 'gracias,' which is Spanish). Further, it's a coffee plantation, which was indeed a major crop in Angola of the time. The American turns out to be named Holt and is running a coffee plantation in competition against Lazar, which is the real reason Lazar has pit Tarzan against him. Using his sway with the authorities, Lazar is trying to tax Holt out of business. Failure to pay the taxes is the crime Holt is guilty of.

At Holt's plantation, Tarzan meets José, the butler. José has a plan to raise 1,000 escudos (props for the correct currency): by winning a bullfight in the 'Plaza de Toros.' So, props for the use of bullfighting (which was a sport in Luanda in those days) but minus for again using Spanish. Confusing Portuguese and Spanish is a frequent problem I've noticed in popular culture of the 1930s-50s, such as in the motion picture Macao.

Tarzan returns to Luanda and tells Lazar he's going to be a matador so that he can win the bullfight and its bounty of 1,000 escudos so that Holt's taxes will be paid. Naturally, even though Tarzan is not a trained bullfighter he wins the match and claims the money. The woman Tarzan rescued at the start of the story - Lucia - comes to work for Holt as a secretary on the plantation.

Having apparently nothing better to do, Tarzan hangs out on the plantation as the new foreman and we finally see a few African faces among the plantation workers. Of course, Tarzan gets them to work for Holt without pay initially, so there's still something problematical about all of this. One night a panther attacks the laborers but Tarzan kills it and surmises Lazar unleashed the animal. Mere moments later, Lazar sends a mob of men with torches to assault Holt's plantation. Holt saves Lucia from a fire the mob start while Tarzan fends off the attackers and puts out the blaze.

Lazar now challenges Tarzan to a duel to the death (a fat cigar-smoking man versus the lord of the jungle? gee, whoever will win?). Tarzan accepts, even though the duel will be fought with Lazar's gun against Tarzan's bow. Although Lazar fires two shots, one of them wrecking Tarzan's bow, Tarzan throws his knife into Lazar's neck, killing him. Thus ends the problem of Lazar. Holt and Lucia decide to get married. Tarzan heads back into the jungle.

  • +1 estrela for the correct use of Luanda as a port and reasonably developed city
  • +1 estrela for using a leopard (though panther might not be quite correct)
  • +1 estrela for the correct currency, escudos
  • +2 estrelas for correctly placing bullfighting and coffee in Angola
  • +1 estrela for a few correct uses of Portuguese
  • -1 estrela for inserting Spanish the rest of the time

TOTAL SCORE: Cinco estrelas!

Monday, July 16, 2018

Looking at Agostinho Neto #1 - De Cabeça Levantada

I've been contributing to the Grand Comics Database for a few years. As I've gained confidence about my indexing abilities I've tackled a few foreign-language publications. As I'm learning Portuguese, I thought it would be especially apt to index a few Portuguese-language comic books. It isn't too easy finding Portuguese-language comics in Canada, but I tracked down a few from Brazil and a few from Portugal.

However, I had another goal in mind: to index a comic book from Angola. As I attempted to explore what was out there, it was a tricky proposition; on my visits to Angola the only place I saw was Lubango and the few comics I did manage to find were from Portugal. Much of my research indicated that what few comic books were published in Angola during their years as a colony ceased when Portugal left and the civil war erupted (people obviously had higher priorities than publishing comic books).

But with the war long over it's a bright new world. At last, I learned of the recent publication of a series of graphic novels recounting the life of Angola's first president, Agostinho Neto. As I was passing through Luanda on my most recent visit, I thought I could enlist some local help in obtaining a copy - but, to no avail. Three of the series' four volumes were available at the time, but they couldn't find any of the books for me. Finally, I located the first volume 'De Cabeça Levantada' being sold at Amazon by a vendor from Portugal and bought it. It took a few years of research, but I still wound up being the first person to index a comic book from Angola for the Grand Comics Database. here's the entry.

This comic was created by artist Osvaldo Medina and covers Neto's life up to 1961... kind of. The narrative jumps around quite often, sometimes venturing back centuries to the Portuguese's first arrival in Angola, then leaping ahead to the 1970s. You would think that as a biography it would be a very straight forward affair, but the story is constantly interrupted to explain certain historical details surrounding the various political institutions concerned, about why particular conflicts erupted over long-standing issues, how Portuguese political policies had been shaped across several decades, etc. It's a little unfortunate because it takes the focus off of Neto. The details are fine, but I feel the book would have been better served by being broken up into chapters so that those portions not directly about Neto were identified in the text as being somewhat parenthetical.

As a publication of Fundação Dr. António Agostinho Neto the book also feels a little bit like propaganda, especially when it jumps ahead to celebrate Neto's presidency rather than hold back on that development until a more appropriate time in the later volumes. The formatting of the comic is also crude, with all lettering done in the same computer-generated font and very little presented as dialogue balloons in text. In all, this is primarily a textbook, not a novel. Still, it was good practice for my developing Portuguese and I learned a lot from it. Altogether, it was good for me as a student of Portuguese, an avid learner about Angola and researcher on international comic books.

Friday, July 13, 2018

"Does this make me a good son, or a bad one?" All the Answers review

As a fan of Michael Kupperman's comic book work on Snake 'n' Bacon and Tales Designed to Thrizzle, stumbling across a new work by him immediately piqued my interest. However, unlike Kupperman's usual comics work, his latest title, All the Answers is not an off-the-wall surrealist humour book; it's the biography of his father. Normally that would kill my interest in the work, but, as I surprised to learn, Michael Kupperman's father was someone else I had an interest in: Joel Kupperman.

It's strange to discover this link between my hobbies of old-time radio and comics; Joel Kupperman appeared on the radio for many years as one of the panelists on the series Quiz Kids. Although Quiz Kids isn't really a show for me (give me Information Please), I have heard various episodes and I knew Joel Kupperman in particular from an appearances he made on the Jack Benny Program in 1946. You can hear that one right here.

Joel Kupperman had a reputation even in his childhood for being difficult and it seems as though he remained somewhat-difficult for all of his life. His past as a Quiz Kid was something he spent a long time trying to bury and Michael Kupperman considered the subject unapproachable - until near the end of his father's life when Joel suddenly began giving up information on his Quiz Kids years. From this, All the Answers was born and depicts Michael grappling with his father's history and the fact that so much time has passed that his father can't even be considered fully reliable on the details.

A large part of the book is much of what you'd expect from a graphic novel biography of a child looking back on their parent; if you've read Maus or Fun Home you'll have an idea of what to expect from Kupperman as he opens up on his personal frustrations with his father. Michael Kupperman is in a different position than those well-known books, however, because his father was a celebrity and is already known to people like me at least some people in the audience have some knowledge about the subject.

If you're principally a fan of Kupperman's humourous works you might still find it interesting to learn about his famous father's life; the story briefly links up into the 1950s quiz show scandals as well, which is a fascinating piece of history. Kupperman himself is represented by a comic book avatar who looks like he just stepped out of a Chris Ware comic; it might be an homage, but, unlike the homages seen in his other books, it isn't a joke. All the Answers is a strong piece of work, worth seeking out.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Ant-Man and the Wasp creator credits

The latest Marvel Cinematic Universe film is out and is a lot of fun. As usual, I have compiled a list of creators whose work is represented in the film. Your corrections are certainly welcome; you can see my master list of creators for Marvel Cinematic Universe projects at this link.

Stan Lee: co-creator of the Avengers, the world's premiere super hero team (Avengers #1, 1963); of Goliath, one of the size-changing identities used by Hank Pym (Avengers #28, 1966); of Bill Foster, an African-American scientist and colleague of Hank Pym who researches the science of size changes with him (Avengers #32, 1966); of a sub-atomic universe which Ant-Man's shrinking power can access (Fantastic Four #16, 1963); of S.H.I.E.L.D., an international espionage agency (Strange Tales #135, 1965); of Henry Pym, a scientist who develops a chemical formula which can shrink people in size and uses this ability to interact with ants (Tales to Astonish #27, 1962); Ant-Man, the costumed identity of Henry Pym wherein he wears a protective red and black costume with size-changing capsules on his belt and wears a helmet which helps him communicate with ants; Pym receiving heightened strength by shrinking in size (Tales to Astonish #35, 1962); of Egghead, a criminal scientist and enemy of Ant-Man (Tales to Astonish #38, 1962); of the Wasp, Janet Van Dyne, Ant-Man's female sidekick and love interest adorned in a red and black costume with insect-like wings permitting flight (Tales to Astonish #44, 1963); Pym's nickname "Hank"; Ant-Man riding flying ants into battle (Tales to Astonish #47, 1963); of Ant-Man reversing his superhuman powers so that he grows in size, becoming the somewhat-clumsy hero Giant-Man (Tales to Astonish #49, 1963); of the Wasp's stinger, a wrist-based weapon in her costume (Tales to Astonish #57, 1964)

Jack Kirby: co-creator of the Avengers, the world's premiere super hero team (Avengers #1, 1963); of Captain America, patriotic super hero (Captain America Comics #1, 1941); of a sub-atomic universe which Ant-Man's shrinking power can access (Fantastic Four #16, 1963); of S.H.I.E.L.D., an international espionage agency (Strange Tales #135, 1965); of Henry Pym, a scientist who develops a chemical formula which can shrink people in size and uses this ability to interact with ants (Tales to Astonish #27, 1962); Ant-Man, the costumed identity of Henry Pym wherein he wears a protective red and black costume with size-changing capsules on his belt and wears a helmet which helps him communicate with ants; Pym receiving heightened strength by shrinking in size (Tales to Astonish #35, 1962); of Egghead, a criminal scientist and enemy of Ant-Man (Tales to Astonish #38, 1962); of the Wasp, Janet Van Dyne, Ant-Man's female sidekick and love interest adorned in a red and black costume with insect-like wings permitting flight (Tales to Astonish #44, 1963); of Ant-Man reversing his superhuman powers so that he grows in size, becoming the somewhat-clumsy hero Giant-Man (Tales to Astonish #49, 1963)

Larry Lieber: co-creator of Henry Pym, a scientist who develops a chemical formula which can shrink people in size and uses this ability to interact with ants (Tales to Astonish #27, 1962); Ant-Man, the costumed identity of Henry Pym wherein he wears a protective red and black costume with size-changing capsules on his belt and wears a helmet which helps him communicate with ants; Pym receiving heightened strength by shrinking in size (Tales to Astonish #35, 1962); of Egghead, a criminal scientist and enemy of Ant-Man (Tales to Astonish #38, 1962)

David Michelinie: co-creator of the Ghost, an anti-corporate industrial saboteur garbed in white and a hood with the power to phase through solid matter and appear invisible (Iron Man #219, 1987); of Scott Lang, a divorced ex-convict trying to support his lovable daughter Cassie Lang; Scott stealing the Ant-Man costume and equipment from Henry Pym (Marvel Premiere #47, 1979); Pym helping to mentor Scott Lang as Ant-Man, permitting him to keep the costume (Marvel Premiere #48, 1979)

Don Heck: co-creator of Goliath, one of the size-changing identities used by Hank Pym (Avengers #28, 1966); of Bill Foster, an African-American scientist and colleague of Hank Pym who researches the science of size changes with him (Avengers #32, 1966); of Egghead's surname, Starr (Giant-Size Defenders #4, 1975); of Pym's nickname "Hank"; Ant-Man riding flying ants into battle (Tales to Astonish #47, 1963)

John Byrne: co-creator of Scott Lang, a divorced ex-convict trying to support his lovable daughter Cassie Lang; Scott stealing the Ant-Man costume and equipment from Henry Pym (Marvel Premiere #47, 1979); Pym helping to mentor Scott Lang as Ant-Man, permitting him to keep the costume (Marvel Premiere #48, 1979)

H.E. Huntley: co-creator of the Wasp, Janet Van Dyne, Ant-Man's female sidekick and love interest adorned in a red and black costume with insect-like wings permitting flight (Tales to Astonish #44, 1963); Pym's nickname "Hank"; Ant-Man riding flying ants into battle (Tales to Astonish #47, 1963)

Tom DeFalco: co-creator of Hope Pym, the embittered daughter of Henry Pym and the Wasp (A-Next #10, 1998); Ant-Man helmet with red lenses (Fantastic Four #405, 1995); Hope Pym's name; Hope using the Wasp's equipment (A-Next #12, 1998)

Bob Layton: co-creator of the Ghost, an anti-corporate industrial saboteur garbed in white and a hood with the power to phase through solid matter and appear invisible (Iron Man #219, 1987)

Al Milgrom: co-creator of Egghead's first name, Elihas (Avengers #230, 1983); of Hank Pym shrinking and enlarging objects, carrying some inside his pockets (West Coast Avengers #21, 1987)

Geoff Johns: co-creator of Scott Lang's ex-wife becoming involved with a police officer (Avengers #62, 2003); Ant-Man wearing a costume with increased black tones (Avengers #65, 2003)

Ron Frenz: co-creator of Hope Pym, the embittered daughter of Henry Pym and the Wasp (A-Next #10, 1998); Hope Pym's name; Hope using the Wasp's equipment (A-Next #12, 1998)

Brian Michael Bendis: co-creator of the Wasp surviving certain death by entering the microverse (Avengers #32, 2012); of the Wasp dying in battle (Secret Invasion #8, 2008)

Roger Stern: co-creator of Henry Pym developing health issues from repeatedly changing size (Avengers #227, 1983); of Egghead's first name, Elihas (Avengers #230, 1983)

Roy Thomas: co-creator of Henry Pym marrying the Wasp (Avengers #60, 1968); Ant-Man's helmet providing environmental seals (Avengers #93, 1971)

Tony Isabella: co-creator of Bill Foster using Hank Pym's research to increase his size, using the Goliath identity (Black Goliath #1, 1976)

George Tuska: co-creator of Bill Foster using Hank Pym's research to increase his size, using the Goliath identity (Black Goliath #1, 1976)

Steve Englehart: co-creator of Pym shrinking and enlarging objects, carrying some inside his pockets (West Coast Avengers #21, 1987)

John Jackson Miller: co-creator of Sonny Burch, a white collar criminal who deals in black market technology (Iron Man #73, 2003)

Nick Spencer: co-creator of Scott Lang joining a security consultant firm comprised of reformed criminals (Ant-Man #2, 2015)

Rick Rosanas: co-creator of Scott Lang joining a security consultant firm comprised of reformed criminals (Ant-Man #2, 2015)

Al Feldstein: co-creator of Jimmy Woo, a Chinese-American FBI agent stationed in San Francisco (Yellow Claw #1, 1956)

Joe Maneely: co-creator of Jimmy Woo, a Chinese-American FBI agent stationed in San Francisco (Yellow Claw #1, 1956)

Jorge Lucas: co-creator of Sonny Burch, a white collar criminal who deals in black market technology (Iron Man #73, 2003)

Sal Buscema: co-creator of Henry Pym developing health issues from repeatedly changing size (Avengers #227, 1983)

Brandon Peterson: co-creator of the Wasp surviving certain death by entering the microverse (Avengers #32, 2012)

Carlos Pacheco: co-creator of the Wasp wearing a black costume with a yellow chest (Avengers Forever #1, 1998)

Dick Ayers: co-creator of the Wasp's stinger, a wrist-based weapon in her costume (Tales to Astonish #57, 1964)

Allan Heinberg: co-creator of Cassie Lang wishing to be a super hero like her father (Young Avengers #1, 2005)

Jim Cheung: co-creator of Cassie Lang wishing to be a super hero like her father (Young Avengers #1, 2005)

Kurt Busiek: co-creator of the Wasp wearing a black costume with a yellow chest (Avengers Forever #1, 1998)

Gary Frank: co-creator of Scott Lang's ex-wife becoming involved with a police officer (Avengers #62, 2003)

Olivier Coipel: co-creator of Ant-Man wearing a costume with increased black tones (Avengers #65, 2003)

John Ostrander: co-creator of Ant-Man wearing a helmet with full face mask (Heroes for Hire #6, 1997)

Pasqual Ferry: co-creator of Ant-Man wearing a helmet with full face mask (Heroes for Hire #6, 1997)

Joe Simon: co-creator of Captain America, patriotic super hero (Captain America Comics #1, 1941)

Roberto de la Torre: co-creator of the Ghost wearing mask with red lenses (Thunderbolts #128, 2009)

Andy Diggle: co-creator of the Ghost wearing mask with red lenses (Thunderbolts #128, 2009)

Steve Gerber: co-creator of Egghead's surname, Starr (Giant-Size Defenders #4, 1975)

Neal Adams: co-creator of Ant-Man's helmet providing environmental seals (Avengers #93, 1971)

Leinil Francis Yu: co-creator of the Wasp dying in battle (Secret Invasion #8, 2008)

Paul Ryan: co-creator of Ant-Man helmet with red lenses (Fantastic Four #405, 1995)

John Buscema: co-creator of Henry Pym marrying the Wasp (Avengers #60, 1968)

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Unearthed: "The Man Who Captured Death"

"The Man Who Captured Death!" is one of my all-time favourite comic book stories. It was originally presented in Amazing Adult Fantasy #9 (1962), but I first discovered it as a reprinted back-up feature in Astonishing Tales #21 (1973). It's by Stan Lee & Steve Ditko.
It's a very simple tale: an old inventor in his laboratory wants to continue his research but he realizes his time is running short. "If only I could triumph over death!" he remarks. His final project is to complete a large sphere which emits a beam of energy. Exhausted, he falls asleep.
Awakening, the old man sees Death himself before him, having taken a corporeal body with green skin and wearing a long black cloak. Death explains: "Only once in every mortal's lifetime does he glimpse me... and this is your moment! Now come, professor -- come to me!" But the inventor activates his last invention and it immobilizes Death within a barrier. Death protests, warning the inventor he doesn't realize "what forces" he's tampering with, but the inventor can only see the advantage: "So long as you are my captive, the world need never fear death again!"
And this is true! Death no longer has any effect on the Earth... and so, beetles become immune to pesticides and devour crops unfazed. Predatory animals increase in strength. Rats multiply at a frightening rate. Viruses in sick people's bodies can't be eliminated. Hospitals are overcrowded with the infirm, unable to die.
From his television set, the inventor sees the chaos he's unwittingly unleashed on the Earth. Horrified, he realizes Death was correct; he deactivates his device, releasing Death from its prison. Rather than approaching the old man in a spirit of menace, Death places an arm around the old man and speaks words of comfort: "I shall bring you -- peace! As I have brought so many others before you --" and guides the old man into death.
Thoughts: Many of the Lee/Ditko stories in Amazing Adult Fantasy are of this quality, telling a very simple fable in an economical, elegant manner. This one, however, has really remained with me. The inventor's triumph over Death is ultimately a greedy act, the old trying to place their desires ahead of the young. I love that the old man comes to the realization of his wrong and corrects all of this himself, rather than being forced or coerced into the proper action. In this 5-page story the unnamed inventor undergoes character development which many Marvel characters with decades of stories under their belts have never achieved.
I had wanted to cover this story on the blog at some point - perhaps in a series of posts on my favourite Steve Ditko stories - but considering the subject matter and the recent death of Steve Ditko, I can think of no better time than now to bring it up. I hope that for Ditko, death came upon him gently and granted him peace. Seek this one out, it is Ditko at his finest.




Tuesday, July 10, 2018

90 Years of Ditko

Steve Ditko died recently, at the age of 90. He chose to be reclusive and it's believed he'd been dead for two days at the time the police found his body.

I was exposed to Ditko's work pretty early in my life as a comic book fan thanks to reprints of his Amazing Spider-Man stories which were then appearing in Marvel Tales. Over time I saw his work in various places - and being principally a fan of Marvel Comics, that meant a lot of strange Marvel Comics Presents and Marvel Super-Heroes inventory stories.

Gradually it began to dawn upon me: "Hey, this guy is Steve Ditko, he created Spider-Man and Doctor Strange." I began to carry a sense of reverence for him, the way every Marvel fan is encouraged to revere Stan Lee, Jack Kirby & Steve Ditko as the three most important figures in Marvel history (we're almost never told to think about Larry Lieber; Don Heck is usually brought up as a scapegoat; John Buscema is considered great, but late to the party). I would say that by the early 1990s I had a healthy understanding of Ditko's existance and major contributions to Marvel. And yet, I wouldn't have called myself a fan.

Steve Ditko's artwork has always stood out. Although there are many artists who can convincingly imitate Jack Kirby and seem to have great fun at it, there are so few 'Ditkoesque' artists and usually they are only attempting to reference specific covers/panels which Ditko drew, not his general sense of aesthetics. Again, Ditko is one of the most important artists in comics history. Everyone from Wally Wood to Will Eisner is lovingly homaged in the works of contemporary artists, but most artists leave Ditko alone; only Ditko could ever be Ditko.

I began to truly transform into a Ditko fan after reading the reprint series Doctor Strange Classics, which republished a 12-chapter Doctor Strange story from Strange Tales by Lee & Ditko. I was amazed to discover how long the serial had gone on and how every chapter stood on its own as a fast-paced fantasy adventure tale brimming with big ideas. As a fan of continuity in all things, I was particularly fascinated at the the amount of world-building, of the little moments which explained the limitations of Doctor Strange's powers and introduced various other mystics who lived on the periphery of Strange's adventures. There was a sense that the people inhabiting Lee & Ditko's Doctor Strange had lives transcending the boundaries of the panels, that their universe was much more vast than the typical Silver Age comic book series.

More than anything, I began to appreciate the ways in which other comic books Ditko drew were clearly in-continuity with his more famous Silver Age works. That is, the mystical world of dragons found in his 'Dragon Lord' story for Fantastic Four is entirely in-keeping with the mystical realms found in Doctor Strange; his Speedball villains were not all that different from his Spider-Man, Creeper or Blue Beetle villains. If the Dimensional Man were to round a corner and discover the Question waiting for him it wouldn't be all that surprising.

When Marvel began the first publication of Essential Spider-Man I was there and finally able to appreciate the Lee/Ditko Amazing Spider-Man from the beginning and in sequence, which raised my estimation of that comic book run to a considerable degree; Spider-Man is a character I've enjoyed at various times but don't have a particularly strong affection for -- that is, unless we're talking about Lee & Ditko's Spider-Man, the young, frustrated, wise-cracking, depressed bundle of contradictions found in those issues, which are certainly the pillars upon which the sub-genre of 'novice super hero' were built.

Then I began to delve deep into Marvel's history of science fiction/fantasy/horror tales of the 1950s & 60s, an avenue which is still quite fascinating to me. Although many of the stories I read were primarily of interest academically, Steve Ditko's stories tended to be the most thought-provoking in terms of ideas and page layouts. In many of his fantasy stories, Ditko played around with the conventions of comic book storytelling and it definitely stood out against the more conventional artists.

By then I was on the internet and began to hear about Ditko's personality. Since he was such a private person, much of his story was being told by others, with frequent errors, omissions and miss-attributions. It was difficult to gain an understanding of who Ditko truly was, but I definitely learned to admire his principles. I could not and cannot subscribe to his objectivist beliefs, but I admired that he had a moral code he attempted to live by and that he would take a principled stand when he felt he had to.

It was a bit deflating when I began reading Ditko's creator-owned works. After reading all of his Mr. A stories I was definitely a little less infatuated with Ditko's work as a whole. Of course, what I see as the flaw of Mr. A, Ditko no doubt saw as the entire point. That is, in Mr. A stories and other objectivist tracts, Ditko is unable to convey a persuasive argument to his audience because objectivism is, by its nature, unwilling to stoop low enough to curry a person's favour. There are great ideas in his various philosophical works, but they'd be even better if Ditko weren't the scripter; but then, the entire reason they exist is because Ditko himself needed to tell them.

I bought several of Ditko's latter-day works published with Robin Snyder, including several of the Kickstarter-backed projects. At some point I decided I had enough of them for my collection as they really don't vary that much from one book to the next: here's a straw man objectivist argument; next up, Ditko trolls his audience with a 'u mad?' cartoon. Over and over. There were still traces of his vibrancy and it was unmistakably pure Ditko, but it wasn't polished Ditko. Ditko's latter-day work is amazing primarily because he kept producing it into his 90th year while most of his contemporaries were dead or retired.

Ditko's weird alien dimensions, dark trenchcoat-wearing figures, nervously sweating businessmen, gesticulating fingers, bedeviling mystical bolts - the elements in Ditko's unique style are what first drew me in. Those clean lines, efficient layouts and inventive ideas kept me engaged. As Ditko has died, we have lost the last truly awesome talent of the Silver Age. There are a handful other talents from that time still with us, but none with Ditko's impact on the medium. Fortunately, his work is very easy to come by.

Cheers, Mr. Ditko.

A few of my earlier posts about Ditko's works:
Captain Glory #1
The Destructor #1
The Destructor #2
The Destructor #3
The Destructor #4
...Ditko Continued...
Ditko Public Service Package
Doctor Strange Classics #2
Mr. A #18
Morlock 2001 and the Midnight Men #3
Murder #1-3
Out of This World #20 & 25
Static
Strange Avenging Tales #1
Tales of the Mysterious Traveler #19
Tigerman #2
Tigerman #3
Tomb of Dracula #2
What Is... the Face #1

Friday, June 29, 2018

RIP Harlan Ellison

"Through all the legends of ancient peoples — Assyrian, Babylonian, Sumerian, Semitic — runs the saga of the Eternal Man, the one who never dies, called by various names in various times, but historically known as Gilgamesh, the man who has never tasted death... the hero who strides through the centuries..." - Demon with a Glass Hand, written for the Outer Limits by Harlan Ellison

The phrase goes, "the golden age of science fiction is 12." When I was 12, I wasn't reading science fiction. The one science fiction author who I came to enjoy - Ray Bradbury - I wouldn't discover for another couple of years. It took even longer for me to try fiction by giants of the field such as Isaac Asimov & Robert A. Heinlein. But although I didn't sample his prose until later on in my life, I was familiar with the work of Harlan Ellison - who, of course, famously derided the term 'science fiction author' because of the unspoken assumptions behind those words.

I learned of Harlan Ellison primarily through the Incredible Hulk story "The Brute That Shouted Love at the Heart of the Atom," (by Roy Thomas & Sal Buscema) which was first published in 1971 but which I came to know through a paperback reprint I discovered in a used bookstore. The story concerns the Hulk being sent to a microscopic alien world where he falls in love with an alien princess named Jarella, but by story's end is sent back to Earth with no means of returning. Essentially, Ellison wrote the Hulk into a John Carter novel. Still, it's well-told and the pathos of the Hulk's plight was well-realized. The story stood out by the standards of 1971, though I suppose a contemporary reader would probably find it primitive.

I came to appreciate Ellison's work through his Star Trek episode "City on the Edge of Forever," which I enjoyed immensely and when IDW eventually published an adaptation of his original script, I found much in his version which I liked even more. Basically, there are two great versions of that story - the one which was filmed, and the one which became a comic book. I like 'em both.

Although I had seen some of Ellison in places like his appearances on the Sci Fi Channel's Anti-Gravity Room or the documentary The Masters of Comic Book Art, time on the internet made me aware of his very thorny reputation as people online either recounted scathing accounts of how Ellison had treated them terribly, or glowing accounts of how fiercely Ellison had stood up for them. From what I've seen of him, he had a unique kind of personal integrity and a definite limit to what he would endure from others. He was probably not someone I would have enjoyed being around, but many of the online stories involve him standing up to a bigger bully, which I certainly don't object to. And despite his reputation as a curmudgeon, his recollections of Ray Bradbury in Shadow Show are immensely warm and tender-hearted.

I didn't become someone who'd consider himself a Harlan Ellison fan until I finally saw the original Outer Limits and his two episodes "Soldier" and "Demon with a Glass Hand," two absolutely phenomenal stories which tower above the typical standards of Outer Limits (which was a quality program for its time). Despite the rough special effects - and, in the latter episode, makeup choices - there is so much humanity in these tales and that I responded to. I finally read his short story collection I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream, but aside from a handful of other short stories, that's about all I've read of his prose. I intend to read more eventually, but I'm for all that I enjoyed of his work, he wasn't a high priority to me.

As someone who first discovered him through comic books, I was fascinated to learn just how much work he had done in the comics medium, from the Marshall Rogers adaptation of Demon with a Glass Hand, to an odd Twilight Zone comic, to the Epic Illustrated adaptations by Ken Steacy which became Night and the Enemy to a couple issues of Daredevil with David Mazzucchelli, his footprint in comics may be shallow but it's also mighty wide. The comics of his which I have yet to read are probably where I'll continue discovering his work; after all, that's where it all began.

Rest in peace Mr. Ellison.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

11th Inkwell Awards Presented!

Last week the 11th annual Inkwell Awards were presented at HeroesCon in North Carolina. You can see the list of winners here! I have been a contributing member of the Inkwell Awards Nomination Committee for ten years and I am always pleased to promote the Inkwell Awards whenever I can. More and more it seems like today's comic books are placing the art of inking on the sidelines when it should be a widely-celebrated form of comics art. The Inkwell Awards are one of the only organizations making an effort to promote inking as a vital piece of comic book storytelling.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Creator credits for Luke Cage (season 2)

How about that new season of Luke Cage, huh? They actually had Mister Fish! ...Adapted in exactly the way you'd expect a Marvel Netflix show to adapt Mister Fish. I swear, no one working on these shows has half the heart of a James Gunn or a Taika Waititi.

My full list of Marvel Cinematic Universe creator credits is located here. If I missed something, let me know in the comments below.

George Tuska: co-creator of Luke Cage, born in Georgia as Carl Lucas; Carl's childhood friendship with Willis Stryker; Carl sent to the island Seagate Prison; Carl meeting criminals Shades and Comanche at Seagate; Carl being abused by the racist guard Rackham; Carl being subjected to an experimental nutrient bath by Dr. Noah Burstein, gaining superhuman strength and unbreakable skin; Carl adopting the name Luke Cage; Luke wearing a yellow shirt and blue pants; Luke wearing a silver tiara; of Cage haunted by the death of Reva Connors; of Luke as a Hero for Hire in Harlem; of Luke's young friend D.W. Griffith, a burgeoning filmmaker (Hero for Hire #1, 1972); of Claire Temple, a physician who falls in love with Luke Cage; of Stryker taking the identity Diamondback to fight Luke Cage (Hero for Hire #2, 1972); of Black Mariah, an African-American woman who becomes a Harlem crimelord in narcotics and fights Luke Cage (Hero for Hire #5, 1973); of Luke Cage asking, "Where's my money, honey?" after a criminal hires him (Hero for Hire #9, 1973); of Luke Cage exclaiming "Christmas" as an epithet (Hero for Hire #11, 1973); of Luke Cage being called "Power Man" (Power Man #17, 1974); of Cornell Cottonmouth, a Harlem crimelord who trafficked in narcotics and fought Luke Cage (Power Man #19, 1974); of Dontrell "Cockroach" Hamilton, a Harlem criminal working with Pirahna Jones; of Cockroach's special multi-barreled shotgun which he uses to fight Luke Cage, striking him so that Luke's shoulder is dislocated (Power Man #28, 1975); of Mr. Fish, a Harlem criminal (Power Man #29, 1976)

Roy Thomas: co-creator of Turk Barrett, a gangster (Daredevil #69, 1970); of Luke Cage, born in Georgia as Carl Lucas; Carl's childhood friendship with Willis Stryker; Carl sent to the island Seagate Prison; Carl meeting criminals Shades and Comanche at Seagate; Carl being abused by the racist guard Rackham; Carl being subjected to an experimental nutrient bath by Dr. Noah Burstein, gaining superhuman strength and unbreakable skin; Carl adopting the name Luke Cage; Luke wearing a yellow shirt and blue pants; Luke wearing a silver tiara; of Cage haunted by the death of Reva Connors; of Luke as a Hero for Hire in Harlem; of Luke's young friend D.W. Griffith, a burgeoning filmmaker (Hero for Hire #1, 1972); of Iron Fist, alias Daniel Rand, orphaned and raised in the city of K'un-Lun, where he trained in the martial arts to become their greatest warrior, passing every test and trial before him until gaining the power to channel his chi into his fist, making it superhumanly powerful; K'un-Lun, a hidden city found in the Himalayas which exists within another dimension and only connects to Earth at intervals spaced years apart (Marvel Premiere #15, 1974); of Daniel Rand fighting the dragon Shou-Lao the Undying, an immortal dragon, and received a dragon-shaped brand on his chest from the dragon along with the power of the Iron Fist (Marvel Premiere #16, 1974)

Chris Claremont: co-creator of Misty Knight and Colleen Wing as allies (Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #32, 1977); of Misty Knight's background as a police officer (Iron Fist #1, 1975); of Misty Knight as Rafael Scarfe's partner in the police (Iron Fist #2, 1976); of Misty Knight suffering an injury to her right arm which resulted in her adopting a bionic replacement (Iron Fist #3, 1976); of John Bushmaster, a crimelord from the Caribbean who opposes Misty Knight (Iron Fist #15, 1977); of Rafael Scarfe, a police officer (Marvel Premiere #23); of Iron Fist and Luke Cage fighting in their first meeting as Iron Fist strikes him with his chi; of Bushmaster opposing Luke Cage and Iron Fist (Power Man #48, 1977); of Shades and Comanche encountering Bushmaster; of Bushmaster possessing superhuman strength and invulnerability similar to Cage's (Power Man #49, 1978); of Luke Cage's criminal record being cleared; of Danny Rand and Luke Cage working side-by-side as Power Man and Iron Fist (Power Man #50, 1978); of Luke Cage battling Nightshade (Power Man and Iron Fist #51, 1978)

Archie Goodwin: co-creator of Luke Cage, born in Georgia as Carl Lucas; Carl's childhood friendship with Willis Stryker; Carl sent to the island Seagate Prison; Carl meeting criminals Shades and Comanche at Seagate; Carl being abused by the racist guard Rackham; Carl being subjected to an experimental nutrient bath by Dr. Noah Burstein, gaining superhuman strength and unbreakable skin; Carl adopting the name Luke Cage; Luke wearing a yellow shirt and blue pants; Luke wearing a silver tiara; of Cage haunted by the death of Reva Connors; of Luke as a Hero for Hire in Harlem; of Luke's young friend D.W. Griffith, a burgeoning filmmaker (Hero for Hire #1, 1972); of Claire Temple, a physician who falls in love with Luke Cage; of Stryker taking the identity Diamondback to fight Luke Cage (Hero for Hire #2, 1972); of Luke Cage exclaiming "Sweet Sister" as an epithet (Hero for Hire #4, 1972)

John Byrne: co-creator of Misty Knight's background as a police officer (Iron Fist #1, 1975); of Misty Knight as Rafael Scarfe's partner in the police (Iron Fist #2, 1976); of Misty Knight suffering an injury to her right arm which resulted in her adopting a bionic replacement (Iron Fist #3, 1976); of John Bushmaster, a crimelord from the Caribbean who opposes Misty Knight (Iron Fist #15, 1977); of Iron Fist and Luke Cage fighting in their first meeting as Iron Fist strikes him with his chi; of Bushmaster opposing Luke Cage and Iron Fist (Power Man #48, 1977); of Shades and Comanche encountering Bushmaster; of Bushmaster possessing superhuman strength and invulnerability similar to Cage's (Power Man #49, 1978); of Luke Cage's criminal record being cleared; of Danny Rand and Luke Cage working side-by-side as Power Man and Iron Fist (Power Man #50, 1978)

John Romita: co-creator of Luke Cage, born in Georgia as Carl Lucas; Carl's childhood friendship with Willis Stryker; Carl sent to the island Seagate Prison; Carl meeting criminals Shades and Comanche at Seagate; Carl being abused by the racist guard Rackham; Carl being subjected to an experimental nutrient bath by Dr. Noah Burstein, gaining superhuman strength and unbreakable skin; Carl adopting the name Luke Cage; Luke wearing a yellow shirt and blue pants; Luke wearing a silver tiara; of Cage haunted by the death of Reva Connors; of Luke as a Hero for Hire in Harlem; of Luke's young friend D.W. Griffith, a burgeoning filmmaker (Hero for Hire #1, 1972)

Steve Englehart: co-creator of Nightshade, Tilda Johnson, a supremely intelligent African-American chemist and criminal (Captain America #164, 1973); of Black Mariah, an African-American woman who becomes a Harlem crimelord in narcotics and fights Luke Cage (Hero for Hire #5, 1973); of Luke Cage asking, "Where's my money, honey?" after a criminal hires him (Hero for Hire #9, 1973); of Luke Cage exclaiming "Christmas" as an epithet (Hero for Hire #11, 1973); of "Big" Ben Donovan, an African-American lawyer who works for criminals (Hero for Hire #14, 1973)

Gil Kane: co-creator of Iron Fist, alias Daniel Rand, orphaned and raised in the city of K'un-Lun, where he trained in the martial arts to become their greatest warrior, passing every test and trial before him until gaining the power to channel his chi into his fist, making it superhumanly powerful; K'un-Lun, a hidden city found in the Himalayas which exists within another dimension and only connects to Earth at intervals spaced years apart (Marvel Premiere #15, 1974)

Don McGregor: co-creator of Dontrell "Cockroach" Hamilton, a Harlem criminal working with Pirahna Jones; of Cockroach's special multi-barreled shotgun which he uses to fight Luke Cage, striking him so that Luke's shoulder is dislocated (Power Man #28, 1975); of Raymond "Pirahna" Jones, a poor man who built himself up into a wealthy criminal, battling Luke Cage (Power Man #30, 1976)

Larry Hama: co-creator of Daniel Rand fighting the dragon Shou-Lao the Undying, an immortal dragon, and received a dragon-shaped brand on his chest from the dragon along with the power of the Iron Fist (Marvel Premiere #16, 1974); of Colleen Wing, a Japanese woman, ally and sometimes love interest of Iron Fist (Marvel Premiere #19, 1974)

Stan Lee: co-creator of Matt Murdock, a lawyer who also fights crime as Daredevil by using his superhuman sensory powers; of Foggy Nelson, a lawyer and friend of Matt Murdock; of Karen Page (Daredevil #1, 1964); of Killgrave, a man who can control the actions of others through the sound of his voice (Daredevil #4, 1964)

Sal Buscema: co-creator of Luke Cage exclaiming "Sweet Christmas" as an epithet (Defenders #24, 1975); of Luke Cage exclaiming "Christmas" as an epithet (Hero for Hire #11, 1973); of "Big" Ben Donovan, an African-American lawyer who works for criminals and opposes Luke Cage (Hero for Hire #14, 1973)

Len Wein: co-creator of Blake Tower, New York district attorney (Daredevil #124, 1975); of Daniel Rand fighting the dragon Shou-Lao the Undying, an immortal dragon, and received a dragon-shaped brand on his chest from the dragon along with the power of the Iron Fist (Marvel Premiere #16, 1974); of Luke Cage being called "Power Man" (Power Man #17, 1974)

Mark Gruenwald: co-creator of Quincy McIver, a relative of John Bushmaster (Captain America #310, 1985); of John McIver and Quincy McIver's full names; of John's upbringing in poverty in the Caribbean (Captain America Annual #10, 1991)

Billy Graham: co-creator of Luke Cage exclaiming "Sweet Sister" as an epithet (Hero for Hire #4, 1972); of "Big" Ben Donovan, an African-American lawyer who works for criminals and opposes Luke Cage (Hero for Hire #14, 1973)

Brian Michael Bendis: co-creator of Jessica Jones, who has a relationship with Luke Cage; Luke Cage with shaved head and goatee (Alias #1, 2001); of the Night Nurse, a medic who treats superhumans (Daredevil #58, 2004)

Tony Isabella: co-creator of Misty Knight, an African-American detective (Marvel Premiere #21, 1975); of Cornell Cottonmouth, a Harlem crimelord who trafficked in narcotics and fought Luke Cage (Power Man #19, 1974)

Bill Everett: co-creator of Matt Murdock, a lawyer who also fights crime as Daredevil by using his superhuman sensory powers; of Foggy Nelson, a lawyer and friend of Matt Murdock; of Karen Page (Daredevil #1, 1964)

Jimmy Palmiotti: co-creator of Colleen Wing wearing a white jumpsuit; Misty Knight with golden arm (Daughters of the Dragon #1, 2006); of Bill Norris, brother of Mr. Fish (Daughters of the Dragon #4, 2006)

Khari Evans: co-creator of Colleen Wing wearing a white jumpsuit; Misty Knight with golden arm (Daughters of the Dragon #1, 2006); of Bill Norris, brother of Mr. Fish (Daughters of the Dragon #4, 2006)

Justin Gray: co-creator of Colleen Wing wearing a white jumpsuit; Misty Knight with golden arm (Daughters of the Dragon #1, 2006); of Bill Norris, brother of Mr. Fish (Daughters of the Dragon #4, 2006)

Antony Johnston: co-creator of Bakuto, a member of the Hand (Daredevil #505, 2010); of Scarfe becoming a corrupt policeman (Shadowland: Blood on the Streets #4, 2011)

Don Heck: co-creator of John McIver and Quincy McIver's full names; of John's upbringing in poverty in the Caribbean (Captain America Annual #10, 1991)

Marv Wolfman: co-creator of Blake Tower, New York district attorney (Daredevil #124, 1975); of Glenn Industries, an industrial company (Daredevil #134, 1976)

Rich Buckler: co-creator of Raymond "Pirahna" Jones, a poor man who built himself up into a wealthy criminal, battling Luke Cage (Power Man #30, 1976)

Gene Colan: co-creator of Turk Barrett, a gangster (Daredevil #69, 1970); of Blake Tower, New York district attorney (Daredevil #124, 1975)

Alan Weiss: co-creator of Nightshade, Tilda Johnson, a supremely intelligent African-American chemist and criminal (Captain America #164, 1973)

Fred Van Lente: co-creator of the Rivals, a street gang which Shades, Comanche and Diamondback belonged to (Shadowland: Power Man #2, 2010)

Michael Gaydos: co-creator of Jessica Jones, who has a relationship with Luke Cage; Luke Cage with shaved head and goatee (Alias #1, 2001)

David Michelinie: co-creator of Justin Hammer, a business rival of Tony Stark who manufactures weapons for criminals (Iron Man #120, 1979)

Mahmud Asrar: co-creator of the Rivals, a street gang which Shades, Comanche and Diamondback belonged to (Shadowland: Power Man #2, 2010)

Joe Orlando: co-creator of Killgrave, a man who can control the actions of others through the sound of his voice (Daredevil #4, 1964)

Jeff Christiansen: creator of Mr. Fish's real name, Mortimer Norris (Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z Update #2, 2010)

Bob Layton: co-creator of Justin Hammer, a business rival of Tony Stark who manufactures weapons for criminals (Iron Man #120, 1979)

Doug Moench: co-creator of Colleen Wing, a Japanese woman, ally and sometimes love interest of Iron Fist (Marvel Premiere #19, 1974)

Alex Maleev: co-creator of Night Nurse, a medic who treats wounded super heroes such as Daredevil (Daredevil #58, 2004)

John Ostrander: co-creator of Luke Cage avoiding profanity because of his upbringing (Heroes for Hire #4, 1997)

Wellington Alves: co-creator of Scarfe becoming a corrupt policeman (Shadowland: Blood on the Streets #4, 2011)

Pasqual Ferry: co-creator of Luke Cage avoiding profanity because of his upbringing (Heroes for Hire #4, 1997)

Olivier Coipel: co-creator of Misty Knight and Luke Cage having a romantic relationship (House of M #3, 2005)

Marshall Rogers: co-creator of Misty Knight and Colleen Wing as allies (Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #32, 1977)

Steve Gerber: co-creator of Luke Cage exclaiming "Sweet Christmas" as an epithet (Defenders #24, 1975)

John Romita Jr.: co-creator of Rosalie Carbone, an Italian mob princess (Punisher: War Zone #2, 1992)

Arvell Jones: co-creator of Misty Knight, an African-American detective (Marvel Premiere #21, 1975)

Paul Neary: co-creator of Quincy McIver, a relative of John Bushmaster (Captain America #310, 1985)

Chuck Dixon: co-creator of Rosalie Carbone, an Italian mob princess (Punisher: War Zone #2, 1992)

Mike Zeck: co-creator of Luke Cage battling Nightshade (Power Man and Iron Fist #51, 1978)

Michael Lark: co-creator of Iron Fist taking the place of Daredevil (Daredevil #87, 2006)

Ed Brubaker: co-creator of Iron Fist taking the place of Daredevil (Daredevil #87, 2006)

Bob Brown: co-creator of Glenn Industries, an industrial company (Daredevil #134, 1976)

Marco Checchetto: co-creator of Bakuto, a member of the Hand (Daredevil #505, 2010)

Pat Broderick: co-creator of Rafael Scarfe, a police officer (Marvel Premiere #23)

Andy Diggle: co-creator of Bakuto, a member of the Hand (Daredevil #505, 2010)

Bill Mantlo: co-creator of Mr. Fish, a Harlem criminal (Power Man #29, 1976)

Win Mortimer: co-creator of Night Nurse (Night Nurse #1, 1972)

Jean Thomas: co-creator of Night Nurse (Night Nurse #1, 1972)

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Less Than Requited

Minute by minute, hour by hour, there is love which goes unrequited. Our culture likes to elevate unrequited love, to raise up the sentiment as one which is noble. Soren Kierkegaard, for instance, considered unrequited love to be about as great an example of love that there is, because by its nature it exists in only one direction - from the one who loves to the one who is loved.

Unrequited love sounds great and ideal, right? The Kierkegaard's of our world would note that it is unsullied by harsh reality. This love you hold for a person from afar but is never returned, how marvelous it must be to love without receiving love in return! And surely for many there is a wish to avoid acting on unrequited love (or more aptly put "a crush") for fear of reality - fear of rejection.

What I find interesting is how our popular culture believes in unrequited love as the most perfect form of love. In film, television, books and comics, invariably one character will pine for another character. How we in the audience must long for them to become a couple! And then they do, our faith in the pureness of unrequited love is fulfilled! Hoopla!

The rending that launched a thousand slash fics

Unfortunately, we are so preoccupied with this idea that it grants some examples of unrequited love a depth they were not meant to possess. Throughout Chris Claremont's X-Men he toyed with the idea that Wolverine held feelings for Jean Grey, even though she and Cyclops were a couple. Claremont certainly seemed to believe in the love between Jean and Cyclops, so Wolverine's pining for Jean served primarily to create some tension (as well as character development for Wolverine). Over the years Claremont would note Wolverine's feelings as a matter of continuity, but the Jean/Cyclops relationship was one which stood the test of time.

That is, until Claremont was no longer writing those characters. In 2001 writers began toying with a dangerous notion: What if Jean loved Wolverine? I call it 'dangerous' because it leans into many of the terrible false narratives we men like to tell each other - the so-called 'Nice Guy' narrative where women, in spite of all evidence, are supposed to be interested in us and will 'come around' given enough time. More to the point, it eliminates Jean Grey's agency in all of this; because Wolverine had feelings for Jean, it was simply assumed her character felt the same way for him. In the real world, the healthy thing is to move on from unrequited love (which Claremont had by giving Wolverine new love interests, starting with Mariko Yashida). Unfortunately, in the realm of fiction a potential couple who haven't 'hooked up' are treated as a loose thread, one which must be tied.

The television series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine opened with series regular Dr. Julian Bashir carrying an embarrassingly-obvious torch for his crewmate Jadzia Dax, whose disinterest in him romantically was likewise evident. Although the two had their moments across the early seasons, by the show's 3rd year it was clear they were very good friends and unlikely to change; in the 4th season Jadzia became romantically interested in a new cast member, Worf, which lasted through the end of the 6th season when the character was killed off. Enter Ezri Dax in season 7 and suddenly the Bashir/Dax relationship is given another chance, ultimately leading to them becoming a couple.

As Darren Mooney puts it on his blog:

It feels like an awkward reversal of what had been a nuanced and compelling friendship. There was something reassuring in the idea that an unrequited (and slightly pervy) crush could develop into genuine (platonic) affection, and the arrival of Ezri Dax undercuts that aspect of their relationship.

But all that is past is mere prologue; who I really want to talk about is Jorah Mormont.

This son of a bear.

Jorah is character from George R. R. Martin's A Song of Fire and Ice book series and has been adapted into the television version, Game of Thrones, where he's ably played by actor Iain Glen. If you know only the television show, you may be surprised at how differently Jorah is characterized in the prose. It should be noted that in the original books every chapter is written from the perspective of a single character and there are many characters whose point-of-view is never granted to the readers. Jorah is one such character, having appeared across the five novels thus far without ever seen from his own POV. His thoughts, turmoils and challenges are witnessed from a distance, usually from the perspective of Daenarys Targaryen (later, via Tyrion Lannister).

It is not so clear at the beginning but by the second novel (and 2nd season of the program) Jorah's affection for Daenarys - the queen-in-exile he's sworn to serve as bodyguard to - become evident. In the novels, this usually manifests itself as jealousy: as other men offer their services to Daenarys' cause, Jorah will bitterly whisper his misgivings to her. In time, Daenarys realizes Jorah is an unreliable counselor because his affections for her cloud his judgment. During the 3rd novel, Daenarys loses all faith in Jorah.

One of the most damning incidents against Jorah occurs in the first book when Daenarys' brother Viserys is murdered by the Dothraki when he threatens Daenarys' life. The reader is given little reason to care for Viserys, who is consistently petulant and ignoble, but when his death plays out Ser Jorah is shown to be extremely negligent in that he permits events to spiral out of control until Viserys' death is inevitable. "Good riddance," so saith the audience. But Jorah was supposed to be Viserys' loyal bodyguard. In time, it becomes clear Jorah betrayed his vows to Viserys because he wanted Daenarys for himself. Viserys would have been a terrible king, but in the world of A Song of Ice and Fire, characters can frequently be defined by how dutifully they follow their oaths. Jorah tacitly betrays Viserys; how could he be trusted with Daenarys' safety when he takes his oaths so lightly?

The decisions made in adapting Jorah to television force some uncomfortable questions about the priorities of the series' creators, because their version of Jorah is quite different from Martin's. Some of this is simply down to casting choices; almost everyone on Game of Thrones is chronologically older than the book versions of the same characters, and it becomes particularly of note with Daenerys, who is 13 at the outset of the first novel, but played by a 25-year old Emilia Clarke in the first season of the show. At the time, Iain Glen was 50, placing him within earshot of Jorah's 43. But while these actors have a noticeable age gap (Glen being twice Clarke's age), in the books Jorah is more than 3 times Daenerys' age! It's also unavoidable that they cast a pretty good-looking actor to play Jorah - but one of the hallmarks of the literary version is that he's not good-looking and, as Daenerys is a teenager, that alone is almost enough to ensure he will never stand a chance of winning her heart.

In the show, Jorah is extremely devoted to Daenarys; although he serves as a spy during the 1st season (as he was in the books), he quickly leaves that behind and there is none of the pettiness which so marks his literary counterpart. In the books he forces a kiss on Daenerys; on television, he's more moon-eyed than he is rapey. The show also removes unpleasant moments such as a scene from A Dance with Dragons where he beats Tyrion bloody after one of Tyrion's many japes (the television show opts for a conventional fast-friendship between the two). It is clear in the books that while Jorah is fiercely devoted to Daenerys, he is not a particularly good man. I mean, the fact that in both formats his backstory is "former slave holder, still unrepentant about it," should raise all kinds of flags for you in the audience.

Without a doubt the largest point of divergence is when Jorah's treachery towards Daenerys is discovered. On the television show he pleads for mercy, but Daenerys, seeming somewhat cruel to the audience, icily dismisses him. And we, watching the program, are certain of Jorah's true devotion to her and bemoan Daenerys for being hard-hearted. But in the books, the scene is basically the opposite of that; Jorah refuses to admit he had done wrong and refuses to beg forgiveness until he gradually realizes he's digging himself deeper with each justification - by the time he does apologize, it's too late. Despite learning Jorah had been a traitor, we know Daenerys yearns to pardon him (because the chapter is written from her POV), but because he's so stubborn she is forced to make an example of him and banish him.

The showrunners of Game of Thrones have done a lot to render what's found in the books into something more format-friendly for television, but also more conventional in terms of relationships. Thus, Jorah's lust for Daenerys, which is a destructive force in the novels, becomes, well, this:

Will they ever get together?

But is that the only path available when you start toying with unrequited love? As it happens - no! You simply have to think outside the box and not blindly obey the tropes of your medium.

Take, for instance, Buffy the Vampire Slayer; during that program's first season, a running character beat is that of character Xander Harris having a crush on Buffy. In the first season finale he finally tells her how he feels, but she rejects him; she's simply not interested in him. Xander's wounded by this, but by the end of the episode helps save Buffy's life and, in doing so, mostly comes to terms with being her friend. Although he continued to feel pangs here and there over the show's second season, as the series progressed it became clear he had moved on and was now one of her best friends. And that was perfectly okay; we in the audience liked their dynamic as friends and found their subsequent romantic pairings (most notably the Buffy/Angel relationship which cast a huge shadow over the franchise) to be worthwhile television.

Mark Gruenwald once said, "The job of those in the arts is to help people connect with life experiences of people other than themselves, thereby expanding upon their concept of humanness." I do firmly believe that, which is why the kneejerk fiction writer's belief that 'unrequited love = true love' is not only a lazy equation but one which doesn't confront the audience in areas where they possibly should be challenged. There is nothing inherently noble, good, true or pure about unrequited love. Sorry, Kierkegaard.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Avengers: Infinity War creator credits

You like a nice long list? Well, brother, you're in luck! Listed below is every idea found in the film Avengers: Infinity War which originated in a Marvel Comics publication and sorted according to the writer/artist responsible for the first instance of that idea.

Did I overlook something? Probably, in a film this big. Comment below and be sure to check out my master list of Marvel Cinematic Universe creator credits found here.

Stan Lee: co-creator of Spider-Man, Peter Parker, a teenage super hero garbed in red and blue with a red webbing design, spider emblem on chest, lenses in his mask and webbing in his armpits; Spider-Man swinging around on webbing fired from his web-shooters and climbing up walls (Amazing Fantasy #15, 1962); of Spider-Man's spider-sense power which warns him of danger (Amazing Spider-Man #1, 1962); of Spider-Man forming a parachute with his webbing (Amazing Spider-Man #7, 1963); of Spider-Man calling himself a 'friendly neighborhood' Spider-Man (Amazing Spider-Man #17, 1964); of Ned, an associate of Peter Parker (Amazing Spider-Man #18, 1964); of the Black Widow's black bodysuit and Widow's Bite wrist weapon (Amazing Spider-Man #86, 1970); of the Avengers testing Spider-Man for membership (Amazing Spider-Man Annual #3, 1966); of the Avengers, a team of super heroes including Thor, Hulk & Iron Man, banded together as "Earth's Mightiest Heroes" (Avengers #1, 1963); Captain America joining the Avengers (Avengers #4, 1964); of Hawkeye and the Scarlet Witch as members of the Avengers; Captain America as the Avengers leader (Avengers #16, 1965); of the Collector, an extraterrestrial procurer of rare items, including sentient people (Avengers #28, 1966); of the Falcon, alias Sam Wilson, a costumed African-American hero who is friends with Captain America (Captain America #117, 1969); of the extraterrestrial Skrulls, from whom the Chitauri were derived (Fantastic Four #2, 1962); of Prince T'Challa, the Black Panther, ruler of Wakanda, son of T'Chaka, a skilled fighter and bearer of the ceremonial Black Panther costume and identity; Wakanda, a secretive African nation surrounded by mountains who conceal the true state of their technological development; The Wakandans' superior technology including communication devices and anti-gravity ships; The Techno-Jungle in Wakanda, trees which have been infused with technology; the massive panther statue which lies above Wakanda's labs (Fantastic Four #52, 1966); Vibranium, an extraterrestrial metal found only in Wakanda where it forms an entire mountain; Vibranium's ability to absorb kinetic energy; the Wakandans harvesting Vibranium for their technology (Fantastic Four #53, 1966); of the giant statues of black panthers which adorn Wakanda (Fantastic Four #54, 1966); of the Hulk, Bruce Banner, a physicist who transforms into a massive, brutish creature with superhuman strength after exposure to gamma radiation; General Thaddeus Ross, a military officer (Incredible Hulk #1, 1962); of the Hulk colored green (Incredible Hulk #2, 1962); of Thor, Norse god of thunder, defender of Earth, wields a weapon which can control storms; Thor's blue costume with plated chest and bare arms (Journey into Mystery #83, 1962); of Loki, Thor's evil brother who possesses the power to cast illusions and wears green/yellow; Asgard, home of the Norse Gods which connects to Earth via the rainbow bridge Bifrost; Heimdall, guardian of Bifrost; Odin, father of Loki & Thor (Journey into Mystery #85, 1962); of Captain Marvel, an extraterrestrial hero (Marvel Super-Heroes #12, 1967); of Nick Fury, an experienced soldier (Sgt. Fury and His Howling Comandos #1, 1963); of Doctor Strange, a sorcerer based out of a sanctum in Greenwich Village who wages war against mystical forces of evil; Strange wearing a blue shirt; Doctor Strange's ally Wong; the Sanctum's window bearing a symbol with two curved lines pierced by a third line; of Doctor Strange's golden amulet which contains a mystical eye (Strange Tales #110, 1963); of Doctor Strange wearing a magical cape (Strange Tales #114, 1963); of Stephen Strange suffering damage to his hands (Strange Tales #115, 1963); of Wong's name (Strange Tales #119, 1964); of Doctor Strange being a Master of the Mystic Arts (Strange Tales #120, 1964); of sorcerers casting magical shields for defense in battle; Doctor Strange casting multiple illusions of himself to trick opponents (Strange Tales #123, 1964); of Doctor Strange's red Cloak of Levitation and round amulet (Strange Tales #127, 1964); of Doctor Strange's home called a Sanctum (Strange Tales #132, 1965); Nick Fury wearing an eyepatch (Strange Tales #135, 1965); of Doctor Strange's amulet being called the Eye of Agamotto (Strange Tales #136, 1965); of Tony Stark, a wealthy industrialist and designer of weapons for the US Army whose advanced armor grants him superhuman strength, flight and other devices (Tales of Suspense #39, 1963); of Iron Man's armor being gold; of Iron Man's unibeam in the center of his chestplate (Tales of Suspense #40, 1963); of Pepper Potts, Tony Stark's secretary and romantic interest (Tales of Suspense #45, 1963); of Iron Man wearing red and gold armor (Tales of Suspense #48, 1963); of the Black Widow, Natasha Romanoff, a spy who encounters Iron Man (Tales of Suspense #52, 1964); of Hawkeye, an expert marksman; Iron Man's chief weapon, repulsor rays (Tales of Suspense #57, 1964); of Jarvis, an entity who serves Tony Stark (Tales of Suspense #59, 1964); of the Cosmic Cube, a massively powerful artifact which the Red Skull seeks to control (Tales of Suspense #79, 1966); of Groot, an immense tree-like being from Planet X (Tales to Astonish #13, 1960); of Ant-Man, a size-changing super hero (Tales to Astonish #35, 1962); of Banner transforming into the Hulk during periods of high emotional stress; of the Hulk having a savage or childlike disposition (Tales to Astonish #60, 1964); of the Scarlet Witch, alias Wanda from eastern Europe; Wanda's vaguely-defined powers (X-Men #4, 1964)

Jack Kirby: creator of the Celestials, immense intergalactic creatures (Eternals #1, 1976); co-creator of the Avengers, a team of super heroes including Thor, Hulk & Iron Man, banded together as "Earth's Mightiest Heroes" (Avengers #1, 1963); Captain America as an Avenger (Avengers #4, 1964); of Hawkeye and the Scarlet Witch as members of the Avengers; Captain America as the Avengers leader (Avengers #16, 1965); of Captain America, Steve Rogers, of Captain America's red, white and blue costume with stars & stripes on his chest; of James Buchanan "Bucky" Barnes, Steve's friend and partner who joins him in battle; of Captain America's preferred weapon, a shield; of the Red Skull, a Nazi agent who battles Captain America and Bucky (Captain America Comics #1, 1941); of the Red Skull being German (Captain America Comics #7, 1941); of the Skrulls, extraterrestrial invaders from whom the Chitauri were derived (Fantastic Four #2, 1962); of Prince T'Challa, the Black Panther, ruler of Wakanda, son of T'Chaka, a skilled fighter and bearer of the ceremonial Black Panther costume and identity; Wakanda, a secretive African nation surrounded by mountains who conceal the true state of their technological development; The Wakandans' superior technology including communication devices and anti-gravity ships; The Techno-Jungle in Wakanda, trees which have been infused with technology; the massive panther statue which lies above Wakanda's labs (Fantastic Four #52, 1966); of Vibranium, an extraterrestrial metal found only in Wakanda where it forms an entire mountain; Vibranium's ability to absorb kinetic energy; the Wakandans harvesting Vibranium for their technology (Fantastic Four #53, 1966); of the giant statues of black panthers which adorn Wakanda (Fantastic Four #54, 1966); of the Hulk, Bruce Banner, a physicist who transforms into a massive, brutish creature with superhuman strength after exposure to gamma radiation; General Thaddeus Ross, a military officer (Incredible Hulk #1, 1962); of the Hulk having green skin (Incredible Hulk #2, 1962); of Thor, Asgardian god of thunder whose magic weapon can control weather; Thor's blue bodysuit with discs on his chest (Journey into Mystery #83, 1962); of Loki, Thor's evil brother who possesses the power to cast illusions and wears green/yellow; Asgard, home of the Norse Gods which connects to Earth via the rainbow bridge Bifrost; Heimdall, guardian of Bifrost; Odin, father of Loki & Thor (Journey into Mystery #85, 1962); of the Vision, a green-garbed man in a cape (Marvel Mystery Comics #13, 1940); of Nick Fury, an experienced soldier (Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos #1, 1963); Nick Fury wearing an eye-patch (Strange Tales #135, 1965); of Tony Stark, a wealthy industrialist and designer of weapons for the US Army whose Iron Man armor grants him superhuman strength, flight and a variety of inventions (Tales of Suspense #39, 1963); of Iron Man wearing gold armor; unibeam in the center of Iron Man's armor (Tales of Suspense #40, 1963); of Iron Man's armour coloured red & gold (Tales of Suspense #48, 1963); of the Black Widow, Natasha Romanoff, a spy who encounters Iron Man (Tales of Suspense #52, 1964); of Jarvis, an entity who serves Tony Stark (Tales of Suspense #59, 1964); of the Cosmic Cube, a massively powerful artifact which the Red Skull seeks to control (Tales of Suspense #79, 1966); of Groot, an immense tree-like being from Planet X (Tales to Astonish #13, 1960); of Ant-Man, a size-changing costumed hero (Tales to Astonish #35, 1962); of the Scarlet Witch, Wanda from eastern Europe; Wanda's vaguely-defined powers (X-Men #4, 1964)

Jim Starlin: creator of Gamora turning against Thanos; of there being six soul gems which Thanos seeks to increase his ability to destroy life (Avengers Annual #7, 1977); of Gamora, a dangerous green-skinned woman who wields knives (Strange Tales #180, 1975); of Gamora's name (Strange Tales #181, 1975); of Gamora's species the Zenwhoberis; Gamora adopted by Thanos; Gamora operating as Thanos' assassin (Warlock #10, 1975); co-creator of Thanos questing after the Cosmic Cube (Captain Marvel #27, 1973); of Thanos in love with Death (Captain Marvel #28, 1973); of Drax motivated by the deaths of his wife Yvette and daughter, which involved Thanos (Captain Marvel #32, 1974); of Thanos using the Infinity Gauntlet to eliminate 50% of all life in the universe by snapping his fingers; Gamora among those Thanos kills; hero falling into Doctor Strange's Sanctum to warn of Thanos' power (Infinity Gauntlet #1, 1991); of Black Panther being eliminated by Thanos (Infinity Gauntlet #2, 1991); of Thanos toying with his enemies, killing Vision, Spider-Man and the Scarlet Witch in battle; of Captain America almost defeating Thanos in one-on-one combat; of Thanos using the Infinity Gauntlet to split his enemies apart (Infinity Gauntlet #4, 1991); of Thanos retiring to a simple life after using the Infinity Gauntlet (Infinity Gauntlet #6, 1991); of the title Infinity War (Infinity War #1, 1992); of Drax the Destroyer, a green-skinned man with great power and singular focus on hunting his enemies to their deaths; Thanos, a death-worshipping intergalactic warlord from Titan who inflicts genocide; Drax's vendetta against Thanos (Iron Man #55, 1973); of Thanos seeking to eliminate 50% of all life in the universe to restore cosmic balance (Silver Surfer #34, 1990); of Thanos justifying his goals because of the stress excessive life places on finite resources (Silver Surfer #35, 1990); of Thanos using the Infinity Gauntlet to torture Nebula (Silver Surfer #45, 1991); of the Infinity Gems, six all-powerful stones; Thanos seeking the Infinity Gems to assemble his Infinity Gauntlet; gems identified as Soul Gem, Reality Gem, Space Gem, Time Gem, Mind Gem and Power Gem (Thanos Quest #1, 1990); of Thanos obtaining an Infinity Gem from the Collector (Thanos Quest #2, 1990)

Steve Ditko: co-creator of Spider-Man, Peter Parker, a teenage super hero garbed in red and blue with a red webbing design, spider emblem on chest, lenses in his mask and webbing in his armpits; Spider-Man swinging around on webbing fired from his web-shooters and climbing up walls (Amazing Fantasy #15, 1962); of Spider-Man's spider-sense power which warns him of danger (Amazing Spider-Man #1, 1962); of Spider-Man forming a parachute with his webbing (Amazing Spider-Man #7, 1963); of Spider-Man calling himself a 'friendly neighborhood' Spider-Man (Amazing Spider-Man #17, 1964); of Ned, an associate of Peter Parker (Amazing Spider-Man #18, 1964); of Doctor Strange, a sorcerer based out of a sanctum in Greenwich Village who wages war against mystical forces of evil; Strange wearing a blue shirt; Doctor Strange's ally Wong; the Sanctum's window bearing a symbol with two curved lines pierced by a third line; of Doctor Strange's golden amulet which contains a mystical eye (Strange Tales #110, 1963); of Doctor Strange wearing a magical cape (Strange Tales #114, 1963); of Stephen Strange suffering from severe damage to his hands (Strange Tales #115, 1963); of Wong's name (Strange Tales #119, 1964); of Doctor Strange being a Master of the Mystic Arts (Strange Tales #120, 1964); of sorcerers casting magical shields for defense in battle; Doctor Strange casting multiple illusions of himself to trick opponents (Strange Tales #123, 1964); of Doctor Strange's red Cloak of Levitation and round amulet (Strange Tales #127, 1964); of Doctor Strange's home called a Sanctum (Strange Tales #132, 1965); of Doctor Strange's amulet being called the Eye of Agamotto (Strange Tales #136, 1965); of Iron Man wearing red & gold armor (Tales of Suspense #48, 1963); of Banner transforming into the Hulk during periods of high emotional stress; of the Hulk having a savage or childlike disposition (Tales to Astonish #60, 1964)

Ron Lim: co-creator of Thanos toying with his enemies, killing Vision, Spider-Man and the Scarlet Witch in battle; of Captain America almost defeating Thanos in one-on-one combat; of Thanos using the Infinity Gauntlet to split his enemies apart (Infinity Gauntlet #4, 1991); of Thanos retiring to a simple life after using the Infinity Gauntlet (Infinity Gauntlet #6, 1991); of the title Infinity War (Infinity War #1, 1992); of Thanos seeking to eliminate 50% of all life in the universe to restore cosmic balance (Silver Surfer #34, 1990); of Thanos justifying his goals because of the stress excessive life places on finite resources (Silver Surfer #35, 1990); of Thanos using the Infinity Gauntlet to torture Nebula (Silver Surfer #45, 1991); of the Infinity Gems, six all-powerful stones; Thanos seeking the Infinity Gems to assemble his Infinity Gauntlet; gems identified as Soul Gem, Reality Gem, Space Gem, Time Gem, Mind Gem and Power Gem (Thanos Quest #1, 1990); of Thanos obtaining an Infinity Gem from the Collector (Thanos Quest #2, 1990)

Don Heck: co-creator of the Collector, a white-haired extraterrestrial who collects rare items, including sentient people (Avengers #28, 1966); of the Black Widow as an Avenger (Avengers #111, 1973); of Mantis, a heroic Asian woman with empathic powers (Avengers #112, 1973); of Tony Stark, a wealthy industrialist and designer of weapons for the US Army whose suit of Iron Man armor grants him superhuman strength, flight and special weapons (Tales of Suspense #39, 1963); of Pepper Potts, Tony Stark's secretary and romantic interest (Tales of Suspense #45, 1963); of the Black Widow, alias Natasha Romanoff, a Russian spy, originally a KGB agent (Tales of Suspense #52, 1964); of Hawkeye, an expert archer; Iron Man's repulsor ray weapon (Tales of Suspense #57, 1964); Morgan, a member of Tony Stark's extended family (Tales of Suspense #68, 1965)

Larry Lieber: co-creator of Thor, Norse god of thunder, defender of Earth, wields a weapon which can control storms; Thor's blue costume with plated chest and bare arms (Journey into Mystery #83, 1962); of Loki, Thor's wicked brother who has the power to cast illusions; Loki garbed in green/yellow; of Asgard, the realm where Thor lives; Bifrost, the rainbow bridge which connects Asgard to other worlds; Odin, lord of Asgard, father of Thor and Loki; Heimdall, guardian of Bifrost (Journey into Mystery #85, 1962); of Tony Stark, a wealthy industrialist and designer of weapons for the US Army whose advanced Iron Man armor grants hi9m superhuman strength, flight and other inventions (Tales of Suspense #39, 1963); of Ant-Man, a size-changing costumed hero (Tales to Astonish #35, 1962)

Roy Thomas: co-creator of the Vision, a synthetic man with red skin, green costume and yellow cape with a jewel on his forehead; Vision's powers of flight and altering his density (Avengers #57, 1968); of the Vision joining the Avengers (Avengers #58, 1968); of Quinjets, the personal aircraft of the Avengers (Avengers #61, 1969); of M'Baku, a Wakandan sometimes-ally sometimes-foe of T'Challa who wears gorilla skins (Avengers #62, 1969); of Hawkeye's real name, Clint Barton (Avengers #64, 1969); of Vision and the Scarlet Witch having feelings for each other (Avengers #91, 1971); of Captain Marvel's star icon over red & blue design (Captain Marvel #17, 1969); of the Soul Gem, from which the Infinty Gems were derived (Marvel Premiere #1, 1970)

Mike Deodato Jr.: co-creator of Tony Stark mentoring Peter Parker (Amazing Spider-Man #519, 2005); the Black Order, a team of extraterrestrials who devoutly serve Thanos and seek the Infinity Gems on his behalf, including: Proxima Midnight, a blue-skinned woman who wields a spear; Ebony Maw, who can manipulate matter and is sent to combat Doctor Strange; Corvus Glaive, a spear-wielding man; Black Dwarf, a large alien warrior; Outriders, Thanos' unhuman foot soldiers (New Avengers #8, 2013); of Thanos' forces invading Wakanda (New Avengers #10, 2013); of Steve Rogers' modified blue/white costume with brown gloves (Secret Avengers #1, 2010)

Mark Millar: co-creator of the US government being motivated by recent unfortunate tragedies in superhuman battles to legislate all super heroes; Captain America refusing to participate in this law because of fears of it being misused, Iron Man siding with the law (Civil War #1, 2006); of the heroes who sided with Captain America becoming vigilantes and refusing to comply with the law, dividing the Avengers in two (Civil War #7, 2007); Nick Fury depicted as Samuel L. Jackson with visible scars around his left eye; Iron Man's eyes & unibeam glowing light blue (Ultimates #2, 2002); of the Chitauri, an extraterrestrial army who battle the Avengers (Ultimates #8, 2002)

John Buscema: of the Vision, a synthetic man with red skin, green costume and yellow cape with a jewel on his forehead; Vision's powers of flight and altering his density (Avengers #57, 1968); of Quinjets, the personal aircraft of the Avengers (Avengers #61, 1969); of M'Baku, a Wakandan sometimes-ally sometimes-foe of T'Challa who wears gorilla skins (Avengers #62, 1969); of Nebula, a blue-skinned villainous space pirate (Avengers #257, 1985); of Nebula related to Thanos; Thanos' forces assaulting Xandar (Avengers #260, 1985); Eitri, dwarf who forges weapons for Asgard (Thor Annual #5, 1976)

Christopher Priest: co-creator of Black Panther wearing a Vibranium-weave uniform with lenses in his mask; of T'Challa wearing a beard; of Black Panther wearing a costume with golden necklace; The Dora Milaje, warrior women who serve as bodyguards for T'Challa; Okoye, a stoic member of the Dora Milaje, faithful to T'Challa (Black Panther #1, 1998); A white man in Wakanda being dubbed 'White Wolf' (Black Panther #4, 1999); of Black Panther wearing a necklace of talons around his neck (Black Panther #13, 1999); The Jabari, a Wakandan tribe to which M'Baku belongs (Black Panther #34, 2001)

Mike Friedrich: co-creator of the Falcon's mechanical wings (Captain America #170, 1974); of Thanos questing after the Cosmic Cube (Captain Marvel #27, 1973); of Thanos in love with Death (Captain Marvel #28, 1973); of Drax motivated by the deaths of his wife Yvette and daughter, which involved Thanos (Captain Marvel #32, 1974); of Drax the Destroyer, a green-skinned man with great power and singular focus on hunting his enemies to their deaths; Thanos, a death-worshipping intergalactic warlord from Titan who inflicts genocide; Drax's vendetta against Thanos (Iron Man #55, 1973)

George Perez: co-creator of Thanos using the Infinity Gauntlet to eliminate 50% of all life in the universe by snapping his fingers; Gamora among those Thanos kills; hero falling into Doctor Strange's Sanctum to warn of Thanos' power (Infinity Gauntlet #1, 1991); of Black Panther being eliminated by Thanos (Infinity Gauntlet #2, 1991); of Thanos toying with his enemies, killing Vision, Spider-Man and the Scarlet Witch in battle; of Captain America almost defeating Thanos in one-on-one combat; of Thanos using the Infinity Gauntlet to split his enemies apart (Infinity Gauntlet #4, 1991)

Joe Simon: co-creator of Captain America, Steve Rogers, of Captain America's red, white and blue costume with stars & stripes on his chest; of James Buchanan "Bucky" Barnes, Steve's friend and partner who joins him in battle; of Captain America's preferred weapon, a shield; of the Red Skull, a Nazi agent who battles Captain America and Bucky (Captain America Comics #1, 1941); of the Red Skull being German (Captain America Comics #7, 1941); of the Vision, a green-garbed man in a cape (Marvel Mystery Comics #13, 1940)

Keith Giffen: co-creator of Star-Lord leading a team of agents including Mantis, Groot and Rocket Raccoon; Groot and Rocket Raccoon's friendship; Star-Lord's helmet with full faceplate, red goggles and breathing unit; Star-Lord favouring twin guns; Rocket favouring heavy artillery (Annihilation: Conquest - Star-Lord #1, 2007); of Drax's redesign with red body tattoos (Drax the Destroyer #3, 2006); of Drax wearing only pants (Drax the Destroyer #4, 2006); of Rocket Raccoon, an anthropomorphic adventurous raccoon (Marvel Preview #7, 1976)

Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning: co-creators of Groot's vocabulary limited to little more than "I am Groot" (Annihilation: Conquest #2, 2008); of Gamora, Drax, Star-Lord, Rocket Raccoon, Mantis and Groot banded together as the Guardians of the Galaxy; the Guardians of the Galaxy on Knowhere; Rocket as the team's tactician (Guardians of the Galaxy #1, 2008); of Groot's iterations of "I am Groot" having multiple meanings (Guardians of the Galaxy #17, 2009); of Knowhere, a city carved from the interior of a decapitated Celestial (Nova #8, 2008)

Len Kaminski: co-creator of Vision disguising his appearance using holograms (Avengers Spotlight #40, 1991); of the War Machine armor, a suit of Iron Man armor colored silver and grey and outfitted with heavy weaponry, including a shoulder-mounted canon (Iron Man #281, 1992); of the War Machine armor being worn by James Rhodes with a unibeam designed for its chest (Iron Man #284, 1992); of Iron Man using modular attachments to his armor to create a larger suit better able to fight the Hulk (Iron Man #304, 1994)

Jonathan Hickman: co-creator of the Black Order, a team of extraterrestrials who devoutly serve Thanos and seek the Infinity Gems on his behalf, including: Proxima Midnight, a blue-skinned woman who wields a spear; Ebony Maw, who can manipulate matter and is sent to combat Doctor Strange; Corvus Glaive, a spear-wielding man; Black Dwarf, a large alien warrior; Outriders, Thanos' unhuman foot soldiers (New Avengers #8, 2013); of Thanos' forces invading Wakanda (New Avengers #10, 2013)

Steve Englehart: co-creator of the Black Widow as an Avenger (Avengers #111, 1973); of Mantis, a heroic Asian woman with empathic powers (Avengers #112, 1973); of the Falcon's mechanical wings (Captain America #170, 1974); of Star-Lord, alias Peter Quill, a half-alien space-adventuring gun-wielding hero (Marvel Preview #4, 1976); of the Collector pursuing Infinity Gems (Silver Surfer #7, 1988); Eitri, dwarf who forges weapons for Asgard (Thor Annual #5, 1976)

Kevin Hopgood: co-creator of the War Machine armor, a suit of Iron Man armor colored silver and grey and outfitted with heavy weaponry, including a shoulder-mounted canon (Iron Man #281, 1992); of the War Machine armor being worn by James Rhodes with a unibeam designed for its chest (Iron Man #284, 1992); of Iron Man using modular attachments to his armor to create a larger suit better able to fight the Hulk (Iron Man #304, 1994)

Steve McNiven: co-creator of the US government being motivated by recent unfortunate tragedies in superhuman battles to legislate all super heroes; Captain America refusing to participate in this law because of fears of it being misused, Iron Man siding with the law (Civil War #1, 2006); of the heroes who sided with Captain America becoming vigilantes and refusing to comply with the law, dividing the Avengers in two (Civil War #7, 2007)

Mark Texeira: co-creator of Black Panther wearing a Vibranium-weave uniform with lenses in his mask; of T'Challa wearing a beard; of Black Panther wearing a costume with golden necklace; The Dora Milaje, warrior women who serve as bodyguards for T'Challa; Okoye, a stoic member of the Dora Milaje, faithful to T'Challa (Black Panther #1, 1998); A white man in Wakanda being dubbed 'White Wolf' (Black Panther #4, 1999)

John Byrne: creator of Thor called "Odinson" (Namor the Sub-Mariner #13, 1991); co-creator of Captain America & Iron Man having a tense relationship (Avengers #165, 1977); of the Falcon as an Avenger (Avengers #183, 1979); of Spider-Man as an Avenger (Avengers #316, 1990); of James "Rhodey" Rhodes, pilot and friend of Tony Stark (Iron Man #118, 1979); of Scott Lang, the new Ant-Man (Marvel Premiere #47, 1979)

Gene Colan: co-creator of Hawkeye's real name, Clint Barton (Avengers #64, 1969); of the Falcon, Sam Wilson, a costumed African-American hero who is friends with Captain America (Captain America #117, 1969); of Captain Marvel, an extraterrestrial hero (Marvel Super-Heroes #12, 1967); a team of heroes based in space called the Guardians of the Galaxy (Marvel Super-Heroes #18, 1969)

Brian Michael Bendis: co-creator of the Falcon joining Captain America in his conflict against Iron Man (New Avengers #21, 2006); of Hawkeye joining the renegade team of Avengers who followed Captain America (New Avengers #27, 2007); of Maria Hill, next in line to command S.H.I.E.L.D. (Secret War #5, 2005); of Nick Fury as an African-American man (Ultimate Marvel Team-Up #5, 2001)

Sal Buscema: co-creator of Vision and the Scarlet Witch having feelings for each other (Avengers #91, 1971); of the Falcon wearing a pair of mechanical wings (Captain America #170, 1974); of the Cauldron of the Cosmos, used by Doctor Strange for scrying purposes (Defenders #15, 1974); of Rocket Racccoon as a swashbuckling hero with the moniker "Rocket" (Incredible Hulk #271, 1982)

Mark Gruenwald: creator of the Collector's real name Taneleer Tivan (Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe #3, 1983); of Tony Stark identifying his armours with a "mark" system (the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition #6, 1986); co-creator of Steve Rogers growing a beard after giving up the Captain America identity (Captain America #336, 1987)

Jason Aaron: co-creator of Doctor Strange wearing a buttoned-down version of his blue shirt (Doctor Strange #1, 2015); of Thor having a sister he didn't know of (Original Sin #5.1, 2014); of Thor wielding an axe forged by dwarves in place of his hammer (Thor: God of Thunder #1, 2013); of Thor with his hair cut short (The Unworthy Thor #2, 2017)

Timothy Green II: co-creator of Star-Lord leading a team of agents including recruits Mantis, Groot and Rocket Raccoon; Groot and Rocket Raccoon's friendship; Star-Lord's helmet with full faceplate, red goggles and breathing unit; Star-Lord favouring twin guns; Rocket favouring heavy artillery (Annihilation: Conquest - Star-Lord #1, 2007)

Roger Stern: co-creator of Vision wearing casual clothing (Avengers #254, 1985); of Nebula, a blue-skinned villainous space pirate (Avengers #257, 1985); of Nebula related to Thanos; Thanos' forces assaulting Xandar (Avengers #260, 1985); of James Rhodes as one of the Avengers (West Coast Avengers #1, 1984)

Ta-Nehisi Coates: co-creator of Black Panther wearing a costume with silver necklace which enfolds his body using nanites (Black Panther #1, 2016); Black Panther's costumes absorbing energy into its Vibranium circuitry with a purplish glow, releasing that energy in destructive blasts (Black Panther #2, 2016)

Brian Stelfreeze: co-creator of Black Panther wearing a costume with silver necklace which enfolds his body using nanites (Black Panther #1, 2016); Black Panther's costumes absorbing energy into its Vibranium circuitry with a purplish glow, releasing that energy in destructive blasts (Black Panther #2, 2016)

J. Michael Straczynski: co-creator of Tony Stark mentoring Peter Parker (Amazing Spider-Man #519, 2005); of Tony Stark building a new costume for Spider-Man which includes retractable widget arms (Amazing Spider-Man #529, 2006); of sorcerers conjuring shields with decorative glyphs (Strange #5, 2005)

Ed Brubaker: co-creator of the Winter Soldier, a assassin, has cybernetic arm (Captain America #1, 2005); of Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes being almost the same age (Captain America #5, 2005); of Captain America's modified blue/white costume with brown gloves (Secret Avengers #1, 2010)

Bill Mantlo: co-creator of Rocket Racccoon as a swashbuckling hero with the moniker "Rocket" (Incredible Hulk #271, 1982); of Contraxians, an extraterrestrial species (Jack of Hearts #1, 1984); of Rocket Raccoon, an anthropomorphic adventurous raccoon (Marvel Preview #7, 1976)

Bryan Hitch: co-creator of Nick Fury depicted as Samuel L. Jackson with visible scars around his left eye; Iron Man's eyes & unibeam glowing light blue (Ultimates #2, 2002); of the Chitauri, an extraterrestrial army who battle the Avengers (Ultimates #8, 2002)

John Romita: co-creator of the Black Widow's black bodysuit and Widow's Bite wrist weapon (Amazing Spider-Man #86, 1970); of the Avengers testing Spider-Man for membership (Amazing Spider-Man Annual #3, 1966); of the Falcon's red costume (Captain America #144, 1971)

Warren Ellis: co-creator of Iron Man armour assembling itself around Tony hands-free (Iron Man #5, 2006); of the Falcon wearing a military-style costume with large amounts of black and gray; the Falcon wielding guns (Ultimate Nightmare #1, 2004)

Robert Bernstein: co-creator of Iron Man's armor being gold; of Iron Man's unibeam in the center of his chestplate (Tales of Suspense #40, 1963); of Pepper Potts, Tony Stark's secretary and romantic interest (Tales of Suspense #45, 1963)

Reginald Hudlin: co-creator of Shuri, T'Challa's younger sister (Black Panther #2); of the Dora Milaje wearing red & gold battlesuits and shaving their heads; The Dora Milaje wielding Vibranium spears as weapons (Black Panther #3, 2005)

John Romita Jr.: co-creator of Shuri, T'Challa's younger sister (Black Panther #2); of the Dora Milaje wearing red & gold battlesuits and shaving their heads; The Dora Milaje wielding Vibranium spears as weapons (Black Panther #3, 2005)

Paul Pelletier: co-creator of Gamora, Drax, Star-Lord, Rocket Raccoon, Mantis and Groot banded together as the Guardians of the Galaxy; the Guardians of the Galaxy on Knowhere; Rocket as the team's tactician (Guardians of the Galaxy #1, 2008)

Mike Grell: creator of Iron Man's identity as Tony Stark being public knowledge (Iron Man #55, 2002); co-creator of Friday, an artificial intelligence used by Iron Man which has a feminine personality (Iron Man #53, 2002)

David Michelinie: co-creator of the Falcon as an Avenger (Avengers #183, 1979); of James "Rhodey" Rhodes, pilot and friend of Tony Stark (Iron Man #118, 1979); of Scott Lang as Ant-Man (Marvel Premiere #47, 1979)

Salvador Larroca: co-creator of Tony Stark and Pepper Potts as a couple (Invincible Iron Man #15, 2009); of Tony Stark building a suit of Iron Man armor based on nanotechnology (Invincible Iron Man #25, 2010)

Matt Fraction: co-creator of Tony Stark and Pepper Potts as a couple (Invincible Iron Man #15, 2009); of Tony Stark building a suit of Iron Man armor based on nanotechnology (Invincible Iron Man #25, 2010)

Walter Simonson: creator of Stormbreaker, an uru weapon forged by Eitri to imitate the power of Mjolnir (Thor #339, 1984); the Dark Elves (Thor #344, 1984); of Thor wearing a beard (Thor #367, 1986)

Brian K. Vaughan: co-creator of Dr. Strange's Cloak of Levitation behaving as though it had a mind of its own; of Doctor Strange wearing normal footwear with his costume (Doctor Strange: The Oath #1, 2006)

Marcos Martin: co-creator of Dr. Strange's Cloak of Levitation behaving as though it had a mind of its own; of Doctor Strange wearing normal footwear with his costume (Doctor Strange: The Oath #1, 2006)

Gil Kane: co-creator of Captain Marvel's star icon over red & blue design (Captain Marvel #17, 1969); of the Soul Gem, from which the Infinty Gems were derived (Marvel Premiere #1, 1970)

Mitch Breitweiser: co-creator of Drax's redesign with red body tattoos (Drax the Destroyer #3, 2006); co-creator of Drax wearing only pants (Drax the Destroyer #4, 2006)

Trevor Hairsine: co-creator of the Falcon wearing a military-style costume with large amounts of black and gray; the Falcon wielding guns (Ultimate Nightmare #1, 2004)

Adi Granov: creator of Iron Man armor design (Iron Man #75, 2004); co-creator of Iron Man armour assembling itself around Tony hands-free (Iron Man #5, 2006)

Al Ewing: co-creator of Thor having a sister he didn't know of (Original Sin #5.1, 2014); of Ayo, one of the shaven Dora Milaje (Ultimates #2, 2016)

Paul Ryan: co-creator of Spider-Man as an Avenger (Avengers #316, 1990); of the Avengers being responsible to the United Nations (Avengers #329, 1991)

Bob Hall: co-creator of Vision wearing casual clothing (Avengers #254, 1985); of James Rhodes as one of the Avengers (West Coast Avengers #1, 1984)

Don McGregor: co-creator of Wakandans behaving in a xenophobic manner about other nations, wishing to remain isolationist (Jungle Action #9, 1974)

Ron Garney: co-creator of Tony Stark building a new costume for Spider-Man which includes retractable widget arms (Amazing Spider-Man #529, 2006)

Ryan Odagawa: co-creator of Friday, an artificial intelligence used by Iron Man which has a feminine personality (Iron Man #53, 2002)

Steve Gan: co-creator of Star-Lord, alias Peter Quill, a half-alien space-adventuring gun-wielding hero (Marvel Preview #4, 1976)

Arnold Drake: co-creator of a team of heroes based in space called the Guardians of the Galaxy (Marvel Super-Heroes #18, 1969)

Leinil Francis Yu: co-creator of Hawkeye joining the renegade team of Avengers who followed Captain America (New Avengers #27, 2007)

Tom Morgan: co-creator of Steve Rogers growing a beard after giving up the Captain America identity (Captain America #336, 1987)

Don Rico: co-creator of the Black Widow, Natasha Romanoff, a spy who encounters Iron Man (Tales of Suspense #52, 1964)

Archie Goodwin: co-creator of Tony Stark undergoing surgery to have the shrapnel removed from his heart (Iron Man #19, 1969)

Steve Epting: co-creator of the Winter Soldier, a legendary assassin, has a cybernetic arm (Captain America #1, 2005)

Brad Walker: co-creator of Groot's iterations of "I am Groot" having multiple meanings (Guardians of the Galaxy #17, 2009)

Leonardo Manco: co-creator of Tony Stark using technology to repair injuries done to James Rhodes (War Machine #1, 2008)

Esad Ribic: co-creator of Thor wielding an axe forged by dwarves in place of his hammer (Thor: God of Thunder #1, 2013)

Chris Bachalo: co-creator of Doctor Strange wearing a buttoned-down version of his blue shirt (Doctor Strange #1, 2015)

Tom Raney: co-creator of Groot's vocabulary limited to little more than "I am Groot" (Annihilation: Conquest #2, 2008)

Len Wein: co-creator of the Cauldron of the Cosmos, used by Doctor Strange for scrying purposes (Defenders #15, 1974)

Wellinton Alves: co-creator of Knowhere, a city carved from the interior of a decapitated Celestial (Nova #8, 2008)

Sal Velluto: co-creator of Black Panther wearing a necklace of talons around his neck (Black Panther #13, 1999)

Gabriele Dell'Otto: co-creator of Maria Hill, next in line to command S.H.I.E.L.D. (Secret War #5, 2005)

Michael Lark: co-creator of Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes being nearly the same age (Captain America #5, 2005)

Jim Calafiore: co-creator of the Jabari, a Wakandan tribe to which M'Baku belongs (Black Panther #34, 2001)

Bob Layton: co-creator of James "Rhodey" Rhodes, pilot and friend of Tony Stark (Iron Man #118, 1979)

Gavin Curtis: co-creator of Vision disguising his appearance using holograms (Avengers Spotlight #40, 1991)

Al Hartley: co-creator of Morgan, a member of Tony Stark's extended family (Tales of Suspense #68, 1965)

George Freeman: co-creator of Contraxians, an extraterrestrial species (Jack of Hearts #1, 1984)

Jim Shooter: co-creator of Captain America & Iron Man having a tense relationship (Avengers #165, 1977)

Brandon Peterson: co-creator of sorcerers conjuring shields with decorative glyphs (Strange #5, 2005)

Michael Avon Oeming: co-creator of Thor losing an eye during the events of Ragnarok (Thor #84, 2004)

Larry Hama: co-creator of the Avengers being responsible to the United Nations (Avengers #329, 1991)

Mike Allred: co-creator of Nick Fury as an African-American man (Ultimate Marvel Team-Up #5, 2001)

Sara Barnes: co-creator of sorcerers conjuring shields with decorative glyphs (Strange #5, 2005)

Kenneth Rocafort: co-creator of Ayo, one of the shaven Dora Milaje (Ultimates #2, 2016)

Daniel Berman: co-creator of Thor losing an eye during the events of Ragnarok (Thor #84, 2004)

Andrea DiVito: co-creator of Thor losing an eye during the events of Ragnarok (Thor #84, 2004)

M.C. Wyman: co-creator of Nebula's body reinforced with cybernetics (Silver Surfer #72, 1992)

Keith Pollard: co-creator of Xandar, homeworld of the Xandarians (Fantastic Four #205, 1979)

Marshall Rogers: co-creator of the Collector pursuing Infinity Gems (Silver Surfer #7, 1988)

Marv Wolfman: co-creator of Xandar, homeworld of the Xandarians (Fantastic Four #205, 1979)

Gaspar Saladino: creator of the Avengers logo with enlarged letter "A" (Avengers #96, 1972)

Ron Marz: co-creator of Nebula's body reinforced with cybernetics (Silver Surfer #72, 1992)

Lee Garbett: co-creator of Thor having a sister he didn't know of (Original Sin #5.1, 2014)

Olivier Coipel: co-creator of Thor with his hair cut short (The Unworthy Thor #2, 2017)

Peter B. Gillis: creator of Nidavellir, one of the Nine Worlds (Thor Annual #10, 1982)

Dennis O'Neil: co-creator of James Rhodes wearing Iron Man armor (Iron Man #169, 1983)

Gary Friedrich: co-creator of the Falcon's red costume (Captain America #144, 1971)

Carlo Pagulayan: co-creator of Sakaar, an alien world (Incredible Hulk #92, 2006)

Greg Pak: co-creator of Sakaar, an alien world which (Incredible Hulk #92, 2006)

Kurt Busiek: co-creator of Tony Stark wearing a goatee (Iron Man #1, 1998)

Sean Chen: co-creator of Tony Stark wearing a goatee (Iron Man #1, 1998)