647 – The Magic Hammer

A nice little archaeological find in DC’s Tales of the Unexpected #16 (June 1957): Jack Kirby brings us a short story called “The Magic Hammer”. In it, a nasty prospector discovers Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir, and uses it to summon rain and build himself a crooked fortune. Eventually Thor comes to claim the hammer, telling the […]

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633 – UFO, the Lightning Man

Jack Kirby continues to lay the groundwork for the Marvel era. In Yellow Claw #3 (October 1956) an alien named UFO from Alpha Centauri is befriended by the Yellow Claw and turned against Americans. He has the ability to manipulate tremendous cosmic energy, which he yields against the Americans until he is shown the error […]

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630 – Yellow Claw Inception

In Yellow Claw #2 (Aug 1956), Jack Kirby takes a crack at Marvel’s latest super-villain, the Yellow Claw. More examples of early “Kirby Krackle” as well as wonderfully intricate layouts like the above Inception-like warping of space. In “Concentrate on Chaos”, the Yellow Claw has kidnapped six mutants with powers that can skew people’s perceptions […]

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626 – Bug Invaders

In Marvel’s World of Mystery #3 (July 1956), a young boy and his farmer father encounter what appears to be a small space ship and some “bugs” in their barn. The father dismisses it all as “junk” and tosses it away, but the big reveal comes in the last couple panels: The “junk” is really […]

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624 – Yellow Claw

Although Atlas/Marvel had largely given up on superheroes by 1956, there was an attempt at a super-villain-like character in The Yellow Claw (June 1956). The Yellow Claw was 150 years old, as well as a genius with supernatural powers allowing him to see into the past and future. He was opposed by Jimmy Woo, an […]

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621 – Uncanny Future Men

In Marvel’s Uncanny Tales #45 (May 1956), a short story “The Men With Green Blood”. In it, a doctor investigates a corpse who had green blood and uncovers a group of older men who identify themselves as mutants and have “mentalities and strange developing powers”, operating in secret to benefit humanity.

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603 – Sub-Mariner’s Last Hurrah

The Sub-Mariner makes his last appearance of the 1950s in Sub-Mariner #42 (July 1955), closing out the last of an attempted resurgence of Marvel (Atlas) characters, just as DC is warming up the engines of its full Silver Age. Atlas Comics gave Sub-Mariner two years, but I guess it wasn’t enough to ignite an interest […]

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593 – The Black Knight!

In January 1955 Atlas (Marvel) put out The Black Knight #1 – a new comic book featuring a new character. The Black Knight had the secret identity of the foppish Percy of Scandia in King Arthur’s court, an ally of Merlin’s who battled against barbarians and occasionally King Arthur’s nephew Modred, who was married to […]

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592 – Comics Code Authority Arrives

In 1955, all DC and Marvel comics began having the “Approved by the Comics Code Authority” seal displayed prominently on the cover. The CCA was voluntarily put into effect by many players in the comics industry in response to Senate hearings around juvenile delinquency, championed by Dr. Wertham. This spells the end to EC comics, […]

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588 – Namor Power-Up

In Sub-Mariner #38 (Nov 1954), Namor is called into the Emperor’s castle underneath Antarctica. In a quick exposition, we are told that the Sub-Mariner used to have incredible powers: super-strength, flight, invulnerability, but that he has lost them over his extended time interacting with land dwellers: Namor is told that their scientists have discovered how […]

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