This entry continues a project I began last October and was difficult to write because it leaves out so many other worthy titles. And it was harder because I’m closer to this history than DC’s history, having grown up with Marvel characters. Ultimately, though, I feel the same about Marvel’s continuity as I do about DC’s. Continuity is not a handicap, it is the best thing that ever happened to comics. It gives them the spirit of an ongoing saga, with time passing and organic growth, and discards the status quo for progress and change. It’s also important to mention that my interpretation of how that growth should occur is informed by my own fanfiction.
Millie the Model. A 26-page romance/comedy anthology with two 13-page stories featuring Millie in 1960. Millie is 31, the world’s first supermodel, married to her photographer, ‘Clicker’. They tour the world for photo shoots and help people with their problems wherever they go.
Modeling with Millie. A 26-page romance/comedy anthology with two 13-page stories set in 1967. Millie, now 38, runs a modeling agency and uses it to help change girls’/young women’s lives. The stories tend to be one-shots focused on the people Millie helps, with less involvement from her than in Millie the Model.
Fantastic Four. A 22-page adventure/science fiction/romance serial, featuring the Fantastic Four in 1972. With Reed and Sue retiring, the Thing and the Human Torch are joined by the Sub-Mariner and Crystal to form the new team. The Thing and the Human Torch finally get engaged to Alicia and Crystal respectively. The FF decide to leave NY for a new HQ in NJ, just in time for an invasion of the Lizard Men of Tok in Subterranea and the introduction of Thundra into a new Frightful Four. Each issue has a 4-page back-up of domestic/science fiction comedy featuring the retired Mr. Fantastic and Invisible Girl.
The Mighty Thor. A 21/26-page adventure/romance serial, featuring Thor and the Norse gods of Asgard in 1975. While warring against the Egyptian gods or the Time-Twisters as they ravage time, Thor discovers part of Don Blake still lives within him and loves Jane Foster so strongly that Thor cannot give all his heart to Sif. Jane returns to make it a love triangle. The Warriors Three alternate between having a 5-page independent back-up story or figure prominently in the main story.
The Amazing Spider-Man. A 21-page adventure/romance serial, featuring Spider-Man in 1976. Peter Parker changes his major to forensic science as he continues college part-time and becomes engaged to Mary Jane Watson, between battles with the Punisher, the Kingpin, and Stegron the Dinosaur-Man. A 5-page adventure serial back-up features the Prowler on an adventure, sometimes peripherally connected to Spider-Man’s own.
Dr. Strange. A 21-page adventure/supernatural suspense serial, featuring Dr. Strange in 1977. Dr. Strange has been the official Sorcerer Supreme of Earth for a year now. He has been married to Clea for three years and she is pregnant with their first child. They have an extended family of four of Strange’s disciples/apprentices and the always-unhappy and scheming father-in-law of Dormammu, deadly rematches with the wizard Stygyro, and the celestial politics of the Ancient One, the In-Betweener, and the cosmic balance. A 5-page back-up serial focuses on Clea’s solo outings in learning what it means to be human, or the more familiar paranormal.
The Incredible Hulk. A 21-page adventure/romance serial, featuring the Hulk in 1978. The Hulk currently has the intelligence of Bruce Banner at age 16. Both Banner and Hulk can control their transformations into each other now, doing so based on if strength or intelligence is needed. Bruce and Betty have been married for a year. Gamma Base has been turned from a military base into a scientific laboratory. Doc Sampson is on staff at Gamma Base, helping Banner and the Hulk cope with their split personality, and occasionally aiding in dealing with threats like Moonstone, a villainous who plays mind games with men. A 5-page back-up feature deals with Doc Sampson, either commenting on the Hulk’s adventures, doing something peripheral to the Hulk’s adventures, or doing something interesting of his own.
Captain America. A 21-page adventure/romance serial, featuring Captain America in 1979. Steve Rogers is aging fast and half-retired, mostly retired, the identity of Capt. America all but officially handed off to his chosen successor, Rick Jones. Rick is fighting The Corporation, which has infiltrated SHIELD. SHIELD agent Sharon Carter finds herself torn between attraction to both Caps. A 5-page back-up feature follows the Falcon, Rick’s part-time partner, in some peripheral adventure.
Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos. A 26-page action/war serial featuring Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos in 1956, as the experienced war vets perform covert missions in Southeast Asia.
Avengers. A 26-page adventure serial featuring the Avengers in 1981. The roster is Black Knight, Black Panther, Beast, Vision, Mantis, Falcon, and Jocasta as the U.N. charges them with handling threats like Pyron the Thermal Man, the Shadow Lord, and the Beserker.
Two-Gun Kid. An 18-page cowboy/superhero serial featuring Two-Gun Kid in 1881. Moreso than the other cowboy heroes, Two-Gun tends to fight colorful, supervillain-like foes. An 8-page back-up adventure has Two-Gun performing more traditional cowboy fare.
Daredevil. A 21-page adventure serial featuring a new Daredevil in 1983. Matt Murdock dies, trading his life force to bring Elektra back from the dead. Elektra seeks to take up the mantle of Daredevil, but the Hand rejects her, saying they already have another choice, blind ex-cop and ex-soldier Willie Lincoln. Elektra is forced to train him as Willie-Daredevil takes on the war against Bullseye and the Kingpin. A 5-page back-up feature rotates between another “street level” hero doing something peripheral to whatever Daredevil’s current adventure is.
X-Men. A 26-page adventure serial featuring the X-Men in 1984. Wolverine, Rogue, Cyclops, Ariel, Colossus, Storm, and Nightcrawler are the current team as they tackle the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, the Morlocks, and the H---fire Club.
Iron Man. A 21-page adventure serial featuring Iron Man in 1985. Stark’s new company, Circuits Maximus, is successful enough that Obadiah Stane offers him a deal he can’t refuse – Stane International will absorb his company and Tony will be half in charge of both. With access to his old resources, Stark builds a new, bulkier, 7’ tall suit of armor that can lift/press 20 tons and takes over being Iron Man again from Jim Rhodes, just in time to take on the Termite, Vibro, and Dr. Demonicus. Tony rejoins the West Coast Avengers. Obadiah, meanwhile, works behind the scenes to back the bad guys. In a 5-page back-up feature, Jim Rhodes continues to be Iron Man in the old suit, for-hire.
Marvel’s Greatest Comics. A 34-page reprint volume with 2-3 reprinted stories from the company’s history, rotating between characters.
Marvel Team-Up. A 21-page adventure serial featuring Spider-Man and another rotating superhero (such as the Human Torch, the Thing, or Ms. Marvel) in 1987. Peter Parker is now a forensic scientist for the NYPD. He and Mary Jane are married. Their daughter is five years old. A 5-page back-up feature follows one of those heroes past the adventure, to give you a glimpse into what their life in 1987 was like.
The Hands of Shang-Chi, Master of Kung-Fu. A 21-page adventure serial featuring Shang-Chi in 1988. Shang Chi, endowed with a mysterious mystical power, finds he is now able to impart Kung-Fu skill to others. Building up a team of disciples, Shang-Chi decides to tour the world and right wrongs. A 5-page back-up feature rotates between Shang-Chi’s old supporting cast and shows what they are doing these days.
Defenders. A 26-page adventure serial featuring the current team in 1989. An aging Dr. Strange finds the Defenders who died back in ’86 went with Valkyrie to Valhalla and can be summoned back temporarily as Einherjar. In this way Gargoyle, Valkyrie, and Andromeda come back to help Dr. Strange in times of need. Gargoyle and Andromeda, in particular, need to adjust to their new life of only being “alive” when adventure calls. A 5-page back-up feature spotlights one of the other former Defenders and shows what they’re doing in 1989.
Iron Man by Bob Layton
13 hours ago