Monday, August 24, 2009

Marvel Monday- HULK JUGGLE!

My friend, Rob, and I once had a lengthy discussion in which we tried to comprehend the sheer surrealness of this particular panel from Avengers #1. We came to the conclusion that this panel must surely be the result of the "Marvel way" gone wrong.

For the uninitiated, the "Marvel way" was a new assembly-line method of making comics which persists to this day. It started because Stan Lee, who was editor and head writer over Marvel's then-fledgling superhero titles couldn't manage to write full scripts for each and every comic each and every month. Even farming out some of the scripting chores to his brother , Larry Lieber, wasn't enough (Larry's scripts tend to have strong, anti-commie sentiments which make them seem very dated). Stan decided that the best way to overcome this problem was Jack Kirby. Jack was an amazing workhorse who drew the bulk of Marvel's early comics. This is not to belittle the great artwork by other Marvel talents like Don Heck or Steve Ditko. Jack just drew more of them. Every month. Stan realized that he could write the first few pages of a story, and the last few pages and then hand it over to Jack, who would use his own judgement and experience to fill in the pages in between- usually with lots of eye-popping action. Stan would then go back over the finished pages, suggest any changes that were needed (time allowing) and then write dialog to match the comics. In many cases, the comics done this way seem to have dialog that's a bit... superfluous.

Anyway, Rob and I were baffled by this particular panel and came up with this scenario to explain it.

Stan: "Why is the Hulk at the circus?"
Jack: "I dunno"... *puffs cigar* I took my kids to the circus."
Stan: "I'll just have to make it work!"

The craziest part is NOT the Hulk hiding out at the circus. it's that the people who run the circus believe that the Hulk is a big, green robot who just happened to wander by, providing them with a star attraction. Look, I don't care if there are mutants and radioactive spiders under every rock in the Marvel universe, that JUST DOESN'T HAPPEN.

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