Aug 27, 2010

"What Galactus knows,... he can DESTROY!" Reflections on a 1960s comic pick

Sometimes you find a deal you can't pass up. This happened to me recently when I was picking up my comic pull from our local shop, Paper Heroes.

Every now and then Kevin (the owner) will by a bunch of old comics off of someone. Most of the time it's things that I bought back in the 80's, around the time of Crisis on Infinite Earths. But sometimes he'll get a batch of older stuff in, and I like to pick through those boxes when he gets 'em.

On this particular trip he had a stack of old Thor comics, about 6 or 7 of them, and they were in decent shape  (and by that I mean that they weren't coming apart in my hands). I would loved to have had them all, but they were all around $6 bucks a piece and I'd already spent close to my weekly comic book budget (self imposed, mind you). That all being the case, I picked the one with the coolest cover and interiors.

I don't get an opportunity to look through old books like this very often. It's a rare treat, and I thought I'd share a few pages with you.

The date on the inside puts it being published in January of 1969. The really great thing here is that it's from the Stan Lee / Jack Kirby era of Thor, which pretty much established everything we know and love about the character today.

This cover design features a classic Thor picture, and also features another prominent Marvel character... GALACTUS!

Now, I'm not sure who this guy is (I must admit that I haven't read the issue cover-to-cover yet), but I liked the dynamism and simplicity of the page. What I really love about this page (and this book) is the dialog. I totally get what this guy is saying. I mean, how CAN one convey the dire menace of Galactus? I just don't think it's possible.

Even better is when the big guy shows up. Galactus pretty much has the ultimate "I don't give a shit" attitude. I'd hate to have to negotiate anything with him. I guess he's earned the right to be a dead-pan punk, what with being the last survivor of the original universe before the big bang (If you don't know, then look that stuff up).

So he comes into the picture in this issue, then proclaims, "What Galactus knows... he can DESTROY!" I love the full page shot of his face. The colors are really awesome, especially the hot green used on the word balloons. they really contrast with the fusia and navy of his armor.

The other bonus of digging through these old comics is the advertising. It's loaded with great little gizmos and gadgets from the '60s. I really cracked up when I saw the ad for a "Darling Pet Monkey." Did kids really order monkeys by mail? I can't even imagine asking my parents for that.

Anyway, I don't know about having a pet monkey, but I can just about guarantee that if  were a kid in the '60s I'd have had my eye on the Hypno-Coin.

Who wouldn't want to "make people obey your command?" And all in the power of a single coin? I gotta have one.

I think I'm really going to start looking for more of these old comics; not really to collect them for resale, or anything. I just like having them to dig through and share with friends. It's nice to actually hold a piece of comic book / art history in your hand. It reminds me that things change, and for me that's an important lesson to keep at the forefront of your mind. Maybe someday some fella will buy one of my comics after I'm long gone, and reminisce about how comic books were actually drawn with ink, and printed on paper.

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