Below you’ll find our reading selections for the year of 1967, and at the end of our reading, you’ll find my thoughts on the year and our winners for hero and villain of the year.
Feel free to discuss the comics and any related thoughts below in the comments!
1967 Comic Reading List
|1967||Comic Book Title||Issues|
|1||Fantastic Four||#57 to #60|
|2||Avengers, Avengers Annual||#38, #1|
|4||Amazing Spider-Man||#47,#49,#50 to #52|
|5||Fantastic Four||#62 to #63|
|6||Strange Tales||#153 to #155, #157 to #158|
|7||Tales to Astonish||#93|
|9||Fantastic Four, Fantastic Four Annual||#65, #5|
|10||Tales of Suspense||#93,#94|
Check out Comic Book Herald’s songs of 1967 on Spotify to listen to while you read!
The Voting – 1967
The Marvel Hero of the Year: 1967
I have to admit, when we started My Marvelous Year, I knew just about every vote in the 1960s Hero of the Year would come down to Spider-Man vs. The Fantastic Four. Sure, I figured we’d sprinkle in some votes for Doctor Strange, and quite possibly we’ll see the likes of Nick Fury and Silver Surfer to close the decade, but for the most part this is the Spidey and FF show.
What I didn’t see coming was Spider-Man running away with the title with ease. I’ve made it no secret that good old Peter Parker is my favorite superhero ever, but I figured the Comic Book Herald faithful might be as taken by Jack and Stan’s first family as I have been.
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Nonetheless, here we are with only 2 years left in the 1960s, and Spider-Man has just won his fourth Hero of the Year award, with the Fantastic Four stuck on two.
Despite some great comics from the Fantastic Four (taking down Doom after he usurped the Silver Surfer’s power, fending off the likes of Ronan the Accuser and Psycho-Man), Amazing Spider-Man is just too good, even long after the departure of Steve Ditko.
Stanly the Manly and Jazzy John Romita knock out classic after classic during this period of Spider-Man Even things like Mary Jane abruptly dancing in the living room of her aunt’s house (early Mary Jane is a hoot) are charming and a part of the fabric of Peter Parker’s well-defined universe.
We’ll take a moment after 1969 to reassess the 60’s as a whole, but as it stands, Spider-Man is the heavy favorite for the decade’s hero of the year!
1967 Hero of the Year: Spider-Man
The Marvel Villain of the Year: 1967
Speaking of recurring winners, 1967 marks the third Villain of the Year crown for Doctor Doom.
Our reading list saw the introduction of Ronan the Accuser, Psycho-Man, and Kingpin, as well as a top-notch quest for world domination for the Mandarin. In fact, it’s the Mandarin who impressed me the most, assembling a C-list Masters of Evil and giving each crew tiny post-it notes for his diamond-based conquest initiative.
Ok, in reality, it was the Kingpin who makes the splashiest entrance, with a quest for crime boss that nearly marks the end of Spider-Man and J. Jonah Jameson!
Nonetheless… Doctor Doom stole the Silver Surfer’s power and rode around on his cosmic surfboard until the accursed Fantastic Four got lucky. He wins by a mile (well actually, just a few votes, but still, all hail Doom!).
1967 Villain of the Year: Doctor Doom
The Marvel Comic Issue of The Year: 1967
I am sorely tempted to pick Avengers Annual #1 as a winner here, for the simple fact that it so neatly carves the hero + hero vs. villain + villain template we’ll see in coming multi-issue epics like the Avengers vs. Defenders War. It’s far from a perfect comic, but Roy Thomas and John Buscema do a great job with an enormous cast of Avengers, and also a giant sword hanging over a village.
You could also make a strong case for any of Jaunty Jim Steranko’s first written/drawn Nick Fury arcs in Strange Tales, although I suspect he’ll get his due in 1968.
Our winner, though, is “Spider-Man No More!” the near perfect template used for everyone’s favorite Spider-Man 2. Much like last year’s winner, Amazing Spider-Man #33, this issue is a nice inspirational reminder why Peter Parker remains the hero, and the interactions between Spidey and Jolly Jonah are priceless.
1967 Issue of the Year: Amazing Spider-Man #50
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As I was finishing up the ’67 issues I took a look at the Tales of Suspense letters page (aptly named Mails of Suspense) for issue 93, and noticed a letter from a “Walt Simonson” of Amherst College. I checked Walt’s Wikipedia page and he indeed attended at that time.
Funny thing, in the letter he complained that Gene Colan’s art was becomig too stylized.
Great catch Claude! Perhaps he would respond to a post on his Facebook page?
It’s an interesting comment, considering that Mr. Colan would appear to be of great influence on Mr. Simonson’s work. I, for one, found Gene Colan’s art on Iron Man, as the final issues of Tales of Suspense wound down, to be among the decade’s best. I remember fondly reading for the first time the Iron Man segment of TOS 97 “The Coming of Whiplash” in the Son of Origins of Marvel Comics Fireside publication, thinking how much more modern it seemed than the earlier, origin issues in that and the Origins of Marvel Comics publication. This would have been 1981, give or take a year or two.
I’ll also comment here in favor of adding best writer and best penciller to the format. Dimensions that will bring more great comics into the discussion.
A particular writer’s or artist’s contribution to a character can have a tremendous influence on a reader’s passion for comics. I mentioned my fondness for Gene Colan art in TOS 97, as I was introduced to it in the 80’s. Keeping in mind that this was many years before eBay, or Marvel Unlimited, I found it quite difficult to follow up on my interest in viewing Mr. Colan’s work on TOS in it’s entirety. It took a couple decades to finally sate that particular desire, and I daresay sparked a greater fascination with other great artists like Steranko and Starlin, whose work may appear in titles that may not have been hugely influential on the mainstream Marvel Comics Universe at the time. Steranko’s art in any particular issue may not elevate that issue to be best in the year of its publication, but clearly the work influenced many artists, and art-lovers, from that point forward in a different way than a single comic may be judged to be the best in the year of its publication.
I can understand what you mean. I was never a big Gene Colan fan, but his art (and talent) is one that I can immediately recognize and appreciate. I first noticed him, myself, on Daredevil.
But I digress, you put it succinctly: “A particular writer’s or artist’s contribution to a character can have a tremendous influence on a reader’s passion for comics.”
In my youth in the early ’80s I did not pay much attention to the talent behind the books, I was just focused on the characters. But in reality, the talent obviously had a major impact on my buying habits. As time progressed and I looked back over the books I had amassed I noticed the same names popping up over and over: Marv Wolfman, John Byrne, George Perez and of course Lee, Kirby and Romita.
It would be interesting to compare which particular artist or writer was the major impetus for a person becoming “a fan”.
Mark Kausch says
So, I’ve read just about all I can before dinner. More thoughts:
Avengers: By mistake I read #37. #38 positively shines in comparison. Ann #1 is just an excuse to get the band back together. But they sure can still play!
Astonish #93: Yay! Hulk vs Silver Surfer! So alike yet so different. And Hulk paired with Namor is also cool as they’re more anti-hero than either hero or villain.
X-Men: This issue kinda feels like a token appearance in the list. Shame since I really enjoy them X-Guys, even in the early period. And now I’ve read some Spidey even if I haven’t gotten to him this year.
Having read no Spidey issues yet, I’ve gotta go for the FF in spite of the sexist attitudes. I think it’s a fair representation of the times. Speaking of getting bands together, I think the Manderin is the villain of the year.
Such a great year, though I feel like Spidey and FF towered over everything else (though oh my goodness, Kirby’s artwork in Thor is just outrageous). A lot of stuff has been said above that I’d only be repeating, so I’ll make this relatively short, but one thing that I find really interesting when comparing FF and Spider-Man is the attitudes towards women on display. While I’m not claiming that late 60’s Spidey is the most progressive comic of all time, it’s light-years ahead of FF. It’s just weird to go from MJ and Gwen being independent and carefree to Susan being treated like a crazy woman for getting emotionally invested in what everyone is doing. If anything, it makes Reed look incredibly sexist, and Johnnie’s friends don’t act much better around Crystal. Anyhow, random thoughts…
– Am I the only one who really doesn’t like Kraven the Hunter? He feels super one-note and aggravating any time he appears, and Spidey has such great villains that I’m always disappointed when he gets featured.
– I’m shocked I hadn’t heard of Marie Severin before now, but her artwork on Strange is tremendous. Between her, Kirby, and Romita (and Ditko) (and Steranko), Marvel definitely knew how to hire great comic artists.
– It’s weird somehow reading X-Men without Wolverine.
I’ve had a rather busy week so I haven’t had time to write up my thoughts in detail as I have in the past, and I also haven’t read all the comics this week after leaving my tablet in my desk one day putting me two comics behind. Since something had to be cut, I didn’t bother reading Daredevil based off the comments I’ve seen here and my own experience thinking it’s been rather lousy since the first issue. So my overall opinions on every Title.
Spider-Man: Consistently fantastic. The villains are always interesting, and his personal life is always engaging. His angst could easily be melodrama but it never crosses that line. Great!
Fantastic Four: Consistently good. I’m not always as won over by whatever the villain is this month, but the characters hold the story together. I’m excited about the Richards baby, and with this 8-9 month pregnancy not coming to fruition until the next annual, I think, a year later I believe we have our first demonstrated example of Marvel Time.
Silver Surfer Sidebar: Silver Surfer gets his own note due to crossovers. The character is great and his modern arc is great. I am growing rather frustrated with this year’s appearances of the character. He just creates his own problems that he then has to solve…that’s just really annoying. For awhile when I see him I’m going to get rather concerned for the rest of the issue.
Strange Tales: I find myself skimming through a lot of the SHIELD stuff, but Dr. Strange is consistently great. The plot is a little thing on the ground, but the visuals are gorgeous.
Tales to Astonish: I have the same problem with the Hulk story as I do with other Surfer stories this year. As for Namor. Look, I thought Namor was robbed in 1962, but the more time I spend with the character as the focus I become less enthralled. His stories are just so boring and it really takes away some of the magic I felt when he’d randomly invade New York from time to time.
Uncanny X-Men: This may be an unpopular opinion. I’m not a huge fan of misunderstandings creating conflicts in most works of fiction, this is my main impediment to enjoying Romantic Comedies. So I find it just as frustrating when a comic takes ten pages having heroes fight when they could have just talked for 2 seconds. It’s happened every so often so far, and I just wanted to get out now taht I hate it every time it happens. Hate it!
Avengers: Fine. The idea of the Avengers is way better than its execution has been.
Tales of Suspense: Also fine. Captain America had a better story in this run than Iron Man did.
As for the actual awards for this year, I think it has to be a clean sweep for Spider-Man and his ilk. I once again almost wrote in J. Jonah Jameson for villain of the year. Unfortunately he got usurped in the very next issue.
Hero of the Year: Spider-Man
Villain of the Year: Kingpin
Issue of the Year: Amazing Spider-Man #50
Mark Kausch says
Hmmm. A bit ironic that this post is right after Adam’s. (If it doesn’t stay that way, forget I said anything.) So, once again it looks like I’ll get a big, ol’ incomplete. Been sick this week and, also, I went to Disneyland. And I’m an Annual Passholder. And Feb is Annual Passholder Days.
Plus, did I mention I’ve been sick? Really, I’ve got a note from my mom around here somewheres.
I have read all the FF though, and my thoughts are as follows:
#57-60: Great stuff! Which is what I’d expect especially with Stan and Jack on the job. Doom might be the villain of the year again. And I haven’t read any of the other mags yet.
#62-63: Well. No more letters. Good news – I like ’em! Bad news – it takes me that much longer to finish an ish. [sigh] Also, Kirby/Sinnott’s Negative Zone art rocks! (Yuck. No pun intended. Really.) Especially that two-page spread. Think how much better it would have looked if MU had scanned it just a liitle bit better. I’m also thinking that we kinda got thrown into the story. Possibly #61 should also have been included.
#65, Ann #5: Though I don’t see any link between the two (what’m I missing, Dave?), still quality stuff. Quasi reminds me of MODOK – and gee, look who appears in the next line down? Susie’s still the whiney wimp – and now she preggers. That’s really gonna help. #64 introduces us to the Kree – kinda. Eases the shock of starting in da middle o’ nowhere in #65.
Hey guys, I’ve been so far behind on some of these readings. I keep only getting time for the fantastic four and spiderman issues (I mean, they are the best).
Can anyone offer any insight as to how easy it will be to jump back in on this and following weeks without doing too much catching up?
I’m sure I’ll read all of these someday. Thanks to this group and CBH I’ll now be reading marvel comics for the rest of my life.
Sounds like I’ve already won 🙂
I can tell you that there will be a “catch up” week once we finish 1969, as we reflect and vote on the 60’s as a decade. Hopefully that helps a bit!
“Spider-man No More” is nothing less than a masterpiece of comicbook storytelling in all its aspects. I would argue that is the best single issue representative of the Marvel Silver Age. That being said, I gave my vote for the best hero of the year to the Fantastic Four, strictly in recognition of the creativity consistently on display by Lee and Kirby. The FF begin the year taking on the Cosmic-powered Doctor Doom, survive an explosive introduction to Blastarr, become the first in the galaxy to defeat a Kree Sentry, first to escape final judgement delivered by Ronan the Accuser and Supremor, and close the year facilitating the birth of Adam Warlock (who, as we all know, would go on to play a recurring role in saving (and threatening) the Marvel Universe). That’s a big year. Picking villain of the year was more difficult, but I gave my vote to Doom. 1967 would not be the last time we would see Doom usurp Cosmic power. Steranko’s turn with Nick Fury was huge, but he’ll get his recognition. And alas, with the highs, come also the lows: Mike Murdock. Thanks for the forum. Revisiting these classic issues with a purpose was a great way to spend a chilly Sunday afternoon.
I am sure it is hard to pick Spider-Man issues, as he is generally great in this time period. My favorite issues of the year are #44 and 45, a two-part Lizard story. I gave both of those issues five stars. What makes them shine is outstanding artwork, relatable problems and stakes, and Peter Parker’s interactions with people giving the proper context to his struggles as Spider-Man.
Amazing Spider-Man #50 is great, too, introducing the formidable Kingpin and featuring one of the 10 most iconic comic covers ever.
From the list, my favorite issues were Fantastic Four #57-60. This is Doom at his best, and his efforts to steal the Silver Surfer’s powers make for an exciting story. On the strength of this arc, I voted for FF and Doom in the poll and picked #60 as best issue.
The first part of the Troll-Asgard War is also better than average quality.
Dave, why are you subjecting people to the Mike Murdock nonsense? Most of the issues for 1967 are good reads and introduce important concepts, but these Daredevil issues are awful.
Hercules goes through some big swings in writing quality. He is sometimes insufferable, but put him in the hands of Greg Pak and some other writers, and he can be a lot of fun.
Called out for Daredevil! I love it.
I mostly include because DD is super popular (he keeps getting Hero of the Year votes!), and these comics will make the 80’s reinvention even more dramatic. That and I can’t get enough Stilt Man. Don’t worry, they’ll slow down 🙂
You’re right, AMS is basically impossible. My rec remains: read all of Spider-Man whenever you can!
Woo, Steranko…I’ve only read his Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD(1968?) , not the Strange Tales issues. This should be interesting.
I may have to skip those Daredevil and give a little time to Tales to Astonish, I remember some great Hulk stories from this time period.
Nice. Yeah I’m trying to tackle more Tales to Astonish too, the Hulks been out of the spotlight for too long.