Below you’ll find our reading selections for the year of 1969, 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!
1969 Comic Reading List
|1969||Comic Book Title||Issues|
|1||Thor||#160, #161, #162|
|2||Amazing Spider-Man||#68, #69|
|4||Incredible Hulk||#115, #116, #117|
|5||Captain America||#113, #115 to #119|
|10||Incredible Hulk Annual||#1|
The Voting – 1969
The Marvel Hero of the Year: 1969
1969 Hero of the Year: Captain America
The Marvel Villain of the Year: 1969
1969 Villain of the Year: Red Skull
The Marvel Comic Issue of The Year: 1969
1969 Issue of the Year: Captain America #113
The Marvel Artist of the Year: 1969
1969 Artist of the Year: Neal Adams
The Marvel Writer of the Year: 1969
1969 Writer of the Year: Stanly the Manly
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Hi, the Uncanny X-Men issues 60-63 are missing from the list.
Also, Incredible Hulk Annual 1 (kingsize special) is from 1968, right ?
Charles Martin says
Hey, I’m very late to the party, but I wanted to drop a line to point out an overlooked gem from1969: Silver Surfer #5.
The earlier issues of the Surfer’s solo title had some minor landmarks in Marvel history (e.g. the introduction of the Badoon), but #5 is just a beautiful story.
The Surfer teams up with physicist Al Harper to stop the Stranger from wiping out all life on Earth. Like a lot of the books in this title, it takes a deep look at the potential of mankind in comparison to humanity’s shortcomings. The stakes couldn’t be higher and victory only comes at a tremendous cost.
Stan Lee won our award for best writer of 1969, and this book is another piece of evidence showing that the win was well-earned. John Buscema’s art is good and getting better – we actually get to watch him grow into Jack Kirby’s successor in comics like this one.
This issue also features the hilarious story of the Surfer (disguised in a trenchcoat, hat, and sunglasses) trying to earn money. Of what value is the Power Cosmic when one seeks a job in a union shop?
Just wanted to drop in and say I’m loving this reading club so far – thank you for putting this together! I’m exactly one week behind (this one week per decade recap/catch-up was a gift from god), but I’ve been having a lot of fun keeping up with the lists so far. I just got into Marvel comics last summer after falling in love with the MCU, so this couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. Thank you for all the effort you put into this, and thank you to everyone commenting with your insight week after week. Keep up the good work!
Very glad you’re digging it! I’m excited to get the 1970’s started here soon.
I enjoyed the GotG origin more than the next guy, but mostly from a completion perspective. The first series I read was the 2008 GotG, back when I first started reading comics way back in 2014, and I have since read the more recent Guardians 3000 series.
I voted Lee, Steranko and Captain America, based solely on #113. That two-page spread of the fight scene vs. Hydra in the cemetery was unlike anything I have seen up that point in our reading club. Pure gold.
Other than that and the Thor issues, it was an average week, at best. Looking forward to cracking open a new decade!
Hmm. Good overall year but a bit patchy for me. I know the GotG issue was here for historical purposes, but it was really weak. I also found the Hulk Annual interminable. Overall the Hulk is not that interesting right now. The Avengers continues to get stronger and stronger. But I was most impressed overall with the Cap/Skull storyline. Particularly Cap’s existential quandary about his place in America at this time. And, even though there was only one Steranko issue in the selected reading, it garnered him my Artist of the Year vote. I mean, come on. What other issue this year had an image like the iconic full-page Hydra battle scene? ‘Nuff said. Although the appearance of Gil Kane illustrating a full story was welcome.
Just wanted to comment on the Hulk Annual, as I listed it as a “highlight” for me. I agree that it seemed to go on and on, but I just enjoyed the mash-up of the different characters, and it struck me as a true crossover in the sense that these are two worlds that would pretty much never collide, and while maybe too long, the results were interesting. A worthy experiment if nothing else. Still, the fact that it was a standout for me highlights the overall average-ness of the year.
This was the first year that I felt a little let down by. There seemed to be a lot of spinning of the wheels without much substantial happening. I also think that Spider-Man’s overall quality started to drop in this year, though it’s still highly enjoyable reading. But I think the pacing in general started to feel a little off, with plot-lines dragged on for very long times (fountain of youth tablet, I’m looking at you). There were some cool origins, like Rick Jones and Captain Marvel’s bonding and the birth of The Falcon, and there were some memorable storylines, like Hulk and the Inhumans and Cap and the Red Skull (which again felt really long to me but was interesting and creative). Anyhow, can’t believe it’s the end of the 60’s; what an amazing run of classic comics overall for the decade. Also, I can’t believe we’re coming up on Fantastic Four #100 next year!
Hero of the Year: The Avengers started the year with a wedding, averted nuclear holocaust, and engaged in a gladiatorial chess match orchestrated by cosmic forces (ala Secret Wars). As great as all of the Marvel titles are in this time period, I find the Avengers the most interesting and meaningful for the Marvel Universe as it came to be.
Issue of the Year: “And We Battle For The Earth” Avengers 68. The shocking climax to the story arc started by Roy Thomas and Barry Smith, depicting the threat of nuclear holocaust posed by an insane and indestructible Ultron.
Writer of the Year: Roy Thomas. Thankfully the transition from the Lee/Kirby dominated Marvel Silver Age of comics was in good hands. In 1969, Mr. Thomas worked magic with Neal Adams, Barry Smith, Gil Kane, Sal Buscema, Marie Severin, Gene Colan, and Herb Trimpe, on six different regular comics.
Villain of the Year: Ultron (again).
Artist of the Year: Neal Adams. Recognition goes to Barry Smith for contributing fresh looks at older characters in multiple titles. Also would recognize that Jim Steranko’s work on Captain America was also stellar, but only a couple full issues and a few covers does not warrant best of year honors. Of course Jack Kirby deserves recognition for being Jack Kirby, but a new age was dawning on comics, and new artists were building upon the “Marvel Way” epitomized by Jack Kirby, and it was fresh and good for the comics. I can’t wait until we’re fully in to the Bronze age comics!
A good year…
It was hard to nail down favorites, except for writer: Stan the Man was in fine form this year. The Captain America issues were great. As were the Hulk issues. All fondly remembered from my youth.
I felt many of the books were equal, so hard to choose a stand out issue for issue of the year. I had to go with Captain America 113 for the outstanding Stenranko art. Though I went with Herb Trimpe for artist of the year, but I admit that has a lot to do with nostalgia.
These are not the Guardians of the Galaxy you are looking for. Seriously, though, this issue by Arnold Drake is pretty terrible, and even other issues with this different line-up are better.
On the good side of things, Thor comes to the rescue! His stories with Galactus and Ego make for great reading. I voted for Thor #161 as Best Issue, Thor as Best Hero, and Galactus as Best Villain.
The Fantastic Four and X-Men are not represented this week. That is fair enough, as they did not introduce any major new concepts this year. The X-Men, however, did bring on Neal Adams to draw a few issues. X-Men #57-59 are all recommended, and I wrote in Neal Adams as my pick for Best Artist. Jack Kirby would get my vote if I restricted it to the assigned reading, mostly on the strength of his Thor issues.
Fantastic Four had a couple of good one-offs in 1969. #90 and #93 are both fun stories, and if you are already caught up, why not treat yourself to more goodness from Marvel’s First Family?
Best Writer went to Stan Lee for Thor, Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, Incredible Hulk, and Captain America.
Almost caught up on this month’s comics, I’m really liking Thor and Captain America, but I felt I had to comment after reading Captain Marvel #17. I’ve been reading Jessica Jones on the side since watching the show, so it was kind of fun reading that comic and thinking “I’ve seen all this before! That’s funny.” It’s very odd, but I also thought it was weird when I read it in Jessica Jones.
That’s a great catch, yes. This Captain Marvel issue also goes a surprisingly long way to explaining some of Kelly Sue Deconnick’s more recent Captain Marvel run. The more you know!