Jun 12, 2017

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 838: Strange Adventures #201, June 1967

https://www.comics.org/issue/21037/

Just before we get to this comic, if you're interested on the brief thoughts I had about Animal Man's previous adventures, they're here:

"I Was the Man with the Animal Powers"
"Return of the Man with Animal Powers"
"A-Man, The Hero with Animal Powers" (Don't actually have this. Only one of the early adventures I've never read.
"Animal Man, Hero or Freak?"

So let's get on to the only one of his adventures not reprinted in the later Adventure Comics series.

Is it just me, or does that look like a very poorly put together Hank McCoy on the cover of that comic? Animal Man's early adventures were, to be blunt, pretty forgettable. Aside from his bizarre origin, which grows only more bizarre as Morrison gets his hands on Buddy, the stories are really pretty mediocre, which might explain the 13 year absence from comics following this story. (Well, not entirely true. His tales were reprinted in Adventure Comics, but when you're a back-up feature to Supergirl, who's going to notice anything else?)

Those reprints actually tell us all we need to know about today's A-Man story. It's so silly that they didn't even bother reprinting it, even though they'd reprinted every other Animal Story that had been written. Today's villain injects himself with...something that turns him into a gorilla with the brain of a human. Then he dresses in "mod" clothing and robs banks.

Can't wait for the gritty, Vertigo-esque reboot of the Mod Gorilla Boss - a grim tale of addiction to Quaaludes and going to too many The Who concerts.

The most interesting aspect of this story is the Carmine Infantino art. Infantino is famous for much of his work, and for me it's mostly his run on the later issues of the Barry Allen Flash series. But here we're seeing a much less-refined version of his art. Infantino has a very distinctive style, easily picked out from amongst his contemporaries. The art in today's comic isn't quite there yet, though the potential of what he was to accomplish shows through. There's some really great shots of Animal Man flying that speak to the draughtsman that Infantino would eventually become.

On to a couple more early adventures tomorrow. To be continued.

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