Marvel’s Greatest Comics #80 [1978] – The Torch Goes Wild


One year ago today (following a few test posts no one saw) I started this weblog (a few earlier admin entries are back-dated to keep them out of the way). It’s gotten a lot further along in that year than I expected, with this book making 457 Kirby related publications covered. That still leaves a long way to go, it’s only a third of the total I can cover even assuming I don’t buy any more in the interim (and I’ve got two in the mail as I write this…), and even that would be less than half of the total (not even counting foreign reprints…). So I’ll be here for a while. Aim for this time next year is 1000. As usual, lists of issues covered in the weblog and recent Kirby publications on the side. And thanks to all who’ve provided help, encouragement, comments and links.

MARVEL’S GREATEST COMICS #80, is an odd choice for the one-year post, I know, but it’s a book that has a lot of sentimental value to me as the first place I ever recall seeing Kirby’s art (and is, I think, the oldest book of any sort I own, in order of acquisition. If I ever sort my collection autobiographically this is on top). My exposure to Kirby was pretty spotty for the next decade (it was a bad decade for newsstand distribution of Kirby’s work and back issues weren’t really available to me in high suburbia), but each of the dozen or so examples I remember coming across sticks out (and of course his characters and influence were everywhere). I don’t know how many times I read this thing. Clearly a lot, as it’s in rough shape and held that way by tape (I actually picked up a nicer copy a while ago, as well as the original of the story it reprints, but I have this affection for my original copy). I know that it stuck with me a lot more than just about anything else I read that year.

Let me say first, I love this image:

Marvel's Greatest Comics #80 [1978]a

I remember trying to trace that and a few others from this issue a few times, just to try to capture some of whatever made it work. Of course, I can’t draw, but I didn’t let that stop me.

Marvel's Greatest Comics #80 [1978]

As I mention in my post about FANTASTIC FOUR #99 (1970), this is probably the last great FF story. Starting with a great splash page of Ben practicing his skiing in front of a mirror and with a great battle between the Torch and the Inhumans, it’s a visual delight. Got, that splash of the Inhuman royal family? Beautiful. It’s also a story about all those things that make the FF great. Family, responsibility, conflict, misunderstandings, the impetuousness of youth, love. There’s a great sense of history in this story, in a way that enriches it even if you aren’t familiar with the earlier stories.

Joe Sinnott inks the edited to 18-page story and heavily modified for the reprint cover, which is a good reason that on most days I consider him my favourite Kirby inker.

Published 1978

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