Friday, 25 September 2009

70 Years of Marvel - 1964

Yes, Thunderbolts fans, that is the self-same Baron Zemo who would go on to become Captain America's WW2 nemesis, who would subsequently go on to found the Masters Of Evil, and whose son would in turn found his own team of Masters, start up the Thunderbolts as the biggest con in history, and eventually become an almost-good-guy. In his first appearance, though, Doctor Zemo was merely one of many Nazi stooges who took on Sgt Fury and his Howling Commandos, and lost.

Famously, Sgt Fury was the result of a bet at the Marvel offices, in which Stan Lee wagered that he could make a war comic in the Marvel manner and make it a success. It worked, for at least the next couple of decades, thriving throughout any number of successes and failures at the House of Ideas.

Making a return to regular appearances in 1964 was Captain America, albeit only as a member of the Avengers. The Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver made their first appearance in this year, as did Daredevil, the Black Widow, Wonder Man, and Hawkeye.

1964 also saw the US Government suggest (god forbid) that smoking cigarettes might be harmful to ones health. The Beatles were conquering America. And IBM were unleashing the S360 mainframe! Meanwhile, the war was hotting up in Vietnam.

At the movies, Clint Eastwood was scowling his way through A Fistful of Dollars, while Santa Claus was Conquering the Martians. Meanwhile, on the telly, Top of the Pops was not yet tragically unhip. The Munsters and the Addams Family were both tearing up the airwaves, as was the Man From UNCLE. And a generation of kids were thrilling to the adventures of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

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