Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Number 1516: Avenger’s scarlet “A”

 Casting about for new ideas to fit into the post-Comics Code era, ME Comics came up with superheroes The Avenger and Strongman. Neither of them made it past four issues, but they were an interesting experiment to see if new long underwear characters (beyond the lone remaining, still popular heroes like DC’s Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman) could still be viable despite having been a near-dead comic book genre for several years.

It would take just a few months longer until DC reintroduced the Flash and superheroes began their climb back into comic book supremacy, but before then ME’s contributions to the genre came and went.

These two stories are from The Avenger #1 (1955), drawn by Dick Ayers, with scripts attributed to Paul S. Newman. Last May I showed stories one and four from the issue (including the origin story), and these are stories two and three. So if you want to read those others first you should go to the link below and click on the thumbnail of the cover to see them.

 Click on the thumbnail to see the other two stories mentioned above:


Daniel [] said...

It may be that a consumer base was ready, but the producers were not. The Silver-Age Flash wasn't simply different in timing, but in the nature of the story-telling. For example, the Cold War figured large in these Avenger stories and in the rebooted Timely/Atlas superhero stories. And the art by Burgos, by Ayers, and even by Romita was cruder and grittier than that by Infantio (as inked by various artists).

Unknown said...

Ayers had quite a variety of panel layouts here. He certainly avoided the rigid same-size 6 or 9 panel arrangements that were overwhelmingly favored back in the day.

Pappy said...

D.D., I think Dick Ayers was given carte blanche at M.E. to do his own thing. They had a standard for larger than usual gutters between panel borders which was probably an editorial decision, but Ayers was pretty much in control of what he did with a page...that includes doing his own lettering.

Pappy said...

Daniel, considering how crude the Flash artwork had been less than a decade earlier (cruder even than those artists you listed), Infantino did have a more sophisticated and slicker style, so apparently the editorial powers at DC decided styles that had worked just a few scant years earlier would not work in 1956. And they were right.

Unknown said...

This Avenger fellow is quite generic. I suppose that with all the restrictions imposed at the time, the publishers were being scrutinized. However some of the characters at this time were so plain and bland. I could see why this strip didn't get a huge following. It's too one note, devoid of character. It's hard to distinguish Avenger from the other hundreds of costumed heroes.