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by Erik Garmany

The Iron Slab
The Marvel/Atlas Super-Hero Revival of the Mid-1950ís


As most of you know, for the last 10+ years one of my collection obsessions has been the Marvel/Timely/Atlas Super-Hero ďrevivalĒ of the mid-1950ís. This revival began with Young Men #24 (Dec. 1953) which had new stories from Captain America, The Human Torch and the Sub-Mariner. Stan Lee, being the continuity nut that he is, used the stories in Young Men #24 - "Back from the Dead" (in which Captain America & Bucky are resurected), "The Return of the Human Torch", and "The Sub-Mariner Returns" to explain why the trio of heroes had returned. Although this revival barely lasted a year (except for the Sub-Mariner title, which lasted until #42, Oct. 1955), some have pointed to this as the real beginning of the Silver-Age.

Captain America Comics #74 (Oct. 1949) was originally titled Captain America's Weird Tales #74. oddly enough, this was because of Timely's ultimate turn to Horror comics in the 1950's. The title was meant as the final issue of Captain America Comics but one more issue followed: Captain America's Weird Tales #75. It had no Captain America stories in it and was instead an early Timely/Atlas horror comic.

Fast forward 4 years, comic book Super-Heroes are starting to make a comeback and Timely/Atlas decided to revive Captain America, Human Torch, and Sub-Mariner.

Captain America Comics was revived with issue #76 (May 1954), but now the title was now dubbed "Captain America...Commie Smasher!" and also had art by newcomer John Romita! The series unfortunately only lasted 2 more issues, #77 July 1954 and #78 September 1954.

Captain America's Weird Tales #74
Captain America's Weird Tales #75

The Human Torch was revived with #36 (April 1954) and Dick Ayers handled the art chores. This title also didnít last long either, bowing out after #38 (Aug 1954).

The Sub-Mariner oddly enough lasted the longest of the revival titles beginning with #33 (April 1954) and ending with #42 (Oct. 1955). Bill Everett continued his artwork on Subby throughout this run.

Menís Adventures showcased all 3 revival characters, but only lasted for 2 issues #27 (May 1954) & #28 (July 1954).

Young Men was the first of the revival titles and also showcased all 3 characters, The first of which was #24 (Dec. 1953) lasted for 5 great issues with #28 (June 1954) being the final issue.

After the Sub-Mariner's final issue dated October 1955, Atlas/Marvel put the trio of heroes "on ice" literally for the next 6 years until 1961 when the Human Torch resurfaced (and revamped) as a member of the Fantstic Four.

The main difference between the 1950's stories and the Golden-Age Timelys is that most of these stories had a Cold-War theme to them. Even the Red Skull was working for the Kremlin instead of the defunct Nazi party.

These books have become the stuff of legends in recent years and are obviously undervalued because anytime one of them come up for sale they go for multiples of guide even in low grade. Iíve been trying to complete a set for a long time now! Wish me luck! Iím gonna need it!



The Atlas/Marvel Super-Hero Revival Checklist:
Human Torch
#36 - April 1954
Human Torch #36
Human Torch
#37 - June 1954
Human Torch #37
Human Torch
#38 - Aug. 1954
Human Torch 338
Captain America
#76 - May 1954
Captain America Comics #76
Captain America
#77 - July 1954
Captain America Comics #77
Captain America
#78 - Sept. 1954
Captain America Comics #78
Menís Adventures
#27 - May 1954
Men's Adventures #27
Menís Adventures
#28 - July 1954
Men's Adventures #28
Sub-Mariner
#33 - April 1954
Sub-Mariner #33
Sub-Mariner
#34 - June 1954
Sub-Mariner #34
Sub-Mariner
#35 - Aug. 1954
Sub-Mariner #35
Sub-Mariner
#36 - Sept. 1954
Sub-Mariner #36
Sub-Mariner
#37 - Dec. 1954
Sub-Mariner #37
Sub-Mariner
#38 - Feb. 1955
Sub-Mariner #38
Sub-Mariner
#39 - April 1955
Sub-Mariner #39
Sub-Mariner
#40 - June 1955
Sub-Mariner #40
Sub-Mariner
#41 - Aug. 1955
Sub-Mariner #41
Sub-Mariner
#42 - Oct. 1955
Sub-Mariner #42
Young Men
#24 - Dec. 1953
Young Men #24
Young Men
#25 - Feb. 1954
Young Men #25
Young Men
#26 - March 1954
Young Men #26
Young Men
#27 - April 1954
Young Men #27
Young Men
#28 - June 1954
Young Men #28

 

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