As every good Comicbook Junkie knows, there are plenty of new comics on sale every week. Every Wednesday, comic fans rush to their local comics shop like a true zombie horde. And while those new comics can be fantastic and uncanny and amazing, there are so many older comics out there that haven't been reprinted or talked about in years.
Which is why I'm doing this column! The word needs to get out there....let the young whippersnappers know how great the comics of yesteryear really were.
Case in point: Marvel Comics' INVADERS!
Originally published in 1975 as GIANT SIZE INVADERS. This World War 2 era comic was written by comics master Roy Thomas and drawn by the massively talented Frank Robbins. Inks were supplied by the ever consistent Vince Colletta.
The Invaders was made up of 5 core heroes: Captain America with his kid partner Bucky, The original Human Torch and his sidekick Toro, and the king of the seven seas himself...Prince Namor, the Sub-Mariner (he didn't have a sidekick).
The comic lasted for a whalloping 41 issues plus the Giant size issue along with an Annual.
The plots were pretty straight forward....set in WW2, our heroes set out to stop the nefarious Nazi plans of Adolf Hitler. They were constantly up against some of the toughest enemies Hitler could throw at them. Baddies like Master Man, the Red Skull, Baron Blood, the Blue Bullet, and so many others.
Up to issue 6, it was pretty standard superhero fare.
Issue 1 and 2 put the Invaders against aliens that Hitler brainwashed into thinking they were German gods protecting the Third Reich. #3 and 4 sent Namor off to fight an old enemy of his named U-Man, another baddie on the side of the Germans. Issues 5 and 6 introduced fan favs the Liberty Legion, a group comprised of other, more obscure '40's era heroes like Red Raven and the Patriot.
The Invaders were being controlled by the Red Skull and the Legion were brought together to stop them....fairly standard Marvel stories!
Then #7 hit the stands and introduced us to Baron Blood and Union Jack. WW2 vampires fighting retired English heroes....always fun stuff. The battles started to have more importance. Somehow I knew, even as a kid, that if the Invaders failed against these bad guys, the Nazis would have won the war and we'd be Seig Heiling all the time. Scary stuff.
Besides giving us 2 great, enduring characters...issue 7 was also the fist issue inked by the legendary Frank Springer! Robbins and Springer made the perfect art team. Never did two styles compliment each other so perfectly.
As the series went along, we were given some pretty terrific covers by the King himself, Jack Kirby and the master of dynamics, Gil Kane
One of the coolest thing to hapen in the Invaders tho, was the "crossover" with rival company DC Comics. In issue's 14 and 15, Roy Thomas gave us the CRUSADERS. Across the steet, DC was producing their WW2 era hero team called the Freedom Fighters. This was written by Gerry Conway, a friend of Roy's. Roy and Gerry wanted to cross over their respective teams, but for obvious reasons, couldn't. So Roy created the Crusaders, which was the Freedom Fighters with diferent names and costumes. DC's Freedom Fighters consisted of: Uncle Sam, Phantom Lady, Doll Man, Black Condor, The Ray and the Human Bomb. So Roy created "Marvel" versions of them...The Spirit of 76, Ghost Girl, DynaMite, Captain Wings,Tommy Lightnin' and Thunderfist!
Meanwhile, at DC, Gerry did his version of the Invaders. No many knew about this as there wasn't any internet to give it all away.
Back then, when a story was delayed for whatever reason, Marvel would reprint old stories from the Golden Age. We didn't have internet or trade paperbacks back then to enjoy the older comics ,so any reprints were appreciated. Every so often The Invaders would feature an old 40's Cap story or maybe something from the Sub-Mariner or Human Torch comics. Always fun stuff!
Eventually, like in most comics, the creative team were off to other project. Don Glut became the new regular writer and Alan Kupperberg was the artist. Unfortunatly this new team didn't melt the hearts of the readers and the Invaders wound up being cancelled in 1979 with issue #41.
Marvel has tried to bring back the Invaders over the years, but nothing really matched that old magic Roy, Frank and Frank had in the 70's!
This is an extremely fun series! Roy Thomas was extremely faithful to true events in that time period and gave it an air of authenticity that few comics had for period pieces. 41 issues of spectacular stories, dynamic art, and the Greatest Superheroes of World War 2!
So there ya go....a great comic set in the World War 2 era with a bunch of cool characters! Now stop reading this and go buy some back issues!!