Friday, February 2, 2018

Human Torch And The Mystery Woman Under The Sea: A Look At Marvel Mystery Comics #7

You know I think the Fantastic Four don't get the recognition they deserve. If it wasn't for them Marvel today would be very different if it even still existed, there's a reason why Fantastic Four #1 is known as the beginning of the Marvel Universe. Marvel's hatred for Fox definitely doesn't help, but at least that's over now. Since the ResurreXion line I'm hopeful again for X-Men and Fantastic Four, and the recent "Marvel Two in One: The Thing and Human Torch" might of been one of the best comics of 2017. I'm just happy that like DC with Rebirth, Marvel seems to finally be remembering their Legacy. Speaking of which...
We've come so far

While reading the second issue of Marvel 2-in-1 earlier this week I got interested in reading some more older Human Torch storys, and since I had an old Trade of Marvel Masterworks from the Golden Age Marvel Comics I did just that. You see the Johnny Storm version of Human Torch wasn't the original Human Torch. Introduced in 1939 in Marvel Comics #1 published by Timely Comics Inc. The original Human Torch was an android created by the scientist Phineas Horton with the very important design flaw of bursting into flames when his artificial flesh was exposed to oxygen. Thankfully he eventually learned to control that.

The issue I was most looking forward to reading was issue #7, mostly due to the cover being used as the cover for the trade. (I'm reading this from Marvel Masterworks: Golden Age Marvel Comics vol 2) The cover shows a woman, possibly another superhero due to the helmet, in restraints being drugged or experimented on by a guy in what I could only guess is a submarine while Human Torch breaks threw the wall and another guy pulls a lever that starts to flood the room there in. Nothing too special but I guess it could be an interesting story plus I really like that girls design so it would be cool to find out what her story is. However when I started to read that issue I got very confused.

The cover had nothing to do with the story inside. Instead we get a story about Human Torch becoming a Police Officer and fighting against a corrupt politician who was paying off some of the other police officers in order to make them do what he says. They fight Human Torch wins, and the story ends by teasing a fight between Human Torch and Namor. Perplexed I start flipping threw the rest of the issue to see if any of the other storys had anything to do with the cover but nope. So why does the cover have nothing to do with the story? Well the answer to that is pretty simple. Having a damsel in bondage needing to be rescued on the front cover of your comic was apparently a way to sell comics back in the day. If you don't believe me just look up William Marsten the creator of Wonder Woman and his two cents on the subject.
Don't worry this was approved by the Comics Code

There was even a similar cover a few issues before this one on issue #5 where some guys are about to throw a woman into a furnace as well as issue #7 where The Angel is saving a woman who is about to fall into a pool full of Sharks by what looks like some sort of medieval devil Cult. It's bizarre.
These covers are making me think Fredric Wertham was right..then again probably not.

By the way before you ask as far as I can tell both of those cover's also have nothing to do with the books. The thing that bugs me about this the most is that there was way too much effort put into these covers, so much so that they actually seem more interesting then the storys in the books themselves. But why does issue #7 bug me the most? In the other 2 examples at least the girls are just regular damsels but for issue #7 the damsel has a costume, is she a Super Hero or a Super Villain? Where did she come from? Why did they feel the need to design her like that if she was just going to be on the cover and not be fleshed out at all? Why was this cover the one they chose for the trade?
I'm pretty sure she had leggings in my copy of the original cover?

Honestly I will probably never know the answer to these questions but I just thought It would be interesting to ask. Who knows maybe she's some obscure Golden Age character I just never heard of. But if that were the case why is she on the cover of a book that she's not even in. Maybe they'll bring her back one day like DC did to that guy from the cover of Detective Comics #1, who knows. Well anyway I just thought it would be fun talking about this weird little thing I found while reading some almost 80 year old comics. Hope you had fun reading me ramble on about something that maybe no other person on the planet cares about, and If you did read this threw till the end you have my sincere thanks.

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