Marvel has released a Strange Tales Complete Collection, chronicling the Silver Age exploits of the Human Torch and Thing.
After the popularity of the Fantastic Four magazine, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby spun off the Torch and gave him his own series within Strange Tales. Later on, the Thing was added to the mix and it became a duo title. This Complete Collection includes issues 101-134 of Strange Tales, and its Annual #2.
There are a TON of credits for this book, but the majority of it was written by Stan Lee or his brother Larry Lieber, and drawn by Jack Kirby or Dick Ayers.
Now, what can be said about Silver Age Marvel comics that hasn’t already been said, especially regarding Lee and Kirby? You know what you’re in for. The stories are bright, fun, and engaging. The action is big and exciting. You know this. You probably grew up reading this, regardless of when you were born.
What makes this collection especially appealing is that it’s full of (pardon me while I borrow a term from my marketing background) snackable content. Each story is a one-and-done, and they’re all only about 13 pages, give or take. You can dip in and enjoy some Silver Age fun with little commitment.
The stories feature guest appearances from Spider-Man, Captain America, Iceman, the Sub-Mariner, and more! Even the Beatles show up in one issue. Yes, THOSE Beatles. But perhaps the most notable moment from this collection is the debut appearance of the dreaded villain Paste-Pot Pete.
Strange Tales is also a refreshing change of pace from modern day Fantastic Four comics just because the circumstances were different. Reed and Sue weren’t married yet; Sue and Johnny were still living on Long Island. Johnny still had a time limit on his flame powers, and he had a secret identity to protect. This is a long way from the fame-loving, hotshot Human Torch fans have known for so long. It’s like Strange Tales is a time capsule that shows us an age long forgotten.
If you like the Silver Age of comics, and especially Silver Age Marvel, pick up the Strange Tales Complete Collection now. It’s well worth the price of admission and you’ll have a ton of light, fun, short stories that you can just pick up and read anytime you want. Leave it in the bathroom if you want; we don’t judge.