Stan’s Soapbox – Marvel Age #42 (September 1986)

Welcome back, O Keepers of the Faith!

Just when you thought it was safe to return to MARVEL AGE MAGAZINE, here I am with another column for you! Well, that’ll teach ya to buy the first magazine you see!

By now, you’ve probably all heard that Marvel’s own Howard the Duck will be the next George Lucas bombshell to take the country by storm! Yep, everyone’s favorite web-footed, bad-tempered, cigar-chompin’ member of the family Anatidae is expected to be one of the most sensational screen hits of the year. (Don’t let that “family Anatidae” throw you. I happened to stumble across it in the dictionary. It just means a bunch’a ducks!)

Then, after Hysterical Howie has been unleashed, we’ve got another two features almost ready to start shooting. Tell you about ‘em next ish. As you can see, I’ll resort  to any sneaky device to make sure you return!

And now, it’s philosophy time. When I asked out ebullient editor, Slim-Jim Salicrup, what he’d like to write about in these first few scintillatin’s Soapboxes, he suggested the theme “The Role of the Super Hero in America, Yesterday and Today!” Wow, I was impressed! It sound like you oughta get college credits just for reading it!

Well, anything to make ye editor happy. So let’s give it a try.

Y’know, super-herodom isn’t anything new. You can go all the way back to Samson, Hercules and Ulysses. Then there was El Cid, Robin Hood, Zorro, not to mention the redoubtable Irving Forbush. But comic-book heroes are a breed apart!

During World War Two, in the early forties, we had super heroes like Captain America, Sub-Mariner and the Human Torch valiantly fighting the Nazi bad guys. (Don’t hold your breath waiting for me to mention any of our competitor’s costumed cut-ups; they can write their own soapboxes!)

Then, in the fifties, our mixed-up Marvel merrymakers spent most of their time fighting a whole kaboodle of assorted monsters and super-duper crime lords. Of course, we were also zinging rustlers and gunslingers in our Westerns, but we never really considered our cowboys classics as super hero yarns.

Finally, along come the sixties! I’ll pause for a moment till the applause dies down. That’s when your benevolent Bullpen bestowed upon thee the like of The Fantastic Four, Spidey, Ol’ Green-Skin, Doc Strange, Professor X and his Mutie Misfits, and all the rest of the new breed of heroes that were destined to stand the comic-book world on its ear and make mighty Marvel the biggest name since Gorgonzola!

Yep, in the sixties, right until the present day, comic-book characters became more real, more three dimensional. They agonized, they soliloquized, they had personal problems and hang-ups, just like you and me. Well, just like you, maybe. I don’t wanna shatter my public image!

But what comes next? What about the still newer breed of super heroes being created by Jolly Jim Shooter and his burgeoning bevy of Bullpen Bandits? What does the future hold for tomorrow’s headliners?

Hey, I’m not gonna play all my cards at once! I’ll tell ya next ish!

So, till then, whatever you do, wherever you go, think Marvel! It’s better than an ingrown toenail!