Nova Time

Strange Tales #127: Nova Time 11

 Strange Tales #127, page 10, panel 6

Strange Tales #127, page 10, panel 6

Strange Tales #127: Nova Time 11

Written by the Overlord of Originality… Stan Lee

Illustrated by the Archduke of Action… Dick Ayers

Inked by the High Priest of Highlights… Paul Reinman

Lettered by the Lama of Lexicography… Art Simek

Even the worst issue of Strange Tales  can contain something decent, and this panel qualifies as decent. Only just qualifies, mind you, but qualifies nonetheless. This is a really nice, simple depiction of Johnny going full nova against the mysterious villain. It's lucky that, with Ben's head stuck in a crack in the rock, he doesn't blind his sometime friend.

Check out our coverage of Strange Tales #127 on our thirty-seventh episode: Yes, Mr Lister, Sir!

Amazing Spider-Man #17: Nova Time 10

 Amazing Spider-Man #17, page 18, panel 2

Amazing Spider-Man #17, page 18, panel 2

Amazing Spider-Man #17: Nova Time 10

Ruggedly Written by: Stan Lee

Robustly Drawn by: Steve Ditko

Recently Lettered by: S. Rosen

Remember when the Green Goblin used such weapons as bombs that look like ghosts from a Mario game that explode into a thick, clinging mist that surround someone to suffocate them? Aaah, the good old days, back when you could cry 'Make Mine Marvel' safe in the knowledge that nobody thought abut a villain's arsenal beyond the point of how cool it looked.

Anyway, it turns out misty ghost bombs can be neutralised if you have the power to set your entire body on fire and can focus the heat of that fire into one part of your body. So I guess that's why we never saw these weapons again.

Check out our coverage of Amazing Spider-Man #17 on our thirty-fifth episode: House of the Fallen Storm

Fantastic Four #31: Nova Time 9

 Fantastic Four #31, page 16, panel 2

Fantastic Four #31, page 16, panel 2

Fantastic Four #31: Nova Time 9

Written by: Stan Lee, The Man With The Talented Typewriter!

Illustrated by: Jack Kirby, The Man With The Power-Packed Pencil!

Inked by: Chic Stone, The Man With The Panoramic Paint-Brush!

Lettered by: S. Rosen - The Man With The Leaky Lettering Pen!

The impression I got from the Fantastic Four's first journey to the Mole Man's kingdom in this issue was that it was a very long way down. So, as much as I appreciate Johnny's confidence in his nova blast to create a tunnel down to the subterranean realm in a matter of seconds, I can't help recall that this is the same Human Torch who was put out of action by a heavy dew.

Check out our coverage of Fantastic Four #31 on our thirty-fifth episode: House of the Fallen Storm

Fantastic Four Annual #2: Nova Time 8

 Fantastic Four Annual #2, page 20, panel 3

Fantastic Four Annual #2, page 20, panel 3

Fantastic Four Annual #2: Nova Time 8

A Stan Lee Story Spectacular

A Jack Kirby Illustrative Idyll

A Chic Stone Delineation Delight

A Sam Rosen Lettering Landmark

Johnny's gone nova again, employing his high-intensity light/heat burst. In this case, he's holding onto a conducting rod-and-cable, which will channel his expended energy directly to Doctor Doom, shorting out his personal force-field.

Of course, there's a catch - Johnny has to drop the rod as soon as he bursts, or there'll be a dangerous feedback that will knock him from the sky. How this rod is supposed to channel anything when it's falling to the ground is a bit beyond me, but Reed's the one who has engineered it, and who am I to question his wisdom?

Check out our coverage of Fantastic Four Annual #2 on our thirty-fourth episode: The Doomcast, with special guest host Alan Middleton

Strange Tales #118: Nova Time 7

Strange Tales #118, page 11, panel 6
Strange Tales #118, page 11, panel 6

strange tales #118: nova time 7

Story: Stan Lee

Art: Dick Ayers

Lettering: S. Rosen

This is quite possibly the low point for The Wizard in the 1960s. Lower than his chin pubes, lower than his appearance in the awful Strange Tales Annual. He goes for Johnny with a special gun, but before he can explain what makes it special beyond the fact that he believes that it can't be melted... it gets melted.

The image of him standing there, crying petulantly over his melted gun is really pathetic and, as I've said before, it's really hard to see why Stan felt that there was more mileage to this character.

Check out our coverage of Strange Tales #118 on our twenty-fourth episode: An Enfant Terrible Is Not Literally A Terrible Infant

Fantastic Four #22: Nova Time 6

Fantastic Four #22, page 21, panel 6 Written by: Stan Lee

Drawn by: Jack Kirby

Inked by: George Roussos

Lettered by: Sam Rosen

Johnny going nova should be a big moment. It should be the peak of a battle scene, a moment where, if this were a movie made in the wake of The Matrix, the camera would be whirling around him capturing that explosion of energy and heat in glorious bullet time. It certainly should not be panel 6 on a 9 panel page, with so much inking it threatens to drown out the colours.

If this panel were drawn ten issues later, Chic Stone's fine-line inking would have enhanced the panel by allowing the colours and action to shine through more. But as it is, the small panel size, wide perspective, and heavier inking of George Roussos drowns the image.

Check out our coverage of Fantastic Four #22 on our twenty-second episode: Going Underground.

[audio http://traffic.libsyn.com/ffcast/FF_Episode_22.mp3]

Strange Tales #112: Nova Time 5

Strange Tales #112, page 10, panel 2 Story plot: Stan Lee

Script: Jerry Siegel

Art: Dick Ayers

Lettering: S. Rosen

So, how exactly did Johnny draw the explosion and radiation to himself, and then survive these extreme conditions?

Well, it was all due to heat. The heat drew the other heat, the kinetic force, and the radiation of the explosion directly upwards to him in the atmosphere. When he was as far away as he could get, he went to a nova intensity, presumably burning away all the nasty harmful stuff that would give him multiple cancers.

Yeah, it's all about a little bit bollocks, isn't it...

Check out our coverage of Strange Tales #112 on our seventeenth episode: No Funny Title Springs To Mind

[audio http://traffic.libsyn.com/ffcast/Episode_17.mp3]

Fantastic Four #18: Nova Time 4

Fantastic Four #18, page 16, panel 1 Written by: Stan Lee

Drawn by: Jack Kirby

Inking: Dick Ayers

Lettering: Art Simek

I can't even remember if this panel fits my own arbitrary rules as to whether or not a bright blast of light is the same thing as 'going nova'. However, it's been nearly six months since I put something into this category, and as this issue of the book is proving to be such a rich mine of material, I've decided that it doesn't matter so much!

Having only recently covered Fantastic Four Annual #4 for the podcast, I'm struck by how this move, seemingly an obvious one from the Human Torch, was missing from the Torch vs Torch battle presented there. It would have been a great trick for Johnny to pull to confuse the android Human Torch, but I guess it's one both Stan and Jack had forgotten about by then.

Check out our coverage of Fantastic Four #18 on our seventeenth episode: No Funny Title Springs To Mind

[audio http://traffic.libsyn.com/ffcast/Episode_17.mp3]

Strange Tales #107: Nova Time 3

Strange Tales #107, page 11, panel 1 Plot: Stan Lee

Script: Larry Lieber

Art: Dick Ayers

Lettering: Art Simek

From up-and-to-the-right to down-and-to-the-left. Dick Ayers is really showing off his amazing panel compositions here...

However, this is the first time that Johnny has gone full-on nova with his powers, despite using them to blind the Miracle Man in issue #3, and threatening to go near-nova a couple of times. The idea behind this powers is that it's a super-hot, almost explosive blast of his powers, using all of his energy to great effect but leaving him spent.

I sure hope, based on the angle of his descent, that he doesn't want to go into the water...

Check out our coverage of Strange Tales #107 in our eleventh episode: Red? Yes! Communist? Yes! Russian? No!

[audio http://traffic.libsyn.com/ffcast/Episode_11.mp3]

 

Fantastic Four #7: Nova Time 2

Writer: Stan Lee

Artist: Jack Kirby

Uncredited Inker: Dick Ayers

Presenting... the fantastic fear of flaming fire!

In the first full outing for Johnny's nova flame, we have Reed browning his trousers in fear that Johnny won't be able to contain his immense heat. Given Reed's fears, Sue's plan to stand in front of the target, invisible, then turn visible at the last possible moment to prevent Johnny from blowing everything up is... well... it's not her best plan at all.

It's at times like this that I really bemoan the lack of colouring credits in comics from this era. The use of colour to depict the intensity of Johnny's heat is fantastic, and contrast between this and the standard blue of Reed's costume in the second panel above heightens this.

Check out our coverage of Fantastic Four #7 in our fifth episode: The Strangest Tales Of All

[audio http://traffic.libsyn.com/ffcast/FF_Episode_5.mp3]

 

 

Fantastic Four #3: Nova Time 1

 Fantastic Four #3, page 22, panel 1

Fantastic Four #3, page 22, panel 1

Writer: Stan Lee

Artist: Jack Kirby

Uncredited Inker: Sol Brodsky

Uncredited Letterer: Art Simek

Here we see the first use of one of the Human Torch's signature moves, the nova blast. Present in pretty much every interpretation of the character, the nova blast sees Johnny intensify the heat and flame he generates, letting it out in an explosive blast. In this instance,  he's using the nova blast to temporarily blind the Miracle Man.

This isn't the first time that the nova blast is mention on-panel - that would be in Fantastic Four #7 - but it's pretty much accepted that this is the first time he uses this power. Still no Flame On, though...

Check out our coverage of Fantastic Four #3 in our second episode: Secret Invasion Tie-In