Episode 141: Robin Hood - Hero or Villain? (Strange Tales #123) -- July 1964
In this episode:
Mike and Ed discuss the city’s latest supervillain: “the Beetle”. But is he really a villain? What do you call a criminal who steals from large corporations and then gives the money to the masses? A good person who does bad things? Is that worse than a bad person who does good things? And are superheroes fighting for the common good, or just defending the status quo?
Behind the comic:
Since the advent of the Superhero era, Strange Tales has continued to be the odd title out. Tales of Suspense and Tales to Astonish effectively became Iron Man and Ant-Man/Giant-Man and the Wasp, respectively. Strange Tales began its superhero version with a half-length story about the Human Torch (the youngest member of the Fantastic Four) followed by a random one-off science fiction story. That regular second story more and more came to be a tale about Dr. Strange, until eventually the magic-user was brought into the overall Marvel Universe and became the standard second feature in the title. With #123, two things happened:
Dr. Strange finally gets half of the cover for himself - he becomes the co-star of the title rather than a call out in the corner.
The Thing becomes a co-star of the Human Torch story. This was the “trial” of having Ben Grimm join the title, but it soon becomes official and the stories become about the hijinks of the Torch and the Thing instead of a Torch solo outing
In this issue:
Super-scientist (are there any other kinds in the Marvel Universe?) Abner Jenkins develops a costume that allows him to fly and gives him super-strength, among other cool tricks, solely for the purpose of committing crimes. He commits a robbery hoping the Thing and the Human Torch will try to stop them. He battles the two heroes, and the police, at one point dumping money that he had stolen onto a gathering crowd to create a distraction to facilitate his escape. He is eventually defeated by Johnny and Ben.
Assumed before the next episode:
People are wondering if the Beetle had the right idea of stealing from the rich and giving to the poor (although this was a ruse, obviously).
This episode takes place:
After the Beetle has been defeated.