Sep 22 • 10M

Episode 176: Calamity on Campus (Fantastic Four #35 + Journey Into Mystery #113) -- February 1965

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What if the Marvel Universe was real? Mike and Ed are radio commentators in 1961 discussing the ramifications of a world with super heroes, monsters & aliens. Why is no one asking, "Is Ironman a good use of StarkCorp shareholder capital?"
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In this episode:

Mike and Ed discuss Reed Richards’s invitation to speak at New York State University, where he studied many years ago. While he was giving his speech, the campus was attacked by Diablo and a robotic “Dragon Man”. Is it irresponsible to invite superheroes to public events given that they seem to be magnets for supervillains? Do superheroes have their own security like other celebrities, or is having superpowers security enough?

Fantastic Four (1961) #35 | Comic Issues | Marvel
Journey Into Mystery (1952) #113 | Comic Issues | Marvel

Behind the comic:

Marvel began like DC by using imaginary locations like Metropolis and Gotham, although Stan quickly pivoted to having the Fantastic Four based in New York City. But he still used imaginary locations for smaller cities, African and Eastern European countries, and in this issue, a university. We made the decision in the podcast to call Reed’s alma mater “New York State University”, but in the issue Stan just calls it “State U”. The other interesting set of events that we do not talk about in the episode is Stan’s use of cameo appearances. Apparently while Reed is touring the campus, so is Peter Parker, who is scouting future universities, and Charles Xavier and Scott Summers (Cyclops), who are interviewing students to find more mutants. None of these heroes get involved in the conflict. Perhaps they did not want to wait around for Reed’s speech?

In this issue:

Fantastic Four #35

Fantastic Four Vol 1 35 | Marvel Database | Fandom

The Fantastic Four land their Fantasticar at State University, as Reed has been invited to give a speech. He is warmly received. At the same time, Charles Xavier and Scott Summers are on campus, secretly looking for new mutants. Meanwhile, Diablo escapes his earthly imprisonment in Europe and heads straight to America to take his revenge on the Fantastic Four. He arrives at the university, and brings a robot that a university scientist created to life. The robot, which looks like a biped dinosaur and is nicknamed Dragon Man, battles the Four along with Diablo at the University, with the battle shifting out of town. The Four ultimately emerge victorious with the assistance of Dragon Man, who turned on Diablo and pulled him into an icy lake with him to their apparent doom.

Journey into Mystery #113:

Thor refuses to return to Asgard as his father, Odin, wants, as he has fallen in love with a mortal, Jane Foster. He returns to Earth and, in his Dr. Donald Blake identity, admits to Jane that he is actually Thor. Meanwhile, the Grey Gargoyle has returned and decided to search out and battle Thor. We return to Asgard, where Odin, having been manipulated somewhat by Loki, decides to depower Thor, which basically traps Thor in his Blake identity. The timing could not be worse, as Blake is unable to transform into Thor to show Jane who he really is; and because the Grey Gargoyle attacks Blake so that he can lure Thor out. Fortunately, Thor/Blake has friends in high places (Odin has secretly sent a warrior from Asgard to help his son), and he is helped out, and eventually his ability to turn into Thor is restored. He defeats the Grey Gargoyle, as Thor, and as Blake, he basically allows Jane to think he had made up the whole “I am the god of thunder” thing.

Assumed before the next issue:

People are starting to question the safety of being around superheroes. Oh, the irony.

This episode takes place:

After the Fantastic Four have defeated Diablo.