Friday, August 26, 2011

Strange Tales from a Silver Age Lettercol

One of the reasons I love old (read: Gold and Silver and early Bronze Age) comics is the uniqueness of their letter columns. These ‘Lettercols’ offer amazing insight into youth culture of their period and give us an understanding of what it was like growing up then.

So during a recent reading of Strange Tales #126 (1964) I came across a letter with two strange aspects. Here it is:

Asbestos Man! Can’t you think of a more dated concept for a comic book villain? WGTB will always count Stan Lee a genius, but apparently even the greats can be dated and err sometimes.

There’s also mention of Rheumatic fever in this letter. This illness, common in North American young people in the 1950s and early 60s, has all but disappeared in the developed world. I hope this young person got well quickly and went on to live a rich and fulfilling life. Still, it's interesting to see how far medical science has come in the past 50 years.

So there you have it. Insight into life in the early 60s courtesy of a Silver Age comic book. We’ve also attached are some great panels of the legendary Steve Ditko’s artwork for this particular Strange Tales. The copy we picked up was rather damaged, but given it's the first appearance of Dormammu, it was still a great find.

(All images from Marvel's Strange Tales #126, November 1964)

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