More of the small details that made a BIG impression, picked at random from the cobweb-caked recesses of my comic-addled brain.
1. Corner Box Icons: Few things evoke the comics of my youth more readily than the corner cover icons of 1970's Marvel Comics. To borrow a term from the internet age, these tiny "avatars" in the corner boxes not only looked cool, but were also a clever way to grab a kid's attention on a crowded spinner rack. Their competitor DC Comics half-heartedly tried a few similar approaches, but never stuck with a design long enough to make them as effective a marketing tool as the Marvel corner icons.
2. John Romita's Hulk: Although I've always been fond of Marvel's Hulk character, he was a HUGE favorite of mine as a kid. Unfortunately, the character's primary artists during that era were Herb Trimpe and Sal Buscema...who, despite their long stints on the title, never quite nailed my ideal vision of the Jade Giant. That honor belonged to cover artist supreme John Romita Sr., whose portrayal of the Hulk is the definitive version as far as I'm concerned.
As you can see from the head shots below, whether he pencilled and inked, or just inked over another artist (like squares 2 and 3), Romita's Hulk remained remarkably consistent or "on model" as we say in the cartooning biz.
Here's a few of the distinctive Romita Hulk characteristics:
A) A big, shaggy head of hair
B) A heavy brow over wide-set eyes,
C) A compact nose with wide, flaring nostrils
D) A large upper lip area
E) Exaggerated "parenthesis" lines framing the area between the nose and mouth
F) A pronounced lower lip set above a surprisingly blunted chin
3. The S.H.I.E.L.D Helicarrier: Several years before the Death Star of Star Wars surpassed it, the mammoth S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier was probably the largest (and coolest) man-made construct in all of science fiction...or at least it was in my little corner of the cosmos (click on the image for a larger view). Built by a cooperative of scientists and industrialists (including Reed Richards and Tony Stark), the Helicarrier fuctioned as both a flying aircraft carrier and a mobile headquarters for the planet's premiere intelligence/defense agency .
Although the design has changed a bit since its debut in Strange Tales #135 (1965), the array of gigantic helicopter rotors keeping it aloft have remained...a staggeringly impossible (yet endearing) feat of engineering that could only work in the pseudo-scientific skies of superhero comic books. In fact, even as a kid I wondered how fighter jets could land on a surface buffeted by the hurricane-force winds generated by the rotors...or how those same winds and the engine stress didn't tear apart the entire Helicarrier. However, if there's one thing I learned to do early on with superhero comics books, it was to sweep those nagging scientific objections under the rug and just enjoying the awesome spectacle of it all. The Helicarrier flew because it did. 'Nuff said!