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Post By
MarkTJohnson

In Reply To
Dane Whitman

Subj: Re: A child with a gun to his head
Posted: Thu May 31, 2007 at 09:00:00 am EDT
Reply Subj: A child with a gun to his head
Posted: Wed May 30, 2007 at 04:09:20 pm EDT

Previous Post

Someone below asked what was the worst issue ever and someone else below said it was the one with a child with a gun to his head on the cover. That got me thinking. I suppose the guy didn't like that book because of that image (I may be wrong, he might have just been identifying the book without knowing the number). Anyway, here's my feelings on the gun to the head thing...

I was a kid when I read that book (probably came out in the 1970s, around the 217 mark). If you look at the cover it kind of hints that if you want the attention of four superheroes you should threaten to kill yourself - so hey, you want your parents' attention, why not try the same thing? I never spotted that when I was a kid - but then I was a happy little chap.

Should the book have had that cover if there was a risk anyone would actually kill themselves because of it? Obviously not. Now I'm going to risk contradiction by guessing that no one ever put a gun to their head because they saw that image. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe the comic did result in some suicide attempts, which I never heard of. On the other hand, some suicide attempts could have sprung from that book and no one would ever know.

I don't think the book went out to shock. I think Marvel was quite naive back then, with stories and covers that were often simplistic. Cap fights the Trapster - put that on the cover. If they did it now it would be for one purpose only - shock value. Of course we are all so used to images like this now that I don't think anyone would really complain about it.

Wasn't there an issue where a kid got a hero's attention and then shot him/herself? Got a feeling that happened somewhere along the line. There was that time a boy killed himself trying to become the Human Torch. A very moving story, but it ended with the words: I think he was better off (or something like that).

So as you can see I'm not sure if I'm pro or anti the image, but I'd love to hear from the rest of you. Do you American's feel strongly that freedom rests with being able to put whatever you want on the cover of the Avengers or that children shouldn't have these kinds of ideas put to their heads?

> Someone below asked what was the worst issue ever and someone else below said it was the one with a child with a gun to his head on the cover. That got me thinking. I suppose the guy didn't like that book because of that image (I may be wrong, he might have just been identifying the book without knowing the number). Anyway, here's my feelings on the gun to the head thing...
>
I identified the issue. No, I didn't remember the exact number, I should have though it was the issue just before my subscription started. The reason I chose that issue was not the cover but the terrible story and art behind the cover.

The story revolved around the child who was actually a corporate type villain (the kind of guy who hires a scientist to build him some technology to allow the businessman to do unscrupulous things) who had appeared to have been killed in an accident in some other book (Marvel Two-In-One I think) but had actually been cursed with immortality but not eternal youth. I want to say the accident even sent the kid back in time but I can't be sure. I can't remember exact details but the "kid" climbs aboard a rocket that was to send up a satellite to study the sun. Since the rocket was to be unmanned there it wasn't designed to have a breathable environment so the "kid" is born, suffocates and dies multiple times as he tries to monkey with controls. Somehow another accident happens, turning the "kid" into a fire creature which returns to Earth and the Avengers fight it. I think that the fire creature explodes and the "kid" is reborn again but with no memories. All this in 22 pages. Stuff sure did happen in the good old days didn't it? Bad story, but then I have low standards so I did read the whole thing.

The art? Let's just say Al Milgrom was an upgrade.

Another strike against the issue, only 4 Avengers, the Big Three plus the littlest one. Personally, I like a big crowd in the mansion preferably with some greens and purples along with the reds and yellows.

More thoughts in line below.

> I was a kid when I read that book (probably came out in the 1970s, around the 217 mark). If you look at the cover it kind of hints that if you want the attention of four superheroes you should threaten to kill yourself - so hey, you want your parents' attention, why not try the same thing? I never spotted that when I was a kid - but then I was a happy little chap.

Never saw it that way but then it was during the period where a cover usually showed a scene that appeared in the book, or the villain surrounded by the floating heads of the heroes. There were also words on the cover to let you know what an important issue it was. I miss the days of an informative cover.

Mark "Watermelon, cantaloupe, watermelon, cantaloupe*" Johnson

*Simulated crowd noise from What If #34.




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