Strange Tales (Vol. 1) #111

Credits:

Cover Date: August 1963

Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Dick Ayers

“Fighting to the Death with the Asbestos Man!”

Plotter: Stan Lee

Scripter: H.E. Huntley

Penciller: Dick Ayers

Inker: Dick Ayers

“Face-to-Face With the Magic of Baron Mordo!”

Plotters: Stan Lee, Steve Ditko

Scripter: Stan Lee

Penciller: Steve Ditko

Inker: Steve Ditko

What’s Going On?

In “Fighting to the Death with the Asbestos Man,” the brilliant Professor Kasloff is frustrated that he has not gotten rich from his scientific achievements.

Kasloff realizes that he could use his scientific knowledge to commit crimes, but he has no criminal knowledge. To attract accomplices, he decides to publicly defeat the Human Torch as the Asbestos Man.

In “Face-to-Face With the Magic of Baron Mordo,” The Ancient One’s former student, Baron Mordo, threatens to kill him, unless he reveals His most guarded magical secrets. It is up to Doctor Strange to defeat Mordo and rescue his master.

Is It Good?

No. The Torch story was pretty dumb, and the Doctor Strange story was only five pages long.

Sub-Plots:

  • Professor Kasloff had many ideas for crimes to commit, but he didn’t have the know-how to pull them off. He concluded that he needed criminal colleagues to help educate him.

  • Kasloff challenges the Human Torch to a fight, and invited the press to cover it. Kasloff, as the Asbestos Man, won the first battle.
  • The Torch wised up for their second fight; instead of a direct assault, he set the Asbestos Man’s surroundings on fire until he surrendered.
  • Baron Mordo cast a spell on the Ancient One’s assistant, who then poisoned the Ancient One. Mordo then offered to counter the poison if he was given some magical secrets.

  • Doctor Strange interrupts Mordo’s interrogation, and the two begin to battle on the astral plane.

  • Strange managed to trick Baron Mordo into moving from the astral plane, back into his own body. This broke the spell on the Ancient One’s assistant, and Strange kept Mordo occupied until the Ancient One was safe.

Continuity:

  • Once again, asbestos is used against the Human Torch.
  • This is the first appearance of Baron Mordo.

Comics Are Goofy:

  • Asbestos paper? That seems both unlikely and way more effort than it would be worth.

  • In every other instance of the Torch encountering a trap door, he instinctively floats. However, the plot demands Jonny look like a fool here, so…

  • What are the odds that fire will make an unknown solvent into a “harmless liquid?”

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