Strange Tales (Vol. 1) #124

Credits:

Cover Date: September 1964

Cover Artists: Dick Ayers

“Paste-Pot-Pete”

Writer: Stan Lee

Penciller: Dick Ayers

Inker: Paul Reinman

“The Lady From Nowhere”

Plotters: Stan Lee, Steve Ditko

Scripter: Stan Lee

Penciller: Steve Ditko

Inker: George Roussos (credited as George Bell)

What’s Going On?

The Human Torch and Thing take on the renewed threat of Paste-Pot-Pete, while Doctor Strange has to travel back in time to solve a mystery.

Details:

In “Paste-Pot-Pete”:

  • Looking to prove that he’s not a joke of a villain, a newly-upgraded Paste-Pot-Pete decides to try and defeat the Human Torch and Thing. First up, he surprise-attacks the Thing.

  • And it works! The Thing was incapacitated pretty easily.

  • Johnny ditches Dorrie Evans, mid-date, to go help the Thing. Dorrie isn’t happy about it.

  • When Johnny arrives, Ben is glued to a wall, and Johnny quickly finds himself in a similar situation.

  • Before Paste-Pot-Pete can do much more than gloat, though, Ben realizes that he can break free.

  • Even with the Thing free (more or less — he is still covered in paste), Pete is able to stay out of his reach. Luckily, the Torch is able to use his flame to sever Pete’s feed line, making it so that his paste gun doesn’t work.

  • Oh, and it turns out that Dorrie forgives Johnny for ditching her.

In “The Lady From Nowhere”:

  • While doing his normal mystic things, Doctor Strange encounters a woman that is the obvious victim of sorcery.

  • Strange takes a closer look at her in the privacy of his sanctum sanctorum, but isn’t able to learn anything. The spell is too strong.

  • Doctor Strange consults with the Ancient One, who tells him that he must travel back in time to find the person responsible for the evil spell. Doctor Strange must return back to the present before the Ancient One’s candle burns down, or else he will be trapped out of time.

  • When Strange emerges from the time stream, he comes face to face with Zota, the evil sorcerer!

  • Strange makes quick work of Zota, though.

  • However, the candle went out as Strange tried to return to the present, trapping him between times!

  • With the help of his mystical amulet, though, Strange was able to make it back to the present time —- barely!

  • Doctor Strange learned that Zota had fallen in love with Cleopatra, and sent her to the future when she did not reciprocate. Strange removed Zota’s spell and sent her back to her original time.

Is It Good?

Well, I think the Human Torch feature benefits from having the Thing co-star. It’s not that good, but it’s better than the average Torch story. It also does a decent job of revamping Paste-Pot-Pete into something slightly more formidable (but still silly-looking).  But the art is only okay, and so is the overall story.

The Doctor Strange feature was extremely weak on story, but I really liked how Lee and Ditko handled Strange being late in a down-to-the-wire plot. We haven’t seen Marvel deal with that sort of adversity before, and it was exciting for a page or two.

Continuity:

  • Starting with this issue, the Thing will co-star with the Human Torch in his feature.
  • Paste-Pot-Pete last appeared in Avengers #6, where he helped the Avengers defeat the Masters of Evil.
  • Paste-Pot-Pete has upgraded his gear and changed his costume. Now, he can climb walls and fire paste from a number of directions.

  • The Fantastic Four have a notification system set up so that, if someone unauthorized flies the Fantasticar, they know about it. Assuming, of course, that they are wearing a special ring that we’ve never seen them wear before.

  • Cleopatra last appeared in Tales of Suspense #44. It’s worth noting that her skin tone has darkened a bit since her last appearance. So, that’s something.

  • The Ancient One last appeared in Strange Tales #117.

Comics Are Goofy:

  • How many fish bowls does Sue have, how do you know her rankings, and what about the fish?

  • Paste-Pot-Pete may sound awfully down on himself here, but he is 100% correct. He was a huge loser before. He’s not much better now, but it is an improvement.

<<<Strange Tales #123

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