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CSBG Archive

I Love Ya But You’re Strange – Stan Lee Wrote This Just for the ‘Net – “Griping” Saves the World!

Every day this August I’ll be spotlighting strange but ultimately endearing comic stories, one a day (basically, we’re talking lots and lots of Silver Age comic books). Here is the archive of past installments of this feature.

Today we look at a Stan Lee and Steve Ditko from Amazing Adult Fantasy #14 (whatever happened to that title and that creative team?) where “griping” saves the world!!

Besides being a hilariously weird story, I think the strangest thing in the story is the ad copy for the Fantastic Four. “Spine-tingling?” For serious?


Wow, no wonder Amazing Adult Fantasy was about to get cancelled.

Yeah, I gotta say, I don’t think that’s all that strange at all. Also, your title seems kind of misleading. Griping didn’t save the world, it endangered it, because the aliens figured any people who griped so much wouldn’t put up much of a fight to defend their shitty lives. His fighting back is what saved the world, not his griping.

Griping saved the world because the aliens wouldn’t have “attacked” had they not observed this schlub. They assumed he’d be a pushover because he hated his life.

Then again, finding sense in a story about pacifist alien “conquerors” … a worthless endeavor.

Great Ditko art, though!

Griping saved the world because the aliens wouldn’t have “attacked” had they not observed this schlub. They assumed he’d be a pushover because he hated his life.

That’s my point exactly. They wouldn’t have attacked at all if they had not observed his griping, they’d have just moved on to the next world. So his griping actually endangered the earth. It was his fighting back that saved it.

Then again, finding sense in a story about pacifist alien “conquerors” … a worthless endeavor.

Yeah, true, but by Silver Age standards that’s not really so bad. I also kind of like the metaphor (allegory?) of the aliens for those bullies in real life who are all bark and looking tough but no bite and won’t pick on anyone who won’t fight back. Kind of like that dude who gets super muscular precisely because he is scared to fight and figures the muscles work as a deterrent.

T – yeah, sorry, I thought I had a counter-argument, but my brain decided to give up in the middle. ;)

They were testing people out no matter what. Earth was next on their list of worlds to conquer. They just happened to get a guy who unintentionally lured them into thinking he hated his life.

Oh I see. I was wrong on that part, but even then, I still don’t see how griping in this story can be interpreted as griping saving the earth.

I’m guessing your title was going off of Stan Lee’s final narration caption, and you took that to mean griping is what saves the earth and keeps it safe? My thought on the final caption was that Stan Lee was making a commentary on one of the ironies of human nature. We often gripe precisely because we cling to life and freedom and love living. We go through the daily crushing grind, griping all the way, precisely because we aspire for better and refuse to give up. He’s saying griping reflects the everyman’s indomitable spirit, that he wouldn’t complain if he didn’t care about his own life.

Stan is saying when you see a man who is living a miserable existence and has stopped even griping about it, he’s essentially given up, he’s lost his will to fight or to aspire for better, and he’s stopped caring about everything and everyone. I don’t think Stan is saying griping saves the world in and of itself, but that it indicates that its presence indicates people are still striving, caring and yearning to be free.

So…where’s the ad copy for Fantastic Four? Did I miss it? Do I need new glasses?

My apologies. I confused it with another Amazing Adult Fantasy story I was going to use instead. Here’s the copy:

Good thing for those aliens that the cop didn’t have a board with a nail in it.

Damn, I was hoping to make the Simpsons reference. :(

It partially reminds me of the story in Astro City #5 (the original mini-series from 1995), where ab alien spy posing as an old man finds out his young schmuck neighbor is secretly a vigilante and decides to follow him one night, in order to decide if humanity deserves an annihilation according to the guy’s actions. Of course, the kid is an arrogant dick, especially when “on duty”, and Earth’s fate falls on his shoulders, unknown to him.

Griping on the Internet has saved the world many times over, of course.

How does an empire based on pacifism, fear and deception even work? Lots of very convincing but ultimately empty threats? Elaborately staged mock executions? I demand to learn more!

The panel of them running from the cop is priceless, as is the panel of the invader on his space lounger. He looks positively distraught.


August 31, 2011 at 6:33 am

This is seriously one of the funniest stories from the Silver Age I have ever seen. Intentionally (I think) funny at least.

Captain Librarian

August 31, 2011 at 7:49 am

“In fact when we stop griping, that’s when it’s time to look out!”

I like the subtext that either reads:

1) Griping is what keeps us from resorting to violence
2) We may gripe, but in the end we’re willing to fight for the little life we complain about so much.

Oh,don’t worry,Mike P. It won’t stop there. They’ll get bigger boards,and bigger nails…..

Another advanced civilization that somehow neglected to develop pants and shirts! We Earth people seem a definite minority in that regard.

It may also be inferred that Mexican wrestling masks are a symbol of fear throughout the galaxy!

If the very thought of physical battle makes these aliens sick then how can they threaten physical violence – surely making the threat of violence means they are thinking about it!

This story hurts my brain. Also, the yellow chair in the spaceship is annoyingly sitcom-esque.

Twlight Zone irony. The final comment says it best. Today w/ anti-depressants, oftentimes doing the opposite of what they were proscribed to do, or numbing the Life Experience, we’d be better off living in the real world.
Or become a car salesman.

Brilliant art. The key to enjoying these stories is to not overthink them (like reading anything by Millar).

I actually liked this one. Of course, it’s a variation on an old theme—Americans are peaceful folks but if you get us riled up, you’ll be sorry!

Their grasp of satyagraha is a little weak. I’m pretty sure none of the big names in non-violence ever argued “it’s okay to terrorize people, just don’t ever punch them.” I would, however, love to see these guys return as a counterpart to the Skrulls and Kree. “We still abhor violence…but we recently figured out that many of the races we dominate enjoy it immensely and are REALLY GOOD AT IT!”

Why on Earth was a comic featuring such nonsensical stories called Amazing *Adult* Fantasy?

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