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CSBG Archive

When We First Met – A Handful of Avengers Firsts!

Every week we spotlight the various characters, phrases, objects or events that eventually became notable parts of comic book lore. Not major stuff like “the first appearance of Superman,” but rather, “the first time someone said, ‘Avengers Assemble!’” or “the first appearance of Batman’s giant penny” or “the first appearance of Alfred Pennyworth” or “the first time Spider-Man’s face was shown half-Spidey/half-Peter.” Stuff like that. Here is an archive of all the When We First Met features so far! Check ‘em out!

Today we look at a handful of Avengers firsts, including the first appearance of Avengers Mansion and the first appearance of the Avengers quinjet!

Enjoy!

First appearance of Avengers Mansion

The mansion showed up very early on. In the second issue, actually!

Later, the Space Phantom (who is impersonating Tony Stark) reflects on the fact that Tony is letting them use his mansion…


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First appearance of the Avengers quinjet

Avengers #61 has the first appearance of the Avengers’ preferred mode of transportation…


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First time the Quinjet has been destroyed

It has become an accepted part of Avengers lore that quinjets do not last too long before they are destroyed in battle. This tradition started really early. Like, as in the next two panels after the above two panels from Avengers #61…


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First time the other Avengers learned one of their teammates’ secret identities

Nowadays, it seems like every Avenger knows everyone else’s secret identity. However, early on, the Avengers were very secretive about their personal lives (heck, Cap didn’t know either Thor or Iron Man’s secret identity for nearly 20 years!)

Even though Hank and Jan were not exactly careful with their identities…

Captain America doesn’t count since his identity was made public record when he died…

And Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch don’t count because they told everyone their names right off the bat…

No, the first time that counts is Avengers #28, when Hank Pym, looking for the missing Wasp, reveals his secret identity in a time of stress…

Cap’s point about never guessing Hank Pym was Goliath sounds really silly…because it is. That said, as established in this edition of Goofiest Moments, Cap knows more about scientists than you’d think…
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First appearance of the Avengers identicard

Rick Jones used his to get Bruce Banner out of trouble when he was branded a traitor in Tales to Astonish #64…

Thanks to Gary Miller for the head’s up!
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Beginning of Wonder Man and Beast’s friendship.

Oddly enough, the pair were teammates for nearly thirty issues (Beast even designed him a garish costume!) before they were first shown hanging out together in Avengers #181…


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Feel free to send in ideas for other debuts that you’re curious about! Send your ideas to bcronin@comicbookresources.com!

49 Comments

So early on Hulk was able to communicate quite well?

I thought he was all “Hulk Smash!” up until the late 70s/80s (and then a bit later in the Joe Fixit era)?

@Jax – In the early years, the Hulk didn’t have a consistent personality.

If you read his first-ever appearance, Hulk talks not like other personality, but like Banner free from restraints. Later on they used the “multiple personalities” angle.

Oz the Malefic

May 7, 2012 at 5:17 am

Forgive me for this…

That Kirby art in the first panel posted is terrible.

A rare sighting of the 3-toed Hulk in a domestic setting…

Captain America’s identity was made public when he was assumed dead?

Surely this doesn’t tally with later stories about the US Government assigning the role to other people so the public wouldn’t learn he was missing? Or that story from the late 80s where Steve Rogers recieves a huge amount of backpay from the US Governement because he was never officially discharged from the service (he uses the money to start his Stars and Stripes Hotline), and an IRS official is able to deduce tha Steve Rogers is Captain America when he files his tax return?

I think there needs to be a retconned Beast and Wondy secret romance.

“We can’t start the meeting without Ant-Man!”

“What about the Wasp?”

“Who?”

niice picks surprised to learn the avengers did not know each others i.ds from the start plus just like the mansion from time to time. the quinjet becomes cannon fodder nice to finaly know the issue it started.

I’ve been reading a lot of old Marvel recently and I keep seeing that Gene Day name. I never hear him discussed these days but whoever he was, he was a great inker, as seen above in those John Byrne pages. Great stuff. Ruined by that horrible dialogue, but still a beauty to look at.

I’m very forgiving of physics in comic books and understand suspending disbelief, but casually flying a jet into a monster so hard that it explodes into shrapnel and surviving intact and uninjured is a bit much, no?

Okay I just googled Gene Day. Man, bummer. Also, as good as his inking was his pencilling was even better.

While at the Avengers movie (which I hope someone at CSBG blogs about), I was wondering why the Quinjet was named so. Not the Pantherjet? Not the Avengejet? Does it come apart in five pieces when it explodes? It’s a cool name, so I never questioned it before now.

Looking at the panels again I suppose it’s conceivable that Black Panther and Vision jumped out beforehand.

I think it is called the Quinjet because it has five jet engines.

@dantecat – At first the Wasp wasn’t considered a full Avenger, she was just an honorary member because she was Ant-Man’s sidekick (also because, you know, early 60s + female). They bring this up in an early issue when they consider giving Rick Jones the same honor since he was currently working as Cap’s sidekick.

I seem to recall Beast being particularly interested in helping Wonder Man during the latter’s period of readjustment to life. I’m thinking around Avengers Annual 6 and the regular issues of that time. They weren’t necessarily “palling around” because of Simon’s mental state, but it was an early indication of Hank’s interest in Wonder Man’s welfare. Beast was feeling a bit like an outsider at that time so it was helpful for him to have someone he felt he could mentor.

sandwich eater

May 7, 2012 at 8:18 am

Great stuff. I love old Marvel, and the Avengers movie was awesome.

When I was a kid I always wondered why they called their ships Quinjets. That page from #61 may be one of the few times they’ve been clearly shown with a design that actually has 5 propulsion units.

Gene Day is one of the all-time greats.

His obscurity today is due not just to his untimely death, his also to the fact that his greatest work was done on Master of Kung Fu, first as inker over Mike Zeck for 30 amazing issues, and then as penciller/inker for the next 20, which were even better, showing off a wildly ambitious sense of design to rival Steranko and Gulacy.

MoKF is one of the very best Marvel series from the the ’70s and early ’80s in terms of writing and art. As everything else around it gets reprinted, its absence becomes more and more glaring.

I’d be willing to go with the above Marvel Team-Up 60 (August 1977) as first use of an Avengers ID card, even if it isn’t really shown, but there’s an earlier comic that shows the card than Avengers 189 (November 1979). In MTU 86 (which is cover dated October 1979 — dates courtesy of comics.org since they are not included in an article about first appearances, which makes no dang sense at all Mr. Cronin), Martinex of the Guardians of the Galaxy shows Spider-Man his Avengers ID and it is plainly visible. Which is kinda weird, since the Guardians only worked with the Avengers briefly during the Korvac story, and I don’t get the sense that they actually joined the team. I think maybe they were the first official Reserve Avengers, but how would you call them in if they are from the future — bury a time capsule and hope they find it?

Doesn’t Ms Marvel get a card when she officially joins in the early 180s?

The next panel in the Beast/Wonder Man sequence is where Wondy pulls out his “I’m just a tad short of Thor in the strength dept.” quip . . .

Arthur Siegal

May 7, 2012 at 1:47 pm

I think the first reference to an Avengers ID card was in Captain America 156, where he presents his to the Miami police force to establish his bona fides in regard to the fake (1950′s) captain america.

At Jax… Peter David’s Grey Hulk was a return to the original Anger Monster Hulk of the 60′s. Later he was treated like a childish Id monster with the “Hulk Smash!”, “Hulk Just Wanna Be Left Alone By The Puny Humans!” character.
I love how “Marvel’s The Avengers” incorporated some of the earlier “Sly Angry Hulk” into it’s presentation of the character. Such a wonderful movie!

These blast from the past examples remind me how far we have come in the writing and art in comics… and also remind me why I loved John Byrne back in the day even though I’m not a fan of his current stuff.

Schnitzy Pretzlepants

May 7, 2012 at 2:22 pm

Have to say that I love the exposition masking as dialogue.

“I’m a friend of the Avenger’s in fact they hold their meetings in a building which I lease to them for that purpose…”

I find whenever I am introducing myself to friends of friends, I add a clunky bit of nonessential information:

“Hiya, I’m friends with Dave – in fact when he recently went through some financial troubles, and I needed a place to crash I rented his spare room to help him with his mortgage”

Or…

“I’m friends of John and Bronwen, in fact recently when I needed a set of wheels to transport some things to my storage locker – as I normally ride a motorcycle, and it wouldn’t do – they lent me their car.”

Dr. Hfuhruhurr

May 7, 2012 at 2:56 pm

Re: Wonderman and the Beast, I think there were earlier hints about their friendship. I believe it was AVENGERS #162 when Wondy got his garish red-and-green costume updated into an even more garish red-and-green costume that he said, “And to think, of all people, the Beast designed and made it for me.” It’s a shame that the Powers That Be exiled Beast to languish in the X-MEN universe because he was a great Avenger and Wondy and Hank made for lots of great moments in those years.

My cold-medicine induced imaginings:

Thor: Hulk! Mayhaps thou might dress more modestly. For in thy sheer purple pantaloons, I can see the outline of thine junk!

So when Hank and Jan’s identities became public knowledge? The oldest issue I’ve got is from 1967, and if I remember correctly, Diablo acts like it was well-known.

Actually, a “Top Priority Avengers I.D. Card” was used by Rick Jones in TALES TO ASTONISH #64 (Feb. 1965) to gain access to President Lyndon B. Johnson to inform him of Banner’s dual identity of the Hulk to get him out of trouble. So CAPTAIN AMERICA #156 (Dec. 1972) is very late comparatively.

~G.

Was that before or after Swordsman tried to join (battling the Kooky Quartet) because an Avengers ID card could get him access to anywhere? I don’t remember if the card was actually shown, but it was definitely his original goal.

Herb Clerecidge

May 8, 2012 at 8:22 am

“MoKF is one of the very best Marvel series from the the ’70s and early ’80s in terms of writing and art. As everything else around it gets reprinted, its absence becomes more and more glaring.”

The problem with reprinting MoKF, like that of reprinting ROM and MICRONAUTS, is that all three series contain elements not currently owned or licensed by Marvel; in the case of MASTER OF KUNG FU, that element was Shang-Chi’s father, who was revealed to be [SPOILER ALERT FOR A THIRTY-YEAR-OLD COMIC!] the evil genius Doctor Fu Manchu, the rights to whose character Marvel licensed at that time. The licence has obviously run out since, so in order to reprint those old Shang-Chi stories, they’d either have to come to a new arrangement with Sax Roehmer’s estate or rewrite/redraw any panels in which Fu Manchu appears.

When did Thor start speaking proper english? What happened to his asgardian tongue. This doth not mak sense.

How about the first time Jarvis met the Avengers? I think his first appearance was TOS 59, but when was he first introduced to them.

Arthur Siegal

May 8, 2012 at 9:18 am

Impressive memory Gary

Brian Cronin

May 8, 2012 at 1:00 pm

How about the first time Jarvis met the Avengers? I think his first appearance was TOS 59, but when was he first introduced to them.

I did a piece on Jarvis’ history that I think could easily be re-worked as an Abandoned An’ Forsaked. So that’s what I’ll do! Look for it this weekend!

Brian Cronin

May 8, 2012 at 1:05 pm

Was that before or after Swordsman tried to join (battling the Kooky Quartet) because an Avengers ID card could get him access to anywhere? I don’t remember if the card was actually shown, but it was definitely his original goal.

Before. In fact, it seems like Lee was using the aforementioned Tales to Astonish story as his basis for the Swordsman story (you know, establishing the power of an Avengers ID card in the Hulk story and then having the Swordsman desire that same power).

Herb: It’s not just Fu Manchu but the other Sax Rohmer characters from that series: Sir Denis Nayland Smith, Dr. Petrie and Fu Manchu’s daughter Fah Lo Suee. That makes things even more difficult. Sir Denis especially was hanging around all the time in MOKF.

More recent Shang-Chi stories have gotten around the Fu Manchu thing by either keeping the character unnamed or giving him a new name, with the idea that Fu Manchu was just one of many aliases in the first place.

“More recent Shang-Chi stories have gotten around the Fu Manchu thing by either keeping the character unnamed or giving him a new name, with the idea that Fu Manchu was just one of many aliases in the first place.”

Brubaker did the new name thing in Secret Avengers. That was the first time I’d run across that solution.

Avengers #61 is an outstanding issue!!!

Yeah, but Fu Manchu had appeared in other Shang-Chi comics in recent decades, where he wasn’t called by any name at all (just “father,” “master,” etc.). Bru’s solution was basically borrowing what Parker had done to get away from the unfortunate name of the Yellow Claw in Agents of Atlas, but it worked.

Ethan Shuster

May 9, 2012 at 5:44 am

I guess we’re supposed to figure that when Jan says “Why, Henry Pym!” in front of everyone, the two are whispering to each other?

When did the Red Skull first appear in an Avengers story? Avengers Annual#2 for the alternate Earth Red Skull? When did the main world Red Skull first meet the Avengers? Around Captain America#300? The Red Skull has oddly infrequently appearedin Avengers issues.

Historically, the Avengers title has been surprisingly good about not repeating villains too often, especially post Stan Lee. Enchantress came the closest to being overused, and the classics like Kang, Ultron, Grim Reaper etc. seemed to pop in every 50 issues or so.

And the individual’s primary adversaries never made it. Loki was there for the first appearance and the Avengers/Defenders war. But prior to Acts of Vengeance, that was it for Loki; we saw Mandarin once and Red Skull never.

Which makes sense, I think. You don’t want to see solo villains fighting teams, because if a solo hero can beat them, then how could they be much of a threat for a team?

And the individual’s primary adversaries never made it.

Well, except maybe Egghead, but it’s not like Hank was going to have a solo title again anytime soon.

Even Egghead basically only showed up twice. Once in the Thomas era, then returning for the whole fall of Hank Pym saga.

Reading the Essential Hulk gave me the strong feeling Stan and Jack had no idea what they were doing. The Hulk is separate from Banner, he’s Banner but more ruthless, he’s mindless and controlled by Rick, he changes at night, he changes with a ray machine … I’m not surprised it got canceled after six issues.

As for secret identities, I think it’s Avengers 113 or 114 where Don Blake and Tony Stark are working to repair/operate on the Vision. After Tony steps out to become Iron Man, then rushes back in as himself, Don Blake rushes out and Tony suddenly says “Be sure to say hi to Thor if you see him in the same closet I ran into Iron Man” and it becomes obvious they’ve figured each other out for years but haven’t said so.

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