After a month of spotlighting the strange (if endearingly strange) history of comic books (and especially the Silver Age), I think it is worthwhile to show the comic books of the Silver Age that are simply great stories period. Here is an archive of all the Silver Age comics features so far!
Today we look at the evolution of Animal Man as a featured character in the pages of Strange Adventures between 1965 and 1967.
Dave Wood introduced Buddy Baker in 1965’s Strange Adventures #180, with art by Carmine Infantino and George Roussos.
In a similar fashion to the first appearance of Hank Pym, Buddy does not become a superhero after gaining his animal powers (in fact, he does not have them at the end of the issue).
Instead, he’s just a fellow who isn’t brave enough to ask his girlfriend to marry him…
He then uses his new powers to help…
but when an alien shows up causing problems, Buddy’s powers run out…
here’s Buddy’s plan…
Great ending to the first appearance of Buddy Baker.
He returned a few issues later to stop another alien threat (this time drawn by Gil Kane). His powers came back and at the end of the issue he makes a vow…
That vows comes into action a few issues later (back to Infantino for the art), as he becomes A-Man!
Even back then, Buddy was an odd superhero – his powers worked funny and his identity was not particularly secret.
Jack Sparling came aboard to draw the last two appearances of “A-Man” in Strange Adventures #195…
and a forgettable #201 that I won’t bother exploring as it is pretty bad. Deadman took over in #205, and Buddy was a “forgotten hero” for years before he was, well, a “Forgotten Hero”!
And then Morrison stepped in, and that’s what Buddy is most known for today.
Those original stories, though, were, for the most part, very well written and drawn with a unique approach to superheroics.
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