This is the second in a series (of indefinite length and regularity) of pieces showing you the first appearance of stuff that later became notable parts of comic book lore. Not 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 time Spider-Man’s face was shown half-Spidey/half-Peter.”
Reader Joseph M. asked if I could show the first appearance of a Life Model Decoy, the androids that S.H.I.E.L.D. make that are replicas of their top level personnel, to work as, well, you know, decoys!
Life Model Decoys showed up in the very first Strange Tales to feature Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., Srange Tales #135.
Heck, they were around before Fury was even IN S.H.I.E.L.D.!
Check out their intro in the first pages of Strange Tales #135, courtesy of (well, you can see the credits page here)…
I love the one guy who is like, “Don’t forget the eyepatch!” You must be working with some real Einsteins if you need to remind them of that!
Next, commenter Rob Schmidt suggested the first time that Jimmy Olsen used his signal watch.
Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen debuted in 1954, inspired by the popularity of the character on the Adventures of Superman TV series.
If you’re going to have a whole ongoing series based on Jimmy Olsen, you need to come up with certain plot devices to make them work, and Otto Binder (or whoever’s idea it was) quickly introduced a great one in the first issue of Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen.
Here is the watch in action from later in the issue (art by Curt Swan and Ray Burnley)…
Finally, here is the first appearance of the Thing’s catch phrase, “It’s clobbering time!”
Surprisingly, Ben Grimm, the Thing, did not even use the WORD “clobber” for the first ten or so issues of the Fantastic Four. Then he mentions clobbering people a few times, phrases like “Aw, you should have let me clobber them!” or “I can’t wait until I get to clobber him.” Stuff like that.
Shockingly, though, it was not until the twenty-second issue of the Fantastic Four, in a match-up with the Fantastic Four’s first foe, the Mole Man, that the Thing finally let his catch phrase loose!
Amusingly, it’s along with a phrase that I am totally unfamiliar with. I mean, I suppose from the context that it means just a general “Yeah! Let’s go!,” but I do not know where the term comes from exactly. Commenter Dave Sikula pointed out that Irving Berlin had used the phrase in a song in the 1920s (and in the context, it also was clear that it was a rallying cry), but anyone else know anything more about it?
By the by, knowing Stan Lee, I figured once he debuted it, he would quickly use it all the time, and sure enough, the very next issue he used it and had it established as THE catch phrase for the Thing.
Feel free to send in ideas for future debuts I should feature here to firstname.lastname@example.org!