The Man from U.N.C.L.E. #10 (January, 1967)

“Batmania” may have dominated the pop culture landscape in 1966, but it was by no means the only thing going on at the time — not even within the smaller sphere of pop-cultural activity that was of special interest to nine-year-old boys such as myself.  For one thing, there was also The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (that’s the United Network Command for Law and Enforcement, for those of you who don’t already know, and yet might actually care for some reason), in addition to being something of a mini-phenomenon of its own, was of course also part of the larger wave of popularity of the “super-spy” genre in the early-to-mid-Sixties.  The wellspring of this popularity was author Ian Fleming’s James Bond, the hero of a series of espionage thrillers who’d debuted in 1953, but who’d really taken off (especially in the United States), when it was revealed that President John F. Kennedy was a fan.  By 1966, the enormous success of Agent 007 had yielded a crop of imitators as well as variations on the “spy-fi” concept, including TV’s spoof Get Smart and Western-spy-fi genre hybrid The Wild Wild West, not to mention comics’ Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. and T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents series.     Read More

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The Wild Wild West #1 (June, 1966)

The very first comic books I bought for myself, in the summer of 1965, were DC comics, and for the most part I stuck with that publisher for the next couple of years.  I wasn’t completely an exclusive DC customer, however; I also bought comics from Gold Key, the comic book imprint of Western Publishing.  Gold Key produced superhero series like Magnus Robot Fighter 4000 A.D. and Doctor Solar, Man of the Atom; they also had the licenses for Tarzan, and for the Disney and Warner Bros.cartoon characters.  However, I wasn’t very interested in any of those.  No, I bought Gold Key comics because they published comic books based on my favorite television shows — and in March, 1966, one of my very favorite shows was The Wild Wild WestRead More