Saturday, 3 May 2014


All images copyright Marvel Comics

Looking back, it seems to me that the sizzlin' '70s was a great time
to be a teenager.  Great movies, great programmes - and great comics.
Whether NOVA was one of them, I'll leave you to make up your own
mind, but it sure is one which conjures up images of long, hot, seemingly
never-ending summers in the myriad mazes of my memory.  Surprisingly,
Nova, created by MARV WOLFMAN & LEN WEIN, first debuted
in a fanzine called SUPER ADVENTURES back in 1966, before
his MARVEL COMICS appearance ten years later.

JOHN ROMITA (Senior) tweaked the costume design, although
it was Big JOHN BUSCEMA who performed the art chores for the
first two issues.  RICHARD RIDER, Nova's teenaged alter-ego, bore
similarities to SPIDER-MAN, although his origin appears to have been
'borrowed' from GREEN LANTERN.  The comic lasted for 25 issues,
of which I have the first dozen, so let's now wallow in nostalgia for our
lost youth as we gaze again upon the cataclysmic covers and sen-
sational splash pages of - THE MAN CALLED NOVA! 

See you in Part Two - coming soon!


Dougie said...

Nova 1 ( like Eternals 1) was one of the very few first issues I could get my hands on in the 70s. I then got 4, 6 and 7. The sporadic ditribution didn't help build up much loyalty for the title. I liked the design of the character and his first few villains but even back then I found Wolfman's scripts thin and his understanding of humour was even more tenuous than Claremont.

Gey Blabby said...

Hah! Just like Brunner on Howard The Duck, I was sorry to see Big John not having a longer run on Nova; mind you, his wee brother turned out to be an able replacement, especially as inked by Tom Palmer.
The character and stories I found to be just okay, although I think I stuck with it for a good part of its run. It didn't help that most of the villains they were facing him off against were pretty bland and felt like retreads of better characters found elsewhere.
Still, it's great to see these again. Echoing what McScotty said last time, Kid: you've really been touching a chord with some of your recent posts.

Kid said...

You're right, Dougie and Gey - Nova could have done with some better villains, but it managed to capture a hint of a glimmer of early Spidey for a short while before losing direction and the readers' interest. It also featured some of Kirby's worst covers - #4 is simply awful. I can't remember exactly when I jumped ship - perhaps around issue #7.

Paul McScotty -Muir said...

I always felt Nova was a character with real potential - as you say the first 3 - 4 issues looked good with heavy influence of Spidey, I wondered if the powers that be at Marvel thought that was a bad move to have another Spidey and asked the writers to change the characters direction as it seemed to change and go down hill pretty quickly - recent re vamps of the character to me at any rate, have been pretty average (similar to Omega )

Kid said...

I reckon they'd have been all for the Spidey influence to begin with, McScotty - it must have been deliberate. However, if the readers thought it was just too similar to the point of overkill and complained, Marvel would've taken a detour to appease the fans. I think that's probably what happened, 'though it's only a guess.

Colin Jones said...

All these Nova stories were printed in Rampage weekly in autumn 1977 and that's where I read them but it's the splash pages I remember as the covers weren't reprinted - I'm seeing several of these covers for the first time. I was never that much of a fan and it's interesting that Nova is one of those rare characters in comics who was permanently removed from the MU after the cancellation of the comic - yes, I know he's finally returned but not the original version, that one has been written off as a noble failure - I've no idea what the new one is like, I could buy a downloaded volume but I haven't so far.

Kid said...

The annoying thing about the Rampage reprints of Nova is that there was a page dropped from the first story. I was really annoyed by that at the time, even 'though I still had the U.S. mag.

vwstieber said...

Some of these had very, very generic Kirby covers (as did a number of other titles of the period). That would be a fun post, BTW, if you collate all those (hint hint).

Kid said...

Might do one day. On the whole, I found quite a few of them disappointing, Even many of his '70s FF ones, inked by Joe Sinnott, somehow lacked that ol' Jack magic.

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