Tuesday, July 20, 2010

First Man on the Moon!

On this date in 1969, we set our sights upon a strange and distant world and stepped forth into the future as we explored a land previously unreachable! Yes, today in 1969, Woodstock began! Wait, no, that's not right. Today's the day that the teddy bears had their picnic...on the moon! (oon oon oon oon) Around the world every nation was held in rapturous awe as Apollo 11 set down upon the lunar surface and immediately opened a Starbucks.

Moon Landing
from Fantastic Four #98 (May 1970), script by Stan Lee, pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Joe Sinnott, letters by Artie Simek




In every corner of the globe, Hollywood representations of quirky 1930s cops and cabbies argued about metaphysics as all around them, men wore porkpie hats and astronauts made dramatic scientific history!

Moon Landing




Meanwhile, somewhere near a cherry orchard, in an Anton Chekhov play, a middle-aged Russian man married to an 83-year year old Babushka Lady makes the first of many Russia-on-top jokes that would become such an endearing trait of his 23rd century descendant, Ensign Pavel "Davey Jones" Chekov:

Moon Landing




And at the same time, a mysterious long-lost island rises from the ocean depths, spurring humanity to search for...the Stimulator! No, I don't know what it is, either. You'd better ask Jack Kirby. Your guess is as good as mine.

Moon Landing




But my point...and I do have one...is that, on the moon's ancient surface, the Lunar Module settles down upon the surface, little suspecting that just over the horizon, there's Kirby Krackle a-plenty!

Moon Landing




It's all thanks to the Fantastic Four, who have surreptitiously aided Apollo 11 on her way, with the help of the most important superhero of all time, The Sentry, who took time off from his busy schedule of dating supermodels and changing the course of history to...oh, wait, wrong Sentry. Anyway, moon landing, yay!

Moon Landing




Hooray, mankind! Too bad you flubbed your line, Neil. Practice next time! Or, consider cue cards!

Moon Landing




But...did it really happen?!?!?


Moon Landing




No, no, no, I'm definitely not one of those skeptics who thinks the moon landing was filmed on a sound stage in Arizona. Especially since The Jackie Gleason Show was on hiatus for the summer, with its pre-constructed moon set featuring the faces of each member of the Honeymooners going free for the use. Instead, I reserve my skepticism for the veracity of the claim that 'Dippin' Dots' are truly the "ice cream of the future"...but that's still to be authoritatively disproved. No, I'm just asking...were Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin really the first humans to walk on the moon? Now, there's places you can go to ask that, but don't ask Colonel Buzz. He will punch you. (And rightfully so.)



Go, Buzz, Go!

Also, Harry Potter's Emma "Hermione Smartass Granger" Watson will punch you, too. Not that she has a horse in this race—she just likes punching people.





No, for that answer, we have to go back in time to the origins of the Kree-Skrull War, or, as its known on Skrullos, the War Between the Chosen People and the Stinking Filthy Samelings. Back in the days before cable television or ColecoVision or even Parcheesi, the super-arrogant blue aliens known as the Kree challenged the ultra-botanical planet aliens known as the Cotati to a contest: which one of them could develop a barren world—our moon—into a life-filled paradise? Poor losers to the end, the Kree went berserk when the Cotati won: for this outrage, they forever swore revenge upon...the Skrulls. Yeah, I'm thinking they were pretty much using the same excuse the Nazis used for annexing the Sudetenland. Thus began the millennia-long battle known across the universe as the Kree-Skrull War, of which it is generally agreed was a bad thing, although it gave rise to such cultural advances as big band music, the development of second-gen-plasmer-poly-fibers, and that classic holodrama Kreesablanca.

Moon Landing




And after the poor loser Kree pulled up stakes and left the moon, Uatu the Watcher moved in, no doubt happy to have his own domain at last after vowing to his parents Mom Watcher and Dad Watcher that he was going to move out of the basement and have his own totally bitchin' pad and no one was going to tell him when he had to go to bed or if he could have Galactus over for a kegger party.

Moon Landing
from Tales of Suspense #52 (April 1964), plot by Stan Lee, script and pencils by Larry Lieber, inks by Paul Reinman, letters by Sam Rosen



Ask any Marvel fanboy, therefore, where the Watcher lives, and they'll tell you: 1313 Mockingbird Lane, Apartment 221B, Blue Area of the Moon, Moon, 60609. But...was it always so? Depending on who you ask in the early days of Marvel history, the Watcher has lived on "another world, light years from our earth"...

Moon Landing
from Tales of Suspense #51 (March 1964), plot by Stan Lee, script and pencils by Larry Lieber, inks by George Roussos, letters by Sam Rosen




...or on a lonely asteroid out in space...

Moon Landing
Moon Landing
from Tales of Suspense #58 (October 1964), script by Stan Lee, pencils and inks by George Tuska, letters by Artie Simek




...perhaps on Planet T-37X (the miracle ingredient in new improved "Cleeno")...

Moon Landing
Moon Landing
from Tales of Suspense #57 (September 1964), plot by Stan Lee, script and pencils by Larry Lieber, inks by George Roussos, letters by Sam Rosen




Now here's pissed-off, we're-not-gonna-take-it Uatu threatening to beat you to a bloody pulp, punk, straight from his "distant spinning sphere":

Moon Landing
from Tales of Suspense #54 (September 1964), plot by Stan Lee, script and pencils by Larry Lieber, inks by George Roussos, letters by Sam Rosen




But I think we can all agree that no matter how many times he was evicted by his previous landlords due to his poor sanitary habits and multiple bounced checks, he eventually wound up on the moon...

Moon Landing
from Tales of Suspense #49 (January 1964), plot by Stan Lee, script and pencils by Larry Lieber, inks by George Roussos, letters by Sam Rosen




...where, because he forgot to draw his blinds, Uatu attracted the attention of Hulk-foe The Leader, aka "Peeping Tom."

Moon Landing
from Tales to Astonish #73 (November 1965), script by Stan Lee, breakdowns by Jack Kirby, finishes by Bob Powell, letters by Artie Simek




And then, the 1960s arrived...and the Space Race was on! Pausing only to gather a crew of his college roommate, his girlfriend, and her teenage brother, super-genius Reed Richards, inventor of the Space Food Stick, launched his incredible rocket towards the stars!

Moon Landing
from Fantastic Four #1 (November 1961), script by Stan Lee, pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by George Klein




And of course, we all know how well that went.

Moon Landing
Moon Landing




So, a little while later, they tried again. This time with better shielding, but still bringing the kid brother, which only goes to prove: Reed Richards is rock stupid.

Moon Landing
from Fantastic Four #13 (April 1963), script by Stan Lee, pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Steve Ditko, letters by Artie Simek




Little did they know that they would be raced to the moon by that sinister supervillain...The Red Green Ghost!* (*Not to be confused with Paul Newman's Green Goddess salad dressing.)

Moon Landing




Thoughtfully, they both launch their super-powered rocket ships to the moon at the same time. Who will get there first? Who?


Moon Landing




Read the following word balloon aloud. Now, try it without laughing:


Moon Landing




The FF land their rocket in the mysterious Blue Area of the Moon* (*not to be confused with Paul Newman's 'Bleu Cheese Salad Dressing'). Touchdown! So...here it is...the fateful moment...who is...the first man on the moon? Who is it? Who is it?


Moon Landing




Eh, it's a stinkin' Commie.

Moon Landing




So, there you go. The first human to set foot upon the lunar surface is Ivan Kragoff, Soviet Ape Trainer. Put that in your history book and smoke it, pops!

Except...

...for just one thing...

When the Uncanny Neil n' Buzz, The Strangest Fighting Team of All Time, sets their corrugated boots upon the moon, they're astonished to discover...Happy Fun Ball! After Buzz was done punching it, the astronauts brought it back to Earth and smartly handed it off like the hot potato it was to our feloniest American president, Richard M. Nixon.

Moon Landing
from Astonishing Tales #1 (August 1970), script by Roy Thomas, pencils and inks by Wally Wood, letters by Artie Simek




Yep, that's right, fanboys...Victor von Doom was the first man on the moon, and don't you forget it! It was Doctor Doom landed his custom-made rocket ship in the moon's eye like a big pizza pie, and it was Doom who mined all that valuable moon cheese and took it back to Latveria for Doomstadt Cheesefestival '68, at which he took home five blue ribbons for his piquant and tart "fromage de lune," narrowly beating out Herr Hermann Kase, who swore endless revenge upon Doctor Doom, donning armor, a metal mask, and a rubber cheese head to become the Balkans' most feared avenger, "Der Cheesemeister!"

Moon Landing


So there you go...now you know...The Rest of the Story. And the next time someone suggests you make a wish on the Man in the Moon...don't forget that you're really giving thanks to Doctor Doom! You traitorous cur, you. Like I always say: history oughta be fun. Also, filled with doom. And punching!



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