Monday, November 26, 2012

Out of the silent planet

My guest post for the  "How Would You Fix…?" blog (devoted to fan-created tweaks and revisions to mangled or ill-considered comics continuity) proposes a startling connection between the android Vision of the Avengers and the seemingly unrelated Golden Age character the Vision created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby for Marvel Mystery Comics in 1940.

This piece is definitely me working through some long-standing childhood passions. As noted in the introduction, my first issue of The Avengers was #55, the comic that introduced an evil robot named Ultron back in 1968. A vague memory suggests that because my parents were devoted viewers of The Avengers at the time I may have chosen this comic based on the title alone, under the impression it was a comic about John Steed and Emma Peel. It wasn't, but I liked it even better. When Ultron returned just two issues later to send his android slave the Vision against the team, I already considered myself a hardcore fan of the comic. The Vision never became a star outside of comic books, but with his brooding, introspective angst he went on to be one of the most archetypal of Marvel characters. (Come to think of it, maybe that's why the Vision never achieved crossover appeal: the character is simply too much of the comics medium, and perhaps can't work quite as well in any other format.)

I'm extremely pleased with how this piece turned out, but fair warning: it gets deep into the weeds of obscure Marvel Comics lore. The Vision has had a convoluted history and even though I ignore the most recent stuff, I don't untangle those knots in his history but pull them even tighter. My synopsis also pays deliberate homage to a couple of science fiction classics, which I felt was only appropriate given the predilection of both Roy Thomas and Jack Kirby to borrow liberally from that wellspring. Anyway, if you enjoy the continuity manipulations of Steve Englehart or Kurt Busiek, this might just be your cup of tea:

The Origin of the Vision, This Time For Sure

Many thanks to Nathan Adler for his encouragement and his patience!