Hulk #407-408 (Pantheon)
Issue(s): Hulk #407, Hulk #408 (Pantheon back-ups only)
James Dean is dead and the local biker boys are mad about it. Future Pantheon member Ulysses, Walter Charles, is one of the bikers, but he doesn't know that he's an immortal member of the Pantheon family. Achilles shows up to recruit him and does so by picking a fight with him.
Walter is arrested in the aftermath of the fight. Achilles breaks him out of jail with the help of his partner, the current Ulysses.
There's really not much of interest here. Not only are the Pantheon characters not really interesting enough to merit continuity-inserts, but nothing really happens in this story that couldn't be told in a one panel flashback during the regular Hulk series.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: This takes place in "1955" after the death of James Dean.
Continuity Insert? Y
My Reprint: N/A
Obviously the Pantheneon was a labor of love for Peter David. I remember reading these in real time as an 11 and 12 year old and missing the Grey Hulk.
The only (exceedingly minor) point to this story is that James Dean wasn't famous, known, or beloved by rebel youth when he died. That was kind of the "magic" of his story, 'Rebel Without A Cause' especially came out months AFTER his death and he was discovered by kids who fell under his spell- only then, to discover he was dead way before they saw him for the first time. Therefore, it was a kind of magical, tragic, Valentino thing. But hey! Maybe it worked out differently in the Marvel Universe.
Posted by: Wis | May 17, 2018 10:11 AM
To be fair, he had already had a starring role in East Of Eden before he died, and numerous television (& stage) roles, including some previous roles as a "rebellious/disaffected youth" even before Rebel cemented that image. It is said that on the set of East Of Eden, Dean's rising fame started to go to his head & and he was rude to the crew.
It is true though that the "cult of James Dean" was posthumous, but perhaps these bikers had an eye for talent and had already seen him in East Of Eden or one of his other roles :-)
Posted by: Jonathan, son of Kevin | May 17, 2018 1:57 PM
I've got to *respectfully* disagree with you Jonathan, especially because you're factually correct and this isn't that important ;) but while yes, he was on several television shows and so forth and on Broadway, it's undermining how UNKNOWN he was. No teenagers or teenage greasers were watching 'East of Eden', I assure you- just like when Dean got rave reviews for 'See The Jaguar' on Broadway. Were CRITICS and FILM PEOPLE impressed/aware? Yes. Were teenagers in 1954? Hell no. So James Dean's growing confidence on the set, to the point of clashing with Raymond Massey (who played his father) was more from those elements and not from ANY kind of teenage/youth/subculture fandom whatsoever. It's a very different thing and takes away from the rare mania that occurred once 'Rebel Without A Cause' became such a cultural hit.
So, yeah... I really highly doubt those bikers would be that moved by the adaption of Steinbeck's "East of Eden" in this case... although that would be AWESOME if this was the case :D
Posted by: Wis | May 18, 2018 3:01 PM
The biker image of the 50s was more Brando in "The Wild One" than anything to do with James Dean. Dean probably only took it over because of his short life/tragic death...which was more due to his love of cars than biking.
Posted by: Ataru320 | May 18, 2018 3:58 PM
I think in this case it's far harder to prove a negative (Dean's death was not felt by teens and greasers) than it is to prove a positive (Dean's legacy as depicted by Peter David was accurate).
Dean's death was front page news at least on the West Coast and in California where presumably this story takes place. This is factual and easily researched - Los Angeles Examiner, LA Times, and SF Chronicle all covered it as front page news, referring to him as an bobbysox idol and a film star. Whether or not you believed he impacted rebel youth is kind of moot. His death was noteworthy when it happened and garnered headlines even if it only made headlines on the West Coast where this story was set.
The media of that day, particularly when he died, reflect that he was considered a star and a bobby sox idol. Additionally about 3000 people attended his funeral. Certainly an insane amount, but enough to denote that he was a star. 600 were attendees and the other 2400 were fans. Photos of the day of the funeral clearly show teen fans in attendance.
Peter David might not have bang on accurate, but it's not wrong or factually inaccurate to see he was considered a teen idol at the time of his death. Media of that time paints him in that light which to me is far more of a smoking gun than the arguments/opinions of 3-4 people who were presumably not alive at that time,
Posted by: Mark Black | May 18, 2018 7:32 PM
Newspapers and such were clearly adding that to sell papers and hammer across the point that he was in movies. If he had really been a "film star", why would they need to put it in those 2 newspapers to get the point across?
No, it is completely factually inaccurate, no matter how technical you want to get, Mark. 'Rebel Without A Cause' didn't open for another month and then didn't go into wider release until winter. This is well documented. Mark Winslow (Dean's cousin) told me and a bunch of other people assembled that when Dean had just died, the media threw out a bunch of terms without knowing anything about Dean, and his youth and the character he played in 'East of Eden' surely had something to do with that labeling.
This isn't about me being right- it's about it being a very BIG PART of the Dean story that people stumbled upon him much later in retrospect, unaware that he was dead when they fell in love with him. Forget about what I say- go talk to Bill Bast, go talk to Martin Landau, go to Fairmount Indiana- I talked to those people, I went there, this is all quoted and documented in multiple books. So I haven't really given my "opinion" more than I've repeated what several people who knew Dean and were alive at that time have said multiple times, for decades.
Posted by: Wis | May 19, 2018 2:09 PM
Wis, I don't doubt what you're saying and have read similar accounts, but am still unsure whether or not that really invalidates the story. Do they actually mention "Rebel Without a Cause" in the story? --because I can't recall that they did. Dean raced cars at Bakersfield, Santa Barbara, and Palm Springs the year that he died, plus he had already been on several TV(!) shows starting around 1951 or so. Maybe these cool young motor enthusiasts were just ahead of their time. It's plausible they were cutting edge niche fans. He clearly had some fans before he died, or wouldn't have made it as far as he did, nor would he have likely been able to afford all those hot racing cars, nor compete with Marlon Brando for at least two of the same girlfriends. Or so I've read.
Posted by: Holt | May 19, 2018 4:04 PM
no worries guys, it doesn't invalidate anything! like I said, it's possible that things were different in the Marvel U. I'm just surprised how many people are playing devil's advocate on this. the TV appearances Dean made were never geared towards a teen/youth market; he played an Apostle, a working class Dad with a sick baby, things of this nature, and his one film was certainly not the kind of film that switchblade greasers would have been into. But who cares! If everyone enjoys this back-up- and I did- that's what counts! I apologize for my shortcomings and am gonna shut up about it :)
Posted by: Wis | May 19, 2018 4:16 PM
I apologize too :D and am sincerely grateful for all the knowledge I've just learned about James Dean, Marlon Brando, Hollywood, and the West Coast racing scene. Thanks!
Posted by: Holt | May 19, 2018 6:04 PM
Comments are now closed.
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