The Transparent Fox:
Characters Appearing: Master Khan, Taboo
Strange Tales #77
Issue(s): Strange Tales #77
Two of the stories in this issue have some small but noteworthy relevance to the Marvel universe. The headline story features the return of the monster Taboo. Taboo isn't an important character (although he does have a couple more appearances) but it's always interesting when seemingly one-off Monster Age creatures get to return. It's less a case of a world building than it is more like a horror movie sequel, but i guess it's an indication of which characters generated interest (at least to the creators; Taboo's previous appearance set up the possibility of his return).
When Taboo last appeared, he was said to be an advance scout for an invading army, but he was destroyed with a nuclear blast. But it turns out that the blast has just scattered Taboo's bits around the Earth.
It eventually all converges in New York.
The re-formed Taboo goes on an unstoppable rampage.
His attack is halted only by the arrival of a giant mud-ship.
It turns out that Taboo's people are peaceful. Taboo himself is mentally ill. They take him away.
Taboo presumably got his name from the fact that he lurked in a forbidden area in the original story, so it's weird to see his people calling him that. I assume that Taboo's people are using some kind of universal translator.
Taboo will somehow return to Earth and (like many Monster Age monsters) become a prisoner of the Collector prior to Marvel Monsters: Monsters on the Prowl #1.
The second story in this issue features a man that has found a way to turn himself into a dog. He then goes out and robs jewelry stores and homes, turning into a dog when he's about to get caught (hiding his stolen goods in a dog collar, naturally). The problem is that he gets caught by the dog catcher and put in the pound, making it impossible to get home to administer the antidote that prevents him from turning into a dog permanently.
The third story is our other minor continuity landmark. It's the first sort-of appearance of Master Khan, the Iron Fist villain.
In this story, Master Khan, a "dabbler in the arts of magic and the occult" has a dragon ship that a sailor wants.
So he bribes someone to give drugged wine to Khan's servants.
Khan himself seems less powerful than you'd might expect.
But in the end he captures the captain and his crew by transforming the ship into a ship in a bottle.
In isolation, i might have written this Master Khan off as a coincidence due to the common name. But Tony Isabella, writing on his blog in 2006, said that the Khan that he introduced was the same one from this story:
I created Misty [Knight] during my three-issue story arc on Iron Fist in the 1970s. That same arc brought Master Khan into the Marvel Universe; he had previously appeared in STRANGE TALES #77 [October, 1960], in one of those five-page Stan Lee/Steve Ditko "shock ending" stories that delighted me as a youngster and which continue to tickle me to this day.
Additionally, John Byrne and Jae Lee had Khan do the ship-in-a-bottle trick again during their Namor run (Namor #32).
The final story in this issue has a man in the future building a perfect robot duplicate of himself. Then robots are banned, and the robot tries to claim that he's the original so that he doesn't get destroyed. The twist is that the story was narrated by the robot, who was created so well that he believed he was human.
Quality Rating: B
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
That Master Khan story is awesome. Beautiful art by Ditko.
Posted by: Andrew | May 23, 2017 7:23 PM
The Master Khan tale looks neat. As is the Taboo tale: heck it's hilarious that even alien monsters know about mental issues.
Posted by: Ataru320 | May 24, 2017 7:58 AM
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