Characters Appearing: Dr. Strange, Human Torch, Nick Fury, Thing
Issue(s): Strange Tales
The first "Strange Tale" is one of Fury's. It involves him fighting giant bionic rats sent by the Yellow Claw using standard SHIELD issue explosive fibers from his clothing.
Totally embracing the Silver Age outrageousness of Fury's Strange Tales stories.
The other stories are all related. The Human Torch and the Thing start talking about a time when they met Wyatt Wingfoot to help him look for a definitely-mythical Sage-Wolf, and then telling a story-within-a-story going back even earlier.
In that story, they deal with the old myth of alligators getting flushed into the sewer, except it turns out to be true.
The gators are led by the deliberately ridiculous Golden Gator.
The threat of the Golden Gator and his alligators eventually just fade away, and the impossibility of all of that is what caused the Torch and the Thing to bring it up when Wyatt was talking about the Sage-Wolf. But then the Golden Gator returns, in a more ferocious form.
Dr. Strange shows up to help with the Golden Gator, and he tells his own story-within-a-story which is in the classic style of his own Strange Tales era. A wealthy man came to him with a problem where, as a way to embarrass poor people, he and his friends spread a rumor about a monster. But then the monster became real. Strange managed to banish the creature with the Eye of Agamotto.
The heroes then all compare notes about their various impossible creatures who were all conjured by people talking about them. One thing they learn is that people of Wyatt Wingfoot's tribe, the Keewazi, happened always to be in the area where these things were happening. And then Wyatt tells his own story-within-a-story, wherein his grandfather, Silent Fox, accidentally summoned a monster from a comic book: the adorable Orrgo (from Strange Tales #90).
Wyatt's grandfather managed to banish the creature thanks to Wyatt's father running to get an amulet.
And after telling that story, Orrgo "returns".
Dr. Strange tries to hold a seance to get help from Silent Fox, but it turns out they've only summoned the creature that keeps appearing in these various forms. The fake Silent Fox tells them that the creature is really Khlog, a creature from Keewazi legend.
But even that may not be accurate. The creature turns out to be a serpent older than the world.
The creature is immune to all forms of attack, even Dr. Strange's magic. But it is bound by story telling. So, using the same amulet that his grandfather used, Wyatt is able to defeat the creature by telling a final Strange Tale.
I really love how Kurt Busiek managed to not only pay tribute to the various eras of Strange Tales, but actually make the title meaningful for the purpose of this story. It's also just an entertaining story of the kind that was very much missing at the time of publication. Ricardo Villagran's art is very nice too - a little stiffness during the fights, but for the most part very good and able to match the various tones called for by the plot.
Quality Rating: A
Chronological Placement Considerations: The Thing's face is completely unscarred...
...and Dr. Strange is active in his normal status quo. The MCP place this basically at publication date, between Fantastic Four #395-396. But that ignores the Thing's face (granted, the scars have mostly healed by that point in the FF series, but they are still visible).
The MCP don't even list Dr. Strange for the present day portion of this story, but he's definitely playing cards with the others.
And there doesn't seem to be a place for a "normal" Dr. Strange to appear circa publication date (or really, any time in 1994-1995). The story itself is basically context free, so i think it makes more sense to push this back to a time when every character is in their classic status quos. So before Fantastic Four #371-375 and Doctor Strange #48-50.
Despite clearly being a construct of the Hoop Snake, the Golden Gator will appear again (in a single issues of Nick Fury's Howling Commandos - the 2005 "monster" version). But since he only appears in flashback in this story, i'm still not listing him as a Character Appearing. Yellow Claw, Wyatt Wingfoot, and Wong also only appear in flashbacks.
Note that the Orrgo appearing here (also in flashback only) isn't the "real" one, and the implication is that his original appearance was "only" a comic book (of course, Marvel comics in the Marvel universe have published true stories before).
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
I think that Strange was a bit hard on the wealthy guy- yeah, he was a jerk, but he had no way of knowing that a Native American demon that could take the forms of stories was in the area.
Posted by: Michael | January 30, 2018 9:39 PM
Isn't the Golden Gator threatening the wrong coast?
Posted by: Erik Robbins | February 4, 2018 10:08 PM
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