Marvel Handbook

Hi everyone. Welcome back for another edition of the Handbook.

Hey Daron how has your week been?


Mine has been pretty good, in case you were wondering.

I wasn’t, actually.

Anyway, we’ve got a ton of questions so unless you have any objections I think we should start.

And if I did have an objection?

Well, alright then. Let’s go.


John emails

Howdy Jim,

As a Speedball follow up question has there ever been a situation where he actually did get hurt. I did give you the extremes last week of Hulk and Wolverine but what has hurt him in the past? I just think it is interested that the guys powers are essentially only defensive. Maybe my obsession with the Speedball character borders on unhealthy!!

Ok there’s nothing wrong with being obsessed about a comic character. But being obsessed with Speedball? I’d be tempted to lock you up in a mental institution if it didn’t give me something to cover. As it does, I’m willing to look the other way on this.

There was the time most of the Marvel U. thought good ol’ Ball was dead. In reality, it was his replacement that had gotten himself killed not the real deal. So that doesn’t count.

Hmmmm you know I can’t think of any. I could’ve sworn he got his ass handed to him once or twice at least though. I’ll have to read a lot of issues of New Warriors and his own series. In the meantime, why don’t we ask the readers for help while I go read up on it?



*Intently ponders over this statement, and worries about Jim* “Ok there’s nothing wrong with being obsessed about a comic character.”.

Abdul emails

I was curious to know about the ’50s eras Avengers particularly the character known as 3-D man.

Gorilla Man I:
Real Name: Kenneth Hale
Identity/Class: Human inhabiting animal body
Occupation: Adventurer
Known Relatives: Lil Hale (wife)
Base of Operations: Kenya, Africa
First Appearance: Men’s Adventures #26 (March, 1954)

Powers/Abilities: Gorilla-Man possessed all the natural abilities of a gorilla but with human-level intelligence. He was stronger and more agile than an average human being.

Origin: A hunter whose mind was mystically entrapped in the body of the massive gorilla he stalked

Human Robot :
Real Name: None
Identity/Class: Artificial life-form (robot)
Occupation: Adventurer
Known Relatives: None
Aliases: None
Base of Operations: San Francisco, California
First Appearance: Menace #11 (May, 1954)

Powers/Abilities: The Human Robot was composed of artificial materials, making it superhumanly durable and strong (class 10?). It could also absorb and release electricity. It’s capabilities were limited by its incredibly literal programming, which forced it to do only what it was commanded to.

Origin: super-strong robot that went on a killing rampage when its controls were improperly set, the mechanism known as the Human Robot was deactivated when its rampage carried it into New York’s harbour; however, in at least one alternate timeline, the Human Robot was salvaged by Namora and reactivated to serve as a founding member of a 1950s super-team known as the Avengers, a group the present-day Avengers once encountered via time travel. As a member of the 1950s Avengers, the Human Robot retained its violent tendencies but developed a more benign and reasonable personality through the influence of the mystical powers of its teammate, Venus.

Marvel Boy II :

Real Name: Robert Grayson
Alias: The Crusader
Occupation: Adventurer
Legal Status: Citizen of the United States with no criminal record, adopted citizen of the Uranian colony of Eternals
Identity: Not known to the general population of Earth
Place of Birth: Trenton, New Jersey
Marital Status: Single
Known Relatives: Horace Grayson (father, deceased)
Base of Operations: The Eternal colony on Uranus; also, for three years, the United States

Origin: Robert Grayson, a.k.a. Crusader. When Robert Grayson was still a baby, his father took him to the colony of the Eternals on Uranus in the late 1930s, believing life in Uranian society would be preferable to life in an Earth on the brink of the second World War. Raised as one of the Uranian Eternals, young Robert was educated in sciences advanced far beyond Earthly knowledge, developing his mind and body to near-perfection. He also mastered light-manipulating, gravity-altering wrist bands which allowed him and other Uranian residents to compensate for the relatively heavy gravity and dim lighting of the planet Uranus. Becoming curious about his home planet, Robert journeyed to Earth in his late teens and used a specialized set of wrist bands to become a celebrated 1950s crimefighter as Marvel Boy, his bands gave him the power of flight in Earth’s gravity, and also enabled him to emit blinding flashes of light.

Returning to Uranus when he learned his father was ill, Grayson arrived to find his father, his girlfriend and the entire colony dead in a mysterious disaster (later revealed to be the handiwork of Deathurge, agent of Oblivion). Mad with grief and furious at the Earthly bankers who had refused to loan him funds that could have gotten him to Uranus sooner, Grayson set out for Earth but was intercepted by a comet that cast him into a state of suspended animation for decades. Finally landing on Earth and awakening in recent years, the now totally insane Grayson went on a destructive rampage, calling himself the Crusader and wielding the quantum bands, immensely powerful alien wrist bands capable of generating and manipulating energy on a cosmic scale. Grayson had stumbled upon the bands and adopted them before returning to Earth, but he was unable to control their vast power, and accidentally destroyed himself while battling the Fantastic Four. The bands were later adopted by SHIELD agent Wendell Vaughn, who became a member of the Avengers as Quasar.

Venus :
Real Name: Aphrodite
Identity/Class: Olympian god
Occupation: Goddess of love and beauty, former magazine writer and college professor
Group Membership: Avengers (1950’s)–(See Comments), Gods of Olympus
Known Relatives: Zeus (father), Dione (mother), Hephaestus (estranged husband);
Cupid, Aeneas (deceased), Hermaphroditus, Priapus (sons);
Harmonia (daughter), Psyche (daughter-in-law);
Gaea (great-grandmother), Ouranos/Uranus (great-grandfather, deceased);
Cronus, Rhea (paternal grandparents); Chiron, Hades/Pluto, Poseidon/Neptune (uncles);
Demeter, Hera, Hestia/Vesta (aunts); Prometheus, Typhon (half-uncles);
Apollo, Ares, Dionysus, Hercules, Hermes, (half-brothers); Artemis, Athena, Eileithyia, Eris, Hebe, Helen of Troy, Persephone (half-sisters); Neptunia (cousin); Iulus (grandson, deceased)
Aliases: Aineia; Aphrodite Porne (“Aphrodite the Harlot”); Ishtar (a Phoenician goddess similar to Venus, associated with Venus Erycina/Aphrodite, See Comments); Kypris (“Lady of Cyprus”); Murcia (derived from the Greek term myrtea, or myrtle); Pandemos (“of all the people”); Philommedes (“member-loving”, according to Hesiod); Victoria Nutley Starr (mortal civilian identity); Turan (“Lady”, an Etruscan goddess similar to Venus); Venus Alma (“nurturing”); Venus Caelestis (“heavenly” Venus); Venus Calva (“bald”); Venus Cloacina; Venus Erycina; Venus Genetrix; Venus Jovia; Venus Libitina (probably from the Etruscan word for “death”); Venus Obsequens (“compliant”); Venus of Eryx; Venus Physica (Venus of Nature [physis]); Venus Placida (“pleasing”); Venus Pudica (“demure”); Venus Victrix (“the Winner”)
Base of Operations: the extra-dimensional realm of Mount Olympus; sometimes Earth
First Historic Appearance (literary): The Iliad (8th century BC)
First Appearance: Venus #1 (August, 1948)

Physical Description: Venus is extraordinarily beautiful, perfectly proportioned, and possesses no physical flaws whatsoever. By the standards of the Western civilization on Earth, she is the epitome of female beauty and one of the most aesthetically perfect female beings in existence.

Powers/Abilities: Venus possesses the conventional powers of the Olympian gods including superhuman strength (Class 25), vitality, longevity and resistance to injury. She also has certain magical abilities which allow her to fly at great speed, change her form to appear as someone else (or even into the form of an animal such as a dolphin), and render herself and other beings invisible from mortal eyesight (as when she rescued Paris from defeat in battle with Menelaus during the Trojan War). As the goddess of love, Venus has the mystical ability to arouse love and passion in others and transform weapons into objects of peace. Her enchanted girdle, called the Cestus and made by the smith-god Hephaestus, also allows its wearer to ensorcel anyone with the power of love. The only known beings who are immune to her love-power are the goddesses Artemis, Athena, and Vesta (Hestia). Venus is a master of all the arts and sciences of physical love, and she has extensively studied the subject of emotional/sentimental love.

Origin: Aphrodite. The Olympian goddess of love, Venus (originally known as Aphrodite) is one of very few Olympian gods to take an ongoing interest in mortal affairs in recent centuries. The Olympians are an immortal, otherdimensional superhumanoid race who were worshipped as gods by the ancient Greeks & Romans; however, the Olympians have had little traffic with humanity in recent times for a variety of reasons, and are popularly regarded as myths. Despite her people’s modern-day practice of limited contact with humanity, Venus has retained her affection for mankind and was allowed to return to Earth in the 1940s, albeit on condition of renouncing most of her godly power. Determined to use her remaining powers to spread love and goodness on Earth, Venus acted as a heroic adventurer for years. She eventually became less visibly active, though, and ultimately returned to Olympus to take her place among the gods once more.

During her time as an Earthly adventurer, Venus was allied with heroes such as the Sub-Mariner. Her friend and fellow Olympian Hercules is a longtime member of the Avengers, and she fought alongside him during the founding of another super-team, the Champions, after which she returned to Olympus. Since returning to Olympus, she was among the Olympians who supported the Avengers in their conflict with the Olympian monarch Zeus. Venus also once battled the Avengers when she was mentally manipulated by Ares into plotting against Zeus, but the Avengers helped free Venus and clear her name.

Like all Olympians, Venus has a superhumanly powerful, theoretically immortal physique, unique among her people as a specimen of flawless idealized beauty. Like many Olympians, she also has an undefined capacity for mental and mystical powers beyond the abilities of ordinary humans. During her time as an Earthly adventurer, Venus relied heavily upon Cestus, her magical girdle, which can induce feelings of love or passion in other people, and can also transform weapons of violence into peacefully productive tools. When possessed of her full godly powers, Venus can apparently manifest these abilities without the girdle as well.

3-D Man : Harold and Charles Chandler.
Real Name: Charles Chandler
Nicknames: Chuck
Former Aliases: No known former aliases
Other Current Aliases: No other known current aliases
Occupation: Adventurer, formerly test pilot
Legal Status: U.S. Citizen, no criminal record, legally deceased
Identity: Secret
Marital Status: Single
Group Affiliation: Affiliated with Triathlon, Possibly member of unnamed group of 1950s heroes (see comments)
Base of Operations: U.S.A.
Place of Birth: Los Angeles, California
Known Relatives: Hal (brother), Peggy Clark (sister-in-law), Chuck (nephew), Hal Jr (nephew), unnamed parents
First Appearance: Marvel Premiere #35
Origin: Transformed by alien energies while escaping from a Skrull spaceship, 1950s test pilot was dowsed in alien energies, and turned into an image on his brother Hal’s glasses, able to be released as the heroic 3-D Man.

Height: 6’2″
Weight: 200 lbs
Eyes: (as Chandler) Blue; (as 3-D Man) unknown
Hair: (as Chandler) Reddish-blond; (as 3-D Man) None
Skin: Green and red, split evenly and oppositely down middle of body
Strength Level: Strength level approximately three times that of a normal, fit human.

Known Powers: The 3-D Man’s body is three times faster, stronger and fitter than that of a normal human. He can also sense Skrulls no matter what form they are wearing. Chuck had a telepathic connection to his brother Hal during the time they were linked.
Known Abilities: Expert pilot.
Equipment: No known equipment.
Transportation: No known transportation.
Weapons: No known weapons.

History: The 3-D Man was a 1950s superhero created through the unique merger of two brothers, Hal and Chuck Chandler. Chuck was a test pilot who was abducted by alien Skrulls during an important test flight. Chuck escaped, and Skrull spacecraft exploded in the process. While his brother Hal watched below, Chuck was seemingly disintegrated in a burst of light. Hal soon discovered, however, that this light had imprinted an image of Chuck on each lens of Hal’s eyeglasses. Through concentration, Hal could merge the images and cause Chuck to reappear as a three-dimensional man, endowed with physical abilities roughly three times greater than those of an ordinary human athlete. Hal would fall into a trance-like state when Chuck appeared, and Chuck could only exist in the three-dimensional world for three hours at a time, after which Hal had to revive. Chuck used his limited time well, though, becoming the costumed adventurer known as the 3-D Man and single-handedly subverting the Skrulls’ early attempts to undermine Earthly civilization.

Hal would remain comatose whenever the 3-D Man was active, but was aware of the 3-D Man’s activities through a sort of mental link. Later, a Skrull’s ray weapon altered the transformation so that Hal was the 3-D Man’s dominant consciousness for some time. Both brothers’ minds seemed to be present in the 3-D Man at all times, but only one of them (usually Chuck) would be in conscious control of the 3-D Man’s form on any given occasion.

Hal soon decided to retire the 3-D Man, partly because he was thinking about starting a family, and partly because he was afraid his brother’s consciousness might somehow be lost during periods when Hal was the 3-D Man’s dominant consciousness. Hal settled down into a career as a research scientist, got married and raised two sons. He had only activated the 3-D Man twice in recent years (once during a battle with the Hulk and again during the Contest of Champions), and Chuck seemed to be its dominant consciousness again.

In recent years, Hal Chandler and the 3-D Man both mysteriously vanished without explanation. At the same time, the triple-themed spiritual movement known as the Triune Understanding emerged, using the 3-D Man’s costume emblem as the symbol of their religion. The Understanding also somehow granted athlete Delroy Garrett Junior costuming and powers very similar to those of the 3-D Man, and Delroy became the Understanding’s most famous spokesman in his new guise as Triathlon, even joining the Avengers. Hal Chandler’s wife, Peggy, is convinced that the Triunes are somehow linked to her husband’s disappearance, and Triathlon himself has begun to suspect that there is some sort of connection, though he himself is unaware of what it might be and had never heard of the 3-D Man until Peggy approached the Avengers. The true nature of 3-D Man’s links to the Triunes and Triathlon remains unclear, as does the fate of the 3-D Man himself.

I’ve really got nothing to follow that”¦

TherCanBeOnly1 emails

Relatively newish fan, but I like your work. I got out of comics for a while after selling my collection for a lot less than it was worth. God, if I still had those comics today. That’s probably the Sacred Lament of the former collector.

Anyway, a couple of questions.

Very nice to see you’re back into comics. I also appreciate you liking my work. I’ll do my best with your questions.

1.) I missed the Age of Apocalypse storyline. Just to let you know how dated I am, when I got out of the game the X-Men had just died and moved to Australia. I’m getting back in now with the whole House of M deal. I’ve read up a bit on AoA, summaries and such, and it sounds both interesting and lame. Well, more lame. The House of M is going to suffer from the same problem I have with AoA, and other such stories that don’t really take place. They ultimately don’t matter. You know right from the start that Marvel isn’t going to leave their universe so vastly changed. Eventually, the timeline was set right. Eventually, they’ll get to Wanda and kill her or she’ll come to her senses, or whatever else will happen and the main Marvel continuity will right itself. Sure, they promise “Big Huge Massive Changes That’ll Blow Your Mind!!!!!” now in interviews. So some characters might get stuck over in that continuity, or die, or come back from the dead. But, right now, how can I get into any of the stories knowing in the end they’re ultimately not going to mean anything? To me, that kind of gimmick is lazy. “Hey, let’s play around with the continuity, and let our creative juices run wild! Won’t it be great to see a bunch of established characters in new roles!” No. It’s lame, because it’s pointless. Like all those episodes of Star Trek where they skipped timelines or some such thing happened. There’s a paradigm that at the end of the episode they have to return to.

Hehehe I see your point in many ways. With House of M I can see a few changes impacting Marvel.

Return of such characters as Hawkeye and a few others.

The death of Magneto or Wanda or both. I can see them coming back in the long run.

1 or more new characters introduced crossing over.

The characters remembering House of M.

I think DC will have the same problem with Infinite Crisis. Two years down the line everything will go back to the same thing. So I can see your points and understand you not wanting to read it. Since it’s a Marvel event I feel I should cover it so I hope you don’t get put off by it.

While I definitely see your concerns, especially in how it pertains to House of M, I think you may have missed the mark with AOA. AOA was never meant or hyped to be a “new direction” for the X-Men or Marvel Universe. In reality it was about taking a break from regular continuity and telling a 4 month long Elseworlds (that was excellent by the way). My only real complaint about AOA is that it for all intents and purposes ruined the X-franichse. The entire line has been near unreadable since AOA”¦

2) I’d like to see a list of what people consider the worst writers and artists. I’d have to put Steve Englehart at the top of my list. His writing on FF and West Coast Avengers was simply atrocious. He had this thing he loved to do where a character would start a sentence in a thought balloon and then finish the sentence in a… spoken balloon? Whatever. Yet, none of the other characters around would get annoyed, and they’d always understand what the first character meant, even though technically they only heard half the statement. Also high on the horrible writing list would be Bill Mantlo. As far as artists go, Al Milgrom was supremely gifted at unart. His run on WCA and Solo Avengers was jaw droppingly bad. I’d have to also add Keith Pollard and Ron Frenz. Frenz single handedly ruined Thor for me.


1. Rob Liefeld
2. Rob Liefeld
3. Rob Liefeld

He’s just that horrible. I know he created some good characters but his art and writing leave a lot to be desired. I can’t stand him really.

A few others I don’t really like

Todd MacFarlane. His art has gone down hill since leaving Marvel

Michael Turner. Not a DC fan as many know but what I’ve seen looks bad.

Erik Larsen as artist and writer

Daron how about you?

I think Jim’s list pretty much sums it up, though I’ll have to agree with the emailer about Milgrom as well.

Also I got the posters involved in this one as well. So everyone is welcome to the Comics Nexus Inside Pulse board to have their say here

3.) What would you say is the biggest upset in a battle you’ve ever involving the biggest disparity of powers between the combatants? For me, it’s a tie. In either a WCA or Avengers annual, Hawkeye beat the She-Hulk. The other one was in a Spider-Man annual. Spidey beat a future Iron Man. In fact, he kicked the shit out of him. I know a lot of people thought in the Marvel/DC crossover Wolverine shouldn’t have beaten …. Lobo? Whoever it was he beat. I’m not a DC person outside of Batman, so I don’t know who Lobo is or what he does.

Hmmmmmmmmmmm I’ve seen a few. Although I don’t think Lobo vs. Wolverine is one. Most everyone thinks that fight went right. After all Lobo is only a Wolverine clone without the claws. So Logan could take him

I’ve seen characters take down people like Surfer, Thanos, Mephisto and the like without an inch of cosmic power. Hell, Thing shouldn’t ever beat Hulk. Hulk is stronger. Yet, there’s one Marvel Two-in-One # 7 annual with Thing beating the Champion of the Universe and a bunch of other strong men.

Ok, sorry for being so longwinded. I’m interested to see your take. Thanks.


George emails

Hiya, Who would win a battle of wits, The Watchers or the Oans?

I’ll take Uatu and the Watchers. At least I’ve seen a few funny What Ifs involved Uatu.

If Solomon Grundy and Savage Hulk were forced to sit at a chess board and play each other, who would win? I know this scenario is ridiculous but maybe Fate and Dr. Strange somehow crossed paths and split a couple bottles of Wild Turkey and wanted to see this happen in their drunken stupor.

Keep up the good work,

I’ll take the Hulk and lay the points. He’s got Banner to help him cheat.

HAHAHAHA! Great question. While I don’t think Savage Hulk gets the advantage of Banner, it really depends on which Grundy we’re talking about. Remember everytime Grundy dies he comes back with a different personality”¦some are smarter than others. If we’re talking about the “Starman” era Grundy, then I’d have to go with him. If we’re talking about the typical “villain” Grundy then I say they smach the board and then proceed to smash each other”¦

Alright this week I’m taking a week off the House of M. We had tons of questions and I’m afraid Daron would tell me to cut it anyway. Hey rather safe than sorry. So next week more HOM and more Q/A. So that’s it Daron care to sign off?

Awwwww, thanks for asking, sure I’ll”¦

Alright my turn.

*Grumble grumble grumble*


1. Keep the questions coming. I had plenty of fun answering them this week. Fun and silly questions are welcome. poll: Who is the greatest reporter in the Marvel Universe? (personally I’m voting Ben Urich ).

3. Superherohype has a good question this week to: Who would you like to see as the villain in “Fantastic Four 2?(My vote goes to Galactus).

Until next week Reporting from my corner in the Marvel Universe, I’m Jim Trabold have a great week and see you at the comic shop

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