Saturday, September 17, 2011

Archipelago, Man of a Million Islets

One of the comic books I have up for bid on ebay this week is Captain Marvel #4 from M.F. Enterprises. This character is not what anybody thinks of when the phrase "Captain Marvel" is uttered; this comic is the epitome of obscure.

That's not to say it's bad, and it definitely has an excellent pedigree; the artwork is by Carl Burgos (who created The Human Torch for Marvel Comics #1 in 1939) and Carl Hubbell (whose comics credits also date back to 1939). The series lasted four issues in 1966 and here is a gallery of the covers.

This Captain Marvel's power is that he can split his body into separate pieces at the joints. This may explain why the series lasted four issues. But the comic did make an impression on me when I was a wee tyke and manifested itself in a drawing I did years later.

I came up with Archipelago, who could split his body into a million little islands, and who had a visual resemblance to Archie Andrews. I drew exactly two pages of this character. The first is a full-page pin-up that showed most of those million islands in detail (and, peeking at you from behind the wall, there is the M.F. Enterprises Captain Marvel!). The second page is a "movie-length" epic in which Archipelago offers to help a young girl in distress.

I had great fun putting it together and Alan Light published it in The Buyer's Guide 29 years ago. Honestly, I can't say if any reader realized that the peeker on the pin-up was Captain Marvel or my character's direct link back to him. The world was a lot quieter back in the days before the internet.

You can see a larger view of the pin-up here and you can view the movie-length epic here.


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