Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Marvel Premiere #35 — 3-D Man

I like the 3-D Man.
There, I said it.
This affection for the character doesn't have any great depth or mystery behind it. The first time I ever saw the character was in an issue of
The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe and I was struck by his costume. I was one of those odd kids of the '70s who actually got to see some classic 3-D movies in the theater and my discovery of 3-D Man arrived right at the cusp of the 3-D revival of the 1980s. (This revival didn't last very long, thanks to the cinematic abominations like Jaws 3-D, Amityville 3-D, Metalstorm, etc.)
I'll be damned if 3-D man wasn't a little hard to find, though. His appearances were limited to a handful of Marvel promo books which had very little demand among later fans. The books were worthless, so they should have been inexpensive ... but there was no profit in them so retailers tended not to stock them.
It's an odd book from top to bottom, something typical of Bronze Age comics. Meant as a throwback to a time when Marvel had no superheroes, the character begins as a test pilot in the 1950s. After a run in with the Skrulls (chronologically predating their first appearance in Fantastic Four) he acquires the power to ... well, I'm not exactly sure
what his powers were. He apparently has three times the strength, speed and stamina of a normal man but, unlike normal men, spends 21 hours of the day trapped inside the lenses of a pair of kooky glasses.
During a three-part story arc (Marvel Premiere 35-37) 3-D Man grapples with the evils of rock and roll, aliens, brainwashing and the explanation as to what might really have been behind the Bermuda Triangle (the Skrulls.)
It's all a little hard to swallow as nostalgia, though, because the book takes place just a few years before the first issue of Fantastic Four hit the stands ... and Ben Grimm is even referenced directly in the story as a notable test pilot. For some reason, though, 3-D Man is a character stuck in an editorial conceit of a fictional 1958, while the rest of the Marvel Universe was allowed to move on. I have no idea how this issue was addressed in his later appearance in The Incredible Hulk, and the character was later re-vamped as the deadly dull Triathlon in The Avengers.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...