The first time I read these issues I thought, “Damn this would have been awesome if it were written by Steve Gerber!” I mean, can you imagine, Marvel’s master of the weird teamed up with Wally Wood? That would have been awesome.
As it stands, though, the first appearance of The Ani-Men is still a fine story. The story starts with a good old-fashioned prison break, and I do love prison tales…
A mysterious crime-master called “The Organizer” is introduced, and he gives four freed felons animal costumes and imaginative monikers: Ape Man! Cat Man! Bird Man! Frog Man! Stan Lee did love his animal-villains, and this puts Daredevil on a par with Spider-Man’s villains like Vulture and Scorpion.
And the story has a lot more of these villains than Daredevil.
But that’s what I mean: It’s wacky and wild, and would have been right up Steve Gerber’s alley.
Then, in the end, we get a final box promising a new art team (which is too bad, because Bob Powell and Wally Wood were doing a fantastic job). It’s interesting how much Stan Lee’s hype emphasized creators, because I’m pretty sure the other major comics publishers at the time weren’t doing this kind of thing.
As for why Wally left, it’s because he couldn’t STANd (get it?) it at Marvel. He got a writer credit for #11, which is a very rare case for Marvel in 1965—as Stan wrote everything—but that was it for him and Marvel.
Seriously, though, the credits over these issues are very interesting…
Then, with #12, they were introducing John Romita.
Romita turned out to be one of the most important artists of the decade, but that’s kind of not the point. Wood was arguably one of the most important artists of the decade, too–even if he’s nowhere near as well known.
There’s got to be a backstory here, right?
Creators: Bob Powell (layouts), Wally Wood (finishing), Stan Lee and Wally Wood (scripts)
First appearance: The Organizer and The Ani Men