Day and Night
I’m pretty sure that I learned the word “equinox” from a comic book: Marvel Team-Up #60, dated Aug. 1977.
Panel from Marvel Team-Up #59 © 1977 Marvel. Script: Chris Claremont.
Pencils: John Byrne. Inks, Colors: Dave Hunt. Letters: Bruce Patterson.
Okay, I might’ve actually learned it from the previous issue, MTU #59. But #60 has
the antagonist of the story, Equinox, on the cover. It didn’t feel right to have the big splashy image leading off a post about Equinox not be a picture of Equinox. [Note: As you’ll see, I’ve since been able to include a scan of an interior panel from #59.]
Equinox was basically a mash-up of two superheroes, Iceman and The Human Torch. I would much later find out that during his introduction, not counting a shadowed cameo in the lead story of a Spider-Man special the same week, he in fact battled Iceman and The Human Torch in July 1974’s Marvel Team-Up #23.
I learned a lot of words reading comic books, although it’s possible “equinox” wasn’t one of them, instead being picked up during mention of the vernal or autumnal equinox in school or at home and merely getting reinforced by its admittedly dubious usage. You’d expect a supervillain named Equinox to have control over light and darkness, but I guess powers of fire and ice aren't too far removed from that.
Covers to Marvel Team-Up #59 & Marvel Team-Up #60 © 1977 Marvel. Layouts: Dave
Cockrum. Finished Art: Al Milgrom. Letters: Danny Crespi. Script, Colors: Unknown.
Anyway, I can’t pin down whether I learned the word from MTU #59 or #60, if either, because I strongly remember feeling like I was coming into things in the middle when I first read the story. While that could be the result of the issues containing flashbacks to Equinox’s debut in #23 a few years prior, as noted above, it’s also possible that I didn’t get ahold of the first part of the two-parter, in which Marvel Team-Up’s usual mainstay Spider-Man joined forces with the literal supercouple Yellowjacket and The Wasp, until after I bought the second part off the spinner racks.
I definitely recall having both #59 and #60 quite young, however. They came out not long before my first exposure to back-issue bins at stores and conventions during trips to Philadelphia from our South Jersey home. I was only all of six years old but my mom was terrific at encouraging our reading in general and not in the least biased against comic books.
Happy Spring, everyone!
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