Day and Night

I’m pretty sure that I learned the word “equinox” from a comic book: Marvel Team-Up #60, dated Aug. 1977.

Man of half-ice, half-flame shouting 'I -- am -- Equinox! I've come for you, Spider-Man -- and tonight you're gonna die!'
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.

Spider-Man restraining Wasp over Yellowjacket's limp body as she vows 'I'll avenge him or die trying!' Spider-Man getting punched by the self-proclaimed 'Equinox the Thermodynamic Man'
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!

Related: Oh Snap Not Above a Book Off Color


  1. Happy Spring, ya nerd! <— pot calling the kettle black, iron, and steaming hot

  2. Comic books sound SO MUCH COMPLICATED. I really don't know how I never got involved with them.

    Probably because I was busy in the back yard playing with mud.


  3. I played with mud. And I did a fair amount of running around outside in the fresh air. But I also played with action figures and watched a lot of cartoons and read a lot of comic books.

    What you say about comic books is true, although I suspect that you getting that from this post is actually a failing of mine. All the stuff about possibly getting the second issue that continues a two-part story before getting the first part, I think, I made sound more convoluted than it was, as it's just the same idea as seeing television episodes in a continued storyline out or order or reading the second novel in a series first. Getting Marvel Team-Up #60 off the racks but finding #59, which led into it, later — this is not much different than, say, reading The Black Caudron before The Book of Three. Where comic books are indeed SO MUCH COMPLICATED is that, at least where superhero-based "universes" from the Big Two publishers are concerned, characters have appeared in countless stories in countless issues, sometimes over decades, in various series making up a vast interrelated web (no Spider-Man pun intended), often with revisionist history playing a role. You want a taste of how that can be crazy, then I have just the post for you; it's a little long, but the gist of it is contained a few paragraphs in when I quote something I wrote earlier in a typewriter-style font.