A Marvelous Anniversary Part 6: Burning Rubber

Continuing the weeklong Fire and Water Podcast event celebrating the third anniversary of the FW Network and the 80th anniversary of MARVEL COMICS #1! This episode, Max is joined by special guest Ram Zimmerman to review the prose story in Marvel Comics, “Burning Rubber!” Written by Ray Gill and featuring an illustration by Sam Gilman, the story is packed with the danger and thrills of the race track. The starting flag is waving — let’s go!

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Clip Credits:

“The Merry Marvel Marching Society Fight Song,” composed by Jacques Urbont

Sound clip from “Speedway,” part of the “Sportbeams” series of home movies (Official Films, Inc.)

Thanks for listening!

6 responses to “A Marvelous Anniversary Part 6: Burning Rubber

  1. Nice job, Max! Ram Zimmerman (now that’s a handle) was a great guest, I loved all the info on motorcycle riding which does sound, uh, inadvisable.

    I wonder why comics as a medium decided to get rid of these text pieces? I’ve seen them in DCs at least up through the 1960s I believe, and then they just faded away, except under special circumstances.

  2. I think these text pieces were once mandatory for comics to fit some US mail standard. If they had a text story, they would be considered in a different class, and therefore cheaper to mail. It’s why every Golden Age comic had at least one. Isn’t that nuts?

    Very interesting episode, Max! I appreciated Ram’s personal racing experience juxtaposed with the story. And who knew this would be a crossover with Give Me That Star Trek? That’s crazy!!!


  3. Yeah, as I was listening to you read the story, I subconsciously thought the guy’s car would crash too – the foreshadowing seemed pretty obvious. However, I was unsurprised by the happy ending. Based on the admittedly small sampling of text pieces in comics from the 1940s that I’ve read, they all usually have similar happy, or at least non-tragic, endings. Remember, this appeared in 1939, when comics were very much aimed at small children, unlike the contemporary pulp magazines, which were for adults – so I don’t think a flaming car crash with the main character dying or sustaining severe injuries at best wouldn’t have passed muster.

  4. Great work, Max! Not only for a thorough and fair assessment of a slight story, but also for such a great guest! I appreciated Ram’s insight into the motor racing world. I also thought that this story was overdoing the fatalism in the early going, but it would have made a nice little “B” picture in its time. Anybody else reminded of Cliff, Peavey, and Bette?
    Ram Zimmerman? Minnesota? Not only did this cross over into Give Me That Star Trek, it may have crossed over with Pod Dylan!

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