Defenders #21 (1975): 1st Headmen

So many little things happen in this story that the first appearance of The Headmen can easily be overlooked.  But it shouldn’t be!

It starts with Valkyrie reading Barbara Norriss’ family photo albums (after her father was killed last issue), and deciding to go find “her” husband.

Nighthawk gets jealous, because he really wants Val, but then his ex shows up, and it’s Egghead’s niece, Trixie Star.  Quite a stripper name.

We see our first glimpses of the Headmen, who are mad scientists that created a rain that drove a city crazy. 

One has a human head on an ape body, and the other has a misshapen head due to an accident creating a shrinking formula.  Apparently, both were from Golden Age horror stories.

To help them create mystic, evil rain, they call on Chondu the mystic.

Also, Hulk lands in the suburbs and gets attacked by a dad who thinks Hulk is attacking his kids, and Hulk gets mad at dad and makes a little girl cry.  Here, the man reacts to Hulk on his lawn.


And here’s how Hulk reacts.

The Headmen escape in the end, and Strange has foreboding words…

One thing that Steve Gerber did differently from everyone else was create elaborate backstories for side characters.  He’d spend panels–sometimes pages–talking about people who were irrelevant to the story.  Just to set up a gag, or to create atmosphere.

He had the soul of a novelist: He was interested in everyone, and everything about them.

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