The Daily Comic Book Coffee, number 4: X-Men #31

The Daily Comic Book Coffee, number four: Our entry for today is X-Men #31, cover-dated April 1967, which was penciled by Werner Roth and inked by John Tartaglione. “We Must Destroy… the Cobalt Man!” was written by Roy Thomas.

X-Men in the 1960s was a title of, um, variable quality. Series creators Stan Lee & Jack Kirby both left fairly early on, and newcomer Roy Thomas often struggled to find a successful direction for the book. Thomas was paired with penciler Werner Roth, who did good, solid work… but regrettably did not possess a certain dynamic quality necessary for Marvel-style superheroes (also I’m not sure if Tartaglione’s inks were an especially good fit for Roth’s pencils). Roth was however very well-suited to drawing romance, war and Westerns comic books. He certainly was adept at rendering lovely ladies, as seen in his work on Lorna the Jungle Queen in the 1950s. So it’s not surprising that some of Roth’s best work on X-Men was when the main cast was in their civilian identities, and the soap-operatic melodrama was flying fast & furious. Witness the following…

Here we have two different coffee-drinking scenes on one page. At the top, Scott Summers, Warren Worthington and Jean Grey are hanging out with Ted Roberts and his older brother Ralph at a greasy spoon known as the Never-Say-Diner… really, Roy?!? Ted was a short-lived rival to Scott for Jean’s affections, and Ralph was (spoilers!) a short-lived villain named the Cobalt Man. Elsewhere, Hank McCoy and Bobby Drake have taken their dates Vera and Zelda to their semi-regular Greenwich Village hangout, Coffee A Go-Go, where Bernard the Poet is, ahem, “reciting his latest masterpiece.” The scene closes with Bobby creating the world’s first iced espresso.

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