Monday, November 3, 2008

100th Post! I Was a Friend Of Ol' Marvel

When Ol' Groove is waxing eloquent on why being a comics fan back in the Groovy Age was such a blast, the thing my mind always goes back to is F.O.O.M. Yep, I was an original Friend Of Ol' Marvel, baby! From the moment I saw this ad......(which was actually a Bullpen Bulletins Page that had been hijacked for the ultimate hype), I knew I hadda get $2.50 in the mail to P.O. Box 1827 in New York and get those goodies! My folks were sitting at the kitchen table talking (as they usually did) when I crept stealthily up the stairs to put into action my plan to beg, borrow, or bust to get the money to join F.O.O.M. I showed 'em the ad, looked at them pleadingly...and they said, "Sure." They actually thought it was pretty cool. And man, did I think they were cool! Right away, they wrote a check, I filled out and cut out the ad from my brand new copy of Amazing Adventures #18 (February, 1973--the debut of War of the Worlds!), stuck it all in an envelope, and mailed it the next day.

Next came the hard part. Waiting. I'm sure it was only a few weeks, but it seemed like months before a big honkin' envelope with a giant Steranko Hulk face showed up (complete with address sticker in the Hulk's mouth!). I got home for school one sunny spring day, and it was lying on that fateful kitchen table waiting for me. I ripped it open...and entered comicbook heaven!

The Jim Steranko poster featuring a plethora of Marvel heroes (and the Black Widow, too) completely blew my mind. It took a few minutes to recover from that, then I signed my golden membership card, spread out the stickers and spent a few minutes figuring out where I was gonna stick 'em (all over my room, it turned out), and then I sat down and cracked open the cover of the first issue of FOOM Magazine. Smiling Stan Lee welcomed me on the cover, and then I dove in. An intro by Steranko filled me in on what FOOM was all about. There were pics and bios of several Marvel Bullpenners. An illustrated history of the Fantastic Four (I'd never seen so much as a panel of the first ish before that fateful afternoon) illuminated the dawn of the Marvel Age for me. I belonged. Officially. I'd always felt like a Marvelite anytime I read a Marvel comic, but now I had a badge to prove it.

Next day at school, I showed it off to my friends. They all "ooohed" and "ahhhhed" over it. A few even talked their folks into letting them join.

I kept my membership going for the better part of the next four years. I even renewed once and got a brand new set of stickers, poster, and envelope. For 17 glorious issues, I knew what to look forward to when I got to the spinner rack before most any of my friends. I knew to be on the lookout for a new Red Guardian in the Defenders. I knew to watch the racks for new superheroes like Nova and Ms. Marvel. I even had the heads up about the first Marvel Super-Special starring KISS before the TV news unleashed the story.


FOOM magazine actually ran for 22 quarterly issues. It was a whole lot like an extended Marvel letters page crossed with an extended Bullpen Page, each issue running 36 pages and filled with art (unused and preview), news, comics history, interviews, games, puzzles, mini-posters, ads for cool Marvel Comics memorabilia (like bronze pendants, Spider-Man record albums, and posters), and even contests, like the (in)famous "Create a Character" contest where the winning character didn't appear in a comic 'til about 30 years after the contest ended.

It was wild, wacky, fun, and frivolous, just like all Marvel Comics. But it was also a rite of passage into fandom. For those of us who lived hundreds of miles away from any comics convention, FOOM was it for us.

10 comments:

  1. congrats on the 100th post. I was never a member of Foom but I was a member of the Marvelmania. I guess that makes us fan club cousins or something.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Works for me, Rick! I like to think of us comicbook fans as a big happy (if a bit dysfunctional) family, anyway!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow, a new layout. I love the Steranko horror story. I remember having that as a kid. Love all the Marvel uploads.

    Congradulations on #100, I will be hitting the big one in a week or so I think. I am going to design some nice banner for you your site to fit into my sidebar. Will let you know when I am done.

    Good stuff...


    Bill

    ReplyDelete
  4. Don't know if I'm repeating myself. My Mozilla browser is moody lately, probably some add-on I need to deactivate. Congrats on #100. Good job, and it is a worthy 100 too. Full blooded posts.

    I am working on some sort of banner for your site on put on my sidebar. I dunno if it will do justice, but lets see. Again congrats and keep those uploads coming. I love those stories and images.

    Bill

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks, Bill! I appreciate your taking the time from your own far-out blog to visit and comment on mine. I look forward to your banner, and will try to reciprocate as best as my limited skills will allow.

    I'm looking forward to your big 100th post!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Congrats on your 100th post! The new blog is fantastic and while I was more of a DC guy, FOOM provided a cool look at 70's Marvel. I have a complete run of Amazing World Of DC Comics but I only have a couple of FOOM's. I need to work on that!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks, Mike!

    I figured that AparoFan had to be a DC guy, and there's nothing wrong with that. Me, I dug everything (I guess that's pretty obvious around here, huh?); but F.O.O.M. was my first taste of true fandom.

    ReplyDelete
  8. My name is in the list of art submiters in foom 3.A bud of mine drew one of the printed fan art drawings in my presense.Basiclly conan with wings. Gave him the envelope and stamp to mail it.He drew crumb type cartoons on it,to make it stand out,that did the job,one of the best submitted in the issue.Shame he could never get his act together,cause he could have taken the crown of kirby after he died.

    ReplyDelete

LinkWithin

Blog Widget by LinkWithin
Note to "The Man": All images are presumed copyright by the respective copyright holders and are presented here as fair use under applicable laws, man! If you hold the copyright to a work I've posted and would like me to remove it, just drop me an e-mail and it's gone, baby, gone.

All other commentary and insanity copyright GroovyAge, Ltd.

As for the rest of ya, the purpose of this blog is to (re)introduce you to the great comics of the 1970s. If you like what you see, do what I do--go to a comics shop, bookstore, e-Bay or whatever and BUY YOUR OWN!