Monday, February 23, 2009

Monday Miscellanea: Of Funny Book Fanatics and Marvel-ous Reprints

ITEM! First up, I wanna thank Dave Olbrich, Founding Administrator of the Eisner Awards, former Malibu Comics publisher and bad-to-the-bone blogger for nominating the Diversions as Blog of the Month on his own far-out Funny Book Fanatic blog. Ol' Groove's head is so swollen, even a Brady-style perm couldn't hide its size! Thanks a ka-zillion, Dave! Hope you keep reading and enjoying all this Groovy Age goodness for many more moons!

ITEM! Thanks for all of you who've voted so far in the "What Kind of Blog Should Groove Do Next" poll. For the longest time, "The 1970s in general" was leading, but "80s comics" has taken the lead recently. Which would you prefer? There's less than a week left to vote, so make your voice heard!

ITEM! Ol' Groove swore off buying new comics waaaaaaay back in August. The prices are too high, too many crossovers, etc. I decided to "wait for the trade" on the good stuff and ignore the rest. As usual, Marvel Comics does something out of the blue (to me--I don't remember hearing about this on any of my regular comics news haunts) and puts out a comic that fairly forces me to pick it up! Yea, verily, out of the wilderness Marvel: Your Universe #1 came calling my name! What the heck is it and why the heck did it make me break down and buy it? It's a new monthly anthology, 128 pages, reprinting five-series-in-one-book for $6.99. Yeah, five comics for the less than the price of two--or if ya wanna get technical, that's like getting five comics for around $1.40 each. Even a miser like me can't resist that! But it wasn't only the format that grabbed me, it was the contents, baby! Five updated versions of some of my favorite Groovy Age characters: Iron Fist, Ms. Marvel, Nova, the X-Men, and Ghost Rider. Doggone it, Marvel, you've roped me in again! Now I guess you'll put out another anthology with Guardians of the Galaxy, Hercules, Moon Knight, Punisher, Black Panther...

ITEM! Speaking of reprint mags, how 'bout we take a look back at some covers from the heyday of great Marvel mags like Marvel's Greatest Comics, Marvel Super-Heroes, Marvel Tales, Marvel Triple Action, X-Men and the rest? I'm gonna focus on some from the 1971/72 when Marvel had guys like Gil Kane, Jim Starlin, and Sal Buscema cooking up new covers for their classic super-hero comics...


  1. of course the bizarre thing with Marvel's flood the spinner racks with product (the only reason for them to suddenly put all the reprints out when they changed distributors in the early '70's. it is all about market share baby!) is that it put the current books head to head with the reprints. I recall picking up marvel greatest #45 with the amazing Lee/Kirby reprints at the same time as the Conway/Buckler FF's in the #140's and you can imagine which one I thought was better. At least the Avengers book that Steve Englehart was writing kicked the butt of the reprints over in Marvel Triple Action.

    It must have been some easy money for Kane, Starlin and Romita to knock out the covers for those. They got to indulge in redoing some classic scenes while picking up a quick paycheck. And Kane even forgot to put in the yellow and black "wings" that Banshee had under his arms back in that first Arnold Roth issue.

  2. Kane was always messing with the classic costumes when he drew these. Notice Marvel Girl's and Angel's masks on the Banshee cover and the Goliath-era goggles on Giant Man on the MTA #9 cover. Some of those Kane MTA covers have some pretty cool Giant-Man costumes--ones that existed only on the covers.

    Whatever the reason Marvel put 'em out, Ol' Groove was very thankful. There was a percentage of a fraction of a miniscule chance that I'd ever get to read the classic Marvel's any other way back then.

  3. I love Gil Kane's cover art in this period. In my opinion he really stepped his work up a notch or two when he came to Marvel in the late 60s. (I remember hearing Mr. Kane say this himself!). He was an absolute master of anatomy and perspective...and really shows those skills off with these covers from the early to mid-70s.

    Also, I have a serious bent of nostalgia for Marvel's "boxed in" cover design of 1972. It was during this period when I really began to buy comics off the racks in a "serious" manner, for the purposes of "collecting" (that is, as "serious" as a 7-year-old could be!).

    Interestingly, I went through a period in '72 where I tried one or two issues of nearly every Marvel title on the racks! I was not an X-Men fan but I did "try" them during this period. I bought two issues.....and THEY ARE THE TWO ISSUES PICTURED ABOVE! Also on the racks at that time were landmark issues such as Hulk #150, Avengers #100 and Thor #200....all of which I bought off the stands. I was pretty nutty about Iron Man and Marvel's horror characters, too! Great memories!

  4. Glad to meet ya, Chris! I've got about a year on ya, both in age and in "serious" collecting (7 is our Golden Age!). Keep reading and keep posting!

  5. Christmas 1971, I got both Marvel Tales # 34 and Marvel Team-Up # 1 under the tree!



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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!