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26 Years of Marvels

Marvels came out in 1994.

While I don’t recall the exact date of getting #1…I do remember being in Comics & Collectibles with Dad, and chatting with Chris (the owner), and he showed us this absolutely stunning/beautiful issue with a painted image of the (original) Human Torch and some sort of clear cover piece with the title.

It was an expensive issue–$5.95 cover price! (at a time when most regular comics were $1.50-$1.95).


I managed to get all four issues, and though a lot of the nuance of the series was lost on me at the time, I still loved the art, and remember Alex Ross was the FIRST artist–by name–whose work I could recognize/name at a glance.

Not terribly long after the original issues, there was a new #0 issue published. Sadly, this one did not have the fancy cover/deluxe format. However, it fits very well in with the second print editions of the main series.

And then last year we got the Annotated Marvels or Marvels Annotated, with #0’s content covered in the first issue. And following the four issues, a new Marvels Epilogue was released.


I’m almost certain that I had a paperback edition of Marvels, for awhile. As of this typing, I was unable to locate it, so half wonder if I gave it away at some point.

Otherwise…I have the 10th Anniversary Edition deluxe oversized hardcover; the recently-acquired 25th Anniversary Edition deluxe oversized hardover; the Platinum Edition oversized slipcase edition; and the Monster-Sized hardcover.

For scale, the smallest books in the pic above–the deluxe oversized hardcovers–are larger wide/tall than a standard comic book!


It’s sort of odd to consider that my original editions are now vintage comic books! They are definitely unique artifacts in my collection…in part as I’ve had them so long AND I’m relatively certain I have never even seen these editions in a quarter-bin or fifty-cent bin…probably not even a dollar bin. The first two issues’ covers are particularly "iconic" to me; and there’s a scene that must be in #3 of the Silver Surfer and a field of asteroids that always stuck with me.


I’d also gotten the #0 issue while it was still new, along with the "2nd print" of #1. I only in 2020 got the "2nd print" of #s 2-4. These were regular-format issues with standard covers and interiors without the cardstock/acetate deluxe treatment…and were half the price of the deluxe originals.


In 2019, the series was reprinted again for its 25th anniversary, this time with a bunch of extra material/annotations regarding the originals. Of course, while the originals are singular, iconic covers…OF COURSE Marvel had to do multiple variant covers on each issue. I, of course, went for the standard covers–showing the original-style logo (up the left side of the cover this time instead of across the top) and new images. There were other new images for the variants…as well as near-"virgin" editions of the original covers with virtually no trade dress. (And to me the trade dress–the solid color and border with the image otherwise showing through the title–is an iconic part of the series and its covers; a ‘virgin’ cover looks to me like just some "print" or like someone ripped the acetate layer off!

Like the 1994 #0 issue, 2019’s Epilogue issue is a standard-sized comic, regular cover without any cardstock/fancy upgrades to it.

Before the pandemic/shutdowns, Marvel was publishing Marvels X that I’ve "thought of" as a Marvels-style take on the X-Men side of stuff but have come to realize might have more to do with the Earth X/Universe X/Paradise X trilogy of projects.

I believe there was also some sort of Tales of the Marvels thing in the works.

I’ll have to (later) verify on Marvels X; I’ve never gotten into that series nor found collected volumes of the trilogy affordable with matching trade dress and such.

I’d been pretty dead-set against Tales of the Marvels or whatever it was to be, on principle and the use of variants and pricing. Having brought all my classic Marvels stuff together now, I think it likely that I’d make an exception.

Obviously I have a thing for this classic project, having three editions of the single issues, and at least four editions of the collected editions.

In the end, I suppose time will tell!


The Weekly Haul – Week of April 12th, 2017

This was a pretty small week. Weapon X was sold out already (of the REGULAR cover…I think I saw a couple variants,but was not at all interested in those). So I wound up just grabbing several quick things and called it a week.


New issue of Action Comics, getting into some post-Superman Reborn stuff, though I’m not sure I’m totally "getting" it. And the third and apparently final (with Weapon X #1 not being in stock with a standard/non-variant cover) X-launch issue for me.

The $1 True Believers issues are fun enough, and I continue to be willing to pay the $1 or so for them!


Figuring I’d be kicking myself for passing on it, for the price of a mere 5 contemporary Marvel issues, I snagged this HEFTY (as in: very THICK!) collected volume with what appear to be the bulk of the Carnage stuff outside of Maximum Carnage. Farrrrr better value than any new "standard price" issue!


Due to personal finances, this was a small week for comics for me…but the pricing for these “Halloween Ashcan Comics” was just right for snagging them. And as stuff I read after the regular comics I picked up, they very much fit the criteria as “the rest of the stack.” They’re also something I’d want to touch on anyway…they don’t quite warrant full-review treatment, but the fact they exist seems to call for something. These are smaller than normal comics–both in length (about 12 pages inside the covers) and physical size (fold an 8 1/2″ by 11″ piece of paper in half and that’s your size). I call these “ashcan comics” because that’s the term I recall for comics like this from the mid-1990s. Perhaps I’ll touch on the topic of such comics another time.

For me, this is a mixed bunch. My favorite of these five specials is the Betty Cooper Confidential–probably because it seems best suited to the format. It read very much like a short story from one of the Archie digests I’d buy in the checkout lane at Walmart or some such. Even this is largely a preview for another book, though. The story–which has Betty’s diary blown away on the wind and then recovered in pieces by her friends–is one of those that plays all the characters as being friends, with far less competition or other conflict between them than in other stories. Given this is a light-hearted piece, that works fine. I’ve never been a great judge of a good age group for Archie books…but I’d say this one’s quite mild and safe for any age that’d be interested.

The Popeye comic features a reprint of what seems to be a classic serial in which Popeye & friends encounter a “ghosk” on their ship. There’s not much to it, but it’s definitely got the feel of the old Popeye cartoons I’ve recently exposed myself to. I can mostly hear Popeye and Olive’s voices in my head as I read this, but there’s something distinct to these pages–they are not simply an adaptation nor exact source material for any of the cartoons I can recall. The Ghost theme seems chosen for Halloween (where these specials are intended to be available for giving out)…but the few pages we get does not give a complete story, and just seems to end after giving up several clues and a likely reveal, though no real details or context. Still, it’s a good sampler for what Seeger’s classic strip is like, and for seeing Popeye in comic panels rather than in motion on a tv screen.

The Star Wars issue is a brief story that sees Han and Chewie wind up on a planet in need of fuel, and discovering undead inhabitants doomed to relive the accident that claimed their lives. In a way, this story feels rather out of place for what I’m used to with the Star Wars universe. At the same time, it’s also plausible given the suspension of disbelief one needs in order to believe in aliens, space ships, and The Force. We do get a “complete adventure” in these pages, which is nice–it’s just a quick slice-of-life sorta piece detailing this one particular incident the characters faced. I couldn’t say how it holds up to Star Wars canon, but it’s certainly worth the couple minutes it takes to read!

I’d expected the Casper/Little Lulu to be my least-favorite of all of these, but it has some slight charm to it. I don’t particularly LIKE it, but I can appreciate the strips for both characters for what they are–classic strips that were well-known in their time (I at least know OF the characters, even if I can’t tell you much of anything else other than what you see in this issue). Like the Popeye issue, this is interesting as a classic of comic strips, but if you’re not interested in the characters going in, this probably isn’t going to do anything to change your mind.

Finally, the Domo issue–which was sitting next to the just-released full-sized volume of the same title (Domo: The Manga) feels very much like a previw and nothing else. I’m not even sure what to make OF Domo or whatever the character may otherwise be called. I’ve seen the image of the character represented in various elements of pop culture, but know even less about it than I do Casper. The stories contained in this issue don’t really make sense to me, and I’m relatively certain as such that I am not at all the target audience. If you like Domo, this might be worth your time. If you don’t…then don’t bother with this.

I’ve always forgotten about these until they’ve been on the shelf at my local comic store, so buying any in bulk hasn’t seemed an option, though these would be great to have to give away–whether to kids out trick-or-treating for Halloween, or just to have to hand friends who otherwise wouldn’t give a darn about comics. It’s kind of a shame DC and Marvel didn’t have any in this bunch.

If you’re interested in any of these, check with your local comics retailer–mine had these on the shelf for $.25 each or a set of all 5 for $1 (which is why I wound up with the Casper/Little Lulu and Domo issues). Taken as a whole, for the time spent just reading these, they were well worth that $1. I’d almost be willing to buy stuff like this on a regular basis, especially from DC–give me a couple 6ish-page previews of a couple titles (make it a flip book and preview two titles in one issue, showcasing a cover for each) instead of the in-issue previews that get so annoying, and I’d likely read them.

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